I’m baaack! I didn’t mean to go but I did as you can see from my last post. So, now I am back on track and will talk about child actors who wanted to venture away from their good girl image.check out Wandering Through The Shelves to check out which 3 actors/actresses the fellow film nuts have chosen. Here are my 3....
Denana Durbin...who? Without her Universal Pictures would not exist because she saved them from bankruptcy when she appeared as a young, talented gal with a beautiful voice, who sings her way through many pictures along with many great conductors like Leopoldo Stokowski lending a hand. With her happy charm and amazing talent she would save the day. Well, Ms. Durbin wanted to expand her acting talents and stop playing cute little girls who save everything. This is one such film that veered away from her nice image and one that she was, apparently, proud of. I say this because she retired in the late 40s and never looked back, moving to France (by the way, she is a Canadian..Maintoba). She never granted any more interviews, except one back in the early 80's that I would love to see. She disliked talking about her film career and simply refused to look back. Oh yes, the film...She plays a young lady who falls for a real schmuck, played by Gene Kelly, who does not dance or sing in this film! He kills someone and he, along with his domineering mother, blame her. She changes her name and ends up as a "hostess" in some divey bar. It is quite a good film noir and one hard to find but, if you do, it's worth a watch.
Yup that's the little rascal who appeared on quite a few Our Gang shorts with Spanky and the Gang.
2. IN COLD BLOOD-1967
Talk about a controversial person to say the least since Robert Blake is one F#^% up person who probably did have a hand in murdering his shrew of a wife-which, her murder, seemed to be right off the pages of Murder, She Wrote or Columbo. Robert Blake started out as Mickey Gubitosi who was cute as a button in the Our Gang series but he wanted more which is where this film comes in. In Cold Blood is a docudrama about the true story of 2 hoodlums who break into a home and end up killing the family all for a measly sum of money. The 2 are caught and we see real insight into the mind of these 2 killers . Robert Blake shines as a troubled hoodlum who shows some regret. Excellently acted by him and John Forsythe as the detective who captures them.
How many of you knew Kurt Russell was a child actor for Disney movies? He was cute as a button...and still is. I remember him in Gilligan's Island playing "Boy" as well as on Lost In Space. People knew him as the cute Disney kid so he wanted to break from this mold..and does he ever! We all know his more recent films with Quinton Tarantino and his relationship with Goldie Hawn but he has done many films from Comedies to some great westerns. He was also great as Elvis and won accolades playing him in the late 1970s but he chose something darker to distance himself from Disney. Here is the film I choose...
3. THE DEADLY TOWER-1975
This is a TV movie but an excellent film starring Russell as the disturbed Charles Whitman who, after killing his wife and mother, walked up the Tower at the university of Texas, barricaded himself in and started shooting people walking down below. This is a true story and it was shocking in the day because it was rare to hear of someone doing this...not like today. He gave an excellent performance and won accolades for his acting.
which 3 would you choose?
Kurt Russell is a great actor.ReplyDelete
Well, Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter, did that play in the nude after those movies.
Daniel Radcliffe is quite a good actor and I thought of him in that scary horror film of which the name escapes meDelete
I would be hard pressed to think of one child actor who changed their role type. If course, I hate typecasting. Nothing like starting to watch a movie with a baddie, then a certain actor appears and you say, OH, him. I'd love to be surprised one day by the normally bad guy turning out to be the hero.ReplyDelete
Yes...well I could have gone with Liz Taylor, Judy Garland or Mickey Rooney. It's amazing how many want to change their imageDelete
I still remember Judy Garland on Jack Paar ranting about Deanna Durbin and her one eyebrow. It was hilariousDelete
Of course I know of Kurt Russell, but not the others Birdgit. Hope all is well with you and that you are on track with your Christmas preparations, Kate xReplyDelete
I think you would love Deanna Durbin..you should check her out on Youtube. have a beautiful Christmas!Delete
I am familiar with all three featured celebs. Some years ago I put together a scrapbook based on the life and career of Deanna Durbin, one of my favorite entertainers. I have also featured her on my blogs. I saw several of her earlier films but have not seen Christmas Holiday. Now I'd like to. Must be nice retiring while still in your twenties.
When I was a boy I watched The Little Rascals (Our Gang) comedy shorts every day after school and I remember Mickey. In the 70s I enjoyed Blake as Baretta, "and you can take that to the bank." I also saw In Cold Blood.
You won't believe this, but just yesterday I saw the episode of Gilligan's Island with Kurt Russell playing the jungle boy. I also liked his performance in the remake of The Thing. I can't recall if I have seen The Deadly Tower, but I'll look for it.
Great post, dear friend BB. Merry Christmas to you and your family!
I would love to see that scrapbook of Deanna. I love Baretta and loved seeing him on Johnny Carson with his unlit cigarette. This is Birgit by the way...still can't get my personal web up so i am coming up as unknownDelete
The only actor I'm sadly familiar with here is Kurt Russell and that's a wonderful choice. I forget how long his career has been.ReplyDelete
His career, like Ron Howard, is super long. Maybe you will see some films by the other 2 one dayDelete
Never heard of Deanna Durbin, but familiar with the works of Kurt Russell and Robert Blake. I do remember seeing several Disney movies with Kurt Russell in them.ReplyDelete
Deanna Durbin is one fantastic actress and talent who should be better known today. She was the biggest earner in the states at one timeDelete
I adore Deanna Durbin!! Though I prefer her when she was a bit more adult (just watched Lady on a Train yesterday) she is always a delight on screen. Christmas Holiday is one strange film loaded as it is with coded prostitutes, incest, obsessions and various other grimy subjects. Deanna does well by it and I know she felt it was her only good film, I'd have to disagree It Started with Eve is a gem and she made many other enjoyable ones. Have to admire her determination to stay out of the limelight though I suppose it's easier when you hate fame.ReplyDelete
Robert Blake is a strange troubled man but before his wife's murder he was a definite tough journeyman Hollywood survivor plowing relentlessly on through decade after decade. In Cold Blood is a chilling document but both he and Scott Wilson do fine work in it.
I remember that Gilligan's Island episode with Kurt! He like Ron Howard was all over episodic TV in the 60's before he started his stint with Disney family films. He was a natural with that All-American opened faced accessibility and he transitioned rather easily into an adult career as that same raffish boy/man. I have seen The Deadly Tower (I have a vague memory of the actual event as well) and he was quite intense in it.
I had a little trouble deciding exactly how to approach the theme so I stuck with performers (as it turned out all actresses) who successfully attempted something different while still in their teens. And as happened all three were nominated for Supporting Actress Oscars (none won) for either their typecasting role or the one that broke the mold.
Bonita Granville: The Nancy Drew Mysteries series
Rising to fame at 12 (and netting an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress) in 1936’s These Three as a cancerous, vicious child whose lies destroys three lives simply because she can’t have her own way for the next several years Bonita was reliably cast as odious little bitches making adult lives miserable until her studio took a chance and cast her as mischievous, scrappy Nancy Drew in a series of low budget films. The series was very successful enabling her to expand her persona and bounced back and forth between good girls and bad until her retirement from acting in 1950.
Jodie Foster: Taxi Driver
From the age of six (though she had been a child model since the age of two) the incredibly prolific Jodie was one of the top child stars of the late 60’s and early 70’s mostly through her television work including her own series-Paper Moon-as the plucky tomboyish girl next door. But that changed with her Oscar nominated performance as the child prostitute Iris in Taxi Driver. It’s a haunting worn down profoundly sad piece of work.
Natalie Wood: Rebel Without a Cause
Gaining fame at age nine (though in her own estimation not really achieving stardom rather being in her words “a utility actress” slotted into whatever role fit her image) as the pragmatic, prematurely wise Susie who comes to believe in Santa Claus in 1947’s Miracle on 34th Street Natalie played variations on that character for the next eight years. Then in 1955 Nicholas Ray cast her as Judy, the vulnerable and lost teen skirting juvenile delinquency resulting in an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress and changing the direction of her career.
I'm glad you love Deanna durbin like I do. I agree with you about It Started With eve which is my favourite. I picked this film because it was out of character plus Gene Kelly plays such a slimeball. Robert Blake is a troubled guy that you want to dislike but can't..well, at least i can't. I loved him in Baretta. That story about that man in the tower scared me when I first heard about it and Russell gave a great performance in it as he did playing Elvis. I almost went with Bonita but I didn't see her in the Nancy Drew films. Jodie Foster has been around for so long and she was great in Taxi Driver-a great film but an ugly one. Natalie Wood was so good as a kid, I just watched Miracle on 34th Street. She was good in Rebel and in The SearchersDelete
I really liked Christmas Holiday but for me Kelly was the main weakness in it. He was a man of many talents but being a noir villain wasn't one of them and his glib facileness drains the film of some of its power. Now had Universal borrowed John Garfield for Kelly's part we would really have had something.Delete
Another real pity is that Kelly and Deanna didn't do a musical together. They looked great together and that again would have been a special something. Oh well missed opportunities.
I have heard of Deanna Durbin. Never saw that film, but I saw many of her earlier ones. And I did know Kurt Russell was a child actor, but I learned that fairly late, like just a few years ago. There is actually a film where he as a kid and Goldie Hawn have a quick run in. Then again, this might be Mandela effect.ReplyDelete
It would be neat to see that short film with him and Goldie from the 1960s. If Deanna Durbin films come up, it is usually the early ones.Delete
I've never heard of Deanna Durbin, but that doesn't mean anything. I've not seen a LOT of those old films.ReplyDelete
"The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call 'out there.' " I'm a Kansas girl, Birgit, so In Cold Blood was required reading and seeing the film was required, even if it was on TV. Truman Capote did a fabulous job writing the book and helped bring the film to life, too. Robert Blake played a great killer in that film. I had NO idea he was a child star. That's how much I know (grin).
I'd never heard about the Deadly Tower, but I heard about the real incident when it happened.
Great choices, Birgit.
Wow....I am glad it was required reading and Capote became a bit too close to one of the killers but that’s why the book and film are so good. I think that tower killer is still one of the most chillingDelete
Look at that Robert Blake! Cute.ReplyDelete
Will you be getting your regular icon back?
He was cute...when he was a little kid. What the regular icon?. The picture at the beginning? Yeah, I tried before with my phone to get it displayed and it was a fail. I hope I can get it done for this week.Delete
Kurt Russell sure went a whole other way, and now he's back playing all nice with Santa. I remember him from the many Disney movies.ReplyDelete
Yeah, he seems to be a Santa with an edge and I would love to see him in these movies. Merry ChristmasDelete
My mum loved Deanna Durbin so we watched them a lot on Sunday afternoon old film slots on TV. No recollection about any of them though, just the name!ReplyDelete
Your mom had great tasteDelete
I didn't know Robert Blake was a Little Rascal. Thanks for teaching me something new. And I don't know Deanna Durbin. But Kurt Russell is a favorite actor of mine. He has so many good films. Wishing you a happy holiday! Hugs-ErikaReplyDelete
Blake was a real cutie when he was little but behind the scenes, he was badly abused by his father. Kurt is an excellent actor and so good in westernsDelete
I keep forgetting that Robert Blake was a child actor. I do remember seeing Kurt Russell as a child actor as one of the first film roles he did was kicking Elvis Presley in the shins in It Happened at the World's Fair as there's a great story Russell told about that experience. Even as Elvis was more star-struck by the fact that Russell's dad was Bing Russell who was a star on a TV show Elvis liked. Thus, years later, Kurt Russell would play Elvis in 1979 TV movie that began his great collaboration with John Carpenter and played an Elvis impersonator in 3000 Miles to Graceland.ReplyDelete
I forgot Kurt kicked Elvis! That was a funny moment but I didn’t know know that Elvis liked Bing. Kurt is excellent as Elvis and did his own singing in the bio he did for TV. I actually love 3000 Miles To Graceland..I think it’s a fun film despite the violence.Delete
Great list! It's always interesting whenever a child star actor portrays a serial killer in a later work! I didn't know that Kurt Russell had been acting since he was a child! Interesting!ReplyDelete
Check out my Thursday Movie Pick!
He did and was quite the famous Disney star.Delete
I always heard Deanna Durbin was ousted because of Judy Garland whom I personally never liked. I used to think Deanna was marvellous. Don't know the other movies.ReplyDelete
Yup, MGM passed on Deanna and took Judy but it was Universal’s gain, thankfully so. I actually love Judy Garland despite her major issues. What do you not like about her? Just curious to know.Delete
Excellent choices, BIRGIT!ReplyDelete
And I really liked Joel's choice of Natalie Wood, too.
The very first one that came to my mind was MICKEY ROONEY. That guy was outrageously talented. He was a tremendous actor, and I remember catching part of an old movie he did with Judy Garland where he and she were dancing and Mickey's athleticism in dance blew my mind.
He went from playing that Andy Hardy character to some crazy-good performances such as in 'The Black Stallion' and a terrific episode of 'The Twilight Zone'.
STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS
I almost went with Mickey Rooney who had so much energy it was hard to hold. He was an amazing talent and to see him in that Twilight Zone episode was beyond creepy. He was also good as Baby Face Nelson. My dear friend used to work a5 the Royal York in Toronto and Mickey Rooney stayed the4e for a few weeks when he was in Sugar Babies. My friend couldn’t stand him because he was so demanding and entitled. He demanded his paper at 5am even though the staff would inform him that they are not delivered until 6am. He was not popular among the staff. I will say that my friend felt sorry for him too because Mickey’s sons were quite nasty to their dad. My friend had no idea how famous he was and was shocked when I showed him clips of Mickey’s filmsDelete
Who knew Spanky was a murderer?ReplyDelete
Oh, he didn’t play Spanky but another cutieDelete
I only knew about Kurt Russel.ReplyDelete
Yeah...Deanna was, at one t8me, the #1 box office star and the highest paid woman in the world.Delete
I'm keeping my eyes open for the Deana Durbin movie. Going for the bad girl part reminds me of the actress who played the original Jan Brady. Soon after the series ended, she played a runaway girl turned street walker in a TV movie. This was also a year or so after Taxi Driver came out with Jodie Foster.ReplyDelete
Hope you get to see one of her films. Yeah, I am so glad you mentioned Jan Brady..aka, Eve Plumb who played in one of those Diary filmsDelete
My family has an abiding interest in The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (we're pretty much its only fans). So that's always been my link to early Kurt Russell.ReplyDelete
Hahahaaa...I think I saw this film decades ago and would love to see it again.Delete
Hello sis... I mean "Unknown." Kurt Russel was also a former pro baseball player. He never made it to the big leagues but he did play three years in the minors, two of them in the Los Angeles Angels system. His career batting average was .292 which was pretty darn good but I believe he ultimately made the right choice when he decided to focus on acting.ReplyDelete
The one child actor who always comes to mind for me when referring to those who broke out of their stereotype was Lisa Bonet. She first became known as one of the daughters on the Cosby Show and we all know how squeaky clean that program was. However, she shed that image in resounding fashion when she starred in a movie with Mickey Rourke called Angel Heart... still one of my all-time favourite movies. That being said, Bonet's career never really took off from there, though it appears she continues to have worked in various TV and movie projects over the years.
Hello Bro! I had no idea that Kurt was a baseball player so I am glad you mention that here. Lisa Bonet was so good in this movie that I love. I wish this film was better known. Lisa is married to Jason Mamoa who is the new Aquaman. I remember when Bill Cosby decided to fire Lisa Bonet citing this film was inappropriate since she was on his family sitcom. I bet there is more to that storyDelete
Justin Henry - his role in Sixteen Candles is quite different from the one in Kramer vs. Kramer!ReplyDelete
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Justin Henry is a good choice and completely forgot he was in that film. Thank you for the award and I will participate! I will check out your questions.Delete
No I didn't know Kurt Russell was a child actor.ReplyDelete
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