Monday, March 01, 2010

David Niven Centennial

Today marks 100 years since the birth of actor David Niven.

John DiLeo pays tribute to Niven at Screen Savers (click the title of this post). My favorite Niven film matches DiLeo's: the marvelous BACHELOR MOTHER (1939), costarring Ginger Rogers. I think this film's reputation continues to grow with the passage of time, and it is certainly deserved. BACHELOR MOTHER next airs on Turner Classic Movies on March 24, 2010, as part of TCM's tribute to its March Star of the Month, Ginger Rogers.

My other Niven favorite is the Christmas perennial THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947), in which Niven is perfectly matched opposite Cary Grant and Loretta Young. The last scene, in which Niven's bishop delivers a sermon inspired by Cary Grant's angel, is one of my favorite moments in Christmas movies.

I thought Niven was particularly funny in a supporting role in BLUEBEARD'S EIGHTH WIFE (1938). He has some moments which are laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Among the classic titles released during Niven's long career: THE PRISONER OF ZENDA (1937), WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939), A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, also known as STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN (1946), SEPARATE TABLES (1958), THE PINK PANTHER (1963), and DEATH ON THE NILE (1971).

Here is another birthday tribute.

A post at the Turner Classic Movies message board says that Niven's son, Jamie, took out an ad in the New York Times today which said, "Dad, you would have been 100 today. I think of you often and laugh at all of those stories. You brought much joy to many, so rest easy."

Mr. Niven certainly did bring "much joy to many"!

More Niven films previously reviewed here: THREE BLIND MICE (1938), RAFFLES (1939), A KISS IN THE DARK (1949), and PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISIES (1960).


Blogger Kendra said...

Love David Niven!

10:15 AM  
Blogger Sally said...

Hooray! Happy Birthday David Niven! I completely agree about "Bluebeard's Eighth Wife." I just watched that film for the first time about a month ago and loved it. And I was so excited to see him in it too - it took me completely by surprise! I also love him in "The Pink Panther." He's so suave!

1:57 PM  
Blogger panavia999 said...

I haven't seen Bluebeard's 8th Wife yet but it's on my 'to watch list". Niven's performance in Wuthering Heights is very good in what could be a walk through part for many. (Of course Wyler would never stand for that.) The scene when he realizes Kathy's true feelings is very touching. And the "Major" in Separate Tables is so good, it's hard to watch!. I'll always take a chance on on a film with Niven.
I played a trick on a friend who is a staunch Republican. When Hillary Clintons auto-bio came out, I stole the slip cover off the book, then put that slip cover over a biography of David Niven. I gave the book to my friend for her birthday. She was very upset at the lousy gift. She set it aside for several days then decided it wouldn't hurt to look and had a pleasant suprise. ( When Bill Clintons auto-bio came out I again stole a slip cover and put it on a volume of Reagan's letters. I fooled her again! :-)

9:36 AM  

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