Monday, July 12, 2021

Eva Marie Saint: Secret Weapon of ‘North by Northwest’ 1959

 From Rick's Real/Reel Life:

Hitchcock found his ideal film blonde in Grace Kelly, starring in three of his films. Then Grace retired from the screen, going from movie queen to real life princess. The Wrong Man starred his next muse, Vera Miles, who inconveniently kept having babies. Next, Kim Novak starred in Vertigo, whose vulnerabilities made her perfect casting as the enigmatic blonde. After Saint in North by Northwest came Janet Leigh’s sympathetic, brisk presence in Psycho, and finally, Hitch’s protégé Tippi Hedren, who had the look but neither the talent nor charisma to be the next Hitchcock blonde. From the mid-1960s on, audiences no longer found cool blondes teasing fire beneath the surface enthralling. Evaluating the actresses, Miles has yet to receive revision, Psycho is one of Leigh’s key roles, and Novak and Hedren now have their defenders.

As elusive Eve Kendall, Eva Marie Saint got a chance to play someone other than a nice girl.

What about Eva Marie Saint? In her day, Saint was well-liked by fans and critics, and well-received as a Hitchcock blonde. But between Kelly’s iconic legacy and the latter day evaluation of Novak and Hedren, Saint’s been a bit overshadowed. I think that Eva Marie Saint is a bit like Dorothy McGuire, both of whom were lovely in an accessible way, skilled, effortless, and naturalistic. Both Eva and Dorothy had more of a foot in modern day acting than their contemporaries. They had quiet personal lives as well, not for public display, and have since been a bit overlooked and underestimated as actors and stars. (Read more.)


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