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This is a highly entertaining movie from the '80s when they still made
them with opulence! "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" was originally a novel
written by Dominick Dunne. The plot is based on the real-life story of
the shooting of William Woodward, a New York socialite. The question
asked for years afterwards was, did his wife shoot him by accident
thinking he was a burglar as she claimed? Or did she deliberately kill
him? The film explores this and the lives of the wealthy along the way.
In the movie, Ann-Margret portrays the chorus girl wife who marries way, way above her station. The other Mrs. Grenville is her mother-in-law, played to perfection by the still glamorous Claudette Colbert. People who knew Woodward's real-life mother, Elsie, state that Colbert was dead-on in the role. In the book, film, and real life, the elder Mrs. Grenville supports her daughter-in-law throughout but not because she believes her or can even tolerate her. She does it to protect the family from scandal.
The movie spans fifty years and will hold your interest throughout.
Ann-Margret definitely deserved the Emmy nomination she received for her role in "the Two Mrs.Grenvilles" she is no less than brilliant. Colbert is just as good and the two on screen together is just the greatest thing ever! The movie itself is just as great!
Claudette Colbert is far and away one of the BEST actresses that ever appeared on screen, small or big. She did drama and comedy with equal incredible talent. Her roles in wartime were some of her best... "Since You Went Away", "So Proudly We Hail", just to name two. Her Oscar winner, "It Happened One Night", while a very good performance in a good movie, is not her best. She should have gotten more Oscars. Her turn in "The Egg and I" is hilarious, and yet, totally believable. I miss going to the movies because there aren't performers like Claudette Colbert. There is only one in this day and age that even approaches the talent of Claudette Colbert and that is Sally Field. Consider the similarities!
When Navy ensign Billy Grenville, heir to a vast New York fortune, sees showgirl Ann Arden on the dance floor, it is love at first sight. And much to the horror of Alice Grenville--the indomitable family matriarch--he marries her. Ann wants desperately to be accepted by high society and become the well-bred woman of her fantasies. But a gunshot one rainy night propels Ann into a notorious spotlight--as the two Mrs. Grenvilles enter into a conspiracy of silence that will bind them together for as long as they live. . . .This is by far one of the best made for TV dramas I have ever seen.I still have it on videotape.Ann Margaret is well Anne Margaret no great actress as you will see but totally drop dead gorgeous which was why she was cast in the first place.Claudette Colbert also ideally cast as the Family Matriarch.At the funeral of the grandson Billy Grenville Colbert without missing a beat says to Anne Grenville "Well maybe now you know what it feels like to lose a son."A must see and must read book and film. -R Brentnall
how where can i buy this movie either on VHS or DVD? both performances are incredible and the settings, the directions the whole spirit of the era are more than believable....they are....in this movie. i just want to find out where i can buy this movie to have anytime i want, and i have to write 10 lines of text to ask the questions. seems silly but i will state once again that this is a phenomenal performance buy (sic) both Ann-Margeret and Ms. Colbert. excellent supporting cast as well. and what excellent direction. the drama is as dramatic as this site even more so. how awesome it could be if CBS NBC ABC or FOX could rerun the entire movie during sweeps week
Ann Margret to me is the most under appreciated actress of our times. A
brilliant actress in Drama, Comedy and Music. I can go on for
paragraphs but to sum it up Ann Margret is the bestest of the best.This
film also gave us the opportunity to see a real Star at work, Claudette
Colbert who return to film work after a 25 year absence (Parrish, 1961,
a great WB film). Ms Colbert dominates her scenes and won a Golden
Globe for her fine work.
This film is based on a true murder mystery the Ann Woodward case that was the basis of the Dominick Dunne novel. A fine film ably directed but the real reason to see it is to witness the work of two great actresses Ann Margret and the one and only Claudette Colbert who won a Golden Globe for her brilliant performance. Dominick Dunne in his book The Way We Lived Then said that Bette Davis, Jane Wyman, Ginger Rogers, Loretta Young, Olivia De Havilland, Joan Fontaine all coveted the role that Claudette Colbert got, and good Colbert did! Colbert was a member of New York Cafe Society and for that reason may have had a better insight into her role than her peers.
This is a fine film and catch it for the performances of two very fine actresses Claudette Colbert and the remarkable Ann Margret
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is simply one of the best made for television movies ever done.
God only knows why it did not get a big screen release. In the title
roles Ann-Margret and Claudette Colbert were simply flawless in their
performances. This was one great capstone performance for Claudette
Colbert who had not been on the big screen or small since 1961 in
Dominick Dunne based his novel and this film on the famous William Woodward, Jr. and anyone who saw this under the age of 20 in 1987 would have known about that murder. Wife Ann Woodward(Grenville) murdered her husband ostensibly mistaking him for a prowler. She sold that story to the Grand Jury which returned no true bill and backed up her story.
In the court of public opinion however the widow Grenville was convicted and her public was the high society that her husband had introduced her too. The individual stories of the various Grenvilles as the Woodwards in real life end tragically all around.
Ann-Margret is an actress with a white trash background who meets and marries Stephen Collins the golden son of high society. The marriage is objected to by his mother Claudette Colbert and his three sisters who come off like the witches from MacBeth. And it's a rocky marriage with both partners cheating. But they in the end seem to care for each other.
That night in 1955 when life as all the Woodwards(Grenvilles)knew it is accurately depicted from what I learned. Curiously enough the role of the governor of New York with his name changed from Harriman to Milbank is also depicted. Averell Harriman was a member of the same upper crust crowd that the Woodwards were and I have no doubt that Claudette Colbert had his number on speed dial. What the governor did was remove the younger Mrs. Grenville from the investigation by the Nassau County Police and had her put in a psychiatric hospital. That may have saved her life and possibly cheated justice.
Ann-Margret and Claudette Colbert were just wonderful in their roles. The film was nominated for many awards with Claudette taking home a Golden Globe for her performance.
Dunne who was an observer of the high society scene meticulously dropped a lot of names and places that were quite accurate. Some were changed as the name of the unseen governor of New York. Others were quite real and none more so than the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. By the way Sian Phillips is also wonderful as the former Wallis Warfield Simpson who also had quite the scandalous story herself.
If you are a fan of any of the players here make sure to see this if broadcast or buy the DVD. You will be entertained and informed.
Claudette Colbert is the only reason to watch this made for television movie. She looks fabulous and steals every scene she is in. Ann-Margaret, on the other hand, is miscast and chews the scenery up with her hysterics!
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