Monday, January 25, 2010

In Memoriam: Jean Simmons 1929--2010

Movie actress. Hamlet. Guys and Dolls. Elmer Gantry. Spartacus.

"The only person in the picture (Hamlet) who gives every one of her lines the bloom of poetry and the immediacy of ordinary life"

--James Agee

(He wasn't all that ordinary, but a certain Mr. Olivier was also pretty good in that flick. That said, I do agree with Mr. Agee about the beautiful and talented actress. She's also very good in the other three films mentioned at the top of the post, but I like her best as Ophelia, the Shakespearean noblewoman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Call me a hopeless romantic--KJ)

20 comments:

  1. Hey, you hopeless romantic. I was taken to see Spartacus at the age of 8. Jean Simmons came on in her first scene and I remember sitting bolt upright in my seat. I knew immediately that THAT is how I wanted to look when I was a grown woman. Alas. It never happened.

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  2. And what's wrong with being a hopeless romantic?

    Absolutely nothing!

    :)

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  3. @LimesNow--Aw, cmon, Les, you've mentioned any number of ex-boyfriends on your blog. I know you're smart, but I know guys aren't interested in brains alone.

    @Hill--Good to hear from you again, Hill. I was just about to leave a comment on your own blog. Haven't seen Avatar yet, but that's a cool picture over there.

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  4. I thank you, Sir, but I'm no Jean Simmons. And is that true, Kirk? Guys aren't interested in brains alone?

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  5. Oops, I let the cat out of the bag.

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  6. Hey Hill! I am one of those, at least when there is an opportunity :-)

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  7. Someday I shall write a blog post about my discovery that guys aren't interested in brains alone. I was young and kind of innocent. It was an eye-opener to me!

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  8. Hi, Kirk.

    Thanks!

    And what's this about guys aren't interested in brains alone?

    LOL

    ;)

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  9. hold up. guys aren't interested in brains alone? when did that happen? oh right. adam. *snerk*

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  10. @Standing--thanks for stopping by, standing.

    @Tag--If I'm the Mr. J you're referring to, Tag, then you're absolutely right. I am speaking for myself. That's pretty much the point of having a blog in the first place, especially as noone pays you to do it. I really don't know what satisfaction I would get out of a blog that speaks for another person.

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  11. I love the critique! "Bloom of poetry and immediacy of real life" -- or something like that (I can't click back to see it) -- anyway, lovely contrast.

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  12. @Hill--Thanks

    @Dreamfarm--Immediacy of the ordinary, but you got the gist of it. I'm no expert on Shakesphere, but I think know hat Agee's talking about. Most Shakesphere plays I've seen--either a movie version or something on PBS--the arcane language always seems to get the best of the actors. During the soliquies especially, it sometimes seems the actors only understand about half of what they are saying, and if they don't understand it, I'M certainly not going to. In the 1948 Hamlet, Simmons does seem to understand what's she saying, and that allows someone like myself, who sometimes has a hard time following the Bard, to understand it as well. It's actually a very naturalistic peformance that Simmons gives. She seems like a real person, and that can't be an easy thing to pull off with Shakesphere with all of his thous and thys and thees and wherefores.

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  13. My above comment may be more difficult to understand than all of Shakesphere's plays put together.

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  14. That's Shakespeare, not Shakesphere.

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  15. Shakesphere might be appropriate to the Globe Theatre, Kirk.

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  16. I tried to sneak into the Globe Theater as a kid, but Sir Walter Raleigh caught me, and tossed me into the Tower of London

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