Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Joan! Er, the other Joan...

We here at Film Gab love to celebrate the lives and careers of our favorite stars from Hollywood's Golden Age, and while our personal pantheons often lead us to focus on a few usual suspects (Joan and Bette, Judy, Vincente and Marilyn), it's always good to remember that the Hollywood firmament is loaded with gems who don't always receive the attention they deserve.  

Born in Tokyo to British parents, Joan Fontaine eventually made her way to Hollywood where she became a reliable star who worked with some of the industry's greatest talents, including those behind the camera (Alfred Hitchcock, George Cukor) and those in front (Cary Grant, Laurence Olivier, James Stewart).  Today, unfortunately, Fontaine is largely remembered for being Olivia de Havilland's kid sister and for the decades long grudge match they have fought.  Which is a shame because this Oscar-winning actress (for Hitchcock's Suspicion) deserves better.  

Despite her obvious beauty, Fontaine projects a sincere every(wo)man quality that is an enormous asset when playing a woman trapped either in terrifying circumstances (Rebecca, Jane Eyre, Suspicion) or in the foibles of everyday life (The Women, The Constant Nymph).  

So, to celebrate Joan's 94th birthday, give yourself a little present by checking out one her films.  You'll be happy you did. 

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