Thursday, June 03, 2010

Paulette Goddard Centennial

June 3rd marks the centennial of the birth of vivacious actress Paulette Goddard, born on this date in 1910...or at least we think so. Other sources over the years have given the year of her birth as being anywhere between 1905 and 1914. The Goddard chapter in James Robert Parish's 1972 book THE PARAMOUNT PRETTIES, for example, lists the year 1911. In any event, her birthday is a great time to celebrate Paulette Goddard's contributions to the classic film era, regardless of her year of birth.

It was a serendipitous coincidence that today's mail brought a small package with a Region 2 DVD edition of the otherwise hard-to-find Oscar Wilde comedy AN IDEAL HUSBAND (1947), starring Goddard, Glynis Johns, and Michael Wilding. I'm also recording some new-to-me Goddard movies from TCM today, including VICE SQUAD (1953) with Edward G. Robinson.

Edward Copeland on Film posted a well-done birthday tribute to Goddard written by Josh R. (Via Classic Movies.) It includes a good overview of Goddard's career.

I haven't seen a great number of Goddard films, but I am increasingly interested in her work. My favorite Goddard role to date was as Leslie, the architect who falls for Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in THE YOUNG IN HEART (1938).

Other Goddard films previously reviewed here: DRAMATIC SCHOOL (1938), THE WOMEN (1939), SECOND CHORUS (1940), and REAP THE WILD WIND (1942).

Among the Goddard films still ahead of me to see for the first time: THE CAT AND THE CANARY (1939) and GHOST BREAKERS (1940), both with Bob Hope; Mitchell Leisen's HOLD BACK THE DAWN (1941) with Boyer and de Havilland; THE CRYSTAL BALL (1943) and KITTY (1945), both costarring Ray Milland (fortunately I was able to record KITTY from TCM this year); and UNCONQUERED (1947) with Gary Cooper, which I have on DVD.

Paulette Goddard's offscreen life was interesting as well. Three marriages, including to Charlie Chaplin and Burgess Meredith, didn't last more than a few years apiece. Her fourth and final marriage was also her most successful: in 1958 she married writer Erich Maria Remarque, author of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT. Their marriage lasted until Remarque's death in 1970.

Paulette Goddard passed away on April 23, 1990.

Friday Update: I've been reading a profile of Ray Milland by Neil Doyle from the Summer 2002 edition of Films of the Golden Age. Milland had this to say about Paulette Goddard and her work on KITTY: "I always liked working with Paulette. She was not a brilliant actress, she had no sense of timing and everything about her playing was mechanical and contrived. But nobody knew it better than she did, and she was completely honest about it; she is the most honest actress I ever knew. She worked...trying to give it all she had, and in the end, her performance was quite all right."

June 2013 Update: Here are reviews for several more Paulette Goddard films reviewed since 2010: THE GHOST BREAKERS (1940), HOLD BACK THE DAWN (1941), THE FOREST RANGERS (1942), THE LADY HAS PLANS (1943), SO PROUDLY WE HAIL! (1943), THE CRYSTAL BALL (1943), STANDING ROOM ONLY (1944), VARIETY GIRL (1947), and HAZARD (1948).

June 2018 Update: More reviews: THE MOUTHPIECE (1932) and a review of THE YOUNG IN HEART (1938) Blu-ray.

2020 Update: Here are reviews of THE CAT AND THE CANARY (1939), THE GHOST BREAKERS (1940), HOLD BACK THE DAWN (1941), and REAP THE WILD WIND (1942) Blu-rays.

2021 Update: Here's a review of NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (1941).


Blogger monty said...

Great post Laura. I was able to record some of her movies on TCM the other day including Vice Squad as well.

2:54 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Terrific! Enjoy, Monty. :)

Best wishes,

9:26 AM  

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