An absolutely brilliant 2-part post about Frances Farmer, one of Hollywood’s sadder tales.
Part 1 is here. In this post the Siren addresses the myths about Frances Farmer – set in stone by the 1982 film Frances – while still applauding Jessica Lange’s genius (in my opinion – her only genius) performance. I’m in general not crazy about Jessica Lange, I think she’s rather self-conscious, self-pleased – and pretty much over-praised as an actress. But in Frances? She blows the lid off. Lange was channeling something in that part, rather than acting. Much of it never happened, however, and the Siren goes into all of that.
Then she takes on the assignment to take a look at Frances Farmer’s actual acting, which leads us to part 2.
Part 2 is a fantastic analysis of Come and Get It, really the only film that Frances Farmer is known for. The story behind the filming of this movie is quite well known to fans of Howard Hawks, William Wyler, or Samuel Goldwyn. I suppose Edna Ferber fans would know it, too). What is also REALLY interesting is the Siren’s analysis of the first part of the film (directed by Hawks before he was booted) as compared to the second half (directed by William Wyler). And also: her comments about the whole logging section are spot on. Fantastic footage and terrifying to this day, even in our era of CGI terrors. Perhaps even especially in this day and age. Those scenes are even more terrifying because there’s no trick to it. It is REAL.
I also love her analysis of Farmer’s acting, and her ease with the “Hawks woman” type part.