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In character with Dame May Whitty


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Is anyone watching Dame May Whitty's films today on TCM? They are showing titles from her MGM days-- but she also worked for other studios.  

 

Here is her filmography:

 

NIGHT MUST FALL (MGM, 1937)

THE THIRTEENTH CHAIR (MGM, 1937)

CONQUEST (MGM, 1937)

I MET MY LOVE AGAIN (Wanger thru UA, 1938)

THE LADY VANISHES (British, 1938)

RAFFLES (Goldwyn thru UA, 1940)

A BILL OF DIVORCEMENT (RKO, 1940)

RETURN TO YESTERDAY (British, 1940)

ONE NIGHT IN LISBON (PAR, 1941)

SUSPICION (RKO, 1941)

MRS. MINIVER (MGM, 1942)

THUNDER BIRDS (FOX, 1942)

SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS (MGM, 1943)

FOREVER AND A DAY (RKO, 1943)

CRASH DRIVE (FOX, 1943)

FLESH AND FANTASY (UNIV, 1943)

THE CONSTANT NYMPH (WB, 1943)

LASSIE COME HOME (MGM, 1943)

MADAME CURIE (MGM, 1943)

STAGE DOOR CANTEEN (UA, 1943)

THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER (MGM, 1944)

GASLIGHT (MGM, 1944)

MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS (COL, 1945)

DEVOTION (WB, 1946)

THIS TIME FOR KEEPS (MGM, 1947)

GREEN DOLPHIN STREET (MGM, 1947)

IF WINTER COMES (MGM, 1947)

THE SIGN OF THE RAM (COL, 1948)

THE RETURN OF OCTOBER (COL, 1948)

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1may.png

Is anyone watching Dame May Whitty's films today on TCM? They are showing titles from her MGM days-- but she also worked for other studios.  

 

Here is her filmography:

 

NIGHT MUST FALL (MGM, 1937)

THE THIRTEENTH CHAIR (MGM, 1937)

CONQUEST (MGM, 1937)

I MET MY LOVE AGAIN (Wanger thru UA, 1938)

THE LADY VANISHES (British, 1938)

RAFFLES (Goldwyn thru UA, 1940)

A BILL OF DIVORCEMENT (RKO, 1940)

RETURN TO YESTERDAY (British, 1940)

ONE NIGHT IN LISBON (PAR, 1941)

SUSPICION (RKO, 1941)

MRS. MINIVER (MGM, 1942)

THUNDER BIRDS (FOX, 1942)

SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS (MGM, 1943)

FOREVER AND A DAY (RKO, 1943)

CRASH DRIVE (FOX, 1943)

FLESH AND FANTASY (UNIV, 1943)

THE CONSTANT NYMPH (WB, 1943)

LASSIE COME HOME (MGM, 1943)

MADAME CURIE (MGM, 1943)

STAGE DOOR CANTEEN (UA, 1943)

THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER (MGM, 1944)

GASLIGHT (MGM, 1944)

MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS (COL, 1945)

DEVOTION (WB, 1946)

THIS TIME FOR KEEPS (MGM, 1947)

GREEN DOLPHIN STREET (MGM, 1947)

IF WINTER COMES (MGM, 1947)

THE SIGN OF THE RAM (COL, 1948)

THE RETURN OF OCTOBER (COL, 1948)

I'm watching DEVOTION and look forward to IF WINTER COMES.  

 

My favorite is THE LADY VANISHES.  I somehow never tire of her Miss Froy!

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I love her too. My favorite of all her lines is from Mrs. Miniver (she plays as you know Lady Beldon, the local aristocrat.) Her line is "I hate war, because it gives little people a chance to do something important." I think that's as great and unusual an anti-war statement as I've ever heard!

 

What is not generally known about Dame May is that she is the mother of Margaret Webster, one of the most important stage directors, known for, among other things, the production of Othello with Paul Robeson and Uta Hagen. I believe Ms. Webster was also the first woman to direct an opera at the Metropolitan Opera.

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I'm watching DEVOTION and look forward to IF WINTER COMES.  

 

My favorite is THE LADY VANISHES.  I somehow never tire of her Miss Froy!

Yes, THE LADY VANISHES is probably her signature role. Of course, she was able to work with Hitchcock again, after both had gone to Hollywood.

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Yes, THE LADY VANISHES is probably her signature role. Of course, she was able to work with Hitchcock again, after both had gone to Hollywood.

 

Spoiler Alert!   

 

 

I enjoy here work in The Lady Vanishes but I do find humor in some of the scenes where it looks like she may need to get physical.   Ok, she was a spy,  but I just can't picture her doing some type of James Bond move on those fascist bad guys!    When they were pushing her out that window I felt they were going to break her.

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I enjoy her work in The Lady Vanishes but I do find humor in some of the scenes where it looks like she may need to get physical.   Ok, she was a spy,  but I just can't picture her doing some type of James Bond move on those fascist bad guys!    When they were pushing her out that window I felt they were going to break her.

I see your point. She was 73 when THE LADY VANISHES hit screens. In another thread we have been talking about women whose careers were over at 40, but May Whitty's Hollywood career did not start until she was past 70.

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Five of the seven films TCM aired yesterday in honor of May Whitty are currently among the most-searched titles on the TCM database.  DEVOTION ranks first. It tells me that people really responded to her work, and to the fact that she usually appeared in quality films.

 

By comparison, TCM's much-hyped Star of the Month, Rock Hudson, only charted one title.  Who seems more popular with TCM viewers?  You tell me...

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I love her, too and have often thought of doing a salute to her in a schedule.  Glad TCM beat me to it. She is wonderful in all of her performances but I have a particular fondness for her "Mrs. Hughes" in "My Name is Julia Ross."  "Don't be stupid, Ralph.  If she's taken poison, we must act as though we cared."

 

What a treasure she is.

 

Lydecker

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I love her, too and have often thought of doing a salute to her in a schedule.  Glad TCM beat me to it. She is wonderful in all of her performances but I have a particular fondness for her "Mrs. Hughes" in "My Name is Julia Ross."  "Don't be stupid, Ralph.  If she's taken poison, we must act as though we cared."

 

What a treasure she is.

 

Lydecker

Yes-- her line deliveries were perfect. She could get away with the most wicked dialogue, because with that face of hers, we still wanted to trust her. LOL

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Five of the seven films TCM aired yesterday in honor of May Whitty are currently among the most-searched titles on the TCM database.  DEVOTION ranks first. It tells me that people really responded to her work, and to the fact that she usually appeared in quality films.

 

By comparison, TCM's much-hyped Star of the Month, Rock Hudson, only charted one title.  Who seems more popular with TCM viewers?  You tell me...

I think it's also an indication that TCM viewers might be more interested in special series honoring character actors rather than "stars." I'm waiting for Beulah Bondi to be SOTM.

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How about this suggestion: Dame May Whitty for Star of the Month. Followed in the SOTM lineup by Charles Coburn, Mary Wickes, Thelma Ritter, Una O'Connor, and SZ Sakall.

 

Well I"m not for changing the SOTM format to features actors that were not 'stars'.    Instead I say TCM start a new theme;  Supporting player of the month and feature then in the same way as SOTM;   1 day a week for the supporting players,  and therefore 4 or 5 days in a month.

 

Oh,   I can't wait to start using SPOTM!

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How about this suggestion: Dame May Whitty for Star of the Month. Followed in the SOTM lineup by Charles Coburn, Mary Wickes, Thelma Ritter, Una O'Connor, and SZ Sakall.

Love, love, love this idea!  Followed by Eve Arden, Nat Pendleton, Anne Revere and May Robson.

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Five of the seven films TCM aired yesterday in honor of May Whitty are currently among the most-searched titles on the TCM database.  DEVOTION ranks first. It tells me that people really responded to her work, and to the fact that she usually appeared in quality films.

 

By comparison, TCM's much-hyped Star of the Month, Rock Hudson, only charted one title.  Who seems more popular with TCM viewers?  You tell me...

 

I can only speak for myself, but I'd be much more likely to want to see a movie with May Whitty in it than anything featuring Rock Hudson. 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 

How about this suggestion: Dame May Whitty for Star of the Month. Followed in the SOTM lineup by Charles Coburn, Mary Wickes, Thelma Ritter, Una O'Connor, and SZ Sakall.

 

Well I"m not for changing the SOTM format to features actors that were not 'stars'.    Instead I say TCM start a new theme;  Supporting player of the month and feature then in the same way as SOTM;   1 day a week for the supporting players,  and therefore 4 or 5 days in a month.

 

Oh,   I can't wait to start using SPOTM!

 

I think that this idea of 4 or 5 different characters actors each getting one 24 hour day, maybe doing this every third or fourth month so as not to run out of credible candidates too quickly,  has more legs than displacing the current SOTM format.

 

Although for "character actors" who also had many leading roles (George Sanders, Edward Arnold)  I'd love to see them displace the next SOTM rotation of overused retreads like Katharine Hepburn or John Wayne.  Nothing against the fabulous Kate, but let's keep the SOTM spotlights to no more than one every 8 or 10 years per actor or actress.  Put some variety in there.

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OhWell I"m not for changing the SOTM format to features actors that were not 'stars'. Instead I say TCM start a new theme; Supporting player of the month and feature then in the same way as SOTM; 1 day a week for the supporting players, and therefore 4 or 5 days in a month.

 

Oh, I can't wait to start using SPOTM!

 

I think that this idea of 4 or 5 different characters actors each getting one 24 hour day, maybe doing this every third or fourth month so as not to run out of credible candidates too quickly, has more legs than displacing the current SOTM format.

 

Although for "character actors" who also had many leading roles (George Sanders, Edward Arnold) I'd love to see them displace the next SOTM rotation of overused retreads like Katharine Hepburn or John Wayne. Nothing against the fabulous Kate, but let's keep the SOTM spotlights to no more than one every 8 or 10 years per actor or actress. Put some variety in there.

 

I agree with a separate spotlight for character.actors. And I most definitely agree about not repeating SOTM, as many of these get featured all year every year. But there are still legitimate stars that have not yet been featured; threads have been started to get them honored thus (including one started pour moi). TCM should try to have these so honored.

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