All I noticed was that - for reasons unknown - TCM was airing a full day of Lana Turner movies today. They do this sort of thing, and I didn't give it a tremendous amount of thought other than - "gee, Lana Turner!".
It turns out today is the 100th birthday of screen legend Lana Turner.
If you've never seen Turner in a movie and want to see what the hubbub is about, I'd check out The Postman Always Rings Twice.
Turner was a thing of myth from her earliest career. If you ever heard legends of actresses discovered at Schwab's Drug Store, that's Turner.* She'd get dubbed "The Sweater Girl" for how she filled out her wardrobe. Her personal life would take a few seasons of television to cover. She was married nine times (starting with band leader Artie Shaw) and was probably most famous for her romance/ abuse situation with mob figure Johnny Stompanato that led to his death under confusing circumstances.
But, as always, Turner rebounded. I first saw her in the 1959 movie Imitation of Life (a thoughtful entry for a screening back in film school) alongside fellow legend Juanita Moore. If you've not seen it, fix that. It's a terrific movie, a solid melodrama, and an examplar of the mid-century "women's picture" (and will give you a good idea what people are referring to when they reference Douglas Sirk).
Like picking a Rita Hayworth film to watch, there's always the guilt of "why am I picking this movie?", but here's the deal - Turner was much more than her conisderable good looks. Whatever was going on in her tragic and turbulent personal life (you can Google it), she's a natural actor and wouldn't have stayed on top for decade after decade if she didn't bring something special to her roles. And she worked steadily from the late 30's to the mid-70's.
I'm going to be watching Johnny Eager this week and might see if I can talk Jamie into Imitation of Life. But if you've not seen The Bad and the Beautiful, go for it.
*it wasn't actually Schwab's, but who are we or Turner to get in the way of a good story?