Rear Window – Required Viewing

My sister and I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window dozens of times after school and even now, I can recite along with a good portion of the movie.  Rear Window is where I first fell in love with Thelma Ritter.  Don’t get me wrong, Jimmy Stewart is amazing and Grace Kelly is absolute perfection, but Thelma Ritter is something extra.  Her character has a majority of the quotable dialogue and she delivers it with a natural ease that I had never seen before.  I have sought out her other films because of Rear Window and have been lucky to experience them.

I think that this film may also be the spark that lit my fascination with the mid-century mid-Atlantic accent (or was it Desk Set?) that for the longest time I thought was only spoken on Hollywood sound stages until I heard Little Edie Beale explain her perfect costume for the day.

If you have not seen the bonus material on the DVD for Rear Window, it is an absolute must, it will make you appreciate the film even more.

Rear Window - James Stewart and Grace Kelly

The Wiki:

Rear Window is a 1954 American suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, written by John Michael Hayes and based on Cornell Woolrich‘s 1942 short story “It Had to Be Murder“. Originally released by Paramount Pictures, the film stars James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr. It was screened at the 1954 Venice Film Festival.

The film is considered by many filmgoers, critics and scholars to be one of Hitchcock’s best. The film received four Academy Award nominations and was ranked #42 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies list and #48 on the 10th-anniversary edition. In 1997, Rear Window was added to the United States National Film Registry.

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Happy Birthday Thelma Ritter

Today is the 112th birthday of Thelma Ritter.  She is one of the actors that will make me want to watch the movie if she is in it, no matter how small. She perfected the working class voice of reason character that kept all the other characters from getting too out of touch. And if they did, she had no problem telling them so. Watch her in “Rear Window” and “The Misfits” and you will want to add every movie she is in to your Netflix queue. Ladies and gentlemen, Thelma Ritter. Style Icon.

 

Born February 14, 1902 Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died February 5, 1969 (aged 66) New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress

BEST KNOWN FOR: American actress. She typically played working class characters and was noted for her distinctive voice, with a strong Brooklyn accent.

Ritter did stock theater and radio shows early in her career, without much impact. Ritter’s first movie role was in Miracle on 34th Street (1947). She made a memorable impression in a brief uncredited part, as a frustrated mother unable to find the toy that Kris Kringle has promised to her son. Her second role, in writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz‘s A Letter to Three Wives (1949), also left a mark, although Ritter was again uncredited.

Mankiewicz kept Ritter in mind, and cast her as “Birdie” in All About Eve (1950), which earned her an Oscar nomination. A second nomination followed for her work in Mitchell Leisen’s’ classic ensemble screwball comedy The Mating Season (1951) starring Gene Tierney and John Lund. Ritter enjoyed steady film work for the next dozen years. She also appeared in many of the episodic drama TV series of the 1950s, such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, General Electric Theater, and The United States Steel Hour. Other film roles were as James Stewart’s nurse in Rear Window (1954) and as Doris Day‘s housekeeper in Pillow Talk (1959). Although best-known for comedy roles, she played the occasional dramatic role, most notably in Pickup on South Street (1953), Titanic (1953), and The Misfits (1961).

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All About Eve – Required Viewing

The first time I watched All About Eve, it was the actual 35 mm movie version at summer camp.  I sat on the floor of the Fine Arts building at Interlochen Center for the Arts and when I stood up, my hands were covered in charcoal pencil dust from the figure drawing class earlier that day.  I remember talking about it while the reels were changed and being excited to see what happened next.  It was one of those films that gave the viewer a glimpse behind the curtain of the entertainment business into how things really are.  It was fascinating.  None of the actors are slouches, even a super new Marilyn Monroe is brilliant.  If you haven’t seen All About Eve lately, make a date to catch up with it, you won’t be disappointed.

All About Eve

The Wiki:

All About Eve is a 1950 American drama film written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, based on the 1946 short story “The Wisdom of Eve”, by Mary Orr.

The film stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a highly regarded but aging Broadway star. Anne Baxter plays Eve Harrington, a willingly helpful young fan who insinuates herself into Channing’s life, ultimately threatening Channing’s career and her personal relationships. George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Hugh Marlowe, Barbara Bates, Gary Merrill and Thelma Ritter also appear, and the film provided one of Marilyn Monroe‘s earliest important roles.

Praised by critics at the time of its release, All About Eve was nominated for 14 Academy Awards (a feat unmatched until the 1997 film Titanic) and won six, including Best Picture. As of 2013, All About Eve is still the only film in Oscar history to receive four female acting nominations (Davis and Baxter as Best Actress, Holm and Ritter as Best Supporting Actress). All About Eve was selected in 1990 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry and was among the first 50 films to be registered. All About Eve appeared at #16 on AFI’s 1998 list of the 100 best American films.

Thelma Ritter – Style Icon

Thelma Ritter is one of the actors that will make me want to watch the movie if she is in it, no matter how small. She perfected the working class voice of reason character that kept all the other characters from getting too out of touch. And if they did, she had no problem telling them so. Watch her in “Rear Window” and “The Misfits” and you will want to add every movie she is in to your Netflix queue. Ladies and gentlemen, Thelma Ritter. Style Icon.

Born February 14, 1902 Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died February 5, 1969 (aged 66) New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress

BEST KNOWN FOR: American actress. She typically played working class characters and was noted for her distinctive voice, with a strong Brooklyn accent.

Ritter did stock theater and radio shows early in her career, without much impact. Ritter’s first movie role was in Miracle on 34th Street (1947). She made a memorable impression in a brief uncredited part, as a frustrated mother unable to find the toy that Kris Kringle has promised to her son. Her second role, in writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz‘s A Letter to Three Wives (1949), also left a mark, although Ritter was again uncredited.

Mankiewicz kept Ritter in mind, and cast her as “Birdie” in All About Eve (1950), which earned her an Oscar nomination. A second nomination followed for her work in Mitchell Leisen’s’ classic ensemble screwball comedy The Mating Season (1951) starring Gene Tierney and John Lund. Ritter enjoyed steady film work for the next dozen years. She also appeared in many of the episodic drama TV series of the 1950s, such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, General Electric Theater, and The United States Steel Hour. Other film roles were as James Stewart’s nurse in Rear Window (1954) and as Doris Day‘s housekeeper in Pillow Talk (1959). Although best-known for comedy roles, she played the occasional dramatic role, most notably in Pickup on South Street (1953), Titanic (1953), and The Misfits (1961).

Thelma Ritter – Style Icon.

Thelma Ritter – Style Icon

A good St. Valentine’s Day to you.  It is also Thelma Ritter‘s birthday, she would have been 100.  Thelma Ritter is one of the actors that will make me want to watch the movie if she is in it, no matter how small.  She perfected the working class voice of reason character that kept all the other characters from getting too out of touch.  And if they did, she had no problem telling them so.  Watch her in “Rear Window” and “The Misfits” and you will want to add every movie she is in to your Netflix queue.  Ladies and gentlemen, Thelma Ritter.  Style Icon.

Born February 14, 1902 Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died February 5, 1969 (aged 66) New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress

BEST KNOWN FOR: American actress. She typically played working class characters and was noted for her distinctive voice, with a strong Brooklyn accent.

Ritter did stock theater and radio shows early in her career, without much impact. Ritter’s first movie role was in Miracle on 34th Street (1947). She made a memorable impression in a brief uncredited part, as a frustrated mother unable to find the toy that Kris Kringle has promised to her son. Her second role, in writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz‘s A Letter to Three Wives (1949), also left a mark, although Ritter was again uncredited.

Mankiewicz kept Ritter in mind, and cast her as “Birdie” in All About Eve (1950), which earned her an Oscar nomination. A second nomination followed for her work in Mitchell Leisen’s’ classic ensemble screwball comedy The Mating Season (1951) starring Gene Tierney and John Lund. Ritter enjoyed steady film work for the next dozen years. She also appeared in many of the episodic drama TV series of the 1950s, such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, General Electric Theater, and The United States Steel Hour. Other film roles were as James Stewart’s nurse in Rear Window (1954) and as Doris Day‘s housekeeper in Pillow Talk (1959). Although best-known for comedy roles, she played the occasional dramatic role, most notably in Pickup on South Street (1953), Titanic (1953), and The Misfits (1961).