Famous for her role in the Tod Browning Dracula of 1931, where she played Mina Harker.
Frederic March was born "Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel" on August 31, 1897, in Racine, Wisconsin. He died April 14, 1975, in Los Angeles, California.
March (this adopted stage name was derived from his mother's maiden name) was nominated in 1930 for an Academy Award for Best Actor in The Royal Family of Broadway. In 1931 he was nominated again and won Best Actor for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He was nominated again in 1936 for A Star Is Born but did not win. In 1945 he won Best Actor the second time for The Best Years of Our Lives. In 1951, nominated one last time for Death of a Salesman.
Audrey Hepburn - Roman Holiday 1953
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John Gielgud with Colin Firth, Greta Scacchi, 1984. TV Movie version of Camille.
Sophia Loren with her Mother
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Frank Capra directed this 1932 soap opera/melodrama and it stands out as an unusual title from his oeuvre, rich in both pre-code story elements and a complicated storyline about the travails of a frustrated librarian (Lulu, played by Barbara Stanwyck) who throws her career aside, empties her savings from the bank ($1,200) and goes on an ocean cruise to Havana in search of excitement (both she and the viewer are generally thwarted in this goal for 85 minutes).
En route, she transforms from the pince-nez wearing, buttoned-up librarian into a glamorous fur-clad traveler with an assortment of ready male passengers available for her to choose from for companionship. She selects Bob Grover (Adolphe Menjou), who she discovers after the trip is actually a married politician. She breaks off the relationship only to then realize she is pregnant. Complications ensue as the tale passes over decades of time of the stop-and-go relationship between Lulu and Bob.
The film is well-photographed by cinematographer Joseph Walker (Capra keeps the camera on Stanwyck through most of the film as if he has a crush, and every small gesture and expression of hers he finds fascinating) but the script from Jo Swerling (from Capra's outline) gets bogged down into the webs of a love-triangle that only perks to life when Stanwyck guns down one of the members, a very young Ralph Bellamy (eventually powdered up as a much older man) who is assigned the role of long-term suitor but eventual headline-chasing rat from the newspaper office where Stanwyck's character ended up after torching her librarian career.
Stanwyck is perfectly fine in her role as the young/old Lulu overwhelmed with a complex love-life and trapped into a corner where she has to resort to artillery when dealing with betrayal.
Adolphe Menjou plays his usual suave man-of-the-world, but here he gets to actually play with a bit more range in what appears to be a relatively good-intentioned man who cannot escape the social conventions of his class. Capra's crazy story allows Menjou to have a moment of redemption by the end, and a convenient alternative-villain (Bellamy's character Al Holland) to draw off a lot of the ire of the film audience who watch Stanwyck suffer for 85 minutes because of Menjou (and also due to, of course, the decisions of Stanwyck's character who has traded the empty life of a librarian for the empty, guilty life of a multi-decade affair).
Forbidden seems like a project manufactured by Warner Brothers to keep Stanwyck and Capra working together (they had earlier made Miracle Woman and Ladies of Leisure), but Forbidden provides very little emotional release (as the earlier films did) unless you count Forbidden's penultimate sequence in which Stanwyck solves her main problem by firing a revolver.
In a way, Forbidden is a dry-run for Stanwyck's much better-known film from 1937, Stella Dallas, which contains a key element shared in both movies, that of Stanwyck as a mother who'll stop at nothing to take care of a daughter.
A funny aspect of Forbidden is that the story-line traverses decades, but the outfits of the characters never change in style, it's always 1932 no matter what age the characters are made-up to be. It's as if this story has happened to Lulu in a tormenting dream over an 85 minute period.
A DVD of this film is part of the Frank Capra: The Early Collection (which contains Ladies of Leisure / Rain or Shine / The Miracle Woman / Forbidden / The Bitter Tea of General Yen).
The DVD print is rather dark a great deal of the time, and probably would benefit from remastering. The set is available from amazon.
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The 1959 film based on the Tennessee Williams play. More on Suddenly Last Summer
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The Last Valley 1971 - Michael Caine and Omar Sharif find refuge in a valley untouched by the ravages of the 30s Year War devastating Europe.
Penguin Pool Murder, 1932 - James Gleason and Edna May Oliver star in a wise-cracking murder mystery set in the New York City Aquarium.
The Killing -1956 - Sterling Hayden leads a group of small-time crooks to execute a daring, precision racetrack robbery, until a few minor detaisl crop up. a fast-action story of a (almost) racetrack robbery. Marie Windsor and Coleen Gray also star.
3 Days of the Conder, 1975 - Robert Redford as CIA analyst Joe Turner, trapped between warring factions within the CIA itself. Confused by why everyone is shooting at him, he goes on the run with kidnapped Faye Dunnaway in tow.
Easy Living, 1937 - Jean Arthur is the poor Mary Smith who is suddenly the object of every salesman in town trying to gain access to the wealthy, all because of her impromptu friendship with millionaire investor J. B. Ball (Edward Arnold) who she meets by accident when he tosses his wife's fur coat off the top of an apartment building. Classic screwball comedy with script from Preston Sturges.
The Alligator People, 1959 - Tragic case of a man slowly becoming an alligator, and his determined wife (Beverly Garland) who wants to find him (he's in hiding) and get answers. With Lon Chaney Jr as a maniacal alligator hunter in the bayou. Appeared the same year as the famous Elizabeth Taylor film Suddenly Last Summer, and shares many remarkable similarities.
Heaven Knows, Mr Allison - 1957 - Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum. He's a marine and she's a nun on a Japanese occupied island during World War II.
The Quiet Man, 1952 - John Ford's comic masterpiece (which he was afraid he had botched while filming it in Ireland) with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara as newlyweds who must battle their village and themselves to achieve any peace.
Bachelor Mother 1939 - He's (Niven) the son of the owner (Coburn) of a department store who thinks he's doing a good deed by reuniting an employee (Ginger Rogers) with her child given up to an orphanage. Only the kid isn't hers, and nothing she does can convince anyone.
The Lady Eve - 1941 - Preston Sturges directed this most stately of his farcical comedies as a direct challenge to tailor a film around the wit of Barbara Stanwyck. He provides so much ammo she needs to play two characters in the tale, with a befuddled Henry Fonda in tow.
Night of the Hunter 1955 - British arch-actor Charles Laughton directed only one film, and it features Robert Mitchum as a demented and homicidal preacher (with "love" and "hate" tattooed upon his hands) who is trying to chase down a pair of orphaned children who know the location of hidden bank loot. The only thing standing in his way is a determined Lillian Gish and her shotgun.