Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Edmond O'Brien Centennial

Oscar-winning actor Edmond O'Brien was born in New York City 100 years ago today, September 10, 1915.


O'Brien made his film debut opposite Maureen O'Hara in THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1939).

His superb filmography ranges from Deanna Durbin musicals to Westerns, Shakespeare to crime films; indeed, if only O'Brien's film noir and crime films survived, he'd still deserve a very notable place in film history for those titles alone.

Edmond OBrien won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA (1954). He was nominated again for SEVEN DAYS IN MAY (1964).

After a year-long marriage to Nancy Kelly, O'Brien was married for the better part of three decades to Olga San Juan. They divorced in 1976, but neither remarried before O'Brien's passing on May 9, 1985. Olga San Juan died in 2009. The O'Brien children include actors Maria O'Brien and Brendan O'Brien and producer Bridget O'Brien Adelman.

The sheer volume of Edmond O'Brien films reviewed here gives a great indication of how much I enjoy his work! He's never anything less than compelling. My favorite O'Brien films are as diverse a grouping as his overall filmography, including THE AMAZING MRS. HOLLIDAY (1943) with Deanna Durbin:


THE KILLERS (1946) with Sam Levene:


WHITE HEAT (1949) with James Cagney:


D.O.A. (1950) with Pamela Britton:


711 OCEAN DRIVE (1950) with Joanne Dru:


...and COW COUNTRY (1953) with Helen Westcott:


Edmond O'Brien movies reviewed at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: A GIRL, A GUY, AND A GOB (1941), THE AMAZING MRS. HOLLIDAY (1943), THE KILLERS (1946), FOR THE LOVE OF MARY (1948), WHITE HEAT (1949), BACKFIRE (1950), BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN (1950), 711 OCEAN DRIVE (1950), D.O.A. (1950), THE ADMIRAL WAS A LADY (1950), SILVER CITY (1951), DENVER AND RIO GRANDE (1951), TWO OF A KIND (1951), WARPATH (1951), THE TURNING POINT (1952), COW COUNTRY (1953), MAN IN THE DARK (1953), THE HITCH-HIKER (1953), PETE KELLY'S BLUES (1955), A CRY IN THE NIGHT (1956), THE BIG LAND (1957), THE WORLD WAS HIS JURY (1958), THE LAST VOYAGE (1960), THE LONGEST DAY (1962), and SEVEN DAYS IN MAY (1964).

Other notable Edmond O'Brien films include: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1939), A DOUBLE LIFE (1947), ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST (1948), AN ACT OF MURDER (1948), JULIUS CAESAR (1953), THE BIGAMIST (1953), THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA (1954), THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT (1956), 1984 (1956), UP PERISCOPE (1959), THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962), BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ (1962), FANTASTIC VOYAGE (1966), and THE WILD BUNCH (1969).

Update: Here's a review of the DVD release of A CRY IN THE NIGHT (1956).

4 Comments:

Blogger Blake Lucas said...

Yes, he really had an impressive career. An asset to so many movies So many good ones, and some great ones among them.

I think especially of THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE. One of my favorite movies and his performance is awesome--the only reason it doesn't jump out more is that the entire cast of this is playing on such a sublime level. I know the movie you mean when you refer to Shakespeare but Ford's is the one that is really Shakespearean.

Beside that, THE BIGAMIST. O'Brien plays the title role. Are you prepared to hate that character? If so, you might be surprised when you see the film. Ida Lupino's sensitive direction showed me an Edmond O'Brien I'd never seen before in this.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Jerry E said...

Yes, I agree - a fine actor.

He brought a vitality and a realism to his playing in so many good films. 'D.O.A' has always been a particular favourite of mine and I was so surprised at how effective he was starring in the great little western 'COW COUNTRY' when beforehand I would have said he is too urbane.
Also used to enjoy his TV series 'SAM BENEDICT'so many years ago now.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Simoa said...

Thanks so much for celebrating his centennial! I love that he started out so young and went on to have an impressive career with a diverse filmography. We got to see him age. His career trajectory reminds me of William Holden's, who also made his debut in 1939.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks to you all for the comments! Blake, it's been a long time since I last caught THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE. It wasn't a favorite Ford (probably no surprise to you that I generally prefer the earlier, more optimistic titles), but I'm sure I'll appreciate it more the next time around. I suspect it was the first movie I ever saw O'Brien in, for one thing, so it will mean more going back to it and seeing it in a new context.

Jerry, I agree, you'd think he should be a "city" guy but he works fine for me in Westerns. And wasn't he amazing in D.O.A.?

Simoa, I'm delighted to hear from another O'Brien fan!

Best wishes,
Laura

8:23 PM  

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