Louise Rainer would have been 105 years today but we lost this shining star on December 30, 2014, in London.
“Just as the light of a sun
is seen for years to come
even after it kindles no flame
we will see the Rainer light
still bright on the silver-screen
and in our homes so keen
in each role as she did mean”
With just 9 movies from 1932 to 1943 Louise Rainer did not find Hollywood a welcoming place. It did not fit into her world-view of life. Yet, she was able to parlay her short film career into something memorable. Acting, that was full of grace and an understated realistic approach that had not been seen in Hollywoodland before and only few times since. Much of her celluloid communication came through her doe-like eyes and the extreme line by line, chin, brow and forehead facial control which she possessed. Two films, The Great Ziegfeld, 1936 and The Good Earth, 1937 should be added to everyone’s list of “must sees” and anyone who is serious about the study of film, either from the acting perspective or of cinematic history needs a viewing of these tours-de-force performances. Rainer was the first actor to receive consecutive Oscar wins, those for the aforementioned The Great Ziegfeld and The Good Earth…
Elegance, rare and unusual beauty, delicate features, yet imbued with great strength fail to describe Ms. Rainer, suffice it to say, she was and is, and no one else will be like her. Her view and opinion of her own work would have us to believe that beyond The Great Ziegfeld and The Good Earth that she did nothing else of merit, but we know better; each of her 9 Hollywood movies are like a breath of fresh air after being closed in, in a dark, dank room, that is what Louise Rainer brought to film-lovers everywhere. So, schedule a Louise Rainer movie day, hey, why not today? Enjoy!
By C. S. Williams (I am guilty of the verse as well: 1/11/2015)