I love Jean Simmons so, so much. There's no other way to preface this. I haven't seen a WHOLE lot with her; but of what I have seen (Hamlet, Guys and Dolls, Angel Face, Elmer Gantry, etc), I've been consistently impressed with her, some of it very much reaching brilliance. She was in even a Miyazaki dub!
But, very sadly, on January 22nd, she passed away at the age of 80. This affected me a lot. It's always sad when a classic actor or actress dies, but, being so young, I had never been overly familiar with anyone's actual work, before her. Especially when considering how underrated she is and will likely continue to be, it felt a tad more personal than it should have, lol. She was already one of my favorites. I've wanted to see all I could, really anything she's in, since then. Unfortunately, A LOT of her films are frustratingly unavailable, and one would have to carefully skim the TCM schedule to find 'em, I guess.
But don't worry; right now, I'm doing it for you.
Tonight, The Happy Ending, starring Simmons and directed by her then-husband Richard Brooks (who also made Elmer Gantry), airs at 2:00 AM EST on TCM (in the U.S./Canada, if this wasn't naturally implied). It was aired in January as part of an in memoriam marathon, where I saw it and immediately fell in love with it. I'm surprised it's on again so soon! I'm grateful, though, because for whatever reason, it has only received a VHS release--12 years ago. I just don't get how this is so universally unavailable? It's not a thematically inaccessible or uninteresting film, nor should it be obscure.
So, yeah, I'm basically asking you all to watch it. Probably record it, since it's on in the middle of the night, but watch it. If you don't have a DVR, call someone you know with one to record it for you, and then you both can WATCH IT! Simmons is at her absolute best here, and even got an Oscar nom for it (her first in 20 years, and her last). The rest of the cast (John Forsythe, Shirley Jones, Teresa Wright, etc) is great as well, and it features great music and cinematography by Michel Legrand and Conrad Hall, respectively. It's probably not a masterpiece, but it's such a lovely, emotionally honest film with a truly fantastic central performance, and I hope more people see it now and in the future. (Which would be great with a DVD release or something, but I'm digressing.)
Friday, March 26th.
2:00 AM EST.
Thursday, March 25th.
11:00 PM PST.
DON'T FORGET THE TCM PART.
Record it if you have to.