Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks #134: Artists/Painters

This being Thursday, it's time for another Thursday Movie Picks, run by the Wandering Through the Shelves blog. This week's theme is movies about artists or painters, and as a fan of old movies, I've naturally picked three older ones.

First up is The Moon and Sixpence (1942). George Sanders plays an artist who is based more or less on Paul Gauguin. He starts the film as a middle-class businessman with a wife and family, but that passion for art consumes him, to the point where he leaves his family and London first for Paris, and then for the South Seas. Herbert Marshall plays the friend of the family (played by Herbert Marshall and apparently based on Somerset Maugham, who wrote the story) who tries to find Sanders.

Next up is Scarlet Street (1945). Edward G. Robinson plays a cashier/bookkeeper for a small business whose passion on the side is art. This even though he's not very good at it and has a wife who treats him like dirt for it. So when he runs into a beautiful woman (Joan Bennett) who tells him he's good, he falls for the woman. He doesn't realize that this is supposed to be a noir and he's the victim of the femme fatale. Dan Duryea plays Bennett's partner in crime. Robinson is as good as ever here.

Portrait of Jennie (1948). Joseph Cotten plays the artist here, a Depression-era man who is struggling because, while he has passion, he can't get anybody to buy any of his work. One day in Central Park, he runs into a young girl (Jennifer Jones) who seems like she's from out of the past. And then the next time he runs into her a few days later, she seems to have aged months if not years. Cotten has to learn what happened to this girl, as he paints her portrait. Ethel Barrymore is excellent as an art dealer who supports Cotten's passion; Cecil Kellaway is her business partner.


joel65913 said...

I LOVE Scarlet Street, it didn't even occur to me. Edward G. is great as always but to me the standout is Joan Bennett in what should have been an Oscar nominated performance. A great unsung actress.

Portrait of Jennie has a nice dream like quality, a solid Cotton performance and a supporting cast that is awesome but than it had to go and ruin it by having the insipid Jones in the lead.

We match! Moon and Sixpence is a decent film but the Gauguin substitute is such an inconsiderate bastard it's tough to buy into the film.

I had to cast around a bit for a trio but ultimately came up with these three.

The Naked Maja (1958)-Tale of the renowned painter Francisco Goya (Anthony Franciosa) and his passionate affair with the Duchess of Alba (Ava Gardner) , purportedly the model for the title painting. Set against Spain’s war with France and the Inquisition, though shot in Italy, the film is a visual treat with a good performance by Gardner but missing a certain spark, perhaps due to the fact that the stars detested each other behind the scenes.

Lust for Life (1956)-Biography of Vincent Van Gogh with an intense, driven performance by near lookalike Kirk Douglas as the tortured artist. Since he wasn’t acknowledged until after his death the film is a relentlessly grim look at the cost and weight of unrecognized genius. Overlong but loaded with works by the master.

The Moon and Sixpence (1942)-Inspired by the life of Paul Gauguin and based on the Somerset Maugham novel, the film tells the story of Charles Strickland (George Sanders) who throws his staid life as a married stockbroker away to run away to the South Seas to paint with nary a thought to the consequences. Well-acted with a superior cast but the lead character is an almost completely despicable person so it’s difficult to care too much for his story or fate.

Birgit said...

I just rewatched Scarlet Street the other day and love that film. There is so much to that movie with the noir style and the man who has lost every bit of his soul to 2 nasty women. The one has him wear a frilly apron and the other has him paint her toenails. I have not seen the Moon in Sixpense but I love George Sanders so this is now on my list. I love Portrait of Jennie. I find it such a forgotten gem especially when the scenes look like a canvas and then become the best scene. Great picks

Brittani Burnham said...

I haven't seen your picks, but Portrait of Jennie sounds very intriguing. I'll have to add that to my list.

Myerla said...

I like the sound of Scarlet Street

Sonia Cerca said...

I haven't seen any of these but Scarlet Street sounds good.

Katie Hogan said...

Great sounding movies! Particularly Portrait of Jennie, kind of a Cotton fan here.