December 17, 2009


Jennifer Jones, 1919-2009.


Rob said...

HaHa. Nobody can make a snarkey comment without offending themselves.

More funny than the healthcare debate.

rcocean said...

Loved her in "Beat the Devil" - married to David Selznick who died what 50 (?) years ago.

Unknown said...

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blake said...

Sadly, I remember her only from The Towering Inferno. Something about pantyhose?

Wait, there was some pantyhose bit in The Poseidon Adventure, too, wasn't there?

Irwin Allen may have had a fetish.

I wonder what Ms. Jones would've thought of the Unified Cyber Olympiad?

reader_iam said...

The likes of those double-reeds you'll likely never hear again, if ever you did.

Bender said...

Jennifer Jones was way too old to be playing Bernadette, who was only 14 when she received the apparitions.

And Sydney Penny did a much better job portraying her.

reader_iam said...

Also, I'll continue not to post the obvious thing that ought be posted in this Althouse thread.


Anonymous said...

Franz Werfel, who was Alma Mahler-Werfel's third husband ("Alma, tell us, all modern women are jealous...."), wrote the 1942 novel, The Song of Bernadette in America in gratitude for the kindness shown him and Alma when they fled across France with many other refugees escaping the Germans.  They had found themselves at Lourdes, where several families who helped them told the stories of Bernadette Soubrious and her visions of Our Lady.  Werfel, a German-speaking Jew from Prague and a well-known author, had married Alma after her divorce from Walter Gropius of Bauhaus fame.

Werfel swore he would write a story of Bernadette Soubrious if he escaped, and he was a good as his word.  The novel was wildly popular in America, and, of course the movie did well, too.  With the permission of the family, the Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles gave Werfel a Christian burial when he died there in 1945.  Werfel was later reburied in Vienna.

Alma and Walter Gropius had a daughter, Manon, who died of polio in 1934 at the age of 18.  The composer Alban Berg wrote one of the most stunningly beautiful and intellectually astonishing pieces of music ever, his Violin Concerto (inscribed "in memory of an Angel"), completed in 1935.  If you're interested, there is a good performance on YouTube divided in sections here, here, and here.  This is 12-tone music, meaning that everything is based on a "row" of all 12 notes of the chromatic scale.  Yet Berg kept a strong sense of tonality, and, what is most amazing, if you know the music theory and constraints behind it, Berg has J.S. Bach's chorale harmonization of "Est ist genug" ("it is enough, O Lord") emerge logically from the 12-tone texture.  You can hear it in the clarinets, mostly, at the beginning of the third video.  But do listen to the rest of the it, if you can.  It is definitely on my desert island list of music.  I cannot listen to any of this music without being on the edge of tears.

So, life was full of art and love and certainly tragedy in old Vienna.  But the greatest tragedy of all was Hitler.  Some of it was redeemed by many creative and intellectual refugees who came to the U.S., including Werfel, and so you have that movie.

I was very lucky to have had Alban Berg's editor at Universal Edition as a music professor, thanks to Herr Hitler, and to have heard stories of these people from someone who knew them.  Thanks, also, to the Regents of the University of California, who let him continue teaching into his 80's.  Nowadays, the University of California has to work with another Austrian refugee, but this one seems to have more monotonous tales to tell.

Chase said...

Her best work was in "Good Morning Miss Dove".

vbspurs said...

Good grief, she was still alive? Imagine having been married to David Selznick, whose Gone with the Wind celebrated it's 60th anniversary this year.

RIP Jen.


vbspurs said...

Actually, 70th! 1939, the biggest year in motion pictures.

kentuckyliz said...

minor spelling correction:


kentuckyliz said...

it sounds like Subaru

Anonymous said...

Great story..only in America.

bearbee said...

Great story..only in America.

For me also.

William said...

She belonged to that subgenre of Hollywood stars known as chipmunky brunettes. Claudette Colbert, Theresa Wright, Dorothy Maguire, Jennifer Jones strutted and fretted their hour upon the stage, and now are gone. Posterity does not favor chipmunks. These women explored the far reaches of cuteness, but the fame of brunettes is transient. Blondes are the stuff of legend. Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe, and Grace Kelly with their luminous hair still glow against the gathering gloom. Tom Cruise take heed.

BJM said...

@rcocean - Yes! "Beat The Devil" is one of my favs.

@VB - Did you catch GWTW on TMC this week? They followed with the Selznick sons 50th anniversary film on the making of GWTW, "Intermezzo" and "Rebecca".

btw- TMC 2009 Remembers.

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