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Hang on for this--Star of the Month: Madge Evans.


slaytonf
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'Wasn't she in, um, Grand Hotel?'  Aww.  Chic, svelte, stylish, but altogether artless, Madge Evans, along with wearing bias-cut gowns like almost no other actresses, was to as far as I know the only movie star to make the double transition both from child star to adult star, and silent star to sound star.  She started out as the poster-child, literally, for a soap company.  So adorable and popular was she that it translated into other commercial ventures, and popular stage and movie careers.  In her mid-teens the movies slowed down, so she concentrated on the stage.  Her return to movies in the thirties led to a successful run starring opposite the likes of Clark Gable, Lee Tracy, and James Cagney.  She usually played sophisticates, and society types, á la Constance Bennett, but could venture to the shady side, like playing a gangster's moll/alcoholic in Sporting Blood (1931).  Her most high-profile movie is undoubtedly Dinner @ 8 (1933).  Of course, she is eclipsed by the incredible collection of talent, but not totally extinguished.  She may not have had a blazing presence like the Davises, Hepburns, and Garbos, but she was a long-time presence on the stage and screen, and had equal billing with the top male actors. And besides, she's one of my favorite actresses.  Along with Sporting Blood, movies of hers I like include The Greeks Had a Word for Them (1932), Beauty for Sale (1933), and Piccadilly Jim (1936).

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I've always had a bit of a "thing" for Madge Evans. She doesn't leap off the screen and seize your attention like the major stars, of course, but she was attractive, down to earth and had a beautiful smile.

 

No, she wasn't in Grand Hotel but in the following year's Dinner at Eight she was one of only three actors in that all star film (the others, Lee Tracy and Jean Hersholt) who had the opportunity to share scenes with the illustrious John Barrymore. Not bad. Clearly a sign of some status for her at the time.

 

But I think the film for which I probably remember Madge Evans the best was another MGM all star production, David Copperfield, playing the girl friend of the grown up Copperfield. It's a conventional role, of course, but Madge brought a most attractive and comforting level headedness and normalcy to her characterization (particularly in contrast to all the Dickensian eccentrics in that film).

 

davidcopperfield7.jpg

 

Here's one of those eccentrics with her now, and a conniving one, too, that creepy, slimy Uriah Heep (he's "ever so 'umble") getting way too close to our girl.

 

1930sfilmweeklypc1.jpg

 

A nice illustration of Madge's beautiful smile.

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I've always had a bit of a "thing" for Madge Evans. She doesn't leap off the screen and seize your attention like the major stars, of course, but she was attractive, down to earth and had a beautiful smile.

 

 

Can't think of a better way to describe her.

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