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Dorothy Dandridge

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  • ENGLAND
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    #1202179216

    I wanted to start a conversation on this incredible, beautiful, and iconic woman. She had achieved the unthinkable when she earned an Oscar nomination for Carmen Jones. I do know that her refusal to play a maid, or a supporting actress was the downfall of her career, but she still achieved much in my opinion. I honestly think she should have been one of the biggest stars of her era.

    *Was Oscar snubbed for Bright Road (films low budget played a role)
    *Should have won for Carmen Jones (her or Judy Garland)

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    DD
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    #1202179283

    Yep, the woman was a pioneer. She famously turned down Rita Moreno’s role in “The King and I” because she didn’t want to play a slave. When it came to her career, she was uncompromising. She only wanted lead roles especially after her richly deserved Oscar nomination. This was unheard of at the time. Hollywood just didn’t know what to do with her. She definitely should’ve been a bigger star, but racism prevented her from reaching her full potential. She left behind some memorable work on screen and in music.

    For those who haven’t seen it, I highly encourage folks to check out the HBO film, INTRODUCING DOROTHY DANDRIDGE. It’s a genuinely good biopic and Halle Berry is electrifying it it. She deserved every single accolade for that film and probably would’ve won her Oscar for this film had it been in theaters. IDD is, arguably, Halle’s finest performance to date. She really is perfect in the role and her resemblance to DD is almost scary, particularly when she’s channeling Carmen Jones.

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    BigJay2012
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    #1202179413

    Yep, the woman was a pioneer. She famously turned down Rita Moreno’s role in “The King and I” because she didn’t want to play a slave. When it came to her career, she was uncompromising. She only wanted lead roles especially after her richly deserved Oscar nomination. This was unheard of at the time. Hollywood just didn’t know what to do with her. She definitely should’ve been a bigger star, but racism prevented her from reaching her full potential. She left behind some memorable work on screen and in music.

    For those who haven’t seen it, I highly encourage folks to check out the HBO film, INTRODUCING DOROTHY DANDRIDGE. It’s a genuinely good biopic and Halle Berry is electrifying it it. She deserved every single accolade for that film and probably would’ve won her Oscar for this film had it been in theaters. IDD is, arguably, Halle’s finest performance to date. She really is perfect in the role and her resemblance to DD is almost scary, particularly when she’s channeling Carmen Jones.

    Absolutely. When Halle gets it RIGHT she gets it right. I loved the scenes where she was was reminiscing with her best friend on the phone

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    AwardsConnect
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    #1202179925

    Dandridge was indeed a splendid actress. As for 1954 Best Actress, she’s not quite the powerhouse in Carmen Jones that Garland is in A Star Is Born but would still be a respectable runner-up for me. And she’s leaps and bounds superior to Kelly.

    OSCAR FLASHBACK: Nicholson at the Oscars (1969) – Easy Rider

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    tonorlo
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    #1202179962

    Dandridge has always been a tough performer to assess for me, and I confess upfront that my take on her sounds unduly harsh. She was certainly a product of “right place at the wrong time,” but unfortunately, while the body of work she left is certainly valuable in tracing the African-American experience in Hollywood, apart from those distinctions, her recordings are great but no better than or on par with many of the pop vocalists of her era, and her film catalogue (mitigated by circumstances both within and tragically beyond her control) lacks aesthetic weight.

    She shows glints of thespian promise in small-stakes efforts like “Bright Road” and the unfortunately compromised “Island in the Sun.” There’s something worth exploring even in her below-the-bar efforts from the late 50s. But I’ve never felt “Carmen Jones” was a vehicle that really explored her merits as an actress. (That having been said, Dandridge was reportedly a rather demure personality in real life, so props to her for sallying forth with such exhibitionist elan.) But her success in the role (which is due as much to the screenplay and character as anything) is ultimately a success of charisma over substance.

    “Carmen” is such an up-and-down proposition to me; electrifying at some moments, frustratingly spinning wheels in others. Preminger is also a plus and a minus. A plus in that he had an unusual knack for taking actresses with, shall we say, shallow reserves of ability (Gene Tierney, Maggie McNamara) and showing them off to better advantage than they deserved. Dandridge profits from this (she manages an ace seduction scene in Carmen’s hut, in what is incidentally a very long take), but she also suffers from Preminger clearly being at sea with directing a film musical. He has no clue what to do with “De Nine,” and offers no help to Dandridge in highlighting the drama of what should be a moment of terror that escalates and explodes to a “the hell with it” catharsis for the character. Dandridge tries, but the whole sequence feels stalled and drawn-out, without the necessary stakes made manifest.

    Probably the best surviving instance of Dandridge as actress is in an episode of “Cain’s Hundred,” in which she does do notable work as a bruised singer trying to get her life back on track. (Sniff around, it may still be available on YouTube.) In this performance, Dandridge is convincingly broken, vulnerable and resilient, and it’s a performance with a stamp of personality which, apart from her saucy patois in “Carmen,” is often hard to discern in Dandridge on film. Well worth checking out.

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    Jake
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    #1202180079

    I just saw IDD 2 days ago so it’s some kind of telepathy that this thread was created. I can see traces of both Marilyn Monroe and Deena Jones of “Dreamgirls” in her life if its presentation was accurate. Bad career decisions (refusal to take lesser roles was credited to her lover, Otto Preminger) and even worse choices of partners lead to a very, very sad life. I can see how Halle Berry (perfect in that role!!!) said that Dandridge felt sadness all the time.

    Some scenes, like auntie checking her out or drowning of the pool, were very brutal. It was a great movie and I’m surprised there were no actors other than Berry and Brandauer nominated.

    It’s a shame she didn’t get on with her manager (if there was somebody like that in real life). And of course her poor ill daughter, so much pain impossible to heal.

    She’ll always be on history books due to her Oscar nomination – I’d bet she was behind Kelly and Garland but got more votes than then-recently awarded Hepburn and Wyman. It’s pretty amazing that she was first Best Actress nominee and Berry, who played her, was first Best Actress winner (Viola Davis should’ve been second by now) among African American actresses. Of course she could have been used more but not accepting supporting roles – while brave – clearly didn’t pay off.

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    tonorlo
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    #1202180153

    It’s a shame she didn’t get on with her manager (if there was somebody like that in real life). And of course her poor ill daughter, so much pain impossible to heal.

    The manager represented in “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,” Earl Mills, was indeed a real person, and took the reins of Dandridge’s career later in life. His biography of Dandridge, upon which “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” is heavily based, was very controversial among those close to Dandridge for suggesting that the two had an intimate relationship. Many who knew Dandridge well pooh-poohed Mills’s account, calling it wishful thinking on his part, and that Dandridge’s relationship with him was far more professional than anything else. “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” does inflate Mills’s presence in Dandridge’s life and career far more so than he ever really was present, but it is true that Dandridge remained very close to her former sister-in-law, Geri Nicholas (whom Dandridge is seen conversing with over the telephone throughout the film).

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    ENGLAND
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    #1202180183

    I think she has true star quality. Everyone she was on screen, it lit up. Similar to Audrey Hepburn.

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    circa 1993
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    #1202180186

    “Carmen Jones” is the most iconic role by an African-American actress EVER. Dorothy did that!

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    ENGLAND
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    #1202180263

    “Carmen Jones” is the most iconic role by an African-American actress EVER. Dorothy did that!

    I have to agree. So many replicas of her costume.

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    BigJay2012
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    #1202180598

    Well actually Halle should have been the 4th

    Diahann Carrol or Diana Ross should have won

    Whoopi Goldberg should have won

    Angela Bassett should have won….(although I understand why Holly Hunter won)

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    KarlVillalobos
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    #1202180985

    Nope,Nope,Nope

    Liza completely earned that Oscar..
    Streep deserved it more than Goldberg.
    Halle is a terrible choice tho..

    Too bad, she wanted to be in the same level as Audrey, Elizabeth and Marilyn (That’s why she only accept lead roles)….

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    BigJay2012
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    #1202180988

    Nope,Nope,Nope

    Liza completely earned that Oscar..
    Streep deserved it more than Goldberg.
    Halle is a terrible choice tho..

    Too bad, she wanted to be in the same level as Audrey, Elizabeth and Marilyn (That’s why she only accept lead roles)….

    Why shouldn’t Dorothy have wanted to be on their level? Are you implying that Dorothy should have been content with ANYTHING that was offered to her? Most Hollywood actresses, even women of color, believe it or not, want to get great parts……and reach a high level of success.

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    AwardsConnect
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    #1202181108

    I would agree both Goldberg and Bassett should’ve prevailed. Carroll is a solid but dead last in that incredible ’74 line-up. As for Ross, I’ve always been a bit on-the-fence about that performance. For an acting debut, she’s quite remarkable but Ross also doesn’t much look or especially sound like Holliday and the film itself is messy. I actually lean toward Tyson in that category.

    OSCAR FLASHBACK: Nicholson at the Oscars (1969) – Easy Rider

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    ENGLAND
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    #1202181195

    Nope,Nope,Nope

    Liza completely earned that Oscar..
    Streep deserved it more than Goldberg.
    Halle is a terrible choice tho..

    Too bad, she wanted to be in the same level as Audrey, Elizabeth and Marilyn (That’s why she only accept lead roles)….

    This is the worse comment I have read. By far. An actress should not strive to be in the same company as her fellow actresses because she is black? She should only want less?

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