Please email me HarlowGold@aol.com with
any comments or reviews about Kim Novak that you would like to be seen
on this new fan appreciation page.
Great Novak Moments in the Cinema by Nick Jones, January 2006
J.M. Cook, a student of film and an enthusiast of Kim Novak's work had these insightful and enlightening comments to make about Kim Novak's unique contribution to the film world:
In my opinion, she was a true method actress--not trained in that arena initially, but intuitively she reached deep inside herself and pulled out emotions that were undeniably real. She could add an element of tragedy to the most banal of scripts, and give a dimension to a glossy Hollywood film that seems more at home in a Bergman film. What other actress of that period could do that? Sure, there were ones more technically skilled as performers, more polished and comfortable with taking on personas, but how many of them truly touch us the way Novak can in a simply pained look?
would love to have seen what a Cukor or a Bergman could have accomplished
with her--I think many of the layers of her persona remain untapped on
film. It's so easy to dismiss someone of her beauty--and some of the lesser
pictures she appeared in--but I really believe she had a primal quality
that the discriminating viewer picks up on and recognizes for the very
special thing it is. I'm so glad other people out there appreciate her
work. Keep spreading the word that there is this underappreciated and
overwhelmingly touching woman.
guess I respond to the fact that in each film she is a figure from another
world--in "Vertigo" she is a mythical goddess-type figure and in "Bell"
she is a witch! These roles seem to suit her best in that they capitalize
on that quality that is so unique about her. Marilyn Monroe had her moments
but did she ever seem anything more than a human being--even at her most
beautiful, we can see that she walks on the ground. Not necessarily so
C.M. in Coral Springs, FL had this to say about Novak's appeal:
I concur with what your other writers have observed. She was mysterious, beautiful, and enigmatic. You wanted to know more about her because she held something back which made her even more desirable.
Vertigo was one of her best performances with Jimmy Stewart. In my mind she was the equal to Grace Kelly although comparing the two was like comparing apples with oranges. The difference was that Kim had a very sensous body and Grace was more in line with today's cinema preference for the "thin" woman.
Anyway, as a young boy growing up in the early 60's Kim Novak was the first actress I watched that I fell in love with. She could truly "cast a spell" on you.
C. Fisk wrote me this wonderful memory about Kim Novak:
When I was a youngster in Chicago Illinois. We 15 year old boys would sometimes get into a contest as to who we would have as our ideal date. Some went the obvious route with Marilyn Monroes or Jane Mansfield. Others took a more refined route and choose Debbie Reynolds or Mitzi Gaynor.
I used to come back with Kim Novak and that ended the contest. As in "No fair". I had brought a gun to a knife fight. You can only imagine the effect she had on us boys in the fifties.
Kim had a special sort of quiet understated magic which we certainly do not have today. Possibly princess Di had something like it. Marilyn had a touch of it. For sure Madonna does NOT have it.
For myself, the favorites are her roles in "The Man with the Golden Arm" and "Pal Joey". The look on her face when she leaves the club at the end with Frank is classic Kim. And of course, PICNIC. A lot of young lads lost a lot of sleep over that. "Madge, always the pretty one".
She is certainly one of the sexiest, most attractive girls ever. Yet, that was not the magic. Her magic was partly in the fact that she was just like the girl you took to the prom.
For myself, the favorites are her roles in "The Man with the Golden Arm" and "Pal Joey". The look on her face when she leaves the club at the end with Frank is classic Kim. And of course, PICNIC. A lot of young lads lost a lot of sleep over that. "Madge, always the pretty one". She is certainly one of the sexiest, most attractive girls ever. Yet, that was not the magic. Her magic was partly in the fact that she was just like the girl you took to the prom.
NOT KIM NOVAK, a post from my guestbook:
I am eleven years younger than Kim Novak. I know that she was born in 1933, and that she is now 68. Beginning when I was around 14 yrs. of age, in junior highschool (before I knew who she was), continuing all through high school, into college and for many, many years thereafter, I was stopped on a nearly daily basis and either told that I looked like her; asked if I was Kim Novak; or people followed me around in the streets, or followed me AND asked for my autograph. I refused to sign her autograph, and simply said that I was not she.
People said that they thought that I was trying to avoid my public, and that I was probably tired of people invading my privacy. (That part was true.) I began to feel that I WAS Kim Novak, and I was very self conscious. Sometimes, people merely stared.
I didn't like this attention, and when she resigned from moviemaking, people still made comments. Some of the younger generation didn't know who she was, so the "recognition" GRADUALLY lessened, along with Kim's leaving show biz. Then, she did a couple of "comeback" films, and had a regular role in a TV series. Occasionally, someone would stop me in public and say something.
Now, she is retired, I believe, and living her very private life. One day, while she was doing that TV series, one of my younger brothers (who works in the TV industry), and was working on a nearby set, was browsing around in a shop. He found a small, flat, circular hand mirror with what he thought was MY photo on the back of it. It was actually a photo of Kim Novak. He bought it for me and attached it to a signed photograph that he got personally from her, and put those in a frame and gave them to me for my birthday, stuffed inside a brown paper bag.
My brother had told her about "his sister" who had been bugged for years by HER fans, and had asked her for the autographed photo. I don't have that photo handy at the moment, but she wrote something like, To Nehssa, from your look alike, Kim Novak. I laughed, of course, and was very surprised that my brother had gone to all that trouble.
Kim was NEVER a favorite of mine, but I was certainly very aware of her. It was scary, but amusing, all those years, fending off Kim Novak's fans. I know that she had a lot of them! Just think of how many more of those fans approached HER!
Looking back on
it, especially now (nearing 60), I recognize that all
of that attention was flattering, but what a PAIN! I lost track of the
number of confrontations, but I remember a lot of them with a smile signed,
NOT Kim Novak
WILLIAM in AUSTRALIA wrote this commentary about Kim
The shot of Kim in Vertigo donning that grey suit for Jimmy Stewart is more erotic than a million Sharon Stones uncrossing their legs.
I first saw Hitch's masterpiece as a young teenager growing up in New Zealand. It was panned by the "critics" then, ignored by the public, and had only a two-week run in a city cinema, where I first saw it. I then pursued it around the suburban cinemas (there were dozens in those days).
Kim as Madeleine/Judy still haunts me, as does Bernie Herrmann's music and Robert Burks' cinematography. Was it subconsciousness that, when I became an adult, I bought Jaguar cars like the one Kim drives through San Francisco?
And why have there been beautiful blondes in my life, including my wife? (These thoughts have just occurred to me as I write this email!) As a boy, I also enjoyed Kim in Pal Joey (I bought the soundtrack), Middle of the Night, Jeanne Eagels and, later, The Legend of Lylah Clare.
WILLIAM STANLEY firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark had this to say about Mr. Laudemann's PICNIC contribution to my webpage in September 2005
After watching my annual Labor Day Video screening of "Picnic" last evening, I logged onto the Internet Movie Database to check out a few of the film's facts, and was directed to your link about the locations for the movie "Picnic." "Lavender Blonde" is a great website, an excellent tribute to Kim Novak, and I especially liked your tour of the Wichita, Kansas area and your visits to the film's locations. I agree wholeheartedly with you about the film... it truly is a wonderful piece of Americana, a chronicle of Midwestern life fifty years ago this year!
Films were so much better back then, weren't they? They told a good story with intelligent dialogue and expert cinematography; and they easily entertained the audience without resorting to computer graphic effects (such effects weren't around then, of course), without crassness and without the darkness that pervades so much of the screens (both movie and television) today. It's strange to think that all of the babies that were photographed at the picnic scenes would now be fifty years old! Now that so many of the cast members of the film have passed on (only Kim Novak and Cliff Robertson remain with us) "Picnic" has become not only a classic film in its own right, but a true representation of classic film actors. It is nice to know that the locations of the film remain with us, practically untouched by time.
Thank you for taking us to them and sharing your visit with us. I have worked in the film and television industry for thirty-seven years now, and I have seen first hand how the business has declined. I have often wanted to do the same thing that legend has said that Kim Novak had done in the 1960's: when her contract with Columbia had finished, she had become fed up with Hollywood and its machinations... it is said that she packed her things, got in her car and drove north until she ran out of gasoline... in Carmel, California, where she had apparently made her home over many years. But I am still working in Hollywood, so I guess I shall have to wait until retirement to move to Carmel-By-the-Sea. Oh well! (But a well is a hole in the ground, isn't it? - as Miss Sydney reminded Howard Bevins.) As I said, I watch "Picnic" every year as part of my personal Labor Day tradition, along with "Pajama Game," starring Doris Day (another Carmel resident).
"Picnic" demonstrates how Labor Day itself marks a time when the summer ends and the new school year begins; a time for letting go of the old and beginning the new. The most poignant scene in the film for me is at the end, when Madge (with the urging of her younger sister Millie) decides to strike off on her own; breaking the controlling bonds of her mother to the accompaniment of a screeching orchestral break; leaving childhood behind to learn things for herself, as Mrs. Potts would put it. As Madge takes the bus to Tulsa, we see Millie at first running after the bus, fading into the background before turning to go on to her new school year (the scene itself symbolic of Madge's leaving the time and place of childhood behind -- all of us, men and women, arrive at that experience at some time in our lives); and as the camera pulls above the bus and beyond, we see the train that is leading Madge and Hal to their new destinies. New beginnings for everyone. A wonderful movie... and a great tribute to it by Mr. Laudemann. It was interesting and fun to visit the locations of fifty years ago with you. I thank you for your love of "Picnic" and the movies.
Joe Cavazos had this comment to make about Kim Novak in VERTIGO in Spetember 2006:
I was seventeen years old when I saw Vertigo. At that time, I had never been in love, and could not have REALLY appreciated Scotty's situation. But, somehow, I understood it--and understood how Judy felt at being forced to be someone other than herself. I've read numerous comments about Kim Novak's performance in Vertigo. Like me, most people are enraptured by Judy/Madelaine, and by Ms. Novak's unbelievable performance.
One thing I have noticed, though, is dry and almost not worth mentioning. And that is this: In Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw posited that the way you speak TOTALLY places you in society. This could not be more obvious than in Vertigo. When Judy plays Madeleine, she has been coached so that her speech is absolutely aristocratic. A particularly good line: "thank you for fishing me out..." Madeleine is a true social goddess in the way she speaks, the way she acts and carries herself. She makes Scotty fall absolutely, irrevocably in love with her. As "Judy," she is her normal self. She would never be in high-class company. Her social life would probably find her in seedy bars or in the back seat of a car with some loathsome lothario. It makes you wonder, though. Having learned how to attract the richest of the rich, why would she not just keep on acting that way, rather than going back to her old self?
P. S. I believe I will love Kim Novak forever.