Wednesday, May 22, 2024

‘Born to Be Unhealthy’ 1950

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(L) Joan Fontaine as conniver Christabel in 1950’s “Born to Be Unhealthy.”
(R) Carol Burnett from her TV present, spoofed this noir cleaning soap as “Raised to Be Rotten!”

By the top of “Born to Be Unhealthy,” everybody needs to strangle Christabel, even herself!

Born to Be Unhealthy is a movie noir cleaning soap opera that toys
with Joan Fontaine’s on-screen persona. Within the function referenced within the title, Joan’s
seemingly demure miss remembers the cinematic bouquet of shy English roses that Fontaine
performed within the ’40s. Right here, this rose reveals her thorns, because the poor relation
who’s a two-faced schemer. Fontaine’s memoir was titled No Mattress of Roses, ironic since a Unhealthy
character sneeringly refers to her schemer’s life in a wealthy marriage as such. Fontaine
was additionally recognized off-screen for her sharp-tongued wit. On-screen, her characters
have been normally tender, wide-eyed, one forehead raised, with a Mona Lisa smile. 

Christabel Caine involves San Fran! “Born to Be Unhealthy’s” Joan Fontaine along with her
go-to expression, the arched eyebrow, slight smile, and “Who, me?” expression!


As conniving Christabel Caine, Joan and director Nicholas
Ray use the Fontaine picture very cleverly. As different film followers have famous,
Christabel’s ways are very like the identical 12 months’s passive/aggressive villain,
Eve Harrington, in 1950’s All About Eve.
Fontaine’s appearing fashion can be much like Anne Baxter’s, however rather more dialed
down. There’s the identical raised eyebrow, deer within the headlights appears to be like, and lowered
voice, however Baxter usually went huge!  They even have the identical extreme curled
bob that was mysteriously in style post-war. Christabel needs a wealthy husband
and Eve needs to be a star, and anybody in the best way will get steamrollered.

Christabel appears to be the dangerous seed, an orphan raised by a
meek relative. She leaves her Aunt Clara in Santa Flora and strikes as much as San
Francisco to go to enterprise college, and reside with profession woman Donna, who works
for Christabel’s uncle. At first, household and buddies are taken by the poor
“woman”—it’s amusing to think about over-30 Fontaine’s objective to be a
secretary. To not point out the poor relation arrives with a gaggle of Hattie
Carnegie clothes, swanned all through Born
to Be Unhealthy

Joan Fontaine’s Christabel feigns innocence in 1950’s “Born to Be Unhealthy.” 


Joan Fontaine performs the half in excellent studio period fashion.
The demure diva smirks because the supposedly subtle metropolis people fall for her
manipulations. Or the left eyebrow that will get an cardio exercise each time
Christabel will get away along with her newest scheme. Whereas Joan Fontaine was naturally
fairly, it is an eye fixed roll that males are falling throughout her or that she’s so
charismatic that others are blinded by her blatant insincerity. The movie’s
posters describe Christabel as man-bait and a feminine savage! Rita Hayworth or
Vivien Leigh, she ain’t. The spinster bob, plus a collection of shoulderless robes
that intensify her barely hunched posture and modest bosom don’t assist in any respect,
both.

“Born to Be Unhealthy” hardly lives as much as the poster’s captions or depicted cup measurement of Joan!


As Donna, Joan Leslie is pure and surprisingly holds her
personal. Simply 25 on the time, and whereas no Janet Leigh or Eva Marie Saint, Leslie’s
enjoying is simple and robust. 

Joan Leslie’s Donna realizes that scheming Christabel is “Born to Be Unhealthy!


As the lads in Christabel’s life, there’s Mel Ferrer as Gabriel
Broome, the younger artist who paints her portrait. Nicknamed “Gobby,” he’s extra
of a frenemy, and a few movie followers assume he was a coded homosexual character. No surprise
he didn’t fall prey to this perilous mantrap! Then there’s Robert Ryan,
well-cast as rugged creator Nick Bradley, who sees via Christabel however cannot
assist however be captivated by her alleged charms. I cherished it when Ryan’s Nick
declares he received’t be the vixen’s “backstreet boy!” One other staple of this period’s
sort of movie is the “sensible” dialogue that comes off campy. And Ferrer
and Ryan get the very best/worst of the tacky zingers, normally directed at that satan
in disguise, Christabel.

A younger Mel Ferrer performs a glib, homosexual younger artist in 1950’s “Born to Be Unhealthy.”
Robert Ryan is the rugged author who charms himself & Joan Fontaine
in 1950’s “Born to Be Unhealthy.”
Zachary Scott, at house in a tux or ascot, is the millionaire in 1950’s “Born to Be Unhealthy.”


Zachary Scott performed many characters who have been both
charmers, creeps, or each. Bear in mind him because the cad Monty in Mildred Pierce? As Donna’s wealthy fiancé Curtis
Carey, he is sympathetic, however falls for Christabel’s conniving. Within the 90 minute
movie, Donna’s out and Christabel is in by the half method mark! However, she nonetheless
hankers for that rough-hewn Ryan. Natch, Christabel overplays her hand and shortly
sufficient will get caught and tossed out on her ear. Donna and the millionaire are
reunited, natch. And Christabel contentedly drives off with a carload of furs. 

Carol Burnett as “Christinabelle” in her takeoff of “Born to Be Unhealthy,” known as
“Raised to Be Rotten!” With Harvey Korman, so good at spoofing Scott’s wealthy guys.


Carol Burnett was famed for her tv present’s movie
takeoffs and she or he lampooned such a movie completely. Right here, Born to Be Unhealthy known as Raised to Be Rotten. Carol kicks it
up a number of notches, enjoying artful “Christinabelle!”
By the top of the skit, she’s a pickpocket to everybody alongside the best way out. Burnett’s
spoof cleverly skewers each time Christinabelle and the rugged author go into
a clinch, she swoops into his arms, and the music swells. Or when visitor star
Richard Crenna as Ryan’s author tells Christinabelle to shorten her title! Carol’s
received Joan’s arched eyebrows and smirk down pat and her dangerous woman aptly tells
Crenna’s dangerous boy to “take your low-cost repartee and get out!” This parody is so
near the bone it jogs my memory of Carol’s take off of Joan Crawford’s Torch Music.

One factor that makes me snicker about Robert Ryan’s
rugged artsy sort is his proclamations about Christabel as a lady. It reminds
me of Dane Clark because the opinionated artist giving Bette Davis guff in A Stolen Life or Steven Boyd’s editor to
new woman Hope Lange in The Better of
Every little thing
. The gist of which is usually: “You already know what your
drawback is? You are afraid of being a actual girl!”
And their characters certainly had an answer for what ailed the main girls’
“drawback.”

“Learn any good books recently?” Joan Fontaine’s schemer is feeling Zachary Scott
however taking a look at Robert Ryan, in 1950’s “Born to Be Unhealthy.”

Born to Be Unhealthy is a kind of post-war movie noir
soaps that served as showcases for its main woman. Monster hit Mildred Pierce in ’45 was certainly the
inspiration. Joan Crawford herself did a collection of such movies within the late ’40s
via the ’50s, as did many established feminine stars. The components was the
movie diva was both a lady in jeopardy or a scheming vixen. The latter
normally afforded a movie trend present for the star. The supporting solid was
normally a bevy of main males who have been knocked over like bowling pins by the
star’s female wiles. Any ladies within the motion pictures, whereas normally youthful than the
star diva, have been no competitors. Even when the star’s character paid for her sins
on the finale, she had a whole lot of enjoyable alongside the best way. And so it’s with Born to Be Unhealthy. Take pleasure in!

Right here’s the movie that combined movie noir and cleaning soap opera, introduced
Joan Crawford again and created a subgenre for sturdy feminine stars.  My have a look at Mildred Pierce:
https://ricksrealreel.blogspot.com/2020/03/how-joan-crawford-became-mildred-pierce.html

“Portrait of Joanie?” Mel Ferrer’s artist creates this masterpiece
of Joan Fontaine’s charismatic schemer in 1950’s “Born to Be Unhealthy.”



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