Normally when I write about a Vintage Image of the Day, I have a tendency to pick actors and films that I particularly enjoy, or want to know more about myself, and go on at length about their good points. Not today. I suppose I should gush sweetly about Grace Kelly, who was born on this day in 1929, cut off her acting career in its prime to become a real-life princess (of Monaco), and then died suddenly in 1982.

But you know what? I've never liked Grace Kelly in a movie. She's lovely to look at, but she tends to annoy me. She was far too in-your-face virtuous in High Noon, had little discernable personality in Rear Window, and was so glacial it hurt in High Society, from which the above still was taken. I still like to watch High Noon and Rear Window occasionally, but I can't stand High Society one bit (except for some of the Cole Porter songs). High Society was a musical remake of Philip Barry's play The Philadelphia Story, which was first made into a movie with Katharine Hepburn in 1940. The witty one-liners of the original are severely toned down in the remake, and the pastel-perfect Technicolor probably doesn't help either. Hepburn plays Tracy Lord as being strong-willed and a little too insensitive, but never the first-class bitch and ice queen that we see when Kelly assumed the role in 1956. I could understand why Tracy might divorce her first husband in the 1940 film, but in High Society, Dex is played by Bing Crosby in such a way that all the blame seems to fall on Tracy herself. (Do not even get me started on the inferiority of Celeste Holm in the role played so perfectly by Ruth Hussey.)

Feel free to disagree with me. Is there some quintessential Grace Kelly role that I've missed? Or perhaps the problem is that I'm not partial to most 1950s American films, and the actresses that dominated that decade.
categories Features, Cinematical