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Jean Arthur

I really hadn’t seen many of Jean Arthur’s movies until fairly recently, and there are still quite a few I haven’t seen, but she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses ever.  Her performances have so much intelligence, heart and humor.  And of course there’s that funny husky/squeaky voice.  She’s not a great beauty, but her characters have so much life and spunk and goodness that you wind up thinking she’s the prettiest girl around.  She’s just the best.

 

 On Friday I watched The Devil and Miss Jones, which is one of the movies I most wish would come out on DVD already, and Frank Capra’s You Can’t Take it With You, which I saw for the first time.  What a funny, heartwarming gem.  Oh Jimmy Stewart, so sweet and young and dreamy.  Be still my heart.

 My favorite Jean Arthur movies so far…

 The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)

If you you have TCM, keep an eye out for this movie.  It’s absolutely hilarious and has a good social message, like many of Jean Arthur’s movies seem to.  Charles Coburn (just seeing him makes me so darn happy, dear cuddly old man) plays a department store owner bedeviled by union organizers.  He goes undercover in the shoe department to try and find out who the troublemakers are and of course ends up making friends with his “co-workers” and having a change of heart.

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The More the Merrier (1943)

Due to a wartime housing shortage in Washington, D.C., Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, and a matchmaking Charles Coburn wind up as roommates.  Very funny movie!  Can I say again how much I adore Charles Coburn?  One of my all-time favorite character actors.  This movie was remade in 1966 as Walk, Don’t Run starring – you guessed it – Cary Grant.

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  You Can’t Take it With You (1938)

Jean Arthur and her very eccentric family (headed by Lionel Barrymore as Grandpa) win over the hearts of her fiance Jimmy Stewart’s snooty, rich family.  Lots of fun, but also leaves you with a lump in your throat when Jimmy’s father, played by Edward Arnold, faces the reality of who he’s become.   

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 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

I know everyone’s seen this movie, right?  Right.  So there’s nothing more to say except aren’t they pretty?

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 Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

My current favorite movie.  I can’t stop re-watching it!.  Honestly, it’s the sexiest, most romantic, most exciting and entertaining film I’ve seen in a long, long time.  Please don’t be a dope like me and wait a zillion years to finally see it!  And if you’ve already seen it, please let’s talk about how wonderful it is.  I need someone with whom to gush.

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 The Talk of the Town (1942)

I watched it this weekend and will have a review soon.  Jean Arthur and Cary Grant together – it doesn’t get any better than that!

talk of the town

4 thoughts on “Jean Arthur

  1. Hey, I know exactly what you mean. Jean Arthur was always there in the background of my classic film experience until February of 2007. The Turner Classic Movies did a star of the month, and that month was all Jean. I’d seen her before and knew I’d liked her, but after that I became OBSESSED. I am currently building my Jean Arthur movie collection and have to date 13 of them on DVD.
    In short. I’m a big fan, and I’d love to “gush”.

    • Isn’t it funny how someone you’d never focused on much can suddenly become a star you absolutely love and can’t get enough of? I’ve had that happen a lot in the past few years — Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck. It’s fun.:)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Oh how the list goes on growing. Cagney Bogart Hepburn (both of them) Loy Arthur Bergman Davis Grant Dunn Bogart.. Oh did I mention Bogart already.. Bellamy Day Hayworth Powell …. When movies were stories and actors acted and the movies didn’t need to be rated. I’m so grateful that Turner had the foresight so my grandkids could have a chance to fall in love with these films and stars.

  3. Jean Arthur rocks! She’s so amazing on every level and a devout animal crusader, and she picked her name from king arthur and joan (the french Jean ) of arc.
    I also love the fact that she started out doing countless low budget films & westerns in awful
    productions for pennies and then turned her back on films and decided to truly learn how to act and chose the stage to cut her acting chops on. She grasped acting and even when the play tanked, in each play she got rave reviews. Then was asked to do some films by large film co.’s who wouldn’t even sign her before and voila! we have the Star we are so lucky to watch via her amazing films! I also like If You Could Only Cook with the adorable Herbert Marshall. Clarissa, who blossomed into a Movie Star and inspire us each day with your powerful performances!!

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