TomJH

The Always Underrated Dana Andrews

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What might've happened with Andrews after 1947, Tom, is the return of the leading men who had been away fighting in the war; for a couple of yesrs, he was one of only a few male stars at 20th. Suddenly, Tyrone Power, John Payne, George Montgomery, Henry Fonda, Victor Mature, etc. were back at Fox, and getting choice roles that could have gone to Andrews. Additionally, the arrival at 20th Century Fox of perhaps a more effective, or pure, film noir (anti) hero, Richard Widmark. After his sensational debut on KISS OF DEATH, he was soon getting most of the best noirs, and noirish dramas, at Fox. While he churned ahead, getting some decent roles along the way, THE IRON CURTAIN, WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, and working his other contract with Goldwyn, as well as some loan outs to other studios, the prestigious assignments were now in the past.

I don't see much comparability between Widmark and Andrews. In films such as KISS OF DEATH and NO WAY OUT, Widmark played an over-the-top caricature of a bad guy. Andrews never played, and wouldn't have been right for, roles like that.

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I don't see much comparability between Widmark and Andrews. In films such as KISS OF DEATH and NO WAY OUT, Widmark played an over-the-top caricature of a bad guy. Andrews never played, and wouldn't have been right for, roles like that.

 

While Andrews wouldn't have been right for those two films, I believe he could have played the characters in the two best Widmark noirs, Night and the City and Pick-Up on South Street.     Andrews was very convincing as a cad and while he would have been more stoic than Widmark,  Andrews could display a lot of emotion well the role called for it.     

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I don't see much comparability between Widmark and Andrews. In films such as KISS OF DEATH and NO WAY OUT, Widmark played an over-the-top caricature of a bad guy. Andrews never played, and wouldn't have been right for, roles like that.[/quote

 

DGF,

 

I don't mean the extreme psycho-, socio-pathic characters Widmark played in these films. Rather, Andrews could have easily done the roles Widmark played in films like SLATTERY'S HURRICANE, NIGHT AND THE CITY, PANIC IN THE STREET, or PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET. Here Widmark is usually playing morally ambiguous or unpleasant characters, but nothing sadistic or bone-chillingly racist. Actually, in KISS OF DEATH, Dana could have done the lead part, given to Victor Mature, had Mature still been overseas.

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It's interesting that Dana Andrews is billed above Henry Fonda in DAISY KENYON. With Fonda off at the war, Andrews had become a bigger star, thanks to THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. But this situation doesn't last.

 

If Joan requested Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda, she couldn't have chosen better. Tom has written well about the merits of this fine film, with all three stars delivering strong performances.

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That's good theorizing, Arturo, and you may well be right. Still, immediately after the war, Andrews was getting good parts even with the return of those actors - Boomerang, Daisy Kenyon and, above all, Fred Derry in Best Years. When I look back upon his career his last performance that stays with me was in Where the Sidewalk Ends (I have yet to see The Iron Curtain which you named).

 

Interestingly, before Andrews got typed into playing largely stoic types due, no doubt, to the tremendous success of Laura, he had demonstrated his ability on a couple of occasions to bring a genuinely touching sensitivity to roles - in Swamp Water and The Ox Bow Incident. Those performances would undoubtedly be surprising to fans used to see the kinds of more macho roles the actor played later.

 

It's a shame that the good roles just couldn't keep coming for Dana Andrews, and that the vast majority of his film career he was caught up in mediocre assignments. At least he has a couple of film classics to his record, though, and I hope his sterling contributions to both Laura and Best Years will always have film fans appreciative of him as an actor.

 

Preminger's Laura is a wondrous film in so many ways, seamlessly directed, elegantly photographed, a brightly lit noir that dabbles in the world of the chic and glamourous of high society, with murder buried deep in the heart of one of those sophisticates. Dana Andrews' tough detective may a stock character, yet the screenplay allowed him to bring a vulnerability to his role, and Dana is wonderful in the part.

 

I've always found the idea of a man falling in love with a dead woman he never met, she idealized in a portrait that hangs on the wall, to be quite haunting. To have the strains of David Raksin's classic, memorable musical score accompanying those scenes is the final, perfect touch.

 

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Tom, Dana Andrews had a built-in advantage with BEST YEARS...., since he was one of a limited number of actors under contract to Sam Goldwyn, the producer, so getting cast was not difficult.

 

As for his other contract, at Fox, think of some of the roles that could've been available to him: either Henry Fonda's or Victor Mature's role in MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, Mature's in KISS OF DEATH, MOSS ROSE or CRY OF THE CITY, George Montgomery's in THE BRASHER DOUBLOON, Richard Conte in WHIRLPOOL, THIEVES HIGHWAY or HOUSE OF STRANGERS, new contractee Mark Stevens in THE DARK CORNER or THE STREET WTH NO NAME, or borrowed players like John Hodiak in SOMEWHERE IN THE NIGHT, James Stewart in CALL 777 NORTHSIDE, or Gregory Peck in GENTLEMENS' AGREEMENT or YELLOW SKY, or the previously mentioned Power and Widmark films, and I'm not even mentioning any John Payne, Cornel Wilde, Rex Harrison, or Paul Douglas films. The opportunities were suddenly spread around others at the studio; Dana Andrews could've acquitted himself well.in any of these.

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It's interesting that Dana Andrews is billed above Henry Fonda in DAISY KENYON. With Fonda off at the war, Andrews had become a bigger star, thanks to THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. But this situation doesn't last.

 

If Joan requested Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda, she couldn't have chosen better. Tom has written well about the merits of this fine film, with all three stars delivering strong performances.

This was Fonda's last film for the studio, and he was desperate to get out. Despite having returned from the war and given top billing in the excellent John Ford.western.MY DARLING CLEMETINE, he refused to sign to continue at Fox. So the studio had no qualms about relegating him to third billing; Fonda obviously did not have a clause on his contract re. this.

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Another bit of casting for Andrews could have been the Cornel Wilde role in Leave Her to Heaven. After Laura, in which Dana fell asleep undoubtedly dreaming about the lady, it would have been beautifully ironic to see him in a film in which the drop dead gorgeous Gene Tierney was psychopathically obsessed with him.

 

Admittedly, the Wilde part is a little bland for Dana, at least the way Cornel played it. I suspect Andrews would have brought a bit of a rougher edge to it, making the role more interesting.

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 Actually, in KISS OF DEATH, Dana could have done the lead part, given to Victor Mature, had Mature still been overseas.

 

Excellent suggestion, Arturo. Mature was at his best in that film, and it's a sympathetic part that Dana could really have suck his teeth into. It would have been very interesting to see Andrews sharing scenes with giggling psycho Widmark. Dana could play tough guys with a sense of decency well.

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Tom, Dana Andrews had a built-in advantage with BEST YEARS...., since he was one of a limited number of actors under contract to Sam Goldwyn, the producer, so getting cast was not difficult.

 

I didn't know Andrews was under contract to Goldwyn after the war, as well. I thought he was strictly a Fox contract player.

 

For an illustration of Andrews' largely unexplored versatility as an actor, take a look at two of his 1941 performances, the sensitive youth rebelling from his father's authority in Swamp Water (one of my favourite Dana performances) and the wise guy smirking gangster so sure of himself in Ball of Fire.

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I didn't know Andrews was under contract to Goldwyn after the war, as well. I thought he was strictly a Fox contract player.

 

For an illustration of Andrews' largely unexplored versatility as an actor, take a look at two of his 1941 performances, the sensitive youth rebelling from his father's authority in Swamp Water (one of my favourite Dana performances) and the wise guy smirking gangster so sure of himself in Ball of Fire.

 

I also didn't know that Andrew was under contract to Goldwyn after the war.    I wonder how long after the war was the term of that contract.

 

As you noted he didn't get as many good parts in the 50s?   Was that because studios decided to use actors they had under contract instead of paying to use an actor like Andrews that was not?   

 

In the 50s the studio system was starting to break apart and studios were more reluctant to re-signing actors to long term contacts,  as well as more stars becoming 'independent'.     All of this relates to who got what parts and how actors movie careers were either advanced or started to fade out (e.g. move on to T.V. roles)

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I also didn't know that Andrew was under contract to Goldwyn after the war.    I wonder how long after the war was the term of that contract.

 

As you noted he didn't get as many good parts in the 50s?   Was that because studios decided to use actors they had under contract instead of paying to use an actor like Andrews that was not?   

 

In the 50s the studio system was starting to break apart and studios were more reluctant to re-signing actors to long term contacts,  as well as more stars becoming 'independent'.     All of this relates to who got what parts and how actors movie careers were either advanced or started to fade out (e.g. move on to T.V. roles)

I also didn't know that Andrew was under contract to Goldwyn after the war.    I wonder how long after the war was the term of that contract.

 

As you noted he didn't get as many good parts in the 50s?   Was that because studios decided to use actors they had under contract instead of paying to use an actor like Andrews that was not?   

 

In the 50s the studio system was starting to break apart and studios were more reluctant to re-signing actors to long term contacts,  as well as more stars becoming 'independent'.     All of this relates to who got what parts and how actors movie careers were either advanced or started to fade out (e.g. move on to T.V. roles)

I also didn't know that Andrew was under contract to Goldwyn after the war.    I wonder how long after the war was the term of that contract.

 

As you noted he didn't get as many good parts in the 50s?   Was that because studios decided to use actors they had under contract instead of paying to use an actor like Andrews that was not?   

 

In the 50s the studio system was starting to break apart and studios were more reluctant to re-signing actors to long term contacts,  as well as more stars becoming 'independent'.     All of this relates to who got what parts and how actors movie careers were either advanced or started to fade out (e.g. move on to T.V. roles)

I also didn't know that Andrew was under contract to Goldwyn after the war.    I wonder how long after the war was the term of that contract.

 

As you noted he didn't get as many good parts in the 50s?   Was that because studios decided to use actors they had under contract instead of paying to use an actor like Andrews that was not?   

 

In the 50s the studio system was starting to break apart and studios were more reluctant to re-signing actors to long term contacts,  as well as more stars becoming 'independent'.     All of this relates to who got what parts and how actors movie careers were either advanced or started to fade out (e.g. move on to T.V. roles)

Dana Andrews remained under contract to.Goldwyn, which was shared with Fox, for the rest of the 40s. After TBYOOL, he starred in the Goldwyn-produced films MY FOOLISH HEART (1949), EDGE OF DOOM (1950), and I WANT YOU (1951), all directed by Mark Robson.

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I also didn't know that Andrew was under contract to Goldwyn after the war.    I wonder how long after the war was the term of that contract.

 

As you noted he didn't get as many good parts in the 50s?   Was that because studios decided to use actors they had under contract instead of paying to use an actor like Andrews that was not?   

 

In the 50s the studio system was starting to break apart and studios were more reluctant to re-signing actors to long term contacts,  as well as more stars becoming 'independent'.     All of this relates to who got what parts and how actors movie careers were either advanced or started to fade out (e.g. move on to T.V. roles)

I also didn't know that Andrew was under contract to Goldwyn after the war.    I wonder how long after the war was the term of that contract.

 

As you noted he didn't get as many good parts in the 50s?   Was that because studios decided to use actors they had under contract instead of paying to use an actor like Andrews that was not?   

 

In the 50s the studio system was starting to break apart and studios were more reluctant to re-signing actors to long term contacts,  as well as more stars becoming 'independent'.     All of this relates to who got what parts and how actors movie careers were either advanced or started to fade out (e.g. move on to T.V. roles)

I also didn't know that Andrew was under contract to Goldwyn after the war.    I wonder how long after the war was the term of that contract.

 

As you noted he didn't get as many good parts in the 50s?   Was that because studios decided to use actors they had under contract instead of paying to use an actor like Andrews that was not?   

 

In the 50s the studio system was starting to break apart and studios were more reluctant to re-signing actors to long term contacts,  as well as more stars becoming 'independent'.     All of this relates to who got what parts and how actors movie careers were either advanced or started to fade out (e.g. move on to T.V. roles)

I also didn't know that Andrew was under contract to Goldwyn after the war.    I wonder how long after the war was the term of that contract.

 

As you noted he didn't get as many good parts in the 50s?   Was that because studios decided to use actors they had under contract instead of paying to use an actor like Andrews that was not?   

 

In the 50s the studio system was starting to break apart and studios were more reluctant to re-signing actors to long term contacts,  as well as more stars becoming 'independent'.     All of this relates to who got what parts and how actors movie careers were either advanced or started to fade out (e.g. move on to T.V. roles)

Dana Andrews remained under contract to.Goldwyn, which was shared with Fox, for the rest of the 40s. After TBYOOL, he starred in the Goldwyn-produced films MY FOOLISH HEART (1949), EDGE OF DOOM (1950), and I WANT YOU (1951), all directed by Mark Robson.

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With SEALED CARGO getting a broadcast on TCM this evening, I thought this might be a good time to revive this Dana Andrews thread. For those who like Andrews and haven't seen it before, there are a few reviews of his films to be found here.

 

Sealed Cargo was released in 1951 at a time when, in retrospect, Andrews' best roles and films were, unfortunately, behind him. But the film co-stars Claude Rains, as well as Carla Balenda who, at age 91, will be a guest on tonight's TCM presentation. Hopefully she will have a reminiscence or two about working with Dana.

 

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Dana Andrews remained under contract to.Goldwyn, which was shared with Fox, for the rest of the 40s. After TBYOOL, he starred in the Goldwyn-produced films MY FOOLISH HEART (1949), EDGE OF DOOM (1950), and I WANT YOU (1951), all directed by Mark Robson.

I do believe that one of the reasons for Dana Andrews "falling star" was his alcohol addiction.  He is a great actor and nothing stands out more in his film history than his role in "The Best Years of Our Lives" especially with the closing moments of the film sitting in an abandoned bomber.  His whole past and future life is wrapped up into that one moment in time. 

 

I empathize with his character so much and it always causes me to remember my dad who was a Halifax Flt Lt. and pilot for the CRAF..what his homecoming must have felt like...he never once said and foolish child and adult that I was, I never asked. 

 

Emily

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As for his other contract, at Fox, think of some of the roles that could've been available to him: either Henry Fonda's or Victor Mature's role in MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, Mature's in KISS OF DEATH, MOSS ROSE or CRY OF THE CITY, George Montgomery's in THE BRASHER DOUBLOON, Richard Conte in WHIRLPOOL, THIEVES HIGHWAY or HOUSE OF STRANGERS, new contractee Mark Stevens in THE DARK CORNER or THE STREET WTH NO NAME, or borrowed players like John Hodiak in SOMEWHERE IN THE NIGHT, James Stewart in CALL 777 NORTHSIDE, or Gregory Peck in GENTLEMENS' AGREEMENT or YELLOW SKY, or the previously mentioned Power and Widmark films, and I'm not even mentioning any John Payne, Cornel Wilde, Rex Harrison, or Paul Douglas films. The opportunities were suddenly spread around others at the studio; Dana Andrews could've acquitted himself well.in any of these.

 

I have yet to see The Brasher Doubloon (which I know doesn't have much of a reputation) but the thought of Dana Andrews being cast as Philip Marlowe is more than appealing to me. Andrews could play a hard guy with hints of sensitivity well.

 

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With SEALED CARGO getting a broadcast on TCM this evening, I thought this might be a good time to revive this Dana Andrews thread. For those who like Andrews and haven't seen it before, there are a few reviews of his films to be found here.

 

Sealed Cargo was released in 1951 at a time when, in retrospect, Andrews' best roles and films were, unfortunately, behind him. But the film co-stars Claude Rains, as well as Carla Balenda who, at age 91, will be a guest on tonight's TCM presentation. Hopefully she will have a reminiscence or two about working with Dana.

 

 

 

So by the age of 41 or 42 Andrews best roles where behind him,  but for Bogart,  his best roles all took place after he turned 40.

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With SEALED CARGO getting a broadcast on TCM this evening, I thought this might be a good time to revive this Dana Andrews thread. For those who like Andrews and haven't seen it before, there are a few reviews of his films to be found here.

 

Sealed Cargo was released in 1951 at a time when, in retrospect, Andrews' best roles and films were, unfortunately, behind him. But the film co-stars Claude Rains, as well as Carla Balenda who, at age 91, will be a guest on tonight's TCM presentation. Hopefully she will have a reminiscence or two about working with Dana.

 

MV5BYmJjNmU4MDMtZmNjMi00NGIxLWJhNjktMDJk

 

I'm looking forward to this. I don't remember if I've seen it before, but I'm a huge fan of Rains and I dig Dana too.

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Strange Cargo. I missed the beginning and the last 15 minutes, but what I did see I liked. I hope it comes on again or maybe I can see it on You Tube. Claude Rains was amazing. Did you notice his eyes bulging out when they first come upon him? Creepy.

I thought the long shot of the bombs in the secret underground storage area looked a bit too long. Was the ship really that big?

Good flick, tho.

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MV5BYmJjNmU4MDMtZmNjMi00NGIxLWJhNjktMDJk

 

Did anyone else notice the brief uncredited appearance of Steve Forrest in Sealed Cargo? He played a German on guard in a night scene who quickly gets dispatched by Philip Dorn.

 

Forrest was, of course, Dana Andrews' kid brother, then at the beginning of his film career.

 

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Haha yesterday as cashier I had a customer whose name was "Dana". I told him it was one of my favorite names and he said, "My Mother named me after some WW2 era actor she liked" and I blurted out DANA ANDREWS?

 

He seemed surprised and wondered how I knew that.

 

Heh....some actor....

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I knew about FIVE Dana's in my lifetime.  Three were girls, two were guys.   And for TWO of them, DANA was their LAST name.

 

 

Sepiatone

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I'm definitely a fan of Dana Andrews. He was great in:

 

Ball of Fire

 

The Best Years of Our Lives

 

Laura

 

Where the Sidewalk Ends

 

...and a handful of other films which I can't recall right now.

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On 7/22/2019 at 12:20 PM, kingrat said:

I'll have to add Swamp Water to my must-see list. Dana Andrews is also excellent in Night Song, a romantic drama where he plays a blind composer who's working on a piano concerto. This kind of movie doesn't appeal to everyone, but Dana Andrews and Merle Oberon were never better. Andrews is especially good at conveying self-loathing. The only actor who equals him at that is William Holden, who was also an alcoholic. Andrews had the opportunity to work with some good directors in the 1940s, and quite a few of those films have held up well.

However, when an actor tends to underplay, to internalize, to be stoic, as is often the case with Dana Andrews, once the actor loses his edge, as happens with alcoholism, this slips over into woodenness.

 

On 7/21/2019 at 11:46 AM, Dargo said:

Just for future reference here Looney, three films in which Dana Andrews shines would be The Best Years of Our Lives, Laura and The Ox-Bow Incident. There are a few more, but these three came immediate to my mind.

(...and perhaps the reason he didn't inspire you in this film could be attributed to something Eddie said in his intro of this film, and that being by 1956 and when this Lang film was made, Andrews' alcoholism was really beginning to affect his work)

 

On 7/21/2019 at 11:51 AM, cigarjoe said:

Agree with Dargo, for good Noir gotta see Where The Sidewalk Ends, Edge Of Doom, and Fallen Angel

 

On 7/21/2019 at 1:22 PM, misswonderly3 said:

You haven't seen much of Dana Andrews' work? Then you haven't seen all that many noirs. Dana Andrews is generally considered one of the iconic noir protagonists. I'll provide a short list at the end of this post. I really like this actor, I think he has a really interesting face,and he's one of those actors who knows how to convey what he's thinking without saying anything. Even in a film I might not be that enthused about, if Mr. Andrews is in it, I'll watch it.

A few Dana Andrews noirs  (I'll leave out all the other great movies he's been in, which are many.)

Laura /  Where the Sidewalk Ends / Fallen Angel  / Ball of Fire (ok,  this is not really a noir, more a comedy with gangsters. But it's a fun movie, and Dana clearly has fun as a bad guy gangster)  /Boomerang / Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

I'll just add, he was the kind of actor who was in many different film genres - quite a few westerns and war movies. And of course, he was wonderful in The Best Years of Our Lives. Check out some of the above titles, maybe you'll change your mind about him.

In view of the conversation about Dana Andrews on Noir Alley I thought I might revive this old thread intended as a tribute to the actor. It's nice to see I'm not the only one who appreciates his contributions to the movies.

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Count me in Tom. Dana Andrews was a fine, fine actor. His performance in The Best Years of Our Lives, as far as I'm concerned, is one of the best ever on screen. Each time I see his performance in that plane, in the junkyard, I'm moved to tears. He was a versatile actor, excellent in all genres.

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