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"In the Spotlight"

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Thanks for spotlighting lovely Barbara Hale!


One of her movies will be aired on tcm on Monday, July 21 at 2:30P eastern time 11:30A pacific. It's The First Time, co-starring Robert Cummings. I haven't seen it in years (amc used to show it). I love this cute, funny "little" movie (I love all cute, funny little movies). I even wrote tcm, (by snailmail yet), asking them to air it. I included a review of the movie that compared it favorably with Preston Sturges' work. I'm so delighted I that I can see this gem again.


I pray tcm won't bump it or that my vcr will go crackadog...

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Hi Joe,

One more thing occurred to me while reading your Van Heflin spotlight. One forgotten film that you mentioned, (based on a Rod Serling teleplay) in which Mr. Heflin shone, was Patterns (1956).


Not only is Heflin's conflicted business exec brilliantly played, but the theme of the story has resounding echoes today and Everett Sloane and Ed Begley, Sr. are terrific in this movie too. The rationale of head man Ed Begley, who claims that laying off workers in a distant plant will increase efficiency, and ultimately lead to the creation of more jobs for all sounds awfully familiar, yet there are no simple villains and good guys here. It is quite nuanced, and none more so than in Heflin's excellent work as the man facing some very tough choices for himself and his family.


I also noticed when looking at Heflin's Broadway credits how interesting they were, beginning in his first appearance on the NY stage in [Mr. Moneypenny|http://www.ibdb.com/production.php?id=10749] , (1928) a play directed by the unsung Richard Boleslavsky with Margaret Wycherley, among others. Btw, this play was produced when he still went by Evan Heflin. Later [plays|http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=44771] in NYC, which also might have been interesting to see, included Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge, in the leading part. An interesting role as the conflicted dockworker, it might have caught some of his angst and sensitivity.


Ah, where did I put the keys to that time machine?...


Kudos on Barbara Hale as a Spotlight featured player! I have renewed appreciation for the ultimate "Della Street" today, in part because of your delightful feature, (and those glorious glamour shots!), but also because I've just watched [First Yank into Tokyo|http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article.jsp?cid=85200&mainArticleId=196827] (1945).


This movie, which was recently broadcast on TCM as part of the *Asian Images in Film* series, is one of the loopiest exploitation movies ever. The only vaguely realistic note in the film that is injected into the now oddly amusing idea of a Japanese POW camp as some sort of rough country club is Barbara Hale. Ms. Hale, playing a slightly disheveled yet still lovely, impossibly robust-looking American nurse in the camp, spends much of the movie proving that the dedication to duty and a commitment to her fellow prisoners are still possible when everyone in the camp is trying to make a move on her or, like poor sap Tom Neal, who is stuck on her without hope. Neal appears to be one of those Japanese soldiers mooning after her from afar--yet due to his recent plastic surgery he is apparently unrecognizable as her former All-American sweetheart gone undercover--believe me, this movie has to be seen to be believed. (It is on TCM Free on Demand on Time Warner Digital Cable right now, though who knows when it will disappear again.)


Ms. Hale may have developed the wry sense of humor so evident in all those Perry Masons from working in productions like this one. She seems to be a great beauty to this day, and certainly must've been a good sport! Thanks again, Mongo.

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Moira, thanks for the additional info regarding Van Heflin and the plays he appeared in.

Since I went picture crazy with Heflin, I decided not to use "Woman's World", "The Raid" and "Patterns" (a shot with Heflin and Beatrice Straight).

Since I have TCM on Demand I will make it a point to watch "First Yank Into Tokyo" with Barbara Hale later today. I also like Tom Neal.

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That poster for *The Window* is just awesome! I really love that movie. I haven't seen a lot of Barbara Hale films but I always liked her. I bought the "Perry Mason" DVDs for my mother who, by the way, was born the same year as Hale. I really like her character on that show. I'll have to seek out more of her films.

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Molo, thanks for your input. I also enjoy watching "The Window" with an outstanding performance by Bobby Driscoll. There are also some films of Barbara Hale that I'm seeking out (see above).

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*I also enjoy watching "The Window" with an outstanding performance by Bobby Driscoll.*




If I may comment on Driscoll for just a brief moment. After reading your statement above I was curious if you had ever done something on him. It took some doing but I found your "In The Spotlight" piece on him from way back on May 7th 2007 which was just a few days after I signed on here. I have been a fan of Bobby's since I was a kid and saw *Treasure Island* perhaps twenty times. As one who has done a fair amount of research into his life I justed wanted to tell you that I really liked the "spotlight" you did on him. I'm glad others remember his work.


Now back to Barbara Hale :)

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