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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Movie Review: "Daisy Kenyon" (1947)

Hello dahhhlings,

Channeling my inner Tallulah Bankhead. I started saying "darling" so often now I've got my friends doing it with me. ;)

Today's an exciting day! My blog turns three months old exactly, and will finally be eligible for entry into the LAMB - for those of you who don't know what that is, LAMB stands for Large Association of Movie Blogs. It's exactly what it sounds like; a big cluster of all types of movie blogs. I've been waiting to join it ever since I first heard about it a couple of months ago, but my blog has to be old enough first. It is today, I plan on sending in my entry, and I'll let you know when it's all official! ;)

Oh, I also made some tweaks to my blog. Nothing big, I suppose you've noticed them already. For one, I'm trying desperately to clean up my sidebar because I felt it was getting too crowded. My blog roll looks smaller, but don't worry - all the blogs are still there (with some new editions), too, only it now displays five blogs instead of ten. Just hit "show all" to see all of my favorite blogs. Also, instead of showing off just a couple of my Youtube videos on my sidebar there's now a cute little pink TV widget that will take you to my channel page. STILL, I'm annoyed because the sidebar still feels crowded and it's driving me nuts. !!! Oh well. I'll stop complaining. ;)

And one more quick thing:

VOTE HERE

Voting for Film Classics's contest ends in a week I believe, so if you haven't already be sure and go over and do so! Just hit the little reminder under Lucy above :) [I still haven't figured out how to link URLs with pictures...]

Okay, now, with no further ado, onto the review! (Hey, that rhymes, doesn't it???)

***

Oh my gosh, I LOVE that poster. So awesome and beautiful - I just want to blow it up here, actually. ;)

Tired of waiting for her lover, Dan (Dana Andrews), to dump his wife, commercial artist Daisy Kenyon (Joan Crawford) decides to settle down and marry war vet Peter (Henry Fonda). But when Daisy learns that Dan has gotten a divorce and wants her back, she's caught in a terrible dilemma. Dan is a high-powered attorney who lives a glamorous life, but Peter is an honest man who sincerely loves her. [from Netflix]

The cast's got:
  • Joan Crawford as Daisy Kenyon
  • Dana Andrews as Dan O'Mara
  • Henry Fonda as Peter Lambert
  • Ruth Warrick as Lucille O'Mara
It is directed by Otto Preminger.

I happened to see parts of this movie in passing on TCM, but never sat down to watch the whole thing. What I had seen looked promising though, and I wasn't disappointed.

To begin with: the plot. Though it isn't the most original, it still has a lot of potential and a lot of ground to work with which the film utilizes quite well. I wouldn't exactly call this film outright film noir, though it screams to be one with the classic film noir lighting elements that are used several times throughout the movie (spotlighting Joan Crawford's humongous eyes, the dancing shadows - my God, there are a lot of shadows). Instead I would call it "noirish"; there, but not exactly. Like I've said, the lighting is all there --


And I liked it, it seemed to set a mood to the film. But throw away the guns or dramatic music or any of that (do those count as spoilers? I hope not). Anyhow, if you're avoiding this film because you think the plot and the love triangle all seem too cardboard and stuff you've seen before, I can proudly tell you not to worry and go ahead and give it a try anyway. 

Moving onto acting: I really liked Joan Crawford's performance as Daisy. These are the roles Joan Crawford was built for: tormented woman who manage to remain strong and somehow come out alive. (Also, she has a habit of playing in films whose titles are just the main player's full name, doesn't she? Mildred Pierce. Sadie McKee. Letty Lynton. :D)

But anyway, Joan usually excels in these noirish roles (gee whiz, I'm having fun with that word, amn't I?) and her performance as Daisy is no different. You feel sorry for her, you feel her pain, her dilemma, all that she suffers through. Her character, as complex as she may be, comes out very likable in the end. (At least to me, i guess some may argue). Henry and Dana are good but Joan's strong willed character becomes so that she takes over the film, giving her a chance to shine, and the latter mentioned men become props. Over all a solid performance, what was expected of Joan in this sort of a film, this sort of a character, and she doesn't fall short at all.


DAISY:
"It's a funny thing about being in love. Sometimes it's easier to tell when you are than when you aren't." 

I like Joan the more and more I watch her, though I'm still decidedly Team Bette. (Of course, that doesn't mean I can't like Joan at all!). And so I liked her in this, quite a lot.

Onto the men. Dana Andrews - this was the first movie of his I'd seen, believe it or not. His character was interesting; as a viewer at times I liked him and at other times I hated him. By the end of the movie I must admit he was a character I didn't like all that much but it wasn't only until till the last few minutes of the movie I came to that final conclusion (and I'm sticking to it). He does a good job with his role as well, though as I admitted earlier in this review he and Henry Fonda are eventually like props for Joan. Good props, though.

Anyway, I liked him and I hope to see more of him in the future because he was pretty good.


His connection, or chemistry, rather, with Joan's character is very good and they have some strong scenes together. (Let me give you a hint: it results in the bandage on his head in above photo).

Now, onto Henry Fonda. Henry is one of my favorite actors, though I haven't really talked about him much at all in my three months of blogging. :( My apologies, Henry! I really enjoyed him in this, though I usually enjoy him in anything. His character reminded me somewhat (just a hint) of his role in "The Big Street", a 1942 movie he made with Lucy, but you'd have to have seen that movie to understand what I mean. (Of course, this character has a LOT more backbone). 

This movie has a prominent love triangle, and that being said he plays good against Joan. I liked the two of them together and though their chemistry isn't as strong or as high-strung as Joan and Dana's (which is what the film calls for), it is good in the way it supposed to be: comfortable, reliable, and a sense of stability.

Also there was Ruth Warrick as Dana Andrews' wife. She was in Citizen Kane, I believe, and Driftwood. (Okay, you're probably scratching your head at that last film there. It was a really awful B movie that Natalie Wood made as a child actress, and it was available for instant watching on Netflix, so... ). She was familiar to me. I HATED her character so that means she obviously did a great job. Ruth, who to me looks slightly like Jean Arthur (see photo below), is an underrated actress but on the occasions I have seen her, I have always liked her performances.


Jean Arthur? Please? Slightly? Yes? Maybe it's just me...


There were two child actresses in this as well, both girls, and I liked them too.

I pretty much enjoyed this movie. It was exciting and somewhat suspenseful, keeping me on the edge of my seat at times. It kept me guessing about how everything would turn out in the end until the very last minute.

At moments it shines brighter than at others; nearing somewhat corny at points, but still a good noirish (okay, this is like my word of the day or something) melodrama. If you like Joan Crawford you'll love this; and if you're just on the fence about this movie, go ahead and watch it. I give it a 4/5 stars. Not disappointing and never falls short of exciting.


***

That's it for today's Sunday Movie Review. I actually also watched "State of the Union" (1948), with Kate and Spencer, with the intentions to write my review of that film but I was so disappointed in that movie! I would have to say, my least favorite Kate/Spencer movie to date (and I've seen seven of their nine movies). Too much political talk and simply too talky; and as much as I love the two of them I must say: avoid it like the plague! (Unless you love movies about politics and scripts with rambling speeches that go on for two pages. I had high hopes for that film, too... :( Oh well.)


Also: don't forget, it you have a request for a Sunday Movie Review feel free to leave me a comment and let me know! My only limitations are that it be pre-1970, not R rated (this is, after all, a family friendly blog :P) and nothing so obscure that I can't find it. If I can get it within my means, I'll be happy to review it for you! 

Au revior!

4 comments:

Carmen said...

Hey, I hope you enter the LAMB. You know, it kind of bothers me not to have followed the blog since its very start. Anyway, three months is not much time, and this is such an amazing blog! I'm sure there is so much to come. Oh, and you may also like to know that I am also a teen, so that gives us even more in common!

Rianna said...

Oh, thank you so much for all the nice compliments!! :) I'm glad you're loving this blog. It feels awesome to know that people enjoy my writings and all. ;) And yes, I happened to see on your Youtube page. That does give us yet another thing in common. Teenage classic movie fans are rare so we need to stick together! :)

StanwyckFan said...

Noirish...haha!!! I loved your review! I also love Joan Crawford. And Henry Fonda. I can't wait to see this movie!! If you're looking for another Sunday Movie to review, I suggest "State Fair" (1945) - absolutely fantastic movie. Oh, and I love your Lucy version of my contest reminder. ;) I'm glad you consider me a friend. :)

Rianna said...

I'm glad you liked this review! Yeah, I like Joan too (even though I'm Team Bette) and Henry Fonda is one of my favorites! "State Fair" - that's Dana Andrews, isn't it? I want to see more Dana movies so I'm totally going to check that out and do a review for that. Thanks for the suggestion! And haha, yes, I do consider you one! :)

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