Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A Birthday Tribute to Susan Hayward

Oscar-winning actress Susan Hayward was born in Brooklyn just over a century ago, on June 30, 1917. Originally named Edythe Marrenner, Susan grew up in New York -- where, incidentally, she became lifelong friends with a boy named Ira Grossel, later known as Jeff Chandler.

After graduating high school in 1935, Susan became a model and before long was off to Hollywood. She worked her way up the ladder from bit roles to supporting parts, with her career finally taking off to new heights in the postwar years, while under contract to producer Walter Wanger.

A five-time Oscar nominee as Best Actress for films released between 1947 and 1958, she finally won for her last nomination in I WANT TO LIVE! (1958).

Hayward's 1944 marriage to actor Jess Barker lasted a decade, and they were the parents of twin sons. In 1957 she married Southerner Eaton Chalkley, a happy marriage until his death in 1966.

Susan Hayward died of brain cancer March 14, 1975, at the age of 57. She is buried next to her husband at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cemetery in Carrollton, Georgia.

A selection of ten favorite Hayward performances follows; I'd note that this very personal list doesn't include any of the films for which Hayward received Best Actress nominations, so there are numerous additional Hayward films worth seeking out!

BEAU GESTE (1939) - Susan's career began with bit roles in 1937-38, moving up to a supporting part in the "B" film GIRLS ON PROBATION (1938). In short order she won the ingenue role of Isobel in BEAU GESTE, starring alongside Gary Cooper, Robert Preston, and Ray Milland. Though her part is mostly decorative, she is charming as Milland's sweetheart, putting her career on the right track.

REAP THE WILD WIND (1942) - Susan plays another sweet ingenue role as Drusilla, Robert Preston's sweetheart. Drusilla's determination to be with her love hints at the steel she would display in later roles. While Paulette Goddard (seen here with Hayward), John Wayne, and Ray Milland are top billed, it is Hayward and Preston's story that gives the film its emotional weight.

I MARRIED A WITCH (1942) - Susan had a marvelous opportunity to display another side of her talent as Fredric March's fiancee. There's a riotous sequence in which their wedding goes badly wrong, and she's hilarious when her father commands her to "Smile!" Again, she is the second-billed actress in the film, but her performance adds a great deal to this Rene Clair classic.

AND NOW TOMORROW (1944) - Susan plays Loretta Young's spirited sister in this melodrama. Emily (Young, seen here) becomes deaf and spends a couple years traveling the world in search of a cure. While Emily is away her fiance Jeff (Barry Sullivan) falls in love with Janice (Hayward), yet feels obligated to follow through on his commitment to marry Emily. Hayward's role as the not-quite-good, not-quite-bad Janice is interesting; she genuinely loves her sister, yet she loves Jeff more and wants him regardless of the cost to Emily. I only wish the film's two future Oscar winners, Young and Hayward, had more scenes together.

DEADLINE AT DAWN (1946) - Susan plays a tough, hard-bitten dance hall girl in this film noir. June (Hayward) comes to the aid of an innocent young sailor, Alex (Bill Williams), after he's slipped a mickey and wakes up next to a dead woman (Lola Lane). Hayward is especially lovely in this film, just on the cusp of hitting the top tier of stardom after a decade in the business. The following year she received her first Oscar nomination for SMASH-UP: THE STORY OF A WOMAN (1947).

CANYON PASSAGE (1946) - CANYON PASSAGE is an exquisitely beautiful Western directed by Jacques Tourneur, which has grown in reputation in recent years. Susan plays the mature, self-possessed Lucy, who seems attracted to Logan (Dana Andrews), a merchant, yet is engaged to Logan's partner George (Brian Donlevy). The film is an interesting portrait of a community, with Lucy and Logan at the forefront. We wonder why Lucy is engaged to George; she's loyal to him, though eventually George's gambling and other issues lead to a resetting of relationships.

HOUSE OF STRANGERS (1949) - A terrific drama about a dysfunctional Italian-American family, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Max (Richard Conte, seen here) is engaged to a sweet young Italian girl (Debra Paget), while also carrying on a torrid affair with Irene (Hayward). When Max's father (Edward G. Robinson) goes on trial for mismanagement of his bank, relationships are upended. The film is most interesting when the charismatic Conte and Hayward are on-screen together; a couple of their scenes are highly suggestive for the Code era!

RAWHIDE (1951) - RAWHIDE is a terrific Western directed by Henry Hathaway. A remake of SHOW THEM NO MERCY! (1935), Hayward plays Vinnie, a tough woman traveling East by stagecoach with her orphaned toddler niece. She and the baby are taken hostage at an out-of-the way stagecoach stop, along with stage line employee Tom Owens (Tyrone Power, seen ehre). It's a gripping, absorbing film, and Susan has a great, characteristically nervy moment near the end when she grabs a rifle and blows away one of the villains to save Tom and her niece.

I'D CLIMB THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN (1951) - One of my favorite Hayward films -- and the first film I ever saw her in -- she plays the devoted wife of a country minister (William Lundigan, seen here). This is a gentler role for Hayward, who weathers tough times alongside her husband, including the loss of a child; at the same time, she occasionally exhibits a funny feisty side. This is a lovely slice of Americana, with the location filming in Georgia adding to the film's authentic feel. It seems fitting that Hayward's happiest years were later spent in Georgia after her second marriage, and that is the state where she's buried.

THE LUSTY MEN (1951) - Hayward plays Louise, whose husband Jeff (Arthur Kennedy) sees going on the rodeo circuit as a quick way to earn some cash to buy a ranch. Robert Mitchum (seen here) plays a broken-down rodeo rider who takes Jeff on as a protege in return for a portion of his winnings. Hayward is excellent as the long-suffering wife trying to hold her marriage together and dreaming of a stable life owning her own home, while fearing for her husband's safety and shooing away rodeo groupies.

For more on Susan Hayward's movies, please visit my 2015 post TCM Star of the Month: Susan Hayward.

This post is adapted from an article originally published by ClassicFlix in 2017.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Tonight's Movie: The Moonlighter (1953) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray teamed for the third of their four films together in THE MOONLIGHTER (1953), available on DVD from the Warner Archive.

Stanwyck and MacMurray had previously worked together on what's now regarded as a Christmas classic, REMEMBER THE NIGHT (1940), before starring in their best-known film, DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944).

Nearly a decade passed before they worked together again in THE MOONLIGHTER, after which they teamed for one more movie, the well-regarded Douglas Sirk film THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW (1956). THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW will be out on Blu-ray in August from Kino Lorber.

THE MOONLIGHTER is a black and white 3D Western, filmed by Bert Glennon, which comes complete with an intermission card at the film's 45-minute mark to allow for reel changes. However, other than the opening credits sequence and the intermission, there's little in the 2D version to tip off viewers that it was originally shown in the 3D format.

This relatively short 78-minute Western was written by Niven Busch, who tended to write fairly dark Western screenplays and stories, including PURSUED (1947) and THE MAN FROM THE ALAMO (1953).

Unfortunately THE MOONLIGHTER isn't just dark, its characters act in ways which at times are nearly incomprehensible. They're not particularly sympathetic people, and the conclusion, which won't be revealed here, is jaw-dropping.

I can't believe I'm saying this about a film with Stanwyck, MacMurray, and Ward Bond, but this film goes on a short list as one of the most unlikeable Westerns I've ever seen. Given how much I love the genre and at least enjoy most Westerns, that's saying something.

This turn-of-the-century Western starts out in disturbing fashion with Wes Anderson (MacMurray) in jail for cattle rustling. A lynch mob (including Morris Ankrum and Jack Elam) forces its way into the jail -- and then hangs the wrong man.

Anderson escapes and wreaks vengeance on the lynchers who murdered an innocent man. He then retreats to his family home for the first time in half a decade, where he expects his one-time love Rela (Stanwyck) to still be waiting for him. He's not happy to find out she's taken up with his brother Tom (William Ching), a bank teller.

Wes's old friend Cole Gardner (Bond) shows up in town, and he and Wes plan to rob the bank. Tom, having been laid off for being overly distracted due to Wes's presence, decides to join in. Let's just say it doesn't go particularly well.

Rela is among those deputized to hunt down the robbers...and where it goes from there viewers will have to find out for themselves. My mouth was agape as "The End" came up.

I have enjoyed a number of films directed by Roy Rowland and am particularly fond of his Stewart Granger Western GUN GLORY (1957).

This one, however, just doesn't work, even with elements which should have been interesting, such as the use of an automobile as a getaway vehicle in what's otherwise a fairly standard Western setting. A flashback sequence shoehorned into the first half of the film is downright awkward. The movie progresses from upsetting to boring to unbelievable.

I'm not sure how much of it is Rowland's fault, as the script is just not very good and I'm not sure there was a way to make the characters more appealing. MacMurray is a nasty user with delusions of grandeur (he really thinks his gal should have waited for him for five years?!), while Ching starts out as a strong, respectable man but quickly turns into a whiny loser.

Even Stanwyck's character, a woman nervy enough to head out on horseback hunting down criminals, lacks depth -- and in some ways she's not very bright.

The most interesting moment in the film was Ward Bond's first scene, showing up in the bank and keeping a close eye on Tom. How I was hoping he was a cagey lawman hunting down Wes! Things seemed as though they might be getting interesting.  Alas, it was not to be.

Most Westerns I see have at least some positive elements, but this one simply didn't work for me.

The supporting cast includes Myron Healey, Charles Halton, Almira Sessions, John Dierkes, Richard Powers (Tom Keene), Sam Flint, and Byron Foulger.

The Warner Archive DVD has a good print and sound. There are no extras on the disc.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.

TCM in July: Highlights

Happy July and Happy Summer!

It's time for a close-up look at the July schedule for Turner Classic Movies.

Tony Curtis is the July Star of the Month. 17 Curtis films are scheduled to play on Monday evenings in July.

Please note there will not be a separate Star of the Month post this month.

TCM also has a pair of wonderful series this month! The Wednesday evening TCM Spotlight theme is "Feel Good Films." 27 films will be shown spread across Wednesday evenings, co-presented by all five TCM hosts.

The TCM website says, "In these turbulent times, we feel our viewers deserve a bit of escapist fare that will perhaps lighten our collective load and lift spirits." Sounds like a wonderful idea to me.

Director John Ford will be a "special theme" all day every Friday in July, with a total of 36 films shown this month.

The July Noir Alley titles will be THE SIGN OF THE RAM (1948) on July 4th and 5th, BODYGUARD (1948) on July 11th-12th, THREE STRANGERS (1946) on the 18th and 19th, and THE BREAKING POINT (1950) on July 25th and 26th.

It's a minor film but I really enjoy BODYGUARD -- Priscilla Lane and Lawrence Tierney (both seen here) plus Los Angeles and baseball...what's not to like?

Below are a few additional highlights from among the many movies being shown on TCM this month. Please click any hyperlinked title to read my review.

...TCM celebrates the 104th birthday of Olivia de Havilland with an eight-film tribute on Wednesday, July 1st. Titles include MY LOVE CAME BACK (1940) and GOVERNMENT GIRL (1943).

...Later on the 1st the first night of "Feel Good" films includes SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952) and SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954). Perfection! (For anyone who may have missed my tribute to SEVEN BRIDES dancer Norma Doggett, who passed on in May, it can be found here.)

...The first day of John Ford films on July 3rd includes a movie I would also program as a "Feel Good" film: WAGON MASTER (1950). It's pure Western poetry, starring Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., and Ward Bond along with a host of familiar faces.

...Independence Day includes some of traditional titles for the holiday, including YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942) and THE MUSIC MAN (1962). Watching YANKEE DOODLE DANDY is a particularly moving prospect for me this year, having visited Jeanne Cagney's gravesite last weekend.

...The Independence Day theme continues early Sunday, July 5th, with the Revolutionary War spy film THE SCARLET COAT (1955) starring Cornel Wilde, Anne Francis, George Sanders, and Michael Wilding. Even better is the musical Western LET FREEDOM RING (1939), which I found most engaging when I saw it three years ago. Nelson Eddy and Virginia Bruce star (both seen at right).

...Monday, July 6th, is the first night celebrating Tony Curtis as Star of the Month. The lineup includes a favorite Western in which a young Curtis had a small role, Anthony Mann's classic WINCHESTER '73 (1950). That segues into another Mann favorite, THE TALL TARGET (1951), which is a marvelous suspense film set almost entirely on a train, starring Dick Powell.

...An evening paying tribute to director Samuel Fuller on July 7th includes a favorite crime film, PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET (1953), starring Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter, and Richard Kiley. Wonderful performances from the entire cast.

...The second night of "Feel Good" films on July 8th includes James Stewart in HARVEY (1950), Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in BRINGING UP BABY (1938), and Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur in MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936).

...There's a full day of "Falcon" mysteries starring Tom Conway on July 9th. It's a great day to spend on the couch watching nine films, released between 1943 and 1946, costarring actresses including Harriet Hilliard (Nelson), Jean Brooks, Barbara Hale, and Martha Vickers (billed MacVicar), among others.

...My favorite John Ford film showing on the 10th is DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK, which, as I wrote in my May preview, was my introduction to Ford. I'm hoping to revisit it soon thanks to the Twilight Time Blu-ray and finally have a review of it to share here! Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert lead a terrific cast.

...Early Saturday, July 11th, TCM is showing a movie I consider an ultimate "Feel Good" film: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938), starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. I rarely miss an opportunity to recommend it! It's hard for me to believe it's already been half a dozen years since I saw a beautiful 35mm print at UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, afterwards writing "If I had to choose just one film to represent everything I love about the classic film era, my vote would go to THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938), a truly perfect movie in every respect."

...If anyone's curiosity about actress Margaret Early was piqued by my visit to her final resting place last weekend, she can be seen on TCM in William Wyler's JEZEBEL (1938) on July 12th. She has a small role, billed 14th, as Stephanie Kendrick.

...The daytime theme on July 13th is musicals set on Broadway, including BROADWAY MELODY OF 1936 (1936) and KISS ME KATE (1953). All but one of the films with this theme was made by MGM; the other, TWO TICKETS TO BROADWAY (1951) was an RKO film featuring longtime MGM stars including Janet Leigh, Gloria DeHaven, Tony Martin, and Ann Miller.

...The "Feel Good" lineup on July 15th includes MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944) and ON MOONLIGHT BAY (1951). More great choices!

...There's a prime time tribute to actor Charles Coburn on July 16th, and I'm especially excited about the lineup including a new-to-me Universal Pictures film, LOUISA (1950). It has a marvelous cast including Ronald Reagan, Ruth Hussey, Spring Byington, Edmund Gwenn, and Piper Laurie, not to mention faves Martin Milner and Connie Gilchrist. Can't wait!

...The John Ford films on July 17th include a pair of wonderful films with Maureen O'Hara, THE LONG GRAY LINE (1955) and HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941).

...There's an interesting 58-minute "B" movie airing on July 18th, THE LAW IN HER HANDS (1936) with Margaret Lindsay and Glenda Farrell. Then hang around for several more good movies that day including Dick Powell in MURDER, MY SWEET (1944) and John Wayne in RIO BRAVO (1959).

...There are more wonderfully lighthearted films showing on Sunday the 19th, including James Stewart and Jean Arthur in YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (1938) and James Garner in SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF! (1969).

...A fun day of "B" movies on July 21st includes MISSING WITNESSES (1937) with John Litel and Jean Dale and SMASHING THE MONEY RING (1939) with Ronald Reagan.

...It's been a dozen years since I saw LOVE IN THE ROUGH (1930) with Robert Montgomery. It's showing on July 22nd.

...The "Feel Good" lineup on July 22nd kicks off with THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940). Other titles that night include SUNDAY IN NEW YORK (1963) and IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934). Terrific selections; when I revisited IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT at UCLA last year I described it as "Pure movie joy!"

...I really enjoy Robert Montgomery and Joan Crawford in NO MORE LADIES (1935), airing on July 23rd.

...There's one more Robert Montgomery film airing in late July, John Ford's THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945). Without a doubt, it's one of the greatest of all WWII films. John Wayne and Donna Reed costar. the air date is July 24th.

...I had a thoroughly good time revisiting GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953) at the 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival. Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe are delightfully amusing. It's being shown on the 26th.

...The very good Western SADDLE THE WIND will be aired on July 27th. Robert Taylor, Julie London, John Cassavetes, and Donald Crisp star.

...There's a wonderful five-film prime time tribute to Lizabeth Scott on Tuesday, July 28th. It kicks off with TOO LATE FOR TEARS (1948), costarring Dan Duryea and Arthur Kennedy, with excellent support from Don DeFore and Kristine Miller, seen here with Scott. The evening then continues with DEAD RECKONING (1947) opposite Humphrey Bogart, PITFALL (1948) with Dick Powell, THE RACKET (1951) with Robert Mitchum, and THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS (1946) opposite Van Heflin, Barbara Stanwyck, and Kirk Douglas. It's a fantastic evening of entertainment which I highly recommend watching start to finish.

...The final evening of "Feel Good" films on July 29th includes THE THIN MAN (1934) and THE LADY EVE (1941).

...There's even more Lizabeth Scott when director Jacques Tourneur is honored with a multifilm tribute on July 30th. I especially recommend Tourneur's underseen EASY LIVING (1949), with Scott as the difficult wife of Victor Mature, who plays a man facing the end of his professional football career. The tremendous cast includes Lucille Ball, Lloyd Nolan, Sonny Tufts, Jack Paar, Paul Stewart, Dick Erdman, Jeff Donnell, and Jim Backus.

...The month wraps up on July 31st with a final day of John Ford films, including the excellent SERGEANT RUTLEDGE (1960) starring Jeffrey Hunter, Constance Towers, and Woody Strode. Also showing that day: TWO RODE TOGETHER (1961) starring James Stewart, Richard Widmark, Shirley Jones, and Linda Cristal, who sadly has just passed away.

For more on TCM in July 2019, please check out my Quick Preview of TCM in July and the complete TCM schedule.

Happy summer movie viewing!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Tonight's Movie: Adventure Thru the Walt Disney Archives (2020)

Yesterday I enjoyed the streaming premiere of a new Disney documentary, ADVENTURE THRU THE WALT DISNEY ARCHIVES (2020).

The film was the first-ever documentary produced by the Walt Disney Archives and was made in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Archives being founded by the late Dave Smith in 1970. The trailer can be seen on YouTube.

The documentary was hosted by Disney producer-director Don Hahn, who is not only a key Disney filmmaker, he's also a bona fide "Disney geek." Hahn's 2017 book YESTERDAY'S TOMORROW: DISNEY'S MAGICAL MID-CENTURY is one of the treasures of my Disney book collection.

My oldest daughter and I had the opportunity to meet Hahn at a screening of his documentary WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY (2010) on the Disney lot a decade ago, and he couldn't have been nicer. It was a joy to thank him for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991) and share the special memory of taking our daughter to see it -- her very first Disney film -- when she was three years old.

ADVENTURE THRU THE WALT DISNEY ARCHIVES acknowledges taking some of its inspiration from the live-action sequences in THE RELUCTANT DRAGON (1941), in which Robert Benchley visited various departments on the Disney Studios lot. In this film, Hahn visits different areas of the Walt Disney Archives, including the photo library, warehouses filled with cases of matte paintings, Disneyland ride vehicles, and movie props, and ultimately Walt's restored offices. There's also a visit to Disneyland! Current Walt Disney Archives head Becky Cline, whom I've had the honor of hearing speak on numerous occasions, is prominently featured.

The film provides a marvelous look at Disney treasures, some of which I've been fortunate to see in person, such as the jewelled book from the opening of SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959) or carousel horses and a matte painting from MARY POPPINS (1964). The photos from the documentary seen in this review are screenshots taken by me.

The only archival scenes which fell a bit flat for me were a couple sequences showing materials Disney acquired with the purchase of 20th Century-Fox. Costumes from MOULIN ROUGE (2001) and CAN-CAN (1960) and some random posters for that studio's films held no Disney magic, and I felt they weren't even from particularly notable films likely to be of interest to Disney audiences.

The subject of the 20th Century-Fox acquisition was only momentarily glanced over. I would have saved those items for a separate documentary or spent more time explaining why Disney is now responsible for the other studio's archives. Additionally, when Mark Hamill appears, it would have been interesting to connect the dots and note that his STAR WARS films were originally from Lucasfilm and 20th Century-Fox, which have both been acquired by Disney.

One of the most fascinating sequences was a visit to the home on Woking Way where Walt and his family lived from 1933 to 1950. The playhouse Walt had built for his daughters Sharon and Diane is still in the backyard! It's now a private home, but the new owner obviously respects its heritage, with Disney artwork visible throughout the house. Part of the tour included showing the doorway where Walt took a now-iconic photograph, with the shadow of Mickey Mouse on the wall.

The film also provides an excellent look at the exteriors of the compact Disney Studios lot, which has changed very little over the decades. Thanks to being a member of D23, I've been privileged to visit multiple times in the past decade, including for a special RELUCTANT DRAGON anniversary celebration and most recently for the Mostly Ghostly Halloween event last October. It's always special to be there, and I loved revisiting the lot "virtually" thanks to the documentary.

The documentary includes special appearances by composer Richard Sherman, Kurt Russell, animator Floyd Norman, and Kathryn Beaumont (the voice of "Alice" and "Wendy"), as well as brief comments by Disney historian Leonard Maltin. I'd like to note here that Mr. Maltin has a wonderful article paying tribute to the Archives in the Summer 2020 edition of the Disney twenty-three magazine.

The film was directed by John Gleim. I don't currently have a running time for the film but will watch for that info.

Since D23 is unable to host any in-person events this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, offering free streaming of the documentary on its premiere date was quite a nice membership benefit. I assume that eventually the film will make its way to the Disney+ streaming service but have not read confirmation of that.

Wherever it turns up in the future, ADVENTURES THRU THE WALT DISNEY ARCHIVES is an entertaining and valuable chronicle of the important role played by the Walt Disney Archives in preserving the studio's fabled history. It's recommended viewing for Disney enthusiasts.

Linda Cristal Passes On

Sad news today: Actress Linda Cristal, one of the stars of TV's THE HIGH CHAPARRAL (1967-71), has passed away at 89.


Although IMDb lists her age as 86, the New York Times gave it as 89.


Cristal's best-known role was as THE HIGH CHAPARRAL'S fiery Victoria Montoya Cannon, who more than held her own among the alpha males forging an existence while building a ranching empire on the dangerous desert frontier. I got a particular kick out of moments such as her yelling about her often bullheaded husband, Big John Cannon (Leif Erickson), in Spanish.


She's seen below with her late costars Erickson (left) and Cameron Mitchell (right), as well as surviving cast members Mark Slade and Henry Darrow.


Supporting cast members Don Collier (second from bottom right) and Rudy Ramos are also still with us today.


I shared some thoughts on my love for THE HIGH CHAPARRAL and what made it unique among TV Westerns back in 2012. For old times' sake, here's a link to the show's opening credits, featuring one of the best themes in TV history.


Cristal's career also included costarring in John Wayne's THE ALAMO (1960) and John Ford's TWO RODE TOGETHER (1961). (September 2020 Update: Here's a review of a 1958 romantic comedy she starred in with Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, THE PERFECT FURLOUGH.)


I'm most grateful for all the happy HIGH CHAPARRAL memories. My sincere condolences to Cristal's family, friends, and colleagues.

A Visit to Pacific View Memorial Park

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Southern California, so we decided to enjoy the sunshine and pay a visit to Pacific View Memorial Park.


We virtually had the place to ourselves as we strolled the grounds, so it was also a good way to enjoy some "socially distanced" exercise in these strange times.

Our first stop was to pay our respects to John Wayne. His grave was unmarked for many years, apparently for security reasons, but it now has one of the loveliest markers I've ever seen. (Click on this or any photo to enlarge it for a closer look.) It was an honor to be able to visit.


The Duke's grave overlooks the Pacific Ocean; it's just about in the center of this photo, marked with yellow flowers left by a previous visitor.


While we were there we were able to visit the final resting places of several other performers from the classic film era. It was quite special to visit the gravesite of Marion Mack, who was Buster Keaton's leading lady in the classic silent film THE GENERAL (1926).


She is buried alongside her husband, Louis Lewyn, who produced many shorts during his career.

I always enjoy seeing June Storey, who played Gretchen in IN OLD CHICAGO (1938) opposite Tyrone Power, Don Ameche, and Alice Faye. She had small roles in "B" films I've liked such as CAREER WOMAN (1936) and SORORITY HOUSE (1939), and most notably she appeared as Gene Autry's leading lady in ten films. Her final theatrical film was TOO LATE FOR TEARS (1949).


Like many actresses, Storey is buried under her married name.

Margaret Early made her film debut in STAGE DOOR (1937), then next appeared in JEZEBEL (1938) and THE YOUNG IN HEART (1938). She played Clarabelle Lee in a pair of Andy Hardy films, JUDGE HARDY AND SON (1939) and ANDY HARDY'S PRIVATE SECRETARY (1941). Her final film before retiring was CINDERELLA JONES (1946) with Joan Leslie and Robert Alda.


Dorothy Dare was onscreen from 1933 to 1942, with credits including HAPPINESS AHEAD (1934) and GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935 (1935), in which I described her as "vivacious." She left the screen after THE YANKS ARE COMING (1942).


James Cagney's little sister, Jeanne Cagney, who played his sister Josie in YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942) and appeared in other films with her brother, is also buried at Pacific View.


She's buried next to her brother, producer William "Bill" Cagney:


Our last stop was at the final resting place of John Eldredge, a familiar face from countless film and television roles dating from 1934 up through the year of his death in 1961. I just saw him a couple weeks ago as the railroad executive who fires Robert Preston in WHISPERING SMITH (1948). I couldn't begin to guess how many times I've watched his work; another favorite is SNOWED UNDER (1936), in which he plays Glenda Farrell's attorney.


It was a lovely day and a valuable opportunity to reflect on the great enjoyment each of these filmmakers has given me over the years thanks to their work.

Additional photo posts on the final resting places of historic Hollywood figures: A Visit to Forest Lawn Glendale, Part 1, A Visit to Forest Lawn Glendale, Part 2, A Visit to the Forest Lawn Museum, A Visit to Hollywood Forever Cemetery (2014), A Visit to Westwood Village Memorial Park - The Musicians, A Visit to Westwood Village Memorial Park - The Comedians, A Visit to Westwood Village Memorial Park - The Actors, A Visit to Westwood Village Memorial Park - Writers, Directors, and More, A Visit to Holy Cross Cemetery, Part 1, A Visit to Holy Cross Cemetery, Part 2, A Visit to Holy Cross Cemetery, Part 3, A Visit to Desert Memorial Park, Los Angeles National Cemetery, A Visit to Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Part 1, A Visit to Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Part 2, A Visit to Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Part 3, A Visit to Forest Lawn Cathedral City, A Visit to Oakwood Memorial Park, A Visit to Hillside Memorial Park, Part 1, A Visit to Hillside Memorial Park, Part 2, A Visit to Hollywood Forever Cemetery (2019), A Visit to Woodlawn Cemetery, A Visit to Valley Oaks Memorial Park, and A Visit to Valhalla Cemetery.

Newer›  ‹Older