The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Barbara Bel Geddes Dead at 82


Barbara Bel Geddes (Oct. 31, 1922-Aug. 10, 2005)

From her Associated Press obituary:

Bel Geddes was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for the 1948 drama I Remember Mama and was the original Maggie the Cat on Broadway in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

In 1945, Bel Geddes made a splash on Broadway at 23 with her first important role in Deep Are the Roots, winning the New York Drama Critics Award as best actress.

She announced to a reporter: "My ambition is to be a good screen actress. I think it would be much more exciting to work for Frank Capra, George Cukor, Alfred Hitchcock or Elia Kazan than to stay on Broadway."
They get around to mentioning Vertigo on page two of the obit. Frankly, fuck Dallas. And who wants stiff-as-wood Kim Novak, anyway? I'd rather drive around San Francisco in a powder blue Karman Ghia with Ms. Bel Geddes anyday.

9 comments :

Rob said...

I actually remember the first movie I really noticed her in - "Blood on the Moon", with Robert Mitchum, a rather noirish western, but one of my faves. She always seemed to project intelligence along with sex, if a little ambiguous. Wonder why she never made many movies.

BCNU

Ivan G. said...

Not only did I love Babs in Blood On the Moon, but she was also delectable in noirs like Caught (1949) and Fourteen Hours (1951). I'll miss her terribly.

Richard Gibson said...

Hola from London!

Thanks, I hadn't picked up on this sad news.

Yes, she was great in Ophuls 'Caught'. Her roles in 'Panic in the streets' and of course 'Vertigo' as I recall were more as 'home maker'.

swac said...

In Vertigo she was the designer with designs on James Stewart's height-challenged detective, but no, he had to go chasing dopey ol' Kim Novak. I saw this on the big screen during that '80s reissue of Hitchcock films unseen for years, and Bel Geddes may have kicked off a "girls with glasses" fetish (not to mention a love of Karman Ghias). But I remember her as being very sexy, in a simmering below the surface kind of way.

Brent McKee said...

Well yes Stephen I would like to take your suggestion about Kim Novak in Vertigo but it's also true that Barbara Bel Geddes was Mary Ann to her Ginger (to torture a metaphor) - you bed Novak but marry Barbara. Thus it is a pity that virtually every obituary today will mention her matronly performance in Dallas (and probably include Larry Hagman's comments about her heavy smoking) with little or no recognition that she had a life and a career before and away from that show. Sometimes an iconic role is a curse.

cigfrain said...

i will grant you ms. bel geddes' more approachable, more humane sensuality, but that first sight of kim novak's bare back is burned into my memory as one of the most purely erotic images of my youth.

Sam said...

You know, that's the first time I've seen Miss Bel Geddes that glamorous. She was a wonderful actress.

Tim said...

Once again, I have a chance to profess my ignorance. I don't recognize her at all although I've seen most of these movies at least once. Knowing that she loved Karmann Ghias makes her twice as hot. I have a 1973 coupe called "My little Hotty". Thanks for this wonderful Blog.

swac said...

Hey Tim, congratulations on the win for your Ghia...my favourite car (sadly, I don't have one...one of these days...) and on my birthday no less! That must be a sign...