Sunday, May 2, 2010

Coral Browne

Coral Browne is the last name I added on August 21. I'm a little sad about that. I've kind of become attached to these IMDb posts. But they'll be around again. And who knows, despite not being an August 21 person, maybe the next name is an actor too.

I'm going to go check the name, and see if I recognize it.....

Well, it's a recommended name from Michael. I don't picture Michael suggesting an actor for me to write about. He'd more likely recommend a sports or political person. I could be wrong though.

Well, I'm looking at what Lord Wiki has to say about Coral Browne. She's an actress from the bygone days, and I have a feeling she's going to have a LONG filmography. I'm guessing I'll be working up until bedtime.

Baby Coralie was born in Footscray Melbourne, on 23 July 1913. Lord Wiki says she was the only daughter of a restaurant owner. Does that also mean only child, or just only daughter? Did she have brothers?

I've heard of Footscray, but I want to go look it up on the map. I want to become more familar with Melbourne since we're planning to go there.

From what I'm seeing on Google Maps, Footscray is west of the CBD. Lord Wiki says that today there's a lot of Vietnamese and East African immigrants in the area. It's a good place to find Ethiopian food. Tim and I seem to have bad luck with that cuisine, so we'll probably skip it. I mean we might go there, but we'll get Vietnamese instead. Is it sad that when I think of ethnic groups, I think of their food?

Browne studied at the National Gallery of Art School. I'm looking at their education page, and I don't think they have an actual school anymore. What's awesome is they have something for homeschoolers. I guess homeschooling is picking up in popularity over there. I think it's very nice when museums, zoos, and stuff like that provide a specific welcome/acknowledgment of homeschoolers. Does the Fort Worth zoo? I have to go check.

Oh yeah. They do. They have an actual homeschool day. And we were there. I totally forgot. Oops. And our museum has specific information for homeschoolers too. That's awesome. They even say that homeschooling educators (parents) can attend the teacher workshop things.

I love how homeschooling is becoming more and more part of the norm.

Browne's first amateur theatre thing was a George Bernard Shaw play called You Never Can Tell. Then a guy named Gregan McMahon put her in her first professional performance. This was at a Comedy Theatre in Melbourne.

I wonder if Gregan McMahon was related to William McMahon. Maybe they were distant cousins or something.

When Browne was twenty-one, she moved to England and did theatre stuff.

I think I'm going to leave the other career stuff for IMDb. Although I feel kind of guilty because she may be more of a theatre actress than a film one. Well, we'll see. If she has a long filmography, I'm just going to stick to that. If it's short, I'll do some more digging for theatre information.

Lord Wiki provides some personal information. He says she was married to a homosexual, and had many affairs. Then her second marriage was to Vincent Price! Wow. That marriage began in 1974. It was kind of a late-in-life thing. Browne would have been sixty-one.

In 1987, Browne became a naturalized citizen of the United States. It sounds like she and Price had some kind of deal going on. She did the citizen thing, and he converted to Roman Catholicism for her. I guess that's a fair compromise.

In May 1991, Browne died of breast cancer. A couple years later, her husband died. I'm hope they're out there somewhere....still in love.

Well, her filmography on IMDb is much shorter than I expected. So I might do a little looking at her theatre stuff. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to find though. But I'll try...if time permits.

It looks like Browne's first appearance was in a 1933 movie called Waltzing Matilda. IMDb user drice-10 says, This is a funny, charming early Australian comedy, based on mistaken identity. It's about two men who believe one of them is wanted by the police. But the police are really looking for a guy with the same name...not for criminal activity, but to notify him of his inheritance.

I don't know why the movie is called Waltzing Matilda. Maybe they sing the song in it, or something.

Interesting. The National Library of Australia is in disagreement with IMDb. IMDb says the director of the movie was Pat Hanna. The library says it was Raymond Longford. I'm going to assume the library is the correct one.

I could be wrong though.

In 1935, Browne was in Charing Cross Road. Hasn't there been a remake of that? Okay. Yeah. Here's the trailer. Anthony Hopkins is in it. Cool.

Maybe we'll see the Charing Cross Road when we're in London. Is there really a street with that name? I should go check.

There is. It's east of Hyde Park. We're going to be west of Hyde Park. That is....if we go. We're going to have to see how expensive the airline tickets are. If they're way too expensive, we might have to cancel.

Oh! Wait! The trailer I just watched was for 84 Charing Cross Road, not plain old Charing Cross Road. I thought it might be one and the same, but it's not. 84 Charing Cross Road was based on a book written in 1970. So it couldn't be the same thing as the 1935 one.

Also in 1935, Browne was in a movie called Line Engaged. It sounds like it might be about phones. This and the previous movie were both British films. I guess she did these movies while living in the UK.

In 1936, Browne was in the Amateur Gentleman, which also featured Douglas Fairbanks Jr. I mention that because I vaguely recognize his name.

The movie is about a man trying to help his father clear his name in a watch-stealing crime. Lord Wiki says it's based on a regency swashbuckling book. I guess it would be similar to a regency romance, but with more adventure in it.

Also in 1936, Browne was in Guilty Melody. This film website says it's a musical spy thing about a opera star in a romance with a British intelligence officer. The funny thing is the website messed up a bit. For the photo, they use a picture of the book Melody by V.C Andrews.

In 1938, Browne was in a musical called We're Going to Be Rich. I can't find much about that. Oh well.

Next on the list is Yellow Sands. The trivia page says this was the movie premier of Roddy McDowall. I forgot what he's from. Let me check.....

Well, wow. He was in a LOT of stuff. One of things was Planet of the Apes.

Lord Wiki says Yellow Sands is about relatives of a rich person gathering at the death bed, not realizing they've been cut out of the will.

There's a holiday cottage in Cornwall named after the movie. It looks fantastic....right near the ocean. It only sleeps two though. That's kind of small. I guess it would be good for couples. Anyone in the UK looking for a romantic holiday?

I think it's near where the movie was filmed....some place called Sennen Cove. That was one of the filming locations, and the cottage has views of the cove.

In 1939, Browne was in a crime mystery called Black Limelight. It involves the murder of a girl. A wife helps hide her husband who is suspected of being guilty. And that same year, she did another crime movie called The Nursemaid Who Disappeared. This British film website says it's about a playwright and detective banding together to fight a kidnapping plot.

In 1940, Browne was in a musical war comedy called Let George Do It! George is a ukulele player who ends up on a wrong boat, and then ends up fighting Nazis somehow.

There's a break in the filmography until 1946. I wonder what was going on with Browne during those years. That would have been when she was about ages 27-33. It would be during World War II. Maybe she was overseas entertaining troops? That's a likely explanation. Or she could have been doing theatre.

Here we go. There's a Coral Browne website, and they show that she was doing theatre in London during those years. She was in The Man Who Came to Dinner, My Sister Eileen, and The Last of Mrs. Cheyney. These were all at the Savoy Theatre in London.

Browne though was in plays in the 1930's as well. So it's not like a theatre career would have prevented her from being in films. So she might have been doing war stuff as well. Maybe I'll find out more later.

In 1946, Browne was in the war drama, Piccadilly Incident. In the movie, a woman (not played by Browne) gets together with a man. They get married. Then she goes off to Singapore. The boat she's on sinks. The husband thinks she's dead, and remarries. But she's alive and living on and island. She returns and.... Well, I don't know what happens. It's sounds like a soap opera plot. Yeah, I think it's like what happened with Beau and Hope. And it happened with Marlena and Roman. Actually, it's probably happened to half the couples on Days of our Lives.

This British film site has information about Piccadilly Incident. Browne played the sister of the guy who lost his wife.

In 1947, Browne was in The Courtneys of Curzon Street. It's about a wealthy British family. One of them marries an Irish servant. The movie covers four decades of the family's story. I'm trying to remember what that's called....a book or movie that deals with multiple generations. Is it epic? I can't remember.

We have another break in the filmography. This one is from 1947-1954. It looks like she was busy with more theatre. There might be more to the story though. Maybe it's simply called taking-a-break. I'm sure this woman worked very hard....film and theatre. Should I be surprised that sometimes she needed to pull back a bit?

Ginger Rogers was in Beautiful Stranger. That's a name I know. Was she British?

Nope. She's from Missouri. I wonder whether she used a British or American accent in the movie.

In 1958, Browne did her first American movie. This was Auntie Mame. I think I've heard of that.

It sounds like a good story. An unconventional women is left to raise her nephew when the kid's father dies. The executer of the will disapproves of the women's lifestyle, and tries to protect the nephew. But the aunt and the nephew manage to have fun anyway.

The movie won the Golden Globe for best comedy.

You know, I was thinking I remembered hearing of the play as a musical. Lord Wiki says it was adapted into one in 1974. Lucille Ball was the star.

Here's a fan video of the 1958 movie. I'm not sure if Browne is in it. I'm actually not sure what she looks like yet.

In 1961, Browne was in a movie with Warren Beatty, and Vivien Leigh. This was The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. It's about an older woman having a romance with a younger man. I think we need more movies like this. If men can be with much younger women, why can't women be with younger men? Well, I guess they can. And I think it's becoming a little more less shocking these days. We can probably thank Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher for that. Still. We make a big deal out of that marriage. Yet how many actors are married to actresses a decade or two younger?

Here's the trailer for The Roman Springs of Mrs. Stone. I'm not sure if Browne will be in it.

The movie is based on a play by Tennessee Williams. Another adaption was done in 2003. Here's that trailer. It looks good. I think the story is that at first the man is using the older women for money. But then maybe he falls in love with her?

In 1962, Browne did a British crime movie. This was Dr. Crippen. Donald Pleasance from Wake in Fright was Dr. Crippen. Browne was Belle Crippen. His wife maybe? The movie is about Dr. Crippen being convicted of killing his wife. It's based on a true story.

Well, this is fascinating. According to this 2007 article, it was discovered eventually that Dr. Crippen had NOT murdered his wife. There had been a mutilated body found in his home, and the courts had assumed it was his wife. Later DNA evidence proved that it was not. So poor Dr. Crippen had been hanged for a crime he did not commit. Where did Mrs. Crippen go then? And as the article says, she must have known her husband was going to be hanged for a crime he didn't commit. Why didn't she come forward?

Or maybe she didn't know. Maybe she had been kidnapped. Or maybe she had run off somewhere, and didn't get the news. It's not like they had the Internet back then.

Here's a scene from the movie. I finally get to see Browne in action! She plays a bit of a drunk. This Belle Crippen is not the best of wives. She's pretty though. She kind of looks like one of my cousins.

Poor Dr. Crippen. It would be horrible to be married to someone that awful, and then be wrongly accused of their murder.

Lord Wiki says though that Crippen's innocence is not agreed on. Some people still think he's guilty. I wonder if we'll ever know for sure.

Also in 1962, Browne did a British comedy called Go to Blazes. Lord Wiki says the movie is about criminals who steal a firetruck for their getaway car. Okay.

Maggie Smith is in the movie. I like her.

In 1963, Browne was in the British comedy Tamahine. I can't find much about it, except that the tagline is She loved the whole student body...and they sure loved hers!!! I guess it's about an attractive teacher.

In 1967, Browne was in another movie with Donald Pleasance. This was the war movie, The Night of the Generals. It's about the murder of a prostitute during the Nazi years.

Here's the trailer. Christopher Plummer and Peter O'Toole are in it too.

In 1968, Browne appeared in the American movie The Legend of Lylah Clare.

The plot sounds interesting. A movie director hires a young woman to play his deceased actress wife in a bio-pic. Then he falls in love with her.

Here's the trailer. Browne might not be in it.

Or maybe she is. I think that might be her at 1:35.

Also in 1968, Browne was in The Killing of Sister George. I'm a bit confused. IMDb says the movie is American, yet it's about an actress doing a soap opera on the BBC. Oh well.

The movie involves a lesbian storyline. The actress is gay. She loses her role in a soap opera, and her lover.

The IMDb trivia page says that the composer of the film was so disgusted by the lesbian love scene that he quit working on the film. Sad. But at least they have the excuse that this was over forty years ago. People were less open-minded about such things back then. What's the excuse of the Mississippi high school that recently deleted a lesbian from their yearbook? It's disgustingly pathetic.

Here's a scene from The Killing of Sister George. Is that laughing woman Coral Browne? I can't tell.

Lord Wiki is telling me about the movie. It sounds interesting, and has been compared to Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. The actress who on the soap opera plays a character who is very sweet and innocent. In real life, the actress is obnoxious and abusive to her female roommate.

Oh, in that scene I just linked to, that crazy woman was the main character. She had been molesting nuns in the car. I had wondered what was going on.

I'm going to watch another scene, and see if I can see Browne. This one includes the nun thing at well. I guess it's just a longer cut from the film.

From what I see, this doesn't exactly put lesbianism in a positive light.

I'm looking at the movie company info. From what I can see, it seems to be a British-American film. ABC was one of the studios. The two female leads are British, and it was filmed in the UK.

Well, that scene didn't have Browne. She's one of the main stars, I think. So I'm going to keep watching. Here's another scene.

This is a creepy movie.

I think that's Brown at 4:10. Or maybe it's not her. I'm not sure.

In the year I was born, Browne did another movie with Peter O'Toole; The Ruling Class. It's about a man inheriting money after his rich father dies. The man is crazy and believes he's Jesus. That sounds fun.

Lord Wiki told me the whole story of the film. It sounds like something I'd absolutely love. It deals with our society's perceptions of mental illness. I've been very interested in that lately.

Where do you draw the line between eccentricity and dangerous insanity? Or should we just label all weirdos as mentally ill folks in need of treatment? Is there a difference between someone who thinks he's Jesus, and someone who thinks his parents are alien imposters that need their throats slashed? I think so.

Here's the trailer for the movie. That didn't show much. Here's a longer fan-made trailer.

Browne can be seen at 2:24.

In 1973, Browne was in the horror-comedy Theatre of Blood. Lord Wiki says this is where Browne met Vincent Price.

The movie is about a Shakespearean actor who seeks revenge against the critics who denied him the chance of getting an acting award.

It's hard to feel you've been ignored. I know! Although I don't want or need any awards. I just want to feel a bit less invisible. Actually I know that I'm being seen and/or heard. I just wish people talked back. It's weird when you feel like you're talking to yourself....when you're not actually trying to talk to yourself.

I probably shouldn't be comparing myself to a villain in a horror movie.

Here's the trailer.

It looks quite gruesome. From what I can tell, it's a slasher film.

In 1975, Browne appeared in an American movie with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward; The Drowning Pool. It involves blackmail in the deep south. Every time I think of southern people, I get all excited about season 3 of True Blood.

Here's the trailer for The Drowning Pool.

That's Melanie Griffith at 1:15.

This trailer is incredibly corny.

In 1980, Browne did voice work for Xanadu. She did a heavenly voice. I wonder how many times this voice is heard during the movie.

Here's the trailer. Maybe we'll hear the heavenly voice.

The movie makes me think of my lucid dreams....I think because once in one of my dreams, I sang the Xanadu song. I wish I sang more in my dreams. That's fun.

In 1982, Browne was in a TV movie biopic about Eleanor Roosevelt. She didn't play Roosevelt. She played Lady Reading. I'm having trouble finding out who that is.

In 1984, Browne was in American Dreamer. This starred Jobeth Williams from Poltergeist.

Weird. I just had a feeling in my breast. Like that milk let-down feeling. What's that all about?

Anyway, the plot of the movie is a ghostwriter writes about an international spy woman. Then she wins a trip to Paris. She gets in an accident, and wakes up believing she IS that spy woman.

Lord Wiki says Browne plays the author of the books. Did she really write any of it, or did the ghostwriter do all the work?

Oh wait. Lord Wiki says she's not a ghostwriter of these spy novels. She had entered a fan fiction contest. Now I got it.

It sounds kind of cute.

I just had some synchronicity. As I'm writing about a movie with an actress from Poltergeist, a new photo appeared on my desktop, and it was from Poltergeist. I have the pictures rotating every 3-5 minutes. I wonder what the next one will be.

In 1985, Browne was in a movie about Lewis Carroll; Dreamchild. I vaguely remember this movie. I think.

Coral Browne plays Alice Hargreaves as an old woman. I guess she's the one who inspired the Alice in Wonderland book? The movie is about her looking back at her relationship with Carroll.

The movie earned Browne a Saturn award for best actress.

Here's the trailer. It looks pretty good. Lord Wiki says it deals with the whole man-child relationship thing. Is it innocent, or is something inappropriate going on? Alice has to deal with this question, and also it sounds like she has to deal with guilt over how she sometimes treated Carroll.

I think that brings up some interesting issues and questions. Is it immoral to be infatuated with someone if you don't take any inappropriate actions? And in any situation where there is nonmutual infatuation, what is the appropriate response from the object of affection? I think in many of these cases, a person takes advantage of the situation. They play hot and cold....hot when they need something, or are lonely....cold when they have more interesting company. But it's not always that. When I have sensed someone has a crush on me, I want to be nice. I don't want to hurt them. So I'll be friendly. But then other times, I worry they're getting the wrong idea, so I'll act suddenly distant. I'll push them away.

It's a tough situation.

Lord Wiki talks about the issue of Lewis Carroll being a pedophile. The allegations are there because he spent a lot of time with young girls, he didn't have romantic relationships with grown women, and he took nude photographs of female children. It seems the general idea though is that if Carroll was a pedophile, he was probably a celibate one.

I wonder how many celibate pedophiles we have out there. And if they're celibate, should they be hated by society for their perversity, or celebrated for their self-control?

A biographer named Karoline Leach has opposing theories to the pedophile one. She says Carroll DID have relationships with women, both married and single. But the family suppressed this information to preserve his reputation. That makes sense in a way. When someone produces work for children, society does sometimes try to preserve that squeaky clean image.

Leach also says that these children Carroll was alleged to spend time with were sometimes in their late teens, and early adult years.

As for the nude children photographs, some researchers/historians say this was fairly typical of the time period. People were more okay with those things then.

I like reading all this stuff. It's pretty fascinating.

The Boston Globe has a brilliant book review about it all. Christine Thompson reviews a book by Jenny Wolf, that examines our view of Carroll. Christine Thompson says that 19th century writings about Carroll describe him as a fun, creative, dramatic guy who loved children. Then the viewpoints changed in the 2oth century. Thompson says: Over the past 100 years he has been variously portrayed as a philanderer, a pedophile, an introvert, and a fraud. His writings and photographs have been scoured for evidence of pathology. “He has been,” writes Woolf, “posthumously psychoanalyzed, condemned and criticized for his supposed sexual perversions and drug use. He has been pitied for his apparent repressions, his hidden tragedies and his emotional frustrations. He is said to have suffered from various disorders that range from Asperger syndrome to epilepsy.
I love that. And Thompson's tagline for her editorial is, Viewing Lewis Carroll has a Pedophile May Say More About Us Than Him.

The book review says that in the Victorian age, children were seen as pre-sexual, so there was no immoral implications. These days it's different. Children have been heavily sexualized. And it's not just the controversial photographers who take photos of nude children. In our mainstream culture, there is questionable stuff. And there's a lot of sexual abuse going on.

Although who knows. There might have been a lot of sexual abuse in the Victorian age as well. Maybe it was just less talked about. Maybe Carroll did abuse these young girls, but in those days you didn't come forward with the information.

I don't know. It's hard to tell. Horrible things happen to children and are swept under the rug. Then other times, innocent things happen, and are translated into abuse by misinterpretations.

I should get back to Coral Browne.

Her last film project was an animated video called Sparky's Magic Piano. Vincent Price was in it too. Lord Wiki says the video was based on an audio story that was released in the 1940's.

I'm going to take another look at the Coral Browne website. It has some good photographs. In some ways, I think Browne was more attractive in her later years. I think youthful beauty is often overrated. The website also has stuff like obituaries and comments by her celebrity friends. It's late though, and I'm too lazy to report on them. Sorry.