Lucky Star, July 22
Judith Rosenberg on Piano. A key supporting role in this 1926 proto–disaster movie was Gaynor's big break. With The Shamrock Handicap, a lighthearted horse-racing drama set in Ireland and directed by John Ford.
In her last released feature, a witty, heartfelt screwball comedy from 1938, Gaynor plays the wily daughter in a family of high-class con artists. Shown with a screen test made for the film of Gaynor and stage star Maude Adams, a unique record of the latter's work-she didn't get the part.
George Gershwin's first original screen musical is graced with some spectacular (and spectacularly strange) set pieces revolving around Gaynor as an innocent Scottish lass in melting-pot New York.
"One of the actress's last roles and one of her best, good enough to get her an Oscar nomination. Shot in lovely early Technicolor . . . it follows a young woman's trajectory from star-struck kid to major star."-L.A. Times
A sophisticated romantic comedy directed with energy and wit by William Wellman, starring Gaynor as the titular young provincial swept away to the city by rich Robert Taylor.
Gaynor appears alongside Constance Bennett and Loretta Young in a romantic drama about three girlfriends sharing a deluxe apartment while they search for husbands in 1930s Budapest.
"Almost shockingly young and drop-dead handsome [in his screen debut], Henry Fonda plays a farmer who moonlights on an 1850s Erie Canal barge and falls in love with Gaynor's feisty cook. . . . The result is a charming romance that takes full advantage of Gaynor's unquenchable spirit and winsome egalitarianism."-L.A. Times
Gaynor plays an erstwhile rich girl who takes work as a maid and falls in love with a handsome chauffeur in this unpretentious charmer from 1934. Watch for the cartoon anxiety dream produced by none other than Walt Disney.
Gaynor costars with Will Rogers and a prize pig called Blue Boy in Henry King's 1933 rustic comedy, a classic of nostalgic Americana.
Gaynor is rebellious princess of a mythical European kingdom in this charming musical comedy, directed with panache by William Dieterle. "A most agreeable entertainment."-N.Y. Times
This unabashedly sentimental melodrama of fisherfolk, squatters, and malevolent landowners makes a perfect vehicle for plucky Gaynor and appealing Farrell, in one of their last appearances together. With short Pep of the Lazy "J." Judith Rosenberg on Piano.
Gaynor plays an impoverished Neapolitan waif who finds refuge with a traveling circus and painter Charles Farrell. "Borzage damns 'morality' and opts for the pure passion of a sacred amour fou."-Time Out
Judith Rosenberg on Piano. "An immersion in over-the-top romanticism. . . . Farrell gives perhaps his best performance, playing a World War I veteran who comes home in a wheelchair. . . . [Borzage's film] showcases Gaynor's gift for underplaying in extreme situations."-L.A. Times
The great German director F. W. Murnau handpicked Gaynor to star in his first Hollywood feature, an elemental fable of country and city, marriage and adulterous desire, rendered with virtuosic visual invention.
The first of three exquisite films directed by Frank Borzage and starring Gaynor and Charles Farrell. "Capitalizes on Gaynor's warmth and presence and Farrell's rough and ready masculinity to create a fantasy romance that manages to include realistic World War I trench warfare and a beyond-words ending."-L.A. Times