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Greer Garson

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Garson with Clark Gable in ADVENTURE

"Gable's back and Garson's got him!" 
Many of Garson's wartime roles -- including Kay Miniver, Edna Gladney, Marie Curie and even Mary Rafferty -- helped establish a mature and often gallant screen image of her which audiences sometimes seemed reluctant to relinquish when her characters changed.  Such is the case in ADVENTURE (1945), Clark Gable's first post-war film and a picture not kindly received by critics or audiences.  Co-starring Joan Blondell and Thomas Mitchell, ADVENTURE is a quirky romance about a staid librarian who falls for a crazy, tough-talking merchant marine and as a result, discovers a whole new side of herself she has never acknowledged before.

Adapted from Clyde Brion Davis' novel The Anointed, the script falls short of its literary aspirations at times, and director Victor Fleming seems to speed along the dialogue in an effort to disguise the problems.  ADVENTURE is another case in which Garson's performance overcomes the film's other short-comings however, and it's hard not to get caught up in the blinding whirlwind of Emily Sears' emotions as her relationship with Harry Patterson turns her world upside-down.
Garson with Richard Hart in DESIRE ME

DESIRE ME (1947) has the dubious distinction of being the only major film ever issued without a director's credit, and the fact that none of the four directors who worked on the film (including George Cukor and Mervyn LeRoy) would allow their names to be used on screen, clearly illustrates what a disaster the picture was from the beginning.

Adapted from a post-World War I play by Leonhard Frank, DESIRE ME was plagued by massive script problems, director-star conflicts, star-star conflicts, and a huge wave which swept Garson and co-star Richard Hart along the jagged rocks of the Monterey coast (substituting for Brittany), inflicting cuts, bruises and back problems on Garson that would necessitate numerous surgeries in the following months and years.  Despite everything however, Garson still manages a sincere and credible performance as a French war widow who is confronted by a soldier who was once imprisoned with her husband, Paul, in a German camp.   The soldier has fallen in love with her based on the stories Paul used to tell him in prison, and he wants to take the place of her dead husband.  If anything, this film is worth seeing as the supreme example of Garson's talent for rising above second-rate material.

After two commercially and critically disappointing vehicles (the second of which, DESIRE ME, had actually lost money), Garson was reunited with Walter Pidgeon for a sixth time in JULIA MISBEHAVES (1948) and redeemed herself with a resounding hit.  In this lightly romantic comedy, Garson plays a touring showgirl who returns home to her long-ago divorced husband upon the occasion of their daughter's wedding.  The obvious comedy of manners resulting from a showgirl at a society wedding is inevitable, and this film definitely falls into the category of low-brow humor rather than high-brow wit.  Again, the script disappoints at times, but Garson carries the film marvelously well, and everyone seems to enjoy themselves.  She also contributes a touch of poignancy to the film in her scenes with Elizabeth Taylor, the daughter she hasn't seen since infancy.

Garson with the Ted de Wayne circus troupe in JULIA MISBEHAVES

The real highlights of JULIA MISBEHAVES however, are Garson's scenes as a showgirl.  First, she begins the film in a bubble bath.  And then, reminiscent of her energy and enthusiasm early in RANDOM HARVEST, she performs musical numbers such as "Oh! What a Difference the Navy's Made to Me" which are delightfully gay and entertaining.  She even performed her own stunts in this film, including the scene (at left) in which she sings "When You're Playing with Fire" from a balcony thirty feet above the stage and then is lowered onto a human pyramid (constructed by the Ted De Wayne circus troupe with guest star Cesar Romero, bottom center) for the grand finale.

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Last updated: March 10, 2011.
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