Yesterday was the 102nd anniversary of the birth of one of my favorite actors, John Garfield, who I just don’t feel gets enough attention or recognition. At least I don’t hear his name mentioned as often as I do many other classic movie actors. I have been meaning to share more “stories from a podcast” ever since I posted one last year about James Garner, so I thought this would be a perfect time to do that since I know of one that involves John Garfield.
In an interview from a June 2014 episode of the Warner Archive Podcast, John’s daughter Julie shared some of her memories of her father with host George Feltenstein. When asked what it’s like when people find out who her father was, she expressed that she really wishes more people would remember her father, a sentiment I know many of his fans share.
In one story I found interesting, Julie talked about one of the things that made her father stand apart from his peers, that he looked his fellow actors and actresses directly in the eye when doing a scene. She mentioned that on the set of the movie Humoresque (1946) Joan Crawford initially felt uncomfortable with it, at one point complaining, “why does he keep looking at me in the eyes?”
She eventually got used to it, and thanks in part to Garfield’s unique method of acting, turned in one of the best performances of her career. Humoresque is probably my favorite of the John Garfield movies I have seen so far, and I would encourage you to watch it if you haven’t already. Now you have something to look for as you do.
That was just one of many stories and memories she shared about her father’s life and career. Most importantly, she remembered him as a great dad and a great man who loved his country and remained faithful to his friends. You can hear the interview in its entirety on the Warner Archive Tumblr page or you can download the whole podcast and listen to that and additional episodes through iTunes, which I highly recommend.
I think John Garfield’s fans would agree with George when he said, “For a man who had such a heartbreakingly short life, he left a boundless, amazing film legacy.” I look forward to enjoying more of those films in the future, and I hope you will join me in becoming more familiar with his work.
If you are interested in learning more about John Garfield, the DVD and Blu-ray versions of his movie The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) contain the documentary “The John Garfield Story,” which was narrated by Julie Garfield and includes an introduction by film historian Richard Jewell. I’ve watched it myself and it’s definitely worth viewing if you are a fan of John Garfield.