Paul Green is the author of a long-awaited new book on the life and films of actress, Jennifer Jones (see cover image below). Today the book was officially released and he’s kindly granted an exclusive interview to be posted here. I’ve already read the book and it’s a fantastic account of Jones’ career, all interwoven with her personal life. Turner Classic Movies host, Robert Osborne, has written the foreword.
MV: What made you choose Jennifer Jones as the subject of your book?
PG : When she passed away her death struck a chord with me. I hadn’t thought of her in many years and suddenly these memories of her wonderful films came to the surface.
MV: Which films made an impact on you?
PG: The Song of Bernadette and Portrait of Jennie in particular. She had an other worldly quality in both films and both are mystical stories that are perfectly suited to Jones’ acting style. Love Letters has similar qualities.
MV: Do you think her work deserves more credit by critics and the general public?
PG: Definitely. She won an Academy Award with her first starring role and because of her relationship with David O. Selznick was often frowned upon as the years passed. Selznick was obsessed with molding her image and didn’t see her as a light comedienne when in fact this was one of her strengths. Both Cluny Brown and Beat the Devil demonstrate her comedy timing. Selznick preferred to cast her in sexually provocative roles. Duel in the Sun being the prime example.
MV: Was Jennifer Jones a happy person?
PG: She was known for being temperamental under stress and was a very private person. Her true feelings often remained hidden from the public.
MV: How many JJ films are released on DVD? Can a reader of your book read about a particular film and then go out and buy it to watch?
PG: You’ll be happy to know most of her major films are available on DVD. I list them all in my book as well as VHS versions. Sadly a few key titles are unavailable on DVD or VHS including Good Morning Miss Dove, The Barrett’s of Wimpole Street and The Idol. The classic Love Letters is only available on VHS from dealers.
MV: Do you think her on set behavior was misinterpreted as being not prepared by her co-stars, when in actual fact she was a very nervous person. Was she misunderstood?
PG: Yes she was a nervous person and acted differently depending on the film. On Gone To Earth, filmed in England, the director Michael Powell and all the crew loved her. On Terminal Station aka Indiscretion of an American Housewife, filmed in Italy, she was extremely temperamental and slapped the director in the face. Co-star Montgomery Clift sympathized with her behavior on the film because he saw in her the same neurotic tendencies he suffered. I don’t think any actor or director ever considered her unprepared, but the interference of Selznick was a definite nuisance.
MV: My favorite Jennifer Jones film is Carrie. What did her co-star, Laurence Olivier think of her? Did they get along?
PG: You really have to read my book because what he says can’t be printed here. 🙂
Thanks to Paul Green for this exclusive interview about his new book on the life and films of Jennifer Jones.
Paul Green’s Blog can be found HERE