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"Shadow on the Wall", Zachary Scott, Ann Sothern, Nancy Davis


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TCM is airing this 1950 thriller @ 1:30 p.m. Eastern Monday.

Complicated romantic triangle results in crime, and a traumatized witness to the act.  Zachary Scott is tops as usual-- he's a busy but doting Dad, and deceived husband.  Love Ann Sothern, who is interestingly cast against type.   Nancy Davis, aka Nancy Reagan, is very good as determined psychiatrist or psychologist trying to unravel the mystery.

Terrific art direction and building suspense.   Nice that they're following it up with classic noir  "D.O.A."  at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.   In fact, Monday has quite a good line-up generally.  

  

 

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This was Ann Sothern's last film at MGM where she had appeared in motion pictures since 1937. 

She would remain under contract to the studio through 1953, since she was still playing Maisie on a hit radio series.

She began to freelance in 1953 and went on to achieve greater success on television.

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Very interesting, TOPBILLED.   Ann Sothern's last film at MGM.   I wonder why they under-utilized her in their films, even though she was doing other media.

I can see her being so suited to TV.   She was so accessible, earthy and to me, so likeable-- who doesn't like Ann Sothern?   Would do well in that intimate medium.  I alerted this movie on the other site I'm on, and was struck by how many other Boomer age posters responded favorably to her specifically.   They had faint, very fond memories of the show she did with Don Porter in which she was a top secretary and charming busy body. 

 

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1 hour ago, lilypond said:

Very interesting, TOPBILLED.   Ann Sothern's last film at MGM.   I wonder why they under-utilized her in their films, even though she was doing other media.

I can see her being so suited to TV.   She was so accessible, earthy and to me, so likeable-- who doesn't like Ann Sothern?   Would do well in that intimate medium.  I alerted this movie on the other site I'm on, and was struck by how many other Boomer age posters responded favorably to her specifically.   They had faint, very fond memories of the show she did with Don Porter in which she was a top secretary and charming busy body. 

I read somewhere that after she made SHADOW ON THE WALL, she experienced a bout of hepatitis that had lingering effects and for awhile had discolored her facial skin. It prevented her from appearing on screen for a few years while she was recovering and it explains why she was just doing radio from 1950-53 and waited to do television work. 

Her next film was THE BLUE GARDENIA (1953) and she looks healthy. But it is in black-and-white so if her skin had been slightly discolored we would not be able to tell. Her television shows Private Secretary and The Ann Sothern Show were in black-and-white. 

She signed up to do Private Secretary when MGM decided not to bring the Maisie character to TV which she had wanted to do.

As you mentioned, Don Porter played her boss. In the second series The Ann Sothern Show Ernest Truex played her boss in the beginning. But she had better chemistry with Porter, so Truex was written out near the end of the first season and Porter came on board. He would remain as her boss for the rest of the show's run.

The second series had a slightly different premise, taking place at an upscale hotel, and this time she was an executive secretary. The series was a joint co-production between Anso (Ann's production company) and Desilu. Lucille Ball guest stars in the season 2 opener as Lucy Ricardo, a friend of Ann's character Katy O'Connor who comes to visit her at the hotel.

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Gosh, that must have been an anxious period for her, TOPBILLED.    Imagine,  for any performer, to have a noticeable skin condition could be devastating.  You're right, she does look fine in "The Blue Gardenia".  

Before hearing about her illness, I was speculating that maybe it was her last film there b/c she was playing such a "non-Ann Sothern" character in this film.   It's nice that she got to shatter expectations in it. 

Your wealth of background info, generously shared and so illuminating, is much appreciated!

 

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