There, I've said it!
I have just, finally, watched Madame X - and she is terrific in it. You too will be sobbing by the end as we are manipulated by Ross Hunter. Lana really emotes here.
I remember Pauline Kael being hilariously mean about it in one of her books, referring to it as a cast of waxworks, particularly Constance Bennett as John Forsyth's mother. Connie (15 years older than Lana) had a facelift for the role and died before it was released!
I also liked Lana in Rains of Ranchipur, another seen for the first time, where she is terrific as the faithless wife finding romance with Richard Burton as an Indian. Lana also romanced 2 James Bonds: young Roger Moore in Diane in 1955 - and Sean Connery in Another Time Another Place, another terrific sudser in 1957.
My favourite Lana's though are Portrait in Black and the delirious Love Has Many Faces, the one with Hugh O'Brien in his speedos. Its set in Acapulco and rich Lana drinks a lot ...
and of course theres Imitation of Life, after that stabbing of her lover, and Peyton Place.
Any other favourite Lanas ?
I understand Stompanato kept an eye on her while Connery was around, but I dare say she managed to bang him, and Burton too - not so sure about Roger.
John Forsyth always looked like a waxwork, even when younger.
One hilarious moment in Madame X is when she is calling out the names of the railway stations the young son's trainset is calling at, and she says "Denver, Colorado" with Forsyth next to her - of ourse thats where he had his best years, in Dynasty !
I love Lana as the unfeeling, faithless Samarra the high priestess in The Prodigal, a terrific biblical by MGM in 1955, she wears a daring outfit for the time, and of course topples into the flames when the mob storm the temple ...
Lana had a good run in the mid and late 50s. I remember my dad taking me to The Sea Chase, an odd one where she and John Wayne are germans during WW2.
I've got BY LOVE POSSESSED to watch, from 1962? Is it worth watching?
She also did the obligatory comedies with Bob Hope and Dean Martin in 62 or 63 - but they are probably not worth bothering with.
No more love for Lana ?
She's kind of like Kim Bassinger or rather the other way around. After a while something turns out OK and everyone thinks its a big deal. She was beautiful and just barely good enough to become a movie star. I think watching her is at best camp, high camp-- never remotely realistic and she is about as natural as nutrasweet. She is kind of like a cooled down version or Crawford who because of more extreme looks and mannerisms was a more effective and campy movie star.
"You too will be sobbing by the end as we are manipulated by Ross Hunter. Lana really emotes here."
shes headed to Rome to shoot a film with Falucci!
When I saw. Madame X in the theater I cried buckets. Went the next day and again still cried. Loved that movie. Miss Lana was outstanding.
Fun fact, the house used is the Playboy Mansion.
Lana had something camp and artifical about her, but she did better than Rita Hayworth, that other '40s love goddess, particuarly in the 50s as they were getting older. Poor Rita didn't have a Ross Hunter to gild her.
Lana was a tramp though, every guy in hollywood must have banged her.
Didnt she and Tyrone have a passionate affair - even if he liked guys too. They must have made a hot couple.
"Lana was a tramp though, every guy in hollywood must have banged her."
My kinda gal.......
She gave the performance of a lifetime on the stand during her daughter's trial. Love me some Lana.
I love Lana Turner. I own Madame X. I thought she was brilliant in Madame X. But the body of her work, except for Madame X was campy soap opera. And I loved it all. I don't think she was a "great actress." But I loved her.
Theres that amazing scene too in Vincente's Bad & The Beautiful when she is hysterical in the car ....
but didnt she end up living with just her mexican housekeeper and they were very close, after the daughter became an out lesbian.
and just what was she and Ava up to when Frank burst into their room ....
has anyone seen The Big Cube where George Chakiris feeds her LSD ? Is it as bad as they say ? they all end up making rubbish films, do the need the money that much ?
I think they just want to keep working and being a star, even if the film is no good and will hardly be seen.
#7 nails it. She's one-note, a sexy model. Her breathless, petulant delivery is sometimes campy fun, though.
Her taste for the bad boys and the vino kind of sent her career on a detour. And of course, she got old.
"She is kind of like a cooled down version or Crawford"
More like a feminine version of Crawford!
They did have the same artificiality, the same studio-era acting style. They were trained to pose for the camera, rather than to act like human beings; they seem to think that the audience could see human beings anywhere, they were there to bring some glamour to our humdrum lives!
I remember that pan from Pauline Kael:
Lana Turner - she isn't Madame X, she's Brand X. A commodity to be packaged and sold.....
THE BIG CUBE was released on a DVD set a couple of years ago, should still be available.
PORTRAIT IN BLACK is good - and of course IMITATION OF LIFE. PEYTON PLACE was her first run at the high class soap operas she cranked out the rest of her life.
Her testimony, by the way, was not at a trial, but at the hearing to determine if daughter Cheryl would be tried. The case did not go to trial.
I love Lana Turner. Sure, she could be just a model in front of the camera, but sometimes she found something in the script, clicked with the director and it worked perfectly.
She's actually quite good in "By Love Possessed," r5, though the movie is a mixed bag -- a variation on "Peyton Place," this time with Lana playing an adulterous wife.
Fun fact: the Grace Metalious novel "Peyton Place" was #1 on the NY Times bestseller list for a year, replaced by James Gould Cozzens' "By Love Possessed" -- Lana starred in both film versions -- and then the Cozzens novel was replaced at #1 by "Anatomy of a Murder" by John D. Voelker -- which Lana was cast in before being replaced by Lee Remick. (Readers in the late 50s were fascinated by scandalous goings-on in small towns, weren't they?)
Lana Turner was great fun to watch onscreen, and she was ravishingly beautiful, but except for one performance (Cora in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE) she was embarrassing as an actress.
R21, you said Lana was replaced by Lee Remick. I am not arguing that but I wonder if they changed anything in the script being that Lee was much younger than Lana. Lana as nymphomaniac married to Ben Gazzara? I know Hollywood is known for one having to suspend one's disbielief but, really?
[quot]There, I've said it!
What a brilliant way to begin a thread!!!!!
She was great in "My Pussy is a Highway".
I think Lana was not satisfied with her costumes for Anatomy of a Murder, like Crawford wasnt with hers in From Here To Eternity, so both were replaced by younger actresses - happily as it turned out. Moral - if you are an older star do not quibble over the wardrobe. Lana did not want to dress like an ordinary girl, but her ritzy usual look would not work in this Michigan setting, and being older she would have brought a different tone to the role.
I love Lana's 50s and 60s melodramas, but you should check her out in the 40s in light comedies like Slightly Dangerous where she's very relaxed and gives a very charming and sexy performance. And she's quite good in Ziegfeld Girl as well--campy at times, but also quite natural in the early scenes before her character Sheila gets self destructive and hits the skids. And she's perfectly cast opposite John Garfield in Postman Always Rings Twice.
I enjoy Lana Turner in much of her work. Love the glamour, the studio star turns. She doesn't have to be a great actress. We have enough great actresses to go 'round. She did impress me with her screen persona.
Re: the scandal: I read that she told her male confidante to write a book about the actual case of Johnny Stompanato and Cheryl, her daughter. She told him to tell everything and hold nothing back, after she died.
He did; but people had moved on.
She said that it was she, who stabbed Stompanato. The chief of police came to that conclusion, but her lawyer had had something on the CoP, and threatened to reveal it, if he told anyone. It was the late '50s, and it would have ruined her! Instead, she became a big boxoffice star, again. She became rich.
I doubt hollywood would dare to film her story!
Interesting to see that clip of Lana and Lorenzo Lamas. Lana and his dad, Fernando, had big affair back when they were both young and hot. Lorenzo's mom and Lana also shared a husband (Lex Barker).
LOVE Lana. She was one of the last over the top, glitzy movie stars (along with Joan Crawford and Elizabeth Taylor) before boring realism became fashionable from the 60s onwards. Madame X was amazing, like a lost Fassbinder film.
I've been trying to find torrents/downloads for By Love Possessed and Love Has Many Faces, still haven't seen those yet and google isn't turning up anything. :( Is Another Time, Another Place worth a watch?
r32, Another Time, Another Place isn't a "great" film but it's an interesting study in contrasts: Sean Connery disappears early, and the film is really about Lana (his lover) going to meet his widow, played by Glynis Johns -- so you have shallow glamor queen Lana beside earthy, "ordinary" Glynis -- it's just kind of bizarre, really.
The Postman Always Rings Twice
Green Dolphin Street
The Bad and the Beautiful
Imitation of Life
Definitely her best films...
Some one said of Lana Turner "I didn't say she could be an actress. I said that she could be a movie star."
In DETOUR, Cheryl Crane (Turner's daughter) wrote that her mother would have had different and perhaps more successful career had she signed with Warner Brothers as opposed of MGM. Crane said that MGM put Turner into too many costume dramas. Had Turner remained at Warners, Crane felt that the studio would have cast Turner in more contemporary dramas.
R29 you are spot on about Lana in SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS. I bought the dvd on a whim and was very pleasantly surprised. She's funny, touching and, of course, very sexy. MGM should've cast her in more comedies. And musicals. She danced well and the could dubbed her singing. She was also good in HOMECOMING. She later became somewhat set in stone, but still gave some good performances(IoL, BatB, PP). It was a pity her real-life rivalry with Jane Wyman got her canned from FALCON CREST.
And I love her in Johnny Eager with Robert Taylor and Van Heflin.
[quote] Moral - if you are an older star do not quibble over the wardrobe.
If they really wanted her (or Crawford in ... Eternity), they wouldn't have canned her over wardrobe demands.
She was not a very good actress, but in the beginning she had such a wonderful easy quality, same as Elizabeth Taylor. She's great in her early b movies, like "These Glamour Girls" and "Two Girls on Broadway." And she's so incredibly beautiful during this period. After "The Postman Always Rings Twice" it was all downhill. She was even more successful, but the acting got more and more wooden. And "Slightly Dangerous" is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. She's wonderful in it. The scene where she's trying to figure out which toy to pick is the best!
Has anyone read Davin Niven's "Bring On The Empty Horses"? I was thinking "Missy" might be Lana Turner.
"Missy" is rumored to be a composite figure, largely based on his old friend Loretta Young, and Vivien Leigh.
The harrowing breakdown he describes is definitely Leigh. He really did stay with her when she had a psychotic break.
[quote] The harrowing breakdown he describes is definitely Leigh. He really did stay with her when she had a psychotic break.
Thanks r43! I should have thought of Leigh, but he threw me off by describing Missy as more body than personality and/or talent.
Have you read "The Moon's a Balloon"? How does it compare to "Empty horses"?
To her credit, Lana Turner never considered herself a great actress. She always placed her trust in her directors to guide her through and remarked that if she could understand the part she could do it. She did know she was a star and had a glamourous image and felt it was her duty to her fans to live up to it. It made life difficult for those around her as she felt the need to always be camera ready when going out in public. IN the 70s when the film roles dried up, she started doing dinner theater in the suburbs where her fans were. She was paid well and she made sure she did roles with lots of costume changes and a bow gown as she knew the people were coming out to see Lana Turner and she was determine to give them Lana Turner. She was a star of the old school, trained at MGM. Everything she learned was at MGM. And she was a fighter and very determined and she suffered a lot of setbacks in her personal life, but she brushed herself off and carried on. She went to work at 16 and supported first her mother and then her daughter for years. She developed enough skills to be a top rank movie star and knew what her audience wanted. She's a lot more fun and much more watchable than many far more skilled and talented actresses. While she only turned in just a few strong acting performances during her career, she was from the start a great star...she commanded the camera and it was very hard for whoever was sharing the screen with her to compete.
R41 and R45, I agree with both your comments.
I never was much impressed with Lana but I did always think she was very lovely in her youth and fun to watch. I never did think she was much in Postman and couldn't really inderstand why Garfield's character was so enthralled. (well, yes she had a bod for sin, but I didn't think she was that pretty. Shallow,I know.)
I am now watching her in Madame X and Damn, if she isn't all kinds of good in it! She surely understood this role! I love her scenes just before she kills Burgess Meredith and am loving the deathbed chat with Keir Dullea. Shit I'm actually crying!
I think I've changed my opinion of her.
Lana really seemed to enjoy her fame, and the attention it got her. She really had fun with it, which was great. Unlike a lot of today's stars, who bitch and moan endlessly.