WHO WEARS THE PANTS…


I’m going to steal, plagarize, imitate ( yeh, that’s the ticket… ) ~ …no, better yet: PAY HOMAGE to a feature from one of my favorite bloggers’ set-pieces: FRIDAY FOTO FOLLIES. And since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I hope my friend approves.

What Aurora over at ONCE UPON A SCREEN does, is post a lot of photos that illustrate a theme. She does all manner of these. Click on Audrey and see what I mean.

We have seen some of the most beautiful women in classic Hollywood wearing designs fit for a Queen…gowned by Edith Head, Irene, Givenchy, Orry-Kelly, Yves St. Laurent et al. But I’m a jeans and boots girl. Casual is my speed. I think slacks are the most comfortable, freeing thing to wear. Taking a page from Once Upon A Screen, my post is self~explanatory: WHO WEARS THE PANTS. Here are some of my favorite actresses in outfits either from a movie, photo~shoot or just lounging around. Some of you might think this look is very unfeminine. But you’d be wrong.

I’ll start with the Patron Mistresses of Pants…Dietrich and Hepburn. And Garbo. Can’t forget Garbo. Comfort Queens.

  
Dietrich                                                     Hepburn


Hepburn wears this beautiful smoking jacket lounging outfit in “Woman of the Year
( 1942 ) and it’s one of my absolute favorites.

  

Androgyny, much?

   
Top hat, white tail and tails. No one wears this better. Alright…if you must count Fred Astaire.

The Great Garbo

Ninotchka” “Anna Karenina” “Queen Christina” and for me, her greatest performance… “Camille” ~ Garbo reigned supreme in classic films of the silent and talkie era. Her mystique is unique. She wore a lot of exotic styles in her films and could carry them off. Not glamorous here, but I love her casual look:


Comfort over style

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Here are some other actresses wearing the pants off…pants.


When I was a kid and watched her in tv’s “Bewitched” I probably had little idea of the fabulous career she had as a leading character actress. My favorite performances of AGNES MOOREHEAD are “Dark Passage” “Caged” and “Magnificent Obsession.” She can cut you to the bone ( “Citizen Kane” ) ~ She wasn’t afraid to be what her character needed her to be. But she also could be a friend. Doesn’t Aggie look marvelously relaxed and youthful here?

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She didn’t care for the name, but ANN SHERIDAN was the Oomph Girl and with good reason; she had it in spades. She was Warner Bros’ glamor girl, but if they gave her half a chance, she showed ’em she could act. Whether comedy or drama, Sheridan could handle both with equal aplomb. She’s pictured here with her director Vincent Sherman, who did two pictures with her: “The Unfaithful” and “Nora Prentiss.” Look at those shades and the hair…do a pair of slacks look like it deters Vinnie? He’s at her feet. 

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Here’s my petite Force of Nature…the Queen, BETTE DAVIS. She built many a soundstage at Warner Bros. from the box office success of her films. Seeing her in pants was such an unusual thing because it’s all about dresses for women back then. I like her riding outfit in “Dark Victory.” For me, that look is prognosis positive. Oooh look, Cora Witherspoon who could play to the manor born or W.C. Fields’ wife. I also like Davis’ outfit in “The Great Lie” when she was keeping Mary Astor company while waiting for “their” baby to be born.

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CAROLE LOMBARD ~ 1930’s icon. She was much more than a screwball comedienne. See her in “Vigil in the Night” “In Name Only” or “Made for Each Other.” But gosh darn it, it’s “My Man Godfrey” and “Twentieth Century” that cements her in our memory almost ninety years later. Looks like she’s talking to the great Lubitsch and comfortable doing it. Could it be… or not to be?

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CLAUDETTE COLBERT could wear the hell out of clothes with that petite little figure of hers. ( Her wedding gown in “It Happened One Night” is to die for! ) She had a great career in film ( “The Palm Beach Story” “Midnight” and “Since You Went Away“…to name a few ) but look at her here at home, chilling out…just as you’d expect from Cleopatra.

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One of my all~time favorite movie stars is DORIS DAY. I am just over the silvery moon about her. Pretty nautical here in her decidedly 1940’s stylized look. What a career she’s had ( comedy/drama/sing/dance ) working with some of the great leading men in Hollywood like Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, David Niven, Jack LemmonKirk Douglas…and three guys name Jim: Garner ~ Cagney ~ Stewart. She could also wear her clothes, without them wearing her, whether she’s Calamity Jane or a suburban housewife.  She could do anything. Really. 

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There she is, A girl’s best friend. The great EVE ARDEN who comes in a movie with five minutes of screen time and out she memorably exits, screen left. Here she is in her “Stagedoor” chill. The woman can wear anything. She’s as statuesque as a super model and as sharp as a laser beam. See “Mildred Pierce” if you need proof.

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GINGER ROGERS ~ She could do comedy, drama and dance her *** off. She can put on the glam with the best of ’em ( have you seen her outfits w/dance partner Fred Astaire? ) Doesn’t she look great in these wide legged pants? I always found her to be a natural onscreen.

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HARLOW in satin…is a dream. In slacks…sort of like you and me. I mean, if you and me were glamorous movie star bombshells being relaxed. My favorite films of hers are “Bombshell” and “Libeled Lady” and of course, “Dinner At Eight.” Harlow…you were gone too soon.

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This is my favorite look of IRENE DUNNE’s. She’s on set of “A Guy Named Joe.” She had a nice slacks outfit in “The Awful Truth” too. Never over the top, her talent is always under the radar.

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JENNIFER JONES looks rather pensive. A far cry from her “Portrait of Jennie” “Duel in the Sun” “Madame Bovary” looks. People blow hot or cold over Jones, but I think she’s a fine underrated actress able to exhibit wells of emotion. Her trying to retrieve her love letters from a burning fire brings me to tears. xoxoxo these pants and boots!

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KEEPING UP WITH THE JOANS ~

   

Blonde in the 30’s, brunette in the 40’s. The great underestimated JOAN BENNETT. She can fit any place: on safari or a scarlet street or be the mother of a bride. Yes her sister Constance is known as THE fashion plate. But little sister Joan’s not bad. She’s stylish as diamonds with attitude for days. Whew!!

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She looks like she stepped out of 2018 with those shades and jumpsuit. What can I say about her. No one wore clothes like her. They say no one loved being a movie star more than JOAN CRAWFORD. Well if you’re going to be good at something…

Her career spans decades. I’m partial to her Oscar-winning role in “Mildred Pierce.” But she was good in “Rain“, “Daisy Kenyon” and with Gable. Hell, she’s a STAR!

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“THE LOOK”

You know how to whistle don’t you? LAUREN BACALL is worth whistling for. She was known as “The Look” in her modeling days, and boy she had it. She was never the frilly feminine type. Very tailored. Pants suit her, don’cha think? I like her in “Dark Passage” and “Written on the Wind.” I dunno…I kind of think she was never really given a chance to bloom as an actress. Perhaps not getting good scripts. Perhaps overshadowed by her more famous husband. Perhaps there was more to Life for her. In movies, she always seems down~to~earth, no nonsense; a little intimidating. If you approach her, you’d better bring it. 

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You can’t get more doe-like, more feminine than Loretta Young. Even in this staged photo shoot, she’s a vision. ( Pssst! See her strong performances in “The Stranger” and “Midnight Mary.” )

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For this flaming redhead, comedy or drama, gowns or slacks…LUCILLE BALL could do and wear it all with ease. Yeh, I love Lucy.

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This is MERLE OBERON playing George Sand in “A Song to Remember.” And I have to tell you, I’m floored by this costume. Isn’t it smart? Merle, a unique looking beauty, hasn’t made movies were so memorable other than the towering “Wuthering Heights.” ( I personally like her and Dana Andrews in “Night Song” ). My claim to fame is when I went to see the throngs of stars attend the premiere of “The Godfather” ( 1972 ) back in NYC, I saw Merle Oberon with Robert Wolders. Very few people were excited by seeing her. Boy, I was.

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One of my favorites…PAULETTE GODDARD walks with her beau, Charlie…swinging her shades. Looking sassy, stylish, comfortable and nonchalant. I understand her collection of jewels and paintings is unparalleled in Hollywood. Another actress with not a stellar filmography, her role in “The Women” is a standout. My friend Wendy writes a wonderful essay for my blog on Goddard I urge you to read.

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The Love Goddess is looking mighty casual here in a pair of slacks. Hell, I confess…I don’t care WHAT  RITA HAYWORTH  wears.

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MY STANY!!!!

These are my two favorite fotos of Stany. One she looks younger than one remembers her, and the other she’s so disheveled in “My Reputation” ( 1946 ), her hair and plaid jacket just kill me. 

    

But the theme is pants…

Her career is legendary. But get a load of that blouse, the belt, those leopard print shoes, her attitude. That’s BARBARA STANWYCK alright. See her hand in her pocket? Damn, she’s ready to kick ass, and she ain’t takin’ names either. Elegant.

     

Thank you all for perusing my Friday Foto Follies. I might try this again in the future with another theme I’ve gathered along my way. Once again, I tip my hat to Aurora over at Once Upon A Screen who can REALLY show that a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out her photo galleries by clicking on this photo of 40’s horror Queen, Evelyn Ankers:

…and this?  Oh…it’s just my indulgence. I’m an Evelyn Ankers fan:

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REEL INFATUATION

<< SIGH! >>

The REEL INFATUATION Blogathon hosted by Front & Frock and Silver Screenings is right up my alley.

BLOGATHON ( REEL INFATUATION - 6 : 13 ~ 17 : 2016 )

Can you be in love with someone you’ve never met? Sure you can. It happens all the time. I bought Tiger Beat magazine in the 60’s, mooning over the Tys, the Tabs and the Troys. Then David Cassidy came along ( “I Woke Up In Love This Morning I Think I Love You ~ which I sang a duet with, with Citizen Screen at Miceli’s at the end of the TCMFF’16 film festival ) in the 70’s…and there were folks in between. My heart and soul belong to movies though; classic movies. There is Gable & Flynn, Power & Peck. But really now…girls don’t have crushes and infatuations on men like that. Lust is the more appropriate carnal response for men like them, doncha think?

My reel crushes are boys-next-door. You know the type: soft, kind, picnic-nice, full of jokes, good cheer, winning smile, boyish charm and friendship. Guess I was always attracted to the collegiate-type no matter the decade. My tip-top favorites are boys like this, past and present:

CRUSHING ( DAVID MANNERS )( CRUSHING ) JEFFREY LYNNCRUSHING ( RICHARD CARLSON )
David Manners                       Jeffrey Lynn                               Richard Carlson
The Mummy”                    “Four Daughters”                         “Hold That Ghost

CRUSHING ( PAUL RUDD )CRUSHING ( RYAN REYNOLDS )CRUSHING ( TIMOTHY BOTTOMS
Paul Rudd                           Ryan Reynolds                         Timothy Bottoms
The 40-Year Old                 “Just Friends”                         “The Paper Chase
Virgin” “Clueless”                 “The Proposal”                    “The Last Picture Show

KYLE JOHNSON ( REEL INFATUATION ) Kyle Johnson “The Learning Tree
( be still my 17-year old heart. )

But my reel infatuation is on Singleton.

LOVE LETTERS ( JENNIFER JONES )

I know. HOW could I jump the gender fence like this. Reading the fine print very carefully for this blogathon, one’s crush should be on a character in the movies, so I just had to jump over. What’s not to love ( if you’re a fan ) about Jennifer Jones as SINGLETON in Love Letters ( 1945 ).

LOVE LETTERS ( THE LETTER ) LOVE LETTERS ( X )

Singleton has lost her memory. And she’s been in prison for murder; a murder she doesn’t remember even committing. I feel protective of her as does everyone around her in this movie. This includes her best friend Dilly ( the beautiful Ann Richards ) and the romantic and broken Allen ( Joseph Cotten ) who, unbeknownst to Singleton, is already in love with her thanks to the love letters he’s written for her wastrel, now murdered husband.

The draw for me is her guilelessness. She’s direct and forthright without hidden agenda…or malice. She’s winning and adorable. Her memory loss has given her a clean slate and she sees life simply. She’s charmingly truthful. 

LOVE LETTERS ( VI )

SINGLETON: “Well you see, I’ve thought of you so much.”

ALLEN:           “Think you should admit that?

SINGLETON: “Why not? I wanted to tell you that I thought of you. And you were glad to hear it. Don’t look startled, you were glad. So why shouldn’t I tell you.”


Her vulnerability is a magnet. Her truthfulness catches one off-guard. At her trial, she plainly says she can’t remember the events of the night that brought her to court. She says she does not WANT to remember. She’s sexy in a wholesome way:

LOVE LETTERS ( XIII )

“That’s the difference between us. You’re unhappy ‘cause that can never happen again.  And I’m happy because it happened once.”

There’s an unstoppable-force meets an immovable-object quality to what both Allen and Singleton want. They want two opposite things; one wants to remember, the other wants her to forget. When a painful memory creeps up on her and freaks her out, how can you help not feel bad for her. She’s lost. And breaks my heart. I feel sorry for them both. I want her to be well. But what if her being well meant losing her.

LOVE LETTERS ( XV ) LOVE LETTERS ( VIII )

This is silly. This is crazy. This is futile. This is insane. It’s so hard to discuss a crush in a rational public way other than to say goo-gah gobbledy goo. I risk sounding like a blithering idiot. ( LOL! I know…too late. ) I can only hope to be understood. And if I’m not…does it really matter? 

LOVE LETTERS ( V )

Alright, if you’re so self-possessed, go on, tell me. Go to the comments section below and tell me what character YOU have a crush on in the movies. Or, if you see HOW hard a job it is to talk rationally about a screen rush, you can just check out the other entries in this blogathon. My fellow bloggers will be much more eloquent than I in writing about who their reel infatuations are. Won’t you please click on the banner below to read about their cinematic heart throbs? The five-day recaps are just a click away:

BLOGATHON ( REEL INFATUATION ~ II )

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LOVE LETTERS

LOVE LETTERS ( THE LETTER )

LOVE LETTERS” ( 1945 ) Joseph Cotten, Jennifer Jones. Directed by William Dieterle. What can I say. I am a h0peless, c0ck-eyed r0mantic. And I lay this at the feet of both stars of this romantic drama.

If you are not inclined to like either Jones or Cotten, you can skip to my Lou to another post or blog. No hard feelings. This essay contains spoilers, my admiration for Joseph Cotten and my unabashed love for Jennifer Jones

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WHAT’S LOVE GO TO DO WITH IT? PLENTY!

We see the love of a friend; the love of a guardian; the love of a lover. “Love Letters” touches on so many ideas:

  • lost, longing, protection,
  • who we love,
  • regret.

“Love Letters” is the Cyrano de Bergerac tale taking place in a post-WW2 setting. These themes are inter-woven in the story of a man who’s in love with a woman he’s never met, but writes to, for a friend.

* * * * *

THE CAST:

THE MAN ~ JOSEPH COTTEN

LOVE LETTERS ( JOSEPH COTTEN Writes )

Cotten plays Captain Allen Quinton, a lost and sad soldier who pours his heart and soul into ghost writing love letters for a fellow soldier named Roger Moreland ( played by Robert Sully. ) He wants to quit the letter-writing campaign: ( “She’s in love with a man who doesn’t exist.” ; “She’s a pin-up girl of the spirit.” ) Allen makes this his last letter. Allen is betrothed to Helen Wentworth played by the exquisite Anita Louise. ( Why wasn’t she and

LOVE LETTERS ( JOSEPH COTTEN - II )  LOVE LETTERS ( IIII )

brunette counterpart, Marsha Hunt, bigger stars? ) But there’s something missing for Allen; a deep, true, soul-quenching love. There will be an amicable break-up between Allen and Helen, reminiscent of Robert Young and Hillary Brooke conveniently breaking up in “The Enchanted Cottage.” Helen and Allen both realize they are not really right for each other. Allen longs for and misses something he’s never had. He’s poured it all out in his buddy’s letters and is saddened by the news that his cad of a friend actually married  the girl of the letters. Allen is, also, that soldier who has come home from the war changed, aimless, no direction.

We get the sense of Allen’s romanticism by his writing, which we hear read aloud, and in the scene where he goes through his childhood memorabilia, discovered in a treasure chest in the country house he’s been given by his late aunt. ( Whew! What a sentence. Are you still following me? Good! ) JOSEPH COTTEN ( BOY )Usually in films, men would rummage and run. But Allen slowly pours over everything. ( I like director Dieterle not rushing through that scene. ) I loved the fact that they used Cotten’s actual boyhood photograph in that scene. It was also used in “Shadow of A Doubt.” Yes, this same Hitchcock villain, could be a troubled romantic hero. There are some gold sovereigns also as part of his loot past. This scene says to me that here is a man comfortable with the past. His loneliness is exacerbated by the guilt he feels for the death of his soldier buddy, Roger, and that he was liking his girl. Hes a romantic broken man. If unchecked, untreated…hed be crazed and brooding as he was in Niagara.”

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THE FRIEND ~ ANN RICHARDS

LOVE LETTERS ( IX )

The B.F.F. of “Love Letters” is a dilly. Actress Ann Richards plays Dilly Carson. She has a great way about her. There is a quiet elegance and eloquence in her; an understated sexuality too. What a great voice she has. I love listening to her. In fact you can close your eyes and listen to this movie and the voices of the gravelly soft drawl of Cotten, Jones alto-ish voice, the brogue of Cecil Kellaway and Gladys Cooper’s British elocution later on in the film. Back to Dilly, she is loyal and fiercely protective. I think Dilly had her eye on Allen for herself. She is quite attentive to him at the party at her house:

DEREK: “Well, Dilly here’s my brother Allen in person and at your own risk. You asked for it, now take the consequences.”

DILLY:   “I’ll take them. How do you do?”

ALLEN:  “How do you do. Why all the flattering interest?”

DILLY:   “Oh for obvious reasons, some not so obvious. I don’t mind sharing you with the others to begin with.”

She’s not coquettish, but straight-forward, smart, genuine with a winning smile, and understanding. Allen even makes a small pass at her by the curtains near her front door. He might’ve been attracted to Dilly…if he hadn’t met Singleton.

* * * * *

THE WOMAN ~ JENNIFER JONES

LOVE LETTERS ( XVI )

Lounging apart from the other party guests is Singleton. Yeah, Jennifer Jones does seem kind of posed the way movies used to do when first introducing the star into the proceedings. We see her briefly at the party but in earnest when Allen re-visits Dilly’s place later.  Singleton is charming, forthright, guileless; she doesn’t filter what she says. She says what she means: I don’t like people to try to be what I want them to be.” Her voice is kind of childlike, but check it out…her voice drops a register during their conversation: ( It’s no use when others tell you what you don’t really remember.” )  I like the way she looks off into LOVE LETTERS ( XIV )the distance. She even wheedles out of Allen that he’s in love with Victoria Moreland before he’s ever really admitted this to himself. She’s gooood. I loved when, off-camera, we hear Allen ask “What’s your name, what’s your first name?” We and Singleton think he’s talking to her when she answers she has no memory of her full name. But we see he’s really talking to the little cat…and then he realizes what she says. There is something lost about someone who has no memory. You want to protect them.

* * * * *

THE CONUNDRUM

LOVE LETTERS ( XII )When Dilly returns to her flat she sends Singleton to the store and we get the requisite exposition of Singleton’s story. Dilly tells Allen he’s been talking to Victoria Moreland for the last fifteen minutes. Wha’?! And via flashback, with that lovely voice of hers, Dilly tells how she found Victoria with a knife in her hand, blood on her blouse and Roger dead at her feet. The shock robbed her of her memory ( hence ‘Singleton’ is born ) and doctors suggest she must be allowed to regain her memory naturally. Allens dreamgirl’s right there within grasp but with all her issues, and his guilt, he must leave her. As he sadly prepares to leave the little flat he also dashes any hopes Dilly might have had of being with him by leaving her this message for Singleton:

“Tell her I’m in love with Victoria Moreland.”

…And this gives Dilly her answer too. Poor girl.

* * * * *

HE CAN FIGHT NO MORE FOREVER

So who shows up at Allen’s house…….SINGLETON!!!!!!!!!!

YAY!!!!! She’s hiding on the couch and pops her head up like a brand new puppy. And though Allen tries to keep his cool, it’s really impossible to do so with her ( Jones’ ) disposition and those apple cheeks when she smiles. Her forthrightness is disarming and he’s taken off-guard ( in a good way. )

LOVE LETTERS ( JENNIFER JONES )

“You don’t have to be afraid to speak of that Allen. It’s no secret. I know I have no memory.”

Wha’??!! Memory seems to be used to good advantage in a number of films, i.e. “Random Harvest” coming to mind. Singleton’s stockings are torn from walking in the fields from the train station to his house, which merely engenders his protectiveness towards her. Singleton prevents Allen from calling Dilly to let her know where she is. Their hands meet on the phone. They look at each other, smile, hold each other’s gaze. That’s it folks. That’s love. Theres a genuineness of that moment; I recall reading Cotten and Jones genuinely liked each other during filming. You feel it. Allen’s a goner. He can’t fight his feelings…he can’t fight his longing…he can fight no more forever. Singleton sits at his feet by the fireplace looking up at him. I think here, Jennifer Jones uses her real voice. He’s making confessions and everything. Such longing, so poignant. She asks openly of Victoria Moreland:

SINGLETON: “You love her very much?”
ALLEN:            “Desperately and hopelessly.”

Singleton speaks plainly, calmly, with acceptance of her situation:

“I’ve forgotten, and you don’t want to remember. That’s the only difference between us.”

She doesn’t realize the girl hes talking about…is her.

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THE GLASS HALF-FULL; THE GLASS HALF-EMPTY

Allen has to take Singleton home and I LOVE THIS SCENE: Her heel has broken, he carries her onto the carriage. There’s a medium shot of her hand on her broken heel, the camera slowly pans up with her hand going across her torn stockinged leg, going up as her arm goes around Allen’s neck and they are already in a kiss. < SWOON! >

You know, that’s the difference between us. You’re happy because that can never happen again. And I’m happy because it’s happened once.”

A little bit of polar opposites emotionally. And that’s the kind of plucky ethereal spirit that makes a romantic picture: two opposing ideas meeting, wanting different things, having different objectives; the glass half empty meeting the glass half-full. Allen has no choice but to move forward with the relationship despite Dilly’s Cassandra-like admonitions. He wants to marry Singleton. And on a moonlit London Bridge, he asks her to marry him. 

LOVE LETTERS ( XIII )

SINGLETON: Oh Alan, if something in my past, I don’t know what it is. Something horrible. Allen if I remembered someday, it might hurt you.”

ALLEN: Singleton, nothing could hurt me except to lose you…we have to face the future in the past. That’s the only difference.”

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REGRETS AND BLESSINGS

THE AUNT ~ GLADYS COOPER

LOVE LETTERS ( GLADYS COOPER )

Allen visits Victoria’s Aunt…Beatrice Remington, in a nursing home. Played by the great Gladys Cooper, she is a far cry nicer here than she was as Bette Davis’ mother in “Now, Voyager.” Beatrice has had a stroke, beaten down by regrets. Her eyes are beautiful…in fact, even with her age I thought Gladys Cooper looked very beautiful in this movie. Beatrice’s connection to Victoria is having found her in a foundling home as a baby, and showered her with love and affection. A foundling home. Victoria has been on her own for a long long time. Beatrice couldnt testify at Victoria’s trial because of her stroke. And without that testimony, Victoria had to do time in jail. Beatrice, too, is fiercely protective of Singleton, Victoria and wracked with guilt:

Young and reckless. She’d never been hurt. I swore she never would. I guarded her as I would guard my own life. I wanted her to have all the happiness I’d missed. But that was wrong. You can’t find happiness through another person. You finish by destroying the one you love. I tried to protect her, but I couldn’t save her from myself…The girl you call Singleton is not alive. Not a woman. Not herself yet. She may never be…You’re proposing to marry two different women at once.”

I thought Cooper quietly tender and wonderful in this film.

I love Cotten’s line reading when he tells Mrs. Remington he’ll take the risk to marry Singleton. He sounds like a zombie, a slave to his feelings as though he has no choice but to follow his foolhardy heart when he flatly says:

I ask myself those very questions. There are no answers. I simply have to take the chance. I love her.”

When Allen and Singleton visit the vicar to get his blessing I enjoyed watching Singleton very child-like be distracted by all of the things in the vicar’s office, rather than intently focusing on the questions she’s being asked. She’s so cute here. Forthright but distracted. Still truthful, nothing to hide. There’s nothing the vicar can do but offer his blessings.

* * * * *

WEDDED BLISS OR…WHY MEN ARE ATTRACTED TO DAMAGED WOMEN

Dilly is ever watchful during the wedding ceremony. Allen damns the torpodoes and its full steam ahead with his life with Singleton. The heart wants what the heart wants. It’s their wedding day.  So now we know what Allen knows:

  • Singleton is really Victoria Moreland
  • She’s gone to trial and prison for murdering her husband
  • Allen is NOT to bring up the past

Life should be a bowl of cherries.

It’s a shame we won’t see Dilly anymore in the movie. I liked her presence and she cared as much for Singleton as Allen does. Singleton brings that protective spirit out in everyone.

Singleton is selfless. This word comes to mind in two respects:

  1. Giving of one’s self and
  2. Having NO sense of self.

LOVE LETTERS ( VII )  LOVE LETTERS ( VI )

Singleton can read but she can’t write.  There’s something about receiving letters scares her.  She wants to learn to write but he says she doesn’t have to. That comment of Allen’s put a little tickle in the back of my throat. Hold up…wait a minute. Is he trying to help her or is it his own self-interest he’s looking out for?? You know, the thought passed through my mind that him not allowing her to learn to write is akin to keeping her barefoot and pregnant. 

LOVE LETTERS ( XI ) LOVE LETTERS ( II )

Her learning to write AND her recognizing his handwriting when he writes a love note to her that reads: “I LOVE YOU” causes her to struggle to remember something. Do you pick a damaged woman so you can re-create her / mold her into what you want her to be? Wasn’t Scotty hot for recreating Judy into Madeleine in “Vertigo? Is that a man’s dream…to have a full-blown woman who is really childlike so he can teach her everything she needs to know ( or everything HE wants her to know. ) Singleton’s determined to learn to write by her birthday but she doesn’t remember her birthdate. ( Now THAT may be every woman’s dream…to NOT know her own true age. ) She wants to do this to be worthy of Allens love. She wants to do this to become whole again for him. But the thing is, her becoming whole again and finding out Allen wrote the letters that caused her to fall in love with Roger Moreland will turn her against Allen. It’s a Catch-22 all the way ’round.

When they come home from visiting her old cottage ( – which she doesn’t remember is her old cottage with Mrs. Remington – ) she playfully walks on the bricked wall outside the garden ( in heels, no less! ) It’s a lovely “movie” moment when she swings around the tree and he wants her to stop so he can look at her. She’s so pretty there. But then a memory comes flooding back to her as the camera slowly dollies towards her:

LOVE LETTERS ( V )

I think of you my dearest as a distant promise of beauty untouched by the world.”

* * * * *

PUSH – PULL

I love  the push-pull of things “Love Letters” brings:

  • Singleton wants to learn to write again……Allen says she doesn’t have to
  • Singleton wants to remember……………..Allen doesn’t really want her to
  • Aunt Beatrice wants to speak at her trial…but suffers a stroke
  • Singleton at her trial he swears to tell the truth…but truthfully says she doesn’t want to remember

* * * * *

OUT…OUT DAMNED SPOT

LOVE LETTERS ( XV )

By the last time Singleton is out in the garden you can see that this not remembering issue is no picnic for her. It’s debilitating. She looks beaten down. When she gets fruit stains on her hand which reads like blood, she screams. It’s shocking, sad, painful and heartbreaking. She’s at her most vulnerable, her wits end. She’s totally breaking down. She’s hysterical. Memories painfully flood back. Something’s got to give. And it looks like its going to be her.

LOVE LETTERS ( VIII )

THE DENOUEMENT

LOVE LETTERS ( X )

I’m trying to leave you something, but my hope is that you already know this film, hopefully seeing it tonight on TCM. And if you’re with me this far, I might as well go all the way. Let me try to tiptoe here. Singleton sits on the floor by the fireplace with knife in hand and bloodstains on her blouse. She gives a sidelong glance to the letters in the fire as they burn. That shot of Jennifer Jones giving that glance as the camera pans down to the letters is wonderful. Victor Young’s music is a touch overwrought…but I don’t really mind it. The music underscores the scene playing out in this flashback. Her reaching in the fire for those letters just about kills me, I gotta tell ya. Her cries of “My letters…my letters” hurts.  

LOVE LETTERS ( I )

Love Letters” is one of my favorite movies of the 40’s. I prefer it to Portrait of Jennie” which is another romantic classic. ( Have you read my friend Fernando’s write-up on “…Jennie”? ) Who do we love? And how? Is it really love if you keep someone trapped in their sickness than helping them break through, even if it means you lose them. Can you fall for someone because of the way they write? I love this film for the aching romance of it. If you IMDB Dieterle, you’ll see this is not his first time at the rodeo of romance ( A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, I’ll Be Seeing You”  and the iconic Portrait of Jennie.” ) He has a soft touch. I love seeing Joseph Cotten in love. He really portrays a man torn by his love;  But mostly, I love the movie because of Jennifer Jones. She carries the film. You care about her. I believe her. Shes not cloying or annoying. Shes a lost woman you want to help and Jones puts that over wonderfully.

I can see why poor Robert Walker and David O. Selznick lost their hearts.

 

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