Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gene Tierney's Comedy Films.

Gene Tierney, maybe best remembered for her performances in the film noirs: Laura (1944) and Leave Her to Heaven (1945). So, if you are like me you would not think that she would ever perform in a comedy film. Gene Tierney, proved herself to be a actress who could play calm, sweet and innocent characters, with a twist of humor... and she did just that in many of her films in the 1940s and '50s:

Rings on Her Fingers(1942). A very charming comedy starring Henry Fonda and Gene Tierney. Tierney, plays a con-artists who falls for a dreamer who loves sailing. The story become complicated when Tierney wants to return Fonda's life savings after swindling him out of it.. The lively Spring Byington, was the perfect choice playing Tierney's con-artists mother. If you take a little from the films, "Some Like It Hot" and "The Lady Eve" put them together then you have an idea what Rings on Her Fingers is like. One of my favorite scenes is when they are gambling at Tierney's character friends casino and she has it fixed for Fonda's character to win. Of course Fonda thinks he's found a mathematical formula and he becomes very brave at making his bets.

Heaven Can Wait(1943). Cast: Gene Tierney, Don Ameche and Charles Coburn. The supporting cast includes Marjorie Main, Laird Cregar, Spring Byington, Allyn Joslyn, Eugene Pallette, Signe Hasso, Louis Calhern, Tod Andrews, and Clara Blandick. This maybe my favorite of the Gene Tierney comedies, which is about a women, who believes in the man she loves even though he is a Casanova. You will even love the devil in this charming colorful film..

After 70 year old Henry Van Cleve dies, he is sent directly to Hell. There he is greeted by the devil, who wants to know how Henry has earned his way to hell. Henry, begins to tell his story:

Even as a young boy, he is attracted to girls and when he shows little Mary a beetle, she wants him to give her another beetle, Henry realizes, "If you want to win a girl, you have to have lots of beetles."

Henry's family hire Henry, a maid to tutor him in French and the facts of life. When the mother catches on to what's really going on, Grandfather seems proud and whisks the maid out of the house before she causes any more trouble. Henry, continues drinking and womanizing until his twenty-sixth birthday. Henry shares with his mother that he has met the girl of his dreams and wants to marry her, but he does not know her name.

Later, Henry attends a party celebrating the engagement of his cousin Albert and his fiancee, Martha Strabel. Henry, is shocked to see that his cousin's fiancee is the same girl he fell in love with during a chance meeting. The couple elope that night.

Ten years later, on the day before Martha and Henry's anniversary, which is also Henry's thirty-sixth birthday, Henry receives a telegram from Martha, saying that she has left him. Henry follows Martha to her parents home. When Henry arrives, Martha tells him that she knows about Henry's affairs, but he convinces her to forgive him and the couple go on a second honeymoon.

Now, their son Jack has grown into a handsome young man, who has taken up with a chorus girl named Peggy. Henry, goes to visit Peggy and offers her $25,000 to break off her relationship with Jack. What he doesn't know, is that Jack, already has a new girl friend.

That night, at a party celebrating the couple's silver anniversary, Henry learns that Martha is very ill and they dance their last dance together.

Jack, who has become a successful businessman, is not too happy that his widower father stays out late every night returning to his Casanova ways.

On Henry's seventieth birthday, Henry wakes up from a dream about dancing with a beautiful blonde woman, then dies while the beautiful night nurse, is on duty.

After sharing his story, Henry is told by the devil that they do not cater to "his class of people" in Hell and that someone special is waiting for him some place else.

Even though, this is a beautiful story of the women's love for a man from childhood, through old age and even after-death. It is told with a touch of humor and a couple of tears.

The Mating Season(1951). Cast: Gene Tierney, John Lund, Miriam Hopkins, and Thelma Ritter. This well written comedy will brighten your day. Gene Tierney, was at the peak of her beauty when she wore the beautiful gown designed by her then husband famous dress designer, Oleg Cassini.

After, selling her little hamburger stand Ellen McNulty, has nowhere else to go, decides to visit her son Val. Newly married Val, promises his new wife Maggie, a maid to help her around the house. Maggie, has never met Ellen, so when Ellen arrives at the door she mistakes her for the maid. Ellen, decides to go along with the idea and pretends to be a maid. Even though, Val does not think it is a good idea.

Maggie's snobbish mother, decides to also come for a visit and she doesn't care much for Val. While helping Mr. Kalinger, Ellen finds out that his son, Kalinger Jr., is taking credit for all of Val's work and tells Mr. Kalinger the truth.

Mr. Kalinger then invites Val and Maggie to the party and Maggie gets into an heated argument with an important female client. Val, forces Maggie to call her to apologize, but they get into another fight.

Ellen's friends come for a visit and ask to speak to "Mrs. McNulty". At this point "the cat is out of the bag" that Ellen is Val's mother. Maggie, is furious with Val for hiding his mother's identity from her. Val, tries to explain himself but Maggie won't listen and packs her bags.

Mr. Kalinger, convinces Maggie to come to the hotel bar for a good-bye drink, knowing that Val will be also be there. Val brings his mother to the party and begins introducing her to everyone. Causing, Maggie to have a change of heart.

That Wonderful Urge(1948). Cast: Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney. This film, is a remake of.. Love Is News (1937), which starred Power and Loretta Young. The film begins when, Thomas Jefferson Tyler, editor, wants him to write a tabloid type story about the heiress. He follows her on a skiing trip to Sun Valley.

When Sara goes dog sledding with Tom, they have a minor accident and end up in the emergency cabin. Tom shows her a phony, complimentary story he has written about her, Sara feels comfortable enough to share with him her life story. After Tom leaves, Andre shows the real story to Sara. Angry, she tells reporters that she and Tom are married.

Duffy, sees headlines from rival newspapers saying that Tom and Sara are married and he fires Tom. While meeting with Jessica, Tom comes up with an idea about how to prove that he and Sara are not married. When he and Jessica go to apply for a license, the head clerk refuses to issue them one because all the newspapers say that Tom is already married. What follows is classic fun when things spiral out of control..

Our film noir actress Gene Tierney, now finds herself performing in the Musical/comedy, On the Riviera (1951). Dance sequences choreographed and staged by Jack Cole. This was the third film version of the same story. This version stars Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney and Corinne Calvet with Marcel Dalio, Henri Letondal, Sig Ruman with uncredited featured dancer Gwen Verdon. It was nominated for two Academy Awards; for Best Music and Best Art Direction Lyle Wheeler, Leland Fuller, Joseph C. Wright, Thomas Little, Walter M. Scott.

The movie is about Jack Martin, an American entertainer who does impressions on the French Riviera stage. He does an impersonation of Henri Duran, so well that even Duran's wife is fooled by it. When Duran's business takes him to London when he is supposed to be hosting a party at his home, Martin is hired to impersonate Duran at the party. But things take a turn for the funny worse, when Martin is confronted by several of his women and by Duran's business rival, M. Periton.

I'm not really a Kaye fan, but his performance is good in his dual role (he won a Golden Globe award for it). I thought the typical Kaye moment, in the The Puppet dance number, as he mangles names of animals and flowers, was very clever. I also, really enjoyed seeing Gwen Verdon dance numbers.


The painting of Gene Tierney over the fireplace is, the famous portrait of her from the black-and-white noir classic Laura (1944). It is the only opportunity to see the legendary painting in color.

No comments: