In the days since Jean Simmons‘ death at age 80 on January 22nd, many appreciative comments have been written in the press. In honor of Jean Simmons, Turner Classic Movies has scheduled an evening of three of her best movies this Friday, January 29th, 2010. The scheduled films are as follows (all times shown are EST):
Great Expectations (’46): David Lean's definitive adaptation of Charles Dickens novel tracing Pip's odyssey from his encounter with Magwitch (Finlay Currie) to his rise to prominence in London gave John Mills one of his first leading roles as Pip. His bewitchment by the cruel Estella played by Jean Simmons is quite understandable, even if the spell is eventually broken. A beautifully filmed movie with cinematography by Guy Green that might make you wonder why David Lean ever thought he needed color, which was not needed to convey the teenage Simmons lush beauty either.
Elmer Gantry (’60): Nobel Prize winner Sinclair Lewis' once controversial 1927 novel was banned in Boston for its lacerating depiction of evangelical religion in America was adapted by director Richard Brooks, whose casting of Burt Lancaster and Shirley Jones won the actors an Academy Award as Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. Jean Simmons' half believing, half artful Sister Sharon Falconer is the mercurial fulcrum at the center of the story. Ironically for the British born actress, her performance won a BAFTA as Best Foreign Actress in the UK. Simmons also found herself happily in love with the director, to whom she was married from 1960 to 1977.12:45 AM
The Happy Ending (’69):
Merry, fierce, sometimes sad and other times mellow, those eyes changed over the course of a lifetime, but one of her loveliest qualities was also one of her most imperishable: that laugh. Erupting with a giggle bubbling over with natural warmth and genuine delight, dissolving into a deliciously impish, sometimes painfully real laugh at some moment in almost all of her accomplished portrayals on screen or in the middle of an otherwise prosaic interview, it seemed unforced, whether full of a robust earthiness or tinged with a slightly rueful self-knowledge...more on the Movie Morlocks at TCM