Monday, August 9, 2010

Patricia Neal 1926-2010

The second film listed on her online resumé came in 1949. It was The Fountain Head and it left an impression on me that would convince me to tackle reading the Ayn Rand novel and to years later add the download of the film to my permanent collection.
I would discover her again in a film that became one of my first science-fiction favorites, 1951's The Day The Earth Stood Still. When I first spotted a brash, young Andy Griffith in the riveting role of "Lonesome" Rhodes in A Face in the Crowd (1959), she was there as Marcia Jeffries, illuminating every thing in Griffith's character by countering it with her expression, her delivery, and with both vulnerability and determined resolve, in her eyes.

She was there again in movies like Hud, opposite Paul Newman, Blake Edwards' Breakfast at Tiffany's, and as part of the exceptional cast of In Harm's Way. She is a classic. A grand lady of the screen. She will always be one of my favorites and it is very sad to say goodbye.

To her family, her friends and her fans, we at join in offering our prayers and our thanks to Patricia Neal for introducing us to her particular brand of movie magic. She is a presence in movies that helped to define the medium, and one of the first actors to help me understand the extraordinary potential movies have for unforgettable storytelling.

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