Hello, everybody. It’s time to dive into our trusty e-mail bag and see what our ever alert readers have to say about some recent — and not so recent — of our blogs. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys here today to reassure that we listen verry carefully to what you have to say.
We start the spouting off with this note from new contributor Mike Shiners, who responded to our SUSAN HAYWARD — FORGOTTEN STAR? blog published way back on July 14, 2011, the general point of which was that Hayward, however big in her time, is a largely forgotten name today.
It is a telling commentary on our present-day culture that Susan Hayward and Marilyn Monroe were the two top female box office draws in the United States in the 1950′s, and now Marilyn Monroe has remained a pop culture icon more than fifty years after her death, and Susan Hayward is half forgotten.
Susan could act circles around La Monroe, and, from all evidence, Susan was always very professional and cooperative on the set.
Marilyn’s unprofessional behavior during the making of “Some Like It Hot” is part of Hollywood legend. Even director Billy Wilder, who had directed Monroe in “The Seven Year Itch” a few years previously, was shocked by how badly Marilyn had deteriorated mentally and emotionally.
I suppose one difference is that Susan Hayward was just a fine dramatic actress who made some good pictures, while Marilyn Monroe embodied that certain je ne sais quoi that makes for legend and luminosity. Or, to put it less pompously, she had a great deal of what Elinor Glyn called “It.”
Thanks, Mike, but we’re not sure that we agree. Stars that last, as Monroe certainly has, are (whether we like it or not) endowed with a very special and rare quality. Yes, Marilyn was a pain in the arse on the set, whereas Susan was strictly professional. But the Hollywood establishment never warmed to the often aloof Hayward the way they did — for better or worse — to Monroe. We heartily agree with your final point, that Marilyn had plenty of “it” onscreen. Susan, in our view, did not.
Another new contributor, Zona Lukin, wrote in about our Family Business blog published on Feb. 15 this year. It was about the Knox-Harmon-Nelson acting clan, which produced among others actor Mark Harmon, who, as anyone who watches television knows, plays Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the hit series, NCIS, which has been a staple on CBS for years.
Zona provides some specifics about the show’s tube origination:
The concept and characters were initially introduced in two episodes of the CBS series JAG (season eight episodes “Ice Queen” and “Meltdown”). The show, a spin-off from JAG, premiered on September 23, 2003, on CBS.
Finally, regular contributor Patricia Nolan-Hall (Caftan Woman) agrees with our assessment of Louis Calhern as expressed in our July 12 blog, Liking LOUIS CALHERN.
Calhern is nothing less than outstanding in “The Asphalt Jungle”. However, my favorite of his performances may be as the loquacious grandfather in “The Red Pony”. At least, it’s a tie.
Thanks, Patricia. 1949′s The Red Pony, a family western from Republic Pictures in which Calhern plays a young boy’s (Peter Miles) talkative pioneer grandfather, is warmly remembered for Lewis Milestone’s direction, its screenplay adapted by John Steinbeck from his own stories, and — not least of all – for Aaron Copeland’s compelling musical score. Calhern’s role here could not be more different from his put-upon corrupt lawyer part in The Asphalt Jungle. Either way, he was a superb actor.