Arturo

LINDA DARNELL for Star of the Month October 2013

860 posts in this topic

We've discussed it before, Arturo, I know, but I still keep thinking it.

 

What I shame that the Linda Darnell of Fallen Angel was never cast opposite the Tyrone Power of Nightmare Alley in a dark, possibly even twisted, thriller. Say a sultry, bored Darnell that drives an eager, ambitious Power to murderous ends. With the right script and director (say Edmund Goulding, for example), they both had the dramatic chops to make it a memorable experience.

 

Makes the mouth water just thinking about it. But with Zanuck reluctant to have Power play anything other than a heroic role after Nightmare Alley (a property Power had to beg him to play) I guess it just couldn't happen.

 

linda_darnell.JPG

It could've happened, but you're right; most of the projects they were to pencilled in to costar, such as CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE (1947) or LYDIA BAILEY (1952), were the costume adventures that Zanuck favored for Power. Linda didn't do the former due to being cast in FOREVER AMBER (1947), nor the latter, because Power first bowed out due to not wanting to do any more costumers, and Darnell due to a tropical illness she contracted while filming ISLAND OF DESIRE/SATURDAY ISLAND (1952).

 

Power was considered for the lead role in SLATTERY'S HURRICANE (1949), a cad who dumps Veronica Lake for old flame Darnell, but the part went to Richard Widmark, as Tyrone went to film abroad for tax purposes. A later (and lesser) noirish drama Linda did at Fox, NIGHT WITHOUT SLEEP (1952), had originally had the male lead been considered for Power, as a murderous cad, but was done by Gary Merrill. However, Linda's character was sympathetic in this one.

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It could've happened, but you're right; most of the projects they were to pencilled in to costar, such as CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE (1947) or LYDIA BAILEY (1952), were the costume adventures that Zanuck favored for Power. Linda didn't do the former due to being cast in FOREVER AMBER (1947), nor the latter, because Power first bowed out due to not wanting to do any more costumers, and Darnell due to a tropical illness she contracted while filming ISLAND OF DESIRE/SATURDAY ISLAND (1952).

 

Power was considered for the lead role in SLATTERY'S HURRICANE (1949), a cad who dumps Veronica Lake for old flame Darnell, but the part went to Richard Widmark, as Tyrone went to film abroad for tax purposes. A later (and lesser) noirish drama Linda did at Fox, NIGHT WITHOUT SLEEP (1952), had originally had the male lead been considered for Power, as a murderous cad, but was done by Gary Merrill. However, Linda's character was sympathetic in this one.

 

Nightmare Alley didn't do well at the box office in it's initial release and I assume that is the main reason Power and Darnell weren't cast in more noir\crime\dark films.  

 

Never knew about Slattery's Hurricane (since my knowledge of 20th Century Fox films is weak due to TCM not featuring the studio very much).    Read about this online and it sound interesting.    Widmark,  Lake (after Paramount didn't renew her contract) and Darnell make for an interesting cast.     Oh and Gary Merrill is in the film as well.      Man I wish TCM showed more Fox films!  

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It appears that TCM will have a rare Linda Darnell double-feature tomorrow evening, Sunday, Sept. 10, starting at 8 pm est, 5 pm pst.

First up, is BLOOD AND SAND (1941), the colorful tale of the rise and fall of a bullfighter, starring Tyrone Power as the bullfighter, Linda Darnell as his young bride, and Rita Hayworth as his fair-weather mistress. Directed by Rouben Mammoulian using an Oscar-winning color palette based on paintings from Old Spanish Masters, this leisurely tale also features many familiar faces, including Anthony Quinn, Lynn Bari and Laird Cregar. This was Darnell's last of four pairings with Power, but the film is best known as the role that skyrocketed Hayworth to top stardom as the 40s' Love Goddess, memorably playing the temptress, after being in many films, usually B's.

Up next @ 10:15 pm est, 7:15 pm pst, is BLACKBEARD THE PIRATE (1952) a merry swashbuckler with a hammy Robert Newton as the titular role. Also starring Linda, Keith Andes and William Bendix, and featuring Irene Ryan, Torin Thatcher and Richard Egan. Directed by Raoul Walsh, this was one of three films Darnell did at RKO over the next two years, around the time her contract with Fox was expiring. Her role was mostly decorative, as a damsel in distress, but studio boss (and earlier Darnell lover) Howard Hughes ensured to include her in low cut cleavage-exposing gowns.

Additionally, there are upcoming a couple of other films with Linda Darnell. On Sunday, 9/10 @ 9:50 am est, and again on Wednesday, 9/20 @ 10 am est, Fox Movie Channel will show A LETTER TO THREE WIVES (1949), the Oscar-winning film of three women trying to figure out with whose husband another woman has run off. Along with Darnell in one of her best roles, the film stars Jeanne Crain, Ann Sothern, Paul Douglas and Kirk Douglas, and memorably featuring Thelma Ritter and Connie Gilchrist and the voice of Celeste Holm. Well-acted, written and directed (by Joseph Mankiewicz).

Also, on Cinemax, on Wednesday, 9/13 @ 2:15am, will be. THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940), a swashbuckler, which, like BLOOD AND SAND, costarred Power and Darnell, and directed by Mammoulian. This fun film had memorable support from the likes of Basil Rahtbone, Eugene Pallette, and Gale Sondgaard. Power and Darnell are appealing as they spar with each other, he as the foppish alter ego Don Diego she repulsed she'd have to marry him in an arranged marriage. Very good escapism film.

Two of the above Linda Darnell films will be shown in the next couple of days; she shared the same star, Tyrone Power and director, Rouben Mammoulian, in both. Linda did these at the age of 16-17, in the first blush of her early stardom. See above for more info on these.

 

BLOOD AND SAND (1940): This evening on TCM, at 10:15 pm est.

 

THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940): On MovieMax Monday. 10/16 at 1:50 am.

 

Additionally, two showings from much later in Linda's career, coincentally both westerns. One is an episode of a tv show, the other her last film, released posthumously.

 

Today, at 11 am on Me TV:

 

Wagon Train/"The Dora Gray Story" (1958): From the series' first season, Linda Darnell plays a woman traveling west. using men to get what she wants. Series regular Robert Horton gets mixed up with her. She would do a cameo in the same role for the first season finale.

 

Wednesday, 10/18 at 8:17 am on STARZ Encore Westerns;

 

BLACK SPURS (1965): one of the series of Paramount/Ayles budget westerns featuring many once big names. Darnell is a saloon gal/madam recruited by Rory Calhounto bring her girls to a tiny town as part of a campaign to bring sinful activities. Linda's role is unchallenging, but it was her first film in several years, and there was talk of a career resurgence before her tragic death.

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Arturo, in case you didn't spot it, You Tube has this posting of Linda in a Climax episode, ironically called Trial By Fire. Wish the quality of the image was better.

 

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On 4/16/2017 at 11:40 AM, Arturo said:

So I realized some three days ago that Me-TV (Hollywood at least) has been showing episodes since earlier this year of "77 Sunset Strip" at 4 AM weekdays.  This is a show I have looked for, in the hopes of seeing/recording an episode from the second season.  "Sing Something Simple" guest-starred Linda Darnell, was first broadcast in November 1959, at a time when she was no longer getting viable movie offers; the last film she would do for several years had been released the previous year.  So her tv work is the reason for my interest, as the only source to see her in this period.

 

I actually have a boxset of the series' second season for this reason; however, I bought it online from an unknown source, and the Darnell episode is in bad condition, heavily washed out and distorted.  So I was happy to see that it is being shown.  Unfortunately, they are currently on Season 3, so hopefully, they will repeat the series after showing all 6 seasons.

 

Then I went online, and found the episode on Youtube, along with a few others uploaded earlier this month.  It was in decent condition, and quite a revelation, as it confirmed the impression from my atrocious copy, that Linda looked great.  She was still quite beautiful, although her face was fuller and waist was thicker; however, she was always full-figured, and this wasn't too different from her prime.  I focus on this because the going narrative on her career decline has always been that her heavy drinking had caused her looks to decline, starting to look matronly and bloated.  No matronly appearance here, although in stills and candid shots from this period, she may look this way, especially in profiles for some reason.  She could've still creditably done film work at time.  Soon however, her husband had her concentrate on a nightclub act, for the bigger bucks, to mixed results and no lasting career move.  As one of those stars  having financial hardship, she still didn't want to do anything to cheapen her name, and felt that the nightclub act did this.  She also chose to not do any of the horror exploitation films using older actresses, after the success of BABY JANE.

 

I enjoyed watching it on Youtube, the 77th viewer!, and a couple more times later that evening.  Alas, by the following day, it and the other episodes had been removed.  So, hopefully, Me TV will repeat the series.

MeTV (Hollywood) is repeating the classic TV series "77 Sunset Strip", at 4am.  Next week on Thursday, Dec. 7,  the aforementioned episode with Linda Darnell is scheduled to air.  I hope to finally record it, and that the episode is similar in quality to what was posted to YouTube earlier this year, and not like the poor quality one I have on a box set of the series.  Can't wait. 

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Yup. I've seen more interesting Linda Darnell roles & documentaries on stations other than TCM (& from the library!) Her beauty is very "modern", and I enjoy her roles, but tragic personal life.

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On 11/19/2017 at 11:13 AM, TomJH said:

Arturo, in case you didn't spot it, You Tube has this posting of Linda in a Climax episode, ironically called Trial By Fire. Wish the quality of the image was better.

 

Tom, sorry I had overlooked this post.  Yes I've seen, and downloaded, this 1957 drama from YouTube.  I had first seen it online some 4-5 years ago, and was able to purchase a copy in a box set of the series.  Later, I found a DVD featuring this  as well as another series episode.  Unfortunately, the quality is bad on both.  It was recorded (taped?) (Kinescoped?) "live", which may explain the poor quality.  The drama is fairly compelling, with Linda's adolescent son being accused of deliberately setting fires in a mountain resort community; these are both destructive and deadly.  Linda and the rest of the cast are good; there are many familiar movie and tv faces.  The copies I have come with comments from series host William Lundigan, and Ford commercials featuring Tennessee Ernie.

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On 12/2/2017 at 6:08 AM, TikiSoo said:

Yup. I've seen more interesting Linda Darnell roles & documentaries on stations other than TCM (& from the library!) Her beauty is very "modern", and I enjoy her roles, but tragic personal life.

Tiki, 

Thank you for the comments.  Ironically, tomorrow afternoon TCM will show a classic movie from Linda's first blush of success; she was all of 16 when it was filmed.  THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940), Sunday, 12/3 @ 6:15 pm est, 3:15 pm pst,  is a very good swashbuckler starring Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell.  Power plays the titular hero incognito, and a fop otherwise.  Linda is betrothed to him by their families, but is repulsed by his effeminate manner, especially as she is in love with the heroic Zorro.  It is great fun, with excellent writing, direction and cast.  It also features a great dual between Power and Basil Rathbone.  

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On 12/3/2012 at 9:36 PM, Arturo said:

Linda Darnell would have turned 90 next October 16, if she had lived (she died in 1965 at the age of 41). She hs been my favorite movie star since I was a kid, and read a biographical sketch of her in a book called THE LONELY BEAUTIES, and placed the face with the movies in which I had enjoyed seeing her. She had an ultimately tragic life, many missed or squandered opportunities and disappointments in both her private and professional life, and a horrendous end.

 

She was a luminous beauty, and underrated as an actress. She became a movie star at 20th Century Fox at the age of 15, starring with heartthrobs such as Tyrone Power, John Payne and Henry Fonda. But at the age of 18, she found her career stagnating, suddenly being assigned to unimportant pictures. Besides having a stage mother from hell, who had been banned from the lot, Linda was unpopular with studio head Darryl F. Zanuck for reputedly turning down his sexual advances once she came of age, and then at age 19 eloping with cameraman Pev Marley, who at 42, more than twice her age. Zanuck felt that her girl next door image would be hurt, but within a year, she had successfully changed her image to that of a femme fatale, on loan, in SUMMER STORM. Afterward, she was the studio's sex symbol, and would be cast as such. She was one of the studio's top stars until the early 50s, when external forces such as the growing popularity of television, and internal ones such as the arrival of Susan Hayward, and the meteoric rise of Marilyn Monroe, made Linda extraneous to the studio's needs, and she was dropped after nearly 14 years at Fox. She had a rough going of it freelancing, along with all the other studio stars suddenly dropped from long-term contracts.

 

Anyway, I feel that October 2013 would be an ideal time to pay tribute to this beautiful star. Although the bulk of her movies were for Fox, which may prove daunting in acquiring, it can be done; TCM was able to get a number of them for Linda's SUTS salute in 2011. She also did a number of movies for other companies, and some may be available. Plus a couple of RARE film ventures in Italy, and several TV movies (including at least one that had limited theatrical distribution), and There's the possibility (and hope) that a number of TCM premieres may be featured.

Ok.  Gonna try this again.  In October  2023 Linda Darnell would have turned 100, were she to still be alive (she died in 1965 at the age of 41).  So I'm resurrecting this thread, and giving TCM 4 1/2 years notice, to plan her SOTM.  I am quoting my initial post from back then, when I was hoping she'd get the honor in 2013.  Maybe this time TCM will plan this.

Question:  Does anybody know how I can edit the thread name, to reflect 2023?

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Good luck on that! LOL.

 

I need to resurrect the Joan Bennett for SOTM thread while we're at it......

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So TCM has played at least 3 movies featuring  Linda Darnell in the 31 Days Of Oscar salute.

These are: 

THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940)

BLOOD AND SAND (1941)

A LETTER TO THREE WIVES (1949)

One film that sometimes gets shown at this time, NO WAY OUT (1950) doesn't appear to have been scheduled.  Also, it wasn't part of the lineup this year's MLK DAY celebration.  The tie-in there is the debut of Sidney Poirier.

One film that would be a good candidate for 31 Days would be SUMMER STORM (1944).  This period drama featured Linda's change of image from wholesome girl next door to femme fatale.  Set in pre-Revolutionary Russia, it was directed by Douglas Sirk, and also starred George Sanders, Edward Everett Horton and Anna Lee.

It was Oscar-nominated for Best Score in a Drama or Comedy.  Not sure if its showing would be a TCM Premiere.

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I've never seen that film, but it sounds interesting.

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Linda Darnell movies that I've seen:

  • Day-Time Wife (1939)
  • Brigham Young (1940)
  • The Mark of Zorro (1940)
  • Chad Hanna (1940)
  • Blood and Sand (1941)
  • The Song of Bernadette (1943)
  • Buffalo Bill (1944)
  • It Happened Tomorrow (1944)
  • Hangover Square (1945)
  • Fallen Angel (1945)
  • Anna and the King of Siam (1946)
  • My Darling Clementine (1946)
  • The Walls of Jericho (1948)
  • A Letter to Three Wives (1949)
  • Slattery's Hurricane (1949)
  • No Way Out (1950)
  • Second Chance (1953)
  • Zero Hour! (1957)

Not very many. :( 

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

Linda Darnell movies that I've seen:

  • Day-Time Wife (1939)
  • Brigham Young (1940)
  • The Mark of Zorro (1940)
  • Chad Hanna (1940)
  • Blood and Sand (1941)
  • The Song of Bernadette (1943)
  • Buffalo Bill (1944)
  • It Happened Tomorrow (1944)
  • Hangover Square (1945)
  • Fallen Angel (1945)
  • Anna and the King of Siam (1946)
  • My Darling Clementine (1946)
  • The Walls of Jericho (1948)
  • A Letter to Three Wives (1949)
  • Slattery's Hurricane (1949)
  • No Way Out (1950)
  • Second Chance (1953)
  • Zero Hour! (1957)

Not very many. :( 

Lawrence,

That's actually a fair amount.  18 films could be enough for SOTM, averaging more than 4 films per night once a week.  

 

There are a few of her movies not on your list that are on Youtube, in case you want to check them out.  This includes CENTENNIAL SUMMER (1946) which I believe may have copyright issues.  It was supposed to come out on Blueray a couple of years back, but never did.  It is a musical which features Jerome Kern's last score (he died before its release).  It was changed last minute to incorporate music after the success of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, as the story is about another family whose city is hosting a World's Fair.  It has a lot of names in the cast.  Besides Darnell, there is Jeanne Crain, Cornell Wilde, Constance Bennett, Walter Brennan, Dorothy Gish, etc.  Worth checking out.

 

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On 12/3/2012 at 11:34 PM, Arturo said:

Well for starters, we can start at the start. Linda's debut movie, 1939's HOTEL FOR WOMEN, had been scheduled to be shown for Linda's Summer Under The Stars showcase last year. It got bumped from the schedule; I don't know why. Hopefully it wasn't a rights issue or a subpar print, because it would be great to see it. Inspired by STAGE DOOR, It was a story of models and would-be models staying at an alL-girl's hotel in New York City. Also featured were Ann Sothern, James Ellison, Jean Kent, Lynn Bari and Elsa Maxwell, among others. Linda was already a great beauty here, at age 15, and looking more mature than her age (the studio added a couple of years in her official bio, so as to better play romantic roles).

 

Ok.  So I will quote some of my posts re. specific Linda Darnell movies. I think this time I may be able to upload some pics.

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Linda-Darnell-8X10-Photo-e1532.jpg

9e826bd295b308f83b7622b0e08e9cdf.jpg

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So Linda Darnell, all of 15 years old, was on her way after her first film, the lead in HOTEL FOR WOMEN.  The studio publicized her as being 2 years older, as she had played a romantic lead opposite James Ellison. When her true age later came out, she became known as Hollywood's youngest leading lady.  As for the film HFW,  I have a rather poor quality DVD of it;  the picture is rather washed out.  I don't think it was ever officially released.  It is on youtube, also in a not great print.

The studio next cast Linda in a supporting role on DRUMS ACROSS THE MOHAWK (1939), and went on location in Utah.  After returning to California, she was yanked out of the film.  Studio head Darryl Zanuck had seen a positive reaction to her movie debut, and decided to give her a better showcase than a supporting role, albeit in a John Ford Technicolor epic.  Plus, Zanuck was having casting troubles in a screwball comedy to star Tyrone Power, DAYTIME WIFE.

Linda Darnell was replaced in DATM by studio starlet Doris Bowden.  Unfortunately for her, Zanuck was not going to spend money to reshoot the scenes already done with Linda on location in Utah.  So the part was cut drastically.  Linda survived in the released print, in the far background of a few outdoor scenes, where her face could not be recognized. 

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I just noticed that TCM, as part of 31 Days of Oscar, has scheduled FOREVER AMBER (1947) later this month.  This was Linda Darnell's most high-profile film during her career.  Based on the biggest best seller since "Gone With the Wind", the story of an ambitious beauty who sleeps her way up the Royal Court of King Charles III in Restoration England was seen as a potential blockbuster as a movie.   The making of this film was an attempt to recapture the popularity of the book, but the overzealous censorship of the day crippled the storyline before filming began.  The production was a long expensive troubled one, with it being shut down for awhile, and script, director and cast changes.

Not surprisingly, the released film met with mediocre reviews.  The watered down storyline frustrated many, and it still faced boycotting from religious and moral groups.  It still did huge business, but not nearly what was anticipated, and due to its huge expense, FA was considered a commercial disappointment.  It has become largely forgotten since its release.

Linda Darnell did not escape unscathed.  Initially seeing it as her ticket to superstardom, she quickly soured on it, due to the long shooting schedule, as well as her antipathy towards the director, Otto Preminger, with whom she had worked twice before.  She thought was a tyrant who didn't like her, and she felt was holding her back, not interested in her performance.  The script didn't allow her much latitude, and she did not give one of her better performances, and definitely did not do as much for her career as was expected.  Others in the cast include Cornel Wilde, Richard Greene, George Sanders, John Russell, Glenn Langan, Jessica Tandy and Richard Haydn.

Despite all this, the film has much merit.  All departments worked at their best, and the sets, costumes, score, color, etc. are first rate.  It is still interesting to watch, if rather long.   I believe this showing will be a TCM Premiere.  It is scheduled for February 28/March 1 @ 12:15 am est, 9:15 pm pst.

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Looking forward to this. Please remind us! I recorded it once before from the Fox Channel, but the DVR went bad before I got around to watching it and I lost it.

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Was there any surviving footage of Peggy Cummins in Amber?  I recall at least seeing some stills of her in the role (in a Darnell Biography).

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23 hours ago, RoyCronin said:

Was there any surviving footage of Peggy Cummins in Amber?  I recall at least seeing some stills of her in the role (in a Darnell Biography).

I don't think any footage survived.  I read somewhere, I believe either Otto Preminger or Cornel Wilde stated, that Darryl Zanuck was embarrassed by the mistake of casting Peggy Cummins in the aborted version of AMBER, that he had the footage burned; he felt this way no one would ever see his poor judgement.  Preminger basically started from scratch, and didn't use John Stahl's footage or shooting script.

Apparently the problem with Cummins was that she was fine in the early scenes, when she is still a teenager.  But when she was supposed to be a grown woman, enticing the men in the court, she came off as a little girl playing dress-up.  It had nothing to do with her acting, but that she just couldn't believably convey the grown-up Amber.

What I would like to see is footage that was filmed with Darnell that ended up being cut, either because of censorship issues, whether self- or external, or due to length or storyline changes.  I think it would be great if a 75th Anniversary DVD/BluRay in 2022 could have extra footage, including any that might've survived with Cummins.

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Do you know how much they filmed with Cummins before they shelved it?

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7 hours ago, Hibi said:

Do you know how much they filmed with Cummins before they shelved it?

If I remember correctly, filming on FOREVER AMBER stopped after 39 days.  By then all the early scenes had been filmed, and several scenes with Cummins as an adult.  At that point, it was becoming more and more obvious that she didn't come across as an adult woman, and the decision was made to shut down production.  Zanuck also faulted the direction of John M. Stahl, then coming off the studio's biggest grossing film until then, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN.

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On 2/21/2019 at 6:53 AM, Arturo said:

I just noticed that TCM, as part of 31 Days of Oscar, has scheduled FOREVER AMBER (1947) later this month.  This was Linda Darnell's most high-profile film during her career.  Based on the biggest best seller since "Gone With the Wind", the story of an ambitious beauty who sleeps her way up the Royal Court of King Charles III in Restoration England was seen as a potential blockbuster as a movie.   The making of this film was an attempt to recapture the popularity of the book, but the overzealous censorship of the day crippled the storyline before filming began.  The production was a long expensive troubled one, with it being shut down for awhile, and script, director and cast changes.

Not surprisingly, the released film met with mediocre reviews.  The watered down storyline frustrated many, and it still faced boycotting from religious and moral groups.  It still did huge business, but not nearly what was anticipated, and due to its huge expense, FA was considered a commercial disappointment.  It has become largely forgotten since its release.

Linda Darnell did not escape unscathed.  Initially seeing it as her ticket to superstardom, she quickly soured on it, due to the long shooting schedule, as well as her antipathy towards the director, Otto Preminger, with whom she had worked twice before.  She thought was a tyrant who didn't like her, and she felt was holding her back, not interested in her performance.  The script didn't allow her much latitude, and she did not give one of her better performances, and definitely did not do as much for her career as was expected.  Others in the cast include Cornel Wilde, Richard Greene, George Sanders, John Russell, Glenn Langan, Jessica Tandy and Richard Haydn.

Despite all this, the film has much merit.  All departments worked at their best, and the sets, costumes, score, color, etc. are first rate.  It is still interesting to watch, if rather long.   I believe this showing will be a TCM Premiere.  It is scheduled for February 28/March 1 @ 12:15 am est, 9:15 pm pst.

Just a reminder FOREVER AMBER will be on TCM this Thursday Night/ Friday morning,12:15 am Eastern.

Here's a still of Linda Darnell from a deleted scene in the film.  Would love to see this and other cut scenes as extras in a DVD/Blu-Ray release.

 

a14218038afc41ea317c028783874a0c--a-letter-tyrone-power.jpg

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