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She was big. Really big. Twice. Madge Evans for Star of the Month


slaytonf
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One of the brighter stars in my movie firmament.  Svelte, graceful, lissom, as gorgeous as any star on the screen, who could wear a bias-cut gown as well as any, and better than most.  She made two major transitions in film simultaneously: from a popular child actress to a successful adult, and from silent films to sound.  No other movie star occurs to me who accomplished that feat.

 

Her career began as a poster baby for a soap company, and branched out to other commercial interests.  This led to roles on the stage and movies by the time she was five.  She was wildly popular growing up along with the motion picture industry.  Unfortunately, it seems most or all of her silent movies are lost.  If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know where they can be accessed.  By the time she was fifteen she got tired of the movies, or the movies got tired of her.  Regardless, she concentrated on the stage, and was successful there.  Eventually, movies, that is, Hollywood, that is MGM, found her again, this time for sound.  Her first movie, Son of India (1931) with Ramon Novarro, was a good start.  Not that the movie was good, but the time the two had together on screen was.

 

Even though half her career is gone, there's enough of sound to make for a full schedule.  Her roles were mostly those of society sophisticates, which allowed her to show her fine diction and figure to its best effect.  But don't think she didn't have the chops to pack a punch when it was called for.  She's usually characterized as restricted to good girl roles, but that is not exactly accurate.  She played the bad girl, or the other woman a number of times.  But it is true she probably lost out on more prestigious roles and a better-regarded career because of her type-casting.

 

So here we have this fine actress, with two solid careers, and not only has she not been Star of the Month, she hasn't even had a day in Summer Under the Stars!  

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Assuming they pay attention to them.

 

I find it interesting that they keep pushing Bette Davis in all those Backlot contests. And the members keep choosing other people over her. Myrna Loy was selected for Star of the Month, and now on April 5th, they've picked Melvyn Douglas instead of Bette on her birthday.

 

As long as they keep trying to squeeze Bette in somewhere, there may not be much priority placed on Madge Evans, Marion Davies or Joan Bennett (she'd be my choice).

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Not being a Backlot member, I only know about these votes when TopBilled or someone else mentions them on here. I guess they're going to be a semi-regular thing, maybe two or three times every year. Interesting that they've tried to push Bette Davis as a candidate twice in a row and the voters have picked the other alternative both times.

 

I'm curious how many Backlot members there are and how many are actually voting. I'm also curious their reasons for not picking Davis. If it's because they think a Davis schedule would be too predictable, well I can get behind that. If it's because they don't think Davis was a great actress, that would be the wrong reason for voting against her, in my opinion.

 

 

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Assuming they pay attention to them.

 

Oh yeah, slayton.

 

Word is after our illustrious moderators around here go over our posts to make sure we're not using any "dirty words" within them and edit them out if we do, they immediately contact the TCM Programming Dept and tell them about these sorts of imaginative programming ideas like yours here.

 

;)

 

(...sorry...there's my overt cynicism showing again, huh)

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I'm curious how many Backlot members there are and how many are actually voting. I'm also curious their reasons for not picking Davis. If it's because they think a Davis schedule would be too predictable, well I can get behind that. If it's because they don't think Davis was a great actress, that would be the wrong reason for voting against her, in my opinion.

 

No idea how many members/voters there might be. In the case of Bette Davis, I would imagine it's because her films are in constant rotation and she's a little too "over-exposed" at the moment.

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One of the brighter stars in my movie firmament.  Svelte, graceful, lissom, as gorgeous as any star on the screen, who could wear a bias-cut gown as well as any, and better than most.  She made two major transitions in film simultaneously: from a popular child actress to a successful adult, and from silent films to sound.  No other movie star occurs to me who accomplished that feat.

 

Her career began as a poster baby for a soap company, and branched out to other commercial interests.  This led to roles on the stage and movies by the time she was five.  She was wildly popular growing up along with the motion picture industry.  Unfortunately, it seems most or all of her silent movies are lost.  If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know where they can be accessed.  By the time she was fifteen she got tired of the movies, or the movies got tired of her.  Regardless, she concentrated on the stage, and was successful there.  Eventually, movies, that is, Hollywood, that is MGM, found her again, this time for sound.  Her first movie, Son of India (1931) with Ramon Novarro, was a good start.  Not that the movie was good, but the time the two had together on screen was.

 

Even though half her career is gone, there's enough of sound to make for a full schedule.  Her roles were mostly those of society sophisticates, which allowed her to show her fine diction and figure to its best effect.  But don't think she didn't have the chops to pack a punch when it was called for.  She's usually characterized as restricted to good girl roles, but that is not exactly accurate.  She played the bad girl, or the other woman a number of times.  But it is true she probably lost out on more prestigious roles and a better-regarded career because of her type-casting.

 

So here we have this fine actress, with two solid careers, and not only has she not been Star of the Month, she hasn't even had a day in Summer Under the Stars!  

..and I can see why she hasn't been so honored. Her name wouldn't ring a bell even with many classic movie fans.

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Here's what I stated in your previous Evans tribute thread, slaytonf:

 

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 found out about Madge Evans when Spencer Tracy died. 1 news magazine did a write-up about his film career and they included a photo of him and Madge Evans in The Show- Off, a 1934 MGM movie.

 

I think that was 1968 and after that I've been trying to study her-- looking for movies about her. Mainly all I was able to find was still photography and there was a great many of those.

 

I could see she was beautiful and apart from that she was quite above-average in David Copperfield.

 

And despite my general interest I've never been able to find out much about her and I don't believe the average person who is interested in film has ever really heard of her.

 

Of Course, now we have the internet and TCM but, I really couldn't name any film that she did that is that memorable or outstanding just for her performance.

 

But I think she's definitely an actress who is worth pursuing.

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ok, lessee:

 

As long as they keep trying to squeeze Bette in somewhere, there may not be much priority placed on Madge Evans, Marion Davies or Joan Bennett (she'd be my choice).

 

All three good choices.

 

 

I'm curious how many Backlot members there are and how many are actually voting. I'm also curious their reasons for not picking Davis. If it's because they think a Davis schedule would be too predictable, well I can get behind that. If it's because they don't think Davis was a great actress, that would be the wrong reason for voting against her, in my opinion.

 

I think it's because, like, she's been STOM a gazillion times.  I think more than any other movie star.  She's great, but come on

 

Oh yeah, slayton.

 

Word is after our illustrious moderators around here go over our posts to make sure we're not using any "dirty words" within them and edit them out if we do, they immediately contact the TCM Programming Dept and tell them about these sorts of imaginative programming ideas like yours here.

 

;)

 

(...sorry...there's my overt cynicism showing again, huh)

 

Aww, now you've made me a disillusioned man.

 

 

No idea how many members/voters there might be. In the case of Bette Davis, I would imagine it's because her films are in constant rotation and she's a little too "over-exposed" at the moment.

 

"[A]t the moment?"  How about continually?

 

 

..and I can see why she hasn't been so honored. Her name wouldn't ring a bell even with many classic movie fans.

 

Certainly not by you.  You have no doubt completely missed the object of my occasional threads for STOMs.  TCM seems to be stuck on a certain list of actors that get featured for STOM, and while they were big stars, there are others that were big stars, but have faded from the public sphere, deserve the notice, but are consistently overlooked by TCM.

 

I found out about Madge Evans when Spencer Tracy died. 1 news magazine did a write-up about his film career and they included a photo of him and Madge Evans in The Show- Off, a 1934 MGM movie.

I think that was 1968 and after that I've been trying to study her-- looking for movies about her. Mainly all I was able to find was still photography and there was a great many of those.

I could see she was beautiful and apart from that she was quite above-average in David Copperfield.

And despite my general interest I've never been able to find out much about her and I don't believe the average person who is interested in film has ever really heard of her.

Of Course, now we have the internet and TCM but, I really couldn't name any film that she did that is that memorable or outstanding just for her performance.

But I think she's definitely an actress who is worth pursuing.

 

 

Quite a number of her sound films air on TCM.  Check her TCM Database page for upcoming dates:

 

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/person/58708%7C103820/Madge-Evans/

 

Some sites with info on the lady in question:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madge_Evans

 

http://immortalephemera.com/4938/madge-evans/

 

http://www.cyranos.ch/spevan-e.htm

 

https://books.google.com/books?id=h-6WCBQPZdoC&pg=PA285&lpg=PA285&dq=madge+evans+articles&source=bl&ots=Xh6Y7A3OI0&sig=Woq66bpI73H7rouLMlesHmWKUfU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjRqYL7o8XRAhWIhlQKHViuBWk4ChDoAQgrMAM#v=onepage&q=madge%20evans%20articles&f=false

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