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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Olivia vs. Joan (and a multitude of other things)


I've got, as the title says, a multitude of different things to talk about today, so we'd better get started. You're forewarned: this blog may get a little long.

The first thing I guess is today is July 31st, or AKA, the last day of July. Making tomorrow the first of August, and that marks six days away from the All Time Exciting Event: (drumroll please) LUCILLE BALL'S 100TH BIRTHDAY!

As you can tell, I'm super-excited.

So, starting tomorrow, I am going to begin Six Days of Blogging for Lucy. That's exactly what it sounds like: On the 1-6, I will be blogging solely about Lucille Ball, and any topics related to her. I mean, it's Lucy, so I have tons of material and promise to keep you all entertained. Plus, a few specials from Frankly My Dear TV. This is, of course, also in addition to the Loving Lucy Blogathon that I have joined.

Next, since today is the last day of July (which I already said, of course) I thought I'd do a little, "My Month in Old Hollywood Film" tidbit. Basically the highlights of what I've watched over the month - or anything relating to classic film, excreta.

So here is my Big 10:
  • I start my classic film blog, and call it "Frankly, My Dear."
  • I start "Frankly My Dear TV" on Youtube. The first video goes up on July 20th as a tribute video for Natalie Wood's birthday. I have now reached 100+ views, and have gotten 3 likes and 1 dislike (obviously from a person who's got problems in their life... lol).
  • I get four new Old Hollywood related books. See them here.
  • I watch the epic "Gone With the Wind" (1938) all over again, over the course of two days, in the big movie theater in our basement.
  • Films of note - "The Big Sleep" (1946) (yes, believe it or not, I hadn't seen it yet and it confused the bloody L out of me!), "Sex and the Single Girl" (1964), so to chalk up another point in my Natalie Wood movies, "Mogambo" (1953) - everyone said it was going to be bad, but I actually rather enjoyed myself. Of course, I have yet to see the original, "Red Dust," so we'll see what happens after that.
  • Best Movie of the Month: "Gone With the Wind" ~ revisited, but still. Still 5/5 Still amazing when they burn Atlanta down. ;)
  • Worst Movie of the Month: "Bombers B-52" (1957) with Natalie Wood and Karl Malden. Bought it on pay-per-view to chalk up another Natalie movie, but it turned out to be a man's movie with airplanes and little to no romance, really.. then landed up fast forwarding through the whole thing. So :(
  • I got my friend to watch "West Side Story" (1961) and "What ever Happened to Baby Jane?" I think she enjoyed herself, especially with WHTBJ? and they're old movies, so yay :)
  • Actresses that most sparked my interest in this month were: Bette Davis, Ava Gardner (especially because of "Mogambo"), Olivia de Havilland.
  • Actors that most sparked my interest: Gregory Peck.

So, I will also be bringing some new rules to the polling game. I'm going to allow a longer period of time for people to vote in the poll - at least a full week, so we can get more results. The results of the first poll were good with nine votes, but in the past two polls, we have been fading. 

This week's results were: One point for Olivia de Havilland, one point for Undecided, and zero points for poor old Joan Fontaine!

Anyway, as promised here is your "Olivia vs. Joan" Blog.

For starters, who's side am I on? I am Team Olivia. Especially with the amount of interest her movies sparked in me this month - not to mention I watched two films of hers - I am quickly starting to like Olivia more and more. In all fairness to Joan, I have not seen that many of her movies. But I still like Olivia better. ;)

"The Big Sister"

born July 1st, 1916, in Toyko, Japan (hey, she's got the same birthday as Princess Diana! Well, not the same year. But STILL.)

"The Little Sister"

born October 22nd, 1917, in Tokyo, Japan

Sibling Rivalry

The fact was that little Olivia and Joan as kids had never really liked each other. When Olivia was nine, she made up a will and the legend goes that she bequeathed a very special gift to sister Joan: her beauty, for "since she has none." (I laugh a little at this, because I'm thinking of Olivia as Melanie in "Gone with the Wind" as I write this). Another rumor claims that Olivia used to rip up Joan's hand me downs so Joan would be forced to sew them back together for herself. (Uhm, seriously??)

Of course, Hollywood didn't help. You can imagine how the animosity between the two of them grew when they were both nominated for an Oscar in 1941 - Olivia for "Hold Back the Dawn" and Joan for "Suspicion." (What was the Academy thinking??!!) Matters got a lot worse when Joan won for "Suspicion." That did it.

Apparently at the ceremony, Olivia extended a hand to Joan to congratulate her. In return, Joan ignored her and turned to the next person as she flaunted her Oscar.  Another story claims that it was the other way around. I guess it's a matter of dispute - but in all fairness, Olivia went on to win two Oscars of her own... one more golden man than Joan.

Still, they weren't totally estranged from each other until the 1970's. It is said that their mother always favored Olivia, and forced Joan into making up her own surname when she decided to venture into Hollywood herself (Olivia, however, became an actress first - using their own last name). Joan claimed in a 1979 interview that Olivia wanted their 88 year old mother to be operated on, a the time in which she was dying, and Joan became so annoyed she stopped speaking to her. (??) Apparently, Olivia also neglected to inform her about a memorial service for their mother, and also "didn't call her" when their mother had first passed away.

It's hard to imagine Olivia being the mean one since she always had that "sweet face." Of course, a lot of this is hearsay. who knows? Maybe it's a publicity stunt (but how boring would that be?) from way back when. it also depends who's side you choose, and then what stories you believe.

Of course, we're lucky to still have both Olivia and Joan with us - one of the few leading ladies from Old Hollywood left. They're both in their 90's, but they still haven't patched things up. Last September, the president of France honored citizen Olivia (who has been living their since the 1950's), and Joan refused to attend the ceremony.

(Wow - they must have good genes!) Anyway, I think they should clean things up between the two of them! That's just my opinion. And it's pretty easy for me to say, because I don't have a sister - or a sibling at all. ;)

I hear a biography about their sibling rivalry comes out next year, so I'll be excited to read that and learn more about it.

That's all for now - and don't forget, blogging for Lucy starts tomorrow.



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