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LINDA DARNELL for Star of the Month October 2013


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FYI....0n Saturday, August 31, as part 0f the Rex Harris0n SUTS, TCM will have 2 films with Linda Darnell: UNFAITHFULLY Y0URS and ANNA AND THE KING 0F SIAM. In the first, she plays Rex`wife, which he fantasizes is cheating and wants her killed, and in the latter, he has her killed for the same reason.

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FYI....0n Saturday, August 31, as part 0f the Rex Harris0n SUTS, TCM will have 2 films with Linda Darnell: UNFAITHFULLY Y0URS and ANNA AND THE KING 0F SIAM. In the first, she plays Rex`wife, which he fantasizes is cheating and wants her killed, and in the latter, as his newest wife, he has her killed for the same reason.

 

Edited by: Arturo on Aug 27, 2013 1:18 AM

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*0n Saturday, August 31, as part 0f the Rex Harris0n SUTS, TCM will have 2 films with Linda Darnell: UNFAITHFULLY Y0URS and ANNA AND THE KING 0F SIAM. In the first, she plays Rex`wife, which he fantasizes is cheating and wants her killed, and in the latter, as his newest wife, he has her killed for the same reason.*

 

Just a reminder for this Saturday. And just a thought, both of these movies had significant times trimmed from them, along the lines of 20 or more minutes, With UY, these involve scenes in Darnell's hometown, where Rex courts and marries her. In AATKOS, the scenes might've involved Tuptim, Linda's character, which is surprisingly brief in the released movie. Of course, both films at some 10 minutes under or over 2 hours, respectively, were comedies, and Zanuck thought they were overlong. Wish someone could find some of the deleted scenes in the Fox vaults, if they still exist.

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A reminder.....this day at 3pm eastern, 12pm Pacific: UNFAITHFULLY Y0URS. Later, as the Essential at 8pm eastern, 5pm pacific: ANNA AND THE KING 0F SIAM.

 

VegasLady, welcome. I believe you refer to CENTENNIAL SUMMER, a charming musical unseen for years. I wish TCM can track it down and clear the rights; better yet, that it`d be released DVD.

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This Thursday, September 5, TCM is showing 1950`s NO WAY OUT, with one of Linda Darnell's best roles in one of her best movies. Written and directed by Joseph Mankiewcz, this taut, harrowing drama of racial tensions, featuring Sidney Poitiers film debut, and also starring Richard Widmark and Stephen McNally, is just as relevant now as then.....highly recommended.

 

And prior to that, TCM will show PINKY (1949), with Jeanne Crain's Oscar nominated role as the titular heroine. Another excellent cast in this biting drama. I mention it here, because probably more than any other, this was a role that Linda Darnell wanted to do desperately. She begged Zanuck for it, but he felt that her image as an "adventuress" would taint a part that had to be "whiter than white". So Linda lost out on it, but had she done it, it might've changed the course of her career, with its many frustrations, into one with a more positive outcome. Another "what if" whose answer we'll never know.

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Just a reminder: NO WAY OUT is on this afternoon at 6 pm eastern, 3 pm pacific. And PINKY starts at 4 and 1 respectively.

 

PS - Tomorrow morning of Fox Movie Channel:

 

6:00 am EST, 3 AM PST:

 

MY DARLING CLEMENTINE

A western classic about Wyatt Earp (Fonda) and Doc Holliday (Mature) and their clash with the Clanton family at the O.K. Corral.

Cast: Henry Fonda, Victor Mature, Tim Holt, Alan Mowbray, Linda Darnell, Walter Brennan

Director: John Ford

1946

 

Edited by: Arturo on Sep 5, 2013 2:37 PM

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MeTV (Hollywood)'s recent changes as part of its Fall lineup has had the obviously unintended consequence of removing two upcoming shows featuring Linda Darnell, which I had been waiting (since I discovered MeTV sometime last year) to be broadcast so I could record them (although I must admit, I have these shows on the respective sets for those seasons-so they would have just been back-ups). One of these was the finale for the first season of Wagon Train, "The Sacramento Story" (1958), which was on track to be shown on September 22. This weekend they started on the full color 90 minute episodes (Season 7?). The other was an episode of the first season of Burke's Law, "Who Killed His Royal Highness" (1964)- I had waited patiently for this, as they had started showing Season One, after me coming aboard and going through seasons 2 and 3. Now the show is off the air (apparently).

 

In both shows, Linda's role is basically just a cameo; in the WT finale, it was a sort of coda to her earlier characterization in "The Dora Gray Story". Her appearance in TSS contrasts from the earlier show, in that she had definitely gained some weight in the few months that had lapsed. The cameo was normal for the big names in BL, where Linda has just one scene. She looks beautiful, but was definitely heavier, which is only emphasized by the shiny loose blouse she wears.

 

Despite the brevity of these roles, it gives screen time to Linda at a time when Linda was no longer doing feature films; BL was her first tv appearance (other than talk shows) she had done in some 3-4 years.

Later that year, she would do her last movie, BLACK SPURS, so Burke's Law was her penultimate appearance on any screen, although she was still active on stage.

 

PS-On a more positive note, it looks like that's Linda Darnell on the cover of the new Greg Bautzer biography that TCM is hawking on their highlights for September. She is dancing with him in that photo, which seems to be from the early 40s, and was known to have been one of many stars to date him. Makes me want to get the bio even more.

 

Edited by: Arturo because my PostScript is wrong. On repeated viewing, the girl on the cover is blonde, and I am sure that it is Lana Turner, who also dated Bautzer.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, we're well into October, and as much as I'd hoped to get Linda Darnell chosen this month as Star of the Month (to coincide with what would have been her 90th birthday on the 16th), I am enjoying that the actual SOTM, Vincent Price, is a perfect fit for this month (although TCM could have waited until next October lol). Anyway, I hope I've raised Linda's profile among the programmers and the odds that she gets selected in the near future as SOTM. If I remember the schedule correctly, she will be seen in primetime on her birthday on TCM, on THE MARK OF ZORRO, which has one of her best early performances, as part of an evening of Tyrone Power films.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's October 16 on the east coast, sooo......

 

Happy 90th birthday, Linda. Hope you finally found the peace so often missing in your life.

 

Ps....THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940) will be on during the Tyrone Power tribute Wednesday night, wifh a radiantly beautiful young Linda Darnell. 11:45 eastern, 8:45 pacific.

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Happy Birthday to the lovely Linda -

 

Linda[iDarnell[/i]2.jpg]

 

And while I'm at it, what better occasion to say thanks again to Arturo for all his effort and enthusiasm in keeping Ms. Darnell's body of work alive and well in our collective consciousness. Much appreciated. Now if TCM would please play Everybody Does It again . . . ;)

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Arturo, I have always thought that Linda Darnell and Tyrone Power bring a remarkable charm and, at times, delightful gentle humour to their well written scenes in The Mark of Zorro.

 

It goes to show the inspiration for two actors that can come from a witty script and strong director (Rouben Mamoulian). Even though they would have the same director in Blood and Sand, I have never found quite the same delight in their scenes together in that bullfighter drama. Darnell, while incredibly beautiful, is simply not as interesting a character as that played by Rita Hayworth as the vamp. (Bad girls are more interesting than good girls, as Darnell would prove later in her career). It's Power's scenes with Hayworth that leave the biggest impression in that film.

 

Brigham Young essentially wastes both Darnell and Power in bland roles, in my opinion, and it's been too long since I saw Daytime Wife to comment upon it. But in The Mark of Zorro, I think they were a great screen team, bringing the same kind of fairy tale quality to their scenes that had so distinguished the work of Flynn and de Havilland in Robin Hood.

 

And thanks again, Arturo, for bringing the life and career of an underrated actress to the attention of TCM viewers. Linda Darnell has been gone for almost half a century, but you still continue with your loving effort to make sure that the lady is not forgotten.

 

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I, too, was disappointed they took Burke's Law off the air. I discovered it last winter and recorded the shows to watch the next day (I think it was on 4AM Sunday morning) I only got to watch maybe 2/3 of one season (unsure which). Then they went to the Secret Agent episodes (which I had no interest in) so I stopped watching it. Then they took it off! Not a great show, but it had a lot of stars from Hollywood's golden era. I remember some of the shows when I was a kid when it was on tv........Maybe they'll bring it back again, but for now it's not on the schedule.....

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While the 1940 version of The Mark of Zorro is an OK movie it is also a silly one and at times borderline camp. Compare this version with the 1998 Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins version. The later movie has a lot more substance.

 

In the Powers' version the violence is mostly played for laughs. The head guy Don Luis has no menace. Instead he is a cartoon character. Rathbone is the only character that brings some seriousness to the film but he is mostly wasted.

 

Ok, I understand that the Powers version is mostly just a romance film set in a very dark setting. But the 1998 version has romance but takes full advantage of this dark setting. Comparing these two version helps illustrate one of the points Cousins was making about many Hollywood films from the golden era.

 

The 1938 version of The Adventure of Robin Hood is a great adventure movie because it has the right amount of balance between the darkness of the situation the ?little people? find themselves in along with some fine comedy and romance. (With the sheriff being the only cartoonist character on the side of evil).

 

The 1940 version of the Mark of Zorro doesn?t have that balance and is therefore only an OK movie.

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James,

 

I respectfully disagree with your assessment of TMOZ. I think it is a supreme example of studio era moviemaking. What you see as silly and borderline camp I see as joie de vivre.and downright fun. It is to be taken and enjoyed at face value, not analyzed or dissected. This is what I find wrong with Cousins' approach to classic Hollywood movies...the approach is much too cerebral for movies that we're meant to entertain an audience for an hour and a half. Half the movies that he prefers, which are intentionally meant as cerebral exercises, are ponderous bores or have nothing more than dazzling camera angles or unconventional storytelling methods. It's apples and oranges, and I won't fall into the game of comparing them, or singling one technique as inherently better than the other.

 

PS ...I enjoys the two Zorro movies with Banderas, etc. but mostly for the scenery that is Catherine Zeta Jones, and the Mexican locations in Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Tlaxcala, etc. But I can't say that I've watched those more than a couple of times, whereas, like a coupld of other posters here, the 1940 version I will each time it is aired, even though I own the DVD

 

Edited by: Arturo on Oct 18, 2013 1:05 PM

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I don't wish this to become another discussion of Cousins since he clearly has his faults (so my bad for bringing him up), but what about my comparision of the 40s TMOZ with Robin Hood?

 

Again, I enjoyed TMOZ and I can 'take' the film for what it is but also wish it had something more like Robin Hood did. Another film similar to Zorro is The Scarlet Primpernel especially how the hero hides his identity. I find a lot of humor and charm in the scenes that reflect this in both films, but TSP still has more of an edge and to me this edge makes the movie more complete. Death and torture is treated for what it is instead of being pushed way to the background.

 

PS: If you don't wish to compare films, I get that, but then we need to move on since that is what I'm doing. But I don't see this as a black and white issue where a film has to be realy dark and serious. My basic point is that generally the best movies are balanced, and that TMOZ leans too much in the 'fluff' direction while Robin Hood has near perfect balance E.g. the use of Rathbone.

 

Therefore with regards to "supreme example of studio era moviemaking" I would say Robin Hood is a supreme example while Zorro is an example of a lost opportunity. The basis for a great movie are all there but the producer and director didn't utilize all that was available to them.

 

Edited by: jamesjazzguitar on Oct 18, 2013 8:07 PM

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MY favorite role for Ms. Darnell is in the something-like 1945 movie for Fox, Hangover Square, with Laird Cregar playing the psychotic composer and pianist, who is smitten with Darnell's character, who uses him shamelessly to write material for him and then denies him her 'charms'. Perhaps it will be among her films shown.

 

Re TMOZ - does anyone know if that was ever a serial. If so, was Reed Hadley in the role? If not, what serial did Reed Hadley don a black costume very similar to that of Z? Appreciate any enlightenment here.

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HANGOVER SQUARE (1945) is also one of my favorites of Linda's movies. It was her first role at her home studio with her new "femme fatale" image, introduced the year before on loan to UA for SUMMER STORM. She is quite effective in driving Laird Cregar to the point of strangling her.

 

Zorro was serialized at least once (Republic?), but i cant tell you who played him. It was also an early tv series, i believe.

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Arturo, there were a few Zorro serials, but probably the most celebrated was the 12 chapter Zorro's Fighting Legion from Republic in 1939. It starred Reed Hadley.

 

Quite frankly, for me all Zorros pale next to Tyrone Power.

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If by the main bad character you mean the alcalde of Los Angeles, played by J. Edward Bromberg, I agree he is cartoonish. But he is not one dimensional, he has his human side....after all, he wants to become Powers father in law.

 

However, i disagree he is the main bad guy...it is Rathvone, the power behind the throne. He says as much to Bromberg, when the latter is thinking of abdicating in the wake of Zorros predations. You have earlier mentioned that he is a fully fleshed character. So i feel that the evil is as strong as in the other swashbucklers you mention.

 

Edited by: Arturo on Oct 19, 2013 3:51 PM

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Rathbone clearly being his brand of menaces to the picture but this vibe is reduced due to the Bromberg character. Rathbone?s character treats Bromberg?s character with no respect and as a joke. To me this reduces the tension when the tension should be stressed due to what these two are doing to the everyday people of the area (the basis for the reason Zorro is created). Therefore I still feel that just a few minor changes to stress how the people were suffering and having the Bromberg character have some degree of menace more like the Rains? character in Robin Hood, would have evaluated the picture.

 

In some ways this is also similar to the common criticism of the Sherlock Holmes movies with Rathbone and Bruce. While I enjoy these movies I think they would have been elevated if Watson wasn?t so much of a clown.

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Yes, James, I read your take on the 1940 Mark of Zorro, and I have to say that I am very firmly in Arturo's camp when it comes to an appraisal of what I consider to be one of the great film swashbucklers.

 

What you regard as a film weakness and a cartoon character in J. Edward Bromberg's portrayal I see as a skillful amalgamation of oily corruption and comical buffoonery. Audiences are expected to neither hate nor fear Bromberg.

 

All of that is clearly reserved for Basil Rathbone's swaggering, strutting soldier-of-fortune, Bromberg's ruthless right hand man who really runs the show and of whom Bromberg is more than a little leery himself.

 

Just as Flynn had a magnificent opponent in Rathbone that made him look even better in Robin Hood, so, too, does Power in The Mark of Zorro. But Power brings charm and a deft comic touch of his own to his witty scenes as a fop, with macho Rathbone beside him as contrast.

 

I've seen The Mark of Zorro more times than I can count. It continues to satisfy me as what I regard as a brilliant illustration of the studio system at its best - as an exercise in style and elegance that is, at the same time, also so much fun to watch.

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Sorry james, but I've already also stated how much I love Mark of Zorro, it's my favorite of Ty's films. I've also seen this film more times than I can count and it never disappoints. A fun filled film. And as Tom so aptly wrote it's a charming film full of wit and elegance and wonderful performances by all. One of my most treasured tapes.

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Well we just view the movie differently, which of course is ok. I agree with all the positive things you noted about the film but I still find the vibe of the film too lighthearted.

 

Take the scene in Robin Hood after the capture of caravan carrying the gold and Lady Marian. There is the feast and this scene is played with a lot of humor, but then Robin takes Lady Marian to the back woods; here we see the people Robin is fighting for. This scene isn't too dark but it is serious enough to create an emotional connection between us and these 'little people'. I just don't get that type of emotional connection to the little people Zorro is fighting for.

 

Even the ending is somewhat 'off' to me compared to Robin Hood. Bromberg's characters gets to go back to Madrid. His wife is actually happy because now she can catch up with the latest fashions. So ordering the torture of the people results in no punishment, just a new wardrobe.

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