Arturo

LINDA DARNELL for Star of the Month October 2013

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Sorry I realized I shortchanged us the first week, where I was finishing on Pacific, instead of Eastern time. So here goes the revied schedule for....

 

First Week: MODERN DRESS COMEDIES AND DRAMAS:

 

8:00 PM:

HOTEL FOR WOMEN (1939); Already discussed here. Linda's film debut, and starting off with a starring role. Premiere (?)

 

9:30 PM:

DAY-TIME WIFE (1939): First of four co-starring roles with matinee idol Tyrone Power. In a role originally meant for Loretta Young, who refused to re-sign a lucrative contract with the studio, Linda actually had a more important role than Ty. They make an attractive couple in this screwball comedy, although Linda's comedy technique is in its infancy and would improve later. Also featuring Warren William, Wendy Barrie, Binnie Barnes, Joan Davis and Asta (if I remember correctly).

 

11:00 PM:

STAR DUST (1940): Based in part on Linda's own experience in being discovered and brought to Hollywood, this enjoyable feature has an interesting look into the starmaking process alll the studios were then involved with. Also featuring John Payne,Charlotte Greenwood, Roland Young, Mary Healy and Donald Meek. TRIVIA; LInda got her prints in cement at Graumann's Chinese Theater during its premiere....Linda had watched a late night showing of this film the night of the fire that would claim her life in Aprll 1965.

 

1:00 AM:

RISE AND SHINE (1941): Campus football comedy, with Linda a co-ed cheerleader. Also featuring George Murphy and Jack Oakie, Linda felt this was a come-down from the two Rouben Mammoulian directed movies starring Tyrone Power: THE MARK OF ZORRO an BLOOD AND SAND (both two be on Week Two's schedule).

 

2:30 AM:

CITY WITHOUT MEN (1943): Linda's first loanout to another studio (Columbia) yielded this programmer about a group of women reting rooms while waiting for their incarcerated husbands' release.

 

4:00 AM

SWEET AND LOWDOWN (1944): Linda is the ingenue (for the last time) in this tunefest featuring the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Lynn Bari as the band singer, and James Cardwell as the musician with whom Linda is involved.

 

5:30 AM:

UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (1948): Classic black comedy of Rex Harrison a conductor susecting young wife of having an affair. While conducting three musical pieces, he envisions three different ways of killing Linda. With Rudy Vallee, Barbara Lawrence and Kurt Kruger.

 

7:30 AM:

A LETTER TOTHREE WIVES (1949): Linda's most acclaimed role, as one of three wives who receive a letter from a friend stating the friend has run off with one of their husbands. Trenchant dissection of marriage and suburban mores at the mid-century oint. With Jeanne Crain, Ann Sothern, Paul Douglas, Kirk Douglas, Thelma Ritter, and Connie Gilchrist. Brilliant.

 

9:30 AM:

EVERYBODY DOES IT (1949):

Linda plays an singing diva wooing Paul Douglas, who goes into singing opera to show up wife Celeste Hol, who thinks she is the talented one. With Charles Colburn. Quite funny.

 

11:00 AM

THE GUY WHO CAME BACK (1951):

Paul Douglas is a football star who wishes he could still play, Joan Bennett his wife, and Linda a model wih whom he gets involved. ife an mistress team up to straighten him out.

 

12:30 PM:

THE LADY PAYS OFF (1951):

Linda is a schoolteacher who pays off her gablimg debts by tutoring Stephen McNalley's daughter. With Gig Perreau and Virginia Field. Made at Uiversal under a revised, non-exclusive contract with Fox.

 

2:30 PM:

ANGELS OF DARKNESS/DONNE PROIBITE (1953):

One of two movies Linda would make in Italy for producer Giusseppi Amato. She plays one of three prostitutes displaced by the cloing of their brothel. With Anthony Quinn, Valentina Corstese, and Giuletta Messina.

 

4:00 PM:

THE LAST FIVE MINUTES/GLI ULTIMI CINQUE MINUTI (1955):

Second italian venture, a comedy with Linda sharing quarters out of convenience. With Vittorio De Sia, Rosanno Brazzi, Sophie Demarets.

 

 

5:30 PM

ISLAND OF DESIRE/SATURDAY ISLAND (1952):

let's nd this wth one of Linda's sexiest roles. She and newcomer Tab Hunter are stranded on a deserted South Pacific island, gradually fall for each other. Donald Gray is a pilot that crashes there, and nurse Linda, aftern amputationg his arm, is torn between both men. A maximum of exposed flesh for the ties, if minimum of storyline involved, but Linda doesquite nicely. a guilty pleasure.

 

Edited by: Arturo on Dec 5, 2012 10:20 AM

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*She also appeared in THE SONG OF BERNADETTE, EVERYBODY DOES IT, THE GUY WHO CAME BACK, A LETTER TO THREE WIVES, THE LADY PAYS OFF, ISLAND OF DESIRE, IT HAPPENS IN ROMA, ANGELS OF DARKNESS, THE CASTILIAN, and BLACK SPURS.*

 

 

 

 

 

 

When i realize I had run out of weeks, I amended the first week with some of these titles. THE CASTILIAN is a false credit-she is NOT in this...BLACK SPURS, her last film, I should have included in Week Four. SONG OF BERNADETTE I didn't include as her role was but a cameo.

 

Edited by: Arturo on Dec 5, 2012 9:59 AM

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There is also an 82-minute episode of Playhouse 90 called 'Homeward Borne' that may have been sold as a feature either in foreign markets or in television syndication. I do not know if a copy survives, but interestingly it was based on a novel by Ruth Chatterton.

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Why wait till then? I'd love to see her as SOTM anytime! Good luck on that one though.......(Fox)

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For anyone who is interested in viewing BLACK SPURS, that title is available at Netflix streaming, along with DAKOTA INCIDENT.

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*Did I miss where you included ISLAND OF DESIRE? I don't see that one.*

 

It's the last film of the last day.

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*There is also an 82-minute episode of Playhouse 90 called 'Homeward Borne' that may have been sold as a feature either in foreign markets or in television syndication. I do not know if a copy survives, but interestingly it was based on a novel by Ruth Chatterton.*

HOMEWARD BORNE was one of the few episodes of Playhouse 90 done on film, as opposed to kinescope, so they were able to, and it was offered for distribution in movie theaters in some markets in 1958, the year after it was filmed.

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TopBilled:

 

What you have here by the alternate title of IT HAPPENED IN ROMA, I listed by the more common title of THE LAST FIVE MINUTES, which is the literal translation of its Italian title, GLI ULTIMI CINQUE MINUTI. It was based on a popular Italian stage comedy, but does not seem to have had a theatrical release in the US. What a coup if TCM could do a US premiere of this title!

 

 

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>HOMEWARD BORNE was one of the few episodes of Playhouse 90 done on film, as opposed to kinescope, so they were able to, and it was offered for distribution in movie theaters in some markets in 1958, the year after it was filmed.

 

It would be a coup if this one showed up on TCM.

 

By the way, her episode of Screen Directors Playhouse did air on TCM.

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*By the way, her episode of Screen Directors Playhouse did air on TCM.*

 

I was sorry I missed it. I've been hoping that TCM will repeat the showing of these dramas sometime in the future...or better yet, collaborate on the release of a DVD set of the episodes.

 

Another TV drama Linda did was for "The 20th Century Fox Hour of Stars". The majority of these episodes were new condensed renditions of classic Fox movies, featuring many name actors. Linda

did "Deception", an original drama, with Trevor Howard. She is great in this, and still looks very beautiful, playing a woman working for a small British intelligence unit in London during WW2 who must choose a volunteer most likely to crack and give false information to the Nazis regarding D-Day. This whole series was ressurrected and restored some 8 or 10 years ago, an broadcast on Fox Movie Channel in its entirety, with Robert Wagner doing wraparounds; I was able to tape the episodes on VHS, but would gladly pay for a DVD set if i was available commercially.

 

It seems that this script had been intended for a big screen rendering, and may have been a victim of the downsizing of movie production that occurred in the mid-50s; it was thus made as a TV drama. It later was made for the big screen, in 1960 as A CIRCLE OF DECEPTION, with Suzy Parker and Bradford Dillman (they went on to marry after this, and Suzy retired to become a housewife).

 

My interest in Linda's TV work of the mid- to late-50s is because she did so few movies by then, partially because she got few decent offers, and partially because she had started to do stage work, and enjoyed it so much she actually turned down some movie work to do theater. TV movies and series episodes were filmed quickly, and therefore did not tie her up as long as a movie would.

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*THE CASTILIAN is a false credit-she is NOT in this...*

 

A few months ago TCM aired this movie, also known by the translation of its Spanish name, VALLEY OF THE SWORDS, at which point I recorded it. Just prior to this showing, I posed the question here if anyone knew anything about Linda supposedly being in this; no affirmative answer was forthcoming. All I knew was that since I became interested in her and started looking into her career (at twelve years of age), I would notice this credit on some of the filmographies of her. None of her credible biographies mention this movie. In lists of the film;s credits (but not ON the film's credits), She is listed as at the end of the credits....however, it is highly unlikely she would have gone to Spain at that time just to be an extra in this.

 

My take is that she was probably offered a role in this, which she obviously didn;t do, but somehow confusion about this resulted in this phantom credit. The role most likely would have been that of the queen, which was played by Viveca Lindsfor (who had memorably played a queen in THE ADVENTURES OF DON JUAN).

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*Why wait till then? I'd love to see her as SOTM anytime! Good luck on that one though.......(Fox)*

 

Well, specifically for the significance of her 90th birthday that month (were she to be alive). Plus at least the first half the months till then must already have a star selected. And it will probably take TCM time to acquire rights for some of the Fox films. But again, while I don;t have the schedule for Darnell's SUTS, seems to me that just shy of half the movies aired that day were from 20th.

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*If they're going to do any Fox star for SOTM, they've got to start with Tyrone Power,*

 

Well the anniversary of Power's centennial will be in May 2014. That would be an ideal ttime for a SOTM salute to him.

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I hope your efforts with this thread pay off. She would be a great one for a SOTM tribute.

 

But considering how commercial TCM has become and how it is so market-driven now, my guess is that they would go with a more sell-able name like Gene Tierney or Betty Grable. More sell-able because more of their films are available on home video. DVDs, kaching.

 

Actually, TCM's programmers will probably take the easy way out of this, and pick household name Marilyn Monroe first. And then they will pick Shirley Temple second. So until that happens, all these other talented beauties will wait.

 

I think you should keep this thread going and create a Linda Darnell blog (if you have not done so already) and make sure she is honored for her 100th birthday. By then, Monroe, Temple, Grable, Tierney, Gaynor, Power, Webb and the other heavyweights from Fox will have been SOTM and Linda will finally get her month-long due on TCM.

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>Sadly, that will probably be the case.........

 

It will, because TCM has DVDs to sell.

 

I would expect Linda Darnell to get a second SUTS tribute before she is SOTM. That is the compromise that will be made. TCM's marketing department sees her as less commercial than Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Temple and Betty Grable.

 

My personal favorite from Fox is Alice Faye. And despite her undeniable mega-watt talent and all those hit movies and hit records she made, she is even more down the list than Linda is!

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>Darnell was apparently watching one of her own performances when she was killed in a fire. Which was it?

 

There have already been several references to her death and her 'tragic' life in this thread. I think we have to be careful that we do not fetishize the way her life ended. The focus should be on her immortal beauty and films.

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Alice Faye is sometimes referred to as the female Bing Crosby. She plays a special role in the history of Hollywood motion pictures-- the history of Fox in particular. Plus, she occupies exalted status in the recording industry and for many years played a key role on American radio. One of her better films is THE GREAT AMERICAN BROADCAST, which probably combines all her unique talents the best.

 

But we will now get back to the Linda Darnell Show on Arturo's broadcast network.

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*Darnell was apparently watching one of her own performances when she was killed in a fire. Which was it?*

Linda was a guest at the home of some friends that had recently moved to Chicago. The night of the fire, she had noticed in the TV Guide that STAR DUST would be on later, and said to her friends, "Let's stay up and have some laughs", and "They think they're so sophisticated. They'll see how sophisticated Auntie was at their age". She meant her daughter Lola-who was not there- and her friend's daughter, both about 16-17 years of age. When the fire broke out, the movie had already finished and the household had gone to sleep.

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LOL. I have several CD compilations of her movie songs (Faye not Darnell!)

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