Gilda, is a very good if not great movie that is sort of a great soap opera or dramatic comedy that has everything from mystery, to crime drama, to comedy even. But if you take Rita Hayworth out of the movie and replace her with an ordinary looking woman, or a woman who is pretty and maybe even sweet looking as well, but nothing special, I believe Gilda becomes a very mediocre movie. I believe there a lot of guys who could’ve played the Johnny character ( played by Glenn Ford ) and I believe Ford does a great job as well, but a lot of guys could’ve played Johnny.
Imagine Myra Breckinridge without Raquel Welch or Hart to Hart without Stefanie Powers, The Killers without Ava Gardner, they would still be good movies perhaps, Hart to Hart perhaps not because I don’t believe would be a good show without Stefanie Powers, but there certain actresses and actors that without them the complexion of the movie or show changes dramatically. Sort of like a great basketball team without a certain player on the team, because they have this presence that is not just memorable, but unforgettable.
Rita Hayworth wasn’t called The Love Goddess because someone in Hollywood went through a whole book of nicknames to give a random actress and decided that The Love Goddess was the best from the book to give any actress. She was The Love Goddess because millions of men in America and outside of America all wanted her and to be with her and be the Mr. Rita Hayworth the top pinup from the 1940s, a big reason why millions of American soldiers wanted to return from Europe and Japan in the 1940s and come back to America to see and listen to Rita Hayworth.
When think of Hollywood Babydoll Lana Turner, ( which is exactly what she was ) I think of the Queen of the Hollywood Soap Stars. Meaning, her only real experience in soap operas, was being on Falcon Crest in the 1980s, but she lived the life of a soap opera character and star. What would be called today a reality star. She lived on the tabloids with all her different marriages and breakups, she dated an Italian gangster putting her personal as well as her daughter Cheryl Crane’s safety always at risk every time she was seen with Johnny Stompanato.
Her daughter goes on trial for murdering Johnny Stompanato in the 1950s, even though it’s pretty clear she shot him in self-defense at their home. Lana’s whole life looked like one gigantic publicly stunt, except that it was real-life reality TV and not what’s supposed to pass a reality TV today. It’s as if her life and career was written by the best team of Hollywood script writers in the history of the world. You would have had to live her life to ever even attempt to try to believe the real-life that Lana Turner actually lived. And that it wasn’t just the best written movie, soap opera, or reality TV show that was ever written.
And then before she gets Falcon Crest in 1982, she had already done at least three soap opera movies in the 1950s and 60s. The Bad and The Beautiful, from 1952 with Kirk Douglas, that looks at the lives of three up incoming Hollywood workers. An actress, writer, and director where’s there’s constant backstabbing and screwing over in that movie, mostly by the Kirk Douglas character. That movie looked like one of the best episodes of Melrose Place that was ever written. Peyton Place, that was both a TV soap opera and movie soap opera. Love Has Many Faces from 1964, where she plays a woman who falls in love with multiple gigolos in the movie, perhaps her best movie. Madame X from 1966, where the plays the wife of a diplomat where her mother in-law pays her to get out of town, because she doesn’t want her around her son anymore.
Lana Turner, is very interesting for another reason. She’s one of the most underrated, as well as overrated actresses ever. She’s not the best actress who has ever worked, but not the worst either and when she hear people talk about her you get the idea that she could be the best or worst depending who who you’re talking to. I believe she’s one of the best soap actresses who has ever lived and a great comedic actress as well. It’s a damn shame that she never worked with Alfred Hitchcock or Neil Simon, because she was a great dramatic comedy actress with great sense of drama and comedic timing.
The great soap operas tend to be funny and the great soap actors and actresses, also tend to very funny. Melrose Place, but General Hospital are great examples of that. I believe she was limited to do dramatic comedy and soaps, but is one of the actresses to ever work in those genres and should get the respect more respect for that.
Not all actors and actresses, but a lot of them and apparently Claudia Christian is a perfect example of this, but before they become stars they have bills to pay and have to support themselves. Especially if they already have kids and their spouse isn’t rich yet either. Just because you haven’t heard of a certain actor because become stars later in their careers, doesn’t mean they just suddenly appear out of nowhere or were sent down form Planet Venus or some other planet to become a star in Hollywood.
A lot of actors before they became stars were already veteran actors and actresses. Dennis Haysbert, who played the President on 24, is a perfect example of that. He was already in his mid 40s when he got that role, but had already had big acting credits like appearing in Heat in 1995. George Clooney, was 33 when he became a star on ER, but had already been acting and supporting himself for 10 years before that.
And because all actors and actresses have to work to support themselves even if they’re not stars yet, they have to go where the money is and where they can get roles. Even if that means doing movies that a few years down the line after they’ve already made it look ridiculous to them. Thomas Howell, who became a star in the movie The Outsiders, has a laundry list of b-movies on his resume, because those were the only parts he could get. Acting on Impulse, from 1993 which is actually a pretty good movie, but almost no one has ever heard of it.
So actors and actresses have to keep working at least until they become stars and have some financial security. 30 years ago or so almost ten years before he got the part on ER and was still on The Facts of Life, George Clooney was in a movie called something like The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or Flies. If you haven’t heard of that movie, you’re on a long waisting list of people who want to get into an overcrowded club of people who’ve also have never heard of that movie. But these are the roles that let’s say developing actors and actresses and prices that these people will pay to become a star in Hollywood and never have to worry about getting work again and be able to get quality roles in movies and on TV.
As far as Claudia Christian’s career, she’s been acting since 1984, but didn’t didn’t get the Babylon Five role until 1996 which made her a star in Hollywood. She made guest appearances on A-Team back in the mid 80s, appeared on the soap opera Dallas during that period, The Hidden in 1987, The Chase in 1994, which were al great roles for her, but also on that same resume before Babylon, Maniac Cop 2, Hexed, and a lot of other b if not c-movies that almost no one has even heard of, but kept her busy and working in Hollywood and gave major directors and producers a chance to see her so when a great part came around for her they would know about her and she would be ready for it. B-movies and b-roles are the prices that people pay to make it in Hollywood and Claudia Christian is just one example of that.
I’ll be the first to say, actually I would run to make sure I was the first person in line to say that A Guide For The Married Man is not a great movie. It’s also not a horrible movie, but perhaps I wouldn’t make the same effort to say that. It’s a good, funny movie with a great cast: Walter Matthau, Robert Morse, Inger Stevens, Lucile Ball, Phil Silvers, Art Carney, and someone named Jayne Mansfield. ( Perhaps you’ve heard of her as well ) Except for the bit part or cameo A Guide For The Married Man is right up Jayne’s dress, I mean ally for her. Comedy especially romantic comedy was her shtick and it would’ve been nice if she had a bigger role in this movie. Perhaps playing one of Robert Morse’s 10 girlfriends in the movie.
By 1967, Jayne Mansfield was doing most of her work and making most of her money outside of Hollywood. She literally was on the nightclub circuit and doing comedy and music all over America. Think about that for a second: one of the most popular Hollywood Goddesses from the 1950s reduced to singing and doing comedy at nightclubs by 1965 or so. She was also doing films in Britain and Europe, including in Italy. She was tired of doing comedy in Hollywood and by the early 1960s, wanted a newer role and do other things and expand her acting resume.
Which is sort of like saying that Michael Jordan or Larry Bird is tried of shooting the basketball and scoring points, so what they’re going to do instead is just rebound and play defense, pass the ball when they have it instead of leading their team in scoring and leading them to victory. Comedy for Jayne Mansfield, was like the passing game for the New England Patriots, it was her bread and butter, her go to offense and what made her famous and popular to go along with her goddess body and little girl adorable appearance. And ironic that her last trip back to Hollywood for work was to do another comedy which is what she was doing in the late 50s with movies like Will Success Spoil Rockwell Hunter and The Girl Can’t Help It.
If you want a full post or report on A Guide For The Married Man, I suggest you go somewhere else for that, because I’m really just interested in Jayne Mansfield’s role in it. She plays the comic relief in a movie that’s pretty funny to begin with but is so good at it playing the mistress of a man who is married and her wife catches them together in their bed and he and Jayne play it off like nothing is going on at all and the wife is completely imagining what she’s seeing. And the guy and Jayne just get out of bed, make the bed, get dressed while the wife is in the room and has already seen everything and Jayne leaves the room and house as if nothing had just happened. And they do it so perfectly that the wife starts actually believing that she’s imagining everything that she just saw. Great scene with Jayne just making a pretty funny movie even funnier.
There are a lot of rags to riches success stories in America which is one thing that makes America great as well as exceptional. America tends to get stereotyped as a rich country that’s dominated by rich people who control so much of the country’s wealth and that all Americans are rich. And if you’re from a third world country and grew up poor before you came to America, you might believe that as well at least before you get to America.
But the fact is most Americans aren’t wealthy. Most of us aren’t poor either, but a lot of come from either middle class or working class families which is the overwhelming majority of Americans. Americans who aren’t poor or who are hungry, but struggle to survive, work hard, to pay their bills. Can’t afford to send their kids to college which means their kids have to work through college or get student loans, or both especially if they’re not on scholarship.
Susan Hayward growing up in New York City in the 1920s and 30s didn’t even have it that great. She came literally from nothing where her parents couldn’t afford to feed all of their kids at the same time. Sometimes couldn’t afford to even do laundry, couldn’t replace shoes and other clothing that were falling apart. What Susan Hayward did have going for her growing up and as a very young woman was that she hated poverty and wanted to escape it. As well as a talent and desire to succeed that would allow to her live well for the rest of her life.
When I think of Susan Hayward, I think of President Richard Nixon and his background growing in rural and poor California in the 1920s when a lot of America was actually doing very well economically, but where most of that economic wealth was in big cities like Boston, New York, Chicago, and other big cities not in rural California hundreds of miles out of Los Angeles. I think of President Nixon giving his farewell address where he says, “only when you’ve been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.” President Richard Nixon from August, 1974 the day he left the White House after resigning the presidency, because of is involvement in the Watergate coverup.
Susan Hayward, was able to reach the mountaintop in Hollywood and to go down as not just one of the greatest actresses in her generation, but who ever worked in Hollywood because she grew up in the deepest valley in America. And to know what it was like to live on the bottom not knowing where your next meal was coming from and would you even have a home the next month. Not that I would recommend poverty to anyone, but when you have nothing is does teach you a few positive things like how important hard work and success are and what it means to earn what you get. As well as always knowing at least in the back of your head what it’s like to be poor and to know that you never want to live that way again. Susan Hayward, is a great rags to riches story who came from nothing to become one of the best actresses that America have ever known and a story that we should all celebrate.
If you’re familiar with the movie Where Love Has Gone with Susan Hayward and Mike Connors and many other great actors and actresses, you’re probably familiar with the Cheryl Crane-Johnny Stompanato story as well. Because Where Love Has Gone is based off the Crane-Stompanato story ( at least unofficially ) and is about a rough relationship between the Hayward character and her boyfriend with her daughter being present with it getting violent and the daughter believing she needs to step in to save her mother and herself and sees a gun and shoots and kills the boyfriend. The difference being in the Hollywood movie that case goes to trial and the girl ends up in a home for juveniles. The Crane-Stompanato case, never even goes to trial.
Lana Turner, as adorable as she was with always looking like she could still be a little girl in and outside of her movies, wasn’t as sweet and innocent in real-life as she appeared on screen. She lived the life not only of a wild child, but a soap opera character who always needed danger and drama in her life for her life to seem exciting enough for her. Which certainly explains why she was married seven times. Which might be more marriages than your typical soap character and would rival all of the marriages at least in numbers that another Hollywood Goddess and Babydoll Elizabeth Taylor had. Lana, was not only a Hollywood actress, but a real-life soap opera character no naturally she would be physically and personally involved with a Italian gangster like Johnny Stompanato or any other gangster.
Just because of the life that Lana lived and who Johnny Stompanato was in real-life, that Lana’s daughter Cheryl was just 14-15 at this point in 1958 and there is no evidence that the shooting was planned, I would have to assume that this was justifiable homicide and that Cheryl was simply trying to protect herself and her mother from an abusive gangster. The only detail that doesn’t make a lot of sense and isn’t very believable and looks more like a scene from a Hollywood soap opera or movie or soap movie like Where Love Has Gone is that you have a 14-15 year old girl who knows how to use a gun and acts immediately and uses it to shoot Stompantao who presumably at least was getting too physical with Lana. But every other detail about this case falls into place.
This Is Your Life Jayne Mansfield, is a short story in years, but a fascinating story that plays more like a long, but great soap opera for a woman who comes from very humble meanings at least in the sense that wasn’t known at all until she went to Hollywood and started landing parts in movies. But then hits it big in Hollywood in the mid 1950s with roles in The Burglar, Will Success Spoil Rockwell Hunter, The Girl Can’t Help it, making it clear to Hollywood that she was a good comedian and comedic actress with great timing including musical comedy. Had Jayne stayed on that track I believe we’re talking about one of the best comedians and musical comedians of her generation at least.
But by 1960 she was moving away from Hollywood because she was tired of just doing comedy and wanted to expand her career as an actress and move into drama. The problem that she had was that Hollywood just saw her as a comedian and as a sex symbol. A woman who was obviously gorgeous with the great body, yet who was also as cute as a little girl really up until she died in 1967. And they wanted to use her to sell movies with her sex appeal and comedy. But she wanted to move to drama instead which is who she ends up in Britain in the early 1960s with the movie Too Hot To Handle. But unless you’re a huge, dedicated fan of Jayne Mansfield or have lived in Britain, you probably haven’t heard of Too Hot To Handle.
It’s Hollywood where Jayne always belonged and if it was drama she wanted to do, then it was soap operas and dramatic comedy like working with Alfred Hitchcock where she should’ve been working. Instead of trying to do serious roles in TV and films. I tweeted on Twitter ( of all places ) a few weeks ago about Jayne Mansfield with one of my followers ( but not my only follower, ha, ha ) replying to me that she was never taken seriously and wasn’t a serious actress. Which is true, but I would qualify that by saying that she wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. She wasn’t a dumb blonde, but she wasn’t cut out for serious roles.
Similar to Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, Bette Midler, and I’m sure other actresses and comedians she was a natural comedian who was born to entertain and to make people laugh. Which is what she should’ve been doing her whole career and would’ve had a great career in Hollywood as a comedian and not try to move away from that.
The Italian Goddess Sophia Loren, making it extremely clear that she isn’t just a great body with a hot baby face that she actually has not just a brain inside, but a big brain inside that’s always not just working, but working well to improve herself and people around her. Her quote here about education is a perfect example of that. Only the dumbest of the dumb people who had brain surgeries on them by people who were simply stealing brains with no intentions of fixing the brains and giving them back to the rightful owners, believe that education stops once we graduate college or in some cases still high school.
High school, is where we go to prepare ourselves for college and in some cases so we can get a job once we graduate from high school and make sure we have the basic skills down. Reading, writing, math, history, social studies, etc. College is where we go to prepare ourselves for life as adults and get the skills that we need to get ourselves a good job and be able to support ourselves in life with a good job. As well as to party, have a good time, meet people and other things as well. But life, is where we get the best and most important lessons about ourselves and where we really get to learn about ourselves and people around us. How to treat others and how others will treat us. Who we can trust, who we can count on, who we should look out for, so we don’t get too close to them, because they can’t be trusted.
There those old expressions that life is a journey or highway and as true as they are life is so much more than that. Life is an experience that starts when we’re born and doesn’t end until we die. You can also say that life is a roller coaster with all it’s ups and downs that is performed by the most imperfect of people known as human beings where we’re always trying new things and having new experiences and hopefully learning from them. The people who do best in life ride the fewest roller coasters and when they take risks they take calculated risks knowing that if it works out they’ll do very well, but if those calculated risks don’t work out there won’t be that heavy of price to pay for it at least not to the point that it can ruin their lives, because they’re acting on experience and knowledge and know going in what the risks and rewards were, because they did a real cost-benefit analysis.
The people who do best in life, the winners in life are the people who never get off the journey of life and are always moving forward and learning in life. Never too up and never too down, because even when they make mistakes they use them and take advantage of them by using them as opportunities for self-improvement. Instead of saying to themselves, “I really screwed up here, I’m never going to try that again!” Or acting as if their life is over and they’ll never recover from that mistake.
But when people are up they perhaps climbed that mountaintop and now feel they’re at the top, they take that for what it’s worth knowing that if they don’t continue to improve and to learn that the next stop for them can be only be down, because they stop learning and improving and become overconfident. People tend to make mistakes when they stop learning and improving and make decisions based on old information and what they’re done before and stop learning and improving. People are most likely to make mistakes in life when they’re either overconfident, or are out of control and acting on emotion instead of reason and intelligence.
It’s that old quote from President Richard Nixon during his last day as President in 1974 because he was forced to resign because of his involvement in Watergate, where he says, “only when you’ve been in the deepest valley can you know what it’s like to be on the highest mountain.” Life is an experience where we all go through our highs and downs and all at some point in our life have been at the valley at some point going through a really rough time. But the only people who’ve gotten to the highest mountain or at the top of any mountain are the people who’ve learned from their bad experiences and used them to improve themselves. And were never satisfied at being on the bottom or even in the middle of the pack, because they took advantage of what life has to offer which is really education about ourselves and the people around us. That is what I get from this Sophia Loren quote.
Lauren Bacall’s quote about marriage, pretty much sums up what Hollywood marriages ( which isn’t the same thing as marriage ) are really about which is that they tend to be business arraignments and investments. That are done to promote the two people’s involved career. “If Sally marries Joe or vice-versa, it could help their career and lead to bigger parts and be great publicity for them. Even if Sally and Joe met yesterday and perhaps have never heard of each other.”
Which is a little extreme and I’m not implying that Hollywood marriages are Saudi marriages and prearranged and that the two people involved don’t actually know each other ( at least a day in advance ) before they marry each other, but they do get advice from their handlers something to affect that if they’re seen with a certain actor or actress that could help their careers. Or you’ll see actors and actresses marrying directors, writers, producers, Hollywood execs in an attempt to build their careers and look better in public than they normally do.
There are marriages and romances that don’t seem like Hollywood and are actually real. Kurt Russell with Goldie Hawn, is a perfect example of that. Kate Hudson, ( the daughter of Goldie Hawn ) has always seen Kurt Russell as her father and not her biological father, because Russell is the man who raised her and has been with her most of her life and they love each other. Jeff Bridges marriage to Susan Geston, they’ve been married since 1977.
If you see a Hollywood marriage reach double figures in years even 10, you could win an award for that perhaps end up in some museum as being part of one of the longest lasting marriages in Hollywood history. Hollywood marriages generally aren’t built to last because they’re not built on love and built by people who are married to just be married in many cases and there not built on love in many cases as well. And are told that if they marry this person that could lead to bigger roles in their career.
But these are just some examples of why Hollywood marriages don’t tend to work out and why America has a 50% divorce rate with Hollywood being a big reason for it, but not the only one. Divorce is common in any industry where stress is a big part of that life and where the people in it value their careers really over anything else. The law profession is a perfect example of that, pro sports would be another one, politics obviously. Not just Hollywood but the entertainment industry in general like with music is another good example of that.
But also because married life can seem boring for people who are use to being seen all the time and are use to going out and not accustomed to being home even if that have kids. And are use to being around multiple men and women and ar really just interested in having a good time. Married life can also hurt one’s career in Hollywood especially if they’re seen as somewhat wild. And also because actors and actresses build their own brands and reputations and play characters that are very close to who they are in real life and feel the need to keep that reputation and play their Hollywood parts in real life and not just be who they are on TV and in the movies. So Lauren Bacall’s quote about divorce being about who gets the most publicity afterwords is spot on as far as what Hollywood marriages tend to actually be about.
The Girl Can’t Help It from 1956, is a movie that Jayne Mansfield was born to be in and Jerri Jordan might be the character she was born to play. Jayne, was put on this planet to entertain, make people, to be the Halloween eye candy. And I’m not criticizing her for any of this or calling her a bimbo or anything like that. I have a lot of respect for her as an entertainer and have never seen her as a bimbo.
And there are a lot of great entertainers who’ve made their careers as comedians like Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Bob Newhart, Bette Midler, who were born to make people laugh and bring smiles to their faces and have made great careers for them. Jayne Mansfield, isn’t any of these people, but those entertainers aren’t Jayne Mansfield with her goddess little girl adorable features, with her great comedic and musical abilities.
What also made Jayne great in The Girl Can’t Help It, was not that she was basically herself, because she wasn’t in that movie. Rockwell Hunter, which came out in 1957 where Jayne plays Hollywood actress Rita Marlowe is where Jayne basically plays herself in that movie. The Girl Can’t Help It, she plays the girlfriend of a Hollywood mogul who has been in a career slump and hasn’t produced a hit or really anything in a while and he sees his girlfriend Jerri Jordan ( played by Jayne ) as his next superstar and ticket back in the industry that will jumpstart his career again.
The problem is unlike in Rockwell Hunter, Jerri wants nothing to do with being a star and celebrity. The only career goal that she seems to have in this movie is to be the housewife of the man that she falls in love with. If you’re familiar with the real Jayne Mansfield, you know that always wanted to be a Hollywood starlet.
Jayne Mansfield, always saw more for herself in her career in Hollywood which is probably why it dried up because she wanted to be a great dramatic actress and consistently turned down parts in comedies including musical comedies, but came back to Hollywood in early 1960s after working in Britain to do Too Hot To Handle and had a major role as George Raft’s girlfriend in The George Raft Story, Kiss Me Stupid in 1964, and then a Guide For The Married Man in 1967, which she made right before she tragically died in 1967.
I believe Jayne could’ve had a great career as a comedic actress and just as a musical comedian as well similar to Bette Midler where she would go on stage to sing, dance, and do standup and joke around with the audience. Which is what she was doing when she was on the nightclub circuit in the last years of her life., but had a much better career with and doing more films, had she not left Hollywood in the late 1950s and early 60s and continued down that career path, but she thought she should be doing more than just comedy.