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marcar

What do you know about Carole Landis?

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Having just seen the movie "Having a Wonderful Crime" (1945) I was struck by the actress Carole Landis and wondered why I didn't know more about her or seen her in more movies. Then I looked her up and found the tragic story of her life: 5 failed marriages, studios that failed to put her in good roles, and finally her suicide with an overdose of Seconal at the age of 29. She made 49 pictures in that short time, but most are described as "forgettable" by various sources.

She was quite good and very beautiful in "...Crime" and I wondered if any real movie buffs know more about her, can recommend any of her films or a good biography of her?

Who's a Carole Landis fan? and what do you have to share?

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TCM did a primetime tribute to her in December 2015. The films I remember were "Topper Returns" (1937, the third and final edition of the ghostly series); "One Million B.C." (1940, remade two decades later as a star-making vehicle for Raquel Welch); and "Road Show" (1941, a carnival-based comedy with Adolphe Menjou).

Earlier, in July 2015, TCM showed the Hal Roach comedy "Turnabout" (1940), which starred Landis and John Hubbard as a married couple who switch bodies -- thanks to a magic idol from India. Menjou appeared in this film, too.

She really should have been a bigger star.

Image result for carole landis images

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26 minutes ago, marcar said:

Having just seen the movie "Having a Wonderful Crime" (1945) I was struck by the actress Carole Landis and wondered why I didn't know more about her or seen her in more movies. Then I looked her up and found the tragic story of her life: 5 failed marriages, studios that failed to put her in good roles, and finally her suicide with an overdose of Seconal at the age of 29. She made 49 pictures in that short time, but most are described as "forgettable" by various sources.

She was quite good and very beautiful in "...Crime" and I wondered if any real movie buffs know more about her, can recommend any of her films or a good biography of her?

Who's a Carole Landis fan? and what do you have to share?

Sadly Carole Landis is mostly discussed at this forum related to Rex Harrison and her suicide.  

I first noticed her as Vicki in the early noir film I Wake Up Screaming  (later remade as Vicki with Jean Peters talking the role).

She was also in Four's A Crowd a romantic comedy with Errol Flynn,  Olivia DeHavilland and Rosalind Russell.

I liked her in Topper Returns with Joan Blondell.  

I haven't seen A Scandal in Paris starring George Sanders and Landis,  but it is on my bucket list.

PS:  I have also seen My Gal Sal (with Rita Hayworth) and One Million BC.    Both also feature Victor Mature (so most of the Landis films I have seen feature him).

 

     

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I'm definitely a fan. She's from my hometown of Fairchild, Wisconsin. So I grew up hearing about her-- there was a page dedicated to her in a community publication when my town celebrated its 150th year of incorporation. She's considered the most famous person to have come from our area, but she did not live in the town itself. Her family, the Ridstes (pronounced Rid-stees) lived on a farm just outside of town.

They were a close family but from my understanding experienced many hardships. Eventually they moved to southern California where Carole was probably bitten by the showbiz bug as a pre-teen. However, I don't think she started working professionally in entertainment until she went to San Francisco as a teenager to sing in music halls.

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Her first marriage occurred when she was very young, the first of five, but it was short-lived as most of her unions were. She soon went back to Southern California and tried to break into the movies in the late 30s. She had a lot of bit parts, in some very well-known films, which is why she quickly racked up all those credits. In 1939 or 1940 she was signed by Hal Roach and had her breakthrough role in ONE MILLION B.C.

After several starring roles Roach sold her contract in 1941 to Darryl Zanuck. She spent the next part of her movie career at Fox as a lead in B films and handling second tier roles in A films, sometimes supporting Betty Grable the top female star at the studio (she played Betty's sister twice).

Carole was Zanuck's girlfriend during this period (though he probably had other girlfriends, since he was a known womanizer). When she wasn't making films for him, she spent considerable time abroad doing USO tours during the war. The motion picture FOUR JILLS IN A JEEP is based on a book she wrote about those experiences.

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Around the time her last marriage failed, she became involved with fellow Fox contract player Rex Harrison. Her family thinks Harrison's treatment of her, combined with her declining film career, led to her suicide. Fox had canceled her contract in 1946. But she had signed with Eagle-Lion (a British-American studio) and did make a few films for E-L at the end. Right before she killed herself, she had just signed to do two more films for E-L that were supposed to be made in London. But personal problems got the best of her. 

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Her best friends in Hollywood, according to the family, were Cesar Romero (she did films with Cesar at Fox); and Pat O'Brien (she did films with Pat on loan out to Columbia and RKO). Both men were pallbearers at her funeral.

There's a very good blog that her family and friends of the family contribute to:

http://carolelandisofficial.blogspot.com/2012/11/caroles-last-day.html

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I really like Carole as well. I've seen her in It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog (1946) and Behind Green Lights (1946). I remember reading about her tragic death a few years back when I first saw It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog (which, coincidentally, was a very good comedy). I feel like if her life had not ended so abruptly, she would have gone on to have made several more films, and might even have received more of a fanbase. 

Image result for carole landis

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3 minutes ago, NickAndNora34 said:

I really like Carole as well. I've seen her in It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog (1946) and Behind Green Lights (1946). I remember reading about her tragic death a few years back when I first saw It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog (which, coincidentally, was a very good comedy). I feel like if her life had not ended so abruptly, she would have gone on to have made several more films, and might even have received more of a fanbase. 

Image result for carole landis

With her comic timing and her looks, she would have been perfect as the lead in a 50s sitcom. I'm sure she would have gone on to have a bigger career on TV than in film. But it all ended before she got the chance.

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I would have loved to see her in a Hitchcock film! I'm sure Hitch would find some way to make use of her athleticism. 

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4 minutes ago, VivLeighFan said:

I would have loved to see her in a Hitchcock film! I'm sure Hitch would find some way to make use of her athleticism. 

I read that Carole's family didn't (and probably still don't) believe her death was a suicide. They believe it was foul play related to Rex Harrison.  Obviously, we can't confirm if this is true or not but it's something to consider.

He didn't make a film for three years after she died. He became persona non grata in Hollywood for awhile.

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I suspect that a bad affair, combined with a film career that was floundering, was too much for poor Carole Landis.

Her favourable notices for One Million B.C. in 1940 was followed by (with the exception of I Wake Up Screaming in which she got third billing) a series of unremarkable film projects. If she was about to depart to England to make films at the time of her death that speaks to her frustration with Hollywood.

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I am also a fan of Carole Landis. I don't think she got the roles she deserved. I especially enjoy her in "Turnabout". If you can, try to see it as it's it's very funny. 

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While I'm by far the most knowledgeable person about the world of classic movies among everyone I know in my "real life", I discover from time to time by watching TCM and being on these message boards that I still have a lot to learn. I had never heard of Carole Landis before those 2015 airings jakeem mentioned, after which I read about her tragic story on imdb. I think Turnabout and Road Show are her only movies I've ever seen, both of which also feature Adolphe Menjou. She has to spend a lot of Turnabout pretending to be a man in a woman's body and does a pretty good job of it.

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I don't know how many color films featured Carole Landis, but she was in "My Gal Sal" (1942), which starred Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature. The picture won the Academy Award for Best Color Art Direction-Interior Decoration. 

Related image

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5 minutes ago, jakeem said:

I don't know how many color films featured Carole Landis, but she was in "My Gal Sal" (1942), which starred Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature. The picture won the Academy Award for Best Color Art Direction-Interior Decoration. 

Related image

I think she was only in four Technicolor films--

A STAR IS BORN (uncredited)

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (uncredited)

MOON OVER MIAMI

MY GAL SAL

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In a very bizarre footnote to the Landis tragedy, a little-known actor and set designer named Robert Love (actual name Abraham Levine) committed suicide by jumping out of a five-story building a few days after Landis’ death. His roommate, another little-known actor named Daniel Harris, told police that Love had been brooding over Landis’ death and had a nervous condition. Love had reportedly told Harris that he admired Landis’ courage in committing suicide. Harris accompanied Love to a doctor’s office, when Love suddenly jumped up, fell over a piece of furniture and cut his finger, then left the office, according to one witness. Love then went up two more floors to another doctor’s office, where he brushed past a receptionist, and muttered “I’m brave, I’m brave, I can stand it.” He then ran into an adjacent office, allegedly yelled “Here I go,” and took the plunge.

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2 minutes ago, scsu1975 said:

In a very bizarre footnote to the Landis tragedy, a little-known actor and set designer named Robert Love (actual name Abraham Levine) committed suicide by jumping out of a five-story building a few days after Landis’ death. His roommate, another little-known actor named Daniel Harris, told police that Love had been brooding over Landis’ death and had a nervous condition. Love had reportedly told Harris that he admired Landis’ courage in committing suicide. Harris accompanied Love to a doctor’s office, when Love suddenly jumped up, fell over a piece of furniture and cut his finger, then left the office, according to one witness. Love then went up two more floors to another doctor’s office, where he brushed past a receptionist, and muttered “I’m brave, I’m brave, I can stand it.” He then ran into an adjacent office, allegedly yelled “Here I go,” and took the plunge.

Wow! Almost sounds like that one Twilight Zone episode starring Richard Conte, doesn't it.

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Thanks so far to everybody. Pls keep these posts coming. I am fascinated by this actress.

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I first found out about Carole Landis from the old movie mags in the 1950s. Occasionally they would have the occasional tragic movie star story and she would be featured.

Starting out as a Carole Lombard wannabe, she is one of the many blondes who tried to come between Clark Gable and Carole Lombard later on.

Reportedly so much of Carole Landis' emotional instability came from her volatile sex life, which included men and women-- one woman, allegedly, in particular,  Joan Crawford.

Nevertheless Rex Harrison was a jerk in all of this and it almost ended his career. But everyone knows with a moniker like "Sexy Rexy", you had to be a jerk when it came to women.

I've only seen Carole Landis in the Topper movie and she acquitted herself passably in a very tacky sequel.

She truly was a beautiful girl.

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A few years ago I had become friends (online) with Carole's niece. The niece and a friend are responsible for a lot of the photos and other content on the blog I mentioned earlier. In addition to the blog, they did considerable posting on Facebook, and they also have a Yahoo group where a loyal group stay in touch, usually when Carole's movies turn up on TCM or other channels that broadcast classic films.

The best thing about the Facebook posts, and much of that content ended up on the blog, was they went through Carole's whole life-- pretty much in a chronological order. The family had tons of photos the niece had collected. Also it was more than just movie related stuff, there were magazine ads for products Carole had endorsed, reviews from stage shows and articles on USO tours, as well as her many radio appearances and charity events she was involved with. And then there were the wedding photos, background information on the different husbands she had, etc. Some of the information covered items she owned that went to her mother when she died.

What surprised me was how incredibly BUSY her life was. Because the family had documented it all so well, and she had done so much in her short 29 years, it was astounding to see what kind of life she had lived. Everything had dates so it was easy to see she really didn't sit still. She sometimes had two different events going on during the same day, like a charity softball game in the afternoon and a radio show that evening. She was clearly a people person. She filled her life with all kinds of people and a rich variety of experiences. 

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

I think she was only in four Technicolor films--

A STAR IS BORN (uncredited)

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (uncredited)

MOON OVER MIAMI

MY GAL SAL

Well,  if she had  walk-ons in A Star is Born and The Adventures of Robin Hood and a supporting role in Moon over Miami which I watched during one of the very rare times it's aired on TCM, it's possible I've seen her in as many as five different movies, but I can't say I remember her. I will look for her next time I watch those films.

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3 minutes ago, sewhite2000 said:

Well,  if she had  walk-ons in A Star is Born and The Adventures of Robin Hood and a supporting role in Moon over Miami which I watched during one of the very rare times it's aired on TCM, it's possible I've seen her in as many as five different movies, but I can't say I remember her. I will look for her next time I watch those films.

On her wiki page, it says she was a banquet guest in the Robin Hood movie. But for all we know she could have been sitting at a long table in a wide shot where it's not easy to see her face. I will have to check carefully the next time I watch it to see if I can spot her. 

I just remembered her niece saying Carole had a contract with Warners when she first broke into the movies. They put her in ROBIN HOOD and another Flynn picture (FOUR'S A CROWD) and a bunch of other stuff, but she didn't really advance at Warners and didn't get bigger parts. Then she moved over to Republic, where she made two B westerns (one with John Wayne where she was the female lead) plus she did a serial at Republic. So she was now getting more screen time and this led to her signing with Hal Roach.

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Always liked Carole Landis.  Even have DVD's of Moon Over Miami and Topper Returns.  Not a fan of musicals, but do enjoy MOM and Landis really makes it better.  Too bad she did not have a bigger role. She was also good in It Happened in Flatbush and Having a Wonderful Crime.

For those who may not know, Fox Movie Channel shows old movies without interruption from 3:00 AM until 3:00 PM. Some even repeat during the same day.  I Wake Up Screaming shows up often.

As someone said, she probably would have done well in a 1950's TV sitcom or even one of the "mystery" series, such as Mr. and Mrs. North or The Thin Man.

Regardless she was a very good actress and deserved better roles and more movies.

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I recently purchased the DVD release of One Million B.C. and was struck by how reeeeally cute Carole Landis was in that cave woman outfit. Even with an over-sized lizard in the same shot Carole really grabs the attention. Unfortunately cheesecake photography and undistinguished roles would be the followup on this for her.

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