Thursday, June 14, 2012

(30) Stars of Summer - Day 14: Barbara Stanwyck

Today's entry can play a fallen female forty different ways.

Here are the rules. Check out this list of all the month's actors with links to what's available on Netflix Instant. If you're not a Netflix subscriber, maybe this will help.

Day 1: Jimmy Stewart
Day 2: Catherine Deneuve
Day 3: Christopher Lee
Day 4: Bette Davis
Day 5: Nicolas Cage
Day 6: Diane Keaton 
Day 7: Orson Welles 
Day 8: Catherine Keener 
Day 9: Kurt Russell
Day 10: Pam Grier
Day 11: Clint Eastwood
Day 12: Susan Sarandon 
Day 13: Cary Grant


  1. THE FURIES (1950) for the first time.

    I bought the Criterion DVD release of this a while back during a sale and forgot about it until the '(30) Stars of Summer' thing came up. Imagine my surprise when, in a nutshell, I discovered "The Furies" is like a western version of Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" (talk about timing!). Seriously, Stanwyck is Charlize Theron (she wants what she thinks its owed to her and has earned), Walter Huston is Guy Pearce (meaner and more cold-hearted bastard), the ranch is Weyland Corp. (Vance wants it but T.C. ain't ready to give it up), Wendell Corey is Fassbender (a duplicitous bastard!) and the Mexicans are either crew members or aliens depending on how far up/down Vance is in her struggles. "Double Indemnity" remains Barbara Stanwyck's defining role, but this has to be a close second; Michael Mann at the helm ensures this western doesn't feel dated or dull.

    1. You mean Anthony Mann, right? Now I really want to see this movie. Great suggestion.

    2. Shoot, I got my "Mann" confused (gulp!); yep, Anthony Mann directing a 'noir western' for lack of a better term. You know how David was watching
      "Lawrence of Arabia" in "Prometheus"? My guess is that Meredith Vickers had "The Furies" looped into her dreams 24/7 for two years. That explains Vickers' 'we all want to see our parents dead' line in "Prometheus": she was thinking of Walter Huston! :-)

    3. Unfortunately for the theory, it was actually David who said that line, not Meredith - I've no doubt Meredith believed it, though.

  2. Crime of Passion (1957)

    Stanwyck plays Kathy Doyle, a newspaperwoman who gives up her career to marry a nice but boring guy (Sterling Hayden). The film impressively conveys how (from her point of view) Kathy's new married life is quite literally hell on earth. She finds new life in manipulating her husband's career, only to find she's met her match in his boss (Raymond Burr). Stanwyck is very good in the role, maintaining my sympathy for her even as her schemes grow progressively more heinous.

  3. The Lady Eve

    You know how sometimes you see a movie for the first time when you're in just the right mood for it and then you're all, "F! This movie!"? Of course you do. Well, that's exactly what happened to me tonight. I have a soft spot for movies about con artists to begin with, and this one had me grinning from ear to ear the whole way through. Movies like this are what this game is all about (I probably never would have seen it otherwise), and I'm having a great time broadening my horizons. Also, I'm pretty sure I'm in love with Barbara Stanwyck now, so thanks for that too!

  4. The Secret Bride (1934)

    Fairly early Barbara Stanwyck movie features her having to keep her recent marriage to Warren William a secret when her father gets framed for a crime. Talky, stiff and clunky, with hardly any stakes an no real center to care about. Stanwyck is mostly a supporting role, popping up every once in a while to deliver exposition and basically summarize what's going on so far. In fact, almost everyone in the movie does this -- it's the kind of movie where people talk about having done things instead of actually doing things. Not very good.