One of my very favorite actresses, Jeanne Crain, was born in Barstow, California, on this date 85 years ago.
My favorite Jeanne Crain film is STATE FAIR (1945), Rodgers and Hammerstein's only original film musical, which is also one of my all-time favorite movies. Very close behind it on my list of Crain favorites are MARGIE (1946), about an awkward teenager blossoming into a swan in the Roaring '20s, and APARTMENT FOR PEGGY (1948), in which she played the effervescent, talkative young wife of a veteran (William Holden) trying to complete his college education.
STATE FAIR has had an absolutely wonderful DVD release; it's a beautiful print and has many extras. There was also an earlier DVD release without extras. If you've not yet become acquainted with this charming, colorful film, I highly recommend it. The Rodgers and Hammerstein standards which were written for this film include the Oscar-winning "It Might as Well Be Spring" as well as the marvelous "It's a Grand Night for Singing."
Unfortunately neither MARGIE or APARTMENT FOR PEGGY is available on DVD or video. (2016 Update: APARTMENT FOR PEGGY is available on DVD via Fox Cinema Classics, although I have read that the print is a disappointment. In recent years both APARTMENT FOR PEGGY and MARGIE occasionally turn up on Fox Movie Channel or Turner Classic Movies.)
In addition to her film career, Jeanne Crain was the mother of seven children. She passed away in 2003.
Relatively little has been published about Crain's career. In 1977 a lovely little book was published, JEANNE CRAIN: THE BEAUTIFUL DREAMER, by Phil Booker. There is also a chapter on her career in James Robert Parish's 1971 book THE FOX GIRLS, one of my favorite titles by that prolific biographer.
Other Jeanne Crain films previously reviewed here: HOME IN INDIANA (1944), IN THE MEANTIME, DARLING (1944), YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME (1948), A LETTER TO THREE WIVES (1949), TAKE CARE OF MY LITTLE GIRL (1951), I'LL GET BY (1951), DANGEROUS CROSSING (1953), VICKI (1953), THE FASTEST GUN ALIVE (1956), and SKYJACKED (1972).
Monty has also posted a birthday tribute to Jeanne Crain, with a lovely photo, at All Good Things.
2013 Update: Here's an additional Crain film review, for THE TATTERED DRESS (1957).
2014 Update: Here are reviews of GUNS OF THE TIMBERLAND (1960), CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (1950), and BELLES ON THEIR TOES (1952).