First off...YES...we are all SUSAN fans and the main reason for posting this, is to get some 'chat' started on here.
WE ALL LOVED SUSAN'S FILMS...but there has to be at least 'one' film that you did not like as much as all the others. It would not be that Susan was 'bad' in the film. There could be many reasons for it not being the lowest on the long line of great films. Maybe it was..because of the story, the bad leading man opposite her/Her role being, maybe, wrong for her, but she was under contract and 'had' to do the film. I'm just wanting us to comment on 'which film/and why'.
FOR ME...it comes down to 'one' that I think she may have done, because she was trying to get out of the 20th Century contract and that the film did hardly 'anything' for her, as an actress. The film is DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS. It was, just as the title said...(about Demetrius fighting in the gladiator Rome arena..and was a 'sequel' to THE ROBE, which had just given Fox 'huge' box office draws...so why not use their 'top star', at the time, because 'HER NAME' would draw the business needed, even if the script/film didn't turn out as big as THE ROBE.
SUSAN...was truly not 'main' in the script. A lot of her work, in the film, are..long shots..watching the gladiators fight. The biggest thing they had her doing in the film, was giving 'moody-frown faces' until she finally tries to seduce Demetrius. She looked beautiful...(back to her long lovely red hair) but...this film just don't work for me.
I ALSO HAVE A SECOND RUNNER-UP...that being THE MARRIAGE-GO-ROUND, which was 'not funny' (not even as a Broadway play did I see this funny)..AND..I saw no chemistry between she and James Mason. It was JULIE NEWMAR'S film on Broadway and a good boost for her in films, since she didn't have much going for her in film..and a few years later played Stupifin' Jones in LIL' ABNER. NO...fire..NO..ice...between the two women but 'not their faults'. (the one thing that still bothers me on this one is..that Susan didn't 'have to do this film because of full filling contract obligations..she was 'on her own' and this is an MGM film.)
PLEASE...I wish other fans would join in and give a film/or films...that were 'just not' on the BEST OF SUSAN...(*but remember...NOT maybe Susan's fault..but for other reasons..it just didn't...'click'.)
Here is my little list of films that are least my favorites.
"Thunder in the Sun" I like Susan and Jeff Chandler in the film, but the story was blau!!! Not a good movie release after winning the Oscar, I guess I didnt like her accent in the film. It didnt do too well at the box office as I read.
"I Thank a Fool, was not a good show piece for Susan. I have it on VHS, and I haven't seen it in years and probably will be years before I decide to put it in the machine again. The only thing about the movie I loved was Susan looked beautiful.
Yes..Ray...I agree with you on both as not being 'top notch films..period'. The public had been wanting Susan and Jeff to do a film together for a long while, since the stories first broke about them being from the same neighborhood and schools together and when Susan and Jess divorced, the magazines were right on top of it. I remember the big article in MODERN SCREEN called.."The Iron Man and the Redhead". But...I don't think there was a thing to 'anything' between the two, other than their 'past lifetime' in Brooklyn. There had also been stories written (but 'written' so who knows if it was ever even said)..that Jeff had been in love with Susan during those 'younger years'. AND...you're right.the chemistry just wasn't there along with a pretty bad script for either star to work with.
AGAIN...from articles...said that Susan started doing location films, because that was what Eaton wanted her to do, if she did any more acting..so they could travel while she worked. That was where "I THANK A FOOL" comes into place..(and if the articles be true) also locations for "WOMAN OBSESSED", "THE HONEY POT",
"STOLEN HOURS". Not that these were 'bad films' but maybe 'bad choices' all after winning the Oscar.
NO ACTOR/ACTRESS....can have an 'entire career' without having some 'bad ones' along the way..and again, this is NOT on Susan being bad. It is films that may have not worked for one reason or the other.
Some fans have already expressed 'leading men' they didn't like her working with..so this is, in a way, the same type of thing. I hope more will join in.
Because Cinema, like any Art form, is deeply personal in the way we react and respond to it, I imagine that there would be a wide variance in what films people here found her ' low points'.
For me - you have stolen my thunder ( in the Sun?? - lol) with THE MARRIAGE-GO-ROUND.That remains my least favourite as well. Whilst I find Susan Hayward superb in the genres of drama / historical costumers / adventurers / 'women's films' / noirish crime / quasi musicals etc - I still don't think she was a born comedic actress. This is not saying she did not have a sense of humour in life or that there were not moments in her films where she delivered some wryly funny scenes at times.
But when you look at the sheer comedic skills and timing of girls like Eve Arden, Roz Russell, Madeline Kahn, Lucille Ball and the like, Susan was not a top flyer in this genre.
Then because James Mason was exactly the same - ie a brilliant dramatic player but absolutely NOT a comic as such, and combine them with a lack lustre script...??
So for me - MARRIAGE-GO-ROUND is the main Susan film I prefer not to rewatch.
I do agree with you, Kerry...and 'yes' Susan had some comic moments..(I Married a Witch, The Forest Rangers) but these were scenes when 'she' was the bunt of the comic scene and not the comedian. And a big Yes on putting two dramatic actors in,what was suppose to be a comedy..(Marriage-go-Round). Again, I just don't find this a good comedy, even on stage.
None of this is to discredit our dear Susan, because we can also say..."yeah..but Madeline Kahn or Lucille Ball could 'never' be the 'dramatic actress' that Susan was"
and that is soo true. Susan was 'THE BEST' when it came to dramas and that took in a wide range of wonderful films.
So far...'the three of us'...have felt the same on this subject. Wish others would comment.
I must agree that Marriage-Go Round is also my least favourite film of the ones Susan made. Not at all funny and Susan looked older with her hair-style in this. The only decent scene for me was when James Mason swept her up and said something like - "I know you, you're from Brooklyn!"
James Mason was a strong leading man in Britain in the 1940's BUT no way as a partner for Susan on screen.
This is my least watched film in my collection on Susan.
Thanks, Trish, for joining in on this..and once again, it comes around to.."Marriage-go-Round". Like you, I did not like Susan's hair style in this picture either. The whole film didn't remind me of the 'Susan' I had always loved..and I think Kerry hit it right, when he said that 'comedy' was not her strong point..and 'this film'...was about as 'funny' as a 'newscast' on tv.
I have always loved James Mason too...(look at A STAR IS BORN, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, PRISONER OF ZENDA, FIVE FINGERS, JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH to name just a few..but again, none of them...comedies.
BOTH STARS got a 'bad deal' in doing this film.
While I was happy that Susan continued to make films
in the 60's,I really did not like any of the movies she appeared in( with the possible exception of STOLEN HOURS). None of those films were worthy of her talents after she received her Oscar. Once her contractual obligations were fulfilled,if she made the choices she did for money/and or the travel
involved,I think she made a mistake. I love Susan
yet I feel that if she had quit while she was ahead(so to speak),her legacy would have been better served. Sorry guys to be so negative-just my opinion.
To me,Susan will always be the best!!
I don't consider 'anything' we say on this subject, is meant to be negative toward Susan. Like I said, when first starting this topic...'no star has a career where some bad films did not come their way'. That may be for many reasons, but...tell me 'one star'..who ever had a career of 'every film being brilliant'. It just don't happen!
I also think, as you do, that the '60's was when she made some 'not so great' films..but have to mention ONE that was in that era, that was great and will always be in 'the top favorites' of mine. That would be BACK STREET. I thought Susan's performance/and the film period...was much better than any of the previous versions of that story.
Susan showed compassion and love in this love story that did not come out (for me) in any of the other versions..and 'that' is what I was wanting to say to Susan, when I met her..and told her I was sorry for the 'bad reviews' she had received on that film. It came out of my mouth..'wrong'...and I truly loved her in that film.
You are right (in my opinion) that once she was not under contract, some mistakes were made, where the great films, before the 60's did not show through as well. "Woman Obsessed" is another one in that era that did not show Susan as the strong talent that she always was.
WE ALL LOVE HER...and this is just to say what movie/movies you thought did not give Susan her the best opportunity to show how talented she always was.