Occasionally Columbia Pictures put British performers on long-term contracts. Often these actors remained in England and made films in London. Or they might have been brought to Hollywood for one picture to support an American star in some historical drama, then sent back to England. In the case of Valerie French, she relocated to America.
She had started behind the scenes but switched to acting and snagged a supporting role in a Rex Harrison comedy before Columbia hired her. She possessed a raw sex appeal normally reserved for more exotic European stars, and she used it to her advantage in motion picture assignments. When she arrived in Hollywood, she was quickly put in westerns– she had a supporting role in a Randolph Scott picture; and there was a lead opposite Glenn Ford in JUBAL, which is probably her most known film.
Columbia also used Valerie in other genres, though she was usually typecast as sultry women who lured men into dangerous situations. For instance, the studio placed her in a science fiction story with Gene Barry; and there was a turn in a crime drama with Kerwin Mathews. Valerie’s performance in THE GARMENT JUNGLE garnered excellent reviews.
After another western and a horror flick, her contract was not renewed. She then focused on television jobs as well as theater work. In the 1960s Valerie appeared on Broadway, and she generated considerable heat with one of her stage roles. Also she made one more film at the end of the decade. It was directed by Edward Dmytryk and shot in Spain, where she had spent her early childhood.
- jubal (1956); columbia; western; glenn ford; 100 mins.
- decision at sundown (1957); columbia; western; randolph scott; 77 mins.
- the garment jungle (1957); columbia; crime; kerwin mathews; 88 mins.
- the 27th day (1957); columbia; science fiction; gene barry; 75 mins.
- the hard man (1957); columbia; western; guy madison; 80 mins.
Off-topic, but "The Garment Jungle" is one of Kerwin Matthews' best performances.