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18 items from 2013

Joan Fontaine obituary

16 December 2013 9:16 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Oscar-winning actor who played threatened heroines for Alfred Hitchcock in Rebecca and Suspicion

It was hard to cast the lead in Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1939. The female fans of the bestseller were very protective of the naive woman whom the widower Max de Winter marries and transports to his ancestral home of Manderley. None of the contenders – including Vivien Leigh, Anne Baxter and Loretta Young – felt right for the second Mrs de Winter, who was every lending-library reader's dream self.

To play opposite Laurence Olivier in the film, the producer David O Selznick suggested instead a 21-year-old actor with whom he was smitten: Joan Fontaine. The prolonged casting process made Fontaine anxious. Vulnerability was central to the part, and you can see that vulnerability, that inability to trust her own judgment, in every frame of the film. The performance brought Fontaine, who has died »

- Veronica Horwell

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Oscar Winner Joan Fontaine Dead At Age 96

16 December 2013 7:12 AM, PST | | See recent CinemaRetro news »

Joan Fontaine, who won the Best Actress Oscar for Alfred Hitchcock's 1941 classic Suspicion, has died in her California home at age 96. Fontaine began her film career playing attractive but nondescript characters until Hitchcock cast her as the female lead in his 1940 film version of the bestseller Rebecca opposite Laurence Olivier. The film earned her an Oscar nomination and elevated her to one of Hollywood's most in-demand actresses. In 1943 she received a third and final Oscar nomination for The Constant Nymph. Fontaine also won rave notices in the film version of the Gothic novel Jane Eyre, starring opposite Orson Welles. In both films she played an innocent woman whose husband is harboring a shocking secret that is unveiled within the walls of a stately but foreboding country manor. Fontaine's other major films include Ivanhoe, The Emperor Waltz, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands, This Above All, The Women, Gunga Din, »

- (Cinema Retro)

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Goodbye Joan Fontaine

16 December 2013 5:32 AM, PST | | See recent news »

Joan Fontaine

The iconic actress Joan Fontaine has died at the age of 95. Star of Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca, she went on to win an Oscar for her work in Suspicion, setting the standard for the director's many cool blondes. She also gave the screen a memorable Jane Eyre and appeared in the likes of Gunga Din and Letter From An Unknown Woman.

The sister of Olivia de Havilland, Fontaine began her career on the stage but was quickly signed by Rko and groomed for stardom, starring alongside Katharine Hepburn in Quality Street. Alongside her film career, she worked in television and became a successful radio star. She retired in 1994 to spend more time with the dogs she adored.

Fontaine died peacefully at her home in Carmel-by-the-sea, California. She is survived by a daughter from her second marriage, Deborah, and by an adopted daughter, Martita, from whom she had become estranged. »

- Jennie Kermode

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Joan Fontaine: 1917 - 2013

15 December 2013 6:43 PM, PST | IMDb News

Academy Award-winning actress Joan Fontaine, the leading lady known for her string of roles as demure, well-mannered and often well-bred heroines in the 1940s, and the younger sister of actress Olivia de Havilland, died today at her home in Carmel, California; she was 96.

Known best for her back-to-back roles in two Alfred Hitchcock thrillers -- the 1940 Best Picture winner Rebecca and the 1941 film Suspicion, for which she won a Best Actress Oscar, making her the ony actor in a Hitchcock film to receive an Academy Award -- she and her sister were enshrined in Hollywood lore as intense rivals, and their rivalry reached a peak of sorts when Fontaine beat de Havilland for the 1941 Best Actress Oscar.

Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland in 1917 in Tokyo, Japan, Fontaine suffered from recurring ailments throughout her childhood, resulting in her mother moving both her and Olivia to California. While her mother, stage actress Lillian Fontaine, desired for both her daughters to be actresses, it was only Olivia who initially pursued an acting career, as Fontaine returned to Japan for two years when she was 15 years old to live with her father, who divorced Lillian in 1919. Upon returning to the states, Fontaine found that Olivia was already becoming an established actress, and began to embark on her own career. Starting out in theater, Joan initially changed her name to Joan Burfield, then Joan Fontaine (so as to avoid confusion with her sister), and soon found herself in moderately noteworthy parts in such films as You Can't Beat Love (1937), A Damsel in Distress (1937, opposite Fred Astaire) and Gunga Din (1939, alongside Cary Grant, her future leading man in Suspicion). Though she garnered more notice in 1939 in the supporting part of naive newlywed Peggy Day in the classic comedy The Women, she was far eclipsed in fame and reputation by her sister, who had already starred along Errol Flynn in a number of romance adventures, and who received her first Oscar nomination for the blockbuster Gone With the Wind.

It was the same man who cast de Havilland in Gone With the Wind who would make Fontaine into a major star. Looking to follow up the monstrous success of Gone With the Wind with another noteworthy literary adapation, producer David O. Selnick snapped up the rights to the Daphne du Maurier bestseller Rebecca, in which an unnamed, demure heroine -- known only as "the second Mrs. de Winter" -- is taunted by the memory of her husband's first wife, the beautiful and seductive title character. Selznick brought director Alfred Hitchcock over for his first American production, cast matinee idol and rising star Laurence Olivier as moody, mysterious husband Maxim de Winter, and embarked on a Scarlett O'Hara-style talent search for his leading lady. Rejecting Loretta Young, Margaret Sullavan, Vivian Leigh (then Olivier's wife), and a then-unknown Anne Baxter along with hundreds of other actresses, Selznick decided on Fontaine, who though not an established star projected the right mix of beauty, insecurity, and tenacity needed for the part. Fontaine's insecurity, however, was heightened by Olivier's sometimes cruel treatment of her on set, as he had lobbied aggressively for Leigh to get the role, and Hitchcock capitalized on her inferiority complex to shape her performance. The resulting film, released in 1940, was an unqualified critical and financial success, catapulting Fontaine into the tier of top Hollywood leading ladies, establishing Hitchcock firmly in the United States, and nabbing the film 11 Academy Award nominations, includine ones for both Fontaine and Olivier; it would go on to win Best Picture.

Selznick, pleased with the combination of Hitchcock and Fontaine, signed the two on for a follow-up about a demure heiress who begins to suspect that her playboy husband is out to murder her for her money. Initially titled Before the Fact, it would later be retitled Suspicion, and Cary Grant was cast as the charming but caddish husband. Though the final ending of the film was tinkered with -- studio heads thought making Grant guilty would be bad for box office, and insisted on a twist to make him actually heroic -- it was another success, earning three Oscar nominations, including Fontaine's second Best Actress nod. It was at the 1941 Academy Awards that Fontaine, once considered the also-ran to her movie star sister, beat Olivia de Havilland for the Best Actress Oscar (de Havilland had been nominated for Hold Back the Dawn). In what became part of Hollywood and Academy Award legend, Fontaine coolly rejected her sister's efforts at congratulations, and What had always been a fractious relationship since childhood became officially estranged. Hollywood wags often reported that because de Havilland lost to her sister, she would retaliate by winning two Oscars -- in 1946 for To Each His Own and 1949 for The Heiress -- in order to top Fontaine. The two would officially stop speaking to one another in 1975.

Fontaine received a third Oscar nomination in 1943, for the music melodrama The Constant Nymph, and that same year essayed the title role in the commercially successful if moderately well-regarded version of Jane Eyre opposite Orson Welles. She remained a star throughout the 1940s, appearing in the comedy The Affairs of Susan (1945), the thriller Ivy (1947), and opposite Bing Crosby in The Emperor Waltz (1948). Fontaine also gave what many consider to be her best performance in 1948's Letters from an Unknown Woman, Max Ophuls' romantic drama opposite Louis Jourdan. In 1945 she divorced her first husband, actor Brian Aherne, and in 1946 married producer William Dozier, whom she would divorce in 1951. Two years later, she was embroiled in a bitter custody battle with him over their daughter, Debbie, and the ongoing lawsuit would prevent Fontaine from accepting the role of frustrated military wife Karen Holmes in the Oscar-winning drama From Here to Eternity -- Deborah Kerr was instead cast, and received an Oscar nomination for the part.

Though she continued to work throughout the 1950s, most notably in the lavish Technicolor adaptation of Ivanhoe (1952), Ida Lupino's film noir The Bigamist (1953), and in the pioneering if often campy racial drama Island in the Sun (1957), her work in both film and television lessened, and her last film appearance was in Hammer Films horror movie The Devil's Own (1966). Television work followed in the 1970s and 1980s, and Fontaine received a Daytime Emmy nomination for the soap opera Ryan's Hope. She published an autobiography, No Bed of Roses, in 1978, and after the television film Good King Wenceslas (1994), retired officially to her home in Carmel, California.

Fontaine is survived by her daughter, Debbie Dozier. »

- Mark Englehart

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Joan Fontaine, Oscar-Winning Best Actress, Dies at 96

15 December 2013 5:45 PM, PST | | See recent news »

Hollywood stalwart Joan Fontaine, best known for her roles in director Alfred Hitchcock's 1939 Rebecca and her Best Actress Oscar-winning role in his 1940 film Suspicion, died Sunday at her northern California home, according to several reports. She was 96. Details of her death were not immediately available. In addition to playing a mousey spouse in both the Hitchcock films, first alongside Laurence Olivier and then to Cary Grant, Fontaine's other well-known movies included 1943's The Constant Nymph, which got her a third Oscar nomination, 1944's Jane Eyre with Orson Welles, 1952's Ivanhoe with Robert Taylor, and 1957's controversial Island in the Sun with Harry Belafonte. »

- Stephen M. Silverman

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Suspicion star Joan Fontaine dies, aged 96

15 December 2013 5:09 PM, PST | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Suspicion star Joan Fontaine has died, aged 96.

The actress's assistant confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Fontaine passed away at her Carmel, CA home of natural causes.

Fontaine is best known for her work with the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock in the films Suspicion and Rebecca.

She won a Best Actress Oscar in 1942 for her performance in Suspicion as a woman who falls under the spell of a conman.

Fontaine was competing in the Best Actress race that year against her sister Olivia de Havilland, with whom she had a well-documented rivalry.

The star had other memorable roles in The Constant Nymph, Gunga Din and Letter from an Unknown Woman.

Her later career saw Fontaine work extensively in television in Wagon Train and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

Fontaine also earned a Daytime Emmy Award nomination in 1980 for playing Paige Williams in the soap opera Ryan's Hope.

She was married four times throughout her life, »

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Suspicion star Joan Fontaine dies, aged 96

15 December 2013 5:09 PM, PST | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Suspicion star Joan Fontaine has died, aged 96.

The actress's assistant confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Fontaine passed away at her Carmel, CA home of natural causes.

Fontaine is best known for her work with the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock in the films Suspicion and Rebecca.

She won a Best Actress Oscar in 1942 for her performance in Suspicion as a woman who falls under the spell of conman.

Fontaine was competing in the Best Actress race that year against her sister Olivia de Havilland, with whom she had a well-documented rivalry.

The star had other memorable roles in The Constant Nymph, Gunga Din and Letter from an Unknown Woman.

Her later career saw Fontaine work extensively in television in Wagon Train and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

Fontaine also earned a Daytime Emmy Award nomination in 1980 for playing Paige Williams in the soap opera Ryan's Hope.

She was married four times throughout her life, »

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R.I.P. Joan Fontaine

15 December 2013 5:03 PM, PST | Dark Horizons | See recent Dark Horizons news »

Legendary actress Joan Fontaine has died. She was 96. No details are immediately available.

Born in Japan to British parents in 1917, she and her sister Olivia de Havilland moved to California as toddlers and began working for Rko Pictures by 1935. Early roles include the likes of "Quality Street" and "The Women," "Gunga Din," "The Man Who Found Himself," and "Damsel in Distress".

Fontaine achieved stardom in the early 1940s when she scored an Oscar nomination for Alfred Hitchcock's Best Picture winner "Rebecca" (underrated and one of my personal favorite Hitchcocks).

The following year she went on to win the Oscar for "Suspicion," her second team-up with Hitchcock and the only actress to ever win for a Hitchcock film. Fontaine beat her sister that year at the Oscars, and a rejected attempt to congratulate her added to an already frictional relationship - the pair having not spoken since the 1970s. De Havilland currently lives in Paris. »

- Garth Franklin

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Joan Fontaine, Oscar-Winning Star of Hitchcock Classics, Dies at 96

15 December 2013 4:50 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Cool beauty Joan Fontaine, who gave strong performances in a number of classic films including Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca” and Max Ophuls’ “Letter From an Unknown Woman,” died Sunday at her home in Carmel, Calif. She was 96.

Though acclaimed for her talent and elegance, the actress was equally well known for her decades-long feud with sister Olivia de Havilland.

Her porcelain beauty sometimes underlined an icy hauteur (which became more pronounced in later years), but she is best remembered for performances of vulnerability, such as in “The Constant Nymph” (her personal favorite) and Hitchcock’s “Suspicion,” which brought her an Oscar.

The daughter of Lillian Ruse and Walter de Havilland, Fontaine was born in Tokyo (she was 18 months younger than Olivia). Her parents divorced soon after, and her mother brought the two young girls to live in Saratoga, in Northern California, where she taught diction and voice control.

Her mother »

- Richard Natale

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The Legacy of European Colonialism Revisited in Sprawling Documentary Presentation

15 October 2013 2:54 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Dutch Colonialism and its long-lasting consequences are the topics of the documentary ’Empire’ at the Redcat (photo: ’Empire: The Unintended Consequences of Dutch Colonialism’) Mixing personal narratives, investigative journalism, video art, and split/multiple screens, Eline Jongsma and Kel O’Neill’s transmedia documentary Empire: The Unintended Consequences of Dutch Colonialism — the lengthy title gives you a pretty good idea of what the film is about — will have its West Coast Premiere on Monday, November 11, 2013, at 8:30 p.m. at downtown Los Angeles’ Redcat. Both Eline Jongsma and Kel O’Neill are expected to attend the screening. Previously shown at the 2013 New York Film Festival, Empire: The Unintended Consequences of Dutch Colonialism was filmed in more than half a dozen countries over the course of three years. According to the Redcat press release, the Dutch-American filmmakers (Jongsma is Dutch; O’Neill is American) "traveled 140,000 kilometers through Asia, Africa, Oceania and »

- Andre Soares

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Revisiting Hollywood’s Back Yard

14 October 2013 9:00 PM, PDT | Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy | See recent Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy news »

I fell in love with Lone Pine, California all over again this weekend, having been away a number of years. The 24th Annual Lone Pine Film Festival beckoned me back, and it didn’t take long to fall under the spell of Mount Whitney and the majestic Sierra peaks that overlook the town. Once I got out into the Alabama Hills, where so many movies have been shot over the past century, I was a goner. You can visit settings for everything from Gunga Din and High Sierra to Lives of a Bengal Lancer. The icing on the cake is a dream-come-true that didn’t exist when my family and I were first introduced to Lone Pine by the late Dave Holland: the world-class Beverly and...

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- Leonard Maltin

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Marvelous Da7e #12: Howard The Duck, The First Marvel Movie

4 September 2013 11:36 AM, PDT | LatinoReview | See recent LatinoReview news »

Welcome to Issue 12 of ‘The Marvelous Da7e!’

Real quick mission statement: this column is for discussion of superhero movie news and superhero movies. Titular allegiance aside, this sphere includes non-Marvel properties.

This week: What we can learn by defining Howard The Duck.

Pardon me, but I’ve been re-watching Howard The Duck. The 1986 live-action creature-feature “sci-fi/comedy,” PG-rated zoophilia and notorious flop.

It’s not a good movie. It’s an enjoyable movie, but not because of what is on screen…okay, scratch-that. It has the most physically attractive appearence of Lea Thompson on film and this time, she’s not the mother of our main character, so you can totally lust after her up until the end where it seems like she’s actually going to have sex with this duck.

Ducks, who – by the way – are basically rapists across the board. But that’s neither here nor there. »

- Da7e

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10 great geek TV musical moments

15 August 2013 10:40 PM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

Feature Juliette Harrisson 16 Aug 2013 - 06:36

Juliette celebrates ten geek TV moments in which music and story are inseperable, with help from Buffy, Quantum Leap, Star Trek & more...

There are great dialogue-free scenes (most of Buffy’s Hush for one) and there are great silent or music-free moments (the credit sequences in Game of Thrones’ The Rains of Castamere and The Walking Dead’s The Killer Inside, most of Buffy’s The Body). But here, we’re celebrating musical moments where the score or soundtrack comes to the fore. The scene may or may not include dialogue, the music may be part of the scene (the technical term for this is diegetic) or part of the score, that is, music that does not exist for the characters but enhances the experience for the viewer (non-diegetic or extra-diegetic). However it’s set up, however it’s used, there are moments where »

- louisamellor

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Forget Hitchcock's Vertigo: Tonight the Greatest Movie About Obsessive Desire

6 August 2013 3:51 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Joan Fontaine movies: ‘This Above All,’ ‘Letter from an Unknown Woman’ (photo: Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine in ‘Suspicion’ publicity image) (See previous post: “Joan Fontaine Today.”) Also tonight on Turner Classic Movies, Joan Fontaine can be seen in today’s lone TCM premiere, the flag-waving 20th Century Fox release The Above All (1942), with Fontaine as an aristocratic (but socially conscious) English Rose named Prudence Cathaway (Fontaine was born to British parents in Japan) and Fox’s top male star, Tyrone Power, as her Awol romantic interest. This Above All was directed by Anatole Litvak, who would guide Olivia de Havilland in the major box-office hit The Snake Pit (1948), which earned her a Best Actress Oscar nod. In Max Ophüls’ darkly romantic Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), Fontaine delivers not only what is probably the greatest performance of her career, but also one of the greatest movie performances ever. Letter from an Unknown Woman »

- Andre Soares

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Fontaine Shines in Classic Movies of the '40s

6 August 2013 3:50 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Joan Fontaine today: One of the best actresses of the studio era has her ‘Summer Under the Stars’ day Joan Fontaine, one of the few surviving stars of the 1930s, is Turner Classic Movies’ "Summer Under the Stars" star today, Tuesday, August 6, 2013. I’m posting this a little late in the game: TCM has already shown six Joan Fontaine movies, including the first-rate medieval adventure Ivanhoe and the curious marital drama The Bigamist, directed by and co-starring Ida Lupino, and written by Collier Young — husband of both Fontaine and Lupino (at different times). Anyhow, TCM has quite a few more Joan Fontaine movies in store. (Photo: Joan Fontaine publicity shot ca. 1950.) (TCM schedule: Joan Fontaine movies.) As far as I’m concerned, Joan Fontaine was one of the best actresses of the studio era. She didn’t star in nearly as many movies as sister Olivia de Havilland, perhaps because »

- Andre Soares

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With Durbin Gone, Who's Still Around from the '30s?

7 May 2013 3:41 AM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Oscar winners Olivia de Havilland and Luise Rainer among movie stars of the 1930s still alive With the passing of Deanna Durbin this past April, only a handful of movie stars of the 1930s remain on Planet Earth. Below is a (I believe) full list of surviving Hollywood "movie stars of the 1930s," in addition to a handful of secondary players, chiefly those who achieved stardom in the ensuing decade. Note: There’s only one male performer on the list — and curiously, four of the five child actresses listed below were born in April. (Please scroll down to check out the list of Oscar winners at the 75th Academy Awards, held on March 23, 2003, as seen in the picture above. Click on the photo to enlarge it. © A.M.P.A.S.) Two-time Oscar winner and London resident Luise Rainer (The Great Ziegfeld, The Good Earth, The Great Waltz), 103 last January »

- Andre Soares

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Exclusive: Roman Coppola talks about Doctor Strange and comic book movies

27 January 2013 11:40 PM, PST | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Recently the Internet was abuzz when Roman Coppola mentioned he had planned to do a comic book movie with his cousin Nicolas Cage (The Rock) portraying Doctor Strange.  I brought up the subject while talking to the writer-director about his latest movie A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (2012). “Nowadays it’s over saturated with so many comic book movies,” states the recent Oscar nominee.  “It has lessened in my mind.  In the past, 15 to 20 years ago, when I talked about Doctor Strange most of the comic book movies were terrible.  They’ve [I’m speaking of the Marvel Universe] managed to make them more true to the spirit of the comics as I recall reading them as a boy.  If someone said to me, ‘We’d love you to do Doctor Strange. Run with it. What’s your take on it?’ I’d be delighted to have a shot at that but it seems »

- Trevor

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The 300 Greatest Films Ever Made (Part 22)

23 January 2013 9:24 AM, PST | Cinelinx | See recent Cinelinx news »

Our daily countdown continues with part 22 out of 30 in our list of the 300 Greatest Films Ever Made. These are numbers 90-81.

90) Gunga Din (1939) George Stevens USA


89) Yojimbo (1961) Akira Kurasawa Japan


88) Dracula (1931) Todd Browning USA


87) Double Indemnity (1944) Billy Wilder USA


86) My Darling Clementine (1946) John Ford USA


85) My Fair Lady (1964) George Cuckor USA


84) The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938) Michael Curtiz USA

83) A Hard Days Night (1964) Richard Lester British


82) The Searchers (1956) John Ford USA


81) The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) James Whale USA


Numbers 80-71 coming up next.

film cultureClassicslist300 »

- (Rob Young)

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