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"Captivating" Dolores Moran


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And there she is, in case you can't quite place the name, the "other" woman, that blonde from Howard Hawks' To Have and Have Not.



I've noticed the trailers on TCM this week for this Saturday's Essential, the Bogart-Bacall classic which will be making its umpteenth appearance on the station. What I took note of it in the trailer, though, is its considerable emphasis upon Dolores Moran, more than anyone else in the film except for the film's two stars. Far more than either Walter Brennan or Hoagy Carmichael.



The trailer, in fact, makes reference to "Two Fascinating New Personalities, "Provocative" Lauren Bacall and "Captivating" Dolores Moran. There is a brief glamour shot of Moran, followed by the words, "She Had Known Many Men . . . But never ONE LIKE THIS!"



Only that glamour shot of Moran never appears in the film (quite frankly, brief as that shot is, Moran looks pretty hot in it). Cast in the role of a resistance leader's wife, Moran's first appearance in the film (one of its two "fascinating" personalities, remember) is not until 55 minutes into the film, by which time the rapport between Bogart and Bacall is well established, and Moran, well, pretty much disappears on the screen even when she has dialogue. Who, after all, thinks of Dolores Moran at any time, let alone when they think of To Have and Have Not?



Which, in turn, made me think of a fascinating posting in the Greenbriar blog several years ago by John McElwee. Moran, it appears, at age 18 or so, was leftovers for 47 year old director Howard Hawks, miffed that the object of his own designs, Miss Bacall, had taken up with the film's star instead of himself. (Bacall was under personal contract to Hawks, I understand, after the director's own wife, "Slim," pointed her out to her husband as potential star material). Since Bacall was busy with Bogie, Hawks then had an affair with Moran instead during the making of the film.



I don't know exactly what happened at that time. Certainly Moran would be one of a long list of pretty young starlets to enter into a relationship, even a brief one, with an industry power broker in the hopes of it assisting her career.



Apparently the Hawks-Moran affair was a brief one and it certainly didn't do the actress any good. According to McElwee's article initial plans in the script of To Have had intended to have Moran and Bacall competing for the attention of Bogart's character. It didn't happen, however. (That glamour shot of Moran from the trailer, however, adds credence to the talk of her character being more actively involved with Bogart).



Moran's character gets largely chopped from To Have, just as Martha Vickers, playing Bacall's young **** sister in The Big Sleep, also got largely chopped from the Bogart-Bacall followup (though, in my opinion, Vickers, unlike Moran, does make an impression in that Philip Marlow thriller). McElwee is uncertain if Hawks and Vickers were "close," as well, though it's apparently a possiblility.



Certainly not too long afterward poor John Ireland's character of Cherry would be largely cut out of Red River, Hawks' punishment for Ireland having taken up during that film's production with Joanne Dru, another young actress upon whom the silver haired director had affixed his gaze for extra curricular activites. (Ireland and Dru would marry afterward).



The point of this is not so much that Howards Hawks was any more of a sexual predator than hundreds, nay, thousands of others in the film industry. I guess it's the thought of the Dolores Morans who have come to a factory town like Hollywood hoping to strike it as a star and left that same town disillusioned at the price they had to pay.



Difficult to name the films in Dolores Moran's career. There were only a handful before her last in 1954. She would eventually pass away from cancer at age 58, and a book would be written by Mrs. Howard Hawks in which she exposed the affair between her husband (a notorious womanizer, apparently) and the young actress, to whom she refers in quite contemptuous terms.



This is a part of the seedier aspect of show business that everyone knows is there, and it, of course, doesn't say much for those power brokers who take advantage of the pretty but powerless and then cast them aside afterward. That appears to be the case with Dolores Moran, who was "captivating" when the trailer for To Have was created.



That was before decisions were then made regarding her character, undoubtedly with Hawks' involvement. Possibly the film is stronger because of those decisions (Bogie and Bacall have great rapport, after all). But we're never going to know for sure. What does appear to be the case, however, is that Moran was another of Hollywood's victims.



Here's a link to McElwee's posting, for those interested:





Edited by: TomJH on Jul 19, 2012 3:36 PM


Edited by: TomJH on Jul 19, 2012 9:44 PM

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Hmm, Tom, what's odd is, the second I saw that poster I thought for a moment it was Lauren Bacall. this was even before I read your post or knew there was any connection between Dolores Moran and Lauren Bacall. Strange, eh?

I do think she looks a little like her ( Bacall.) Maybe it's the hair and make-up.

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Oh, very well. I must confess this is not something I feel strongly about. But I did initially think it was Lauren Bacall when I saw that poster. And it was before I read that she was in *To Have and Have Not.*

Which, by the way, I've seen many times and not once, sorry to say, paid much attention to that other woman who's in it ( whom I now realize is Dolores Moran.) Guess I wasn't captivated enough.

I did always feel a little sorry for that "other woman" who so completely takes a back seat to Bacall (please, finance, no jokes about their "seats".)


As to the difference in the type of body they had, respectively, I only saw Dolores' face in the poster. But I tend to not notice the body aspect too much anyway.


Once a former boyfriend and I got into a debate over whether a woman can be "good -looking" based only on her figure. I'd commented that some famous actress ( right now I actually forget who) was only average looking and I didn't understand what all the fuss was about, as everyone considered her to be very attractive. The boyfriend said "But she has a great body", to which I replied, "What does that have to do with it?"

Straight male point of view versus straight female point of view.


Remember that Clash song, "Nice Legs - Shame about the Face" ?

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*Which, by the way, I've seen many times and not once, sorry to say, paid much attention to that other woman who's in it ( whom I now realize is Dolores Moran.) Guess I wasn't captivated enough.*


That's my point. Moran was largely cut out of the film, not making much impression in it, as you indicated, misswonderly, in favour of Lauren Bacall's character. These are the vagaries of show business. To be blunt, it made Bacall a winner and Moran a loser.


But who knows what would have happened if the makers of To Have and Have Not had decided to play up Moran's sex appeal (based on that admittedly very brief clip in the trailer, she may have had it, too). Perhaps it would be, instead, the birth Dolores Moran's film career that To Have and Have Not would be associated with instead of that of Lauren Bacall.


It is, of course, a mug's game to make these kind of guesstimations since, based on the evidence before us in that film appearance, we can't really even tell of Dolores Moran had "it" or not. Certainly Bacall did. The point, though, is that original plans to make a greater utilization of her character in the film were cast aside. Afterward, for whatever reason, Warner Bros. had little interest in this actress.


It would appear that Moran originally had a shot at a role of greater significance in a major Bogart film when the production began, was "romanced" by the film's director, after which both the character and actress were cast aside. Hawks had no more interest in her, nor did the studio. Yes, she would be in a few more Warners films but without any parts of distinction.


It's a cruel industry, as we know, and there are a lot of Dolores Morans in it. Seeing that trailer of To Have and Have Not just reminded me of that fact.


Edited by: TomJH on Jul 19, 2012 9:51 PM

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Yes, Tom just a slight change of circumstances can have a major impact on the future. My understanding is that the original screenplay had most of the sexual tension between the Moran character and Bogie. Instead once they saw the rushes between Bogie and Bacall, scenes where changed. Thus Moran's character is only used a prop to increase the sexual tension between B & B. e.g. when Bogie carries Moran out after she faints. Bogie is checking her out and Bacall says 'trying to guess her weight'. Bogie returns with 'she is heavier than you think'. That banter shows the Bacall has a thing for Bogie. So instead of a Moran trying to flirt with Bogie instead she plays the loyal wife of the Frenchman.



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I know I'll probably get clobbered for saying this, but I've always considered Bacall to be the luckiest actress who ever lived. And I say that even though she has several performances I like.


She's the biggest example on right place, right time.


I hope that things worked out the way James described. I'd hate to think that Ms. Moran got scenes cut because of the affair or how it ended up or something.

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ginnyfan, I don't know if Moran's affair with Hawks had a detrimental effect upon her scenes being cut. (I believe, based on Hawks' treatment of John Ireland during Red River, though, that he was capable of it).


Yes, Bacall's rapport with Bogart in the film is quite remarkable. With that chemistry came an off screen relationship as well. Pardon my cynicism, but is it inconceivable that with both Bacall and Moran having affairs during the production of this film, that Bacall's simply trumped Moran's because Bogart had more influence than Hawks (not to mention the fact, of course, that Bacall was also under contract to the director so he also had a vested interest in seeing her do well while Moran was, well, someone he didn't want the wife to know about). I am speculating only so please keep that in mind. I do not know that this is the case.


Along with talent and determination, luck can play a huge role in who does and does not become a star.


In Maria Janis Cooper's tribute to her father, Gary, that frequently plays on TCM, she included a quote from her father that bears repeating here, I feel:


"No player ever rises to prominence solely on talent. They're molded by forces other than themselves."

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> {quote:title=TomJH wrote:

> }{quote}...We can't really even tell of Dolores Moran had "it" or not. Certainly Bacall did.

Long-time big Dolores Moran fan here.

And far as I'm concerned Dolores had a thousand times more "it" in any two-second scene than Bacall ever had in any whole movie!

(With all due respect to Miss Bacall's popularity...)


Thanks for your post giving Dolores Moran some attention and recognition!


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Musicalnovelty, it's nice to correspond with someone who calls himself a fan of an actress who never received many opportunities in the movies.


As much as I love old movies and many of its stars, I always wonder about the unknown tales of the ambitious, eager players who, for whatever reason, failed to make it in the industry. Luck and connections would have played as large a role in their success, I'm sure, as any talent they possessed.


Think of the decision (by William Wellman) to reverse the roles originally scheduled to be played by the stiff Edward Woods in the lead and James Cagney in support in The Public Enemy, with Cagney becoming an overnight star as a result. Think, too, of Robert Donat turning down the role of Captain Blood, and the fact that Jack Warner, after testing some stars like George Brent and others, settled upon an unknown Tasmanian newly arrived in Hollywood, one Errol Flynn.


Who knows if the role of the "other" woman as originally envisioned by the screenwriters of To Have and Have Not might not have been Dolores Moran's big break. But, for whatever reason or combination of them (1. Bacall's on screen rapport with Bogart, 2. Bacall's affair with Bogart, 3. Moran's affair with Hawks, possibly turning sour) it didn't happen, and the role was changed and largely written out of the film. The trailer, however, gives an indication of the original greater plans for Moran in the production.


Moran, if memory serves me correctly, had a sizeable role in Bette Davis' Old Acquaintance the year before, as well as small parts in The Horn Blows at Midnight and The Man I Love. I don't believe that Warners did much more with her than that, however.


Moran was one of the film industry's "failures" and, unless someone does an in-depth study of this little known actress, we will never know the reason why. I suspect, however, that To Have and Have Not was, in retrospect, the big opportunity of her career which never came to fruition.


I created this post to acknowledge the lady. That, along with the hope that while fans watch the film and are still dazzled by Bacall's interplay with Bogart (along with the great "You know how to whistle, don't you?" dialogue that she was supplied), they might also give a thought to the other actress in the film. Yes, she's blown off the screen in a bland role, but who knows what the results might have been if this same performer, who clearly had sex appeal, had been given an opportunity similar to the one handed on a platter to Bacall on that occasion.




The scene in the trailer edited from To Have and Have Not






Edited by: TomJH on Jul 20, 2012 7:39 AM

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> {quote:title=TomJH wrote:}{quote}Musicalnovelty, it's nice to correspond with someone who calls himself a fan of an actress who never received many opportunities in the movies.



As someone who has a long list of less than iconic actors he loves I agree completely.


I'm going to have to look for Dolores more carefully next time.

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I was looking recently for information about Peggy Moran (no relation) when I came across pictures of Dolores Moran. She was beautiful. I particularly remember her in A Horn Blows at Midnight. I didn't remember her at all in To Have and Have Not.




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{font:Times New Roman}This is one of my favorite classic films because Lauren/Slim is not a wallflower but gets right down into the middle of the action. She gets the guy, too. {font}



{font:Times New Roman}I am also quite aware of Dolores Moran when she’s on screen. Her character is honest about her failings, overcomes her fears to be with her husband because she understands it’s best for him, and devoted to their cause enough to rather Steve or the ocean have her jewels than the Nazis. You see she is a lot more than just a spoiled brat.{font}



{font:Times New Roman}In that TomJH photo, she looks more like Virginia Mayo that Lauren Bacall. I can’t believe she was only 18 at this time.{font}



{font:Times New Roman}If I read the posts right the original plot was a quadrangle with Slim and the married woman battling over Steve while the husband remains unknowing. Add some lions and tigers and you had “Red Dust/Mogombo of the Caribbean.” I like it the way it came out.{font}



{font:Times New Roman}The real story is a cautionary one that was played out thousands of times over the years. I’d be curious as to how many actresses had any kind of successful careers due to “couch casting”. Very few, I imagine. For all his efforts Hawks doesn’t seem to have “scored” with as many women as he wished to which I applaud my fellow women who said no. {font}



{font:Times New Roman}This is a different, informative and interesting thread. Thank you, Tom {font}



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Thanks very much for posting that lovely shot of Dolores Moran, twangman. Yeah, "hubba-hubba" pretty much says it, doesn't it?


Miss Moran, along with so many others, did a lot of cheesecake pix for the servicemen during WWII, of which, I assume, that may have been one of them. According to a couple of other sources it also appears that she gained the interest of a young Jimmy Stewart during his bachelor days, and they dated to some degree.


Here's another shot I found of Moran, to which I can only say WOW!. It's interesting the different look that she has in this photo, as opposed to Twangman's. The previous shot exuded girl-next-door wholesomeness while this one has the actress looking more like a seductress.




Life can play some pretty dirty tricks on us, at times. I have a feeling that this may have happened to Dolores Moran, a beautiful brunette (who bleached her hair blonde), arriving in the movie capital of the world full of the usual hopes and dreams of stardom.


Her film career, alas, would be fairly brief, with virtually no roles of distinction, and she would retire from the business in the mid 1950s. Cancer would claim her at age 58, dying in relative obscurity. If a few of us take a moment, however, to pay tribute to the lady with the dreams, and perhaps acknowledge how differently things may have turned out for her if circumstances had dictated otherwise, that would be a little something, at least.


Dolores Moran can be seen, in many ways, as representing those who reached for the Hollywood brass ring only to come up short. Gary Cooper was so right when he spoke about outside forces, beyond people's control, that can mould their lives. To which I add, for better or worse.


Those forces were working in equal measure upon both Dolores Moran and Lauren Bacall on the 1944 Warner Brothers sound stages when To Have and Have Not was being filmed. For one actress the results would be international fame, a lengthy film career and legendary Hollywood marriage; for the other it would be the disappointment of a role seriously reduced in a major film production. For whatever reasons, no similar opportunities would present themselves to her again. Moran wouldn't have realized it, perhaps, until some years later, but, with To Have and Have Not, she had just missed the brass ring.


Edited by: TomJH on Jul 21, 2012 10:25 AM

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Tom, there is no way we really know why Moran didn't become a bigger star. Yea, what occured during To Have and Have Not was a set back but that shouldn't kill a career. So maybe Moran just lacked the ability. i.e. she just wasn't that good of an actress or she just wasn't interesting enough.


Take someone else from the next Bogie Bacall movie, The Big Sleep. Dorothy Malone. She had a very small part but she made a very big impact. It would still take a few years before she made it big but she got there.

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Absolutely, James. We don't know how much real talent Dolores Moran had. I merely stated that To Have and Have Not, as originally envisioned, would have been her big opportunity and, for whatever reason, it fell through for her.


The fact that the film's director had Lauren Bacall under personal contract to him, however, along with his quickie affair with Moran after he saw that the original object of his desire (Bacall) was occupied with Bogart, makes me wonder if that had something to do with behind-the-scenes activities stacking against the young starlet. I admit, however, that that is mere speculation on my part. Take that for what it's worth.


By the way, James, you mentioned how long it took Dorothy Malone to become a star after she gave that incredibly sensual performance in The Big Sleep. An even better example is Martha Vickers, playing Bacall's thumb sucking nymphomaniac sister in the same film. She had further planned scenes cut from that movie, according to McElwee's Greenbriar article. She's quite terrific in The Big Sleep, in my opinion, but her career, like Moran's, went nowhere.


After Bacall gave a stilted, panned performance in her second film, Confidential Agent, Warners were afraid that her new found stardom was going to be tarnished. The Big Sleep was presented as much as a Bogie-Baby romance as it was a thriller. The studio was very concerned that Bacall come off well in The Big Sleep, and it didn't want her upstaged by anyone, including the thumb sucking Miss Vickers.

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I agree that Vickers was very good in The Big Sleep but it didn't lead to better roles for her. I have a wonderful Vickers promo still on my wall of fame. Most casual movie fans can guess who everyone on that wall is but I have yet to meet someone that says 'that is Martha Vickers'!


Typically a studio will sell the rights for an actor that does pan out to another studio. I assume Moran was under contract. I wonder if they tried to sell the rights and there were no takers?


I have seen her in the Davis movie made the year before and she did a fine job there. I sure that wasn't an easy movie for a very young gal to make since Davis and Hopkins really hated each other and thus there had to be a lot of tension on the set.

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James, since this is a thread about Dolores Moran I really don't want to go off on a different tangent. I have to say, however, that The Big Sleep is easily my favourite of the four films that co-starred Bogart and Bacall.


And I don't care if the plot doesn't make a lot of sense. Actually Howard Hawks said that a film doesn't have to have a good story to be a good film. What it needs are three or four good scenes that stay with the audience, he believed (and no bad scenes).


I guess that The Big Sleep proves his point. Aside from the great Max Steiner score and the film's terrific private eye/film noir elements, it has to be, bar none, the film in which Bogie came closest to being treated like a sex symbol. Every woman in the film (outside of Eddie Mars' wife who splashes him with her drink) goes for him: society dame Bacall, her little **** sister (who, personally, interests me a lot more than Big Sister), a sexy bookstore clerk (who really lets her hair down) and a snappy female cabbie (where does this guy meet cabbies like that?)


The violence is sparse but crackling. Bob Steele is genuinely eerie as cold-blooded Canino, just as Elisha Cook Jr (in a contrasting role to that in The Maltese Falcon) is sympathetic, honourable and even a little tragic as Jonesy. Oh, yeah, no one gives "thumb" quite as good as the entirely sensual Martha Vickers.


Plus that horse race double entendre dialogue scene between Bogie and Baby. Yep, this is one film I like just fine.




Baby Sister Definitely Got My Attention




Edited by: TomJH on Jul 20, 2012 10:28 PM


Edited by: TomJH on Jul 21, 2012 11:03 AM

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