“Forgotten Hollywood”- Oscar Legend Belongs to the Ages…

Posted on December 30, 2014 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…elle-1938-Luise-Rainer-eighty-five-years-of-golden-glamour-xln-xln

   Luise Rainer  made cinematic history as the first person to win multiple Academy Awards and to garner them consecutively for her roles in The Great Ziegfeld and The Good Earth. Only four other movie stars have ever won back-to-back Oscars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Jason Robards, and Tom Hanks. Rainer was also the oldest surviving actor owning a golden statuette, earning both in 1936 and 1937.

   She began her acting career as a teenager under innovative Austrian director Max Reinhardt, and appeared in several German films. In the mid-1930s, she was discovered by a talent scout from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer – on the lookout for new European beauties to rival Greta Garbo – and whisked to Hollywood. Her first American film was the largely forgotten Escapade, but the next roles made her a bona-fide star.        LUISE RAINER ——>

   She was later dubbed the Viennese teardrop, for her dramatic telephone scene in the bio-pic about the Broadway producer, Florenz Ziegfeld, that also starred William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Frank Morgan. She played Anna Held, the first wife of the famed impresario. For her next role, producer Irving Thalberg was convinced she would also be able to play the part of a poor Chinese farm peasant in the film based on Pearl Buck’s novel about hardship in China. All of a sudden, Luise was the studio’s hottest property.

Luise Ranier   Rainer made several pictures in 1937-1938, including Big City (with Spencer Tracy) Toy Wife, and The Great Waltz, but she chafed under the studio system and clashed with mogul Louis B. Mayer, and soon moved to New York. Despite the negativity, Rainer was one of the actresses considered for the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, but the idea was never well-received, and she wasn’t given a screen test. She was later bypassed for consideration in Madame Curie and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Greer Garson and Ingrid Bergman benefited from these casting decisions. Adding to her rapid decline, some feel, was poor career advice given to her by husband, playwright Clifford Odets, along with the unexpected death, at age 37, of Thalberg, whom she greatly admired. Rainer made only one more studio era film – Hostages in 1943 – but spent most of her later life in England. Some film historians consider her the most extreme case of the so-called Oscar curse in Hollywood mythology.

   Federico Fellini enticed her to play the cameo role of Dolores in his 1960 Oscar-winning La Dolce Vita to the point of her travelling to Rome, but she quit the production prior to shooting, a fact that has been attributed either to her resistance to an unwanted sex scene, or to her insistence on overseeing her own dialogue. She appeared sporadically on television, such as guest starring in Combat and The Love Boat.

   Rainer took her oath of allegiance to the United States in the 1940s, but she would end up living in the United Kingdom and Switzerland, instead. She made appearances at the 1998 and 2003 Academy Awards ceremonies as part of special retrospective tributes to past Oscar winners. In April 2010, she returned to Hollywood to present a TCM festival screening of The Good Earth, accompanied by an interview with host Robert Osborne.

   One of the all-time greats of Hollywood’s Golden Age of the 1930s, Luise Rainer was 104 (two weeks shy of her birthday).

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 30th, 2014 at 5:34 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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