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LINDA DARNELL for Star of the Month October 2013


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Arturo, perhaps it seems a little odd for me to put this clip of the introduction of a '60s game show on your Linda Darnell thread.

 

But this is the show on which I recall, as a little kid, seeing Linda appear (she was the centre panelist, if I remember correctly). Being an admirer of the lady at the time, from frequent television broadcasts of The Mark of Zorro, I was both surprised and delighted to see her, thinking her still very, very beautiful.

 

As you look at this clip, try to envision Linda there, if you can, in place of Mary Tyler Moore. At least this brief clip gives you a bit of a feeling for the show.

 

The movie buff in me loved this show, by the way, produced by NBC in the esrly '60s, inasmuch as countless Hollywood stars from the studio era would appear on it as "surprise" guests hiding behind a curtain. It would be something if the show with Linda surfaced one day.

 

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Yes, thanks for clarifying. Awful. I thought that was the case. Dunno how that rescue story got started....

Well,.the rescue story is at least plausible, in that it was something that the generous and selfless qualities of Linda might've done. Some of the things I have read online are mean, and even downright evil.

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Arturo, perhaps it seems a little odd for me to put this clip of the introduction of a '60s game show on your Linda Darnell thread.But this is the show on which I recall, as a little kid, seeing Linda appear (she was the centre panelist, if I remember correctly). Being an admirer of the lady at the time, from frequent television broadcasts of The Mark of Zorro, I was both surprised and delighted to see her, thinking her still very, very beautiful.As you look at this clip, try to envision Linda there, if you can, in place of Mary Tyler Moore. At least this brief clip gives you a bit of a feeling for the show.The movie buff in me loved this show, by the way, produced by NBC in the esrly '60s, inasmuch as countless Hollywood stars from the studio era would appear on it as "surprise" guests hiding behind a curtain. It would be something if the show with Linda surfaced one day.[media]

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Thanks for the great clip, Tom, as well as for the information. Yes, I would love to come across the episode with Linda Darnell, since there are so few opportunities for this in the 1960s. Plus she comes across in a live setting as quite charming and even sexy, as her appearance as the Mystery Guest on What's My Line amply demonstrates. That clip may still be on youtube, although the complete half hour show is also on there. Unfortunately, the comment section was deleted, and no comments can be posted. Not sure what happened there, but some of the nasty comments I alluded to re. Linda's death were being posted there the last time I had seen the comment section. So nastiness and censorship are not just on this site.

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Linda.Darnell will be seen today on TCM, in John Ford's classic western MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946). It will on at 3:30 pm est, 12:30 pm pst. Linda plays the fiery mixed breed Chihuahua, clashing with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday (Henry Fonda and Victor Mature, respectively) in old Tombstone. Also featuring newcomer.Cathy Downs as the titular Clementine, as well as many stalwarts of the Ford stock company. A great.cast in an outstanding film imho.

 

Also upcoming are two more films with Linda, but on FMC. First.is her blockbuster FOREVER.AMBER (1947), her biggest title, if not able to live up to the expectations of the racy bestseller. On 10/14 @ 12:30 pm.est, 9:30 am pst. Also on 10/23 @ 12:40 pm est, 9:40 am pst.

 

Then, DAYTIME.WIFE (1939), on 10/16 @ 6 am est, 3.am.pst, in which Darnell costars.with Tyrone Power for the first of four times, playing his wife in this enjoyable screwball comedy. She was not even 16 when she filmed this. NOTE: Asta MAY be featured, at least.that's what memory tells me, but in a publicity still on ebay with Linda and the pooch it appears to be another dog.

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Linda Darnell would have turned 90 next October 16, if she had lived (she died in 1965 at the age of 41). She hs been my favorite movie star since I was a kid, and read a biographical sketch of her in a book called THE LONELY BEAUTIES, and placed the face with the movies in which I had enjoyed seeing her. She had an ultimately tragic life, many missed or squandered opportunities and disappointments in both her private and professional life, and a horrendous end.

 

She was a luminous beauty, and underrated as an actress. She became a movie star at 20th Century Fox at the age of 15, starring with heartthrobs such as Tyrone Power, John Payne and Henry Fonda. But at the age of 18, she found her career stagnating, suddenly being assigned to unimportant pictures. Besides having a stage mother from hell, who had been banned from the lot, Linda was unpopular with studio head Darryl F. Zanuck for reputedly turning down his sexual advances once she came of age, and then at age 19 eloping with cameraman Pev Marley, who at 42, more than twice her age. Zanuck felt that her girl next door image would be hurt, but within a year, she had successfully changed her image to that of a femme fatale, on loan, in SUMMER STORM. Afterward, she was the studio's sex symbol, and would be cast as such. She was one of the studio's top stars until the early 50s, when external forces such as the growing popularity of television, and internal ones such as the arrival of Susan Hayward, and the meteoric rise of Marilyn Monroe, made Linda extraneous to the studio's needs, and she was dropped after nearly 14 years at Fox. She had a rough going of it freelancing, along with all the other studio stars suddenly dropped from long-term contracts.

 

Anyway, I feel that October 2013 would be an ideal time to pay tribute to this beautiful star. Although the bulk of her movies were for Fox, which may prove daunting in acquiring, it can be done; TCM was able to get a number of them for Linda's SUTS salute in 2011. She also did a number of movies for other companies, and some may be available. Plus a couple of RARE film ventures in Italy, and several TV movies (including at least one that had limited theatrical distribution), and There's the possibility (and hope) that a number of TCM premieres may be featured.

 

Thought I'd bump this original post about Linda Darnell. (Hope you don't mind, Arturo.)

 

The next time the lovely Linda will be appearing on TCM is January 10th (2016, obviously), when they will be airing Anna and the King of Siam.

After that, we get to see her again on January 19th, in Blackbeard, the Pirate.

 

As far as I know  ( I could be wrong, it's been known to happen), this thread was started almost exactly three years ago, and Linda still hasn't been made TCM Star of the Month. I know there are maybe "issues" around rights to Fox films, etc., but shirley after three years our favourite station could try and find a way to overcome those issues. 

We want Linda !

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if i could think of any one term that seems to really cover the life of Linda Darnell- and I mean this in no disrespect- it would be:

 

TRIAL BY FIRE

 

We've all read the downright eerie coincidences about Linda being terrified of fire in real life, about her playing at least two characters whose bodies were burned (in ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM and HANGOVER SQUARE) and about the fire-related near-misses she had in her life (on the way to the studio one day, her car broke down and burst into flames, and I think there were some others)...to her tragic and untimely death. 

 

But the irony of all this is that Linda came through the metaphorical fire of one of the greatest challenges of her life unsinged (at least outwardly)- and that would be her first several years at Fox.

 

Can you imagine being a young, unworldly girl- manipulated and pushed by others into something you weren't too keen on doing- on being exposed to the world at an age where so few are equipped to handle the complications of life, let alone massiive fame- to have to run this obstacle course of roles when you yourself are so new to the acting game- having to play sophisticates and s l a tterns, contemporary women and 19th century heroines, American, Hispanic and many other nationalities, to suffer the slings and arrows of critics, fans and studios and constantly STEP UP YOUR GAME ALL ALONG THE WAY?

 

I'd crack in about a week of it.

 

And- of course- Linda was left with demons from this which haunted her inwardly, but HER WORK (that which lives long after her) doesn't falter- she started strong and matured, running a gamut of roles that would've tested any actress, new or old at the game- from THE MARK OF ZORRO to FALLEN ANGEL to HANGOVER SQUARE to ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM to NO WAY OUT and A LETTER TO THREE WIVES and does superlative work in each one them.

 

Of the many figures of classic HOLLYWOOD- there are few who I found more personally admirable than Miss Darnell, who was able to do such honest work, where the seams and the stitching, the pressures she faced, the personal demons that dogged her- are not evident.

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It's sad that her career went into freefall after leaving Fox and freelancing. The talent was there and she was still young and beautiful, but like many others, her career went downhill and never really recovered.

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Thought I'd bump this original post about Linda Darnell. (Hope you don't mind, Arturo.)

 

The next time the lovely Linda will be appearing on TCM is January 10th (2016, obviously), when they will be airing Anna and the King of Siam.

After that, we get to see her again on January 19th, in Blackbeard, the Pirate.

 

As far as I know ( I could be wrong, it's been known to happen), this thread was started almost exactly three years ago, and Linda still hasn't been made TCM Star of the Month. I know there are maybe "issues" around rights to Fox films, etc., but shirley after three years our favourite station could try and find a way to overcome those issues.

We want Linda !

Of course I don't mind.missw. Thank you for the support.

 

Coincidentally, last.night I saw.the documentary TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL. Unfortunately, I did not make.it to one of the showings in the L.A. area.with Tab discussing the film (I went on vaca.the same day he was featured at.the Nuart.in West.L.A., amd came back the night he spoke in Palm.Springs). He was scheduled last night in Santa Barbara, but after.two friends bailed.on going with me, I decided.I wouldn't make it on time in rush hour traffic, without the use of the carpool.lane. So I saw it in Orange.County (I live in Southeast LA County, so the drive was about a third of what it would've been to Santa Barbara.

 

Anyway, the documentary was very interesting, with many Hollywood names featured commenting on Tab and his career. Overall, it also provided a portrait of the Hollywood of the 1950s. The reason I bring this up here is that Hunter made his film.debut in ISLAND OF DESIRE/SATURDAY ISLAND (1952), which starred Linda Darnell. He mentions how his screentest consisted of having to kiss her, and how she reassured him before and afterward. Despite being a big hit, the movie did little.for Tab, due to poor personal notices. As for Linda, it was a showcase for her body (this applies to Tab as well), stranded on a tropical island during WW2. Of course, she would have preferred more acting challenges than she was given here, but she is good.

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if i could think of any one term that seems to really cover the life of Linda Darnell- and I mean this in no disrespect- it would be:

 

 

TRIAL BY FIRE

 

We've all read the downright eerie coincidences about Linda being terrified of fire in real life, about her playing at least two characters whose bodies were burned (in ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM and HANGOVER SQUARE) and about the fire-related near-misses she had in her life (on the way to the studio one day, her car broke down and burst into flames, and I think there were some others)...to her tragic and untimely death. 

 

But the irony of all this is that Linda came through the metaphorical fire of one of the greatest challenges of her life unsinged (at least outwardly)- and that would be her first several years at Fox.

 

Can you imagine being a young, unworldly girl- manipulated and pushed by others into something you weren't too keen on doing- on being exposed to the world at an age where so few are equipped to handle the complications of life, let alone massiive fame- to have to run this obstacle course of roles when you yourself are so new to the acting game- having to play sophisticates and s l a tterns, contemporary women and 19th century heroines, American, Hispanic and many other nationalities, to suffer the slings and arrows of critics, fans and studios and constantly STEP UP YOUR GAME ALL ALONG THE WAY?

 

I'd crack in about a week of it.

 

And- of course- Linda was left with demons from this which haunted her inwardly, but HER WORK (that which lives long after her) doesn't falter- she started strong and matured, running a gamut of roles that would've tested any actress, new or old at the game- from THE MARK OF ZORRO to FALLEN ANGEL to HANGOVER SQUARE to ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM to NO WAY OUT and A LETTER TO THREE WIVES and does superlative work in each one them.

 

Of the many figures of classic HOLLYWOOD- there are few who I found more personally admirable than Miss Darnell, who was able to do such honest work, where the seams and the stitching, the pressures she faced, the personal demons that dogged her- are not evident.

Thank you for this LHF. There was.another close.call Linda had with fire,.during the.filming of FOREVER AMBER. During thr London Fire, husband Richard Haydn tries to have her burned to "cleanse her of her sins". The collapsing wall.and ceiling.almost fell on her during filming, and she missed serious injury by seconds, apparently.

 

Ironically, Darnell.starred.in a.live.tv.drama called "Trial.By Fire" in 1957. Her preteen son is accused of deliberately setting tragic.fires. Luckily for her, the tv budget allowed.for.stock footage only, provided by the LA Fire Dept.

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I would love to see Darnell honored as SOTM.  Not because I'm a major Darnell fan, but because I've never seen a Linda Darnell film! Having Darnell honored as SOTM would be a fantastic way to see a bunch of her films all at once! 

 

She seems like she's similar to Gene Tierney, however without having seen her in action, I definitely do not have any evidence to back up that comparison.  

 

I really hope TCM honors Linda Darnell, a (from what I have gathered) very talented performer who unfortunately was dealt a bad hand.  I have read about her passing-- tragic. 

 

Thanks Arturo for your dedication! 

 

It looks like these films are airing soon:

 

Anna and the King of Siam is airing on 1/10

Blackbeard and the Pirate 1/19

No Way Out 1/24

It Happened Tomorrow 2/7

 

I was looking over Darnell's filmography and realized that I recorded My Darling Clementine the other day, which features Darnell with Henry Fonda.  I'll have to watch this one along with some other Linda Darnell films which have been recommended to me by my wonderful friends on the board :-) 

 

 

 

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I would love to see Darnell honored as SOTM.  Not because I'm a major Darnell fan, but because I've never seen a Linda Darnell film! Having Darnell honored as SOTM would be a fantastic way to see a bunch of her films all at once! 

 

She seems like she's similar to Gene Tierney, however without having seen her in action, I definitely do not have any evidence to back up that comparison.  

 

I really hope TCM honors Linda Darnell, a (from what I have gathered) very talented performer who unfortunately was dealt a bad hand.  I have read about her passing-- tragic. 

 

Thanks Arturo for your dedication! 

 

It looks like these films are airing soon:

 

Anna and the King of Siam is airing on 1/10

Blackbeard and the Pirate 1/19

No Way Out 1/24

It Happened Tomorrow 2/7

 

I was looking over Darnell's filmography and realized that I recorded My Darling Clementine the other day, which features Darnell with Henry Fonda.  I'll have to watch this one along with some other Linda Darnell films which have been recommended to me by my wonderful friends on the board :-)

 

I would love to see Darnell honored as SOTM.  Not because I'm a major Darnell fan, but because I've never seen a Linda Darnell film! Having Darnell honored as SOTM would be a fantastic way to see a bunch of her films all at once! 

 

She seems like she's similar to Gene Tierney, however without having seen her in action, I definitely do not have any evidence to back up that comparison.  

 

I really hope TCM honors Linda Darnell, a (from what I have gathered) very talented performer who unfortunately was dealt a bad hand.  I have read about her passing-- tragic. 

 

Thanks Arturo for your dedication! 

 

It looks like these films are airing soon:

 

Anna and the King of Siam is airing on 1/10

Blackbeard and the Pirate 1/19

No Way Out 1/24

It Happened Tomorrow 2/7

 

I was looking over Darnell's filmography and realized that I recorded My Darling Clementine the other day, which features Darnell with Henry Fonda.  I'll have to watch this one along with some other Linda Darnell films which have been recommended to me by my wonderful friends on the board :-)

 

Speedracer, thank you for your support. Hope you will enjoy the aforementioned Linda Darnell films.

 

Interesting.comment about you feeling.Linda and Gene Tierney were similar. They weren't really, although as contractees.at.20th Century Fox.in the 1940s.and into the 50s, they had parallel career trajectories. They started at Fox.about a year apart, Linda in 1939 and Gene in 1940, both were.instantly given lead roles,.and.struck a chord with the puboic from the beginning. The studio hoped with each.to have a replacement for Loretta Young, the studio's.top.dramatic.actress, who refused to renew her contract there in 1939. Tierney.was.the more suitable imagewise.to.replace.Young, with her patrician airs, but.the studio loaned her out initially to portray an exotic (Fox also cast her as such); Linda.also was.cast.as.an.exotic.

 

Both actresses were up for many of the same roles during most of their mutual.tenure at the studio,.despite their very different.images. This was even with Linda's image.early on as a virginal.innocent,.and later.as.a.femme.fatale. Darnell usually got roles that fell into these stereotypes,.while.Tierney was given all.types of roles. Additionally, Zanuck favored Gene (he disliked.Darnell), and by the mid 40s, she was getting.most.of the plum assignments at Fox, and she was their number one dramatic actress for the rest.of the decade. Linda.fought for better.roles, but Zanuck's dislike for her caused him to put.little.energy into her career, and she grew.resentful.of the ill.treatment towards.it. On the other hand, Zanuck nurtured.Tierney at.all.times,.and when suffered her mental instability, he faithfully.offered her.parts in films.into the 1960s.

 

One last comparison, despite very different looks, both actresses were among the most.beautiful of their day, and both had tragic lives.

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It's sad that her career went into freefall after leaving Fox and freelancing. The talent was there and she was still young and beautiful, but like many others, her career went downhill and never really recovered.

Unfortunately, Linda's long-term.contract ended in the early 1950s, at a time when studios were downsizing and retrenching. She ended up competing for the fewer and fewer movies being made with others also suddenly freelancing. Plus, marriage and extended overseas trips for filming led to her being away from the Hollywood scene for long periods.at this crucial time.....out of sight, out of mind,.and she wasn't considered for roles for which she might've. A perfect storm, in a sense.

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Linda.Darnell will be seen today on TCM, in John Ford's classic western MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946). It will on at 3:30 pm est, 12:30 pm pst. Linda plays the fiery mixed breed Chihuahua, clashing with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday (Henry Fonda and Victor Mature, respectively) in old Tombstone. Also featuring newcomer.Cathy Downs as the titular Clementine, as well as many stalwarts of the Ford stock company. A great.cast in an outstanding film imho.

 

Also upcoming are two more films with Linda, but on FMC. First.is her blockbuster FOREVER.AMBER (1947), her biggest title, if not able to live up to the expectations of the racy bestseller. On 10/14 @ 12:30 pm.est, 9:30 am pst. Also on 10/23 @ 12:40 pm est, 9:40 am pst.

 

Then, DAYTIME.WIFE (1939), on 10/16 @ 6 am est, 3.am.pst, in which Darnell costars.with Tyrone Power for the first of four times, playing his wife in this enjoyable screwball comedy. She was not even 16 when she filmed this. NOTE: Asta MAY be featured, at least.that's what memory tells me, but in a publicity still on ebay with Linda and the pooch it appears to be another dog.

 

Thank you for mentioning Forever Amber.  I think Linda is terrific in it,  I am reading the best-selling novel and the movie was tamed -down (or subtexted if you prefer) but Linda gave plenty of suggestion with her tease and incredible beauty.  I like her in My Darling Clementine and the by all means, A Letter to Three Wives, and Unfaithfully Yours needs to be included.

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Thank you for mentioning Forever Amber. I think Linda is terrific in it, I am reading the best-selling novel and the movie was tamed -down (or subtexted if you prefer) but Linda gave plenty of suggestion with her tease and incredible beauty. I like her in My Darling Clementine and the by all means, A Letter to Three Wives, and Unfaithfully Yours needs to be included.

FOREVER.AMBER will be on a couple of times this week on FMC, Tuesday, 11/24 @ 9:30.am est, and Wednesday, 11/25 @ 7:15 am est.

 

This film was based on the racy bestseller, and Fox quickly ran afoul of the Breen office, which basically suggested the story was unfilmable at that time. The studio cut out large chunks of the book, eliminating most of Amber's lovers and husbands, illigitimate.children and abortions. The sanitized script still met with disapproval, and after filming was done, the Production Seal was withheld without some.deletions. Even then, the.Catholic Legion of Decency condemned the film,.leading to more cuts, and a prologue and epilogue inserted.about the wages of sin.

 

Despite all this, the film.is still.quite good, with superb.work from.all.the departments. Unfortunately, due to the expensiveness of the production, and the condemnation and subsequent banning of it in certain areas, the film has the reputation of having flopped; however, it was a major moneymaker. It did receive mixed reviews, but is better than the impression they leave.

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Any idea why Zanuck didn't like Linda, Arturo? Did she refuse to go the casting couch route??? I know Zanuck's reputation.........

Supposedly, shortly after she turned 18, Zanuck called her into his office to discuss a role.in an upcoming film. He seemed.to be deliberatively provocative, and.apparently led her into his inner.sanctum, and/or unzipped. She ran out of there, and soon realized.that she did not.get.the.choice.role.he had dangled in front of her, but what few assignments.she got were low-budget films, or were supporting.roles. Other producers, similarly unrestrained by her turning of.age, followed.suit and did not cast her in anything important.

 

To add.further to her woes, in April 1943,.Linda.married cinematographer Peverell Marley, who at 42.was over twice her age. Zanuck felt her girl next door.image was being threatened by the marriage. Her fans supported her, however, in this decision. If wasn't until a confluence.of factors.in 1944 that Linda's.career.and.image got revitalized. But Zanuck never did get over his dislike of her, and grudgingly cast her in films, if only because she was a moneymaker.for.the studio, not from any conviction in promoting her career.

 

Rumors she was his mistress persisted, deapite both denying this. The joke in Hollywood when she was.cast in a cameo.role in SONG OF BERNADETTE was that Zanuck had cast his mistress as the Virgin Mary.

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Arturo, in case you hadn't read it, I thought you might be interersted in this passage from Tis Herself, Maureen O'Hara's eminently readable autobiography.

 

O'Hara, under contract to Fox at the time, described being summoned to Zanuck's office. She talked of having to walk a long distance from the door of his office to his desk, which was elevated higher than the chair in which she sat, forcing her to look up to him. (Sounds like the kind of stuff Chaplin satirized in a famous scene in The Great Dictator).

 

Zanuck then said to her, "I like your chemistry with Ty Power. I like what you did in The Black Swan. I'm casting you in The Razor's Edge with him." I was thrilled and could hardly contain myself. I knew Ty and I had a strong chemistry on-screen, and I was eager to sink my teeth into a great dramatic role. After I thanked him repeatedly, Zanuck cautioned me. "Listen to me. Im planning a big publicity campaign for this picture. You are not to discuss this with anyone until the formal announcement is made. Is that clear?"

 

I stood and extended my hand up to him. "Oh, yes, Mr. Zanuck. Perfectly clear." I promised, "I won't say a word. Not a single word." I had every intention of obeying his order, but I was bursting with excitement when I got back to the set. It kept building and building as the day went on, and I had to tell someone or I was going to burst. So I stupidly met Linda Darnell at the Fox commissary for a bite of lunch and told her everything. Linda was a close friend and I figured she would keep her mouth shut after I told her how important secrecy was. It was a monstrous mistake.

 

By the time I got back to the set, there was a phone call already waiting for me. It was Mr. Zanuck. He said, "Maureen, I told you not to discuss our conversation with anyone, and you did. You're out of the picture." He slammed the phone down. I was so disappointed that I ran to my dressing room crying. I was absolutely devastated and couldn't return to the set. Director Gregory Ratoff finally came to me and asked me what had happened. After I told him, he started to chuckle and said, "Oh you silly, stupid girl. Don't you know what you did? You told Zanuck's mistress."

 

 

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