Saturday, December 17, 2011

Irene Dunne

I love Irene Dunne.  Not only was she a fabulous, first rate actress, who could effortlessly slip between dramatic and comedic roles, but she could sing. She trained as an opera singer, but didn't get the job at the Metropolitan Opera.  Instead she was discovered by Florenz Ziegfeld in an elevator. This woman could do it all,  like so many of the super talented stars of the silver screen.  She was a highly thought of leading lady, but today few know her name.  I challenge you not to fall in love with her after seeing her in just a few movie clips: she is just too lovable and funny and always generous to her leading men; she never takes over a scene, but allows others to shine when they should.

This film clip is of one of my favorite slapstick moments!  I laugh every time I see it.  I could not find it anywhere, so I filmed it myself (so I apologize for the quality).  It is from the 1937 screwball comedy, The Awful Truth.  

Cary Grant and Irene Dunne starred in three movies together,  The Awful Truth
and My Favorite Wife (1940) and Penny Serenade (1941). I wish they had made more films together because these two were amazing!  They were both naturally comedic (in a graceful, self-effacing way), but they were also both really good dramatic actors.

1948, I Remember Mama
Irene Dunne plays a Swedish immigrant who is the backbone of her family.  It is a lovely movie. Sentimental but not syrupy sweet.  I think this is because Dunne knew how to keep the moments honest.

Another of my favorite Irene Dunne movies, Life With Father.  She plays the scatterbrained Vinnie Day
to perfection along side William Powell, who is equally wonderful.

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