Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Lush life

THE TWO MRS GRENVILLES. If only all tele-movies were as lush and as plush as this 1987 offering, from Dominic Dunne’s story, directed by John Erman.
Family image matters more than anything to the Grenvilles, even when the son is shot dead by his former chorus girl wife, whom his mother despises. 

Classy Trash Classic then, up there with the best of Susan and Lana ...
Ann-Margret is sensational as usual as Ann, the showgirl who foolishly did not divorce her first husband, as she falls for navy officer Stephen Collins, working that 1980s look perfectly; he though is one of the wealthy Grenville family and Ann wants some of that luxury. She initially loves her husband and confronts his mother, Claudette Colbert, who of course is horrified by their match, but image is everything to the Grenvilles. This will be tested to the full as the marriage falls apart, he discovers they are not even legally married, as a prowler prowls the estate and he gives her a rifle to protect herself that stormy night. He of course get shot and there is a sensational court case. Will Ann get off, will his mother pull enough strings to ensure the family name is not ruined. How will Ann live afterwards as she is forced to give up her son, and travel the world, rich and bored and drinking a lot, picking up eager bar stewards? (hey, I dare say some people could get used to that...).

The two women confront each other in several juicy scenes, with Ann giving as good as she gets. Colbert is mesmerising in this her final screen performance as the fearsome matriarch. Add in Elizabeth Ashley, Sam Wanamaker (who tries to destroy Ann in court), marvellous Margaret Courtenay who reads the cards and sees what is in store, and, maybe best of all, Sian Phillips as a simply perfect Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor. Now if they had  made a telemovie about her with Sian …. 

Ann of course looks sensational in the period clothes and furs and delivers another nuanced performance, matching veteran Colbert all the way. I have just had to order her 1984 A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE where apparantly she is a very good Blanche, with Treat Williams as Stanley - this could be a treat indeed, I will be filing a report in due course. See Ann-Margret label for reviews of KITTEN WITH A WHIP, THE SWINGER, BYE BYE BIRDIE, ONCE A THIEF and THE PLEASURE SEEKERS which we loved recently. We will have to catch her great roles in CARNAL KNOWLEDGE and, TOMMY again, and she was fun too in JOSEPH ANDREWS and RETURN OF THE SOLDIER, and was great as the prejudiced mother in OUR SONS opposite Julie Andrews. Ann was always sensational. Oh, I have her 1966 MADE IN PARIS to watch too - more camp glamour then. 

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