Happy 100th

By some strange socio-linguistic quirk, it is not ever acceptable to refer to a woman as old if you know her name (although an unidentified person in the street might be thought of as an “old woman”) so one can only observe that the mighty Luise Rainer is today 100 years young. That must be really young.

While it’s tempting to attribute her longevity to getting out of the picture business while the getting was good, genes as strong as those cheekbones must also be involved, and a certain determination too. An attempted comeback in LA DOLCE VITA was thwarted when Fellini cut her scenes, and then he had the nerve to base the rather irritating movie star in EIGHT AND A HALF on Rainer, but even this can be spun into positivity: Rainer remained an inspirational figure even when not onscreen.

Hooray for her!

11 Responses to “Happy 100th”

  1. Jordan Benedict Says:

    Rainer had a unique quality on the screen that I’ve never seen in any other actress. You just have to watch her pictures–all of ’em–to get a sense of her range of emotions, her temperament, how she uses her eyes, the lilting quality of her voice, the way she moves across a set. Although she didn’t make many movies, there isn’t one of them that isn’t a joy to watch again and again.

    Happy Birthday, Luise!

  2. What a rebel this woman was in her heyday. Watching her in The Great Ziegfeld and The Good Earth is like watching two different, highly skilled actors. I am delighted that she has reached 100. Happy birthday, Luise!

  3. A true individual. It’s interesting (and saddening) that Hollywood belittled her after her heyday with the cliche “The Oscar doesn’t mean anything: after all, Luise Rainer won two.” All that shows is that Hollywood has to trash anybody who rejects it (as with Welles), which is a clear sign of insecurity.

  4. david wingrove Says:

    It’s so long since I’ve seen any of Luise’s films…I do remember being unable to sit through THE GREAT ZIEGFELD as a lad, and don’t think I ever caught up with THE GOOD EARTH. Given that she was saddled with the nickname “The Viennese Teardrop” (no, I’m not making that up) it’s amazing she survived in Hollywood as long as she did!

    Happy 100th, Luise! Time for another comeback?

  5. David Boxwell Says:

    She is one of just three surviving stars covered in David Shipman’s early 1970s classic encyclopedia on Stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. The other two: Joan Fontaine and Olivia deHavilland. They’re kept alive by intense sibling rivalry. . .

  6. Gloria Stuart will turn 100 on July 4th.

  7. That’ll be cause for serious rejoicing and possibly a James Whale-related post.

  8. Also, off topic…

    Thank you, David for putting my blog on your blogroll. I really do appreciate it!

  9. You’re welcome! Hope lots of readers take time to check it out.

  10. david wingrove Says:

    My theory on Joan and Olivia – each is afraid to let her sibling outlive her, for fear of what she might say once she drops dead!

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