Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ethel Barrymore day

Today's actress on TCM's Summer Under the Stars is Ethel Barrymore, whose Hollywood career really got going when she was in her 60s, when she appeared as Cary Grant's mother in None But the Lonely Heart, a movie which won her an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress. That movie kicks off prime time at 8:00 PM ET, although it's not the first movie she made. A dozen years earlier, she appeared in the historically interesting Rasputin and hte Empress, which TCM is showing at midnight. (In between those two movies, at 10:00 PM, you can watch Pinky, which I recommended back in April.) Ethel plays the Empress Alexandra, and one of the interesing things is that this is the only movie to feature all three of the Barrymores. The other interesting thing is that, despite the TCM schedule's plot description:

True story of the mad monk who plotted to rule Russia.

the movie is thoroughly inaccurate. Or, to put it another way, about as accurate as any other Hollywood historical drama. Rasputin is played by Lionel, while John plays one of the princes who was responsible for ultimately kiling Rasputin. TCM aired this back in January when they did their look at movies dealing with Russia and the Red Menace as Hollywood portrayed it through the decades, and it's more interesting than good.

I've recommended a couple of Ethel's appearances in the past, and two more of them are airing during the afternoon hours. First, at 2:00 PM, you can see her towards the beginning of the anthology movie It's a Big Country. It's followed at 4:00 PM by Ethel's portrayal of the widow of a newspaper publisher who tries to save editor Humphrey Bogart in Deadline, U.S.A..

Unfortunately, it seems as though TCM couldn't get the rights to air Portrait of Jennie this time.

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