Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ethel Barrymore

Ethel Barrymore, was a major Broadway performer. Many consider her to be the greatest actress of her generation. She performed in her first film, The Nightingale (1934).

She made 15 silent pictures between 1914 and 1919 most of them for the old Metro studio. Most of these pictures were made on the East Coast, as her Broadway career and children came first. All of her silent films are lost with the exception of, The Call of Her People(1917).

In the 1940s, she moved to Hollywood, California. The only two films that featured all three siblings Ethel, John and Lionel were: National Red Cross Pageant (1917), Rasputin and the Empress (1932).
The former film is now lost.

She won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film, None but the Lonely Heart(1944) opposite Cary Grant. A story about a Cockney young man who returns home with no ambitions but finds that his family needs him. Adapted by Clifford Odets from the novel by Richard Llewellyn and directed by Odets.

She performed in the film, The Spiral Staircase (1946) directed by Robert Siodmak. A story about a young mute Helen, who works for ailing Mrs. Warren. Mrs. Warren's two sons, professor Albert and womanizing Steven, also live in the Warren mansion. Mrs. Warren becomes concerned for Helen's safety when a string of murders involving 'women with afflictions' hits close to home. She asks, Dr. Parry, to take Helen away for her own safety. When another murder occurs inside the Warren mansion, it becomes obvious that Helen's life is in danger.

The Paradine Case (1947) directed by Alfred Hitchcock. A story about the beautiful Mrs. Paradine, who is accused of poisoning her blind husband. She hires the happily married Anthony Keane, as her lawyer and when he begins to fall in love with her, the real trouble begins.

Portrait of Jennie (1948). A story about Eben Adams, a struggling artist during Depression in New York, who is having trouble finding a inspiration for a painting. One day, Jennie Appleton buys a painting from him and they develop an unusual friendship.

Her last film performance was in, Johnny Trouble (1957). A story about Katherine Chandler, who lives in an apartment house that has been purchased by the local college for a boy's dormitory. She refuses to leave, believing that her son, who disappeared after being expelled from the school twenty-sever years ago, will return. The college lets her remain as an unofficial dorm-mother to the students who treat her as their grandmother. She becomes convinced that one of the students, Johnny, is her grandson since he bears the same name as her lost son. She reforms him and he marries his pregnant girlfriend, Julie Horton. Katherine, wants to meet Johnny's parents, certain that his father is her missing son.

She also made a number of television appearances in the 1950's, including one performance with comedian Jimmy Durante on NBC's All Star Revue on December 1, 1951.

She then went onto perform in the film, Deadline(1952). Crime film. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ethel Barrymore and Kim Hunter. A story about a newspaper editor Ed Hutcheson, working for a large metropolitan newspaper called The Day. He is loyal to publisher Margaret Garrison, the widow of the paper's founder, who wants to sell the newspaper. Hutcheson, begins working on the big story about the murder of a young woman which could turn out to be the "big story" that keeps the paper in business or else the last "big story" it ever covers.


  1. Dawn, this was a lovely tribute to a woman I think was definitely one of the great actresses, both stage and screen. What a lovely picture of the young Ethel with that beautiful hat! I seem to remember seeing her for the first time as a kid in The Spiral Staircase. I just loved her and those incredible large eyes. She certainly deserved the Oscar for None But The Lonely Heart, and I also loved her in Portrait of Jennie. I wish I could have seen her on stage. Dawn, you have such a prolific blog that I can't keep up with you! Not only beautiful, but so many interesting posts with lovely pictures. You are amazing!

  2. Thank you Bec, I could not do this blog without the help of Monty and Silent. :)

    Today... is going to be a awesome day on TCM!!


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