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LINDA DARNELL for Star of the Month October 2013


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Sorry, Topbilled, but I'm not the most tech-savvy individual. The one picture posted here was a fluke; I've tried but haven't been able to do any more. I posted here a few days ago if anyone could help, illustrating the movies mentioned with appropriate stills. No one has done so.


Likewise, I wouldn't know the first thing about blogging (not even sure if I know what it is lol).

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I just sent some BLOOD AND SAND images to your inbox (private message). I thought it was going to show the links which you could copy and paste where you wanted, but it only shows the photos. I am going to have think about how to do this.


In the meanwhile, I will put them into this post (for now):


Linda & Ty #1



Linda & Ty #2



Linda and some candles



Linda & Ty with Rita



Linda looking on



Linda in prayer





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*We haven't really spent much time discussing BUFFALO BILL. This is an interesting picture for her. Both she and Anthony Quinn are cast as Native Americans.*


Topbilled, thanks again for the photos. I;m trying to do Linda's movies chronologically, so I plan to get to BUFFALO BILL soon. In the meantime, here's an interesting story I read in Maureen O'Hara's (auto?)biography. O'Hara, who was in BB with Darnell and Quinn, was told by Linda that she thought that Quinn might be gay, since during the making of BLOOD AND SAND, she and Anthony sort of dated, even going hiking to pick flowers. Apparently, Linda expected Anthony to make a pass at her, but didn't. So she assumed that he must be gay, like some other actors she had worked with.


A decade or so after BB was filmed, Maureen made another movie with Quinn, THE MAGNIFICENT MATADOR. If I remember it correctly, she apparently confronted Quinn about Darnell's theory. His response was that Linda was still a minor at that time, so he didn;t dare try anything, O'Hara intimated that Quinn and her slept together, thereby settling this for her once and for all.

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Maureen O'Hara's most frequent male costar was not John Wayne as most people think, but Anthony Quinn. They made six pictures together: THE BLACK SWAN (Tyrone Power is her leading man); BUFFALO BILL (Joel McCrea is her leading man); SINBAD THE SAILOR (Douglas Fairbanks Jr. is her leading man); AGAINST ALL FLAGS (Errol Flynn is her leading man); THE MAGNIFICENT MATADOR (Quinn is finally her leading man); and ONLY THE LONELY (Quinn again plays her leading man, though both are supporting players in this one).


O'Hara and Quinn have loads of chemistry together, especially in ONLY THE LONELY which they practically steal from John Candy.


O'Hara and Darnell only appeared in one film together, BUFFALO BILL, but Darnell did costar with Quinn two other times, in BLOOD AND SAND and in ANGELS OF DARKNESS.


Anthony Quinn would have been married to Katherine DeMille when he worked with Linda Darnell. He had five children with DeMille. He would have two more wives and five more children after this. Even if he was bisexual (and I am not implying he was), it's clear he was very busy with the ladies. It does seem likely that he did not pursue anything with Darnell due to her age at the time those first movies were made.

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Thank for expressing your support Peter. I too hope it happens, but if a factor is the feedback and buzz on the message boards, well this thread hasn't really caught traction, with only a handful posting here besides myself (shoutout to TB and his posts of her photos). Don't know if it's disinterest, indifference or what. I don;t necessarily wish Miss Darnell to be a polarizing figure, which is what seems to light up some threads here, but I think it may be general unfamliarity with her, and her work, other than a handful of classics. More the reason for a month featuring Linda, focusing a light on an all too forgotten (by the public at large) star of classic Hollywood,

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OK, here's the backstory behind the selection of Do?a Sol, the temptress in BLOOD AND SAND, or at least what I remember reading about it. It seems that the the studio was having trouble finding a suitable actress, and tested dozens, Among them were contract players (Gene Tierney, Lynn Bari) as well as others (Maria Montez,then unknown). The role was announced for Carole Landis, Fox' newly signed siren, but she refused to dye her hair the requisite red for a Technicolor picture, saying she had spent too much time publicizing herself as a blonde. Zanuck, in a fit of pique, decided against the big plans for her, including the lead in the period musical MY GAL SAL, for which she was also announced.


Well, in comes starlet Rita Hayworth, then working her way up the ranks at Columbia, from B films to programmers, as well as supporting roles in prestige pictures(usually on loan out). Everyone agrees that with her dancer's training, feline grace and stunningly beautiful looks, she is perfect. Fox cast her, and between this and another loan-out (THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE at WB), she is on her way to being the 40s Love Goddess. 20th then gave her the lead in MY GAL SAL, and Carole Landis got bumped to a supporting role.

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"Unfortunately, she did become the other woman again,,,".


The use of the word 'unfortunately' makes it sound like being the other woman isn't a choice.


This sentence is also queer to me: "And if she had not died so young, she would've had a long career"


Yea, killing yourself does tend to end one's career prematurely.


Reading about her on Wikipedia is a sad read, but she did make a lot of poor life choices.





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Well here is yet another case that when someone points out actual facts about a star you like you reply with 'seems a little disrespectful'. No disrespect was intended, anymore so than when you replied to TomH about Errol Flynn and Bette Davis related to that slapping scene. But when one's tragic death is the result of suicide, I don't think it is disrespectful to mention this fact. Yes, we all make errors in judgements (duh), but her history with men shows she repeated these errors over and over again, such to the point she killed herself over it. To me this forum (TCM message board), is the perfect time and place to discuss a stars choices, both the good and bad ones.

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*This is my favorite photo of Linda Darnell.*


This was a publicity still she did in conjunction with the 1945 film, THE GREAT JOHN L. which she did on loan to Bing Crosby's production company (released by UA), about the prizefighter John L. Sullivan, played by Greg McClure. It captures her at the point when she has just established her new, sultry image.

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Arturo, I wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed all the information that you have provided about Linda Darnell. You really know your studio systems history, and seem to have a particular love for those stars at 20th Century Fox.


Linda Darnell is, sadly, remembered by only a few today. I will always associate her primarily with the film of her's that I was raised on as a kid, The Mark of Zorro. She brought not just great natural beauty to the role, but also a charm and beguiling innocence. I thought that she and Tyrone Power were a perfect fairy tale couple in that film, since the two had such wonderful chemistry.


I recall one time when I was a kid seeing Linda Darnell as a panelist on a television show. Unfortunately, I can't recall the name of the show but it had three panelists trying to indentify which Hollywood celebrity stood behind a curtain. There would be five photographs of celebrities from which they could chose by asking questions.


I remember two things that I thought as a kid as I viewed Darnell on this show: 1) she was still stunningly beautiful and 2) how can she appear so happy when Tyrone Power is dead?


Again, I loved her and Power together in Zorro and for many years just assumed that they were lovers off screen, as well as on.




Darnell and Power in the dance sequence in The Mark of Zorro. Power was never more dashing than in this film, and Darnell's virginal innocence was a perfect compliment for him. Zorro was a rescuer and Darnell brought a vulnerability to her role. Who wouldn't want to rescue this beautiful lady? As a little boy I dreamed of donning a mask and cape and rescuing Linda Darnell.




Yowza! What happened to that sweet innocent? This is obviously a sexy glamour shot from when Fox was transforming Darnell's screen image. It appears that they are trying to have her directly compete with those shots of Jane Russell in The Outlaw in this one.


Here are a couple of off screen shots posed by Darnell:






This one was a 1943 promotion for the American Red Cross.


Again, Arturo, it's great to see the information that you have provided on this beautiful lady, afflicted with career frustrations and, of course, such a tragic end. I hope you are able to pull a book together on her.



P.S: I did a Wikipedia search and found the name of that daytime television show on which I saw Darnell. It was an NBC show called Your First Impression, with alternating hosts Dennis James and Bill Leyden. It was on the air from January 2, 1962 to June 26, 1964. Arturo, I don't know if you know anything about when Darnell appeared on the programme. It saddens me now to think that when I watched her on this show it was one of her last professional appearances.


Edited by: TomJH on Dec 16, 2012 10:45 AM

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Thank you for your kind words and support. She was a someone my mother would note when a movie she was in would be shown on TC (I believe my mom had an interest in her because she had been often compared to Linda, Hedy Lamarr and Yvonne DeCarlo in looks). How fortunate that you were able to see Linda on a TV program when you were young. I was familiar with some of her TV appearances, especially the drama anthology shows, but I have only discovered her doing some live panel or interview programs on TV, via youtube. I posted the link to her as the Mystery Celebrity on "What's My LIne", and at first thought you were referring to this program. She is quite vibrant and beautiful here, and I could see her being a recurrent guest on the later late night talk shows (she was a guest co-host on the Mike Douglas show, apparently, from what I saw on-line). As decent film offers dried up, TV and stage became her only viable avenues to pursue her career (an ill-fated venture as a nightclub performer did not pay off too well). Thanks again, and a book or drama script or screenplay on Linda is something I definitely hope to do.

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*I thought that she and Tyrone Power were a perfect fairy tale couple in that film, since the two had such wonderful chemistry.*


I agree that this was the best of their four costarring ventures. They WERE a perfect fairy tale couple, and played off each other quite well.


PS - She was saddened by the death of Tyrone Power, whom she adored.

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*Yowza! What happened to that sweet innocent? This is obviously a sexy glamour shot from when Fox was transforming Darnell's screen image. It appears that they are trying to have her directly compete with those shots of Jane Russell in The Outlaw in this one.*


Well I tried to cut and paste the sexy picture you posted here of Linda showing off her legs, amongst bales of hay, wearing a short skirt and tight blouse. This was actually a publicity shot for SUMMER STORM, which Linda filmed in 1944 on loan to United Artists. Darryl Zanuck didn't want to loan her out, thinking she would ruin her image,and even career, which he felt-wrongly-had taken a hit when she married Peverell Marley, a man in his 40s, the year before. But she persisted, as her career was stagnating at Fox, and got the loanout. Overnight it gave her a new sexy image at age 20, thereby killing off her girl-next-door image, and she was thrust into the pin-up sweepstakes. It also revitalized her career. Fox started casting about for suitable roles for the new look Linda.

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*Thus while I have seen some fine movies with Darnell none smack me over the head like a movie and associated role like Gilda (for example), did for Rita. Of course I'm willing to be educated.*




Darryl F. Zanuck at Fox was a man that didn't actively work to promote the careers of his women stars, at least not for long, other than his succession of blonde musical stars. This was the main reason Loretta Young wanted out at the end of the 30s, feeling that she was just used as window dressing in a Tyrone Power vehicle, for instance, instead of having movies built around her. Zanuck has been quoted as saying that women's problems and issues bored him stiff, so he didn't actively search for this type of flm, which could have made great vehicles for his female stars. And often, when he did get a script with a strong female role, he seemed to think of casting someone NOT under contract to Fox, further handicapping his own stable of stars. Some of the roles for women that he chose to cast with non-Fox contractees in the 40s:



SONG OF BERNADETTE: Gene Tierney, Anne Baxter and Linda Darnell all wanted the part that went to Jennifer Jones. Of course Linda did an unbilled cameo.


CLAUDIA: Tierney or Baxter would've worked well. It went to Dorothy McGuire (although it may have been as a package when Selznick sold the rights to Fox). This may also have been the case for:


JANE EYRE; Again either Tierney or Baxter would have worked and done well playing Jane; Joan Fontaine got it.


A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN: This one WAS to have starred Tierney, who bowed out due to pregnancy. Anne Baxter could have done a great job.


ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM: I feel that Irene Dunne was great in this, but she was one of several outside names considered. Why not Gene Tierney?


CLUNY BROWN: Again, Tierney or Baxter could have done an admirable job in this. Jennifer Jones was again hired.


GENTLEMEN'S AGREEMENT: Gene Tierney would have been perfect in this, a superb companion piece to THE RAZOR'S EDGE. Or how about Anne Baxter, having just won an oscar for that movie?

Linda Darnell could have also done justice to this role.


DAISY KENYON: Ok melodrama, with a strong female lead that could have been essayed by Tierney (it was meant for her) or Darnell. In this case, Joan Crawford begged for it.


ROAD HOUSE: This one would have made a very good vehicle for Darnell, playing a sexy torch singer. Newly freelancing Ida Lupino was borrowed.


THE SNAKE PIT: While Olivia DeHavilland is superb, why did Zanuck not consider his own stars, Tierney, Darnell or Baxter, ny of which would have been capable of it IMHO.


I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE: Gene Tierney or Linda Darnell, having recently displayed great comedy timing, would have done a creditable job in the role given to newly freelancing Ann Sheridan.



There are other examples, and this continued into the 50s (THREE CAME HOME, MY COUSIN RACHEL). There may have been valid reasons why the homegrown stars were not given some of these roles, i.e. avaialbilty, but the point is in many important roles, Zanuck immediately envisioned stars other than his own for these roles. Linda, Tierney and Baxter, the top dramatic stars at the studio during the 40s, could have had bigger careers, and higher career highs, if the studio head saw these story acquisitions as potential vehicles for them, as happened at MGM, WB, etc.

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