Tuesday, January 10, 2012

French Actress Denise Darcel Dies

Parisian-born Denise Darcel, the leading lady of the outstanding William Wellman film WESTWARD THE WOMEN (1951), has passed away. She died in Los Angeles on December 23rd.

Obituaries, including the London Telegraph and the Washington Post, list her age as 87, while IMDb gives her age as 86.

Darcel played opposite Robert Taylor in WESTWARD THE WOMEN, a gritty and underappreciated film which has received some deserved fresh attention from classic film bloggers in recent years. Darcel played one of the brave women who struggles across dangerous territory, toward the promise of a new life in California. She and the other women earn the respect of the tough trail boss (Taylor), and she and Taylor fall in love.

The movie was shot in Kanab, Utah; MGM made a great little promotional short about the location filming. Darcel can also be seen in the trailer.

She had starred the previous year in Wellman's BATTLEGROUND (1949).

Her other credits included YOUNG MAN WITH IDEAS (1952) and DANGEROUS WHEN WET (1953), both for MGM, as were the Wellman films. She later starred with Burt Lancaster in VERA CRUZ (1954). (Update: I've now reviewed YOUNG MAN WITH IDEAS.)

Her film career was relatively short-lived, and her last screen appearances were in the early '60s.


Blogger barrylane said...

In her relatively few screen appearances she was effective and attractive. It would be interesting to understand how her Hollywood career, and film in a general sense, failed to develop. One thing for certain. it was not an issue of shooting down studio heads.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Her appearance in Wellman pictures makes Denise "family".

8:51 AM  
Blogger DKoren said...

I first saw her in an episode of Combat!, and never forgot her. She did so much with her role in that one little episode, not to mention giving handsome actor Rick Jason one of the sexiest back rubs ever. I loved her in Battleground, and get a kick out of Van Johnson's reaction to seeing her for the first time. She was great in Vera Cruz too. Beautiful and talented.

9:07 AM  

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