Greer Garson – Forever Miniver

Day 145 of Colourisation Project – September 29

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

There’s a reason the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has set a time limit for acceptance speeches! Greer Garson, that’s why. Her 1943 acceptance speech for Best Actress Award reputedly went on for more than seven minutes, the longest recorded in the history of the Oscar awards. Some sources say it went for 5½ minutes, others say it was more than 7 minutes but even at 5½, it still ranks as the longest speech.

The shortest acceptance Oscar speech was given by Alfred Hitchcock in 1968 and comprised of two words, ‘Thank’ and ‘you’ for the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for creative producers.

Publicity Still ~ Greer Garson c 1935 – Colourised by Loredana Crupi

Another Academy record held by Greer Garson (along with Bette Davis) is the most consecutive nominations for an Academy Award. Garson won nominations five years in a row: 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1945.  Unfortunately a fire at her home destroyed the original Oscar she had won for best actress in Mrs. Miniver (1942). However the Academy  took pity and later sent her a replacement.

Add to that the fact that 14 of her films premiered at Radio City Music Hall, playing for a total of 84 weeks – a record never equaled by any other actress and you begin to appreciate the prowess of her acting abilities. No known movie footage exists of her full speech at the Awards night nor a full transcript of it. The Academy does have newsreel coverage of portions of the speech like this little snippet I present to you here.  Enjoy.

Garson shot to fame with her very first film, the sentimental, Goodbye Mr Chips in 1939. Nominated for an Academy Award she quickly became one of  Hollywood’s top 10 stars. This was followed by a sterling performance opposite Laurence Olivier in Pride and Prejudice in 1940.

Her other Oscar nominations were for the portrayals self-sacrificing women in Blossoms in the Dust (1941), Mrs. Miniver (1942), Madame Curie (1943), Mrs. Parkington, (1944) and The Valley of Decision (1945).

But it was for her defining role in Mrs. Miniver, a WWII morale-booster, that she won the Academy Award in 1943 and for the next decade was widely acknowledged as ‘Queen of MGM’. Garson often joked that she was “MGM’s Glorified Mama”, since she was so often cast in carbon-copy roles as a wise and dutiful wife and/or mother with roles such as Mrs. Chips, Mrs. Gladney, Mrs. Miniver, Mrs. Parkington, Madame Curie and Mrs. Forsyte, as well as the wives of Julius Caesar and F.D.R.

Playing opposite Walter Pidgeon, Garson epitomised the spirit and virtue of a British homemaker in wartime. Winston Churchill went so far as to suggest that Mrs. Miniver did more for the war effort than a fleet of destroyers while Louis B. Mayer once compared Garson to his favorite racehorse, Busher, calling her “a classy filly who runs the track according to orders, and comes home with blue ribbons!”

She was once quoted as saying: “I seem eternally to be Mrs. Miniver.”

Nonetheless, Greer Garson was one of the most popular actresses of the World War II era, appearing in 25 films and close to 20 television shows during her career. Though most of her movies were in black and white, she was also famous for her trademark, flaming red hair and blue-green eyes, which hopefully today’s colourisation does justice to.

Ending her film career in 1967, Garson expressed only one regret: “I wish I had been an actress rather than a movie star.” [1]

Born Eileen Evelyn Garson on this day, September 29, 1908, in London, Garson died from chronic heart problems in 1996 in Dallas, Texas at the age of 91.

 Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 1651 Vine St.

_______________________________________________________________

“I do wish I could tell you my age but it’s impossible. It keeps changing all the time.”   –  Greer Garson

 

1.  A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson (2005)
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This entry was posted in Colorization, Colourisation, Film, Hollywood, Photography, Women, Women in Film & TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Greer Garson – Forever Miniver

  1. Pingback: Deborah Kerr – Here in Eternity | Random Phoughts

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