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They Were Expendable (MGM) 1945


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I would be grateful for any assistance in identifying a female actor in the 1945 MGM film They Were Expendable.  Early in the film, after the opening scene where Montgomery and Wayne demonstrate the maneuverability of the boats in their PT squadron to the senior naval brass, the scene shifts to the bar in the Officers' Club at the Subic Naval Base in Cavite province in the Philippines. In the bar, Ward Bond leads some of his squadron mates in a round of  songs.

After that scene, the camera moves to the ballroom of the Club and as it starts to pan over the men and women on the dance floor, it first lingers for some fifteen seconds on a lovely young woman who is seated at a table  between two Chinese women. Again, the camera intentionally focuses on her, stays on her, lingers on her, when there is no real  reason in the script or story line to do so. 

What I would like help on is identifying who that actor is. Who is she? I have a feeling that she is an up-and-coming actor (a future Hollywood star) whom the studio did not yet have a major role for and the lingering close-up of a sort was a way to showcase her in a low-key way and perhaps keep her happy in her role as an "extra.".

I have paused my DVD on the scene and I think I recognize her but I would like to hear from anyone who thinks they know who she is.  Thanks for any help on this.

TPW

 

 

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Ray, I have, of course, gone carefully through the 135 characters/names listed in the IMDb credits (an exceptionally long list of 'actors' for IMDb to post) and have seen no character that would seem to match up with the woman sitting at the table. Also, all extras would not seem to have been credited or "uncredited."--for example, the two Chinese women at the table do not seem to be listed anywhere in the cast list of IMDb (and perhaps, neither does their female companion--the woman in question).  So, I am back to my basic question. Who is she? Or is she really, in fact, just an extra; just an attractive American/European woman sitting at a table, talking to one of the Chinese women while the club orchestra softly plays No Te Vayas de Zamboanga  in the background? But if that is so, I am still intrigued why Ford had the camera linger on her? Was there a reason, other than she is a stunningly attractive woman?

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Maybe some things are better not solved...? :) 

She could have been the cinematographer's girlfriend/wife or someone who was related to a friend of John Ford's, and was given this "moment" as a favor to them.

If the woman doesn't show up in any other later films, then it was a "one off."

Not everyone was going to be turned into a star.

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Ray, you raise very good reservations about the identity of this exotic "extra."

Here is who I have thought it might be... but having said that, I too have reservations about whether it really is that particular "actor."

Yvonne De Carlo

https://www.google.com/search?q=yvonne+de+carlo&sxsrf=ALeKk013W7ULBz_lksW-dVA5CtFfFuPL4Q:1595468168411&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=SLQeKyNKo93XCM%2Ci4sUSKd0XzpmjM%2C%2Fm%2F033hwk&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kSnaNASKswFMMu_pLy8KlsUYQSV9Q&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiTt7aLnuLqAhUkc98KHd2xBA0Q_B0wHXoECBoQAw&biw=1167&bih=545#imgrc=SLQeKyNKo93XCM

Even though there is, I think, a striking resemblance to De Carlo,  and even though De Carlo appeared in a similar, "on the screen for a moment" appearance, as an "extra" in  the September 1943-released film, So Proudly We Hail, and was probably pleased at the time, as an up-and-coming actor,  to at least have some very minor/minor billing in the film, I cannot explain to myself WHY she would agree to appear in such an uncredited role, some two years later, in the December 1945-released film, They Were Expendable WHEN she had already appeared in a starring role in the April 1945-released  film, Salome Where She Danced.  If it is De Carlo, perhaps she saw it as a "cameo" opportunity, a chance to be in a John Ford film, and so, "why not?" Her face was on the screen and that was what really counted to a young woman actor  trying to further her career. 

Or, as you have suggested, perhaps she was just the cinematographer's girlfriend (unlikely?) or the fulfillment of a promise kept by John Ford to an old friend's  actor daughter (also unlikely?). There is probably a better explanation but I suspect that I will never know just who that lovely woman is in the John Ford film and why the cameraman decided to linger on, stay on her ('an extra'?) for a long fifteen seconds when it could have easily moved on to an extended shot of the ballroom dancers in their "dress whites" and gorgeous gowns..

 

 

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I don't think that's Yvonne De Carlo.  Not with my eyes.  More Hedy Lamarr than Yvonne.

Both probably would have made great dinner guests.

On second thought that kind of looks like Vivien Leigh.

expendable.jpg.580b84f6aebf03847edcabc77


Vivien Leigh
http://moviecollectoroh.com/pics_to_hotlink_on_TCM/VivienLeigh.jpg

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That's a great thought...and thank you for taking the time to throw it out there; but I cannot see Vivian Leigh in that photo of the woman sitting at the table. I think that Hedy Lamarr may be a closer fit but that is probably unlikely also. Lamar was already an established star by 1945. She had appeared as a first or second billing  in more than ten films by the time They Were Expendable was released and I would have been very surprised if she would have agreed to sit around the table looking pretty with no lines to speak after starring in so many "major" films. 

On the other hand, Yvonne De Carlo was eager and  "up-and-coming" and was trying her best to get cast in some major Hollywood role and she did finally get one in the Salome film--which, as I mentioned above, came out before They Were Expendable. The "cameo" in "Expendable" could have been seen by her as additional and valuable exposure in a John Ford film. If that were the case, the opportunity for her to cozy up to Robert Montgomery and John Wayne on set would not have hurt her budding career as well.

A  quick browse through a bio or two about De Carlo does not seem to mention her as "walking-on"  or as an extra or in a cameo appearance in the "Expendable" film, so things seem to point to the conclusion that it is probably not Yvonne De Carlo either...which takes me back to where I started--who is she then? As Ray has suggested, perhaps she is "no one." Perhaps just another woman with a  lovely face that Ford had sit at a table at the Officers' Club and then had the cameraman take a long, long look at her. Why her? Why (to me) the special attention? I guess we will never know.

 

 

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Looking at the pics you linked to, it actually "could" be De Carlo, though with different makeup and lighting than I had in mind.  Leigh comes to mind for certain wonderful features.  Probably something I can't be very objective about.  So yeah, never mind. 😁

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No, definitely not Yvonne. But the whole "friend of the cinematographer" thing reminds me of Lorraine Miller's fabulous cameos throughout HI DIDDLE DIDDLE. Just one of the things that make this picture the funniest movie that nobody has ever heard of!

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4 hours ago, Ray Faiola said:

No, definitely not Yvonne. But the whole "friend of the cinematographer" thing reminds me of Lorraine Miller's fabulous cameos throughout HI DIDDLE DIDDLE. Just one of the things that make this picture the funniest movie that nobody has ever heard of!

I agree. It's definitely not Yvonne De Carlo. Yvonne had sexier looking cheek bones. Her nose wasn't as narrow, her eyes not sunken in so much.

***

By the way THEY WERE EXPENDABLE is airing on TCM tomorrow afternoon (Friday July 24th).

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Thursday 23 July 2020

Ray and MovieCollectorOH, your comments are all helpful. I suppose that I will rule out Yvonne De Carlo as the face at the table. I have no further ideas.  Perhaps we need to conclude that she is "no one" special, Hollywood-wise. The IMDb cast list does not seem to provide any insight as to who the woman is. What we need is a posting from John Ford from beyond where he says, "C'mon guys. You should know that that is...and that's why I kept the camera on her for so long."

And how coincidental is it that They Were Expendable is on TCM tomorrow, Friday 24 July 2020. A chance for a few more viewers perhaps to see  just what the three of us have been going on about.

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21 minutes ago, TPW said:

Thursday 23 July 2020

Ray and MovieCollectorOH, your comments are all helpful. I suppose that I will rule out Yvonne De Carlo as the face at the table. I have no further ideas.  Perhaps we need to conclude that she is "no one" special, Hollywood-wise. The IMDb cast list does not seem to provide any insight as to who the woman is. What we need is a posting from John Ford from beyond where he says, "C'mon guys. You should know that that is...and that's why I kept the camera on her for so long."

And how coincidental is it that They Were Expendable is on TCM tomorrow, Friday 24 July 2020. A chance for a few more viewers perhaps to see  just what the three of us have been going on about.

Seems weird that you are only acknowledging certain people in the thread. Everyone who's participated has tried to help and make you feel welcome.

:) 

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Re my acknowledging only two people in the thread, it is clearly my misunderstanding; I thought that only two  people were commenting on my post. I thought that Ray and Top-Billed were the same person. Now I realize that there are three of you offering very helpful comments on my questions raised and so my gratefulness is extended to the three of you. Perhaps it is time for me to bow out from all of this. Thank you all.

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