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I Am Stunned, Enthralled and In Love With The Evil: FRANCES DEE.


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Well I had to get your attention somehow, didn't I?

 

This is my second time seeing "Meet the Stewarts" an innocuous little comedy from 1942. And I am stunned, enthralled and in love with Frances Dee.

 

Yeah, she played a silly little housewife, but there was something underneath that...something about Dee that has totally captivated me. She was luminescent, enchanting and straightforward.

 

You know, to be honest with you folks, I can't quite put my feelings into words on the effect she had on me. It made me seek her out in "I WALK WITH A ZOMBIE" and "LOVE IS A RACKET" and "KEEP 'EM ROLLING." I will force myself to take another look at "LITTLE WOMEN" to catch her. I'll have to find "OF HUMAN BONDAGE" becuz she's in it. There's something about her (and Margaret Lindsay) that really touch me. There was a shot of Dee in "SO ENDS OUR NIGHT" that defies any close up Leigh got in "GWTW" or Novak in "VERTIGO" or even the great Garbo in "QUEEN CHRISTINA." I'm sure I haven't scratched the surface of the oeuvre of Dee.

 

Okay...go on. I deserve it. I dared wear my heart on my sleeve on this wacky and wild west Message Board. Go on. Slap some good sense into me.

 

Tell me your thoughts on Frances Dee.

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CM,

 

She's in the earlier TCM doc on pre-codes. I can't remember the name of it but it shows up on TCM fairly regularly. I think she died shortly after she was interviewed for the doc. She still had that beautiful face.

 

I don't much about her but I hope she and Joel McCrea had a good life together. They seemed made for one another when you watch them together in his early films.

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Two more with Frances Dee that are worth watching are: Wheel Of Fortune, with John Wayne and Happy Land with Don Ameche. I never could figure out why she didn't achieve the star status she deserved. Possibly she was happy being Joel McCrea's wife. Must admit, she had a magnificent face.

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I like Frances too and *I Walked With a Zombie* is one of my faves. She bought her mom a new car with the money she made making that one. Here are some pics I found of her.

 

Frances and Joel McCrea on their honeymoon in '34.

 

francesdeeandjoelmccrea1934.jpg

 

francesdeeinzombie.jpg

 

francesdee3.jpg

 

francesdee2.jpg

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She had such a lovely face. She and McCrea appeared together in Wells Fargo, which I have not seen in years. I also remember them appearing at the Academy Awards one year when famous "couples" were presenting. I think it was the same year that Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon presented an award.

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Of the films I've seen Frances Dee in I'd say that my current favorite is William Wyler's "*The Gay Deception*" (1935); delightful from start to finish.

 

She was a true beauty, a very classy lady, who aged incredibly well. She looked stunning even in her 80s.

 

I still have lots of films of her yet to see, especially "*Blood Money*" (1933), "*An American Tragedy*" (1931) and "*I Walked with a Zombie*" (1942).

 

She only had a couple of scenes in the great anti-fascist film "*So Ends Our Night*" (1941), but she was mesmerizing and her face and expression stayed with me after watching it.

 

BTW, there's a huge thread dedicated to Frances Dee, somewhere buried in this Forum.

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  • 1 year later...

Dear CineMaven:

 

I also adore Frances Dee. I have purchsed several of her films, even her first starring role in "Playboy of Paris." Frances was an original, as was her husband, Joel McCrea.

 

I you have Fox Movie Channel, look out every so often for both "Blood Money" and "Half Angel." With the latter, you have to be careful that it is the 1936 version, since there are several movies of the same name.

 

The name of the precode special was called "Complicated Women." She talked about making "Blood Money" right after "Little Women." No characters could be more different than Meg and Elaine. As Frances said, "Quite a departure.

 

Also, the Frances Dee website has reopened as "Remembering Frances Dee."

 

Take care.

 

Deborah

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  • 4 months later...

WoW!!!! I totally forgot I embarassed myself in front of my fellow-Ramblers of the cyberworld with my effusive musing on Frances Dee. So give me forty lashes with a wet film strip.

 

Thanks Jackaaaaaay for the photo. She's so pretty...and with a full and loving private life, Frances Dee looks like she had the best of both worlds.

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> {quote:title=MissGoddess wrote:}{quote}

> What an adorable little "playsuit" or outfit she has on!

 

At first I thought she had on a little teddy, but then I saw the shorts underneath.... isn't it great? I want one just like it.

 

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Thank you! I don't think I ever saw that one! Wow, I thought I'd seen just about all of Duke's movies. To have missed one with FRANCES DEE is rather astonishing.

 

By the by, if you've never seen SOULS AT SEA with Coop and Frances, I highly recommend it. It's very entertaining and rather romantic.

 

Edited by: MissGoddess on Apr 27, 2010 6:28 PM because "sea" is not spelled like "Dee".

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see...hee hee!

 

I haven't seen it, unless I was very young and don't remember... I know I saw The Devil and the Deep when I was first into old movies. Was Souls at Sea one of the new ones released recently? Some how that is ringing a bell....

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I don't think *souls at sea* is out yet...I wish it was. TCM may have shown it at some point (it's a Universal title, I think), or should do. It's quite a well crafted adventure tale and if you can picture George Raft as sort of pirate-type...he's actually very good! No kid.

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I'd love to see "Souls at Sea" (1937). It might be available soon on demand like the 1938 "*Spawn of the North*" which I purchased recently.

 

I watched recently France in "*The Silver Cord*" (1933) and I was completely impressed by her powerful performance as Eric Linden's fianc?e. In fact the three women featured in this film: Frances, Ms. Dunne and most of all, Laura Hope Crews as the very nasty, manipulative and domineering mum of McCrea and Linden and who has the showiest role of all, pretty much carry the whole picture.

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