Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Carole Lombard, Or Should I Say Jane Peters?

Thingy of the blog Pondering Life wondered aloud yesterday when Carole Lombard will crash this party, which prompted a bit of research on my part. Turns out she could have crashed this party at pretty much any time. Did you know she made her first movie in 1921 at the age of 13? I didn't anyway, but she did, a small part as a tomboy under her birth name, Jane Peters, in a silent romance/caper flick called A Perfect Crime.

That's Jane Peters there on her knees.

Lombard made 78 movies before her untimely death in 1942 at the age of 34. At least four of those movies will require special attention: Howard Hawks's Twentieth Century, which along with Frank Capra's It Happened One Night, gave us the screwball comedy; My Man Godfrey, Lombard's only Oscar nomination, and arguably William Powell's finest role; Nothing Sacred, another screwball classic co-starring Fredric March; and her last film, Ernst Lubitsch's To Be Or Not To Be, which personally, I think is Lombard's best performance.

In the meantime, something to dream about:

5 comments:

thingy said...

Thanks, Myth.

When mom and I would watch the late, late show, featuring a movie with Lombard, even I could tell she had a special quality.

I think she would have done just fine in the modern world.
Given that women have so many more choices when it comes to a career, I wonder what path she would have chosen?

Ed Howard said...

Lombard was amazing. Her performance in Twentieth Century is nothing short of astounding — hammy, ridiculous, overblown, and yet also somehow vulnerable, as though all her character's bluster and fury is just an elaborate bit of acting, a cover for the real person underneath.

Mythical Monkey said...

Given that women have so many more choices when it comes to a career, I wonder what path she would have chosen?

I've often wondered the same thing about Jane Austen -- she was a great writer, but that was about her only option 200+ years ago. She might have been a doctor, a computer analyst, Secretary of State, who knows. I wonder how much talent has been wasted over the centuries simply because it was not born white Anglo-Saxon male ...

Of course, I'm a white Anglo-Saxon male and some would say I've wasted plenty of talent, but I digress ...

Mythical Monkey said...

Lombard was amazing. Her performance in Twentieth Century is nothing short of astounding ...

Now you guys have got me anxious to get on to 1934 -- big year, that, with It Happened One Night, The Thin Man, Twentieth Century, L'Atalante, etc. etc.

Oh, but I want to savor everything in between, Frankenstein, Duck Soup, King Kong ... lots of great movies coming up.

VP81955 said...

If you like Lombard, you'll love "Carole & Co.", a blog dedicated to her and classic Hollywood:

http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/