Monday, February 14, 2011

Joan and Henry and Dana

We got to view another winner, this time from 20th Century Fox (Crawford was on loan from WB): Joan Crawford's next film at WB was the excellent Daisy Kenyon.  Joan plays the title character, a successful graphic artist involved with a married lawyer, Dan O'Mara (Dana Andrews).  Daisy is dissatisfied with her life with Dan - she knows that he has no intention of divorcing his wife (Ruth Warrick as Lucile O'Mara).  Enter Peter Lapham (Henry Fonda), a veteran with his own demons from the past, who falls in love with Daisy almost at first sight. As the two men war for Daisy's affections, Daisy and Dan's family, are torn apart by the complicated relationships.

This is an amazing cast - Crawford's Daisy is powerful and independent.  You cannot help but like her.  Her relationship with Dan is so complex, yet we end up liking Dan. One rather wants to kick him at times, but it is not possible to truly dislike him.  He is too caring of his children, and we always felt he did indeed love Daisy.  Henry Fonda also shines as Peter, giving us a depth the the character, so that ending (not to be revealed here) is totally believable.  And the story will keep you involved til the last scene! 
We also tip our hat to Ruth Warrick as Lucile O'Mara, Dan's high-strung wife.  We found it interesting that a film from 1947 would not only imply physical child abuse, but would implicate a mother in the action.  While we never actually SEE Lucile beat her younger daughter, the film makes it abundantly clear that Dan and Daisy suspect something of the sort is going on.  It is not surprising that Otto Preminger, who created such a row with his discussions of rape in Anatomy of a Murder is the director here as well.

After watching the movie, we also watched the brief, but interesting, documentary that is included on the DVD.  We did have one big argument with the discussion. Several of the critics, including our personal hero Robert Osborne, argued that Ms. Crawford was too old (she was 43 at the time) to play Daisy.  We disagree wholeheartedly.  First off, Henry Fonda is exactly the same age so, if she is too old, so is he.  Secondly, Daisy is supposed to be a successful career woman.  Given her position in life (she says she has been working for many years), she would need to be at least into her late 30s; the same with Dan O'Mara - if we figure out his age at graduation from law school, and factor in the age of his oldest child, he must be at LEAST 39 year old.  Our question was, why is it so impossible to believe that Daisy could be a. near 40,  b. still be sexy, and c. that the lovely Ms. Crawford could pass for a women a few years under 40?  Here's a trailer - you tell us if you think Ms. Crawford still has IT:

Join us again next week for another Crawford pic!

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