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Barbara Stanwyck: Fire and Desire (1991)

Sally Field hosts this thorough documentary about actress Barbara Stanwyck. Highlights include Ball of Fire (1941), Double Indemnity (1944) and Sorry, Wrong Number (1948).

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Sally Field hosts this thorough documentary about actress Barbara Stanwyck. Highlights include Ball of Fire (1941), Double Indemnity (1944) and Sorry, Wrong Number (1948). Written by Mattias Thuresson

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15 July 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Barbara Stanwyck: Fuego y deseo  »

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Goofs

Excerpts from Stanwyck films are continuously and repeatedly shown out of chronological sequence, with the result that they often contradict whatever point the script is trying to make in regards to the development of her career. See more »

Connections

Features Quo Vadis (1951) See more »

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okay but Barbara deserved better
21 December 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Normally I like Richard Schickel's many contributions to classic film. In Barbara Stanwyck: Fire and Desire, made in 1991, he looks at the career of this wonderful actress and strong woman. The result is a little disappointing.

Sally Field hosted the documentary, but there were no interviews about Stanwyck by people who knew or worked with her. Therefore, all the viewer saw were clips of Stanwyck's performances. It seemed that all the high drama was lumped together and then all the comedy was lumped together, rather than showing her versatility by mixing the two. Though Stanwyck's vulnerability was discussed, between her anger and screaming in the clips, we didn't get to see much of it. There was more than one scene from my least favorite of her films, Sorry, Wrong Number, a film in which she is way over the top. I don't blame her; I blame the director. The documentary could have used some clips of Stanwyck during moments of softness - for instance, from Ever in My Heart, or that wonderful moment when she sees Gary Cooper for the first time in Meet John Doe, or a section from Remember the Night.

The program also failed to address the issue of female stars aging when discussing her films in the '50s, some of which were done on the cheap, and why she went into television. And it would have been lovely to show her short speech when she was given an award by the American Film Institute.

In short, Stanwyck got short shrift here just as she did on so many Academy Award nights. Rather than watch this documentary, see her films

  • all the way through, not just the parts where she was crying or


screaming.


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