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Plot:

A largely fictionalized account of the career of actress Jeanne Eagels, whose fame was both on stage and on the screen in the 1910s and 1920s, is presented. After losing in a rigged carnival beauty pageant, winning which she believed would be her first step to becoming a serious actress, Jeanne joins the traveling carnival itself under the guidance of the pageant organizer, Sal Satori, who features her in a variety of carnival stage shows. But it’s when the carnival approaches New York City that Jeanne demonstrates how she truly mapped out her road to acting fame even before meeting Sal. Under the tutelage of renowned acting coach Nellie Neilson, Jeanne, who does possess true acting talent, is given her big acting break and does achieve fame on the Broadway stage, and ultimately also in Hollywood films. Jeanne is not averse to doing whatever is required to advance her career, even at the expense of others. Achieving fame so quickly takes its toll on Jeanne, who turns to alcohol and drugs which would lead to her tragic end. Although other men would come and go over her life, Sal, who ends up joining forces with his brother in operating lucrative Coney Island attractions, is one constant, he who fell in love with and wanted to marry her.

Also Known As: Ein Herzschlag bis zur Ewigkeit, Lágrimas de Triunfo, Ein Herzschlag bis zur Ewigkeit West, Jeanne Eagels, Den gyldne drøm, Artist hayati, Un solo grande amore, I floga kaiei akoma, George Sidney's Jeanne Eagels, Un seul amour, Um Só Amor, Hänen suurin rakkautensa, Hennes enda kärlek

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  • ashley-parker
    ashley parker

    It is obvious that Kim Novak fans LOVE this movie, a film that does a great discredit to a great actress – the real Jeanne Eagels. The reality is the movie is mostly over-ripe Hollywood FICTION. As for Novak, OMG.No one – except her devotees – would ever say Novak was a good actress, but she was adequate in certain limited rolls such as “Picnic” and “Man With the Golden Arm”. But this was horrendous – perhaps her single worst performance with the possible exception of “The Legend of Lylah Clare”.Novak’s drunk scene has to be seen to be believed it is so bad. You might end up feeling sorry for her it is so embarrassing.The only reason this disaster got a 6.3 rating here is most of the people who rated it are those deluded into think Novak had acting skills. I give it a ‘2’ only for Jeff Chandler.

  • guillermina-solorio
    guillermina solorio

    It is always a reliable pleasure to see Jeff Chandler on screen in whatever role he may be playing, here he is the luna park director of beauty contests, merry-go-rounds, roller-coasters and other crazy pleasures, when he is approached by a very annoying lady with towering ambitions to become an actress to the least. He is more or less forced to take her on, they become partners, but her ambitions soon separate her from him, while he remains faithful and is always ready to take her back. Her stage progress reaches awesome heights while her instability and liability of lacking self-discipline brings her into a chaotic roller-coaster of a stormy career, The turning point is when she encounters Nellie Desmond, a famous actress on her way down, who sees Kim Novak as her last chance of a come-back and offers her a play (“Rain” on Maugham’s short story, filmed in 1933 with Joan Crawford) which she accepts and makes her own, ignoring Nellie Desmond. Jeff Chandler observes the foul play and warns her, but not even he can ultimately save her.It’s a normal the-other-side-of-Hollywood story with terrible ups and downs, the acting and direction is superb, so is the wonderful music all the way, so I can not agree with all the objections to this film. Kim Novak perhaps overacts at times, but that’s part of the character she is playing. Agnes Moorehead is as impressing as ever, while the backbone and stamina of the film is Jeff Chandler, one of Hollywood’s most likeable actors ever.

  • pertti-karjalainen-rajala
    pertti karjalainen rajala

    Not only is the script a fictionalized account of Jeanne Eagels’ rise to stardom in the theater, but the miscasting of KIM NOVAK as an Eve Harrington type of actress destroys any sense of reality that might have saved the picture from sinking into obscurity. Even JEFF CHANDLER seems to not have a handle on his role (nor his Brooklyn accent).Even the great AGNES MOOREHEAD has an absurd scene where she is at first contemptuous of Novak’s lack of theatrical background and then greatly impressed by the way she exhibits a flash of temperament. “Let me hear that line again,” says Moorehead, “only this time don’t use your hands.” In actuality, Novak’s momentary outburst is poorly played and would not convince anyone trained in the theater to view her in a positive light.It’s this lack of dramatic conviction that sinks Novak’s attempt to play the tragic central figure. She overplays every dramatic moment to the point where it has a cringe-inducing effect. Aside from her obvious physical attributes (she photographs beautifully with an almost ethereal loveliness), her acting skills had not been developed sufficiently nor was George Sidney’s direction any help.In real life, Eagels was not a hoochie dancer in carnivals but had been working on her craft in theater productions–something this bio fails to even acknowledge. Her downfall from drugs and alcohol is handled in an obvious and routine fashion. We never get to know the character intimately enough to care about her downfall.Summing up: Let this one pass.

  • fabian-voinea
    fabian voinea

    Obviously, the other writers here are fans of Kim Novak, one of the WORST “actresses” ever to grace the silver screen. This is a woman who has NEVER gotten a good review from film critics. She was universally panned by everyone as “inept,” “can’t act,” “totally wrong for this or ANY role,” etc.It’s been reported that her behavior on her sets was abominable – temper tantrums to disguise the fact that she couldn’t act and looked bad sharing the screen with such experts as Jack Lemmon and James Stewart.In “Jeanne Eagles,” I laughed at her throughout the entire picture. In the scene where Jeanne did the sequence from “Rain,” her acting was so poor as Sadie Thompson, it was hard to believe that that particular audience would cheer her perfectly awful reading.I felt sorry for her leading man, Jeff Chandler, a very good actor, who struggled like mad to keep a straight face trying to react to such a non-actress.Fans who are devoted to Miss Novak’s beauty (and she was) will forgive her for ANYTHING, even bad acting.

  • emilia-alves
    emilia alves

    It’s almost a cruel joke casting Kim Novak, then known as an actress who couldn’t or didn’t act much, as Jeanne Eagels, the greatest actress of her generation. Anyone who has seen Eagels in the 1929 “The Letter” won’t confuse Ms. Novak’s heavy but blank emoting with Eagels’ directness and power. This isn’t really the Jeanne Eagels story, though–it’s been so cleaned up and standardized that it’s at best a generic A-Star-is-Born tale, with the fresh-faced ingénue stumbling into alcoholism (not drug addiction, as Ms. Eagels did) as she ascends the ladder of fame. As written, this Jeanne doesn’t engender much sympathy–she’s so childish and irresponsible she’s hard to root for–and thus it’s not that devastating watching her fall. George Sidney, till then a director of middlebrow entertainments, went inexplicably arty with this one, going in for odd camera angles and lighting and “modern” expressive music. They neither help nor hurt, and ditto for a miscast Jeff Chandler as a Brooklyn working-class Italian boyfriend whom Ms. Eagels probably would be hard pressed to recognize. The focus is steadily on Kim, and while she’s certainly lovely and shows spirit, it’s not a well judged performance; she keeps careening from sensitivity to hysteria and back again. Some weird details are amusing: a long stage sequence of Ms. Eagels in her biggest hit, “Rain,” and some strange Coney Island process shots, and the finale, with a weepy Chandler gazing at Eagels on screen, in a musical, singing “I’ll Take Romance.” Eagels never made a musical, and if you’ve heard her raspy speaking voice in “The Letter” you know why. It’s another instance of standardizing what could have been a much more individual rags-to-riches tale.

  • jennifer-rivas
    jennifer rivas

    The 1957 “Jeanne Eagles” film is a fictionalized biography. Taking lots of clichés, (A bit of “All about Eve,” “I’ll Cry Tomorrow,” etc.) this 1950’s soap opera script falls flat. Kim Novak is unbelievable, overacting throughout the whole film. The direction makes all the actors seem stereotyped, even the talented Agnes Moorehead. Jeff Chandler’s accent was laughable. The black and white film looked like it was on a low budget. The real Jeanne Eagles was a great actress,(her two sound motion pictures prove it) so this film struck me as an insult to her memory. I hope someday Ms.Eagles life may be made into another movie which has more truth and quality.

  • tiffany-villarreal
    tiffany villarreal

    Very good film with Kim Novak and Jeff Chandler giving two very good performances. Agnes Moorehead gives fine support as an imperious drama coach who turns into a real human being.The story, well done, is the usual of a woman climbing to fame but allowing it to go to her head with alcoholism and drug addiction occurring.Novak does well in the title role for the first part of the film. It is when success sets in and she begins her outbursts that there is a definite tendency on her part to over-act.She tries to emulate Susan Hayward in “I’ll Cry Tomorrow,” and Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard.” Yes, she is definitely a tragic figure in the vein of a Lillian Roth or Norma Desmond, but she does over reach her bounds.Look for a brief but wonderful performance by Virginia Grey, who is duped by Eagels and commits suicide.Chandler is excellent in the role of the man she really loved, but never married because marriage would have destroyed them.

  • steven-white
    steven white

    This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I remembered enjoying this movie when I was young. Now I know that all I enjoyed really was the theme song. Kim Novak is gorgeous, but the acting is uniformly dreadful. The direction and editing are unbelievably bad. She is a chronic drunk and then is suddenly completing a movie with no explanation of how this could come about. She is found at the scene of a suicide, at the very moment the person jumped(!) and is questioned by police. This scene went nowhere. The matter was just dropped and never heard about again. I could go on and on, but I think these things alone are enough to stay away. It is not campy enough to be funny. Miss Novak’s drunk scene is rivaled in terrible acting only by Eileen Heckart in The Bad Seed. Agnes Moorehead and Jeff Chandler turn in their usual awful performances.

  • khristiana-papoutsopoulou
    khristiana papoutsopoulou

    Jeanne Eagels was a great Broadway actress of the 1920’s and an absolute sensation in the play “Rain”. She went to Hollywood and made a handful of films but soon succumbed to drug and alcohol problems. Kim Novak, gorgeous though she was, on her best day wasn’t a blip on the acting screen compared to Eagels, even though when used right she could be effective, as in “Picnic”. Here she has the total film in her incapable hands – courtesy of Harry Cohn of Columbia with whom she was rumored to be having an “affair”. Novak’s drunk scene is one of the worst and most embarrassing ever on film. The script itself is the usual Hollywood baloney with passing reference to fact. See it only to gaze in disbelief at that atrocious drunk scene. And then turn to the IMDb reviews of Joan Crawford in “Rain”.

  • therese-pages
    therese pages

    After hearing about this film for years I finally did get to see it on the TCM channel. This bio-pic, though not all that faithful to the life and career of the real Jeanne Eagles does work as a film due mainly to the casting of Kim Novak. In the title role she gives one of the most memorable performances of her career. Maybe the role that she is playing – an actress hell bent on success who nonetheless feels that something is missing hit a little close to home, but it works in the context of this Harold Robbins – type show business saga. At the start of the film she is all tremulous ambition, moving on to buoyant success and then to loneliness, depression and addiction. Though she overdoes it in some of the drunk, bitchy diva scenes she does redeem herself at the end and her death scene is tragic and touching. The film benefits also from some good supporting cast work from Agnes Moorhead and Jeff Chandler and some great black and white cinematography.

  • odoyun
    odoyun

    I found this movie to be surprisingly ‘deep’ in its impact upon me. It ended up being one of the most compelling and one of the saddest movies I have ever seen. This reaction was not normal for me and was not expected from the storyline, yet it has remained one of the movies that I always mention when asked for memorable movies.

  • natalie-hoffman
    natalie hoffman

    Hollywood has always had a real problem with biopics. Most of them are factually laughable (Night and Day, Words and Music, Rhapsody in Blue, W.C. Fields and Me, Gable & Lombard, etc.)… the best of the bunch might be 1942’s Yankee Doodle Dandy and 1955’s Love Me or Leave Me (with Doris Day as Ruth Etting), but even they play fast and loose with facts. Jeanne Eagles is utterly frustrating. It features a top notch director, George Sidney and top notch period set design. Icy Kim Novak, who looks right for the title role, is all over the map. Some of her scenes are merely competent, in too many others she’s chewing scenery (reminding me of Elizabeth Berkley’s god-awful performance in 1995’s Showgirls). Her performance was severely panned in the contemporary press reviews— in my opinion, justified. The film gets a few things right: Eagles’ 18-month Actor’s Equity suspension, roughly sketches her rocky marriage to ex-football hero Ted Coy (here transformed as “John Donohue”) but emphasizes Eagles’ alcoholism over her wildly suspect heroin addiction. Many other facts are ignored (Eagles was never a carnival performer, and she’d been previously married). Interestingly, a reference to her “taking dope” is only mentioned once in the film, by Eagles herself. Most seriously, the script errs in attributing her death at age 39 as a suicide. Jeanne Eagles was undoubtedly a mess and a polyglot substance abuser, so in a perverse way it’s fitting the movie suffers a similar fate. Kudos to art directors Bill Kiernan (who later did Funny Girl and The Cowboys) and Alfred E. Spencer; their work substantially contributed to making this watchable. Novak would recover and go on to immortality in Vertigo. Co-star Jeff Chandler (his part is total fiction and he’s somewhat miscast here) would make 11 more films only to die unexpectedly of blood poisoning after back surgery in 1961 while his final film was in post production. Jeanne Eagles is not the worst biopic you’ll ever see… it just should’ve been so much better with another star (Kim Stanley perhaps?). 4/10.

  • adelbert-gude
    adelbert gude

    It would be very difficult to cast at the time and to pick Kim Novak in the lead but it is the best she has ever done, even now. The story obviously had to be changed, especially names, because of the time there were relatives still living and they could sue.The period and mood is right and Kim Novak does look fabulous, but to achieve the life and notoriety of a great actress of the period was impossible.Jeff Chandler was miscast but the rest, including Agnes Moorhead were right. Its period, melancholy, costumes, scenery makes it sad but I still loved it! Perhaps it is time now for a remake as it is nearly 50 years since it was made?

  • ilga-strazdins
    ilga strazdins

    No dear readers this is not a great film and Kim Novak, trying hard as she does, cannot carry this movie to success. There are very few similarities to the real life of Jeanne Eagels who did actually make films including two talkies. I saw a MOMA screening of the 1929 “The Letter” and Eagels is AMAZING in it. Looks like a cross between Irene Dunne and Miriam Hopkins (though rather dissipated) and acts like a less mannered Bette Davis.I am always totally fascinated and charmed by Kim Novak though I know she isn’t a very good actress. However she is very, very good when playing the girl next door who is aware of her sex appeal (Madge in “Picnic” for example) or a girl from the wrong side of the tracks on the make (“Pushover”). The early and totally fictional scenes of Jeanne Eagels as a carnival dancer trying to hustle her way from the sticks to the Great White Way, show a winning and convincing Kim Novak. She is sexy and has the right mixture of naiveté and calculation. However as the melodramatic story lurches into Fame and Misfortune mode, Kim and the movie slide downhill fast. Kim does a very bad drunk scene (Eagels’ various drug addictions are only hinted at towards the last 15 minutes of the movie, alcohol is her main problem throughout the film) and she has many of them throughout the movie. Novak also doesn’t convince as a sophisticated and accomplished Broadway star which is what Eagels was. She quickly becomes hammy and unconvincing and the script not only hurts her but accomplished actors like Agnes Moorehead and Charles Drake.Jeff Chandler who I also adore and am taken with, is also really bad in this. He does a labored and unconvincing Noo Yawk accent though I think he was a New York native. His work sometimes looks like a bad imitation of intense “method” performers like Brando. Nothing he does seems natural and he screws up his face to express emotions. He actually seems worse than Novak who often is rather blank and oddly clumsy.The script is terrible with real clunkers throughout. Just for historical reference, Eagels was never a carnival performer. She performed in tent shows as a teenager on the straw hat circuit where she met and married her first husband Morris Dubinsky. That marriage which may or may not have produced a child was over by the time she hit Broadway as an ingénue supporting the likes of Billie Burke and George Arliss. There was no “Elsie Desmond” and no “Sal Satori” either nor anyone really that resembled them in her life. “Jack Donohue” is her second husband Ted Coy who she did divorce.The death of Eagels happened as she was preparing to go out one night and collapsed in her apartment. She was rushed to a private clinic where she convulsed and died. Heroin was found in her system as well as alcohol and painkillers. In the movie Kim swallows a handful of pills while slinging down some hooch after nearly being raped by a vaudeville comic in her dressing room in Sal’s Coney Island theater.The film ends oddly with a tear-stained Chandler watching on a movie screen the image of Kim Novak sing (dubbed by a mystery singer) and dance “I’ll Take Romance” in a darkened theater. Though Eagels did appear in Ziegfeld shows and as a chorus girl in the teens, she was never a musical performer.The movie really has this attitude that Eagels shouldn’t have wanted fame but seven babies with Sal and a house in Brooklyn. Ambition is fatal for women and they should stay home and take care of their men. Jeanne/Kim was ambitious and self-centered and had to be punished for wanting more. Her achievements aren’t celebrated rather they are held against her. I don’t really think this should be remade and if it is, tell a story that remotely resembles the truth.Anyway a major misfire.

  • libor-kopecky
    libor kopecky

    I was so fascinated by this woman’s tragic life that I decided to look her up on the net. Sadly, I learned that maybe 30% was based on truth and the rest was a myth. I was very disappointed to learn that.My other issues were the inaccurate costume design by Jean Louis for that time period as I was with Helen Hunt for her hair style which did little to portray the real Jeanne Eagels.The entire first half with the carnival was a myth. She was a trained actress and had been acting since a very young age. I can understand changing the name of the Princeton Football star to protect his innocence because of their volatile relationship.The fact she died of an alcohol and drug overdose was correct but the where and when was inaccurate.Overall, I loved the picture, until I went to do the research and I found it to be really disappointing.

  • alfred-georges-lopes
    alfred georges lopes

    I saw this film only once, when I was a kid, but I still remember it, and I loved it. I have been hoping to see it again someday and am disappointed that it is not available even on video. Not only was Kim Novak, she of the lavender blonde hair, gorgeous, she was really just right for this movie. The story was interesting too. Yes, I know, TRUTH is hardly the most valued element in screen biopics, but since I knew nothing about Jeanne Eagels then (and, indeed, know little now–let’s face it, there isn’t a whole lot of information about her available) it was fascinating to see a story about an actress in the 1920s. Yes, somebody should do a more realistic remake, but put this one out too. Whether the story is factual or not, seeing Kim in the role is a reward in itself. I really can’t think of an actress today who could match Kim’s performance–she might be more like the real Jeanne Eagels, but Kim Novak’s Jeanne shouldn’t be lost. Put out the DVD– you’ve got one customer for sure. Here’s hoping.

  • sig-giovanna-caruso
    sig giovanna caruso

    Jeanne Eagels was one of the best movies Kim Novak made. The chemistry between Jeff Chandler and herself was superb, storyline was excellent and the final falling star scene at the conclusion of this movie was tastefully done. Surprised a remake has not been attempted since this movie premeiered in 1957. Unfortunately this film was soon forgotten, and I have rarely seen any re-runs of it on television, which is a shame. Agnes Moorhead as usual was superb in her role along with Charles Drake. Comments have been made about Jeff Chandler being miscast in his role, but in my opion he diversified well in his role, considering how many other roles he attempted, this role was similar to the one he played in Stranger In My Arms with June Allyson.

  • titova-viktoriia-nikolaevna
    titova viktoriia nikolaevna

    It is amazing how badly Hollywood studios recreated past eras in their biopics. This atrociously dishonest and downright stupid movie about the great Jeanne Eagels is one of the worst. Only haphazard efforts are made to ground the story in the actual era (roughly the teens of the last century to 1929). Occasionally you can spot a few actors dressed and coiffed properly to the time depicted, but you have to look carefully to find them. The music veers between glossy 50s “smooth romance” to jarring, melodramatic accents which attempt to supply emotional power to scenes so badly written they would either put you to sleep or make you laugh. It goes without saying that poor Kim Novak in the title role is miles out of her league, not to mention miscast. Perhaps that’s why the hacks who created the scenario decided to make her a carnival hootch dancer in the early scenes, just to show off her splendid physique – at the expense of the real story of a brilliantly talented midwestern girl who plunged passionately into serious acting before she was 10 years old and worked her way up to Broadway stardom over many years. Who would want to see THAT? Around 30 minutes into the implausible proceedings Agnes Moorehead shows up as a Broadway drama teacher; she makes a grand entrance and gives it all she’s got and for a moment we feel the movie may be somewhat salvaged – but no. There is too much working against her. Eventually she too sinks into the torpidity surrounding her. For some incomprehensible reason half of the movie – which is supposed to be about a woman whose life played out in and around the legitimate theatre – is set in various amusement parks. Yes, we know that according to the writers of this abomination, Eagels was emotionally close to a carnival impresario (Jeff Chandler in a mighty but futile effort), but there is no other inherent connection between those settings and the story. The scenes that do take place in theatres are so ineptly conceived you wonder if the writers had ever set foot in such establishments. But the real crime here is that the life of Eagels is made boring in the extreme. It wouldn’t be surprising if it were revealed that Jacqueline Susann had been inspired to write VALLEY OF THE DOLLS by this garbage; if not, then surely the makers of that movie must have studied it before their own cameras rolled in 1967. But at least DOLLS was hilarious.

  • kavaliauskas-simona
    kavaliauskas simona

    Young waitress from Kansas City in the early 1920s hitches up with a traveling carnival with the fervent, starry-eyed hope of breaking into show business; once in New York City, she gets herself a drama coach and lands a plum part in a Broadway show after the original actress falls ill. Fabrication of real-life Broadway and silent movie starlet Jeanne Eagels is useless as a biography but rather entertaining as a backstage melodrama. Kim Novak is uneven in the lead, mercurial and brittle (and occasionally quite amusing when lapsing into a haughty European accent once she finds fame and fortune), however the part is a pretty good fit for Kim and she fills the bill. Jeff Chandler (as a fictitious lifelong beau) and Agnes Moorehead (as the drama coach who suddenly morphs into Jeanne’s best friend and nursemaid) are both solid, as is Charles Drake as an ex-football player who marries Jeanne apparently for her money (yet seems to love her and puts up with her). Drake also played a role in “Valley of the Dolls”, which mirrors this film in several ways (there’s even one character called “Neely” and another named “O’Hara”!). Producer-director George Sidney takes great care in setting up this story, which is snappy and brash and looks fantastic in black-and-white. Not everyone will go for the picture’s mix of hard-shelled pathos, booze-soaked blackouts and rags-to-riches clichés, yet the film manages to capture the excitement of stage life quite vividly. **1/2 from ****

  • laalaa-rtn
    laalaa rtn

    Although Jeanne Eagels is a fascinating film with one of two career roles for Kim Novak, the other being Vertigo, it does do some disservice in telling the story of the legendary Jeanne Eagels, Broadway star of the Twenties. The Roaring Twenties was a hard partying era, especially on women as three of the brightest stars of that era, Marilyn Miller, Helen Morgan, and Jeanne Eagels died way to soon because they indulged too much.That part of the story is all too true, Jeanne went like Elsie in the title song from Cabaret, from too much pills and liquor. What’s not true is the fact that Jeanne was basically a raw talent who came to Broadway out of nowhere and then died. Eagels did pay her dues in a long hard road in stock companies. The character that Jeff Chandler plays is based on someone she did actually marry, one of the heads of a touring company, not a carnival barker. Her second husband played by Charles Drake was a Broadway playboy and former All American football player. The surviving members of the Eagels family did threaten suit against Columbia Pictures for this film. From what I’ve researched about Eagels she got a whitewash in this picture. Kim Novak does a great job playing Eagels, a woman who indulged too much in her life. She picked Jeff Chandler for her leading man in Jeanne Eagels. This was Chandler’s first picture after finishing up his exclusive contract with Universal Studios. His new contract was non-exclusive and this was his first outside film. Jeff dusted off his Brooklyn accent for his role as the carnival man who loves Jeanne, but stands by helplessly as she self destructs. Agnes Moorehead plays Jeanne’s acting coach and Larry Gates her overwrought producer. This film was the farewell performance of Gene Lockhart who has a brief scene as the presiding member of an Actors Equity Hearing. Eagels got herself in lots of problems with Equity back in the day because she blew off performances. Lockhart was active in Equity and essentially is playing himself.There is one other really good performance, a very touching one by Virginia Grey of a fading Broadway star who also dissipated herself. The role is great, but of course it has no basis in fact, Eagels did not ‘steal’ the play Rain away from this woman or anyone else.Jeanne Eagels is a fine film capturing the essence of a self destructive star of a bygone era though factually it leaves quite a lot to be desired.

  • kumaar-ashok
    kumaar ashok

    I remember my acting teacher years ago talking about this movie and saying, boy, Kim Novak really thought she was ACTING.”Jeanne Eagels” is a highly fictionalized biography of the great stage star who also acquitted herself well in films before her death at the age of 39. Directed by George Sidney, the movie also stars Jeff Chandler as Satori. His character existed, under another name, and unlike in the film, Eagels was married to him for a time. Virginia Grey has a small but showy role as a has-been who gives Eagels a script she wants to do, Rain, which turns out to be Eagels’ signature play. That entire incident never happened (exceot of course that Eagles did play Sadie Thompson), but it provides some good drama in the film.The main problem with this film is the atrocious acting of Kim Novak and Jeff Chandler. Novak was just getting started in her career, and she was the whole package – incredibly beautiful, a body to die for, a sultry speaking voice, and star quality. This type of scenery chewing dramatic role just wasn’t her thing. She has such a lovely quality in Picnic; later on, she would do well in comedies and lighter films. Why Harry Cohn thought she could do this is beyond me. Chandler is way, way over the top – he did better in straightforward leading man roles.A disappointing directing job from George Sidney. Novak deserved better. It’s to her credit that she gave it a go. Thankfully, it didn’t hurt what turned out to be a fine career.

  • marc-abascal-torralba
    marc abascal torralba

    This is truly a movie worth viewing, if only for the chance to see KIM NOVAK portray another talented actress, the late Jeanne Eagles. Kim’s acting is superb, although the screenplay is a tad flat. Agnes Moorehead gives her usual fine performance, and Jeff Chandler does he usual stiff acting routine. I do think that Jeanne’s story should be re-told in an updated version, but until then, this movie captures that time frame of the 1920’s very well. It would have been nice to view in color, but the black and white print lends itself well to that time era. All in all, an entertaining film, and a rare chance to see Kim Novak in a Hollywood-bio piece. Wouldn’t it be nice if this movie were on DVD?

  • dr-preben-mortensen
    dr preben mortensen

    OK….so this is not a classic film depicting the life of Jeanne Eagels however it has it’s moments. First of all Kim Novak was a hot property at the time and she is gorgeous and oh so camp as Miss Eagels. Also captured in the film is the flavor of the era and the costumes are dazzling especially the one Novak wears as Princess Dardanella at a carnival where she gets busted by the police. The ultimate is when she prances on stage as Sadie Thompson in “Rain” to the tune of “Wabash Blues”….its actually a treat. Miss Novak is supported by a good cast including Jeff Chandler, Agnes Moorehead, Charles Drake, Murray Hamilton and especially Virginia Grey as has-been Elsie Desmond (one of Miss Grey’s personal favorite roles).

  • elisabeth-nygren
    elisabeth nygren

    I saw this movie when I was a kid and waited with baited breath to see it again nearly forty years later. I should have skipped it. Hellacious acting, scene chewing by Miss Novak and a story that is nowhere near anything that happened in the life of Ms. Eagels. The only reason I watched it is because it was the last film Gene Lockhart appeared in and his role is so small that if you blink, you’ll miss him. (He comes on at the 3/4 mark as the Equity Board President.) It’s so totally fictional they have Kim Novak in the last scene singing a song and dancing in a movie called “Forever Young”, while Jeff Chandler’s character sits blubbering like a total tool. (Eagels never made such a movie, nor did she ever make a musical. Her last movie was The Letter, where she played a murderess.) There is also a very offensive racist scene where Eagel’s football player husband (some truth here, as her husband Ted McCoy was a college football player) is showing some black kids outside the studio where she’s making a silent film (another fictional film she never made) how to hold a football and he tells them “to hold it like a watermelon”. And this film was made at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement! It’s a shame that Universal holds the rights to Eagels’ final film The Letter. (made by Paramount…Universal holds the rights to all of the pre-1950’s movies.) Modern movie goers will never have a chance to see the real Jeanne Eagels and will have to settle for this fictional dreck of a motion picture and assume it’s the gospel truth.

  • giorgian-puscasu
    giorgian puscasu

    “Jeanne Eagels” can almost be considered a “lost” film, since it is so rarely seen nowadays. That seems a shame. Yes, it suffers from standard “biopic” problems (cliched script, superficiality, etc.), but it is an interesting curiosity piece. Kim Novak, fresh onto the acting scene, actually acquits herself quite well in the role. There is an air of the troubled woman about her from the beginning, and the way she keeps adopting different personas shows Jeanne’s desperate search for an identity. Contrary to the other reviewer here, I think that the drunk scenes are quite effective, without ever being pretty or played for comedic purposes. She succeeds in making Jeanne unlikable at times, which is a brave choice for the era. Unfortunately, the script and direction aren’t the best, and some of Novak’s more interesting choices contrast with other scenes that just don’t come off as well. It’s definitely worth a look though. I would argue that Novak’s style is more “modern” than many other actresses of the era. Whether she always succeeds or not, she clearly looks for the reality of each scene, and is less interested in acting and more interested in “being.” There are moments when I think she comes close to “being” Jeanne Eagels, making this forgotten film worth a second look.