"Once a song and dance man, always a song and dance man. Those few words tell as much about me professionally as there is to tell."
Happy Birthday James Cagney!!! | July 17, 1899 - March 30, 1986
As an actor in the thirties and forties James Cagney had only two peers in Hollywood: Spencer Tracy and Edward G. Robinson, both of whom closely rivaled him in their quiet intensity and concision of playing. Encountered today, the eye-bulging overacting of Paul Muni, their only other rival back then, shows too much the melodramatic theater he came from. The only film actors today who come near Cagney in his particular abilities are two virtual spin-offs of him, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, and their elder, Marlon Brando, another master of tightness and well-controlled fierceness. Four of these seven actors came from the meaner streets of New York, a peculiar advantage, it would seem. Cagney was always grateful that he was given, in his words, “a touch of the gutter” to season his art. For art it was, however wrought or developed. He was fond of saying that if ever art was practiced in his part of Hollywood, he never saw it. But if art is both the conscious and unconscious development of one’s deep creative instincts in the service of lasting truth, Cagney was not only an artist but a very good one. He had no superior as a film actor and very few peers: Brando, Robert Donat, Alec Guinness, Charles Laughton, Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Edward G. Robinson, and Spencer Tracy. Possibly Fredric March. But none of these had his all-reaching dynamism, and none so well represented to Americans the qualities they consider uniquely their own: dispatch, engaging openness, and feisty independence. Cagney became for many Americans the person they think they are.
Happy Birthday Virginia Katherine McMath aka Ginger Rogers!
(July 16, 1911 –
April 25, 1995)
“Ginger owes much of her professional longevity to her singular versatility. There are few who can act comedy and drama, as well as sing and dance. Ginger continues to conceive fresh activity and new fields. She is still stagestruck and screenstruck. Further, she retains the nerve of a newcomer, and the courage of a champion. What is a movie star, anyway? Is it magnetism? Well then, what’s magnetism? Or personality, for that matter. The mysterious quality is more than talent. The indefinable has been defined as ‘human warmth’, ‘mass appeal’ and ‘identification’, among other things. Whatever it is, Ginger Rogers had it and has it.” - Garson Kanin
“She was the dance queen of Hollywood … and George Balanchine once remarked that he only came to America because it was a land of girls like Ginger Rogers. Some of the others may have been better dancers; Ginger Rogers was a better star. Only with her did dance in the movie musical become a medium of serious emotion, only with her did Fred Astaire do his very best work, only with her did sophistication suddenly become accessible to all.” – Sheridan Morley
"I don’t think there’s ever been anyone like Ginger, never. She was heaven." - Stanley Donen
Happy Birthday Barbara Stanwyck!
(July 16, 1907-January 20, 1990)
When we were shooting Golden Boy, the stages were dingy, dirty, and poorly ventilated. And the film wasn’t as fast in those days as it is now which necessitated the use of more electrical equipment, which, in turn, created heat. So anyone working from 8:45 in the morning until 7:30 at night could find it to be an exhausting experience. But when we would wrap production, and the staff and the cast and the crew would head for fresh air and home, very often Barbara would say to me "Golden Boy, get your ass into that set dressing room because we’re going to run tomorrow’s work." For an extra half to three quarters of an hour we would rehearse. She wanted me to be good. So if anyone ever needed a term for courtesy and consideration, generosity, and above all, professionalism, they would only need two words. One: Barbara. And the other: Stanwyck.