Around the classic Hollywood neighborhood of the blogosphere yesterday, there were quite a few tributes to Carole Lombard commemorating the 101st anniversary of her birth. One in particular fascinated me, probably because it was interactive and I enjoyed seeing the responses I saw.
It's from the site "Dreaming In Black And White" (http://harlowcutie11-dreaminginblackandwhite.blogspot.com/), which did several Lombard-related entries in recent days. One of them was a "tag" asking a half-dozen questions. I'm going to reprint the questions here, leaving my responses to them under a cut. Do your responses before you see mine, and wait at least a day before you comment on mine (or any others). I think this could be fun.
All set? Here goes:
1. Name your favorite Lombard film.
2. Carole's career was cut tragically short in 1942. Though she worked with many amazing and talented actors, who would you have liked to see her with?
3. Who was your favorite Lombard leading man?
4. Do you think Carole's relevant today? if so, why?
5. Do you agree with contemporary views that someone like Cameron Diaz is the new Carole Lombard?
6. On a scale of 1-10, how cool was Carole?
So, how did I respond?
1. The "big four" ("Twentieth Century," "My Man Godfrey," "Nothing Sacred," "To Be Or Not To Be") are all brilliant, but I'm going with "Hands Across The Table" because she's splendid in it and has fine chemistry with Fred MacMurray. It's probably her best Paramount vehicle.
2. Technically, she worked with Cary Grant in several films, but they never made a comedy together, an irony since they are generally considered king and queen of the screwball genre. I'm going to go with James Cagney, with whom she could have worked with in pre-Code days, but never got the chance. (Early in her Paramount tenure, before she was fully wise to the ways of the industry, she rejected a loanout to Warners as Cagney's leading lady in "Taxi!" -- a decision she long regretted.) He could have elicited something special from her, just as John Barrymore did.
3. William Powell, particularly in "My Man Godfrey."
4. She's relevant because she's easily the most timeless of the classic Hollywood stars. Lombard has far more to say to women today than, say, Marilyn Monroe.
5. There'll never really be a "new Lombard," but Diaz has some of her qualities (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/102453.html). So do Kate Hudson and Christina Applegate, among others. Trouble is, today few well-written, sophisticated romantic comedies are being made.
6. Someone said 20, another 21, so I'll have to top them and say 22 (only because my keyboard lacks the infinity symbol!).