Posts Tagged ‘joan fontaine’

Jane Eyre

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Jane Eyre

Tagline – A Love Story Every Woman Would Die A Thousand Deaths To Live!

Starring – Orson Welles (Edward Rochester), Joan Fontaine (Jane Eyre), Margaret O’Brien (Adele Varens), Peggy Ann Garner (Young Jane Eyre), John Sutton (Dr. Rivers), Sara Allgood (Bessie), Agnes Moorehead (Mrs. Reed).

Released – April, 1944

Directed By – Robert Stevenson

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – A classic adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 novel of the same name. The films beginning offers a voice over by Jane Eyre that sets the stage for the film.

“My name is Jane Eyre… I was born in 1820, a harsh time of change in England. Money and position seemed all that mattered. Charity was a cold and disagreeable word. Religion too often wore a mask of bigotry and cruelty. There was no place for the poor, or the unfortunate. I had no father or mother, brother or sister. As a child I lived with my aunt, Mrs. Reed of Gateshead Hall. I do not remember that she ever spoke one kind word to me.”

Arriving at Thornfield Hall, the very plain and poor Jane Eyre, is to become the governess to the young ward of Edward Rochester, a French girl named Adele.

Having been denied the emotion of love for her entire life, Jane finds herself attracted to the vibrant and intelligent Rochester despite the fact that he is twice her age. She is delighted with the fact that Mr. Rochester is beginning to show signs of affection towards her.

That is until Mr. Rochester attends a party at the home of the beautiful and wealthy Blanche Ingram. The entire winter passes without his return and then Jane is informed that Rochester will being returning to Thornfield Hall with Miss Ingram and it appears as though they will marry.

Jane also finds out that Miss Ingram intends to send Adele away after the marriage. However, it doesn’t take long for Mr. Rochester to realize that Blanche Ingram may only be interested in marrying him for his money and he breaks their engagement.

Sensing her opportunity, Jane confesses her love for him and he is delighted with the news. But, another dark cloud appears when Jane learns that Rochester may already be married… to a mad woman.

Thornfield Hall harbors more secrets that will threaten the happiness of everyone

NOTABLE: Orson Welles recreation of the Yorkshire Moors was highly acclaimed. Filmed entirely in Hollywood, the long shadows and heavy fog added the air of a Gothic novel.

Director Robert Stevenson was a member of the Charlotte Bronte Society.

Orson Welles hard work behind the scenes was so impressive that he was offered a producer credit. He turned it down, stating that a person who is not also directing the film shouldn’t be “just” a producer.

Joan Fontaine’s sister, Olivia de Havilland, went on to portray Charlotte Brontë (the author of “Jane Eyre”), in the 1946 film Devotion.



Tuesday, April 6th, 2010


Tagline – The legend and loves of the greatest knight of all!

Released – July, 1952

Starring – Robert Taylor (Ivanhoe), Elizabeth Taylor (Rebecca), Joan Fontaine (Rowena), George Sanders (de Bois-Guilbert).

Directed By – Richard Thorpe

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer

DescriptionIvanhoe is based on the novel of the same name, by Sir Walter Scott. While returning from the Crusades, King Richard the Lionhearted vanishes. Ivanhoe, one of the kings knights, searches for him and finds that he is being held for ransom by Leopold of Austria.

The kings brother, Prince John, aware of his brother’s captivity, wishes to do nothing except rule in his absence. Ivanhoe returns to England to see his love,the Lady Rowena, and appeals to his father Cedric for help in raising the ransom, but is refused, as his father, being a Saxon, will not help a Norman king and orders his son to leave.

Exciting action and romance follow as Ivanhoe searches for a way to raise the ransom in order to save King Richard. Enjoy spectacular jousting, thrilling swordplay and find out how Richard is set free and who captures Ivanhoe’s heart!

NOTABLE: Ivanhoe was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Color, and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.

Ivanhoe was MGM’s highest-grossing film of 1952.

Elizabeth Taylor felt somewhat miscast in the role of Rebecca and, for awhile, there was some talk of replacing her with Deborah Kerr who had worked with Robert Taylor in 1951’s Quo Vadis.


Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Suspicion [Blu-ray]

Tagline – Each time they kissed… there was the thrill of love… the threat of murder!

Starring – Cary Grant (Johnnie Aysgarth), Joan Fontaine (Lina McLaidlaw Aysgarth), Cedric Hardwicke (General McLaidlaw), Nigel Bruce (Gordon Cochrane ‘Beaky’ Thwaite), Dame May Whitty (Mrs. Martha McLaidlaw).

Released – November, 1941

Directed By – Alfred Hitchcock

Produced By – RKO Radio Pictures

Distributed By – RKO Radio Pictures

Description – A psychological noir thriller. Lina Mclaidlaw has been swept off her feet after a chance meeting with Johnnie Aysgarth on a train. Despite the strong objections of her father, Lina agrees to run away with Johnnie and get married.

It doesn’t take long before Lina realizes that Johnnie may not be all that he seemed. She catches him in one lie after another, finds out that he has sold some of their wedding presents in order to continue with a gambling habit, and to top it off, may be a murderer.

Her wedding vow of “Till Death Due Us Part” may be closer than she thought.

NOTABLE: Suspicion won one Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Joan Fontaine), and was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Music Scoring for a Dramatic Picture.

Suspicion was Alfred Hitchcock’s first film as both Producer and Director.

There is some controversy over the ending of the movie as described by William L. De Andrea in his book Encyclopedia Mysteriosa. Suspicion “was supposed to be the study of a murder as seen through the eyes of the eventual victim. However, because Cary Grant was to be the killer and Joan Fontaine the person killed, the studio — RKO — decreed a different ending, which Hitchcock supplied and then spent the rest of his life complaining about.”


Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Rebecca [Blu-ray]

Tagline – The shadow of this woman darkened their love!

Starring – Laurence Olivier (Maxim de Winter), Joan Fontaine (The 2nd Mrs. de Winter), George Sanders (Jack Favell), Judith Anderson (Mrs. Danvers), Nigel Bruce (Major Giles Lacy).

Released – April, 1940

Directed By – Alfred Hitchcock

Produced By – Selznick International Pictures

Distributed By – United Artists

Description – A psychological thriller directed by the master. A shy and naive young women (Joan Fontaine) meets and marries rich widower Maxim de Winter and moves into Manderlay his large country estate in Cornwall, England.

Once there she discovers that the lingering memories of her husbands first wife Rebecca, who was seemingly killed in a boating accident, seem to still have a hold of both her husband and his servants. It isn’t long before she begins to doubt her husbands account of what happened, and the continued ‘presence’ of Rebecca in the mansion begins to haunt her.

NOTABLE: Rebecca won two Academy Awards and was nominated for another nine.  The two awards were for Best Picture, and Best Cinematography, Black and White; the other nominations were for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Laurence Olivier), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Joan Fontaine), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Judith Anderson), Best Art Direction, Black and White, Best Director, Best Effects, Special Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Original Score, and Best Writing, Screenplay.

Rebecca was Director Alfred Hitchcock’s first American project.

Director Hitchcock loved to ‘walk through’ his pictures and can be seen walking past a phone booth used by George Sanders near the end of the film.

Just as in the original and popular Daphne du Maurier novel, The 2nd Mrs. de Winter character had no first name.

Producer David O. Selznick, being unable to find what he considered the perfect location for the Manderlay estate, instead used a miniature model.

Personal Comment: This film is one of my favorite film noir movies, as well as one of my favorite Hitchcock films.

Enjoy Judith Anderson’s role as Mrs. Danvers; it is one of the most compelling in film history. In fact, the casting is this motion picture is flawless.

Rebecca – Alfred Hitchcock’s Hollywood Directorial Debut

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

March, 1940 – In an effort to induce a genuine British atmosphere to his production of Rebecca, David O. Selznick hired Alfred Hitchcock to direct the film version of Daphne du Maurier’s bestseller. This was Hitchcock’s first Hollywood film, and it proved to be a winner. 

Laurence Olivier was cast as Maxim de Winter, the master of Manderley, and Joan Fontaine was chosen to play the new Mrs. de Winter. The selection of Fontaine was an interesting one. Although there was a list of better known actresses who had tested for the role, Hitchcock selected Fontaine based on her experiences living in the shadow of her older sister Olivia De Havilland.

Hitchcock believed the insecurities of that relationship would transfer beautifully into a role requiring a good deal of anxiety and self-doubt. He could not have been more correct, as Joan Fontaine would receive an Oscar nomination for her role.

The success of Rebecca proved to be the beginning of a remarkable directing career for Alfred Hitchcock.