Her name was María Cristina Estela Marcela Jurado García, but to Hollywood, she was just Katy Jurado. She was the first Latina woman to win a Golden Globe award—and the first to be nominated for an Oscar. Katy was a trailblazer for Latina women in the industry, but, in spite of friendships and marriages among the Hollywood elite, she ultimately, and perhaps surprisingly, chose to live out her life in her Mexico instead of pursuing the industry in Los Angeles.
When Patricia at Caftan Woman posed the idea of the Diamonds and Gold blogathon, my immediate thought was to cover Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, as it’s one of the meatiest roles ever for a woman “of a certain age” in classic film, and one of my favorite and most endlessly rewatched films. However, when I realized I couldn’t quite place anything Swanson had done after that film in my memory, and saw that there weren’t a ton of quantifiable entries in the all-knowing eyes of IMDb, I became a bit concerned that she had embodied her performance as the misanthropic Norma Desmond a little too fully, and that I’d have to write an epilogue about how she’d frittered away the rest of her life unhappily attempting to further pursue an acting career. A bit more research revealed, though, that that worrisome scenario was far from the actual case. Despite not appearing in many more films after Sunset, Swanson lived in an incredibly full life throughout her 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, and was a fascinatingly unique, well-rounded woman all the way up to the end.
Few directors have made as lasting and beautiful a contribution to musical films as Vincente Minnelli, the filmmaker responsible for helming such enduring classics as An American in Paris, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Pirate, The Band Wagon, and Gigi. Happily, in a … Read More
The Oscars are one of Hollywood’s greatest traditions, but they’re also one of the more inherently divisive. In any situation where you’re attempting to name a singular, unequivocal “Best” in a subjective category—not just a collection of “Very Goods” or “Great Efforts”—you’re going to draw some criticism. That’s partly because movies aren’t math problem sets: there’s not a single right way to do things, nor a single right answer upon which to arrive, and in reality, one person’s interpretation of a film can be entirely different than what someone else sees. And so, those films and filmmakers that do win Oscars necessarily have to appeal to votes based on the quality of the film, as well as appealing to the sense of populism they need to secure the majority of votes.
And that’s maybe why the Academy’s notorious, career-spanning snub of Alfred Hitchcock—one of film history’s most enduringly entertaining AND well-respected filmmakers—is especially perplexing.
I recently got into a bit of trouble with a joke I made in my review for Anchors Aweigh, in which I’d cheekily noted that my favorite film genre was “Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra as girl-chasing sailors on leave.” Of course, this is a “genre” that spans exactly two films–Anchors Aweigh and On the Town–so I felt bad when someone eagerly commented seeking a watch-list of other films they thought they had overlooked.
Carmen Miranda cuts a curious figure in film history. You know those actors and characters you just can’t really picture smiling? The Buster Keatons, the James Bonds, and so on. Part of what I love about Carmen Miranda is that … Read More
There’s a singular pleasure to watching an older movie and discovering there’s an actor you thought you knew–an actor you had pretty easily categorized as a Dad figure in your mind, someone who was surely born already 40 years old wearing … Read More