I am so trying to learn this new blogging format and I just screwed up my previous posts. Not sure how to get my newest back. Anyway, over at Wandering Through The Shelves, you get to choose a great film that was the final film an actor made. Once I got to thinking about this, quite a few films came to my mind including the crap films some actors made and was their last. Anyway, here are my 3 that I have chosen...
1. TO BE OR NOT TO BE-1942
Carole Lombard was beautiful, sassy, had a mouth of a hardened sailor and every person loved her. She loved practical jokes and could put people in their place with some wise crack or gesture. Once, when Alfred Hitchcock compared actor’s to cattle, he came onto the set the next day (for Mr. & Mrs. Smith) and found cows on the set instead of the actors. She was married to Clark Gable and they did both love each other. She was selling war bonds and wanted to get home quicker so she decided to take a plane. With her mom and others in tow, they took off only to crash into Tablerock mountain..there were no survivors. This film came out after her death and she never looked more stunning and gave one of her best performances as the wife of Jack Benny. Carole and Jack head a group of Polish actors in 1939 Poland when the Nazi invasion becomes all to real. The young air pilot, in love with Maria, goes to fight the Nazis and the acting troupe help the resistance movement. Even though the word “Jew” or “Jewish” is not said, it is heavily implied and this dark comedy has very deep overtones, a great comedy that I need to revisit.
2. THE MISFITS-1961
This is actually the last film for both, Clark Gable, and Marilyn Monroe who both died too young. This film was written by Arthur Miller for his wife, Monroe although by now, their marriage was crumbling. This film is more of a character study on the 4 main principles, recently divorced Monroe who meets Gable( his first name in the film is Gaylord, “Gay”..poor guy) and they go out to a home that his buddy, Eli Wallach has built. When they go to a rodeo, they meet up with Montgomery Clift who becomes friends with Monroe. Wallach and Gable decide to capture Mustangs and sell them for dog food (disgusting!) and when Monroe witnesses, she starts fighting them and yelling at them calling them killers...one of Monroe’s best scenes. This film is known for the huge difficulties and it unfairly marks Monroe as a reason for Gable’s death just 12 days after filming completed. Monroe was difficult during the making of this film often not showing up for filming and always very, very late. She could not remember her lines and was heavy into booze and pills. Clift had his own demons as well and John Huston, the director, was drinking heavily, gambling, falling asleep on set and just not keeping hold of this film. Gable, a consummate professional, was affected by this but he also wanted to do his own stunts including being dragged by a horse in 108 F heat. He knew he had heart problems but was ignoring what the doctors were telling him. He died of a heart attack shortly before his 60th birthday and before the birth of his son. Monroe was filming another film before she was fired and died u Dee mysterious circumstance in 1963. Even though she was a mess, I believe she was murdered. Anywho, this is an excellent film. And worthy a watch.
3. THE SHOOTIST-1976
John Wayne, one of my favourite actors, played an aging gunfighter coming into town to get a second diagnosis from a friend who is a doctor, played by James Stewart. He has cancer and it is throughout his body and has not much time left. Wayne just wants to be left alone to live out what’s left of his life but his reputation will not allow that to happen. He resides at a boarding house run by Lauren Bacall who dislikes what he is but slowly shows her gentler side to this man. Her son, played by Ron Howard, idolizes this man and wants to know all about his exploits but Wayne just wants peace. He does end up friends with this young man but does not want this boy to glorify what Wayne’s life was. This is a deeply moving, sad film brilliantly acted by Wayne who knew this was his swan song since he was battling cancer and died from it in 1979. Despite the sadness, it’s a film worth seeing and I hope you do.
Which films would you choose?
I'd like to put that first trailer on a loop and listen to the narrator's perfect diction all day long! :) I haven't seen To Be Or Not To Be, but now I'd like to. As a boy I never missed The Jack Benny Program and I loved the comedian's guest appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He was one of Carson's idols. Benny also made a cameo appearance in one of my favorite movies It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. It would be fun watching Benny in this film released when he was a major star on radio.
I have seen The Misfits. There's a ton of lore about that film and the troubled cast and crew. It's a wonder it was ever completed.
I don't like Westerns and especially don't like John Wayne and therefore I haven't seen The Shootist. I read that Wayne and Lauren Bacall became friends during the making of the picture despite significant political differences between them. Wiki sez: "Bacall was a staunch liberal Democrat, and proclaimed her political views on numerous occasions." I liked Opie Taylor as an actor in American Graffiti and in the exploitation films Village of the Giants, Eat My Dust and Grand Theft Auto, but didn't care for him in much else. Whenever I watch him on Andy Griffith I am tempted to smack him.
The actress and movie I am about to name probably won't appear on anybody else's list, but the first person that popped into my head for the theme "Great Last Movies of Actors" is Judy Tyler. Judy, whom I loved watching as a young boy in the role of Princess Summerfall Winterspring on The Howdy Doody Show, went on to become Elvis Presley's leading lady in Jailhouse Rock, one of Presley's best films. Wiki sez: "Tyler and her husband were both killed in a car crash on July 3 (1957), just days after production of the movie was completed and before its premiere. Presley was so devastated over her untimely death that he refused to watch the film."
Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend BB!
Isn’t Lombard magical and you are so right about these narrators...I wish they would do these types of trailers again. Yeah, Wayne is a person people either love or hate. Yes, Bacall and Wayne became friends which meant they respected each other despite their polarizing political views. She went with her husband, Humphrey Bogart to petition against the House Un American Activities and I would have been right beside them whereas Wayne was a staunch supporter which I strongly disagree with hi. On this. He became good fr8ends with Katherine Hepburn as well. The Misfits was such a hot mess behind the scenes which is why books and documentaries have been made about the making of this film. I love, love, love your pick! She died way too yo7 g and it was a big deal when she died. Presley was inconsolableDelete
Yes, these actors and actresses are great at their craft. I loved the story about Carole Lombard and the cattle. That I did not know. I enjoyed today's post. This is a good challenge. Happy almost weekend. Well, more or less close. Hugs-ErikaReplyDelete
Thanks and yes, she really did do this which I love. Have a great weekend aheadDelete
How hard must've that been for John Wayne to play a character in his real life position of dying of cancer.ReplyDelete
I'm going with The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger. The movie is excellent and Ledger was nominated for an Oscar.
I believe that movie was hard for him to play but he felt he had to make it. You made a great choice and Heath won the Oscar posthumously. He is still th best JokerDelete
My very first thought was The Misfits. Both deaths of Gable and Monroe came at difficult times in my youth and really affected me. Have not seen the other two. I do not like John Wayne so likely will not watch his movie, though I love westerns.ReplyDelete
The Misfits was a mess behind the scenes. Yeah, John Wayne and his views have hurt him but I always love this actor and his acting.Delete
I' 0/3 this week. I didn't know Wayne played a cancer victim while battling it himself. That's really sad.ReplyDelete
Yeah, he first got cancer back in 1962. He was a 4 pack a day smoker! He also made that extremely bad movie called The Conqueror where the main cast director and many others died from cancer probably due to filming where the atomic bombs were being tested. It is still full of radiation to this day where they filmedDelete
I didn't know Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe share their final film. It sounds like an interesting film, and will definitely check it out when I get the chance.ReplyDelete
It’s a sad but very good film and I hope you see itDelete
You made some good choices, especially The Misfits which is a DVD I have in my collection. One that immediately came to my mind is Soylent Green which was the last role for Edward G Robinson. This is a particularly relevant film in our current times. So much that is happening now makes me think of this film. It was amazingly prescient.ReplyDelete
Tossing It Out
I have yet to see Soylent Green although I know about it. I have a feeling I you believe in the conspiracy theories. While The Chinese government did not want this leaked out which is typical of them but, thankfully due to that Chinese Doctor who died from this Virus it did leak out. I do wish the people who like to eat bats, pangolins, dogs, cats etc..plus pay for money for rhino horns, bear paws etc..are educated about how wrong they are in destroying the animal life and causing huge harm.Delete
Hi Birgit, I've only seen the Shootist, and I love John Wayne too, and also Mrs. Bogart. Kate xReplyDelete
That is a great but sad final film of the Duke.Delete
Love your choices!!ReplyDelete
To Be or Not to Be is such a gem with great work by the whole cast and the material is certainly durable. Mel Brooks simply had to do a tweak here and there to slant it to a slightly more humorous angle in his very good remake. Carole glows like the sun in this. Her death was awful but she was right at the top after years of toil, happily married and her death was instantaneous so looking at it that way I suppose there are worse ways to go.
The Misfits has really been reevaluated over the years. It wasn't very well reviewed when it premiered but it seems it was before its time. It's heavy going being all about despair but a worthwhile watch.
The Shootist isn't something I return to often, if I'm in the mood for The Duke I head for The Searchers or North to Alaska, but it is both one of his best films and performances.
We have two matches!!! I sensed we might with To Be but not Misfits! I had hoped to pick a final film that was great and the performer had chosen to walk away rather than expire but the only person I could think of was Deanna Durbin who packed it in of her own volition at 27 and lived to 91 but while it's cute her last "For the Love of Mary" is nowhere near a great film! Anyway after I chose our matches and my third I realized I could do a theme within the theme and tie them together with the selection of a fourth.
Yeah to 2 matches! I love Carole Lombard and this film really showcased her amazing ability as an actress. You are right about her life being in such a good place at the time of her death and, thankfully, she did die quickly. The Misfits really did have a good couple of misfits in Monroe and and Clift but the acting was first rate and I was impressed by Monroe’s performance even though I think she is really way too built up. One of my favourite Wayne films is The Searchers and North To Alaska is a lot of fun.Delete
To Be or Not To Be (1942)-In German occupied Warsaw during World War II a Polish theatrical troupe headed by husband and wife stars Joseph & Maria Tura (Jack Benny & Carole Lombard) set out to prevent a German spy from revealing key members of the Polish underground to the Nazis by means both desperate and humorous.ReplyDelete
Ernst Lubitsch directed masterpiece was Lombard’s final film. America entered the war just before the film’s premiere and Carole was the first star to go on a bond tour (to her native Indiana) and perished in a plane crash, along with her mother, on the return journey. A line her character spoke “What can happen in a plane?” was excised before the film debuted.
The Misfits (1961)-In Reno for a divorce Roslyn Taber (Marilyn Monroe) meets aging cowboy Gay Langland (Clark Gable), WWII aviator Guido Racanelli (Eli Wallach) and broken down rodeo rider Perce Howland (Montgomery Clift). Lonely and feeling lost Roslyn accepts Guido's invitation to stay at his desert home with the trio and the four wrestle with life’s questions.
Directed by John Huston and written for Marilyn by her then husband Arthur Miller this somber film was the final one for both Gable and Monroe. Gable, who performed some of his own stunt work died 12 days after the film wrapped. Marilyn started the trouble plagued “Something’s Gotta Give” but died before its completion and the picture scrapped.
The Iceman Cometh (1973)-In 1912 New York’s Last Chance Saloon a group of chronic alcoholics are momentarily shaken from their hopeless ennui by the arrival of Hickey (Lee Marvin) one of their number now sober urging them to abandon their pipe dreams and face reality. It does not go well. Powerful with a powerhouse cast (beside Marvin-Jeff Bridges, Robert Ryan, Fredric March, Moses Gunn, Bradford Dillman among others) full book adaptation of the Eugene O'Neill play couldn't be better presented (it’s directed by John Frankenheimer) but it's so long (four hours!) and full of doom and gloom it’s a hard one to embrace.
This was the last film for both Robert Ryan (who died before the film’s premiere) and Fredric March who retired on the film’s completion and passed away shortly afterwards.
Advise & Consent (1962)-Secretary of State nominee Robert Leffingwell (Henry Fonda) is being investigated by a Senate committee headed by Senator Brig Anderson (Don Murray) before his appointment. When serious allegations are leveled against Leffingwell engineered by Senior Senator Seab Cooley (Charles Laughton) pressure is applied to Anderson in the form of exposure of a long hidden secret to influence the outcome. Otto Preminger directed, star-studded (Gene Tierney, Walter Pidgeon, Lew Ayres, Franchot Tone, Burgess Meredith, Betty White etc.) political drama is still timely.
This was Charles Laughton final feature (passing away within six months of completion), by happenstance he co-starred with each of the other stars excepting Ryan in one of their films (Lombard-They Knew What They Wanted, Gable-Mutiny on the Bounty, Fredric March-Les Miserables and Monroe-O Henry’s Full House).
I love your theme within a theme! We match on 2 as you mentioned above. I have to still see Advise and Consent but I had no idea Betty White was in this...how was she-good or I’ll suited? I’m just curious. I have heard of the Iceman Cometh but I didn’t know it was that long. I’m not sure I would want to sit through something that dour for 4 hours but ya never know. Gosh, I would love to pick Jeff Bridges brain because he starred with so many greats. I meant to say that I, too, wanted to pick last films of actors/actresses who are still living or lived a long time after but most really did make meh films or some that are just icky...Two-Faced Woman, Xanadu, Trog, Airport 75...the list goes onDelete
Betty White is fine in Advise & Consent but her part is small. She plays a senator from the South and gets into a debate with George Grizzard's character. Let's put it this way...so long ago her hair was still brunette!Delete
I saw the Shootist. Didn't see the other two but it was sad about Clark Gable's final film. You wonder how things might have been different if he didn't do his stunts.ReplyDelete
I think he may have lived longer if he didn’t do the stunts and listened to the doctors. He missed out on his son’s birthDelete
I agree, the new Blogger setup is distracting. I'm getting accustomed to it, but it isn't fun.ReplyDelete
I did love Carole Lombard. I think I've seen To Be or Not to Be. It may have been one of those my high school English teacher showed us. (She was big into old movies, and did a whole unit on it.) There's a remake of this, isn't there?
I am trying to get used to it but I am happy that I can use it on my IPad now. Yes there is a remake of To Be with Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft which is a pretty good remake.Delete
About the only movie I know that would fit this category is *On Golden Pond*, the last movie with Henry Fonda. I'm not sure how "great" it was, but he was in it with Katherine Hepburn...ReplyDelete
I thought of using On Golden Pond because he finally won his Oscar but there were so many others. Another time perhaps but a good choice!Delete
The very first movie that occurred to me was 'THE SHOOTIST'. It was a *tremendous* performance by JOHN WAYNE - who actually saved his greatest acting for last. (He was also a true American - meaning that he genuinely understood what it meant to be "American" - unlike the communist-sympathizers Bogart and Bacall.)ReplyDelete
And, incidentally, I currently live only about a 10-minute drive from the Carson City house that was utilized in 'The Shootist' as Lauren Bacall's ('BOND ROGERS') boarding house, where John Wayne ('J.B. BOOKS') stayed during his last days on Earth.
The second movie that sprang to my mind was 'GIANT', which was JAMES DEAN's final movie. A pretty good epic, too! Although his first movie, 'East Of Eden' (based on the John Steinbeck novel) is my favorite of Dean's 3 movies.
'FERRET-FACED FASCIST FRIENDS'
I can't recall many people's Last movies off the top of my head.ReplyDelete
Sorry I was so late visiting. A horrible storm, high winds, hail, and terrible downpour put water in my basement and a mess in my yard and garden Friday morning. I had to clean it up because we have more rain and high winds on the way on Saturday.ReplyDelete
I've obviously not seen any of these, but the actor that comes to mind for me (although I've only read about him, because I wasn't born yet when he died) was James Dean. I don't know the last movie he made, but I read somewhere he died shortly after the film was finished. Of course, I could be all wet like my yard right now!
That had to be hard to make the movie when real life was similar. I've seen it a while back, it was a good one.ReplyDelete
I did not know Gable did his own stunts.ReplyDelete
I abhor horses being slaughtered, especially for dog food. How can anyone do that to such a magnificent creature.
As far as the new format: I hate trying to label or change a picture size.