Sunday, February 27, 2011

Remembering Joan Bennett

As it's Oscars night, here are some rare photographs of Dark Shadows' very own link to old Hollywood, actress Joan Bennett. These images were taken for Life magazine in 1940 during her filmmaking heyday, picturing the future mistress of Collinwood at home fielding calls, catching up with correspondence and signing autographs while taking lunch. Coincidentally, today would have been Joan's 101st birthday.

When I first saw Dark Shadows, I wrongly dismissed Joan as an awkward actress struggling to keep up with pace of live television. But on recent viewings, I've really come to appreciate the genuine air of class that she brought to the show. She never seemed to relax enough during tapings to overcome her anxious, slightly halting delivery, but her natural bearing and elegance always shone through. Nothing about Joan Bennett was mundane or everyday, and as the show's first headline performer, that quality set the tone for Dark Shadows from the very beginning.


Abigail-Madison Chase said...

Great Pictures

Dale said...

Thanks for posting these great pictures of Joan Bennett. Perhaps you might post vintage photos of Grayson Hall or some of the other mature actors that appeared on the show.

It's hard for me to believe that I will soon reach the same age Ms. Bennett was when Dark Shadows first went in to production. My how time does fly, or did I suddenly experience a time warp.

It would be interesting to see a posting of the photo that Joan is shown signing, in he last picture. Perhaps someone out there has a copy available, they can share with the blog followers.

cmoney said...

I loved the fact that Joan was so nervous and tense in the show. I think it was part of the character as Liz was hiding a big secret and even after it was revealed there was so much drama and problems that the anxiety made sense. People on television or movies today seem to handle things so gracefully unless it's a perfectly acted meltdown. You can tell they've rehearsed and made their scene perfect but it doesn't seem real. When Joan nervously tried to say stuff and kept getting the names wrong that is real, people are like that in real life and it just adds to my love of Dark Shadows and its under rehearsed but honest actors.