Monday, 5 December 2011

Angela Lansbury Week 2011 - Day One

So... it's the first Monday of December which can mean only one thing - the start of Angela Lansbury Week 2011! I've done two Jessica Fletcher Weeks which have been great, but this time you can draw any of Ms. Lansbury's roles. And goodness me, she's had some corkers! As you'll soon see. So, sit back (at your typewriters) and enjoy!

I was really surprised by how many people didn’t know who Angela Lansbury was until I mentioned Beauty and the Beast or Murder, She Wrote. And even then, some people were still “but what else has she done? What would I draw?” – which I found pretty surprising. In my mind, Angela Lansbury is one of the most important actresses ever.

So, Angela Lansbury Week 2011 is opening with this drawing by Darryl – who included these insightful words on Angela’s role in The Manchurian Candidate…which, if you haven’t seen, you need to invest in right away.

People who consider Angela Lansbury to be a lightweight actress have clearly never seen her performance in The Manchurian Candidate. The film's sinister, paranoid, cold war plot, concerns a Korean war veteran and prominent son of a right-wing political family, who has been brainwashed as an unwitting assassin in a Communist conspiracy.

Lansbury plays the mother of the hapless pawn. At 37 she was only three years older than Laurence Harvey who played her son. Lansbury easily steals the film from her higher billed co-stars, including Frank Sinatra, turning in a great performance as the manipulative matriarch whose coldness and ambition drives the twisted plot. She was nominated for a best supporting actress for this role, but lost out to Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker. The Manchurian Candidate both confirmed Lansbury as a great actress and, in a sense doomed her, because after this role she became typecast in elderly lady character parts long before she ever became one. It's a sad condemnation of
, that she was not able to capitalise further on her ability and play other strong female roles, but such parts were a rarity at that time.

What's that you say? You don't believe the woman who played Jessica Fletcher could be anything but a lightweight? Then watch The Manchurian Candidate, and thrill to the monstrous Eleanor Iselin.

Thanks for both the drawing and the words, Darryl! I’m glad we both agree that she’s brilliant.

MRS ‘ARRIS ALERT! MRS ‘ARRIS ALERT! One of my favourite lesser-known Angela Lansbury movies is Mrs’Arris Goes To Paris – a film where… actually, I won’t tell you anything about it. It’s a brilliant movie so do yourself a favour and watch it. One person that has watched it is Darren – the kind gentleman who sent in this drawing. Without ruining the plot of the film, Darren has depicted Angela Lansbury’s character – the titular Mrs ‘Arris – in Paris! I suspect we’ll be seeing a few more Mrs ‘Arris drawings throughout this week which I’m excited about. Thanks for sending this in, Darren!

When you’ve been acting for a while, you’re bound to generate some interesting facts about yourself, your life and your career – and Angela Lansbury is no exception… Well, according to Luke at least. I can’t say whether Luke’s fact is right or wrong…but I’d *love* to know what the other sixteen Little-Known Angela Lansbury Facts are. PLUS! It wouldn’t surprise me if it did take seven months to get into character – I think we can all agree that Mrs Potts is one of the best performances/characters/singers ever. Thanks Mrs Potts! Thanks Luke!

I really enjoy making stuff. Making stuff is fun. You know who else likes making stuff? Baz – the kind gentleman who sent in this drawing of an Angela Lansbury/Bedknobs and Broomsticks mash-up. Does it still count as a mash-up if it’s a drawing? Anyways, I met Baz at a comic thing in May. He makes all sorts of things and I’m super pleased he found the time to take part in Angela Lansbury Week. Thanks Baz!

They say that good things come in small packages. But what they actually mean is “good things come on Post-It notes.” This Lansbury was sent in by Martin – a man so clearly enamoured with Angela that he had to draw her straightaway, with the first thing at hand! And that was clearly a Post-It! That’s the sort of dedication I like to see. Speaking of things I like to see, I’m glad to see that Martin managed to capture Angela’s hair in such a simplistic manner. Thanks Martin!

As we’ve already covered with The Manchurian Candidate, Angela’s credits aren’t confined to fluffy musicals. Oh no! Say hello to GASLIGHT!!! You want mystery? You want murder? You want an early Angela Lansbury movie? Well, thanks to Nigel, you get this ace Gaslight-themed drawing! I worry that lots of people think that Angela just didn’t exist before Murder, She Wrote which is a real shame since some of her early stuff is amazing. If Gaslight sounds too serious or scary, check out The Court Jester – a Danny Kaye musical from the 1950s where Angela plays a pretty princess. But I’m getting off track. Thanks Nigel! 

This drawing is entitled ‘Teapots and Brooksticks’ and was sent in by James and features two characters from Angela’s impressive filmography (if that’s the right word). In my mind, I’m not sure who would win if these two titans ever did engage in mid-air combat. I mean, I’m not really that sure what Mrs Potts would *do* in a fight, but I bet it would be impressive – especially if her rendition of “Beauty and the Beast” is anything to go by. To be fair, I think both the characters would get along too well to fight. What do you think? And more importantly, thanks for sending this in James!

Believe it or not, I used to spend a fair bit of time doing cross stitch. And sewing in general. But I was never very good. Boo hoo. But you know who *is* an expert sewing-person? It’s Felt Mistress! YAY! This photo depicts everyone’s favourite – Tippy – doing some Angela Lansbury-inspired cross stitch! DOUBLE YAY! And for those that are familiar with Tippy, I can inform you that he is dressed up as Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote – you can tell by the magnifying glass, pearls, floaty scarf and sassy glasses. What a nice outfit! I reckon Tippy would make a brilliant detective! Thanks Tippy! Thanks Felty!

So...I think that concludes the first day of Angela Lansbury Week 2011! I hope you'll tune in for the other days to see the other amazing entries! 


Sarah B. Roberts said...

Hooray! I love Angela Lansbury Week! I can never believe it when people don't know who she is - so many amazing movie, television and stage rolls - both in London and US. She has 5 Tony Awards, for Pete's sake! Bravo on the drawings.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant stuff! *I am Martin but not signing in to write this*