Archive for the ‘Janice Rule: ACTING GODDESS; SCREEN GODDESS’ Category


26 Dec

Starlift. A smorgasbord of numbers to boost morale produced at Warners 1 hours 43 minutes.Black and White 1951.

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The Travis Airforce Base stars in this pot pouri of musical and comedy numbers, designed to imitate Hollywood Canteen and This Is The Army. It is a scrapbook musical set this time not in WWII but in the Korean War, a War whose name, however, is never mentioned once during the entire film. Various superstars saunter through, among them James Cagney who is the best, and Gary Cooper who has a droll moment as a Dudley Doright cowboy in the skit narrated by the ever-bland Phil Harris. Doris Day sings whenever a bandaid appears on the arm of a returning vet. Gordon Macrae sings several numbers under his pompadour, and Virginia Mayo does a sweaty and effortful Polynesian dance in a blond wig, or perhaps the blond wig does the dance on top of Virginia Mayo. Everyone does their darndest anyhow. Jane Wyman sings, which is natural, as she actually began her career in musicals. Ruth Roman is the mother superior of  a mission to entertain the returning troops, airlifted in to Travis, (although I was in that war and we all went out by troopship from Camp Stoneman). Anyhow, the film is a actually about the movie star played by Janice Rule who is 19 when this was made. Here she is a dancer, as skilled as Gene Nelson who partners her, and she becomes involved with a forged romance, foisted off on the public by Louella Parsons who also appears. Janice Rule was to become one of the most accomplished and beautiful actresses ever to appear in film, and it is a loss that her career hadn’t more shape. She was powerful and mysterious with a beautiful speaking voice; she’s a later-day Howard Hawks sort of female, forward and humorous in her sexuality. The sides of her mouth curl up exquisitely, just as they did with that other dark-haired beauty, Cyd Charisse. What’s also fascinating is to see Doris Day in full force. Of course there never was a time when Doris Day was not in full force. She is always giving her all and it is always at the limit of her technique. Her application to the task and her daring make her look good. But she wasn’t about to play games; she was a single mother with a son to support; still, her work would appear more intelligent, were she not so eager to please. DoDo acts out of the power of a sure and certain instinct, and if you want to see instinctual acting, this is it. If you want to see instinctual acting with no discriminatory power attached, this is also it. She hits her mark every time; what is at question is the mark itself. The movie is lame, and slightly dishonest which the WWII anthology movies were not. What makes it lame is the faux naiveté of its sexuality combined with the obligatory leer of its males, wolf whistles being the shortest of all shorthands to romance.




Invitation To A Gunfirghter

02 Jun


Invitation To A Gunfighter – Directed by Richard Wilson. Western. A Civil War vet comes back to claim his own and is met by claim jumpers. 92 minutes Color 1964.

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Janice Rule is one of the most rivetingly beautiful creatures ever to appear before a camera. As a teenager Life Magazine named her the most beautiful girl in the United States, and that might have been the end of her, but she developed into a powerful and daring actress. Watch how understated she is here. Watch how she is always making strong choices, starts strong in every scene, never sacrificing her female power. Listen to the clarity and beauty of her speaking voice. She is one of four in this story of greedy land-grabbing after the Civil War. Pat Hingle is the established villain of the piece but any one of the other three might turn out to be so also. George Segal is excellent as the returning rebel to a New Mexican town, which has been taken over willingly – except by Segal and by the local Mexican. Stanley Kramer produced it, and what that means is that it expresses the strong social consciousness of the 60s – in one of its least forced versions. Yul Brynner – an actor I usually avoid – becomes more increasingly convincing as the picture progresses, and is quite sterling in the final exposition scene. The picture is very well written, its issues argued out with intelligence and power by everyone. Worth seeing for that reason alone.






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