We subscribe to Now Tv movies which makes sense because we both love film. Films are split up into sections to make choosing what you like that much easier. A particular favourite of mine is the classics section full of older films, some going back to the 40’s. I do not hide the fact that in my opinion film was far better in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. If you look at the top 100 lists fewer films from recent years tend to appear. You just can’t compare the actors of today to back then. There were higher expectation and they had to compete, showing talent in acting, singing and dancing. Success could make you the biggest star of all time, but on the other end of the scale it could break you.
Anyway this is not a blog going through how the film industry works. This is about the film The Country Girl starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and William Holden. Three stand out stars and an Oscar winning performance from Grace Kelly. A very glamorous lady, playing a very unglamorous role. I have written blogs about how dressing down in film can often win you the awards and this film proves the point.
It is the story of a great entertainer Frank Elgin played by Bing Crosby who has fallen on hard times. He is an alcoholic who has let his career fall away. He has lost his dignity, confidence and has become dependent on his wife played by Grace Kelly. He can’t make decisions without her, struggles to select parts and works a way out of going for roles due to fear of failure. You meet him after 10 years of falling deeper and deeper in to a melancholic state with an increasing dependence on alcohol. The loss of his son has led to this spiral out of control as he blames himself for his sons death.
His wife is a very hard woman, but supports her husband to such an extent that he can’t think for himself. She is the dominant person in the relationship which has caused further problems. She wants him back the way he was, but also likes that he needs her. She curses him because he is weak, but her actions keep him that way. She too feels the extreme loss of her son and although there is little in the way of story about the son you can see the heartache.
William Holdens character Bernie is setting up a musical and wants his star to be Frank. He remembers Frank as he used to be and is a great fan of his work. He fights tooth and nail to get Frank into the show even though most won’t go near him. He knows that Frank has seen better days, but his determination convinced Frank to take the part. Frank’s wife fears that he won’t cope with such a rise again. You see her torment and you soon realise that she has struggled being married to an alcoholic and the fact that he can’t stand on his own two feet. These are two people grieving in very different ways. One falls apart and the other puts up a front and becomes emotionally cold.
The performances are superb, particularly Grace Kelly’s. She took the Oscar in a famous win over Judy Garland who put in an amazing performance in A Star Is Born. It is unbelievable that she was only in her mid twenties when she played the role. There is a huge age gap between Crosby and kelly, but this goes unnoticed because of the performances. Bing in a very serious role plays the alcoholic star brilliantly without going over the top. You really see a broken man on screen. Crosby was Oscar nominated, but lost out to Marlon Brando, which shows you how strong a year it was in film. William Holden is full of passion and anger as he tries to work out how to get the best out of his star man. This is a classic not to be missed.