Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Two Mrs. Grenvilles

Going through my movie library for something to watch while eating dinner, I rediscovered this gem from 1987, “The Two Mrs. Grenvilles.” Released as a splashy two-part TV movie, it was based on a novel by Dominick Dunne, who very closely based his story on true life events. In fact, so true-to-life, I’m not quite sure why Dunne didn’t just write a true crime story about the 1955 William Woodward murder case instead; Truman Capote had already written a fictional account back in 1975.

The main characters for the TV movie were perfectly cast with Claudette Colbert and Ann-Margret, playing a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law combo. The only bond these two share is the marriage that Colbert’s character, Alice Grenville, was forced to except when her son wed a very captivating showgirl, Ann Arden (Ann-Margret). At age 84 in her last acting role, Colbert’s screen power had not diminished one iota. She lights up the (little) screen with the charged scenes between her and Ann-Margret. Colbert displays a quiet but extremely powerful reserve, whereas Ann-Margret effectively chews up the scenery.

The first scene between the two is when Ann gets a tour of Alice’s residence, which Ann refers to as a mansion, but is quickly corrected by her sweetheart, Junior Grenville (well-played by Stephen Collins). “We don’t use the word ‘mansion.’ It’s a home.” A quick study, Ann learns to ditch that most favorite word from her vocabulary! Alice’s not-so-subtle passive aggressive comments against her future daughter-in-law set the stage for what is to come, as they share an afternoon tea.

It is established that Ann is a good shot; viewers, don’t forget this as it plays a pivotal point in a key scene of the movie!

But for now, don’t they look fantastic together in the outfits from their first meeting at a New York City Night Club in the forties?

Doesn’t Claudette look fantastic? She needs few words, as her face expresses it all.

Besides the acting, the sets, costumes, and especially the music make this film worth seeing.

See more Ann-Margret photos at my main website.


mjbthird said...

I remember I loved the book when it came out and was excited for the miniseries. It did not disappoint.

Daveland said...

No way Claudette AND Ann-Margret could disappoint!