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Immovably fascinated by the world; it's properties, people, conditions, sensations, irony,
and all the amazing moments which, whether by enlightenment or scarring, bring about permanent change.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

james stewart

a child at heart, i believe is his appeal.
the famous endearing stutter was obtained from his hard-of-hearing mother,
and he would sometimes whisper.
his face was open and interested while his eyes twinkled with wonder.
there was innocence about him, but also a witty brow.
he'd plant a joke simply, then politely include you a glance and a kind smile.

james maitland stewart (he disliked the nickname "jimmy")
born on may 20th, 1908, with northern irish blood in indiana, pennsylvania.

"i've settled down three thousand miles from indiana.
i've traveled to points in the world three times that distance.
at times i've stayed away several years at a stretch,
but i somehow have never felt that i was very far from here...
somehow i don't feel that I have ever been away."


at a young age, he learned honor and duty,
pillars that would stand throughout his life.
in boy scouts and he attained Second Class within four years,
and he'd later rank the highest for an adult; Silver Beaver.
though grown-up, he'd continue to fly kites and paint model airplanes
with his good buddy Henry Fonda.

in 1925 he attended princeton, and graduated in 1929
with a bachelor's degree in architecture, and a knack for the accordion.

(james on accordion, henry on the horn)

6'3", but underweight which caused him to fail twice enrolling into the army during ww2.
third time's a charm; in 1940 (8 months before pearl harbor) he became the first movie star to join.
he felt; it's your duty to your country, and draft-dodging was unpatriotic -

"whether right or wrong, their country was at war and their country asked them to serve,
and they refused and ran away. cowards, that's what they were."

since he had already been flying for 5 years, he chose the air force.
he rose to the rank of colonel (the highest active military rank of any actor before),
and served 8 years, in which he flew 20 combat missions in europe, and was an instructor in the US.

returning to hollywood, he refused to discuss his experiences in the war.
ideas can be drawn from the roles he chose after 1950; dark characters without innocence.
he only starred in two war films, saying the hollywood portrayal of war was hardly ever accurate.

he was gracious with his fans (drawing the line at privacy by turning sprinklers on tourists),
and if the public didn't like one of his performances, then neither did he.
he favored the movie factory-type industry, where actors and directors were under contract.

"the big studios were an ideal way to make films - because they were a home base for people.
when you were under contract, you had no chance to relax."...
"you hear so much about the old movie moguls
and the impersonal factories where there is no freedom.
mgm was a wonderful place where decisions were made on my behalf by my superiors.
what's wrong with that?"

possibly the first actor to receive a percentage of the film gross,
though he had no interest in fancy clothes or cars.
he's rumored to have never had an acting lesson, and learned from working,
and being punctual, prepared, and good-mannered made him easy to work with.

"when it came to kissing, harlow was the best."...
"when she kissed, she really kissed.
some actresses fake it. not jean.
i did quite a love scene with her,
long before it became the thing to do on screen.
i remember it to this day — we did it six times. and that dress.
yes, she was bra-less and she didn’t seem to wear anything under the dress.
well, I forgot my lines, that’s what I did."

romantically linked with numerous actresses, he was a playboy until the age of 41,
when he married gloria stewart in 1949, and remained faithful to her.
they had twins judy and kelly;

and adopted two son-in-laws
michael and ronald (who died in vietnam in 1969);

"Stewart very much wanted the role of Roger Thornhill in North by Northwest (1959)
and he was the original choice for it, but after the financial failure of Vertigo (1958),
director Alfred Hitchcock, unfairly blamed the film's box office woes on Stewart,
claiming Stewart now looked too old to still attract audiences
and cast Cary Grant instead, even though Grant was actually four years older than Stewart.
Previously one of the director's favorite collaborators,
Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock never worked together again." *

(with hitch)

in 1961, he accepted the Lifetime Achievement oscar
for his good friend gary cooper, who was dying of cancer.

"if a western is a good western, it gives you a sense of that world
and some of the qualities those men had - their comradeship, loyalty, and physical courage."...
"they're told against the background of a very dramatic period in our history"...
and "give people a feeling of hope, an affirmative statement of living."

in most of his westerns, he wore the same hat,
and rode the same beloved horse, Pie:

“the horse was amazing. i rode him for 22 years."...
"he was a sort of a maverick. he hurt a couple of people.
he nearly killed glen ford, ran right into a tree.
but I liked this darned little horse.
i ran at a full gallop, straight towards the camera,
pulled him up and then did a lot of dialogue and he stood absolutely still."

"i suppose people can relate to being me,
while they dream about being john wayne."...
"i have my own rules and adhere to them. the rule is simple but inflexible.
a james stewart picture must have two vital ingredients:
it will be clean and it will involve the triumph of the underdog over the bully."...

“the best way to make a man talk is to make him feel comfortable.”
(in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance)

"the vogue for the new kind of western seems pretty unimportant to me.
they try to destroy something that has been vital to people for so long."

concerned with the violence and explicit sexual content of modern films,
he mostly retired from films after 1978.

"i am sixty-eight years old and i feel every damn day of it."-james

though he never had cosmetic surgery, he had been wearing a gray toupe for years,
and was increasingly losing his hearing and memory.
in 1983, he had surgery for skin cancer.

he originally intended to make On Golden Pond in 1981,
but jane fonda bought the rights before he could.

"if I had my career over again? maybe I'd say to myself, 'speed it up a little'."-james

in 1985, he received the honorary oscar and a ten minute standing ovation, where he said;
"this was the greatest award I received, to know that, after all these years, I haven't been forgotten."

after his wife died in 1994, james would hardly ever leave the house.
three years later in LA, he died of cardiac arrest at 89 years old.

"I'm going to be with gloria now."-james' last words


quotes ~

"one of the nicest men you'll ever meet anywhere in the world." -woody strode

"so modest, so wonderful, he was more than an actor.
he was every man you wish you could be." -burt reynolds

"it's much easier, for example, to play a heroin addict
and you're withdrawing - you tear the ceiling off -
that's much easier than it is to come in and say, "hello" or "i love you".
when you judge it in that way, the heavy isn't as difficult."

"sometimes I wonder if I'm doing a jimmy stewart imitation myself."...
"I am james stewart playing james stewart.
I couldn't mess around with the characterizations.
I play variations on myself."

"one of the main things that you have to think about when acting in the movies
is to try not to make the acting show."
- james

"I always watch Dean Martin's show... just to see if he falls down."
- james

“An element of conflict in any discussion is a very good thing.
It shows everybody’s taking part and nobody’s left out. I like that.”
(in Harvey)

“in this world you must be oh-so-smart or oh-so-pleasant.
well, for years I was smart... I recommend pleasant.
and you may quote me.”
(in Harvey)

“I always have a wonderful time, wherever I am, whoever I’m with.”
(in Harvey)

“Nobody ever brings anything small into a bar.”
(in Harvey)

“There’s a little bit of envy in the best of us and that’s too bad.”
(in Harvey)

"my dad had the right idea. he had it all worked out.
he said, 'son, don't miss the wonders that surround you.
every tree, every rock, every anthill, every star
is filled with the wonders of nature.
have you ever noticed how grateful you are to see daylight
after coming through a long dark tunnel?
well, always try to see life as if you'd just come out of a tunnel.' "
(in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington)


films ~

1935 The Murder Man
1936 Rose Marie
1936 Next Time We Love
1936 Wife vs. Secretary

1936 Small Town Girl
1936 Speed
1936 The Gorgeous Hussy
1936 Born to Dance
1936 After the Thin Man
1937 Seventh Heaven
1937 The Last Gangster
1937 Navy Blue and Gold
1938 Of Human Hearts
1938 Vivacious Lady
1938 The Shopworn Angel
1938 You Can't Take It With You
1939 Made for Each Other
1939 The Ice Follies of 1939
1939 It's a Wonderful World
1939 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

1939 Destry Rides Again
1940 The Shop Around the Corner

1940 The Mortal Storm
1940 No Time for Comedy
1940 The Philadelphia Story

1941 Come Live with Me
1941 Pot o' Gold
1941 Ziegfeld Girl
1946 It's a Wonderful Life

1947 Magic Town
1948 Call Northside 777
1948 On Our Merry Way
1948 Rope

1948 You Gotta Stay Happy
1949 The Stratton Story
1949 Malaya
1950 Winchester '73
1950 Broken Arrow
1950 Harvey

1950 The Jackpot
1951 No Highway in the Sky
1952 The Greatest Show on Earth
1952 Bend of the River
1952 Carbine Williams
1953 The Naked Spur
1953 Thunder Bay
1953 The Glenn Miller Story
1954 Rear Window

(behind the scenes)
1954 The Far Country
1955 Strategic Air Command
1955 The Man from Laramie
1955 Artists and Models
1956 The Man Who Knew Too Much
1957 The Spirit of St. Louis
1957 Night Passage
1958 Vertigo

1958 Bell, Book and Candle
1959 Anatomy of a Murder
1959 The FBI Story
1960 The Mountain Road
1961 Two Rode Together
1962 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
1962 Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation
1962 How the West Was Won
1963 Take Her, She's Mine
1964 Cheyenne Autumn
1965 Dear Brigitte
1965 Shenandoah
1965 The Flight of the Phoenix
1966 The Rare Breed
1968 Firecreek
1968 Bandolero!
1970 The Cheyenne Social Club
1971 Fools' Parade
1976 The Shootist
1977 Airport '77
1978 The Big Sleep
1978 The Magic of Lassie
1981 Afurika Monogatari
1991 An American Tail: Fievel Goes West

credits ~ photos and some tidbits:

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