Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Joan Fontaine!

Today, it is Joan Fontaine's birthday and she is 92 years young!

I first saw Joan in Rebecca and Suspicion during a "31 Days of Oscar" event on American Movie Classics in 1995.

You know it is funny now, but I can't help but to notice how the censors missed on the subtle yet obvious theme of lesbianism in Rebecca particularly between Rebecca who never appears in the movie and Mrs. Danvers. Mrs. Danvers stole the show in that one. One scene that stands out to me is when Joan's character (her first name is never revealed) walks into Rebecca's room for the first time and then Mrs. Danvers suddenly appears from the dark. She then invites Joan's character to sit at Rebecca's desk and look at her lingerie. She towers over the film and the 2nd Mrs. de Winter in particular.

The brillance of the writers and directors in those days was that they could "sneak" in subject matter or themes in a subtle way that the executives who approved or disproved the movies would miss out on. They must have been taking everything literally. How about that scene from Gone With The Wind where Rhett carries Scarlett up to her bedroom? Now what could she have been happy about? Of course, Joan's sister, Olivia de Havilland co-stars as Melanie Hamilton.

Anyways, back to Joan. I've seen a number of other films too like Letter From An Unknown Woman, which is Joan's favorite movie that she has worked on, Ivanhoe, Until They Sail, and Sky Giant which is one of her earlier roles. She looks absolutely adorable in that pilot's suit around the start of the movie. Other movies that I would like to see, but seem hard to come by are This Above All, The Constant Nymph, and Born To Be Bad.

I first joined Joan Fontaine's Yahoo Group in 2006 and have also written to Joan a number of times. Hopefully, I will get to meet her in person someday. Only time will tell. If so, that would be a story all unto itself.


Liz said...

Nice thoughts, Chris, on Joan's birthday.

Liz said...

Chris, I enjoyed your blog today about Joan Fontaine.