Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Birthday: Irene Dunne!

Irene Dunne (December 20, 1898 - September 4, 1990), was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Actress,the first being:Cimarron (1931), Pre-Code film directed by Wesley Ruggles and based on the Edna Ferber novel Cimarron. Despite America being in the Depression, RKO wanted to put together the big-budget picture. Filming began in the summer of 1930 at the Jasmin Quinn Ranch in California. More than 5,000 extras, twenty-eight cameramen, and numerous camera assistants and photographers were used to capture scenes of wagons racing across the prairie. Cinematographer Edward Cronjager spent overtime planning out every scene.

Theodora Goes Wild (1936), Theodora Lynn, does not want to live by the same rules as her literary circle that her aunts and most of the town's leading women belong. She is helps her friend Adelaide Perry, who is secretly married, but no one in her family approves of her marriage. Theodora, under the name Caroline Adams, has written a steamy book, which is scandalizing the town. Theodora has been able to keep these two parts of her life separate, only her Uncle John Lynn and her editor Arthur Stevenson know of her real identity. Her life becomes more complicated when the illustrator of her book, Michael Grant, finds out about her true identity. When Theodora learns a secret that Michael is keeping, she teaches him that what comes round goes round...

The Awful Truth (1937), screwball comedy. Cast: Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. The plot is about the soon-to-be-divorced couple, who do everything they can to sabotage each other new relationships. The film was directed by Leo McCarey, who won the Academy Award for Best Director, and was written by Viña Delmar, with uncredited assistance from Sidney Buchman and Leo McCarey, from the 1922 play by Arthur Richman.

Love Affair (1939). A romantic comedy. French painter Michel Marnet meets American singer Terry McKay, aboard a liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean. They are both already engaged, they fall in love. The couple make an appointment to meet six months later on top of the Empire State Building. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes. Not wanting to be a burden to Michel, she does not contact him, preferring to let him think the worst. They meet by accident at the theater, though Terry conceals her condition. Michel then visits her at her apartment and finally learns the truth.

I Remember Mama (1948), is a play by John Van Druten. Based on the fictionalized memoir Mama's Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes, it focuses on the Hanson family, a family of Norwegian immigrants living in, San Francisco in the 1910s.

George Stevens originally offered the role of Mama to Greta Garbo, who did not want to play a motherly type. He then cast Irene Dunne, whom he had directed in, Penny Serenade (1941). Although she was 50 years old, the actress had a youthful appearance and had to be aged with makeup to play the part convincingly.

List of Irene Dunne Films:

1930 Leathernecking
1931 Cimarron
The Slippery Pearls
Bachelor Apartment
The Great Lover
Consolation Marriage
1932 Symphony of Six Million
Back Street
Thirteen Women
1933 No Other Woman
The Secret of Madame Blanche
The Silver Cord
Ann Vickers
1934 This Man Is Mine
Sweet Adeline Adeline
1935 Roberta
Magnificent Obsession 
1936 Show Boat
Theodora Goes Wild
1937 High, Wide, and Handsome 
The Awful Truth
1938 Joy of Living Margaret
1939 Love Affair
 When Tomorrow Comes
1940 My Favorite Wife
1941 Penny Serenade
1942 Lady in a Jam
1943 Show Business
A Guy Named Joe 
1944 The White Cliffs of Dover
1945 Over 21 Paula
1946 Anna and the King of Siam
1947 Life with Father
1948 I Remember Mama
1950 Never a Dull Moment
1951 You Can Change the World
1952 It Grows on Trees


  1. Awesome birthday tribute Dawn. Irene is my second favorite actress of all time, behind only Carole Lombard. She is amazing. Thanks for the wonderful post.

  2. Thank you Monty, I hope you have time to add some of your favorite Irene pictures.

  3. Irene Dunne is one of my very favorite actresses - it's a mystery to me that she never won an Oscar, though she received all those nominations. My favorite screwball is "The Awful Truth" - she and Cary Grant are beyond brilliant together. The definition of "scintillating." Thanks for spotlighting one of the all-time greats, Dawn...


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.