Motion Picture (1941) - Between Ourselves (March)
- article: Between Ourselves
- journal: Motion Picture (March 1941)
- issue: volume 61, issue 2, page 90
- journal ISSN:
- publisher: Fawcett Publications, Inc.
- keywords: Academy Awards, Alfred Hitchcock, Anna Neagle, Bette Davis, Brian Aherne, Cary Grant, Charles Laughton, Herbert Marshall, Ida Lupino, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Fontaine, Laraine Day, Laurence Olivier, Maureen O'Hara, Rebecca (1940), Robert Donat
The past year has brought out several fine discoveries. By the way they're progressing Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Luise Rainer, Vivien Leigh, Jean Arthur, Greer Garson, Rooney, Margaret Sullavan, Beery, Muni, Melvyn Douglas, Tracy and a half-dozen others will have to move over and let them share the bench. We are thinking of Martha Scott, William Holden, Dean Jagger, John Hubbard, Dennis Morgan, Susanna Foster, Laraine Day, Ruth Hussey, Ida Lupino, Lucille Ball, Joan Carroll, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Maureen O'Hara, James Stephenson, John Wayne, John Carradine, Rita Johnson, Ingrid Bergman (and where have you been, Ingrid — and why don't they keep you busy?), Albert Dekker, Betty Field, Joan Fontaine ("say it ain't so, Joan — that you're retiring because you never expect to equal that Rebecca performance"), and Richard Carlson.
You'll note that none of the forward-marchers above are members of the comedy-preserves. Come to think of it, the comedy well seems to be drying up. Chaplin doesn't make appearances very often ; Harold Lloyd has turned director ; others like Mack Swain and Ben Turpin have had the Final Curtain descend on them. The most likely comedy bets are Bob Hope and Jack Oakie.
There are no newsters to join the oldsters in this field. It takes years of training to polish up comedy business and time it so it clicks with effortless ease — touched off, as it were, from an inborn comedy spark.
Winners For Our Money
As we go to press it's too early to learn the Academy winner in pictures and players. But for our money we'd still be inclined to go all out for Rebecca, until we happen to think of The Letter or The Philadelphia Story or Ninotchka. And with Kitty Foyle coming up. And this white-collar girl should do more to establish Ginger Rogers than all the combined dancing roles she ever had with Fred Astaire. Ninotchka should win easily as the comedy of the year. Garbo and Melvyn Douglas were matchless in their performances.
And if you don't think The Philadelphia Story is making a big dent in Hollywood just be reminded that the satiated sitters-in of screenings have seen it two and three and five times. It must have something, you see, to drag them out this way. One thing it does, it sparks Hepburn's comeback and establishes her as a- star who never should have left Hollywood. But if she hadn't gone to Broadway she would never have played in the original stage version.
We all agree, don't we, about Joan Fontaine's inspired portrayal of the harassed, mental-tortured wife of Max in Rebecca? As Toscanini brings forth true inspiration from his fiddlers, so Hitchcock brought out a truly inspired performance from Joan Fontaine. I don't know of a greater acting job the past year. Do you? But Hepburn is right up there, too. Likewise, the ever-present Bette Davis. She's like Seabiscuit — always winning or in the money. Everyone could string along with Davis — and not go wrong. Margaret Sullavan, with the screen's best speaking voice, is always in there fighting. Some day she'll win. Spencer Tracy got jammed up on the back-stretch on the past year's entries, was crowded enough so he had to run wide. But given a good horse (I mean plot) he can breeze through without once laying the whip.
Vivien Leigh won the award last year with her Scarlett O'Hara in GWTW. She'll probably never get as big a role again. But in getting this one, she knew what to do with it. One thing is certain, Americans can breathe more easily — with less competition from the Britishers this time. Robert Donat, who has been ill, hasn't been acting to any extent. And Vivien will soon be leaving for England — with Olivier — for the duration. In taking themselves out of the running it'll be more of an open field for Americans. Yet we must always consider the Britons who reside here. They will always remain dark horses, meaning Greer Garson, Herbert Marshall, Rathbone, Chaplin, Anna Neagle, James Stephenson, Brian Aherne, Colman, Laughton, Cary Grant — and, yes, Ida Lupino — who seems destined to carry away the Oscar some fine day, judging from her histrionic growth the past year. "There Will Always Be An England" — so sings Britain. "There Will Always Be English Stars," says Hollywood, "to steal the Oscars from us."