Olivia de Havilland

joan fontaine rebecca

I was already in love with movies before someone showed me Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca at the tender age of nineteen, but something about it opened up a whole new world of cinema to me. You’d think it was the film’s acclaimed director or the mastery with which he brought Daphne Du Maurier’s gothic novel to the screen, but no, I can’t claim anything as respectable as that. Instead, it was the smiling woman pictured above who helped ease my way into black & white cinema. Joan Fontaine earned an Academy Award nomination, the first of three, for her performance as the second Mrs. de Winter, and she went on to win the Best Actress Oscar for her very next film, Hitchcock’s Suspicion. (She’s the only actor, male or female, to have ever won an Academy Award for one of his films.) I watched both in rapid succession before devouring several more of her films including Jane Eyre, Letter From an Unknown Woman, Ivy, and Kiss the Blood Off My Hands. More than simply her beauty and acting talent, I was enamored by the way she balanced timidness with a barely concealed inner wisdom and feistiness. The next several years saw me tracking down and checking off ever more obscure titles on her filmography until only a dozen or so remained. It wasn’t quite an obsession, but a friend did buy me a framed 8″ x 10″ b&w photo of the actress that I still have to this day. Joan Fontaine passed away […]

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What kind of man does Errol Flynn play in his debut on screen? The kind of man you like. A man with money. Not only did this film launch Flynn, it also launched 8 more movies where Flynn and Olivia de Havilland would share romance (and a little swashbuckling). It’s a fantastic example of the genre with big set pieces, great action, and a salty amount of fun. Oddly enough, it was also the first of 12 films where iconic director Michael Curtiz would work with Flynn, a man he hated (and who hated him right back). Funny how business works out.

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A character that has endured 600 years gives us the unique chance to compare films featuring the same figure but are radically different because of the technological limitations of the time.

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Errol Flynn kicking ass in Captain Blood.

The film has both the word “Captain” and “Blood” in the title. And it involves pirates. Do I really need to sell you on it much more than that?

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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