Friday, December 27, 2013

Beyond the Baroness

If you love old films, you've probably heard of Eleanor Parker. If you've heard of her, you've probably seen some of her movies. And if you've seen her movies, even though she's been retired from acting for many years, you'll be sorry that she's gone.

Eleanor Parker as "Lenore" in Scaramouche, 1952
Eleanor Parker was a whole lot more than "The Baroness" in The Sound of Music, which is how most movie-goers think of her. But she had a brilliant career in 1940s-and-50s Hollywood, acting with such giants as Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, and Frank Sinatra. She was an Oscar nominee for best actress three times.  Her obituary in the "Movie" section of The New York Times doesn't even mention one of her most engaging roles--that of the fiery, love-struck actress in Scaramouche, which starred Stewart Granger in the title role.

Although she acted until the early 1990s, I last remember her in Bracken's World, a 1970s TV show about Hollywood behind the scenes.

If you haven't seen it and you enjoy a good story on film, I recommend giving Scaramouche a viewing. It's likely that you may want to keep watching Eleanor Parker. So try a few of her other films. If you don't know where to start, Caged and The Naked Jungle are two of my favorites.

We've lost another of our great screen talents from the golden age. Fortunately, we've got her on film for all time.