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All About Ava: The Films of Ava Gardner


April 29, 2013

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April is all about Ava!  Ava Gardner - famous for her beauty, her husbands (Frank Sinatra, Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw) and her international playgirl lifestyle - could also turn in highly touching and sensitive performances.  This series will prove that.

April 1Whistle Stop (1946; 85 mins.)  In this film, a somewhat low-budget film noir, Ava has her very first leading part.  She's gorgeous in it, of course, and clearly learning how to act in front of a camera.  Fascinating to see her before MGM really got a hold of her and built her into a star.  Ava plays a girl who returns to her small hometown after years in the big city - only to confront a gambling ex-boyfriend (George Raft).  Also starring Victor McLaglen, Tom Conway and directed by Leonide Moguy.

April 8Show Boat (1951; 108 mins.)  Ava is a fully fledged star in this Technicolor musical! She plays a singer on a show boat who holds a tragic secret (at least for the time).  Ava's singing was dubbed in this film, but you can hear her voice on the cast recording - and she's good!  Also starring Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel as troubled, singing lovebirds. Directed by George Sidney.

April 15Bhowani Junction (1956; 110 mins.)  This film is a big one for Ava.  Possibly the best performance of her career, once director George Cukor's camera focuses on Ava it stays riveted and the attention never wanders!  Set in India, Ava plays an Anglo-Indian tormented by her identity and involved with three very different men....Also starring Stewart Granger.

April 22On The Beach (1959; 134 mins.)  Gregory Peck also stars in this poignant film about the residents of an Austrailian town coming to terms with the aftermath of a global nuclear war.  Directed by Stanley Kramer.

April 29The Night of the Iguana (1964; 125 mins.)  Ava excels as the bawdy and free sprited owner of a small hotel in Mexico.  Richard Burton, Deborah Kerr and Grayson Hall are guests.  They engage in drama as only Tennessee Williams could write!  All four actors deliver top-notch performances.  Directed by John Huston.