.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Melvyn DouglasMELVYN DOUGLAS (1901–1981), born Melvyn Edouard Hesselberg, was dubbed by publicists for the film Ninotchka as the man who made Greta Garbo laugh. This however was not my first Melvyn Douglas film. I first saw him play Bill Cole in the Cary Grant/Myrna Loy comedy Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. I was immediately taken by his dry humorous delivery. I learned his name from the credits and began noticing him in other comedies equally delightful. In I Met Him in Paris, he was the man that I wanted to get the girl. Although, Melvyn Douglas received two Academy Awards later in his career, I prefer his earlier films of the 30s and 40s.

Ninotchka (1939)Haven't you seen Ninotchka (1939)? In this romantic comedy and certainly his most famous role, Greta Garbo plays Ninotchka, a no-nonsense Communist sent on official business to Paris to finish up the sale of the Grand Duchess Swana's jewels for the Soviet government. In Paris, she meets Count Leon, both lawyer and on and off lover of the Grand Duchess (played by Melvyn Douglas) and the two hit it off, something the Grand Duchess does not like.

Watch this and then see these other four films.

I Met Him in Paris (1937) In this romantic comedy about two men competing for the same woman one winter in Paris and Switzerland, I route for George Potter played Melvyn Douglas. Claudette Colbert plays Kay Denham, the woman that both Melvyn Douglas and Robert Young (playing Gene Anders) want. Winter sports include bobsledding, skiing and ice skating.
Theodora Goes Wild (1936) Under the pseudonym of Theodora Lynn, small town girl Carolyn Adams writes a sensational novel entitled The Sinner which has her puritanical hometown all up in arms. Learning of her true identity, Melvyn Douglas who plays the dust jacket illustrator Michael Grant is determined to prove Theodora is not the wild woman that she claims she is.
Too Many Husbands (1940) When pronounced dead husband Bill Cardew (played by Fred MacMurray) returns home to find his wife Vicki (played by Jean Arthur) has remarried Henry Lowndes (played by Melvyn Douglas), both husbands learn that Vicki has no intention of giving either one up.
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) Here Melvyn Douglas plays Bill Cole "friend of the family" (actual quote from the film) in this delightful comedy about a married couple (played by Cary Grant and Myrna Loy) that buy their first home in the country, a real "money pit" - the house with never ending repairs.

*Contributed by: "Elizabeth Van Cleve" Date: Sat, Apr 23, 2011 / 9:58:04 PDT

Academy Awards®
© A.M.P.A.S.®
1980 Won Best Actor in a Supporting Role BEING THERE
Melvyn Douglas was not present at the awards ceremony. Co-presenter Liza Minnelli accepted the award on his behalf.
1971 Nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role I NEVER SANG FOR MY FATHER
1964 Won Best Actor in a Supporting Role HUD
Melvyn Douglas was not present at the awards ceremony. His co-star Brandon De Wilde accepted the award on his behalf.