Arturo

LINDA DARNELL for Star of the Month October 2013

809 posts in this topic

*In the film's earlier scenes her character is still very much the innocent, a continuation of her Fox image. Darnell is quite convincing in that persona, as well as the seductress into which her character evolves. Not all actresses would have been as effective in that kind of dual characterization within one film.*

 

*I believe that Summer Storm was the first time that Linda Darnell attempted that. She's pretty darned good at it considering her inexperience with those kind of roles at the time.*

 

Well, Linda Darnell doesn't seem all that innocent in the early scenes of SUMMER STORM. Soon after meeting George Sanders and Edward Everett Horton, she sees herself in the mirror and practices a coquettish "Good Morning Your Excellency". Immediately afterward, Hugo Haas' character arrives with a pair of boots for her, which she reacts excitedly, then catches herself. "What do you want for these?" and "My father says nobody gets something for nothing", giving away a kiss for the boots. She seems like she knows life's score, and her beauty's worth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*Interestingly, SUMMER STORM was filmed during the cold of winter.*

 

SUMMER STORM had several provisional titles before this one was decided on. It was probably chosen because of the movie;s release in July of 1944.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*I recall reading somewhere that Richard Widmark would apologize to Sidney Poitier after completing scenes in No Way Out where the former had to abuse the latter.*

 

I've read that also. The dialogue is quite searing and hard-hitting, so I can see why Widmark would apologize.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*Never heard of her before this thread and wikipedia, sad the way she died through.*

 

Which is why I have this thread going, and hope to get a SOTM for Linda Darnell, because I feel that she is unjustly forgotten by even many classic film fans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Widmark was a nice person off screen, although he played tough characters. I read where he almost couldn't complete the No Way Out film cause of the content and things he had to say in the script. He apologized to Poitier and was the first person to take Poitier out to dinner in Hollywood. Poitier assured Widmark that it was okay and he knew it was just a film - but the two remained friends for life. That's the story I had read about this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today I received the two Linda Darnell films I ordered by mail. Hopefully I will have a chance to watch one of them tonight. Since I like Michael Rennie so much, I am going to look at THE 13TH LETTER first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched both films. I liked them both, of course.

 

Linda does not play a very prominent role in THE 13TH LETTER, and I shall comment about that in my new thread on January 1st.

 

HOTEL FOR WOMEN is certainly a vehicle for her talents and charms. Of course, she and Ann Sothern would work together again a decade later on A LETTER TO THREE WIVES.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=TopBilled wrote:}{quote}I am no expert on United Artists, and I do think UA certainly evolved over the years. But in the 1940s, I think it was more of a distribution company. Smaller independent companies usually produced a film like SUMMER STORM and UA helped put it in movie houses. The TCM database lists SUMMER STORM as having been made by Angelus Pictures, but on the IMDB it is slightly different. It is listed as having been made by Angelus Productions in association with Nero Films. Maybe Angelus was a company Linda and her agent created for tax purposes, I do not know, but SUMMER STORM is its only production. Nero Films, though, had three other films after this, none of them starring Linda Darnell.

>

>

>

> My guess is that Zanuck loaned her to Nero Films, Linda put up some of her own money to co-finance it, and UA distributed it. I could be all wrong about this, but I believe that SUMMER STORM was an opportunity that was probably developed by her agent or manager to reignite interest in her. If so, SUMMER STORM achieved all such goals.

 

Although the story of who owns what at UA is complex, the short story is that UA could not afford to buy back its pre 1952 library from everyone who made films there. The rights remained with the original producer or they entered the public domain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think what we were trying to address with UA is whether they had their own production facilities or if they merely focused on distribution. In the case of Hal Roach, he had his own studios, and UA often distributed his product.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Linda Darnell's fourth movie release of 1944 was SWEET AND LOW DOWN. This was quite a change from the previous two years, when she only had two movies released (not counting her unbilled cameo in SONG OF BERNADETTE): THE LOVES OF EDGAR ALLEN POE and CITY WITHOUT MEN, and two aborted roles in movies she started: ORCHESTRA WIVES and THE GANG'S ALL HERE.

 

Not only was Linda's output on the increase this year, but her change of image in SUMMER STORM was giving her career a new impetus. Her home studio, 20th Century Fox hoped to capitalize on her sudden entry into the **** sweepstakes by finding a sexy role for her. However, before Darnell's transformation on the big screen had been seen, the studio cast her again in her old image in SWEET AND LOWDOWN. SALD is like ORCHESTRA WIVES in that it takes place in the big band milieu, this time featuring the Benny Goodman Orchestra instead of the Glenn Miller Orchestra of the earlier film. Linda is a Park Avenue deb who takes up with a bandmember, to the chagrin of band singer Lynn Bari. Chic in 1944 fashions and upswept hairdos, Linda didn't have a whole lot to do. Also featured were Jack Oakie and James Cardwell. The movie proved to be popular entertainment, but as for Linda's career, she was just treading water in a guise she was about to discard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you mentioned that Linda Darnell was the unbilled face of the Virgin Mary in SONG OF BErNADETTE? I caught this film on Christmas Day, and liked it, while most Jewish people were out eating at Chinese restaurants.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*Have you mentioned that Linda Darnell was the unbilled face of the Virgin Mary in SONG OF BErNADETTE?*

 

I've mentioned it a couple of times, but not discussed it as part of Linda's filmography, due to the unbilled cameo nature of the role. I'll just say now that it became an inside joke in Hollywood that Zanuck cast his mistress as the Virgin Mary. From most accounts, this speculation was wrong, and Linda's sagging career was in 1943 was proof that she was not sleeping with the boss. Sh did want, desperately, the part of Bernadette, as did Gene Tierney, Anne Baxter and other hopefuls under contract. But as often happened then, he got someone from the outside, the heretofore Phyllis Isley, who as Jennifer Jones, scored a hit, became a star, won an Oscar, and bewitched David O. Selznick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think BERNADETTE actually provides an important role for Linda. Remember that even small parts can have lasting impact.

 

Jennifer Jones is someone I feel needs a career reassessment. She certainly bewitches this classic movie fan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*I think, after seeing the film, that they really did need a fresh face for Bernadette. Jennifer really looked the part.*

 

Jennifer Jones was great, but I can see any of the three 20th actresses mentioned as doing a creditable job as Bernadette.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Patricia Neal is another one that Zanuck hired for a few pictures in the early 1950s. Could Linda have done her roles in SOMETHING FOR THE BIRDS, DIPLOMATIC COURIER and THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL...?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*Patricia Neal is another one that Zanuck hired for a few pictures in the early 1950s. Could Linda have done her roles in SOMETHING FOR THE BIRDS, DIPLOMATIC COURIER and THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL...?*

 

SOMETHING FOR THE BIRDS was meant for Anne Baxter and then Jeanne Crain. Don't know what happened to Baxter, but Crain...surprise surprise....became pregnant and had to be replaced. Linda would've probably enjoyed being cast slightly against type as the conservationist who romances a Washington lobbyist to get him to support her cause.

 

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL was to have starred Anne Baxter, but she became pregnant before filming began. Linda, who could not bear children and had adopted, was seldom cast as a mother, in fact in only a handful of her movies. So it would have been a long shot being cast in this one.

 

DIPLOMATIC COURIER was actually meant for Linda; who better on the lot to play a sexy Matai Hari-style spy? However, when it was finally ready to go before the cameras, she was in a London hospital for several weeks, recuperating from jaundice she contracted while filming on loan in Jamaica (ISLAND OF DESIRE aka SATURDAY ISLAND). When she returned to the US, she was still weak and had recurring bouts of the illness. So she instructed Fox and her agent that she was too weak to work while she recuperated. She was out of commission for several months. So Linda missed out on some potential movies which had been intended for her, including at least one of the films that Patricia Neal did at 20th during this time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reply. I think it would've been fun to see Linda in another film with Victor Mature. They were great in MY DARLING CLEMENTINE. Pat Neal with him in SOMETHING FOR THE BIRDS is really unusual casting, as they have such different acting styles.

 

It's too bad Linda and Ty couldn't have made DIPLOMATIC COURIER. In this case one almost wishes the studio would've shelved the project until Linda was feeling better and found something else that suited Pat Neal's talents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*I think it would've been fun to see Linda in another film with Victor Mature. They were great in MY DARLING CLEMENTINE. Pat Neal with him in SOMETHING FOR THE BIRDS is really unusual casting, as they have such different acting styles.*

 

I agree that Darnell and Mature were great together in MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, and should've been reunited. I don't know that SFTB would have been the best vehicle for that. I think that a crime drama or another gritty western might have been betther. Victor Mature had been pencilled in early on for one of the roles in TWO FLAGS WEST; not sure which: Cornel Wilde's, Joseph Cotton's or Jeff Chandler's, but he would've been good in any of them, and reteamed with Linda.

 

*It's too bad Linda and Ty couldn't have made DIPLOMATIC COURIER. In this case one almost wishes the studio would've shelved the project until Linda was feeling better and found something else that suited Pat Neal's talents.*

 

Yes, Linda would've been very good in DC imo. The studio tried several times in the postwar period to reteam Linda with Tyrone Power. It almost happened for CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE, but when Linda replaced Peggy Cummins in FOREVER AMBER, and that movie was shelved for a few months while new director Otto Preminger rebooted said project, both films would overlap in production. So Linda lost out on the part of Catana to Jean Peters in her movie debut. Later, the studio wanted to reunite Ty and Linda LYDIA BAILEY, but Power refused to do another costume adventure at that time. And of course the aforementioned reason why the weren't together in DIPOMATIC COURIER.

 

Edited by: Arturo on Dec 27, 2012 11:43 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Linda started 1945 with a new image, which 20th Century Fox finally utilized in her first release of the year. HANGOVER SQUARE is a period thriller taking place in the gaslit London of the turn of the last century. Based on a popular novel by Patrick Hamilton, the writer of "Gaslight", Fox changed the story from the present in order to capitalize on such recent successes as the movie version of GASLIGHT and the studio's own THE LODGER. In fact, that film's director, John Brahm and two of its stars, Laird Cregar and George Sanders, were also on hand for HANGOVER SQUARE. This movie had Linda as Netta Langdon, a sexy singer who befriends and bewitches a classical composer (Cregar) to write pop songs for her. Smitten as he is with her, he stops work on his concerto to concentrate on her songs, unaware that she is only using him. Unfortunately for Netta, he is deranged and becomes a killer when loud dissonant noises cause him to black out.

 

SPOILER: He kills LInda and tosses her body onto a Guy Fawkes pyre. I give this away to mention that Linda would get burned slightly while filming this, one of several times this was to happen; ironically she would die in a fire some 20 years later. And one more, immediate tragedy; Laird Cregar would die shortly after completing this film, due to a weakened heart from extreme dieting. He had lost much weight between the time of THE LODGER and this film, in order to be considered for romantic leads.

 

Also in this film were Faye Marlowe, Glenn Langan and Alan Napier. Bernard Hermann composed the music that is used for the concerto.

 

This movie is a classic gothic thriller (if that's what they're called). And as I stated, it gave Linda a great role for her new image, and an opportunity to show off her shapely legs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Linda Darnell's second movie of 1945 was THE GREAT JOHN L., which she made on loanout to UA, the third time in less than two years. This time it was for Bing Crosby's production company. The film was a biography of boxer John L. Sullivan, played by Greg McClure. Linda was a showgirl who plays one of the two loves in his life, the other being Barbara Britton. Again Linda's role fit her new image, as she wore some skimpy outfits which again allowed her to show her legs; one reviewer of this or her previous movie HANGOVER SQUARE mentioned that she had the most expressive thighs on the big screen. And as in the previous movie, Linda got to sing in TGJL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*For beauty, she is sure damn near the top. Breathtaking!*

 

Yes I agree. As did Look Magazine in 1944, when they named Linda Darnell one of the four most beautiful women in Hollywood.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us