OBSCURE ACTRESSES

Have you heard of  ELLEN HALL,  LEILA ERNST,  MONICA BANNISTER,MARY ANN HYDE?
I haven’t until I discovered a blog run by Stela at Obscure Actresses.

      Stela has spent months pouring over newspapers and books, and has compiled detailed biographies of little known actresses from the Classic era. It’s well worth a look.

(I did recognise three names – Andrea Leeds, Florence Rice and Myrna Dell.)

 

LARCENY. 1948

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A good cast let down by a drawn out plot which would have been sharper at 70 minutes rather than 90 plus.
Dan Duryea (Silky’) heads a gang of con men including John Payne (‘Rick’),Richard Rober (‘Max’) and Dan O’Herlihy (‘Duke’).
Having just completed a scheme in Miami, Silky has the next job already planned. This time it is in Mission City and involves conning a rich war widow,Joan Caulfield (‘Deborah’) into believing Rick knew her husband and convincing her that the town should buy a plot of land and build a youth centre as a memorial to her late spouse.
It all goes far too smoothly – Rick seems to a magnet for any woman around him! Even ‘Tory’ (Shelley Winters), who is Silky’s girl, is crazy about him and doesn’t seem to care if Silky knows.
She throws a spanner in the works by turning up in town,having followed Rick from Miami.

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Silky has made it clear to Rick that he should steer clear of Tory and admits Tory’s like a high tension wire. Once you grab on, you can’t let go.”
Finally Silky apologies to Rick who maintains he has no interest in Tory ( though it’s clear they were having an affair behind Silky’s back).
Silky says to Rick,”I said I’m sorry, but I’m not gonna write it on the blackboard a hundred times.”
Other snappy dialogue lines: Rick is getting fed up taking orders from Silky and says to him, “You’ve got no lease on my blood supply.I’ll quit any time I feel like it.”

He’s falling for Deborah and doesn’t want to take her money (she’s decided she’ll use her own money to build the centre)

Tory won’t give up on Rick but he makes it clear what he thinks of her, “If you could find a cheap horse,you’d rent your mother out as Lady Godiva.”
There’s a too sudden wind up to the story.
The cast are good. I like Richard Rober more and more,one of the best gangsters. Shelley Winters probably had the best part as the stop- at- nothing moll. Poor Joan Caulfied has little to do except look at Mr Payne and sigh!
Even Dorothy Hart, in a small role as a secretary ( who also fancies Payne) is more lively than Joan.
Nice to see Percy Helton as the manager of the hotel Rick stays at.
This was one of John Payne’s first breakaway roles from musicals, and before he started making westerns in the 50s.

Worth watching for the cast and a story that is good,just stretched too far.

 

Dan Duryea, Shelley Winters.

Dan Duryea, Shelley Winters.

Shelley Winters,John Payne, Joan. Caulfield

Shelley Winters,John Payne, Joan Caulfield