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Up until last year, during Alan Ladd's SUTS day, I had never seen a Veronica Lake film.  I'd heard of her and knew what she looked like but had never seen one of her films.  On Ladd's SUTS day, I saw This Gun for Hire, The Blue Dahlia, and The Glass Key.  It seems that her collaborations with Ladd are what put her on the map so to speak. 

 

I have also seen her in Sullivan's Travels.  I tried watching I Married a Witch but couldn't get into it.  I should perhaps watch it again.

 

Anyway... I am undecided about Lake.  I cannot decide if I like her as an actress or think she's out of her element.

 

Physically, she has a very unique look.  With her famous blonde "peek-a-boo" hairstyle and sultry eyes, she has the perfect look for the femme fatale.  Her husky voice is also an asset in these types of roles. 

 

However acting wise, in some of her films she strikes me as a bit stiff.  I cannot decide whether or not that's due to a weakness of Lake's acting abilities or whether it's part of her schtick. 

 

I really liked her in Sullivan's Travels though.  She did comedy very well.

 

I also love the Sullivan's Travels poster.  I wouldn't mind having this hanging on a wall in my house.

 

sullivans-travels-movie-poster-1941-1020

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Up until last year, during Alan Ladd's SUTS day, I had never seen a Veronica Lake film.  I'd heard of her and knew what she looked like but had never seen one of her films.  On Ladd's SUTS day, I saw This Gun for Hire, The Blue Dahlia, and The Glass Key.  It seems that her collaborations with Ladd are what put her on the map so to speak. 

 

I have also seen her in Sullivan's Travels.  I tried watching I Married a Witch but couldn't get into it.  I should perhaps watch it again.

 

Anyway... I am undecided about Lake.  I cannot decide if I like her as an actress or think she's out of her element.

 

Physically, she has a very unique look.  With her famous blonde "peek-a-boo" hairstyle and sultry eyes, she has the perfect look for the femme fatale.  Her husky voice is also an asset in these types of roles. 

 

However acting wise, in some of her films she strikes me as a bit stiff.  I cannot decide whether or not that's due to a weakness of Lake's acting abilities or whether it's part of her schtick. 

 

I really liked her in Sullivan's Travels though.  She did comedy very well.

 

I also love the Sullivan's Travels poster.  I wouldn't mind having this hanging on a wall in my house.

 

 

 

I think you understand Lake very well;  Her acting ability was limited.  Very limited.  She does have a unique look  \ style and often came off as a very beautiful women.   She was in some very good if not great movies.   To me the only question that can never be answered is if these movies would have been better with another actress.     My gut tells me yes (assuming Paramount could have found another actress that was still shorter than Alan Ladd!).

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I think you understand Lake very well;  Her acting ability was limited.  Very limited.  She does have a unique look  \ style and often came off a very beautiful women.   She was in some very good if not great movies.   To me the only question that can never be answered is if these movies would have been better with another actress.     My gut tells me yes (assuming Paramount could have found another actress that was still shorter than Alan Ladd!).

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way.  Her limited acting doesn't ruin or hurt any films she's in, it's just apparent that, in comparison with her co-stars, she's out of her element.  Her stiff delivery of her lines is even more apparent when engaged in conversations with her more experienced co-stars.  I think her tiny stature worked to her advantage because paired with Ladd, they seemed to make a good pair.  The only other actress I can think of that was as tiny as Veronica Lake is Judy Garland, and I don't see Garland in a noir--though, who knows, she was much more talented than Lake, it might have been interesting. 

 

Lake's career was very short however--I think only a few years.  She apparently known as "The B itch" on the Paramount lot and as a result, her contract was not renewed when it was up in the late 1940s.  Joel McCrea was supposed to follow up Sullivan's Travels with I Married a Witch, but refused to work with Lake again.

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Up until last year, during Alan Ladd's SUTS day, I had never seen a Veronica Lake film.  I'd heard of her and knew what she looked like but had never seen one of her films.  On Ladd's SUTS day, I saw This Gun for Hire, The Blue Dahlia, and The Glass Key.  It seems that her collaborations with Ladd are what put her on the map so to speak. 

 

I have also seen her in Sullivan's Travels.  I tried watching I Married a Witch but couldn't get into it.  I should perhaps watch it again.

 

Anyway... I am undecided about Lake.  I cannot decide if I like her as an actress or think she's out of her element.

 

Physically, she has a very unique look.  With her famous blonde "peek-a-boo" hairstyle and sultry eyes, she has the perfect look for the femme fatale.  Her husky voice is also an asset in these types of roles. 

 

However acting wise, in some of her films she strikes me as a bit stiff.  I cannot decide whether or not that's due to a weakness of Lake's acting abilities or whether it's part of her schtick. 

 

I really liked her in Sullivan's Travels though.  She did comedy very well.

 

I also love the Sullivan's Travels poster.  I wouldn't mind having this hanging on a wall in my house.

 

MV5BNjA2MjYwOTk2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODE0

I agree Lake had limited acting ability but she had a great look for the 1940s and she clicked on-screen with Alan Ladd.  SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS is good and, did you know, she was pregnant while filming it so hence the oversize menswear jacket?  I liked I MARRIED A WITCH - she's very watchable in it and I like Fred March who is good in most everything.  I recommend you give this one another try as it's one of her better efforts.  Her last movie was a low-budget horror FLESH FEAST (1970).

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I agree Lake had limited acting ability but she had a great look for the 1940s and she clicked on-screen with Alan Ladd.  SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS is good and, did you know, she was pregnant while filming it so hence the oversize menswear jacket?  I liked I MARRIED A WITCH - she's very watchable in it and I like Fred March who is good in most everything.  I recommend you give this one another try as it's one of her better efforts.  Her last movie was a low-budget horror FLESH FEAST (1970).

I will try I Married a Witch again.  I was aware that she was pregnant in Sullivan's Travels, you would never know it by watching.  The costume designers in that film were amazing.

 

The title Flesh Feast makes the film sound amazing.  It sounds like it'll be horrible, but I like the title.

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I don't think the films with Ladd put her on the map. I think they kept her on the map, and they are what people remember her today for doing.

 

But she was being groomed by Paramount as an ingenue for at least two years before she was cast opposite Ladd. 

 

You can see that Paramount has big things in mind for her when they give her a special cameo in Olivia de Havilland's HOLD BACK THE DAWN (when Lake was still a relative nobody). Also, she is the female lead in a movie about airmen called I WANTED WINGS. So she was already sizzling with audiences and working with some of Paramount's most important male hotties before she stepped on a soundstage with Ladd.

 

Her later films are kind of interesting-- especially one directed by her then husband (and father of her children) Andre de Toth. It was Fox's SLATTERY'S HURRICANE. She has a very different short-bobbed haircut in it. 

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  Joel McCrea was supposed to follow up Sullivan's Travels with I Married a Witch, but refused to work with Lake again.

I think that's a bit unfair.

 

McCrea actually did another film with her-- a western called RAMROD. So if he really despised working with her, they would not have paired up again.

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I like her Ladd entries and I don't enjoy watching WITCH only because it's a mean-spirited film as Cecil Kellaway's character is like a bad apple in the barrel.  What should be whimsy flipflops between mean and rom-com.

 

Whether she was limited or not, it's tough for me to be judge: "Is she not putting 100% effort into boring characters or is her ability so limited?"  For studios that typically dropped women who aged, feeding them undesired, unwanted role after role, it's hard for me to see 'limited' when making lemonade from lemons.

 

Veronica was very popular as the sultry visitor in the excellent DUFFY'S TAVERN radio series (the movie of the same name was, well, typically plodding because no single visual entry could possibly embrace hundreds of thousands of radio fans' views of what Duffy's "looked like").  The radio series is pretty great, a more imaginative forefather to CHEERS.

 

SO PROUDLY WE HAIL is an interesting ensemble cast which feels like Veronica complained about her roles and was thrown-a-bone for this film, which is best viewed as "art of the moment" and that moment was schmaltzy, cheerleading, gird-yer-loins propoganda. 

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SO PROUDLY WE HAIL is an interesting ensemble cast which feels like Veronica complained about her roles and was thrown-a-bone for this film, which is best viewed as "art of the moment" 

But she's wonderful in it. In fact, it could be argued that her one big scene steals the movie away from Colbert, Goddard and the other gals. Cher selected this film and showed it two years when TCM first started doing the Friday Night Spotlights.

 

It would make an excellent double feature with CRY HAVOC-- another entry about nurses tending the wounded along the battle front.

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Up until last year, during Alan Ladd's SUTS day, I had never seen a Veronica Lake film.  I'd heard of her and knew what she looked like but had never seen one of her films.  On Ladd's SUTS day, I saw This Gun for Hire, The Blue Dahlia, and The Glass Key.  It seems that her collaborations with Ladd are what put her on the map so to speak. 

 

I have also seen her in Sullivan's Travels.  I tried watching I Married a Witch but couldn't get into it.  I should perhaps watch it again.

 

Anyway... I am undecided about Lake.  I cannot decide if I like her as an actress or think she's out of her element.

 

Physically, she has a very unique look.  With her famous blonde "peek-a-boo" hairstyle and sultry eyes, she has the perfect look for the femme fatale.  Her husky voice is also an asset in these types of roles. 

 

However acting wise, in some of her films she strikes me as a bit stiff.  I cannot decide whether or not that's due to a weakness of Lake's acting abilities or whether it's part of her schtick. 

 

I really liked her in Sullivan's Travels though.  She did comedy very well.

 

I also love the Sullivan's Travels poster.  I wouldn't mind having this hanging on a wall in my house.

 

sullivans-travels-movie-poster-1941-1020

I remember when I first saw her in Sullivan's Travels being struck by her look and contemporary speech and mannerisms.  She wasn't theatrical in a Norma Shearer sort of way (not that there's anything wrong with that!) yet had a striking, low key screen presence.   

 

Maybe give I Married A Witch another try at some point.  By the way, Thorne Smith died before he could finish the book, so it was completed by another writer.  When I watch the movie I sometimes wonder what he might have done differently.

 

That is a great poster!

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Hey Speedy, betcha didn't know that the waters of Veronica Lake eventually flow into Turhan Bay..err..BEY, did ya?!

 

(...sorry couldn't resist...nice write-up btw)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Lake wasn't a great actress, but with that face, she didn't have to be. And she had a wonderful voice.

 

As for actors getting along with her: one said, "Life is too short to make another picture with Veronica Lake." Another said, "There isn't enough money to make me do another movie with Veronica Lake -- and I like money!"

 

Lake's hair style was widely copied, to the point where women who worked in defense plants were getting their flowing locks caught in the machinery; Lake was supposedly asked to cut her hair for that reason.

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It was a sultry full page photo of Veronica Lake in a photo book of classic Hollywood starlets in my Jr. HS library that infected me with the classic film bug.  I have only seen her four films with Alan Ladd and enjoy all of them.  I agree that her acting range was limited and that she is often stiff, but the chemistry with Ladd in these films is undeniable.

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Just cuz she is a beautiful woman should not disqualify her immense charm onscreen. She had an allure and aura that cannot be bought.

 

She had an allure and aura that was mostly created by the Hollywood studio machine.

 

I have many still photos of Lake and she gave great face. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Veronica.Lake did not cut her hair.when the War Dept. requested it. Rafher, she pulled it back, or put it up, thereby diminishing.one of her best.known trademarks. Later, in the late 40s, after the Lake vogue, she cut he hair, but because that was the style of the day. It didn't become her.

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I kind of flip flop with Veronica Lake.

 

First seeing her, I thought she was rather plain looking and flat. Then, I started liking her in roles and thought she had an understated beauty if you could see past the glitzy hair.

Lately, she comes across as flat again to me, sometimes good for the role.

 

Several actresses were small, although Lake is tiny, like a size 3 or even zero junior.

 

Judging from seeing their costumes in real life, Rita Hayworth was petite- a 3 to 5 junior as was Liz Taylor and Marilyn both a definite 5 junior size.

But of course like the rest of us, all those actresses rounded out in their 30's and 40's.

 

I love that movie that refers to her hair trend for teens of the time. I think Mickey Rooney says, "They've all just seen a Veronica Lake movie" and 3 or 4 teens look up from reading with hair over one eye.

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I kind of flip flop with Veronica Lake.

 

First seeing her, I thought she was rather plain looking and flat. Then, I started liking her in roles and thought she had an understated beauty if you could see past the glitzy hair.

Lately, she comes across as flat again to me, sometimes good for the role.

 

Several actresses were small, although Lake is tiny, like a size 3 or even zero junior.

 

Judging from seeing their costumes in real life, Rita Hayworth was petite- a 3 to 5 junior as was Liz Taylor and Marilyn both a definite 5 junior size.

But of course like the rest of us, all those actresses rounded out in their 30's and 40's.

 

I love that movie that refers to her hair trend for teens of the time. I think Mickey Rooney says, "They've all just seen a Veronica Lake movie" and 3 or 4 teens look up from reading with hair over one eye.

 

I also flip flop back and forth with liking Lake and being unimpressed.  Thank goodness she was paired up with Alan Ladd in those three classic noirs, otherwise, I think Lake would have just become one of the many starlets who popped up in a couple films here and there until fizzling out after a few years.  While she was also in Sullivan's Travels and I Married a Witch, she was known for her femme fatale persona.  The peek-a-boo hairstyle worked well for that type of role.  However, I feel in a way that her hairstyle also became her shtick. 

 

I do find her films entertaining, though I'm waiting for I Married a Witch to repeat because I didn't care for it the first go around but would like to give it another try.  I thought she was good in Sullivan's Travels and I liked the films she made with Ladd. I believe she was initially paired up with Ladd because she was so petite and he would look like a "big guy" compared to her.  I believe Ladd was what, 5'5? 5'6?  I don't believe Lake was even 5'.  Can you imagine someone like 5'8 Lauren Bacall with 5'6 Alan Ladd? That definitely wouldn't work for the macho men at the studio.  

 

I don't think Lake was a very talented actress however, at least not in comparison to her contemporaries like Lauren Bacall or Rita Hayworth.  She was more style over substance.  However, (like I said, I flip flop) I do think she had a very unique look which works for the film noir films that she was known for. 

 

Lake had a very short career in Hollywood (only like 10 or so years, save for some last ditch efforts in the late 60s-early 70s.  Of those films, less than half a dozen were memorable) so there unfortunately wasn't really a chance to see if she could grow and improve as a performer.  

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