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Det Jim McLeod

Favorite Patsy Kelly Performances

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Patsy Kelly

She was the wisecracking comedienne of many 1930s films and had a long career into the 1960s and 1970s.

When I was looking over some of my favorite films, there were a few that I realized had Patsy Kelly in them, she definitely made an impression in anything she did.

Top Flat (1935) This was a Hal Roach short that she appeared in with comedy partner Thelma Todd. Thelma was the more sophisticated one while Patsy the down to earth smart aleck. This is the only one of their co starring films I saw and it was hilarious. Thelma is working as a maid in a swank apartment but tells Patsy she actually owns the place. Patsy decides to surprise her with a visit from a couple of rowdy boy friends and cause havoc.

Pigskin Parade (1936) a terrific underrated comedy/musical. Patsy plays the wife of wimpy football coach Jack Haley. She ends up being a better coach than he.

The Naked Kiss (1964) My favorite Samuel Fuller film, Patsy  only has a small role as the head nurse in a children's hospital, but still tosses off a line as only she could.

Rosemary's Baby (1968) One of my top ten films of all time. Patsy plays a devil worshiper but still brings her trademark humor to the role. The picture I included above is one of her funniest moments of her reading Reader's Digest with a magnifying glass. 

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1 hour ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Patsy Kelly

She was the wisecracking comedienne of many 1930s films and had a long career into the 1960s and 1970s.

When I was looking over some of my favorite films, there were a few that I realized had Patsy Kelly in them, she definitely made an impression in anything she did.

Top Flat (1935) This was a Hal Roach short that she appeared in with comedy partner Thelma Todd. Thelma was the more sophisticated one while Patsy the down to earth smart aleck. This is the only one of their co starring films I saw and it was hilarious. Thelma is working as a maid in a swank apartment but tells Patsy she actually owns the place. Patsy decides to surprise her with a visit from a couple of rowdy boy friends and cause havoc.

Pigskin Parade (1936) a terrific underrated comedy/musical. Patsy plays the wife of wimpy football coach Jack Haley. She ends up being a better coach than he.

The Naked Kiss (1964) My favorite Samuel Fuller film, Patsy  only has a small role as the head nurse in a children's hospital, but still tosses off a line as only she could.

Rosemary's Baby (1968) One of my top ten films of all time. Patsy plays a devil worshiper but still brings her trademark humor to the role. The picture I included above is one of her funniest moments of her reading Reader's Digest with a magnifying glass. 

I've liked all of those.  Also Please Don't Eat the Daisies.

Here's what is believed to be her first appearance on film, in a 1931 Vitaphone short entitled The Grand Dame.   Note the product placement of Brunswick Radios in the opening credits - Warner Bros had just bought Brunswick Records and Radio in 1930.

 

 

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In the 1971 Broadway Revival of the 1920s tap dance musical,"No, No Nanette" starring Ruby Keeler,

Patsy stole the show, which was not to be laughed at because in addition to movie star Ruby Keeler, top talent like Bobby Van, Helen Gallagher and Jack Gilford rounded out the cast.

Patsy won the Tony Award that year for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

And Broadway loved Patsy so much that they wouldn't let her go.

In 1973 Patsy appeared in another Broadway Revival, this time of the musical "Irene", starring another movie star Debbie Reynolds.

And again Patsy was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Was there any other character actress in  old Hollywood as original or as  "in your face" as Patsy?

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1 minute ago, Princess of Tap said:

In the 1971 Broadway Revival of the 1920s tap dance musical,"No, No Nanette" starring Ruby Keeler,

Patsy stole the show, which was not to be laughed at because in addition to movie star Ruby Keeler, top talent like Bobby Van, Helen Gallagher and Jack Gilford rounded out the cast.

Patsy won the Tony Award that year for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

And Broadway loved Patsy so much that they wouldn't let her go.

In 1973 Patsy appeared in another Broadway Revival, this time of the musical "Irene", starring another movie star Debbie Reynolds.

And again Patsy was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Was there any other character actress in  old Hollywood as original or as  "in your face" as Patsy?

I just recently watched the Tony Awards where Kelly won.  She had trouble getting up the stairs to the stage, but handled it like a pro.  Here's where she wins her Tony:

 

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I'm not going to be very creative here since my selections are hit comedies where Kelly was only a supporting character (a maid in two of them).

Merrily We Live (1938 screwball),   The Cowboy and the Lady (1938 light rom-com) and  Toppers Returns (1941 serial).

One other film is The Girl from Missouri;   This  Jean Harlow film (1934) gives a Kelly good amount of screen time and she is very funny as Harlow's best friend.

Kelly also played a nurse in the Sam Fuller neo-noir film The Naked Kiss.    Maybe Eddie will be showing this on Noir Alley some day. 

 

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5 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Patsy Kelly

Rosemary's Baby (1968) One of my top ten films of all time. Patsy plays a devil worshiper but still brings her trademark humor to the role. The picture I included above is one of her funniest moments of her reading Reader's Digest with a magnifying glass. 

I laughed out loud the first time I saw Young Edie in Grey Gardens squinting and reading her horoscope magazine with a magnifying glass because it immediately reminded me of Patsy Kelly in Rosemary's Baby.

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I also liked her in The Crowded Sky (1960), which was sort of an Airport precursor with mid-level stars playing out intersecting storylines. She played the agent of a new "hot young thing" actor. If the actor playing this "new James Dean" hadn't been such a lunkhead and a block of wood, Patsy would have come off a lot better than she did because she was holding up her own end for sure. The character of the agent was supposed to be frustrated by the reluctance of this supposed new cinema god to play by "the rules" of Hollywood and it really seemed like Patsy was drawing on her personal frustration with the inadequacies of her acting partner for her own performance. She was definitely the victim of unfortunate casting (of her scene partner) in that one.

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I love Patsy Kelly. So glad someone's made a thread all about her.

I always thought that if a movie was made about her life, Rosie O'Donnell would be the perfect choice to play Patsy Kelly.

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10 hours ago, TopBilled said:

I love Patsy Kelly. So glad someone's made a thread all about her.

My thoughts exactly.

I love her in everything, especially the shorts with Thelma Todd. She's one of my favorites because not only is she a wise cracker, but also comes across as so "modern". I know her sexuality was no secret  and  it always gives an extra zing to her disdain for men comments.

Last year I made the trifecta homage visiting Hal Roach, Thelma Todd & Patsy Kelly's final resting places. Patsy is laid to rest in NYC. The fern at the top of the stone symbolizes humility, frankness & sincerity along with a cross for faith.

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