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Class acts all of them, TB! Who doesn't like Marie and Alison was hilarous too, especially in the W.C. Fields movie. 

 

Agnes Moorehead leads the pack in being able to play anybody, anywhere.

I enjoy 'em all (and in part 2, I will mention five more)...but it's no secret Alison Skipworth is my fave character actress of all time. I love the way she turns a line. She's a riot as Mae West's unlikely roommate in NIGHT AFTER NIGHT. Those gals should have been arrested for having too much fun!

 

Look at George Raft in this photo...he knows he's prime rib dealing with two hams:

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-04-13%2Bat%2B11.53.

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I enjoy 'em all (and in part 2, I will mention five more)...but it's no secret Alison Skipworth is my fave character actress of all time. I love the way she turns a line. She's a riot as Mae West's unlikely roommate in NIGHT AFTER NIGHT. Those gals should have been arrested for having too much fun!

 

Look at George Raft in this photo...he knows he's prime rib dealing with two hams:

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-04-13%2Bat%2B11.53.

If George flips a coin for a date, I hope he gets Alison!

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Memorable character actresses, part 2

 

eb2ec-screen2bshot2b2016-03-272bat2b7-19

British actress Margaret Rutherford earned an Oscar for her supporting performance in THE V.I.P.S, but she had been delighting audiences with her work for years. She was quite memorable as an eccentric medium in the 1945 screen version of Noel Coward’s BLITHE SPIRIT. And she turned up in two of Norman Wisdom’s comedies a decade later– perhaps the only costar to nearly upstage the wiry comedian. Though it’s her skill in those Agatha Christie mysteries from the 1960s that everyone probably remembers most. Who else portrayed Miss Marple so well?

6e4b4-screen2bshot2b2016-03-272bat2b7-19

One of the best character actresses of the 1930s and early 1940s was undoubtedly Helen Westley. She worked at most of the major Hollywood studios, but had her most significant roles at 20th Century Fox. She was a confidante in MOULIN ROUGE; she was a countess in THE BARONESS AND THE BUTLER; and she was a spinster aunt in REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM. In fact, she wound up making four films with Shirley Temple. Though agitated bitter women seemed to be her specialty, she could also be kind and sympathetic when the part called for it. Perhaps her greatest moment on screen occurs in Columbia’s BEDTIME STORY where she plays an excellent drunk scene with Robert Benchley and Fredric March.

49585-screen2bshot2b2016-03-272bat2b7-23

Another renowned actress from the 1930s and early 1940s was May Robson. She had the market cornered on misunderstood battle axes in films like LADY FOR A DAY and LADY BY CHANCE. If the scene necessitated it, she could holler and scream with the best of them; but she could also lower it down several notches and pour on soft-spoken charm as well. Robson was one of the earliest born actresses to work in the sound era of motion pictures; she didn’t become a household name until she was in her 70s. But did she ever make up for lost time.

6a8bc-screen2bshot2b2016-03-272bat2b7-21

Judy Holliday earned an Oscar for her smashing performance in BORN YESTERDAY. And while she mostly played lead roles in her films, she was always a character actress at heart. Nobody could have brought Gladys Glover to life so perfectly in Columbia’s IT SHOULD HAPPEN TO YOU. She conveys the right amount of vulnerability playing a misguided attention-seeking gal from New York City. She was paired with Jack Lemmon in the film, and they reunited a short time later for PHFFFT! Imagine a word without vowels. And imagine a world without Judy Holliday. I sure can’t.

09725-screen2bshot2b2016-03-272bat2b7-20

Ding dong, the you-know-what is dead. But she lives on in countless re-airings of THE WIZARD OF OZ, courtesy of Margaret Hamilton. And while the actress was undoubtedly typecast after this film was made, she managed to turn up in a variety of motion pictures and television programs for years. Check out her role in STABLE MATES, as a potential love interest for Wallace Beery (you have to see it, to believe it). Or her determined suffragette in Preston Sturges’ THE BEAUTIFUL BLONDE FROM BASHFUL BEND. Though perhaps her best non-witch part came in Lewis Milestone’s adaptation of THE RED PONY, where she plays a sincere schoolmarm.

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Memorable character actresses, part 2

 

eb2ec-screen2bshot2b2016-03-272bat2b7-19

British actress Margaret Rutherford earned an Oscar for her supporting performance in THE V.I.P.S, but she had been delighting audiences with her work for years. She was quite memorable as an eccentric medium in the 1945 screen version of Noel Coward’s BLITHE SPIRIT. And she turned up in two of Norman Wisdom’s comedies a decade later– perhaps the only costar to nearly upstage the wiry comedian. Though it’s her skill in those Agatha Christie mysteries from the 1960s that everyone probably remembers most. Who else portrayed Miss Marple so well?

6e4b4-screen2bshot2b2016-03-272bat2b7-19

One of the best character actresses of the 1930s and early 1940s was undoubtedly Helen Westley. She worked at most of the major Hollywood studios, but had her most significant roles at 20th Century Fox. She was a confidante in MOULIN ROUGE; she was a countess in THE BARONESS AND THE BUTLER; and she was a spinster aunt in REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM. In fact, she wound up making four films with Shirley Temple. Though agitated bitter women seemed to be her specialty, she could also be kind and sympathetic when the part called for it. Perhaps her greatest moment on screen occurs in Columbia’s BEDTIME STORY where she plays an excellent drunk scene with Robert Benchley and Fredric March.

49585-screen2bshot2b2016-03-272bat2b7-23

Another renowned actress from the 1930s and early 1940s was May Robson. She had the market cornered on misunderstood battle axes in films like LADY FOR A DAY and LADY BY CHANCE. If the scene necessitated it, she could holler and scream with the best of them; but she could also lower it down several notches and pour on soft-spoken charm as well. Robson was one of the earliest born actresses to work in the sound era of motion pictures; she didn’t become a household name until she was in her 70s. But did she ever make up for lost time.

6a8bc-screen2bshot2b2016-03-272bat2b7-21

Judy Holliday earned an Oscar for her smashing performance in BORN YESTERDAY. And while she mostly played lead roles in her films, she was always a character actress at heart. Nobody could have brought Gladys Glover to life so perfectly in Columbia’s IT SHOULD HAPPEN TO YOU. She conveys the right amount of vulnerability playing a misguided attention-seeking gal from New York City. She was paired with Jack Lemmon in the film, and they reunited a short time later for PHFFFT! Imagine a word without vowels. And imagine a world without Judy Holliday. I sure can’t.

09725-screen2bshot2b2016-03-272bat2b7-20

Ding dong, the you-know-what is dead. But she lives on in countless re-airings of THE WIZARD OF OZ, courtesy of Margaret Hamilton. And while the actress was undoubtedly typecast after this film was made, she managed to turn up in a variety of motion pictures and television programs for years. Check out her role in STABLE MATES, as a potential love interest for Wallace Beery (you have to see it, to believe it). Or her determined suffragette in Preston Sturges’ THE BEAUTIFUL BLONDE FROM BASHFUL BEND. Though perhaps her best non-witch part came in Lewis Milestone’s adaptation of THE RED PONY, where she plays a sincere schoolmarm.

 

I don't know how I missed this post, TB since you have all my faves on it, but the one I love most is May Robson. I have many pictures of her as a young lady during her Broadway sojourns before she went to Hollywood in a great book I have called "A Pictorial History of the Theatre". It has scads of photos of people like her and even Harry Davenport as a young boy, which is quite the sight to see since he usually played a grandpa in films. May Robson was one of the best at dear, sweet yet good with a quip elderly ladies and it's too bad there is no one like her today. Thanks for honoring her and the rest of the great group you showcased.

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I don't know how I missed this post, TB since you have all my faves on it, but the one I love most is May Robson. I have many pictures of her as a young lady during her Broadway sojourns before she went to Hollywood in a great book I have called "A Pictorial History of the Theatre". It has scads of photos of people like her and even Harry Davenport as a young boy, which is quite the sight to see since he usually played a grandpa in films. May Robson was one of the best at dear, sweet yet good with a quip elderly ladies and it's too bad there is no one like her today. Thanks for honoring her and the rest of the great group you showcased.

You're welcome, CG. I could easily have showcased another five. There are so many great ones. The book you mentioned sounds interesting. And yes, sometimes, because we see certain performers in the movies at an advanced age, it doesn't occur to us how they may have looked in their younger days.

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More movie salaries

 

Some more people who made good salaries during the golden age of Hollywood:

screen-shot-2015-11-21-at-3-48-27-pm.png

Charlie Chaplin, one of the founders of United Artists, was always an independent artist at heart. He raked in $216,000 in 1935, and guess what’s so amazing about this? He did not have any movies out that year! In fact, his last movie had been four years earlier. He would make an on-screen comeback in 1936 with MODERN TIMES. Perhaps his astounding salary was due to profits through part-ownership in UA and other investments he had.

imgres5.jpg?w=660

And what about one of the highest earning female technicians in the industry? Technicolor director Natalie Kalmus earned $65,000 in 1936. She was probably the highest paid woman, among non-actresses, working in movies. And this was just the beginning for her and for Technicolor. The company’s monopoly on colorization would continue into the 1950s.

220px-halroach_001a.jpg?w=660

Then there’s someone else who made his bank president happy: producer-director Hal Roach. He made $104,000 in 1937. Those Little Rascals were Little Moneymakers. And so were Laurel & Hardy. But Roach probably needed all that green stuff, because life can be expensive, and he would live until he was 100.

hal-roach-studio-front.jpg?w=660

And finally, let’s not forget to mention one of Hollywood’s more successful scribes. Screenwriter turned director Nunnally Johnson made a name for himself at 20th Century Fox. As a result of his efforts, he was one of the highest-paid writers during the golden age of Hollywood, earning $106,000 in 1937. His career lasted until 1967.

screen-shot-2015-11-21-at-3-52-39-pm.png

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Who loves ya, Telly?

 

c94f3-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-54

Recently, I began watching the first season of Kojak on Hulu. After looking at a dozen episodes, I had already given perfect scores to quite a few of them:

a8252-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-58

Siege of Terror,” the very first episode, easily earned a 10. The high speed chase at the beginning was a heart-pounding way to start the series, and the scenes with the hostages were intense. Guest Harvey Keitel was amazing as a would-be killer.

9c2cf-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-56

I watched Cop in a Cage and had to give it a 10. I loved the whole concept of a squeaky clean ex-con harassing Kojak (Telly Savalas) but not quite getting away with it. And the part at the end where Kojak does the wedding dance with his niece in the street was marvelous. An IMDb reviewer called it Kojak’s Big Fat Greek Wedding, which seemed right. Savalas often shared his Greek heritage with viewers, and the series was richer for it.
d3631-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-54

Dead on His Feet was a 10, largely because of Harry Guardino’s guest performance. The plot, about a veteran cop trying to avenge his partner’s death, seemed a bit predictable. But Guardino and Savalas elevated the material at every turn, and I could not give it a lower score. The moment where Guardino’s beleaguered character confronts a mobster in a restaurant is not to be missed.

cf863-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-55
Last Rites for a Dead Priest,” with Jackie Cooper posing as a man of the cloth. In reality, he’s a thief masterminding a heist. It was very well written and played. The climactic finale in an abandoned building was one hundred percent “noir” and atmospheric. I loved how Cooper’s crook ironically gave last rites to a member of his gang while trying to find out where the goods had been stashed. Excellent all the way.
04635-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b9-07

The one with a young John Ritter, Deliver Us Some Evil,” was probably a 9.5 but I gave it a 10. I liked the innocence Ritter projected while his character was getting deeper into a life of crime. The scenes near the end where Kojak was in the helicopter, and they followed Ritter’s van to the warehouse were highly engaging.

5fb65-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-53

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Who loves ya, Telly?

 

c94f3-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-54

Recently, I began watching the first season of Kojak on Hulu. After looking at a dozen episodes, I had already given perfect scores to quite a few of them:

a8252-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-58

“Siege of Terror,” the very first episode, easily earned a 10. The high speed chase at the beginning was a heart-pounding way to start the series, and the scenes with the hostages were intense. Guest Harvey Keitel was amazing as a would-be killer.

9c2cf-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-56

I watched “Cop in a Cage” and had to give it a 10. I loved the whole concept of a squeaky clean ex-con harassing Kojak (Telly Savalas) but not quite getting away with it. And the part at the end where Kojak does the wedding dance with his niece in the street was marvelous. An IMDb reviewer called it Kojak’s Big Fat Greek Wedding, which seemed right. Savalas often shared his Greek heritage with viewers, and the series was richer for it.

d3631-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-54

“Dead on His Feet” was a 10, largely because of Harry Guardino’s guest performance. The plot, about a veteran cop trying to avenge his partner’s death, seemed a bit predictable. But Guardino and Savalas elevated the material at every turn, and I could not give it a lower score. The moment where Guardino’s beleaguered character confronts a mobster in a restaurant is not to be missed.

cf863-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-55

“Last Rites for a Dead Priest,” with Jackie Cooper posing as a man of the cloth. In reality, he’s a thief masterminding a heist. It was very well written and played. The climactic finale in an abandoned building was one hundred percent “noir” and atmospheric. I loved how Cooper’s crook ironically giving last rites to a member of his gang while trying to find out where the goods had been stashed. Excellent all the way.

04635-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b9-07

The one with a young John Ritter, “Deliver Us Some Evil,” was probably a 9.5 but I gave it a 10. I liked the innocence Ritter projected while his character was getting deeper into a life of crime. The scenes near the end where Kojak was in the helicopter, and they followed Ritter’s van to the warehouse were highly engaging.

5fb65-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-53

 

Bizarrely, there was an old Carson episode on last nite on that Antenna station, with Jackie Cooper as the guest. He talked about being a child star, going to the Academy Awards and falling asleep in Marie Dressler's lap, being in competition with Lionel Barrymore and other sundry things. He was very interesting and refuted the fact that as a child star he had a miserable life, when Carson mentioned that Robert Blake had talked about such on the show. Cooper apparently had a much more stable home life and must have enjoyed his star turn as a kiddie.

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Bizarrely, there was an old Carson episode on last nite on that Antenna station, with Jackie Cooper as the guest. He talked about being a child star, going to the Academy Awards and falling asleep in Marie Dressler's lap, being in competition with Lionel Barrymore and other sundry things. He was very interesting and refuted the fact that as a child star he had a miserable life, when Carson mentioned that Robert Blake had talked about such on the show. Cooper apparently had a much more stable home life and must have enjoyed his star turn as a kiddie.

I think Jackie Cooper was a bit more protected than other child stars. It helped that he had an uncle who directed...and later, Cooper himself became a director. 

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Coming up in May

 

f87ea-screen2bshot2b2016-04-242bat2b9-27

Lunch with Lauren Bacall…A day the actress visited a southern California college campus.

 

Mothers from hell…Some moms in the movies are less than ideal.

 

ca5fb-screen2bshot2b2016-02-242bat2b8-16

Stanwyck’s leading men…A two-parter about the actress’s best costars.

 

On screen and in real life…Film stories that seem to predict the future.

 

aa0c8-screen2bshot2b2016-04-242bat2b9-29

Appreciating Julie London…A look at one of the more multi-talented performers of her generation.

 

0ebb0-screen2bshot2b2016-02-192bat2b4-07

12 o’clock for a man of the west…Gary Cooper time.

 

6aef1-screen2bshot2b2016-02-292bat2b3-02

Join me in May!

 

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Who loves ya, Telly?

 

c94f3-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-54

Recently, I began watching the first season of Kojak on Hulu. After looking at a dozen episodes, I had already given perfect scores to quite a few of them:

a8252-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-58

Siege of Terror,” the very first episode, easily earned a 10. The high speed chase at the beginning was a heart-pounding way to start the series, and the scenes with the hostages were intense. Guest Harvey Keitel was amazing as a would-be killer.

9c2cf-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-56

I watched Cop in a Cage and had to give it a 10. I loved the whole concept of a squeaky clean ex-con harassing Kojak (Telly Savalas) but not quite getting away with it. And the part at the end where Kojak does the wedding dance with his niece in the street was marvelous. An IMDb reviewer called it Kojak’s Big Fat Greek Wedding, which seemed right. Savalas often shared his Greek heritage with viewers, and the series was richer for it.

d3631-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-54

Dead on His Feet was a 10, largely because of Harry Guardino’s guest performance. The plot, about a veteran cop trying to avenge his partner’s death, seemed a bit predictable. But Guardino and Savalas elevated the material at every turn, and I could not give it a lower score. The moment where Guardino’s beleaguered character confronts a mobster in a restaurant is not to be missed.

cf863-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-55

Last Rites for a Dead Priest,” with Jackie Cooper posing as a man of the cloth. In reality, he’s a thief masterminding a heist. It was very well written and played. The climactic finale in an abandoned building was one hundred percent “noir” and atmospheric. I loved how Cooper’s crook ironically gave last rites to a member of his gang while trying to find out where the goods had been stashed. Excellent all the way.

04635-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b9-07

The one with a young John Ritter, Deliver Us Some Evil,” was probably a 9.5 but I gave it a 10. I liked the innocence Ritter projected while his character was getting deeper into a life of crime. The scenes near the end where Kojak was in the helicopter, and they followed Ritter’s van to the warehouse were highly engaging.

5fb65-screen2bshot2b2016-03-252bat2b8-53

 

Did that constant sucking on a lollipop have any sexual conotations?

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Did that constant sucking on a lollipop have any sexual conotations?

I believe it was meant to be a pacifier because he was trying to cut back on cigars. LOL

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I believe it was meant to be a pacifier because he was trying to cut back on cigars. LOL

Love it, Jarrod, love it, what more can be said?

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Lunch with Lauren Bacall

 

While promoting her memoir ‘Now’ in the fall of 1994, Lauren Bacall appeared at a luncheon given in her honor on the University of Southern California campus. The event was sponsored by the Friends of the USC Library and was somewhat informal. While we all ate our meal, she was asked questions by a moderator about her life and career.

f9ce5-screen2bshot2b2016-04-242bat2b9-06

She talked about her most recent film, PRET-A-PORTER, which she had done with Robert Altman. As she described the location shoot in Europe, she was a bit humorous. She said that when you made an Altman picture, you never knew how it was going to turn out. This was because he encouraged improvising, and he liked to play with his stories in the editing process. One thing she enjoyed about the movie– her youngest son (Sam Robards) was also in it.

 

At one point, she mentioned her political views because the moderator told her the birthplace of Adlai Stevenson was a few blocks off campus. She had been an ardent supporter of Stevenson’s presidential campaigns in the 1950s. She liked the fact his name had been brought up.

aa332-screen2bshot2b2016-04-242bat2b9-14

The moderator mentioned a TV movie for the BBC called A FOREIGN FIELD, which had made in France– the story was about American and British war vets who visited the beaches of Normandie on the 50th anniversary of D-Day. It was a good experience for her. She raved about costar Jeanne Moreau, indicating they had become very close personal friends during the production.

b3ecf-screen2bshot2b2016-04-242bat2b9-08

And of course, there were questions about her days with Humphrey Bogart. The moderator asked if she resented people asking about him all the time, and she said no. She claimed he was a very important part of her life. She said when they made those films together in the 1940s, nobody knew people would still be watching them 50 years later. She called that part of her life the ‘Bogie Years.’ She said it very matter of fact. I think it was her way of organizing the periods of her life. I did not hear her say his first name once, nor did she ever say ‘Bogart.’ It was always Bogie, which I found interesting.

60537-screen2bshot2b2016-04-232bat2b9-48

For the most part, she was exactly in person like you see her on screen. Very direct, nothing at all artificial about her. She knew she had led a very unique life, but the privileges that came with it were not something she seemed to dwell on or hold over others. Probably her humble origins kept her grounded. After she finished speaking and the lunch was nearly over, people stood up and went over to meet her. Most were purchasing a copy of her memoir. She included a short inscription and autograph inside the front cover of each book.

e1a8f-screen2bshot2b2016-04-242bat2b9-05

While she was signing autographs, she would look up at the crowd gathering round her. At that point, I was back in the line. When she looked over at me, I could tell she was a very astute observer of human nature. She could see who had listened to her. She knew who appreciated the way she had done her job.

3d40c-screen2bshot2b2016-04-242bat2b9-05

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Mothers from hell

 

e63e3-screen2bshot2b2016-03-182bat2b4-06

I am writing this column out of sympathy. Not everyone has an I REMEMBER MAMA sort of relationship like Katrin Hanson does with Marta Hanson. Some remember mama as a horrible, unlikable you-know-what.

3cebb-screen2bshot2b2016-03-182bat2b4-00

Poor Owen Lift from THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN. He entered into an arrangement with Larry Donner. The idea was to toss Momma Lift from a high speed locomotive. It didn’t exactly work out according to Owen’s plan. She survived and was meaner than ever. How can you not feel sorry for the son of a woman like her?

07431-screen2bshot2b2016-03-182bat2b4-14

Then there’s Arizona Donnie Clark, better known as Ma Barker. She was one big BLOODY MAMA. Vicious and dangerous don’t even begin to describe her. For years, she manipulated her sons, as they embarked on a killing spree across America. Every so often, they paused to reflect on the circumstances of their life. The boys would momentarily take their hats off, but Ma never took her hand off the shotgun.

69d0f-screen2bshot2b2016-03-182bat2b4-02

And we mustn’t forget Mother Bates. She was in a class by herself. In fact, were we ever told her first name? Probably doesn’t matter. She was Norman’s mother and that’s what counted. It can be assumed she ran the motel with an iron fist and she kept her son from having normal relationships with women. No wonder he turned out to be a PSYCHO. Her corpse gives new meaning to the term Mummy’s Day.

a5fbe-screen2bshot2b2016-03-182bat2b4-01

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Lunch with Lauren Bacall

 

While promoting her memoir ‘Now’ in the fall of 1994, Lauren Bacall appeared at a luncheon given in her honor on the University of Southern California campus. The event was sponsored by the Friends of the USC Library and was somewhat informal. While we all ate our meal, she was asked questions by a moderator about her life and career.

f9ce5-screen2bshot2b2016-04-242bat2b9-06

She talked about her most recent film, PRET-A-PORTER, which she had done with Robert Altman. As she described the location shoot in Europe, she was a bit humorous. She said that when you made an Altman picture, you never knew how it was going to turn out. This was because he encouraged improvising, and he liked to play with his stories in the editing process. One thing she enjoyed about the movie– her youngest son (Sam Robards) was also in it.

 

At one point, she mentioned her political views because the moderator told her the birthplace of Adlai Stevenson was a few blocks off campus. She had been an ardent supporter of Stevenson’s presidential campaigns in the 1950s. She liked the fact his name had been brought up.

aa332-screen2bshot2b2016-04-242bat2b9-14

The moderator mentioned a TV movie for the BBC called A FOREIGN FIELD, which had made in France– the story was about American and British war vets who visited the beaches of Normandie on the 50th anniversary of D-Day. It was a good experience for her. She raved about costar Jeanne Moreau, indicating they had become very close personal friends during the production.

b3ecf-screen2bshot2b2016-04-242bat2b9-08

And of course, there were questions about her days with Humphrey Bogart. The moderator asked if she resented people asking about him all the time, and she said no. She claimed he was a very important part of her life. She said when they made those films together in the 1940s, nobody knew people would still be watching them 50 years later. She called that part of her life the ‘Bogie Years.’ She said it very matter of fact. I think it was her way of organizing the periods of her life. I did not hear her say his first name once, nor did she ever say ‘Bogart.’ It was always Bogie, which I found interesting.

60537-screen2bshot2b2016-04-232bat2b9-48

For the most part, she was exactly in person like you see her on screen. Very direct, nothing at all artificial about her. She knew she had led a very unique life, but the privileges that came with it were not something she seemed to dwell on or hold over others. Probably her humble origins kept her grounded. After she finished speaking and the lunch was nearly over, people stood up and went over to meet her. Most were purchasing a copy of her memoir. She included a short inscription and autograph inside the front cover of each book.

e1a8f-screen2bshot2b2016-04-242bat2b9-05

While she was signing autographs, she would look up at the crowd gathering round her. At that point, I was back in the line. When she looked over at me, I could tell she was a very astute observer of human nature. She could see who had listened to her. She knew who appreciated the way she had done her job.

3d40c-screen2bshot2b2016-04-242bat2b9-05

Thank goodness that Lauren received a honorary Academy Award. and she made the top twenty five best actress list from AFI before her passing.

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Stanwyck’s leading men, part 1

 

A strong actress will be able to excel with the most basic story formulas, regardless of who her leading man might be. Barbara Stanwyck seems to have been the master.

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With Fred MacMurray she played the temptress who had the power to morally compromise an otherwise upstanding guy. It started in REMEMBER THE NIGHT when she managed to finagle an invitation to the home of a lawyer prosecuting her for a crime. In DOUBLE INDEMNITY, she brought a more sinister character to life and was allowed to succeed in compromising him. By the time we get to THERE’S ALWAYS TOMORROW, the formula is filtered through a romance drama, so she is an ex-flame with the power to cause him to stray from his wife and family.

f83de-screen2bshot2b2016-02-242bat2b8-17

In her pairings with Henry Fonda, the formula involved a high society gal with a propensity for getting into trouble. Usually it meant she would be rescued by an honest and mostly naive guy who couldn’t help but fall for her. This was established in THE MAD MISS MANTON. In THE LADY EVE, they just played the formula backwards, and we didn’t see her as a socialite till the last third of the movie, where she was giving an impersonation of it. In YOU BELONG TO ME, she was a renowned doctor and his goal was to be a success so she wouldn’t have to work.

da6e5-screen2bshot2b2016-02-242bat2b8-16

Playing opposite George Brent, she handled the formula of a woman who is emotionally unavailable. In THE PURCHASE PRICE, she was on the run and not able to commit. In MY REPUTATION, she was grieving her husband’s death and focused on rearing her sons. And in THE GAY SISTERS, she had to cover up a secret pregnancy and couldn’t commit to a relationship.

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Her films with Gary Cooper were about impossible relationships that happened in spite of themselves. In BALL OF FIRE, she turned his world upside down when she went to live with him and his academic colleagues. She took him from obscurity to celebrity in MEET JOHN DOE. And in BLOWING WILD, they crossed paths again after she married Anthony Quinn and their lives were never the same.

 

Next: Barbara Stanwyck’s films with Van Heflin; Joel McCrea; George Sanders; and Robert Taylor…

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Stanwyck’s leading men, part 1

 

A strong actress will be able to excel with the most basic story formulas, regardless of who her leading man might be. Barbara Stanwyck seems to have been the master.

81ba9-screen2bshot2b2016-02-242bat2b8-12

With Fred MacMurray she played the temptress who had the power to morally compromise an otherwise upstanding guy. It started in REMEMBER THE NIGHT when she managed to finagle an invitation to the home of a lawyer prosecuting her for a crime. In DOUBLE INDEMNITY, she brought a more sinister character to life and was allowed to succeed in compromising him. By the time we get to THERE’S ALWAYS TOMORROW, the formula is filtered through a romance drama, so she is an ex-flame with the power to cause him to stray from his wife and family.

f83de-screen2bshot2b2016-02-242bat2b8-17

In her pairings with Henry Fonda, the formula involved a high society gal with a propensity for getting into trouble. Usually it meant she would be rescued by an honest and mostly naive guy who couldn’t help but fall for her. This was established in THE MAD MISS MANTON. In THE LADY EVE, they just played the formula backwards, and we didn’t see her as a socialite till the last third of the movie, where she was giving an impersonation of it. In YOU BELONG TO ME, she was a renowned doctor and his goal was to be a success so she wouldn’t have to work.

da6e5-screen2bshot2b2016-02-242bat2b8-16

Playing opposite George Brent, she handled the formula of a woman who is emotionally unavailable. In THE PURCHASE PRICE, she was on the run and not able to commit. In MY REPUTATION, she was grieving her husband’s death and focused on rearing her sons. And in THE GAY SISTERS, she had to cover up a secret pregnancy and couldn’t commit to a relationship.

5fff7-screen2bshot2b2016-02-242bat2b8-32

Her films with Gary Cooper were about impossible relationships that happened in spite of themselves. In BALL OF FIRE, she turned his world upside down when she went to live with him and his academic colleagues. She took him from obscurity to celebrity in MEET JOHN DOE. And in BLOWING WILD, they crossed paths again after she married Anthony Quinn and their lives were never the same.

 

Next: Barbara Stanwyck’s films with Van Heflin; Joel McCrea; George Sanders; and Robert Taylor…

For my favorite actress, I would like to add Barbara caught between Robert Ryan and Paul Douglas in CLASH BY NIGHT 1952. I love the dialogue in this film, and Barbara`s tough and tender side. This film noir has always been a favorite of mine.

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Stanwyck’s leading men, part 1

 

A strong actress will be able to excel with the most basic story formulas, regardless of who her leading man might be. Barbara Stanwyck seems to have been the master.

81ba9-screen2bshot2b2016-02-242bat2b8-12

With Fred MacMurray she played the temptress who had the power to morally compromise an otherwise upstanding guy. It started in REMEMBER THE NIGHT when she managed to finagle an invitation to the home of a lawyer prosecuting her for a crime. In DOUBLE INDEMNITY, she brought a more sinister character to life and was allowed to succeed in compromising him. By the time we get to THERE’S ALWAYS TOMORROW, the formula is filtered through a romance drama, so she is an ex-flame with the power to cause him to stray from his wife and family.

f83de-screen2bshot2b2016-02-242bat2b8-17

In her pairings with Henry Fonda, the formula involved a high society gal with a propensity for getting into trouble. Usually it meant she would be rescued by an honest and mostly naive guy who couldn’t help but fall for her. This was established in THE MAD MISS MANTON. In THE LADY EVE, they just played the formula backwards, and we didn’t see her as a socialite till the last third of the movie, where she was giving an impersonation of it. In YOU BELONG TO ME, she was a renowned doctor and his goal was to be a success so she wouldn’t have to work.

da6e5-screen2bshot2b2016-02-242bat2b8-16

Playing opposite George Brent, she handled the formula of a woman who is emotionally unavailable. In THE PURCHASE PRICE, she was on the run and not able to commit. In MY REPUTATION, she was grieving her husband’s death and focused on rearing her sons. And in THE GAY SISTERS, she had to cover up a secret pregnancy and couldn’t commit to a relationship.

5fff7-screen2bshot2b2016-02-242bat2b8-32

Her films with Gary Cooper were about impossible relationships that happened in spite of themselves. In BALL OF FIRE, she turned his world upside down when she went to live with him and his academic colleagues. She took him from obscurity to celebrity in MEET JOHN DOE. And in BLOWING WILD, they crossed paths again after she married Anthony Quinn and their lives were never the same.

 

Next: Barbara Stanwyck’s films with Van Heflin; Joel McCrea; George Sanders; and Robert Taylor…

Isn't it great that someone like Stanwyck, who was really talented was also so well liked by casts and crews of her films. I remember reading her nickname was Missy to all,  and I guess every leading man who had her as a leading lady was helped by her performances opposite him. Thanks, TB!

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Isn't it great that someone like Stanwyck, who was really talented was also so well liked by casts and crews of her films. I remember reading her nickname was Missy to all,  and I guess every leading man who had her as a leading lady was helped by her performances opposite him. Thanks, TB!

I would like to read Barbara`s biography STEEL TRUE 2015 by Victoria Wilson sometime this year. The author was very imformative when being interviewed on the Noir CitySF website.

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Isn't it great that someone like Stanwyck, who was really talented was also so well liked by casts and crews of her films. I remember reading her nickname was Missy to all,  and I guess every leading man who had her as a leading lady was helped by her performances opposite him. Thanks, TB!

What I've heard (from her godson), is how she was a stickler about professionalism. If you were on a set with her and not showing good manners, she wasn't afraid to tell you! (Ask Lee Majors and Tracy Scoggins.)

 

I will post part 2 this evening...check back!

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I would like to read Barbara`s biography STEEL TRUE 2015 by Victoria Wilson sometime this year. The author was very imformative when being interviewed on the Noir CitySF website.

Better go on Amazon and check out the reviews first. Not very many good ratings.

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Stanwyck’s leading men, part 2

 

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Barbara Stanwyck costarred with Van Heflin three times, and there was an interesting formula for those films. She played a wealthy woman, an heiress of some sort, and he was the guy from the wrong side of the tracks who brought her comfort and emotional understanding. It went all the way back to childhood in THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS. In B.F.’S DAUGHTER, they met as adults and married, but the marriage was threatened by their different social backgrounds. And in EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE they were spiritual companions trying to survive a murder.

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Films in the western genre often teamed her with leading man Joel McCrea. The characters she played in those motion pictures experienced severe hardship, and somehow her fate was intertwined with a man whose own destiny depended upon her. We see this in THE GREAT MAN’S LADY, where she survives a flood and goes back to him. Later in TROOPER HOOK, he guides her away from life as the kept woman of a native chief.

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Stanwyck was also given roles that used a very common formula– the woman in peril story. In THE TWO MRS. CARROLLS, she was married to villainous Humphrey Bogart who tried to poison her. zdhe had another bad marriage in SORRY WRONG NUMBER, where she overheard a plan by  husband Burt Lancaster to murder her. Then she had to rely on David Niven when faced with a grim medical prognosis in THE OTHER LOVE. And in WITNESS TO MURDER, she had seen a murder occur, but killer George Sanders sought to cast a shadow on the credibility of her testimony.

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With Robert Taylor, whom she married in real life, the formula had her playing a woman who was attracted to a man she was not supposed to have but needed because her salvation depended upon it. In HIS BROTHER’S WIFE, they were in-laws who fell in love. In THIS IS MY AFFAIR, he was an undercover agent and she was involved with a gang. And in THE NIGHT WALKER, he played an attorney who rescued her from a possessive husband. Stanwyck and Taylor were already divorced when the made the last picture. So she had to re-enact needing him when off-camera he was now married to someone else. At this point, anything she drew on from their own actual relationship had to be repressed as fiction.

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Barbara Stanwyck gave such a great performance in "The Great Man's Lady".

 

I do wish that that performance were better-known today.

 

She's also terrific in "The Lady Gambles".

 

I often think about her longevity.

 

There's such a modern-day quality to the woman.

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Barbara Stanwyck gave such a great performance in "The Great Man's Lady".

 

I do wish that that performance were better-known today.

 

She's also terrific in "The Lady Gambles".

 

I often think about her longevity.

 

There's such a modern-day quality to the woman.

Great comments, ray. Couldn't agree more about THE GREAT MAN'S LADY. The transformation she undergoes in the film is very convincingly played. I love the scene where she gets caught in the flood. 

 

Haven't seen THE LADY GAMBLES. Like James Agee, I'm a huge fan of Robert Preston (the guy could do any kind of role in any genre)-- so I need to check it out.

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