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The Lane Sisters and the "Four....." series


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50 minutes ago, Debra Johnson said:

Just finished watching back to back  "Four Daughters", "Four Wives" and "Four Mothers".   Are there anymore film in this series or is that it?  Really enjoyed them.

That's it. But there was an unrelated film, DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS (1939), which utilized most of the same cast.

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

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

That's it. But there was an unrelated film, DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS (1939), which utilized most of the same cast.

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

I feel it was "kind of" related. It seems like Four Daughters in an alternate universe. Dad (Claude Rains) is a cad, but at least  Priscilla Lane is drawn to John Garfield's character and it is the bland Jeffrey Lynn who is correctly putting her feet to sleep.  I just never figured out why Warner's pushed the completely forgettable Lynn as a dashing leading man. I realize not everybody can be Flynn or Bogart, but really! 

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3 minutes ago, LsDoorMat said:

I feel it was "kind of" related. It seems like Four Daughters in an alternate universe. Dad (Claude Rains) is a cad, but at least  Priscilla Lane is drawn to John Garfield's character and it is the bland Jeffrey Lynn who is correctly putting her feet to sleep.  I just never figured out why Warner's pushed the completely forgettable Lynn as a dashing leading man. I realize not everybody can be Flynn or Bogart, but really! 

I think Jeffrey Lynn was a protege of David Selznick who was going to cast him as Ashley in GONE WITH THE WIND, before Leslie Howard agreed to take the role. Lynn had some quality that Selznick felt would make him a star and I suppose Selznick succeeded in getting Jack Warner to share that idea.

Lynn is very good in crime dramas like THE ROARING TWENTIES (1939), WHIPLASH (1948) and STRANGE BARGAIN (1949).

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6 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

I think Jeffrey Lynn was a protege of David Selznick who was going to cast him as Ashley in GONE WITH THE WIND, before Leslie Howard agreed to take the role. Lynn had some quality that Selznick felt would make him a star and I suppose Selznick succeeded in getting Jack Warner to share that idea.

Lynn is very good in crime dramas like THE ROARING TWENTIES (1939), WHIPLASH (1948) and STRANGE BARGAIN (1949).

Jeffrey Lynn as Ashley! I don't know how that would have gone over. Leslie Howard could show a good bit of range, and I know he was playing Ashley as bland intentionally, so it might have worked. 

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8 minutes ago, LsDoorMat said:

Jeffrey Lynn as Ashley! I don't know how that would have gone over. Leslie Howard could show a good bit of range, and I know he was playing Ashley as bland intentionally, so it might have worked. 

I think it would have depended upon Lynn's acting chemistry with de Havilland. Of course, Warner later cast them opposite each other in MY LOVE CAME BACK (1940).

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On 4/10/2021 at 1:18 PM, LsDoorMat said:

I feel it was "kind of" related. It seems like Four Daughters in an alternate universe. Dad (Claude Rains) is a cad, but at least  Priscilla Lane is drawn to John Garfield's character and it is the bland Jeffrey Lynn who is correctly putting her feet to sleep.  I just never figured out why Warner's pushed the completely forgettable Lynn as a dashing leading man. I realize not everybody can be Flynn or Bogart, but really! 

As for your "never figured out why WB pushed Lynn":    I assume you really know the answer;  He was under a multiple year contract;   This means he was getting a weekly salary regardless of if he worked (was in a film),  or not.    I.e.  Jack told the WB producers:  I'm paying for him,,, use him!!!      So the actual question is: why did they sign him to a fixed term contract;  From Wiki:    Lynn was appearing in a production of Brother Rat in Chicago. He was spotted by a Warners talent scout and given a screen test. In January 1938 they signed him to a long-term contract.[10]

Lynn continued to impressed those in Hollywood -  From Wiki:   After the success of Four Daughters, Lynn was screen tested for the role of Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind (1939). He was considered to be the front runner for the role, partly due to his physical resemblance to the character as written.

As for the casting and script of Four Daughters;  Yea,  alternate universe is a good description.   But the role of Mickey was what Garfield needed,  helping establish his screen persona as an outsider \ non conventional type.        In this way WB made the right casting decision for the future of both actors:  Lynn would go on to play a rather bland romantic figure,  getting the gal,  while the manly man top studio actors,  would desire the same gal,  but end up dead;    The Roaring Twenties (Cagney) and  It All Came True (Bogart).

Casting Flynn instead of Lynn in these type of roles would have been a waste of his talent.     

PS:   I'm editing this because it may appear too harsh towards Lynn:    Lynn did his job well as a secondary leading man or supporting player and as the star in light romantic comedies while at WB.     During the studio days,  each studio needed different type of actors under contract.     Lynn was a contributor during his time at WB and performed as expected.      (i.e. WB producers knew he wasn't a Cagney, Flynn,  E.G. Robinson,  or Bogie,   and thus utilized Lynn,  like most of their other under-contract actors,   well).

 

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22 hours ago, Debra Johnson said:

Just finished watching back to back  "Four Daughters", "Four Wives" and "Four Mothers".   Are there anymore film in this series or is that it?  Really enjoyed them.

I recorded that evening too, just haven't watched them yet. Hadn't seen them in decades but remember them as enjoyable. Made me a fan of the Lane Sisters, Lola especially. Thanks TCM, for scheduling these together.

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If you're a fan of Claude Rains then Daughters Courageous allows him his best opportunity of these Lane Sisters films, in my opinion. He has the opportunity to bring charm with a hint of vulnerability to his wanderlust father who returns home and wants to settle down. I always found his characterization as the cuddly music loving Papa in the other films a bit too cutesy for my liking.

Somewhere I read that Flynn had been under consideration for Four Daughters. I'm glad they didn't waste his talents in this film. Sure, they would have built his part up if it had been him instead of Jeffrey Lynn but that might have been at the expense of John Garfield's outsider.

By the way, unlike Flynn, Garfield regarded Michael Curtiz as a favourite director and when you look at their four films together you can understand why: Four Daughters, which made him a star with an Oscar nomination, Daughters Courageous, The Sea Wolf and The Breaking Point, the latter being a particular favourite of the actor. Curtiz was a tough director but he and Garfield got along well.

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I believe that at one time Jack Warner was considering buying GWTW as a vehicle for Bette Davis and Errol Flynn. They could have filled out the cast with the "Four Daughters" series actors: Jeffrey Lynn as Ashley, Priscilla Lane as Melanie, Claude Rains as Gerald O'Hara, Fay Bainter as Ellen O'Hara, May Robson as Aunt Pittypat, Frank McHugh as Frank Kennedy, Lola Lane as Belle Watling, Rosemary Lane as India Wilkes, and Gale Page as the sister who cries, "She's had two husbands already, and I'm going to die an old maid!"

In a galaxy far, far away . . . .

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9 hours ago, kingrat said:

I believe that at one time Jack Warner was considering buying GWTW as a vehicle for Bette Davis and Errol Flynn. They could have filled out the cast with the "Four Daughters" series actors: Jeffrey Lynn as Ashley, Priscilla Lane as Melanie, Claude Rains as Gerald O'Hara, Fay Bainter as Ellen O'Hara, May Robson as Aunt Pittypat, Frank McHugh as Frank Kennedy, Lola Lane as Belle Watling, Rosemary Lane as India Wilkes, and Gale Page as the sister who cries, "She's had two husbands already, and I'm going to die an old maid!"

In a galaxy far, far away . . . .

Yeh, but who are they going to get from that film to play Mammy? Four Daughters was movie small town Americana of the strictly white variety.

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Also, Max Steiner used his "Four Daughters" motif in the main title of DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS when the "Four Daughters" credit appeared on screen.

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Is it Four Daughters where they have a picnic in the woods? Everything is ethereal. It's a fairytale scene to be sure with a swing and a barbecue grill, Dad asking for more beer, someone playing the guitar and hemming Felix's pants and riding bicycles through the fields of newly mown hay and everything is simply perfectamundo. It's a most picturesque scene and so totally unbelievable. What family is that loving? But I must say I am a sucker for this movie as well as the rest following. I wished I was Priscilla Lane when I was 16. I thought she was the most perfect girl on the planet.  She was so pretty and so perky.  It's plenty smarmy and gooshy, especially with the perfect white picket fence surrounding the homestead and the squeaky gate, but I don't' know. Makes one have a good feeling. I never miss this film when it plays.

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For those familiar with actress Julie Garfield, who has been on TCM interviewed by Eddie Muller on Noir Alley . . .

julie-john.jpg

. . .she truly does look like the offspring of her parents

5b726591805183dececb9e199cc3a0a1

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