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My oh my.all.those MY titles.......yes I definitely did mean MY FORBIDDEN PAST, not MY FOOLISH HEART. The latter.was also filmed.at.RKO in 1949,.and.starred Susan Hayward.and.Dana Andrews. Maybe because I was thinking of Susan in relation to STELLA,.which I mentioned she turned down.

 

Have you seen STELLA?     I haven't and I wonder what others think about this dark comedy.  

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Have you seen STELLA?     I haven't and I wonder what others think about this dark comedy.

 

It's been years since I've seen it. If found it a funny comedy, and always reminded me of two other wacky comedies that dealt with similar goings on, thw screwball DANGER LOVE AT WORK (1937), and the mystery comedy, MURDER HE SAYS (1945).

 

I taped it off either the old AMC or the old FMC, but back when I would use the 6 hour mode on VHS. I never transferred any of these to dvd, but they are boxed and stored in my garage. I need to check to see if it has been released.through the Fox Cinema Archives series, as I would like to purchase it.

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When roles do not improve after receiving an Oscar

 

 

 

 

Perhaps there actually is an Oscar curse. After all, if someone is awarded one of the greatest honors in cinema, but fails to find decent work afterward, doesn’t it seem strange?

 

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-10-03-pm.png

 

Specifically, I am thinking of Jane Darwell. Miss Darwell was never an A-list headliner, but she moved effortlessly between studio programmers (films turned out economically to give exhibitors new product) and more prestigious projects where she played keys supporting roles. She dominates the first half hour of 20th Century Fox’s JESSE JAMES, as the doomed mother of sons forced into life on the run as outlaws. Then, a year later, the studio cast her in John Ford’s marvelous adaptation of John Steinbeck’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH.

 

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-10-19-pm.png

 

In fact, her Ma Joad in the screen version of Steinbeck’s timeless story earned Darwell the Oscar for best supporting actress. And one would think she would be given much stronger parts after this. But it is not the case at all. She soon turns up as a housekeeper for Roddy McDowall in Fox’s ON THE SUNNY SIDE. Plus there’s a thankless part on loan to Warners as Grandma Allen in the forgettable comedy THIEVES FALL OUT.

 

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-11-38-pm.png

 

In fact, when you watch her in something like THIEVES FALL OUT, where you see just how badly her talent is wasted, it begs the question– why does such a great performer, recognized across the motion picture industry as being one of the top actresses, get stuck with such dreadful material? Is this someone’s idea of a joke, did she get punished by the studio for something, or was it all about keeping her busy and making money?

 

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-10-59-pm.png

 

Jane Darwell was not the first, nor was she the last, Oscar recipient to be handed poor scripts. A few years earlier, Luise Rainer earned back-to-back Oscars for best actress, and her career quickly took a nosedive (for a variety of reasons). More recently, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Cher who was singled out for her stupendous work in Norman Jewison’s MOONSTRUCK, was hard-pressed to find good movie roles. She certainly did not have a career like Meryl Streep, but I suppose there is some consolation that she could fall back on her music.

 

 

 

I’ve been mentioning actresses in this column, but the curse (if we want to call it that) applies to actors, and to directors as well. What does it really mean? Does it suggest that some performers were given Oscars but did not deserve them? Does it mean they experienced temporary high points? Does it say that for circumstances beyond their control, their talent was compromised and audiences were cheated from seeing other quality work these people should have been given the chance to do?

 

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When roles do not improve after receiving an Oscar

 

Perhaps there actually is an Oscar curse. After all, if someone is awarded one of the greatest honors in cinema, but fails to find decent work afterward, doesn’t it seem strange?

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-10-03-pm.png

Specifically, I am thinking of Jane Darwell. Miss Darwell was never an A-list headliner, but she moved effortlessly between studio programmers (films turned out economically to give exhibitors new product) and more prestigious projects where she played keys supporting roles. She dominates the first half hour of 20th Century Fox’s JESSE JAMES, as the doomed mother of sons forced into life on the run as outlaws. Then, a year later, the studio cast her in John Ford’s marvelous adaptation of John Steinbeck’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH.

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-10-19-pm.png

In fact, her Ma Joad in the screen version of Steinbeck’s timeless story earned Darwell the Oscar for best supporting actress. And one would think she would be given much stronger parts after this. But it is not the case at all. She soon turns up as a housekeeper for Roddy McDowall in Fox’s ON THE SUNNY SIDE. Plus there’s a thankless part on loan to Warners as Grandma Allen in the forgettable comedy THIEVES FALL OUT.

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-11-38-pm.png

In fact, when you watch her in something like THIEVES FALL OUT, where you see just how badly her talent is wasted, it begs the question– why does such a great performer, recognized across the motion picture industry as being one of the top actresses, get stuck with such dreadful material? Is this someone’s idea of a joke, did she get punished by the studio for something, or was it all about keeping her busy and making money?

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-10-59-pm.png

Jane Darwell was not the first, nor was she the last, Oscar recipient to be handed poor scripts. A few years earlier, Luise Rainer earned back-to-back Oscars for best actress, and her career quickly took a nosedive (for a variety of reasons). More recently, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Cher who was singled out for her stupendous work in Norman Jewison’s MOONSTRUCK, was hard-pressed to find good movie roles. She certainly did not have a career like Meryl Streep, but I suppose there is some consolation that she could fall back on her music.

 

I’ve been mentioning actresses in this column, but the curse (if we want to call it that) applies to actors, and to directors as well. What does it really mean? Does it suggest that some performers were given Oscars but did not deserve them? Does it mean they experienced temporary high points? Does it say that for circumstances beyond their control, their talent was compromised and audiences were cheated from seeing other quality work these people should have been given the chance to do?

 

Have you seen Jane Darwell in THE OXBOW INCIDENT?  Great movie and she's terrific in it and quite a departure from her character in GRAPES OF WRATH.  Since she was older and not beautiful, the roles offered to her were limited.  Luise Rainer started getting bad scripts in part because Irving Thalberg had died so she no longer had anyone in her corner at MGM.  I don't know why Cher hasn't done more movies - maybe because of her musical career coming first.  But, yeah, a lot of times the Oscars are high points and the post-Oscar careers don't measure up.  Cuba Gooding Jr. might be a prime example.  Remember it's supposed to be for a specific performance and not a career award (that's what the honorary Oscars are for), at least in theory.

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When roles do not improve after receiving an Oscar

 

Perhaps there actually is an Oscar curse. After all, if someone is awarded one of the greatest honors in cinema, but fails to find decent work afterward, doesn’t it seem strange?

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-10-03-pm.png

Specifically, I am thinking of Jane Darwell. Miss Darwell was never an A-list headliner, but she moved effortlessly between studio programmers (films turned out economically to give exhibitors new product) and more prestigious projects where she played keys supporting roles. She dominates the first half hour of 20th Century Fox’s JESSE JAMES, as the doomed mother of sons forced into life on the run as outlaws. Then, a year later, the studio cast her in John Ford’s marvelous adaptation of John Steinbeck’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH.

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-10-19-pm.png

In fact, her Ma Joad in the screen version of Steinbeck’s timeless story earned Darwell the Oscar for best supporting actress. And one would think she would be given much stronger parts after this. But it is not the case at all. She soon turns up as a housekeeper for Roddy McDowall in Fox’s ON THE SUNNY SIDE. Plus there’s a thankless part on loan to Warners as Grandma Allen in the forgettable comedy THIEVES FALL OUT.

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-11-38-pm.png

In fact, when you watch her in something like THIEVES FALL OUT, where you see just how badly her talent is wasted, it begs the question– why does such a great performer, recognized across the motion picture industry as being one of the top actresses, get stuck with such dreadful material? Is this someone’s idea of a joke, did she get punished by the studio for something, or was it all about keeping her busy and making money?

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-10-59-pm.png

Jane Darwell was not the first, nor was she the last, Oscar recipient to be handed poor scripts. A few years earlier, Luise Rainer earned back-to-back Oscars for best actress, and her career quickly took a nosedive (for a variety of reasons). More recently, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Cher who was singled out for her stupendous work in Norman Jewison’s MOONSTRUCK, was hard-pressed to find good movie roles. She certainly did not have a career like Meryl Streep, but I suppose there is some consolation that she could fall back on her music.

 

I’ve been mentioning actresses in this column, but the curse (if we want to call it that) applies to actors, and to directors as well. What does it really mean? Does it suggest that some performers were given Oscars but did not deserve them? Does it mean they experienced temporary high points? Does it say that for circumstances beyond their control, their talent was compromised and audiences were cheated from seeing other quality work these people should have been given the chance to do?

 

Maybe winning an Oscar for a particular role somehow typecasts the actor for roles just like that, and he or she can't get good roles that are different from that role. Ray Milland got better roles before THE LOST WEEKEND than after.

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When roles do not improve after receiving an Oscar

 

Perhaps there actually is an Oscar curse. After all, if someone is awarded one of the greatest honors in cinema, but fails to find decent work afterward, doesn’t it seem strange?

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-10-03-pm.png

Specifically, I am thinking of Jane Darwell. Miss Darwell was never an A-list headliner, but she moved effortlessly between studio programmers (films turned out economically to give exhibitors new product) and more prestigious projects where she played keys supporting roles. She dominates the first half hour of 20th Century Fox’s JESSE JAMES, as the doomed mother of sons forced into life on the run as outlaws. Then, a year later, the studio cast her in John Ford’s marvelous adaptation of John Steinbeck’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH.

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-10-19-pm.png

In fact, her Ma Joad in the screen version of Steinbeck’s timeless story earned Darwell the Oscar for best supporting actress. And one would think she would be given much stronger parts after this. But it is not the case at all. She soon turns up as a housekeeper for Roddy McDowall in Fox’s ON THE SUNNY SIDE. Plus there’s a thankless part on loan to Warners as Grandma Allen in the forgettable comedy THIEVES FALL OUT.

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-11-38-pm.png

In fact, when you watch her in something like THIEVES FALL OUT, where you see just how badly her talent is wasted, it begs the question– why does such a great performer, recognized across the motion picture industry as being one of the top actresses, get stuck with such dreadful material? Is this someone’s idea of a joke, did she get punished by the studio for something, or was it all about keeping her busy and making money?

screen-shot-2015-02-19-at-3-10-59-pm.png

Jane Darwell was not the first, nor was she the last, Oscar recipient to be handed poor scripts. A few years earlier, Luise Rainer earned back-to-back Oscars for best actress, and her career quickly took a nosedive (for a variety of reasons). More recently, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Cher who was singled out for her stupendous work in Norman Jewison’s MOONSTRUCK, was hard-pressed to find good movie roles. She certainly did not have a career like Meryl Streep, but I suppose there is some consolation that she could fall back on her music.

 

I’ve been mentioning actresses in this column, but the curse (if we want to call it that) applies to actors, and to directors as well. What does it really mean? Does it suggest that some performers were given Oscars but did not deserve them? Does it mean they experienced temporary high points? Does it say that for circumstances beyond their control, their talent was compromised and audiences were cheated from seeing other quality work these people should have been given the chance to do?

 

Good topic. I've thought of this a few times in reference to Best Actor winners Ben Kingsley and F. Murray Abraham. Neither before or after their wins did their careers really take off. Somebody mentioned Ray Milland's roles going downhill after his win for Lost Weekend. I think in Milland's case he was just a decade or so away from no longer being able to play the suave leading man, but he still got some very good roles. If you ever can find it, check out "Alias Nick Beal". Milland is great and the film is top notch.

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Have you seen Jane Darwell in THE OXBOW INCIDENT?  Great movie and she's terrific in it and quite a departure from her character in GRAPES OF WRATH.  Since she was older and not beautiful, the roles offered to her were limited.  Luise Rainer started getting bad scripts in part because Irving Thalberg had died so she no longer had anyone in her corner at MGM.  I don't know why Cher hasn't done more movies - maybe because of her musical career coming first.  But, yeah, a lot of times the Oscars are high points and the post-Oscar careers don't measure up.  Cuba Gooding Jr. might be a prime example.  Remember it's supposed to be for a specific performance and not a career award (that's what the honorary Oscars are for), at least in theory.

Yes, I think THE OX-BOW INCIDENT is one of Darwell's rare post-Oscar films where she is given a good role. She was the third choice, however. Sara Allgood (who I think couldn't ride horse very well) was replaced by Florence Bates (who was injured during filming), and Bates was finally replaced by Darwell.

 

I mentioned THIEVES FALL OUT, but I think Darwell's role in THE BIGAMIST is probably her least rewarding. She has a short scene where she comes in and empties the trash in Edmund Gwenn's office. What a disappointment-- to have an Oscar winner given a scene as a cleaning lady with very little impact on the overall story.

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Yeah, I've seen it happen  a few times over the years---

 

Like for instance, What outstanding movie or performance of F. MURRAY ABRAHAM'S comes to mind  after   AMADEUS? 

 

ADRIEN BRODY did have some good roles in some good films AFTER The Pianist,  but NONE of them up to that level!

 

 

Sepiatone

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The saddest example I can think of is Kim Bassinger.  She had some good movie roles like Nadine but until LA Confidential nothing of real note.  I thought that might change after her Oscar win but so far it's been back to the less than stellar projects she did before.  Either she got lucky once in her life and got a role that fit her perfectly or she has poor taste in choosing roles.  Perhaps that's what happens to other actors as well. 

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The saddest example I can think of is Kim Bassinger.  She had some good movie roles like Nadine but until LA Confidential nothing of real note.  I thought that might change after her Oscar win but so far it's been back to the less than stellar projects she did before.  Either she got lucky once in her life and got a role that fit her perfectly or she has poor taste in choosing roles.  Perhaps that's what happens to other actors as well. 

Good point. Or that their agents have poor taste in choosing roles for them.

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Dialogue in silent movies


 


Dialogue in silent movies was pantomimed with hand gestures and body language. Sometimes it was mouthed by characters, and audiences may or may not have been able to read the actors’ lips. And more often than not, it was conveyed with intertitles.


 


The intertitles would temporarily interrupt the action, and they were written in the movie-goers’ native language. I often wonder how much time audiences were required to read, as opposed to see the story play out visually. Perhaps it makes early cinema a bit more literate than modern filmmaking. Perhaps not.


 


Some intertitles spell out obvious action:


 


titlwcard.jpg


Here we see the dialogue in quotation marks:


whisper2.jpg


Some use stylistic fonts, like this one from the 1920 version of THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI:


the_cabinet_of_dr-_caligari_intertitle.p


This text, from THE BIRTH OF A NATION, seems like something a narrator would speak in a sound film:


screen-shot-2015-02-21-at-11-50-21-pm.pn


 


Intertitles are not exclusive to films, however, The television sitcom Frasier often used them, in the form of humorous puns:


images-24.jpg


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Appreciating Alexis Smith


 


1alexissmith.png


Alexis Smith was originally from Penicton, British Columbia. In the 1940s, she would become a well-known Hollywood movie star. Her career in films, television and stage continued until her death in 1993. 


 


1. STEEL AGAINST THE SKY (1941)..Alexis Smith's first leading role occurred in a B-film at Warner Brothers.  She had spent the previous year in bit parts.  Costar Craig Stevens would become her husband. They were married for almost 50 years.


 


imgres-111.jpg


2. THE HORN BLOWS AT MIDNIGHT (1945)…A farce with Jack Benny that did not do well at the box office but has since become a cult favorite.


 


3. CONFLICT (1945)…The first of two with Humphrey Bogart. She plays the sister of his wife (Rose Hobart), and Bogart’s character becomes so smitten with her he takes steps to end his marriage. And we're not talking divorce. She would appear with Bogart again in THE TWO MRS. CARROLLS, which has a similar plot.


screen-shot-2015-02-20-at-5-28-20-pm.png


4. SAN ANTONIO (1945)…Her third on-screen collaboration with Errol Flynn. The picture, filmed in glorious Technicolor, would be her first western. She and Flynn made one more film-- another western, MONTANA, a few years later.


 


5. NIGHT AND DAY (1946)…Her next film in Technicolor was a musical biopic about the life of Cole Porter. She was cast with Cary Grant and Monty Woolley, who played himself.


images20.jpg


6. ANY NUMBER CAN PLAY (1949)..Her first loan out. MGM borrowed her from home studio Warner Brothers for a drama about a gambling house owner (Clark Gable) who is estranged from his wife (Smith). The splendid supporting cast features Mary Astor, Frank Morgan, Wendell Corey, Audrey Totter and Barry Sullivan.


 


7. CAVE OF OUTLAWS (1951)..By this point, she had left Warners and signed a multi-picture deal at Universal. Universal liked putting her in Technicolor westerns and this is one of them. Leading man is Macdonald Carey.


 


8. SPLIT SECOND (1953)..She was now freelancing at RKO when this assignment came along. Dick Powell served as the director, and Stephen McNally was the leading man. She had previously worked with McNally at Universal.


imgres29.jpg


9. THE SLEEPING TIGER (1954)..She would make this film noir in England with director Joseph Losey. It is considered by many to be her best role. She plays the wife of a therapist (Alexander Knox) who falls in love with her husband’s dangerous patient (Dirk Bogarde).


 


10. CASEY’S SHADOW (1978)..She had been absent from feature films for some time, when she experienced a career resurgence in the 1970s. She costars with Walter Matthau, in a story about a racehorse. Released by Columbia.


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A few of my favorite Alexis Smith performances -- as part of the ensemble cast in The Woman in White (1948):

the-woman-in-white-alexis-smith-1948-eveWith Paul Newman in The Young Philadelphians (1959):

4648507364_d0a3e84363.jpg

And in a small but crucial role in The Age of Innocence (1993):

AO33_150.jpg

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A few of my favorite Alexis Smith performances -- 

AO33_150.jpg

She looks good in AGE OF INNOCENCE. Of course, she was always a beautiful woman. It would be her last screen role and the movie premiered a few months after her death from cancer.

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One early movie role for Alexis Smith that I feel she does a good job in is The Constant Nymph (1943). 

 

Smith's screen persona is somewhat 'cold'.   Her persona in the film works well against the bubbly childlike persona of Joan Fontaine in the film.    As Top Billed noted she was the 'other women' in both of the Bogie films she was in.   In The Constant Nymph Smith instead is the married lady having to deal with another women (well women\child as played by Fontaine). 

 

 

 

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Have you seen Jane Darwell in THE OXBOW INCIDENT?  Great movie and she's terrific in it and quite a departure from her character in GRAPES OF WRATH.  Since she was older and not beautiful, the roles offered to her were limited.  Luise Rainer started getting bad scripts in part because Irving Thalberg had died so she no longer had anyone in her corner at MGM.  I don't know why Cher hasn't done more movies - maybe because of her musical career coming first.  But, yeah, a lot of times the Oscars are high points and the post-Oscar careers don't measure up.  Cuba Gooding Jr. might be a prime example.  Remember it's supposed to be for a specific performance and not a career award (that's what the honorary Oscars are for), at least in theory.

There are many instances of the "Oscar Curse". In the case of an older character actress like Jane Darwell, I don't think there was any expectation that the Oscar might lead to better roles. As per the terms of her contract, she continued to do what she always did, take whatever role she was assigned, whether a bit or a main part, in films good and bad, be they "A"s, programmers or "B"s, and do her faultless work. She was a professional, and well liked, but the award didn't turn her head nor that of the producers'.

 

However, some well liked older character actors had real stardom after winning an Oscar. Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery for the duration, while others for a short while before having the momentum subside back to supporting roles, even though they might still retain Star billing, including Victor McLaglen, Ernest Borgnine and Broderrick Crawford.

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The saddest example I can think of is Kim Bassinger.  She had some good movie roles like Nadine but until LA Confidential nothing of real note.  I thought that might change after her Oscar win but so far it's been back to the less than stellar projects she did before.  Either she got lucky once in her life and got a role that fit her perfectly or she has poor taste in choosing roles.  Perhaps that's what happens to other actors as well.

 

A good example of a career going nowhere after the Oscar win is Susan Hayward's. Finally winning on the fifth nomination, for 1958's I WANT TO LIVE! her subsequent films did not compare to what cams before. In her case, she didn't really care anymore, having nothing more to prove. Plus she had married again a couple of years earlier, and was happily living in rural Georgia with her new husband. She turned down many films, doing the occasional one due to boredom. Important roles like the one done by Jean Simmons in ELMER GANTRY could not sway her to leave domesticity.

 

For others it might have been a similar response, where a culmination of a successful career might mean there was no longer the need to strive for this validation.

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However, some well liked older character actors had real stardom after winning an Oscar. Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery for the duration

I would put Charles Coburn in that category, too. After his award for THE MORE THE MERRIER, he was given much better roles in A pictures to play-- and he usually headlined the B films or routine programmers he was hired to do. 

 

I mentioned Darwell in the earlier column because I find her career post-Oscar to be a mixed bag and overall a disappointment. It gets even worse for her after Fox. In the late 40s and early 50s, she did not have much good material to work with, or so it appears.

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Appreciating Alexis Smith

 

1alexissmith.png

Alexis Smith was originally from Penicton, British Columbia. In the 1940s, she would become a well-known Hollywood movie star. Her career in films, television and stage continued until her death in 1993.

 

1. STEEL AGAINST THE SKY (1941)..Alexis Smith's first leading role occurred in a B-film at Warner Brothers. She had spent the previous year in bit parts. Costar Craig Stevens would become her husband. They were married for almost 50 years.

 

imgres-111.jpg

2. THE HORN BLOWS AT MIDNIGHT (1945)…A farce with Jack Benny that did not do well at the box office but has since become a cult favorite.

 

3. CONFLICT (1945)…The first of two with Humphrey Bogart. She plays the sister of his wife (Rose Hobart), and Bogart’s character becomes so smitten with her he takes steps to end his marriage. And we're not talking divorce. She would appear with Bogart again in THE TWO MRS. CARROLLS, which has a similar plot.

screen-shot-2015-02-20-at-5-28-20-pm.png

4. SAN ANTONIO (1945)…Her third on-screen collaboration with Errol Flynn. The picture, filmed in glorious Technicolor, would be her first western. She and Flynn made one more film-- another western, MONTANA, a few years later.

 

5. NIGHT AND DAY (1946)…Her next film in Technicolor was a musical biopic about the life of Cole Porter. She was cast with Cary Grant and Monty Woolley, who played himself.

images20.jpg

6. ANY NUMBER CAN PLAY (1949)..Her first loan out. MGM borrowed her from home studio Warner Brothers for a drama about a gambling house owner (Clark Gable) who is estranged from his wife (Smith). The splendid supporting cast features Mary Astor, Frank Morgan, Wendell Corey, Audrey Totter and Barry Sullivan.

 

7. CAVE OF OUTLAWS (1951)..By this point, she had left Warners and signed a multi-picture deal at Universal. Universal liked putting her in Technicolor westerns and this is one of them. Leading man is Macdonald Carey.

 

8. SPLIT SECOND (1953)..She was now freelancing at RKO when this assignment came along. Dick Powell served as the director, and Stephen McNally was the leading man. She had previously worked with McNally at Universal.

imgres29.jpg

9. THE SLEEPING TIGER (1954)..She would make this film noir in England with director Joseph Losey. It is considered by many to be her best role. She plays the wife of a therapist (Alexander Knox) who falls in love with her husband’s dangerous patient (Dirk Bogarde).

 

10. CASEY’S SHADOW (1978)..She had been absent from feature films for some time, when she experienced a career resurgence in the 1970s. She costars with Walter Matthau, in a story about a racehorse. Released by Columbia.

Beautiful, statuesque Alexis Smith had the type of looks that connoted patrician background and breeding. Very few of this type made it to top stardom, among thethe few that did: Ann Harding and Katherine Hepburn in the 1930s, Ingrid Bergman and Gene Tierney in the 1940s, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly in the 1950s. Usually this type played second leads, supporting the stars in bitchy wife or other woman roles; think Gail Patrick or Martha Hyer. Smith fell.in between. She might have had the misfortune to have been under contract at Warner.Brothers in the 1940s, full of powerful female personalities jostling for the available roles. At that, she broke out of the pack, and made a name for herself with her many enjoyable characterizations, both then and afterwards.

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I would put Charles Coburn in that category, too. After his award for THE MORE THE MERRIER, he was given much better A pictures to do-- and he usually headlined the B films or routine programmers he was hired to do. 

 

I mentioned Darwell in the earlier column because I find her career post-Oscar to be a mixed bag and overall a disappointment. It gets even worse for her after Fox. In the late 40s and early 50s, she did not have much good material to work with, or so it appears.

Darwell did get to "Feed the Birds" in Mary Poppins! I think the supporting Oscar winners were generally character people and not the leads of a film. So they would continue to get character roles, even if their billing got better.  I agree that Charles Coburn is a good example. His billing got better -- see poster -- but the star (i.e. lead character) of The Green Years (an excellent film) was Tom Drake.

 

Cronin_Green_Years_poster.jpeg

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A good example of a career going nowhere after the Oscar win is Susan Hayward's. Finally winning on the fifth nomination, for 1958's I WANT TO LIVE! her subsequent films did not compare to what cams before. In her case, she didn't really care anymore, having nothing more to prove. Plus she had married again a couple of years earlier, and was happily living in rural Georgia with her new husband. She turned down many films, doing the occasional one due to boredom. Important roles like the one done by Jean Simmons in ELMER GANTRY could not sway her to leave domesticity.

 

For others it might have been a similar response, where a culmination of a successful career might mean there was no longer the need to strive for this validation.

 

One could say something similar about Olivia De Havilland.   Both were of similar age (Hayward one year younger),  and both were making a major splash (e.g.  Oscars wins or nominations),  starting in 1946 \47.   Olivia started to devote more time to family after The Heiress,  talking 3 years off before her next picture, and only making 6 films in the 50s, and with Hayward,  as you noted,  devoting more time to home life until the late 50s.     But in each case I believe it wasn't because Hollywood had given up on them, but more that they decided things other than acting were more important to them.

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Darwell did get to "Feed the Birds" in Mary Poppins! I think the supporting Oscar winners were generally character people and not the leads of a film. So they would continue to get character roles, even if their billing got better.  I agree that Charles Coburn is a good example. His billing got better -- see poster -- but the star of The Green Years (an excellent film) was Tom Drake.

 

Cronin_Green_Years_poster.jpeg

Yes, fortunately Darwell had a good role in MARY POPPINS at the very end. She deserved to have a memorable part to cap off her career. 

 

I thought about THE GREEN YEARS when I wrote my comment about Coburn. He received another supporting actor nomination for it. Tom Drake's character does dominate the action in the later portion of the story, but the first half is dominated by Dean Stockwell who plays a younger version of the same character. So when you have two young actors sharing one role and Coburn's grandfather character overseeing much of the action during both halves of the movie, it is easy to see why the billing is the way it is for THE GREEN YEARS.

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I thought about THE GREEN YEARS when I wrote my comment about Coburn. He received another supporting actor nomination for it. Tom Drake's character does dominate the action in the later portion of the story, but the first half is dominated by Dean Stockwell who plays a younger version of the same character. So when you have two young actors sharing one role and Coburn's grandfather character overseeing much of the action during both halves of the movie, it is easy to see why the billing is the way it is for THE GREEN YEARS.

I've often felt that they must have gotten the makeup idea for Coburn's character in The Green Years from Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion! Coburn -- often acting with his wife Ivah Wills Coburn -- had a long and significant career in the theater. His career on Broadway spanned 50 years.

 

Charles+Coburn+The+Green+Years.PNG

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One could say something similar about Olivia De Havilland.   Both were of similar age (Hayward one year younger),  and both were making a major splash (e.g.  Oscars wins or nominations),  starting in 1946 \47.   Olivia started to devote more time to family after The Heiress,  talking 3 years off before her next picture, and only making 6 films in the 50s, and with Hayward,  as you noted,  devoting more time to home life until the late 50s.     But in each case I believe it wasn't because Hollywood had given up on them, but more that they decided things other than acting were more important to them.

The one major difference between the two, is that Olivia's win for 1946 led directly to being considered for the roles that led to her subsequent Oscar contentions for THE SNAKE PIT.and.THE HEIRESS. Her.first win fully vindicated her Hollywood standing after her legal fight with WB and her being unable to film during that time. So Oscar No. One.was not a.jinx, but.led.to better things. It was only after her second win that she decided to wind things down.

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