Monday, April 16, 2012

A look back at Joan Bennett Week

Joan Bennett Week, as you might have guessed, happened by accident. I found myself with lots of Joan Bennett newspaper clippings that had little, if anything, to do with Dark Shadows besides the presences of Ms. Bennett. While reading through these clippings I realized I'd seen few of her most famous films, and the two I knew best, Disraeli and Suspiria, weren't exactly representative of her career. So I did some reading and watched a couple of movies, and tried to get a better grasp on who Joan Bennett was outside of Dark Shadows.

Here's a list of stories and links to the content I was able to post last week. I've tried to put them in something resembling chronological order. In the meantime, Dark Shadows Revival Sunday will return to its regularly scheduled time this weekend.

When life imitates Dark Shadows
Joan Bennett applies for a license for her second marriage in 1932; eight years later her first husband, distraught over her third marriage, tries to kill himself by drinking poison.

Happy Valentine's Day, Hedda
Joan Bennett sends a skunk to columnist/antichrist Hedda Hopper on Valentine's Day in 1950. A newspaper clipping documents the event, which leads to the creators of The Dark Shadows Podcast to point out in the comments section that Wikipedia claims the skunk was sent by Joan Fontaine. If anyone is interested in protesting the Wikipedia entry, please let me know how it goes.

Fritz Lang's "Scarlet Street" is banned in several cities
A newspaper ad promotes the opening of 1945's Scarlet Street, starring Bennett and Edward G. Robinson, while a newspaper clipping explains that the city of Milwaukee has banned screenings of the movie. A streaming video of Scarlet Street is provided in this post.

Walter Wanger shoots Jennings Lang
Bennett's husband, producer Walter Wanger, is convinced his wife is cheating on him with agent Jennings Lang and shoots him in the groin. Press clippings and photos from 1951 tell the tale.

Everybody hates Jennings Lang
A newspaper story from 1952 suggests that few people were shocked to see Jennings Lang take a bullet.

Miscellaneous press clippings
A 1939 newspaper story about beauty tips uses a photo of Joan Bennett as an example of how her "sparkling eyes add to her personality;" a gossip-friendly story from a 1951 issue of The Palm Beach Daily News claims Bennett and agent Jennings Lang carried on an affair in Marlon Brando's home; and a pair of newspaper notices promote the premiere of the 1939 movie Trade Winds.

Joan Bennett promotes the weight loss "candy" AYDS in a 1952 newspaper ad

"Young looking Joan Bennett is stern grandma," 1970 newspaper clipping
Joan Bennett talks about how her older sisters' habits of lying about their ages eventually made her the oldest of her siblings, and says she feels "ghastly" about turning 60.

"Joan Bennett Captures Family Fascination," 1970 newspaper clipping
A press notice about the publication of The Bennett Playbill, Joan Bennett's memoirs.

"Joan Bennett revisits old movie haunts," 1972 newspaper clipping
Shortly after the cancellation of Dark Shadows, Bennett visits the Warner Bros movie lot and talks a bit about the changes in the studio system since the 1930s.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the Joan Bennett week features, very interesting. Loved them all.

Efe X said...

I haven't seen Scarlet Street but she made a great somewhat femme fatale in The Woman in the Window.

Anonymous said...

She was also in "Little Women" with Katharine Hepburn--you can barely recognize her in that 30's film. Also she starred in "Father of the Bride" where she played the mother of the very young Elizabeth Taylor.

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