Sunday, August 18, 2013

DON'T YOU JUST HATE IT WHEN.......

Don't you just hate it when an artist's work is judged by the personal life of the artist? Doesn't it just irk you if someone declares their dislike based upon an artist's  love life, family life or political affiliation? Well, it really bugs me, and here are three of my pet peeves.

Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford was a great star. These are not just words. From a career that started in 1925 and ended in 1970, this woman was the very definition of a Hollywood star and was loved by millions. True, her latter years were a bit hard to bear, but who doesn't struggle with aging? Joan Crawford carried on the tradition of the glamorous, goddess-like star of the silent era, never giving in to the "just like us" image that started in the 1930s.

While Joan did look a bit scary in her later years (it was the eyebrows and the lip-liner), "Mommie Dearest" destroyed her reputation. And now you just know that you can't discuss Joan Crawford and her 45-year career without someone mentioning wire hangers and stating that they will never watch her movies because she allegedly abused her children.
Don't fret, Joan, I am always on Team Crawford
I confess I read the sensational book when it was first published and I feel sorry for all of the tortured souls involved, but whether it is true or not, I will not be denied the great star power of Joan Crawford at the height of her powers. Her personal life does not diminish her art.

Charlie Chaplin
I am going to get all emotional here, because I practically worship this man as an artist. His accomplishments are legendary and his story larger than life. While his left-leaning political inclinations seem to have been forgiven and rarely held against him nowadays, there is always someone out there who will say "oh him - he was a pedophile, wasn't he?"
Ack! He did like young girls and it caused him a world of trouble, but this is the man who gave us "The Kid," "City Lights," 12 perfect Mutual short films, "The Gold Rush," "Modern Times" and the very courageous "The Great Dictator." He breaks and warms my heart and the same time and as long as he wasn't eating babies for breakfast, I really don't care what he was doing off of the screen.

Woody Allen
Woody Allen is a comedy god to me. While he may not be everyone's cup of tea, there is no denying that there is a funny, brilliant mind at work. His stand-up routines of old still bowl me over and his films rank among my favorites. Woody, like Chaplin, had lady trouble, frequently using his leading lady off-screen as his on-screen muse (chiefly Louise Lasser, Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow). And it was with Mia that all of the trouble began. Once the Woody-Soon Yi story broke, Woody was poison.

Now, admittedly, I might not want to have Woody for a son-in-law and the story is distasteful, but who cares? I love Woody for "Annie Hall," "Manhattan," "Take the Money and Run," "Hannah and Her Sisters," "Midnight in Paris," and so many more. Cries of incest (Soon-Yi was not his daughter) and pedophile fall on my deaf ears.  I am so glad he has hung in there and still continues to make interesting films.

I don't care what they say, baby, just watch my films.
I don't or didn't know any of these artists personally. Maybe if I did, I would feel more qualified to judge them, but I feel only qualified to judge their works. And for me, Joan, Charlie & Woody rock.


22 comments:

John/24Frames said...

I agree totally with you Flick chick. The artist should always be separated from the private life, it doesn't matter. I can throw in John Lennon who was attacked for being a drug user and of course for falling in love with Yoko. Terrific post and great point of view.

FlickChick said...

Thanks, John. I am a Lennon fan (and was crushed when he divorced Cynthia), but I loved him nonetheless. For me, "Imagine" is the greatest song written in my lifetime (so far!!).

Patti said...

I completely agree with you, Flick! When judging the work of a star, we need to put our political/societal prejudices aside and focus solely on their professional work.

I hear people all the time saying what a crummy actor Ronald Reagan was. Well, he may not be the best actor who's ever come down the pike, but he certainly wasn't the worst. He gave some very good dramatic performances, one of which was in "King's Row." However, I think people automatically discount him because they don't like his politics.

If my movie star loves had to share my political and societal beliefs or to behave in certain ways for me to like them, I'd have to throw some mega-loves out. By being objective, I am able to love them and their works.

I have never watched a Charlie Chaplin film in my life, and I don't know much about Woody Allen, but as for Joan Crawford, I love her, "Mommie Dearest" or not. I have never read the book or seen the movie (and won't, because it's not my thing), but even knowing what it's about, I still love her. People who won't get near her works are really missing out.

Very insightful, objective post.

FlickChick said...

Patti - I agree about Reagan - there are people that refuse to even acknowledge he had a serious acting career. in fact - going the opposite route - I knew someone who hated Barbara Streisand's politics so much that he refused to listen to her. Imagine denying yourself beautiful music because you don't like the way someone votes. Yeesh!

Inge Gregusch said...

Terrific post, Chick of the Flicks (I never tire of that expression). I shall share it. You were missed. Welcome back to you fiefdom of humble serfs!

ClassicBecky said...

Shakespeare always says it best. When Polonius says to Hamlet that he will treat the troupe of actors according to what we now call their "just dessert", Hamlet chides him: "Use every man after his dessert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

None of us knows or will ever really know what the whole and real truth is behind any famous person, just as no one could ever really know about us except ourselves and God. Tabloid articles, rumors, stories from disgruntled acquaintances, assumptions, articles by Louella Parsons, even our own prejudices -- I would hate for my own life to be judged by such.

In any case, so what if Errol Flynn lived a libertine's life? I love Captain Blood and the Sea Hawk and Robin Hood -- his work is what I love. Picasso was said to be a son of a bitch and a misogynist, but his paintings are all over the walls of my house. These peoples' legacies of talent, fun, genius are what we love, and I say "Leave [the rest] to Heaven." (Also from Hamlet, with a little edit by me!)

said...

You basically read my thoughts! I think we should put apart professional and personal life. Everybody has flaws and maybe even some past acts to be ashamed of, but nothing of this can turn into something bad for their career.
While I focus more on films in my blog, sometimes I have to spill personal data, and I'm always discrete about it. I said more than once: what I really can't stand is people putting gay labels in actors and actresses from the past, like it mattered to enjow their work.
Kisses!

FlickChick said...

Oh, Inge - you are too kind! And I just knew you'd appreciate that dreamy photo of Joan.

FlickChick said...

Hey Becky! Leave it to you to insert some culture in this joint!

FlickChick said...

Hi Le - I agree completely. I admit I love a juicy bit of gossip, but it never really affects my ability to appreciate a good film or performance.

Silver Screenings said...

This is why I don't like to know too much about actors. Don't get me wrong – I love a juicy story as much as the next person but sometimes these stories interfere with my admiration of their work. It's not a matter judging them, it's a matter of being disappointed.

For that reason, I haven't followed the escapades of these three very closely... La La La – I can't hear you.

ClassicBecky said...

I always seem to think of something the old Bard said when I want to make a point. And I ain't ashamed of it neither!

Patti said...

I am right there with Silver Screenings, in not wanting to know too much about a star's personal life, especially their extra-marital life. I have no desire to read "Hollywood Babylon" or other tell-all kind of books, not because I'll stop watching their works because of their philandering ways, but because it's disappointing to have them come crashing down from the pedestal I've placed them on.

While I accept that some of my loves were extremely philandering husbands, I remember being completely brokenhearted when I discovered that Gary Cooper, also, was a cheating husband. I still love him and enjoy his films, but I no longer see him as a god-like, can do no wrong man...and that is kind of sad.



The Lady Eve said...

Miss Chick, Case in point - Roman Polanski, a brilliant director. And Frank Sinatra, incomparable singer. Liking someone's work (in all these cases, artistry) doesn't have to mean we condone their private behavior. We're all human, we all have flaws (if we admit it) - and some of us have major flaws. To quote Billy Wilder via Jack Lemmon in Some Like it Hot (one more time), "Nobody's perfect." But some of us are geniuses despite our imperfections.

I don't like trashy tell-all or secret-life-of kinds of bios and don't read them. But many moons ago I happened to read "Hollywood Babylon." The good news is I don't remember any of it.

Rick29 said...

A thought-provoking post and I agree with you--but, boy, sometimes it's hard to separate an actor's screen persona from their real one. I think I'm more aware of it with contemporary actors because of social media and ever-present media attention. Imagine if there had been a TMZ around when Errol Flynn was a big star!

FlickChick said...

Silver Screenings - true - they are only human (even Cary Grant!!)

FlickChick said...

Lady Eve - I love a good bio, but hate the trash. I, too, read that infamous book as a kid and I had to wash my hands after touching it.

FlickChick said...

Rick - you're not kidding! Luckily, those stars had the protection of the studios. Today, their every move is fair game - and it's not fair!

Christian Esquevin said...

I agree FlickChick. I just heard that about Joan Crawford last week. And Jane Fonda regrets what she did in the past but I've heard that The Butler should be boycotted because she appears in it.

Aubyn Eli said...

Great post, FlickChick, on an ever-present problem for film fans (or fans of any art form really). Except that movie stars really do seem to get it in spades. And it can be truly arbitrary as to which stars get the ax. I bow to no one in my love for Barbara Stanwyck, but she was a terrible, neglectful mother. But her kid didn't write a tell-all book so her reputation remains untarnished. Or you get Bette Davis, whose kid did write a tell-all book but the book was never filmed and the furor just died down.

I will admit that sometimes hearing the dark, scandalous stories can put a dent in my love for an artist but I still don't think that's reason to put yellow hazard tape all over their art and reputation.

FlickChick said...

Christian - yes, the Jane Fonda thing is still out there. Sigh.... But, lots of people are seeing the film, so there!

FlickChick said...

Aubyn - so true. I admit I sometimes fall into the trap, but just because I think someone might be a jerk in real life would not stop me from seeing something that I might find interesting.