The Best of Everything
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All original Encyclopedia text, from A to Z, is copyright © 2004 - 2020 by Stephanie Jones
The Best of U
Ultimate Movie Star, The. Turner Classic Movies Joan documentary, directed by Peter Fitzgerald and narrated by Anjelica Huston. It originally aired in August 2002, when Joan was their featured "Star of the Month." The doc is included on the Mildred Pierce DVD.
Understanding Heart, The. MGM silent, 1927. Directed by Jack Conway, 67 minutes. Joan stars as "Monica Dale," a lookout for the Forest Rangers. Joan says in CWJC: I got my first rave reviews in "The Understanding Heart" because [co-star] Francis X. Bushman, Jr., let me steal almost every scene. A fine gentleman.
Universal Studios. Joan made two pictures for Universal, 1955's Female on the Beach and '65's I Saw What You Did. She also dated studio head Milton Rackmil for a time in the mid-50s. (Their engagement broken off because they argued over who would be dropped off first...) She also appeared on the Universal TV series The Sixth Sense in 1972.
Unkefer, Linn. Publicist for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
Unknown, The. MGM silent, 1927, starring Lon Chaney. Directed by Tod Browning (of Freaks fame), 65 minutes. Joan plays carney-girl "Nanon," who hates men's hands (which eventually leads her obsessed co-worker Chaney to cut off his arms for her!). Says Joan in CWJC: "The Unknown" was a good film--and working with Lon Chaney was both traumatic and delightful. He demanded so much from me I was scared, but I seemed to do it right.
The film had been considered missing for years but was rediscovered in 1968 at the Cinematheque Francais, languishing among cans of films legitimately marked (because of missing titles, etc.) "L'inconnu"---"Unknown"!
Untamed. MGM, 1929. Directed by Jack Conway. Joan stars as "Bingo," an uncivilized girl raised in the jungle who inherits millions and goes to live in the Big City. Co-starring Robert Montgomery, a poor but proud suitor. Not including her singing in Hollywood Revue of 1929, this was her first talkie. Says Joan of her preparation for her speaking debut:
I was...given a diction book and told to study it. Mostly I read aloud to myself, and Doug [Fairbanks, Jr., her first husband] helped me tremendously. If I had difficulty pronouncing a word, I repeated it over and over again. I talked to myself a lot. I read newspapers aloud. 'Untamed' opened with me singing, 'Languid and plain-tive, hear the chant of the jun-gle!' I was horrified until Paul Bern explained that my husky voice was what people expected from a girl with my torrid looks. (CM)
Of the film itself, Joan says in CWJC: ... silly but fun--Bob Montgomery was terrific, I was awful, mostly because I was miscast.
USO (United Services Organization). Joan first became a supporter of the USO during WWII, an association that continued into the 1970s. On 3/2/65, the New York City branch named her Woman of the Year. The organization was one of the beneficiaries of her will, receiving one share of her estate.
USPS (United States Postal Service). If you'd like to write the USPS and nominate Joan for her very own (much deserved) stamp in its "Legends of Hollywood" series (as Bette Davis received in 2008), here's what to do (from the USPS website):
How can I submit my idea for a new
(Thanks to Lucas for the info.)
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