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Ann Sheridan's Centennial Birthday

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Happy Birthday to Ann Sheridan, born February 21, 1915.

 

Unfortunately no marathon on  today, but we do get Kings Row on Monday.

 

Here is a photo of Ann getting a birthday spanking from director Lloyd Bacon, on the set of Wings for the Eagle.

 

Randy

 

Ann Sheridan Fan Club

 

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Happy Birthday to Ann Sheridan, born February 21, 1915.

 

Unfortunately no marathon on  today, but we do get Kings Row on Monday.

 

Here is a photo of Ann getting a birthday spanking from director Lloyd Bacon, on the set of Wings for the Eagle.

 

Randy

 

Ann Sheridan Fan Club

 

 

Related to a marathon of films;   What 5 or 6 films Ann was in would you feature if you could design such a marathon?

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Happy Birthday Ann Sheridan. One of the great, and essential, stars of the 1940s, imho. She died too young, but left her indelible mark in celluloid. She has been missed.

 

Btw, it would have taken a little bit of creative effort for TCM to have done a birthday salute today. I don't think how something like this tribute and the 31 Days of Oscars would be mutually exclusive. Just program some films with Ann that also had nominations by the academy in one or more fields. While the film genres Ann did were.usually passed.over during the awards nominations, offhand I can think of a few titles: ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES, KING'S ROW, GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE, even her cameo appearances in THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS and (more dubiously) TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE. There may be others, but the point is it could've been done by TCM on her actual birthday, however skimpy, a tribute using Oscar nominated movies

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Happy Birthday Ann Sheridan. One of the great, and essential, stars of the 1940s, imho. She died too young, but left her indelible mark in celluloid. She has been missed.

 

Btw, it would have taken a little bit of creative effort for TCM to have done a birthday salute today. I don't think how something like this tribute and the 31 Days of Oscars would be mutually exclusive. Just program some films with Ann that also had nominations by the academy in one or more fields. While the film genres Ann did were.usually passed.over during the awards nominations, offhand I can think of a few titles: ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES, KING'S ROW, GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE, even her cameo appearances in THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS and (more dubiously) TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE. There may be others, but the point is it could've been done by TCM on her actual birthday, however skimpy, a tribute using Oscar nominated movies

 

As much as I like Ann I don't view her as 'one of the great, and essential, stars of the 1940s'.    Instead, I feel Ann is one of those actresses with a lot of potential that was never realized.      I find it interesting to compare Ann's career to another actress you're an expect on;  Linda Darnell.

 

While in both cases their home studio didn't treat them very well,  to me Darnell has a lot stronger film legacy than Sheridan.    As the 40s turned into the 50s neither got the type of opportunity an actress like Susan Hayward received or Olivia DeHaviland in the last half of the 40s.      Yea,  only some many roles for so many actresses,  but to be one of the great and essential stars of an era,  one has to have more than just potential;  they have to have the film legacy.    I just don't see that with Ann. 

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As much as I like Ann I don't view her as 'one of the great, and essential, stars of the 1940s'. Instead, I feel Ann is one of those actresses with a lot of potential that was never realized. I find it interesting to compare Ann's career to another actress you're an expect on; Linda Darnell.

 

While in both cases their home studio didn't treat them very well, to me Darnell has a lot stronger film legacy than Sheridan. As the 40s turned into the 50s neither got the type of opportunity an actress like Susan Hayward received or Olivia DeHaviland in the last half of the 40s. Yea, only some many roles for so many actresses, but to be one of the great and essential stars of an era, one has to have more than just potential; they have to have the film legacy. I just don't see that with Ann.

 

Well, Ann Sheridan may not be one of the usual suspects trotted out, but just because she did not make tons of top tier films, or that she had the potential for so much more, does not make her any less great or essential in my book. I am not talking about lasting impact among the general public, where her name is forgetten by most under a certain age. But about the many vibrant performances she gave, in so many movies, whether or not it was built around her or was a prestigious project.

 

Her performances is this list, incomplete.and just from the 40s, I believe make my point:

 

IT ALL CAME TRUE

THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT

TORRID ZONE

CITY FOR CONQUEST

KING'S ROW

THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER

JUKE GIRL

GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE

SHINE ON HARVEST MOON

THE DOUGHGIRLS

ONE MORE TOMORROW

NORA PRENTISS

THE UNFAITHFUL

SILVER RIVER

GOOD SAM

I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE

 

This is as good a film legacy as most. All vital performances, whether the film was good or not, and whether it was built around her or not. This is why I feel she was one of the great and essential stars of the decade .Here among TCM viewers, there is a greater appreciation for Ann, since many of these films, and others from the 30s and the 50s, are regulary featured on the station.

 

It is a shame that.Sheridan didn't get better opportunities at her home studio, and later while freelancing, but if WB had devoted as much effort to promote her career as they did with the initial Oomph publicity that made her a star, then she would be one of the all time Great movie stars, not just for the 1940s.

Edited by Arturo

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Well, Ann Sheridan may not be one of the usual suspects trotted out, but just because she did not make tons of top tier films, or that she had the potential for so much more, does not make her any less great or essential in my book. I am not talking about lasting impact among the general public, where her name is forgetten by most under a certain age. But about the many vibrant performances she gave, in so many movies, whether or not it was built around her or was a prestigious project.

 

Her performances is this list, incomplete.and just from the 40s, I believe make my point:

 

IT ALL CAME TRUE

THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT

TORRID ZONE

CITY FOR CONQUEST

KING'S ROW

THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER

JUKE GIRL

GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE

SHINE ON HARVEST MOON

THE DOUGHGIRLS

ONE MORE TOMORROW

NORA PRENTISS

THE UNFAITHFUL

SILVER RIVER

GOOD SAM

I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE

 

This is as good a film legacy as most. All vital performances, whether the film was good or not, and whether it was built around her or not. This is why I feel she was one of the great and essential stars of the decade .Here among TCM viewers, there is a greater appreciation for Ann, since many of these films, and others from the 30s and the 50s, are regulary featured on the station.

 

It is a shame that.Sheridan didn't get better opportunities at her home studio, and later while freelancing, but if WB had devoted as much effort to promote her career as they did with the initial Oomph publicity that made her a star, then she would be one of the all time Great movie stars, not just for the 1940s.

 

I view Ann's 40 film legacy as average (i.e., middle of the pack compared to other actresses).    e.g. compare her films to the WB new gal of the 40s,  Alexis Smith.    While I'm a lot more taken in by Ann's screen persona even an actress like Smith was in as many movies I enjoy as Ann was during the 40s:

 

Dive Bomber  

Gentlemen Jim

The Constant Nymph

The Adventures of Mark Twain

San Antonio

Conflict

The Two Miss Carrolls

The Women in White

Montana

 

Interesting that both actresses made comedies with Jack Benny during the early 40s,  but I'm not a fan of either of those two films. 

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I view Ann's 40 film legacy as average (i.e., middle of the pack compared to other actresses).    e.g. compare her films to the WB new gal of the 40s,  Alexis Smith.    While I'm a lot more taken in by Ann's screen persona even an actress like Smith was in as many movies I enjoy as Ann was during the 40s:

 

Dive Bomber  

Gentlemen Jim

The Constant Nymph

The Adventures of Mark Twain

San Antonio

Conflict

The Two Miss Carrolls

The Women in White

Montana

 

Interesting that both actresses made comedies with Jack Benny during the early 40s,  but I'm not a fan of either of those two films. 

I think it's safe to say that Sheridan made a bigger impression than did Alexis Smith during their Warners years. Alexis seemed to be at her feistiest when paired with Flynn in Gentleman Jim and San Antonio. In far too many of her other films she had under written parts and failed to make much of an impression (Mark Twain, Rhapsody in Blue, Woman in White, Horn Blows at Midnight, Two Mrs Carrolls, etc).

 

One of the times that I thought that Smith did score rather well during her Waners period was when she played a scheemer in One More Tomorrow. That, ironically, was a film in which Ann Sheridan was also featured.

 

But it was, in any event, Sheridan would made a far more vibrant impression upon me and, I suspect, most viewers. At her best, in Torrid Zone, They Drive By Night, Kings Row, even It All Came True, Sheridan scored extremely well, brassy and likeable, delivering her dialogue (often snappy one liners) with a verve. This, in contrast, to the more boring, often lady like parts, in which Smith was cast during her Warners years puts her miles behind Sheridan in an overall impression, in my opinion.

 

Sheridan could play both comedy and drama. I fail to see that same versatility in Smith, at least during the '40s. Having said all this, I still like Alexis Smith well enough. Her squabbling scenes with Flynn adds to the flavour of Gentleman Jim, one of my favourite films of the '40s. But she's clearly not in the same league, as a performer, as was Ann Sheridan during that same decade.

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I think it's safe to say that Sheridan made a bigger impression than did Alexis Smith during their Warners years. Alexis seemed to be at her feistiest when paired with Flynn in Gentleman Jim and San Antonio. In far too many of her other films she had under written parts and failed to make much of an impression (Mark Twain, Rhapsody in Blue, Woman in White, Horn Blows at Midnight, Two Mrs Carrolls, etc).

 

One of the times that I thought that Smith did score rather well during her Waners period was when she played a scheemer in One More Tomorrow. That, ironically, was a film in which Ann Sheridan was also featured.

 

But it was, in any event, Sheridan would made a far more vibrant impression upon me and, I suspect, most viewers. At her best, in Torrid Zone, They Drive By Night, Kings Row, even It All Came True, Sheridan scored extremely well, brassy and likeable, delivering her dialogue (often snappy one liners) with a verve. This, in contrast, to the more boring, often lady like parts, in which Smith was cast during her Warners years puts her miles behind Sheridan in an overall impression, in my opinion.

 

Sheridan could play both comedy and drama. I fail to see that same versatility in Smith, at least during the '40s. Having said all this, I still like Alexis Smith well enough. Her squabbling scenes with Flynn adds to the flavour of Gentleman Jim, one of my favourite films of the '40s. But she's clearly not in the same league, as a performer, as was Ann Sheridan during that same decade.

 

I wasn't comparing the two actresses but the films they were in.  Yea, in the films Smith was in she was a secondary performer and often not even the leading actress but I still feel the list of 40s films I listed is about equal with that of Ann's.    

 

Also 3 out of the 4 films you listed where released in 1940.   Yea, 1940 was Ann's peak (IMO),  and 1942 was also a good year for her (King's Row and Man Who Came to Dinner),   but the rest of the decade was so-so.

 

Therefore I still feel Ann's output during the 40s puts her in the middle of the pack and that she wasn't one of the 40s greats.   e.g. even a so-so actress like Veronica Lake was in just as many top shelf pictures as Ann was during the decade.  Of course none of that reflects on Ann's talent.

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I wasn't comparing the two actresses but the films they were in.  Yea, in the films Smith was in she was a secondary performer and often not even the leading actress but I still feel the list of 40s films I listed is about equal with that of Ann's.    

 

Also 3 out of the 4 films you listed where released in 1940.   Yea, 1940 was Ann's peak (IMO),  and 1942 was also a good year for her (King's Row and Man Who Came to Dinner),   but the rest of the decade was so-so.

 

Therefore I still feel Ann's output during the 40s puts her in the middle of the pack and that she wasn't one of the 40s greats.   e.g. even a so-so actress like Veronica Lake was in just as many top shelf pictures as Ann was during the decade.  Of course none of that reflects on Ann's talent.

Yes, I agree the material Sheridan was given after 1942 was a disappointment. But Sheridan as a performer and personality still leaves a large impression, even if the majority of her films are not worthy of her talents.

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I think it's safe to say that Sheridan made a bigger impression than did Alexis Smith during their Warners years. Alexis seemed to be at her feistiest when paired with Flynn in Gentleman Jim and San Antonio. In far too many of her other films she had under written parts and failed to make much of an impression (Mark Twain, Rhapsody in Blue, Woman in White, Horn Blows at Midnight, Two Mrs Carrolls, etc).

 

One of the times that I thought that Smith did score rather well during her Waners period was when she played a scheemer in One More Tomorrow. That, ironically, was a film in which Ann Sheridan was also featured.

 

 

I am going to disagree with some of these comments. First, I think we're giving the impression that these actresses only had good films when they were paired with Errol Flynn or James Cagney. Which is silly in my opinion. We need to stop looking at these actresses through the lens of their more famous male costars. It is a huge slight on them as individual performers. We don't judge the men, and rate them for being in an Ann Sheridan movie or an Alexis Smith movie. It's a weird double standard.

 

Alexis Smith turns in a mesmerizing performance in CONFLICT with Humphrey Bogart. In her other film with Bogey, THE TWO MRS. CARROLLS, yes it is a slightly underwritten part (or maybe it is that Stanwyck who has higher billing over-performs her role, making Smith's subtle non-scenery chewing performance seem soft by comparison). She also has the less showier role in THE WOMAN IN WHITE, but she still holds her own quite nicely against Eleanor Parker who is quite frankly a little too over the top.

 

Alexis Smith has a good part opposite Joel McCrea in Warners' SOUTH OF ST. LOUIS, too. She didn't need Errol Flynn to make good westerns. Universal knew that, and after she left Warners, she starred in several Technicolor westerns at Universal.

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I am going to disagree with some of these comments. First, I think we're giving the impression that these actresses only had good films when they were paired with Errol Flynn or James Cagney. Which is silly in my opinion. We need to stop looking at these actresses through the lens of their more famous male costars. It is a huge slight on them as individual performers. We don't judge the men, and rate them for being in an Ann Sheridan movie or an Alexis Smith movie. It's a weird double standard.

 

You're like a broken record from an earlier Ann Sheridan thread.

 

Alexis Smith never appeared in a better film at Warners, in my opinion, than Gentleman Jim. If that's an Errol Flynn vehcile, so be it. It's a comment on what a strong film it is. And it's also true that Smith and Flynn played well off one another.

 

Looking at the often rather bland perfromances that she gave in other '40s films (she's quite adequate in Conflict, but doesn't make the same impression as in the Flynn films; she didn't have the same chemistry with Bogie than she did with Errol), it could be a combination of poorly written parts for her or her own inexperience (her performance in Mark Twain is quite weak, for example). Whatever the reasons, in Smith's case I think her best work at the studio was, indeed, with Flynn in GJ and San Antonio., Smith was more fun to watch when she was playing it feisty than it those lady-like other woman parts she often got saddled with.

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You're like a broken record from an earlier Ann Sheridan thread.

 

Alexis Smith never appeared in a better film at Warners, in my opinion, than Gentleman Jim. If that's an Errol Flynn vehcile, so be it. It's a comment on what a strong film it is. And it's also true that Smith and Flynn played well off one another.

 

Looking at the often rather bland perfromances that she gave in other '40s films (she's quite adequate in Conflict, but doesn't make the same impression as in the Flynn films; she didn't have the same chemistry with Bogie than she did with Errol), it could be a combination of poorly written parts for her or her own inexperience (her performance in Mark Twain is quite weak, for example). Whatever the reasons, in Smith's case I think her best work at the studio was, indeed, with Flynn in GJ and San Antonio., Smith was more fun to watch when she was playing it feisty than it those lady-like other woman parts she often got saddled with.

If I sound like a broken record, it may be due to the fact that you keep repeating your fondness for Flynn during discussions of actresses that occasionally worked with him. Again, I find it highly unfair that you keep defining these women by one or two famous male costars. Their careers were so much more than that. It bothers me, and I am sure it must bother other fans of Ann Sheridan and Alexis Smith who prefer the actresses get their due, not as a side note to Flynn or Cagney.

 

Perhaps Smith doesn't make a strong impression for you in CONFLICT if you are looking for Errol Flynn to show up, but he is not going to be in all her pictures. You also emphasize her work in SAN ANTONIO, because it's a Flynn vehicle, when she is off screen for large chunks of the narrative (she was ill during the production and they had to film without her) and she is upstaged by S.Z. Sakall (just like she would be again in MONTANA).

 

I do think Alexis Smith was typecast at Warners and she fared better at Universal and later on stage and in television. One of the problems she had at her home studio is that most of the leading men were quite short (Flynn was perhaps the tallest at 5'9) so she was limited in terms of who they could pair her with on screen because of her height. She would get relegated to thankless third-billed parts as the other woman (example THE CONSTANT NYMPH or OF HUMAN BONDAGE). When she did get the top-billed role, like in THE DECISION OF CHRISTOPHER BLAKE, her character was hardly the focal point-- it was the child actor who played her son (Ted Donaldson). 

 

Despite this, I think she managed to turn in impressive performances in films with Flynn and definitely in films without Flynn.

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If I sound like a broken record, it may be due to the fact that you keep repeating your fondness for Flynn during discussions of actresses that occasionally worked with him. Again, I find it highly unfair that you keep defining these women by one or two famous male costars. Their careers were so much more than that. It bothers me, and I am sure it must bother other fans of Ann Sheridan and Alexis Smith who prefer the actresses get their due, not as a side note to Flynn or Cagney.

 

Perhaps Smith doesn't make a strong impression for you in CONFLICT if you are looking for Errol Flynn to show up, but he is not going to be in all her pictures. You also emphasize her work in SAN ANTONIO, because it's a Flynn vehicle, when she is off screen for large chunks of the narrative (she was ill during the production and they had to film without her) and she is upstaged by S.Z. Sakall (just like she would be again in MONTANA).

 

I do think Alexis Smith was typecast at Warners and she fared better at Universal and later on stage and in television. One of the problems she had at her home studio is that most of the leading men were quite short (Flynn was perhaps the tallest at 5'9) so she was limited in terms of who they could pair her with on screen because of her height. She would get relegated to thankless third-billed parts as the other woman (example THE CONSTANT NYMPH or OF HUMAN BONDAGE). When she did get the top-billed role, like in THE DECISION OF CHRISTOPHER BLAKE, her character was hardly the focal point-- it was the child actor who played her son (Ted Donaldson). 

 

Despite this, I think she managed to turn in impressive performances in films with Flynn and definitely in films without Flynn.

 

In the vast majority of cases all of the Warner actresses under contract during the 30's and 40's,  other than Bette Davis and later on Crawford,  were under the shadow of the WB male stars.     WB films where mainly built around the male stars.  

 

Therefore one isn't disrespecting these actresses by linking them to the male WB stars of the era.   One is just pointing out how things were at WB for actresses other than Davis and later Crawford.    

 

Of course there were some exceptions where a film was built around a WB actress;  Ida Lupino in The Hard Way and Nora Prentiss and The Unfaithful for Ann Sheridan.   Olivia DeHavilland's best work was on loan out;   GWTW and Hold Back the Dawn (both Oscar nominated performances).      There were also some women ensemble pictures like Four Daughters built around Priscilla Lane and her sisters and Devotion with Ida and Olivia.

 

Olivia was the leading star on a few WB films but most of these pictures were fairly weak (e.g. Call it a Day),  with the exception of Princess O'Rourke.       

 

I don't think any films were built around WB actresses like Alexis Smith or Virginia Mayo.      

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If I sound like a broken record, it may be due to the fact that you keep repeating your fondness for Flynn during discussions of actresses that occasionally worked with him. Again, I find it highly unfair that you keep defining these women by one or two famous male costars. Their careers were so much more than that. It bothers me, and I am sure it must bother other fans of Ann Sheridan and Alexis Smith who prefer the actresses get their due, not as a side note to Flynn or Cagney.

 

Perhaps Smith doesn't make a strong impression for you in CONFLICT if you are looking for Errol Flynn to show up, but he is not going to be in all her pictures. You also emphasize her work in SAN ANTONIO, because it's a Flynn vehicle, when she is off screen for large chunks of the narrative (she was ill during the production and they had to film without her) and she is upstaged by S.Z. Sakall (just like she would be again in MONTANA).

 

I do think Alexis Smith was typecast at Warners and she fared better at Universal and later on stage and in television. One of the problems she had at her home studio is that most of the leading men were quite short (Flynn was perhaps the tallest at 5'9) so she was limited in terms of who they could pair her with on screen because of her height. She would get relegated to thankless third-billed parts as the other woman (example THE CONSTANT NYMPH or OF HUMAN BONDAGE). When she did get the top-billed role, like in THE DECISION OF CHRISTOPHER BLAKE, her character was hardly the focal point-- it was the child actor who played her son (Ted Donaldson). 

 

Despite this, I think she managed to turn in impressive performances in films with Flynn and definitely in films without Flynn.

You say that it is highly unfair of me to define Sheridan or Smith by a couple of their male co-stars. What I find unfair is your distortion of my statements.

 

In none of my comments about either leading lady do I "define" them as Flynn or Cagney co-stars. YOU keep saying that I do, which is patently untrue. In appraisals of either actress's Warners career I speak up about what I regard to be the best work that either actress did at the studio. Particularly in the case of Alexis Smith, it was when they played with Flynn.

 

Name an Alexis Smith performance in any of her non-Flynn films during the '40s that was as impressive as the work she did with Errol. You already cited her perfromance in Conflict as "mesmerizing." Really? Mesmerizing? As I stated earlier, she's quite adequate in the film but nothing morer, in my opinion. Her performance is not helped by her lack of chemistry with the much older Bogart. The sparks that flew to a noteworthy degree when she shared the screen with Flynn don't happen, in my opinion, with any of Smith's other Warners leading men.

 

Therefore, of course her Flynn films (to be specific Gentleman Jim and San Antonio, not so much the rather weak Montana) stand out in an appraisal of that period in her career. That's not "defining" her as a Flynn co-star, merely stating that she was at her best when working with him. (Although I also mentioned liking her performance as the manipulative "heavy" in One More Tomorrow, as well).

 

As for Sheridan, we already hashed that out in another Sheridan thread so I fail to see the need to go there again. Except to say that Sheridan, too, bounced off Flynn (and Cagney) in a manner in which she didn't her other leading men. Therefore her Flynn-Cagney films deserve special mention, along with many of her films in the 1940-41 period when she was given much of her best material.

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I love both of those ladies, though I don't see much of a connection between them. Recently, I've been thinking of Ann Sheridan's beautiful singing voice, as evidenced in her great song (and grass-skirted dance) in Navy Blues. And, although it was a small part, I saw The Age of Innocence on TCM over the hols. Alexis Smith's last film, gorgeous, small role, crucial, exquisite. The film was released after she died. I hope she got to see her great work in it.

 

Ms. Smith did a fair amount of theater, winning the Best Actress Tony for her role in Sondheim's Follies. Here's one of her songs from that show:

 

 

 

 

 

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I love both of those ladies, though I don't see much of a connection between them. Recently, I've been thinking of Ann Sheridan's beautiful singing voice, as evidenced in her great song (and grass-skirted dance) in Navy Blues. And, although it was a small part, I saw The Age of Innocence on TCM over the hols. Alexis Smith's last film, gorgeous, small role, crucial, exquisite. The film was released after she died. I hope she got to see her great work in it.

 

Ms. Smith did a fair amount of theater, winning the Best Actress Tony for her role in Sondheim's Follies. Here's one of her songs from that show:

 

 

The connection between Alexis Smith and Ann Sheridan is that they were both under contract at Warner Brothers from around 1941 until 1948.    (both under contract, since Ann had been under contract with WB prior to 1941).

 

This gave Jack Warner options, such as casting Smith instead of Sheridan, and this had an impact on Ann's career.  

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Thanks for that clip of Alexis Smith singing in Follies, Swithin. Most agree that the lady had a rebirth as a performer during her later years as a musical performer on stage. In turn, critics commented, it made them realize how much her talent had been suffocated during her Warners years.

 

Here's one of my favourite Ann Sheridan numbers from her Warners years, singing "Time Waits for No One" in Shine On Harvest Moon.

 

[media]

[media]

 

Sheridan really captures that old time feeling for this turn-of-the-century number. I wish she had had the opportunity to do a torch number of some kind on screen.

 

Sheridan sang this number, too, but had such little regard for this film (primarily because of its screenplay) that she didn't bother to see it. Years later she was informed that her voice in the film had actually been dubbed, another slap in the face of the lady, though her attitude was probably, I imagine, more "what do you expect" philosophical about it.  

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Imo, Ann Sheridan turned in good performances in the material she was given.  While I like her appearances in film, I don't think Warners ever provided her with her break out role.  Sure, she had lead roles here and there, but I don't think any of them ever elevated her to the level of say Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman or even Olivia de Havilland.  Ann Sheridan was in the middle of the pack.  Prior to her appearance in Angels With Dirty Faces, she was in tons of B-Movies. 

 

After 'Angels' she was nicknamed "The Oomph Girl."  Typically, actresses who are known as "The [something] girl" aren't usually seen as serious actresses, they're seen as eye candy for a film.  This is more of a fault of Warner Brothers and its publicity department than it is Ann's.  I've read that she loathed the nickname.  While 'Angels' led to roles in higher caliber pictures, she was still typically cast as the female lead in a picture with the bigger male Warner star.  Her collaborations with Bogart, Cagney and Flynn are excellent.  I don't think Sheridan's legacy is being disparaged by discussing her co-starring roles in these films, they're just as much Sheridan's film as they are Bogart's, Cagney's or Flynn's.  I don't think it's wrong (or undermining Sheridan's career) to discuss her appearances in her male peers' films.  She has to co-star with someone.  

 

I think Alexis Smith falls into the same category as Sheridan.  While Smith turned in many excellent performances, most of them were in films with Warner's larger male stars.  Her co-starring turns with Flynn in the films TomJH mentioned were excellent.  Her upper class persona provides a good foil for Flynn in Gentleman Jim.  I think she was decent in her apperances with Bogart in their two noirs together and I also liked her in The Constant Nymph with Joan Fontaine.  I'd have to agree that Smith's height was a disadvantage.  At 5'9, she was definitely taller than many of the major male stars employed at her studio: Bogart, Cagney, Edward G. Robinson.  Flynn, at 6'2, was one of the few male actors tall enough for her to be paired with.  I imagine that many pairs of lifts were handed out when actors were paired with Smith.  She seemed to do well when loaned out (or maybe the actors were "loaned in") for films featuring taller co-stars: Cary Grant and William Holden come to mind.

 

Both Sheridan and Smith's personas were that of a sassy, opinionated woman.  Sheridan's persona was a little more blue collar, whereas Smith's seemed more upper crust.  Their respective personas were good foils for the gruff Cagney, the gruff but secretly a softy Bogart, and the cocky, arrogant but insanely charming Flynn. 

 

Sheridan and Smith's careers both took off after appearing in a film headlining a major male star.  I think we should be able to discuss Sheridan and Smith and mention their films featuring their bigger male co-stars.  Like I said, these films are just as much part of these ladies' film legacies as they are part of the men's.  It doesn't make sense to discuss Sheridan and Smith's careers and leave out probably some of the biggest films they appeared in. 

 

I admitedly haven't seen much of Sheridan and Smith's work that doesn't feature the major male Warner Brothers actors, only because they initially weren't my draw to the film.  Now that I've seen Sheridan and Smith's work in their respective films with Bogart, Cagney and Flynn, that'll provide me with more of a desire to see Sheridan and Smith carrying films on their own, or at least having a part more integral to the plot.

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I'd have to agree that Smith's height was a disadvantage.  At 5'9, she was definitely taller than many of the major male stars employed at her studio: Bogart, Cagney, Edward G. Robinson.  Flynn, at 6'2, was one of the few male actors tall enough for her to be paired with.  I imagine that many pairs of lifts were handed out when actors were paired with Smith.  She seemed to do well when loaned out (or maybe the actors were "loaned in") for films featuring taller co-stars: Cary Grant and William Holden come to mind.

 

 

Alexis Smith and Ann Sheridan were co-starred twice, in The Doughgirls (a frantic, unfunny comedy, in my opinion) and One More Tomorrow, a glossy remaking of The Animal Kingdom. In seeing the two ladies together, Sheridan almost looks like a munchkin in comparison. The statuesque Smith really towered above her. It made me realize how really tall the one lady was, and how, as Speedracer pointed out, it must have been a bit more of a challenge for that lady to be paired up with some leading men.

 

doughgirls_zps30f8a58d.jpg

 

Smith and Sheridan in The Doughgirls. Okay, so maybe Sheridan isn't a munchkin beside Smith like I said, but I suspect that Annie might be wearing a wear a pair of extra high high heels here (or Alexis has on flats).

 

Jack Carson was a big guy and Smith's almost up there with him.

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With regards to Ann's WB career after 1942,   I wonder if part of the problem was that WB didn't really have any great "in their early to mid 30s" actors\stars other than Flynn under contract.       Cagney, Robinson and Bogie were all in their 40s.    

 

Take a movie like Juke Girl.  Ann gives a fine performance.   That sassy, full of fire Ann we love so much.  But the movie falls flat because Reagan is only a so-so actor with a flat screen persona.

 

The other WB contact players like Jeffery Lind and Dennis Morgan where just not in the same league as those older WB actors.   Now Zachary Scott was very good.   I wonder how much better movies like Juke Girl,  Nora Prentiss etc. would have been if Scott had starred in them instead of those other WB players or loan out actors like Kent Smith.

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 While I like her appearances in film, I don't think Warners ever provided her with her break out role.  Sure, she had lead roles here and there, but I don't think any of them ever elevated her to the level of say Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman or even Olivia de Havilland.  Ann Sheridan was in the middle of the pack. 

 

She shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath with Bette, Ingrid, or Olivia. To be elevated to that level by any studio, you have to be at that level. She was not. She was competent actress with a beautiful face. Her supposed flair for sassy one-liners do not bear out. She intones the words okay, she can speak English, but there is no magic there. It's not easy being a convincing wise-cracker and she is a good example.

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Her supposed flair for sassy one-liners do not bear out. She intones the words okay, she can speak English, but there is no magic there. It's not easy being a convincing wise-cracker and she is a good example.

Wrong. When it came to actresses of the studio era who could snap out sassy one liners with flair, Ann Sheridan was as good as they got. Even if the actual wisecrack wasn't as sharp as you'd like, her sharp delivery of it made it sound better than it really was.

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Wrong. When it came to actresses of the studio era who could snap out sassy one liners with flair, Ann Sheridan was as good as they got. Even if the actual wisecrack wasn't as sharp as you'd like, her sharp delivery of it made it sound better than it really was.

 

I agree Ann was one of the best at delivering those sassy one liners with flair.   Movies like Torrid Zone were largely built on that.  But there are only so many films that feature that type of character and in most cases they aren't a lead character.     Ann was great as the diva in Man Who Came to Dinner but again,  those type of roles are mostly secondary roles.

 

When WB did build films around Ann like Nora Prentiss and The Unfaithful,  the character she played was NOT that early 40's Ann persona.   In fact in The Unfaithful Eve Arden has the best lines playing the type of character Ann made a living on in 'B' pictures of the late 30s and those 1940 films she made. 

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