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Linda Darnell

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It's too bad that she and Tyrone Power (the most beautiful screen team I have ever seen) who had teamed very early in her career never worked together again. I think they would have made an even more interesting couple in the post-war years.

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Was there any particular reason they didn't work together again?

 

I believe both of them were under contract at Fox, at the time, so you'd think they would have had a greater chance of being teamed up again.

 

Also, isn't it a shame we don't get more of their movies on TCM, due to the relative scarcity of Fox movies on TCM? (Yes, I know it is getting a little better recently).

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No reason that I can think of. Both were still at Fox. I guess any role that Dana Andrews or Cornel Wilde played in a Linda Darnell movie could have been done by Tyrone Power, "Fallen Angel" for instance.

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I said "Fallen Angel", but now that you mention "Nightmare Alley" it might have been interesting to see Linda Darnell in the Helen Walker role of Dr. Ritter.

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It's hard for me to picture Darnell as a psychologist (psychiatrist?). Then again, Walker does not come off as your garden-variety psychologist either, although she may appear to be a bit older than Darnell would have.

 

Edited by: finance on Jan 31, 2010 3:17 PM

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Thank God she's not your "garden-variety psychologist either." Cold, calculating, beautiful. A lethal lady wrapped in Dr. Freud's teachings.

 

Yummy!!

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Actually, 20th tried to reteam them several times. After the war, in 1946, Linda was scheduled to be with Power in Captain From Castile, playing the gypsy Catana. It would have been a perfect role for her new sexy image. However, before production started, she won the title role in Forever Amber, when that film was stopped and recast. Linda's role of Catana went to newcomer Jean Peters.

 

In 1951, Darnell and Power were to costar in Lydia Bailey, but by then, Power was adamant in that he wanted no more costume adventure films. When it was filmed, Linda was excercising the clause in her revised Fox contract allowing her outside film work. So another (relative) newcomer, Anne Francis, got Linda's part, and Dale Robertson the male lead.

 

Linda was probably busy elsewhere, but would have been quite good in the part played by Patricia Neal in Power's 1952 espionage thriller, Diplomatic Courier.

 

Interestingly, production of Tyrone's 1950 war drama, An American Guerrilla in the Philippines, was originally announced in 1946 to star John Payne and Linda Darnell.

 

Another movie Power turned down, 1947's The Foxes of Harrow, would have been a good costarring vehicle for he and Darnell. The original costar, Gene Tierney, also turned it down, so it ended up with Maureen O'Hara and Rex Harrison.

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Gilfair wrote: "I guess any role that Dana Andrews or Cornel Wilde played in a Linda Darnell movie could have been done by Tyrone Power . . . "

 

This is an interesting statement, because 20th Century Fox was always on the lookout for another Ty Power. Wilde especially was considered as his replacement/heir should Power's appeal falter after coming back from WWII. Prior to the war, leading men such as Richard Greene, John Payne and George Montgomery achieved varying degrees of success at Fox playing roles Power turned down, was too busy to film, or had been conceived with him in mind, sometimes with a role to costar Don Ameche. Think of Greene in LIttle Old New York (actually, his and Fred MacMurray's parts seem to have been written for Power and Don Ameche); Payne in "To The Shores of Tripoli", or with Jack Oakie in Tin Pan Alley, The Great American Broadcast, etc. or Montgomery in Orchestra Wives, China Girl or Roxie Hart (actually, his would have been the Ameche role, Power's was played by Adolph Menjou). After the war, besides Andrews and Wilde (actually both had been at Fox since the early 40s), there were contenders such as Mark Stevens, Dale Robertson, and the 50s youngsters such as Rory Calhoun, Robert Wagner and Jeffery Hunter. None quite achieved Ty's level of popularity or longevity as a top star.

 

Ever since Linda Darnell and Tyrone Power first starred together in 1939's Daytime Wife (only 15 year old Linda's second film!) 20th did look for opportunities to reteam them, as they had done previously with Power and Loretta Young. In fact, this movie had been intended as a Young-Power vehicle, but Loretta balked at another screwball comedy and left the studio when her contract expired at this time. Interestingly, Loretta's part was first given to Nancy Kelly, but then given to Linda after successful debut in Hotel for Women. Kelly was then shifted to He Married His Wife, another screwwball comedy written for Young-Power. Unfortunately, Nancy Kelly was better in more dramatic roles, and rather unsubtle for comedy, and HMHW sorely needed Loretta's touch, or one of the great comediennes of the era.

 

After Daytime Wife, Fox almost teamed Tyrone with Linda (or Nancy Kelly) in the proto-noir Johnny Apollo (the original title"Dance With The Devil" is quite noirish). But a singer-dancer was needed, and Alice Faye was busy, so Dorothy Lamour was borrowed from Paramount (20th were about to sign Betty Grable-that would have been an interesting role for her). Later, Linda lost favor with Zanuck (rumored to be because she refused his advances once she turned 18), and parts that might have been earmarked for her went to newer contractees or borrowed players such as Anne Baxter, Gene Tierney, Maureen O'Hara, Joan Bennett or Ida Lupino (imagine her in Power's The Black Swan or Crash Dive).

 

One role that would probably have not been right for Linda was Tyrone's Prince of Foxes, the one played by Wanda Hendrix. Power insisted that she be cast (he had earlier wanted her in That Wonderful Urge-Gene Tierney's part), and was borrowed from Paramount. I don't know if she was too inexperienced or just miscast, but I wish someone like Gene Tierney or Jean Peters had played it. Either would have been dynamite IMHO.

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I just bought and watched the recent DVD releases of "Summer Storm" and "Island of Desire". The picture quality on SS I found quite good, with sharp contrasts . . . quite a difference from the poor quality VHS I bought years ago on e-bay. Of course the story is quite interesting, with sexual shenanigans among the various classes in rural pre-revolutionary Russia. And Linda is a sight to behold, in her image-changing (nay, image-shattering) role. From demure girl next door to mantrap in one fell swoop. No wonder she became a **** in the last days of WWII.

 

IOD I hadn't seen in decades (since the 70s?). I holds up very well for Darnell buffs like myself, she was breathtakingly beautiful, and what a body! I think some of the film was cut out, because it seems I remember more scenes of the Tab Hunter-Donald Gray rivalry for Linda's affections. Besides this, the only other objections is a spotty visual quality, with some poorly lit scenes mixed with some that do justice to the technicolor. Also, Tab's playing was one-note, which wears after awhile. Overall, though, I'm very happy it has been released.

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> {quote:title=Arturo wrote:}{quote}

> I just bought and watched the recent DVD releases of "Summer Storm" and "Island of Desire". The picture quality on SS I found quite good, with sharp contrasts . . . quite a difference from the poor quality VHS I bought years ago on e-bay.

 

I have been wanting to buy or rent these movies, thanks for letting us know about the picture quality!

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Arturo, i received Summer Storm DVD for christmas. I've never seen it, always wanted to. Will have to view it over the next few weeks. And i will be buying Island Of Desire any day now. I saw IOD once way back in 1989. I love desert/tropical island movies. I feel like i'm stuck there with the castaways. Also love reading your 20th Century Fox who-was-originally-cast-in-what-movie, and why the casting changed over and over. You really know your stuff. And let me finish by saying, Linda is one of the greats of the classic era. Her beauty is supreme and awesome. I love seeing Linda square off with Rita over who gets to keep Tyrone in Blood and Sand.

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Thanks for the kind words. I first became aware of Linda when I was about 12-13 in the 70s, and I read a book called The Lonely Beauties, which featured a chapter on her. I was intrigued by its description of Forever Amber as the Cleopatra of its day (highly publicised and anticipated costly, overbudget epic, that received mixed reviews and did strong but less than expected business), since I had recently seen/enjoyed it on TV. I realized I had enjoyed her other movies on the tube, and wondered why she wasn't better know (even then). I read everything I could on her, including old magazines in the library's stacks, and even 30s-40s-50s issues of trade publications like the Motion Picture Herald. This is where I got much information on some of the proposed movies/castings. Incidentally, I learned much about other stars/contract players at Linda's home studio, 20th Century Fox. This interest has waxed and waned over the decades, usually relit when something like AMC or FMC features her movies, or they are released on dvd, etc.

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I haven't seen Forever Amber in a long time, but I did just watch My Darling Clementine Ay, Chihuahua! She is so good in it, I'm glad Ford or Zanuck were able to cast her in it. I think there's some very exciting chemistry going on there between her and Victor Mature, as Doc Holiday.

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Arturo, it seems like Linda is experiencing a renewal on dvd, with the releases of Hangover Square, Summer Storm, ...

 

I recently watched a Linda dvd i bought called City Without Men, 1943, and it had a really good story to it and Darnell was first rate.

 

Forever Amber is my fave LD film, but i've always been crazy for Linda in Second Chance with Mitchum and Palance. Forever Amber was the 4th highest grossing film of 1947 if you ever need bragging rights.

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City Without Men was Linda's first loanout from her home studio, 20th, at a time when her stock had fallen with the studio brass, reputedly from holding out on Zanuck once she turned 18, then by (supposedly) hurting her image by marrying the 40-something cameraman, Peverell Marley.

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Hope this renewal in dvd releases extends to some of my favorites that I haven't seen in decades:

 

The Walls of Jericho (would go great in a 40s John Stahl boxset-a la the recent John Brahm boxset- also including Leave Her To Heaven and The Foxes of Harrow).

 

Night Without Sleep - should be part of 20th's Noir series (especially since some of the melodramas in the series are not strictly speaking Noirs.)

 

This Is My Love - done at Howard Hughes' RKO, it also features another of my favorite beauties (and Hughes'), Faith Domergue.

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I hope you get your wish Arturo, because i haven't seen any of these three yet but have wanted to. I've only seen 18 films of Linda's so far and have two on deck to watch for the first time: summer storm and zero hour. I've read the same thing that you stated: Linda was in the doghouse for marrying Pev Marley. She had just been announced to do Hello Frisco Hello and Zanuck took her out of that once she eloped to Vegas with Pev to teach her a lesson. The bad thing about the marriage to Pev is that he was a very heavy drinker... and he taught young Linda how to drink in a big way. Unfortunately, Linda would turn to drink when hit with many, many future setbacks and her drinking was a problem wreaking havoc with her weight and dousing her incredible beauty at times.

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Randyishere wrote:

 

"I've read the same thing that you stated: Linda was in the doghouse for marrying Pev Marley. She had just been announced to do Hello Frisco Hello and Zanuck took her out of that once she eloped to Vegas with Pev to teach her a lesson."

 

Actually, the movie Linda had started to film when she eloped was another Alice Faye musical "The Girls He Left Behind". It was released as "The Gang's All Here", Busby Berkeley's now camp classic, also featuring Carmen Miranda (she does her famous Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat). Ostensibly removed from the film due to a sprained ankle while doing a dance routine, Linda was suspended by a furious Zanuck after her elopement. Marley's next option at the studio was not picked up. Linda's replacement on the film was the pretty brunette Sheila Ryan, usually a leading lady of Fox' "B" films.

 

I agree about the horrific consequences for Linda later on due to this marriage. When Linda was estranged from Pev while she was involved with Howard Hughes, Pev agreed to "sell" Linda for $25,000. Reconciliated, Linda apparently acquiesced to Marly fathering a child with another woman and Linda adopted (she couldn't have children of her own). Later, Marley agreed to divorce Linda when she paid him $125,000 (Linda agreed to this because she was having a torrid affair with the love of her life, director Joe Mankiewicz, and could not have stood the publicity-at this time America's sweetheart Ingrid Bergman was effectively being banished from the country for years due to HER extramarital affair with director Roberto Rosellini).

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finance wrote:

 

"I just saw Darnell in a suppporting role in ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM. Surprisingly little screen time compared to Irene and Rex".

 

I always wondered if there were (m)any deleted scenes of Linda as Tuptim in this epic, since her time onscreen is so short. Zanuck had a way of cutting out much the more he edited a picture, and the film as released as close to 2 1/2 hours, if i remember correctly.

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