Friday, January 7, 2011

Geraldine Page is the lady

One of my favorite actresses was Miss Geraldine. I loved her substantial manner, the fleeting twin-depths of happy and sad that shone thru her if her skin were made of clouds.
She won the Oscar when she was 60, for Best Actress, in a movie that's been on my mind lately....

She was not a traditional beauty...she wasn't tall, skinny, buxom and blonde... she wasn't the belle of the ball. Born in 1924, she had an intelligence and kindness. There was nothing haughty about her style. She wasn't a Katharine Hepburn, nor a snap-meister like Myrna Loy.
And this is why I loved her.
I fancied my self a lot like her. Plain. Sincere. Often, the last in line.

Here's what it says on the IMDB page:

"Considered by many to be one of the greatest American actresses of all time, Geraldine Page was a master craftswoman who seemed to bring out the most inner detail of the character she was playing. Her dedication to her craft has earned her the respect of many of today's great actors including Meryl Streep and Michelle Pfeiffer."

I first noticed her in Hondo, a 1954 John Wayne western movie (of course)... I am an unapologetic cowgirl. Hondo is chock full of rampant sexism and racism, but that's the '50s.

And then the stunning Tennessee Williams play, made into a movie in 1962, Sweet Bird of Youth, where Miss Page plays a "...temperamental and drunken Alexandra Del Lago, a once great movie actress whose star has since faded."

Here's the offical trailer for that movie......

Oh and please notice the 2 men in the movie....Paul Newman and Rip Torn.
Rip Torn ...another favorite actor, and married to Miss Page.

She thought of herself as an actress of the stage and said this:

"I didn't want to be a Hollywood actress who every so often does a Broadway play. I wanted to be a Broadway actress who every so often does a movie."

But the movie that is on my mind a lot ...I fell in love the first time I saw it, is
The Trip to Bountiful.
Described as "In 1985, she starred in the independent film "The Trip To Bountiful." Based on Horton Foote's play, it tells the story of a 60 year old woman who yearns to run away from her cramped city apartment that she shares with her son and daughter -in-law, to see the old country town where she grew up."
It was written by Horton Foote, who also wrote the screenplay for To Kill a Mockingbird.

I remember thinking back in '85, that gee...she looks old! but she was only 60! and she played a 60 year old woman living in the 1940s, during war time. The clothes undoubtedly helped to make her look 95!
It's a bittersweet story, and I wasn't thrilled with living in Washington. So, I figured it wasn't odd to want to go back home when you reach a certain age very late in life.
unfinished business.
to see how much things have changed.
to see people and sit and think about old times.
...>Nostalgia<... Geraldine Page won the Oscar for Best Actress for that 1985 movie in 1986.

She died only 2 years later on June 13, 1987.

The 40s fashions were practical mostly,  and the daily dress was very simple with cbut special occasion clothes were quite glamorous. War time rationing limited the amount of fabric that could be used in daily clothes. Restrictions were different for fancy clothes.
From a darling web page with lots of nifty pictures, The American Historical Society: "Uncle Sam last week assumed the role of fashion designer. Sweeping restrictions aim to save 15 percent of the yardage now used on women's and girls' apparel through such measures as restricting hems and belts to two inches, eliminating cuffs on sleeves. Exempt categories include bridal gowns, maternity dresses, vestments for religious orders. - Life Magazine, April 20, 1942"

from etsy seller, NodtoModvintage, is this 40s darling dotty dress. It's 42" long, because that's what the War Ration board mandated.

Fancy clothes... were made of fabrics that the troops would not be needing...velvet, sequins, & beads were allowed, but no silk...that was needed for The War. Since most silk came from Japan, er, This silk restriction led to the popularity of nylon...the Silk Alternative! and even that was scarce until after the war. Stockings were often made of rayon or wool, and cotton. Make-

Here's a typical little 40s wartime day dress in green gingham from etsy seller, KittysVintageKitsch.

and let's show Miss Edith Head ...fiddling with a 1944 dress for the movies.