Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Under the Stars - Norma Shearer on TCM

This starts tomorrow. Here are the Raquelle-approved reasons why you should watch each and everyone (except for one). And if you are not a Norma Shearer fan there is something wrong with you. Watching TCM Summer Under the Stars tribute to Norma Shearer can cure you of your atrocious malady.

Lady of the Night (1924) - Joan Crawford absolutely despised and envied Norma Shearer. Especially because Shearer had an established career and dated and then married MGM bigwig Irving Thalberg. Crawford had to play Norma's double in this picture. I bet that got Crawford's goat! Plus Norma Shearer wears a wicked feather headpiece and dons a busca-novio. Excellent!

A Lady of Chance (1928) - A late silent watches like an early silent. It's Art Deco splendor and by far my favorite Norma Shearer film of them all. Read my previous post about it.

Their Own Desire (1929) - It's even more Art Deco splendor. The film was shot on location at the Norconian Resort which is now a rotting Art Deco relic. It's also the first film in which Robert Montgomery and Norma Shearer co-star. They went on to make several films together.

Complicated Women (2005) - It's a documentary which features Norma Shearer but mostly discusses actresses and films from the Pre-Code era. It's worth watching.

The Divorcee (1930) - Norma Shearer's husband Chester Morris cheats on her with some tramp. So Shearer cheats on Morris with Robert Montgomery. Morris can't take it so he divorces Shearer. Then Shearer goes and nails every rich guy she can get her hands on including Conrad Nagel. Heck yeah! Plus I dressed up as Norma Shearer in The Divorcee for Kevin's Birthday party.

The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934) - The start of Norma Shearer's prestige film career (period pieces with costumes and big productions). Charles Laughton co-stars as her tyrant father.

Riptide (1934) - A Montgomery-Shearer vehicle. Watch it for the adult-sized bug Halloween costumes. Excellent!

Escape (1940) - This is one of my least favorite Shearer films mostly because it's very depressing. But if you like depressing WWII movies, this is right up your alley.

Idiot's Delight (1939) - Norma's outrageous wig, canned oyster soup and Clark Gable singing and dancing to Puttin' on the Ritz.

The Student Prince of Old Heidelberg (1929) - Classic story of reluctant prince falling in love with a peasant girl (civilian). Shearer & Novarro's chemistry is sweet and playful, not passionate.

Private Lives (1931) - Watching a bickering couple go from hot and cold was never this fun, especially a couple on their honeymoon, WITH OTHER PEOPLE!

Romeo and Juliet (1936) - I would actually say pass on this one. Shearer and Leslie Howard are far too old to be playing Juliet and Romeo respectively.

Marie Antoinette (1938) - The pinnacle of Norma Shearer's prestige films. Thalberg's final gift to her. It's grandiose and over-the-top just as it should be.

Strangers May Kiss (1931) - Football, men in fur coats, airplanes, awesome. And why can't a girl have fun and not have to worry about her reputation?


  1. Awesome post Raquelle. I am looking forward to tomorrow. I've seen a few of Norma's films but there are quite a few that I haven't. My DVR will be getting quite the workout tomorrow. I am especially looking forward to Riptide, The Student Prince, Private Lives and The Divorcee (which I have seen before but it's been forever). If I see most of her films by the end of August,I could have Norma as my Classic Movie Goddess of the month for September. And if I do, maybe you could do a guest piece of my blog. Anyway, great post and love your blog.

  2. my dvd burner will be humming along all day tmorrow, lol! i havent seen any of those silents yet so i am really looking forward to those! and i still have yet to see Idiots Delight, ack! i agree about Shearer and Howard being to old but good lord Norma sure was pretty as Juliet regardless. its a well-made picture and Barrymore is just awesome imo! anyway, no one can say there isnt anything good on TV tomorrow!

    well, except those people that at Entertainment weekly ;)

  3. I've only seen two Norma Shearer movies: Idiot's Delight and Private Lives, both of which I enjoyed. And I've wanted to see Marie Antoinette for the longest time! I can always go for a good documentary, too. Thanks for the heads up!

  4. Norma Shearer is a goddess! I can't wait to vedge out to TCM tomorrow.

  5. I can't believe that would play 'Romeo and Juliet' but not 'The Women!' Which is arguably her last good movie.Her pinnacle as definitely the late 1920s, I don't generally like silent movies but I do enjoy some of Shearer's from that era.

    'Romeo and Juliet?' In the words of Joan Crawford 'I couldn't wait for those two old turkeys to die.'

  6. Monty - You are lucky to have a DVR! I have a mom with a VCR & TCM. But other than that I got nothing. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the Shearer films.

    Paulie - Idiot's Delight is not tremendously palatable but it's still an amusing film to watch. Hope you get to see it.

    Jean - You are in for a treat. Definitely watch some Norma's pre-codes. Those are the best!

    Amanda - Shearer is goddess, queen and all things fabulous! :-)

    Eva - The Women is NOT a Norma Shearer driven vehicle. And while there are a lot of big stars in Romeo & Juliet, Shearer stands alone as the big female lead and doesn't have to compete with the other catty bitches... oops I mean other female talent. So I think it's ok that they aren't showing The Women. Besides The Women is shown on TCM all the time anyways!

    That Joan Crawford quote is hilarious! Thanks for sharing.

  7. The art they come up with for this is gorgeous. I can't believe I could be at home watching Idiot's Delight right now. Stupid job.

  8. I have to agree with you about Romeo and Juliet! Not Norma's best film by any stretch of the imagination.

  9. Norma was one of few silent actresses who's careers really took off with the coming of the talkies.
    I don't have TCM so sadly I missed out on this orgy with the Queen of MGM.

    My favorite Norma movies are Their Own Desire, The Divorcee and Private Lives.

    The TCM artwork is also very royal. It reminds me of the silhouette of the Queen on British stamps. Love it!

  10. Raquelle, I thought about you on Norma Shearer day. Wondered if I should email you, and thought, "Nah, if TCM's having a Norma Shearer day, I'm sure Raquelle, if nothing else, learned about it in a dream." ;)

    A mental connection with your absolute favorite.

    I love ROMEO AND JULIET, but you know how I feel about Leslie.

    -- That Joan Crawford quote, though, [above] is hilarious!

    DVRed PRIVATE LIVES and just watched it Sunday night.

    Norma was wonderful.


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