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Monday, 4 July 2011

Box Set Monday #2: Greer Garson

It was a no-brainer that I was going to choose Greer for the second Box Set Monday post because most people who have read my blog for a while know that she's my favouritest of favourites after Deborah. Greer made just over half the number of films that Deborah did(including the one film they made together, Julius Caesar (1953)), and when picking, I thought it would help having less films to choose from, but all of her films are so fantastic that it took me absolutely ages to select the final two choices.

Glorious Greer Garson's Box Set

Mrs. Miniver, 1942
Julia Misbehaves, 1948
Blossoms in the Dust, 1941
Random Harvest, 1942
Adventure, 1945
The Valley of Decision, 1945

Other than it being a wonderful and uplifting film, I think it's fairly obvious why I chose Mrs. Miniver. It's the film Greer is most well known for and it's the role that garnered her an Academy Award.

Greer with the other 1943 Academy Award winners: Van Heflin, James Cagney, Teresa Wright.

Her performance as Kay Miniver, the charming, middle class English housewife who thinks "... it's lovely having flowers named after you.", is one of my favourite performances by any actress. Although Greer thought that Mrs. Miniver was more like her Aunt than herself, she really did something special with the role. I can't think of anyone else who could have been as perfect as she was. It's also the film that got me hooked on the Greer/Walter partnership!

Julia Misbehaves is one of the most ridiculously loveable films ever to be made. Other than Greer hanging from curtains whilst singing, Walter Pidgeon been slapped by a sea lion, and a story about the colour cyclamen pink (which has plot twists to do with Bulgaria and, once again, a sea lion.), there is nothing that would seemingly make this a special film, yet it is still too wonderful for words.

Turn the clock back 4 or 5 years and I was probably watching my first ever film where I consciously knew that the gorgeous red head starring in it was Greer Garson (previously I'd only ever seen her in Julius Caesar and, whilst I thought she was rather stunning, I wasn't hooked just yet). The film was Blossoms in the Dust and after I finished watching it I was possessed with such a longing for the 1940s (even though none of the film actually takes place then... I wasn't very discerning back then ;D ) that I went straight up stairs and tried to curl my hair. I think it was my first ever attempt at a vintage hairstyle and it didn't go well at all. However, I was completely bewitched by Greer and Blossoms is still one of my favourite films. Even though it always makes me cry a little, I feel so encouraged and enlivened whenever I watch it. The film also marked the start of the Greer/Walter partnership; God bless Mervyn LeRoy!

Greer was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress 7 times and won once, yet it still seems incredible that she wasn't nominated for her utterly perfect and heartbreaking performance in Random Harvest. Had she not already been nominated for Mrs. Miniver that year, I feel sure she would still have won the Academy Award anyway. Just watch her eyes and you can see the mental anguish her character is experiencing when she meets "Smithy" several years after the Liverpool incident (I am first class at not giving spoilers away ;D ). It HURTS to see her in so much pain and f;afja;'ldfadfsdk this film is just an essential for everyone.

Gable's back and Garson's got him! Every poster should have a tagline like that. Seriously. I am desperate to get a copy of the poster because I want those words on my wall. ANYWAY, in Adventure, Greer plays a librarian with wonderful librarian glasses...

Clark Gable plays a sailor and Joan Blondell is there for comic relief whilst looking very gorgeous. Do not be fooled by it's low ratings on IMDb because this film has everything. Gable teaches Greer how to hypnotise chickens (she imitates a rooster which is something you cannot miss), Thomas Mitchell loses his soul, and then Harry Davenport comes along to birth some babies like he does in every film. That scene always seems to crop up when talking with my Greer-loving friends, it amuses us so. Joan Blondell actually has more chemistry with Clark than he does with Greer, but that's not the point. The point is that She Who Put the Able in Gable and He Who Put the Arson in Garson* steal chickens and make an otherwise rubbish film wonderful.

The Valley of Decision is included in this box set because two of the most beautiful people ever to grace this earth, Greer and Gregory Peck, kiss in it. Several times. Once on a boat. I'll let Irving Berlin speak for me, "Heaven, I'm in heaven, and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak!". It's wonderful! Greer plays an Irish girl (Yes, Greer with an Irish accent) who takes a job in the house of the local steel mill owner. Then she falls in love with her employers son and he falls in love with her. OH, THE HORROR! What will become of their love? A mess. Otherwise the film wouldn't be 2 hours long.

*Instead of using the tagline "Gable's back and Garson's got him", Greer suggested they use "She put the Able in Gable" and Clark suggested "He put the Arson in Garson". Whilst they are both highly amusing, I do think the original is the best. ;D

I hope you all enjoyed this week's Box Set Monday post - stay tuned for next Monday! If any of you would like to do a guest post Box Set Monday, either leave me a comment or send me an email (or a twitter message if you're on there) with the actor or actress you'd like to box set (;D) and we can arrange it!


  1. I hate how hard it is to find Greer's films. She's clearly not popular enough -- and the lady was so perfect! I WILL WATCH HEARTBREAKING MELODRAMA FOR HER.

    Mrs. Miniver is probably my favorite because I love the wartime setting...though it ends so sadly. Random Harvest is ridiculously sad but so bright and cheerful too. I desperately want to see Julia Misbehaves. And now I think I must see the Clark Gable film too. ;D

    Have you seen her in The Youngest Profession? It's one of those "star-studded" films that most of the big studios were doing in the early Forties. It's silly, but Greer is lovely as herself, and Walter Pidgeon is awfully nice too.

  2. @Emm Julia Misbehaves is really and truly wonderful! I can't recommend it enough!

    I have seen The Youngest Profession, it was such a cute little film, apart from the Greer and Walter part (can you imagine having tea with Greer?!!), I loved the bit Robert Taylor comes to the door to deliver a message and the girls just miss him in the frenzy of trying to find their autograph books ;D

  3. I was already head over heels for Greer Garson before her interviews on "Saturday Night at the Movies", but after those talks with Elwy Yost, her position became unassailable.

    Enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8irGzD7h_PE


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