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Favorite Moments from Locarno Festival 2017: Soviet Spirits, Cinema's Cats, Nick the Sociopath

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Days of Glory (1944)This year at the Locarno Festival I am looking for specific images, moments, techniques, qualities or scenes from films across the 70th edition's selection that grabbed me and have lingered past and beyond the next movie seen, whose characters, story and images have already begun to overwrite those that came just before.***“Like anything you will ever tell me,” dreamily says a Soviet dancer-turned partisan (Tamara Toumanova) to her lover and commander Vladmir (Gregory Peck in his first role), “it’s learned by heart.” Days of Glory (1944), a highly evocative masterpiece from Jacques Tourneur conjured in that brief moment during World War 2 when Hollywood was asked to make movies in support of our Soviet allies, with disjunctive, lyrical surrealness casts this dancer among the hardened Russian soldiers isolated in a crumbling, underground redoubt behind enemy lines. She comes from a world of art unknown to these fighters,
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The Forgotten: James Whale's "By Candlelight" (1933) and "The Road Back" (1937)

One of the quirks of Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna's annual jamboree celebrating restored or rediscovered movies, is that expensive products of the Hollywood studio system can be just as obscure and hard-to-see as low-budget oddities, foreign arthouse affairs and forgotten silents from a hundred years ago. Dave Kehr's retrospective of neglected items from Universal's vaults demonstrates this clearly.James Whale always liked to say By Candlelight was his favorite of his own films, bypassing the more celebrated Frankenstein films. It's a romantic comedy of confused identities and it's no surprise that P.G. Wodehouse had a hand in the stage source.But in this movie, when a butler impersonates his master in order to seduce a wealthy lady who turns out to be a maid impersonating her mistress, all the irony of Wodehouse's inversion of traditional ideas about class has gone. All right, so George Orwell argued persuasively that Wodehouse
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10 Days Until Oscar. Stage to Screen Roles

Paul Lukas and Bette Davis in "Watch on the Rhine"

It's ten days until Oscar and soon this post may be obsolete! To date, unless I've miscounted, ten actors have won the leading Oscar for reprising a role they won praise for first on the Broadway stage. Soon there could be 11 depending on how well Denzel Washington fares on Oscar night for Fences.

Actors Who Won Lead Oscars Reprising Their Broadway Roles

They are...

George Arliss for Disraeli (1929/30)

Arliss had played this role in the Broadway production in 1911

Paul Lukas for Watch on the Rhine (1943)

He previously played this role from 1941 through early 1942 on Broadway -- the transfer to the screen was mighty quick!

Jose Ferrer for Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)

He won the Tony for this iconic role in 1947. Later in 1990 Gerard Depardieu would also be nominated for playing the same role -- and Steve Martin arguably should have been
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Oberon Later Years: From Empress to Duchess, Shah of Iran Mexican House Connection

Merle Oberon films: From empress to duchess in 'Hotel.' Merle Oberon films: From starring to supporting roles Turner Classic Movies' Merle Oberon month comes to an end tonight, March 25, '16, with six movies: Désirée, Hotel, Deep in My Heart, Affectionately Yours, Berlin Express, and Night Song. Oberon's presence alone would have sufficed to make them all worth a look, but they have other qualities to recommend them as well. 'Désirée': First supporting role in two decades Directed by Henry Koster, best remembered for his Deanna Durbin musicals and the 1947 fantasy comedy The Bishop's Wife, Désirée (1954) is a sumptuous production that, thanks to its big-name cast, became a major box office hit upon its release. Marlon Brando is laughably miscast as Napoleon Bonaparte, while Jean Simmons plays the title role, the Corsican Conqueror's one-time fiancée Désirée Clary (later Queen of Sweden and Norway). In a supporting role – her
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Remembering Oscar-Winning Gwtw Art Director Menzies

William Cameron Menzies. William Cameron Menzies movies on TCM: Murderous Joan Fontaine, deadly Nazi Communists Best known as an art director/production designer, William Cameron Menzies was a jack-of-all-trades. It seems like the only things Menzies didn't do was act and tap dance in front of the camera. He designed and/or wrote, directed, produced, etc., dozens of films – titles ranged from The Thief of Bagdad to Invaders from Mars – from the late 1910s all the way to the mid-1950s. Among Menzies' most notable efforts as an art director/production designer are: Ernst Lubitsch's first Hollywood movie, the Mary Pickford star vehicle Rosita (1923). Herbert Brenon's British-set father-son drama Sorrell and Son (1927). David O. Selznick's mammoth production of Gone with the Wind, which earned Menzies an Honorary Oscar. The Sam Wood movies Our Town (1940), Kings Row (1942), and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943). H.C. Potter's Mr. Lucky
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Cummings Pt.2: Working with Capra and West, Fighting Columbia in Court

Constance Cummings in 'Night After Night.' Constance Cummings: Working with Frank Capra and Mae West (See previous post: “Constance Cummings: Actress Went from Harold Lloyd to Eugene O'Neill.”) Back at Columbia, Harry Cohn didn't do a very good job at making Constance Cummings feel important. By the end of 1932, Columbia and its sweet ingenue found themselves in court, fighting bitterly over stipulations in her contract. According to the actress and lawyer's daughter, Columbia had failed to notify her that they were picking up her option. Therefore, she was a free agent, able to offer her services wherever she pleased. Harry Cohn felt otherwise, claiming that his contract player had waived such a notice. The battle would spill over into 1933. On the positive side, in addition to Movie Crazy 1932 provided Cummings with three other notable Hollywood movies: Washington Merry-Go-Round, American Madness, and Night After Night. 'Washington Merry-Go-Round
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Aussie wants to put the smell back into cinema

Australian writer-producer Tammy Burnstock has been fascinated by the world.s first and only .Smell-o-Vision. feature ever since she interviewed its director/cinematographer Jack Cardiff in 1986.

Now Burnstock is part of the team that aims to screen a restored version of Scent of Mystery, retitled Holiday in Spain, to cinema audiences around the world including Australia.

Released in 1960, the film starred Denholm Elliott as a mystery novelist who discovers a plan to murder an American heiress (Beverly Bentley) while on vacation in Spain. He enlists the help of a local taxi driver (Peter Lorre) to try to thwart the crime. The cast included Leo McKern, Diana Dors and Paul Lukas.

Cardiff and producer Mike Todd Jr. updated a system invented by a Swiss man, Dr. Hans Laube, which piped artificial scents through a network of tubes to the back of each seat in a theatre.

Laube first demonstrated his .Scentovision
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Ten Best: Deep Sea Thrillers

To mark the release of deep sea thriller Pressure, out now on DVD/download starring Danny Huston, Matthew Goode, Joe Cole, Alan McKenna and Daisy Lowe, we take a look at the best deep sea thrillers of all time.

The Hunt For Red October (1990)

Starring: Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn

Director: John McTiernan

Das Boot (1981)

Starring: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954)

Starring: Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, Peter Lorre

Director: Richard Fleischer

Jaws (1975)

Starring: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss

Director: Steven Spielberg

The Abyss (1989)

Starring: Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Michael Biehn

Director: James Cameron

The Big Blue (1988)

Starring: Jean-Marc Barr, Jean Reno, Rosanna Arquette, Paul Shenar.

Director: Luc Besson

Pressure (2015)

Starring: Danny Huston, Matthew Goode, Joe Cole, Alan McKenna and Daisy Lowe

Director: Ron Scalpello

Sphere (1998)

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson

Director: Barry Levinson
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Fiery Red-Head Hayward Is TCM's Star of the Month

Susan Hayward. Susan Hayward movies: TCM Star of the Month Fiery redhead Susan Hayward it Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month in Sept. 2015. The five-time Best Actress Oscar nominee – like Ida Lupino, a would-be Bette Davis that only sporadically landed roles to match the verve of her thespian prowess – was initially a minor Warner Bros. contract player who went on to become a Paramount second lead in the early '40s, a Universal leading lady in the late '40s, and a 20th Century Fox star in the early '50s. TCM will be presenting only three Susan Hayward premieres, all from her Fox era. Unfortunately, her Paramount and Universal work – e.g., Among the Living, Sis Hopkins, And Now Tomorrow, The Saxon Charm – which remains mostly unavailable (in quality prints), will remain unavailable this month. Highlights of the evening include: Adam Had Four Sons (1941), a sentimental but surprisingly
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Forgotten Actress Bruce on TCM: Career Went from Dawn of Talkies to L.A.'s Punk Rock Scene

Virginia Bruce: MGM actress ca. 1935. Virginia Bruce movies on TCM: Actress was the cherry on 'The Great Ziegfeld' wedding cake Unfortunately, Turner Classic Movies has chosen not to feature any non-Hollywood stars – or any out-and-out silent film stars – in its 2015 “Summer Under the Stars” series.* On the other hand, TCM has come up with several unusual inclusions, e.g., Lee J. Cobb, Warren Oates, Mae Clarke, and today, Aug. 25, Virginia Bruce. A second-rank MGM leading lady in the 1930s, the Minneapolis-born Virginia Bruce is little remembered today despite her more than 70 feature films in a career that spanned two decades, from the dawn of the talkie era to the dawn of the TV era, in addition to a handful of comebacks going all the way to 1981 – the dawn of the personal computer era. Career highlights were few and not all that bright. Examples range from playing the
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U.N.C.L.E.: Will International Moviegoers Save WB's Domestic Box Office Flop?

'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' 2015: Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' movie is a domestic box office bomb: Will it be saved by international filmgoers? Directed by Sherlock Holmes' Guy Ritchie and toplining Man of Steel star Henry Cavill and The Lone Ranger costar Armie Hammer, the Warner Bros. release The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has been a domestic box office disaster, performing about 25 percent below – already quite modest – expectations. (See also: “'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' Movie: Bigger Box Office Flop Than Expected.”) This past weekend, the $80 million-budget The Man from U.N.C.L.E. collected a meager $13.42 million from 3,638 North American theaters, averaging $3,689 per site. After five days out, the big-screen reboot of the popular 1960s television series starring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum has taken in a mere $16.77 million. For comparison's sake:
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From Robinson's Toyboy to Intrepid Drug Smuggler: Fairbanks Jr on TCM

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ca. 1935. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was never as popular as his father, silent film superstar Douglas Fairbanks, who starred in one action-adventure blockbuster after another in the 1920s (The Mark of Zorro, Robin Hood, The Thief of Bagdad) and whose stardom dates back to the mid-1910s, when Fairbanks toplined a series of light, modern-day comedies in which he was cast as the embodiment of the enterprising, 20th century “all-American.” What this particular go-getter got was screen queen Mary Pickford as his wife and United Artists as his studio, which he co-founded with Pickford, D.W. Griffith, and Charles Chaplin. Now, although Jr. never had the following of Sr., he did enjoy a solid two-decade-plus movie career. In fact, he was one of the few children of major film stars – e.g., Jane Fonda, Liza Minnelli, Angelina Jolie, Michael Douglas, Jamie Lee Curtis – who had successful film careers of their own.
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WB Drops Another Bomb: 'U.N.C.L.E.' Flops Disastrously in North America

'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' with Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' box office: Bigger domestic flop than expected? Before I address the box office debacle of Warner Bros.' The Man from U.N.C.L.E., I'd like remark upon the fact that 2015 has been a notable year at the North American box office. That's when the dinosaurs of Jurassic World smashed Hulk and his fellow Halloween-costumed Marvel superheroes of Avengers: Age of Ultron. And smashed them good: $636.73 million vs. $457.52 million. (See also: 'Jurassic World' beating 'The Avengers' worldwide and domestically?) At least in part for sentimental (or just downright morbid) reasons – Paul Walker's death in a car accident in late 2013 – Furious 7 has become by far the highest-grossing The Fast and the Furious movie in the U.S. and Canada: $351.03 million. (Shades of Heath Ledger's unexpected death
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Cry U.N.C.L.E.: TV Series Reboot Starring Superman and Lone Ranger One of Year's Biggest Domestic Bombs

'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' with Henry Cavill. 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' box office: Hollywood's third domestic bomb in a row Right on the heels of Chris Columbus-Adam Sandler's Pixels and Josh Trank's Fantastic Four comes The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a big screen adaptation of the 1960s television series, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Man of Steel hero Henry Cavill and The Lone Ranger costar Armie Hammer. (See updated follow-up post: “'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' Movie Box Office: Bigger Bomb Than Expected.”) Budgeted at a reported $88 million, to date Pixels has collected a mere $61.11 million in North America. Overseas things are a little better: an estimated $73.6 million as of Aug. 9, for a worldwide total of approx. $134.71 million. Sounds profitable? Well, not yet. First of all, let's not forget that distributor
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MGM's Lioness, the Epitome of Hollywood Superstardom, Has Her Day on TCM

Joan Crawford Movie Star Joan Crawford movies on TCM: Underrated actress, top star in several of her greatest roles If there was ever a professional who was utterly, completely, wholeheartedly dedicated to her work, Joan Crawford was it. Ambitious, driven, talented, smart, obsessive, calculating, she had whatever it took – and more – to reach the top and stay there. Nearly four decades after her death, Crawford, the star to end all stars, remains one of the iconic performers of the 20th century. Deservedly so, once you choose to bypass the Mommie Dearest inanity and focus on her film work. From the get-go, she was a capable actress; look for the hard-to-find silents The Understanding Heart (1927) and The Taxi Dancer (1927), and check her out in the more easily accessible The Unknown (1927) and Our Dancing Daughters (1928). By the early '30s, Joan Crawford had become a first-rate film actress, far more naturalistic than
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Hepburn Day on TCM: Love, Danger and Drag

Katharine Hepburn movies. Katharine Hepburn movies: Woman in drag, in love, in danger In case you're suffering from insomnia, you might want to spend your night and early morning watching Turner Classic Movies' "Summer Under the Stars" series. Four-time Best Actress Academy Award winner Katharine Hepburn is TCM's star today, Aug. 7, '15. (See TCM's Katharine Hepburn movie schedule further below.) Whether you find Hepburn's voice as melodious as a singing nightingale or as grating as nails on a chalkboard, you may want to check out the 1933 version of Little Women. Directed by George Cukor, this cozy – and more than a bit schmaltzy – version of Louisa May Alcott's novel was a major box office success, helping to solidify Hepburn's Hollywood stardom the year after her film debut opposite John Barrymore and David Manners in Cukor's A Bill of Divorcement. They don't make 'em like they used to Also, the 1933 Little Women
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What I Did This Weekend: Dorothy Arzner’s Women’s Films About Women

What a treat I gave myself. I went to the Billy Wilder Theater to see Director Dorothy Arzner’s films “The Wild Party” (1929, Paramount) and “Anybody’s Woman” (1930, Paramount) as restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, in cooperation with Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures.

And as good as these two films were (fantastic!), the audience was just as good. I saw our old friend Alan Howard with his friends David Ansen and Mary Corey, my best friend during our oh-so-long-ago freshman year at Brandeis. A perfect segue into the film “The Wild PartyClara Bow’s first sound feature. I had never seen Clara Bow before, nor had I seen a Dorothy Arzner film. And I had only seen Mary Corey once since we both left Brandeis after our freshman year and went our separate ways.

It somehow never occurred to me that Dorothy Arzner would have a particular point of view as a woman; but she certainly did. Lesbian herself, she made women’s films about women and men who were always slightly slighted by her, but with a loving touch. These were the opening films to the Dorothy Arzner Retrospective held in the Billy Wilder Theater of the Armand Hammer Museum. Alison Anders will present August 30th’s film “The Red Kimon” and “Old Ironsides” . The series runs until September 18. Do yourself a favor and catch at least one of these historic films by a historic director…an anomaly perhaps still yet to be surpassed.

"The Wild Party" (1929)

In “The Wild PartyClara Bow plays Stella is an inveterate partier at an all-girl college. She is tough – when drunken men molest her and her friends and even kidnap her to rape her – she fights. When a favorite classmate is implicated in a scandal, Stella heroically defends her friend's reputation at the expense of her own. Rich with pre-Code delights (including furtive, "innocent" bed-hopping with college professors), one may easily detect the film's insistence on the supremacy of female friendships.

Clara Bow, the “It” Girl, in my mind was a live Betty Boop; what the “it” meant in her nickname was not clear though I knew it had something to do with sexy. Actually, her breakthrough film was entitled “It”. She is a wonderful comedian and her expressive eyes and face rule the screen; she was America’s first sex symbol. She won a photo beauty contest which launched her movie career that would eventually number 58 films, from 1922 to 1933.

Paramount Famous Lasky Corp. Producer: E. Lloyd Sheldon. Director: Dorothy Arzner. Screenwriter: E. Lloyd Sheldon. Based on a story by Warner Fabian. Cinematographer: Victor Milner. Editor: Otto Lovering. With: Clara Bow, Fredric March, Marceline Day, Shirley O’Hara, Adrienne Doré. 35mm, b/w, 77 min.

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by the Myra Reinhard Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Jodie Foster, in cooperation with Universal Studios.

"Anybody's Woman" (1930)

“Anybody’s Woman” holds lots of surprises including the title itself. The cheesy out-of-work chorine Pansy Gray (Ruth Chatterton) accepts an irresponsible marriage proposal from Neil Dunlap (Clive Brook), an intoxicated but elegant upper crust attorney, and winds up in high society, to the horror of her newfound "family." Reforming her dissolute husband and striving to be an honest social success, Pansy is compromised by the flirtations of several men, including Neil's most important client, for which she is denounced as a seductress.

As David described Clive Brook as stiff and Mary defended his acting because the role called for such a stiff actor, Kevin Thomas was introduced to David and joined our little group; the talk veered into other directions and so did I. But I want to say that Paul Lukas, the Hungarian born actor held a very special place in this film; elegant but vulgar, open and mysterious, he was able to play the thin line of a slightly compromised but sincere character. He went on to win the Oscar for Best Actor for “Watch on the Rhine” in 1948.

Ruth Chatterton herself began as a chorus girl at age 14 so her role must have felt very natural to her. She became a Broadway star with "Daddy Long Legs" in 1914 and appeared in various shows before moving to Hollywood in 1925. As her film career faded in the late 1930s, she returned to the stage in revivals, and radio and TV performances, including "Hamlet." In the 1950s, she began a successful writing career. She was nominted twice for an Academy Award for Best Actress. She had no children.

Paramount Publix Corp. Director: Dorothy Arzner. Screenwriter: Zoë Akins, Doris Anderson. Cinematographer: Charles Lang. Editor: Jane Loring. With: Ruth Chatterton, Clive Brook, Paul Lukas. 35mm, b/w, 80 min.

Read about this film series in the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.

The UCLA Film Archive is pleased to commemorate the indispensable career of director Dorothy Arzner (1897-1979) as part of a year-long commemoration of our own 50th Anniversary. This retrospective features six Archive restorations of Arzner's work, which have helped to spur scholarship into and retrospectives of the director's remarkable achievements. The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television is also proud to claim Arzner as a former professor. A remarkable and nearly unique figure in American film history, Arzner forged a career characterized by an individual worldview, and a strong, recognizable voice. She was also, not incidentally, the sole female director in the studio era to sustain a directing career, working in that capacity for nearly two decades and helming 20 features—conspicuously, still a record in Hollywood. Distinguished as a storyteller with penetrating insight into women's perspectives and experiences, Arzner herself emphatically made the point that only a woman could offer such authority and authenticity. At a time when the marginalization of women directors in the American film establishment is still actively debated, we celebrate Dorothy Arzner, and the Archive's long association with her legacy.

Special thanks to: Peggy Alexander, Curator—Performing Arts Special Collections, UCLA Library; Gayle Nachlis, Kirsten Schaffer—Women in Film, Los Angeles.
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Wright and Goldwyn Have an Ugly Parting of the Ways; Brando (More or Less) Comes to the Rescue

Teresa Wright-Samuel Goldwyn association comes to a nasty end (See preceding post: "Teresa Wright in 'Shadow of a Doubt': Alfred Hitchcock Heroine in His Favorite Film.") Whether or not because she was aware that Enchantment wasn't going to be the hit she needed – or perhaps some other disagreement with Samuel Goldwyn or personal issue with husband Niven BuschTeresa Wright, claiming illness, refused to go to New York City to promote the film. (Top image: Teresa Wright in a publicity shot for The Men.) Goldwyn had previously announced that Wright, whose contract still had another four and half years to run, was to star in a film version of J.D. Salinger's 1948 short story "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut." Instead, he unceremoniously – and quite publicly – fired her.[1] The Goldwyn organization issued a statement, explaining that besides refusing the assignment to travel to New York to help generate pre-opening publicity for Enchantment,
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La Bête Humaine and Cat People Actress Remembered Part 1 (Revised and Expanded Version)

'Cat People' 1942 actress Simone Simon Remembered: Starred in Jacques Tourneur's cult horror movie classic (photo: Simone Simon in 'Cat People') Pert, pouty, pretty Simone Simon is best remembered for her starring roles in Jacques Tourneur's cult horror movie Cat People (1942) and in Jean Renoir's French film noir La Bête Humaine (1938). Long before Brigitte Bardot, Mamie Van Doren, Ann-Margret, and (for a few years) Jane Fonda became known as cinema's Sex Kittens, Simone Simon exuded feline charm in a film career that spanned a quarter of a century. From the early '30s to the mid-'50s, she seduced men young and old on both sides of the Atlantic – at times, with fatal results. During that period, Simon was featured in nearly 40 movies in France, Italy, Germany, Britain, and Hollywood. Besides Jean Renoir, in her native country she worked for the likes of Jacqueline Audry
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Double Oscar Winning Actress Luise Rainer Dies at 104

Double Oscar Winning Actress Luise Rainer Dies at 104
Hollywood actress Luise Rainer, who won back-to-back Oscars in the 1930s, has died at the age of 104. Until her death, she was the oldest living Oscar winner. Rainer died of pneumonia Tuesday at her London home, according to daughter Francesca.

Rainer won her twin best actress Oscars for 1936 biopic “The Great Ziegfeld,” drawing the nod despite a fairly small role as impresario Florenz Ziegfeld’s first wife, and 1937’s “The Good Earth,” an adaptation of the novel by Pearl S. Buck in which the heavily, if charmingly, accented Austrian-German actress played a humble Chinese peasant.

The high expectations generated by her Oscar achievements did not, however lead to much further success in Hollywood. Some say the death of her producer at MGM, Irving Thalberg, as well as bad advice from her husband, the playwright Clifford Odets, contributed to the precipitous decline in her career.

Her first movie was “Escapade,” with William Powell.
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