Friday, March 4, 2011

A Rose for Mrs. Miniver by Michael Troyan

Regular readers of this blog know that I sometimes digress from books to talk about classic films. This week I read the bio of one of my favorite actresses from the 40's, Greer Garson. She was a class act and her biography, A Rose for Mrs. Miniver, accentuated that. I have nothing profound to say about the book, but the paragraphs below show some of the reasons why I admire her:

But there were fewer opportunities in the 1970’s for her. Filmmakers rarely made the sophisticated, romantic comedies or dramas that she preferred, and she refused to join her Hollywood peers like Joan Crawford, Olivia de Havilland, and Bette Davis who were making horror films like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Lady in a Cage, and Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte. “I’ve been offered nymphomaniacs, kleptomaniacs, pyromaniacs, homicidal maniacs and just plain maniacs,” she reported. “I think producers felt that after playing a long series of noble and admirable characters there would be quite a lot of shock value in seeing me play something altogether different. But I prefer upbeat stories that send people out of the theater feeling better than they did coming in.”

During interviews, she frequently and sharply criticized current films and filmmakers. “I’m no a keyhole peeper in real life, so why should I go to the cinema to be a keyhole peeper?” she said. “Producers should have more courage. People will respond to stories with love and courage and happy endings instead of shockers. I think the mirror should be tilted slightly upward when it’s reflecting life - toward the cheerful, the tender, the compassionate, the brave, the funny, the encouraging..."
(p. 327)

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