Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Birthday Tribute to Audrey Totter

Thursday, December 20th, is the birthday of the great Audrey Totter.

Although IMDb says Miss Totter was born in 1918, her granddaughter Tweeted earlier this week that "Thursday will be the big 9-5!"

Audrey Totter is particularly beloved by fans of film noir, who probably all agree that when she was good, she was very good, and when she was bad, she was even better!

One of my favorite Totter performances is as Richard Basehart's unfaithful wife in TENSION (1949). It's hard to forget images of her as a provocative, impatient blonde sitting at a pharmacy counter, looking for a way out from suburbia and boredom.

She's also particularly remembered for her role in Robert Montgomery's groundbreaking LADY IN THE LAKE (1947), where she had to play directly to the camera, which served as Montgomery's eyes, rather than to him onscreen. It was a tough role, and she carried it off in style.

Outside of film noir, her somewhat unusual, relatively little-known Western MAN OR GUN (1958), costarring Macdonald Carey and James Craig, was one of my favorite discoveries this year. It's a thoughtfully made, different film which deserves to be more widely seen.

Among Totter's highly regarded films which I still look forward to seeing for the first time are THE UNSUSPECTED (1947), ALIAS NICK BEAL (1949), and THE SET-UP (1949).

I've previously linked to an interview Totter gave in 2000, and it's worth posting it again on her birthday. (2016 Update: Thanks to reader Ana for letting me know this interview link no longer works; I've searched and been unable to find a current link for the interview.) She shares anecdotes about Ray Milland, Robert Montgomery, Clark Gable, and Claude Rains, among others.

Totter had a wonderful career but she also seems to have maintained a healthy, level-headed perspective. She was happily married to a doctor from 1953 until his passing in 1995.

Happiest birthday wishes to a wonderful lady!

Audrey Totter films previously reviewed at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: THE SAILOR TAKES A WIFE (1945), LADY IN THE LAKE (1947), THE BEGINNING OR THE END (1947), HIGH WALL (1947), THE SAXON CHARM (1948), TENSION (1949), FBI GIRL (1951), ASSIGNMENT - PARIS (1952), and MAN OR GUN (1958).

2013 Update: Reviews of THE UNSUSPECTED (1947), MAN IN THE DARK (1953), and THE SELLOUT (1952).

December 13, 2013: I'm so saddened by the news that Audrey Totter has passed on, a week before her 96th birthday. A truly remarkable lady.

December 14, 2013: A Tribute to the Late Audrey Totter.

Update: Here are additional reviews, of ALIAS NICK BEAL (1949), ANY NUMBER CAN PLAY (1949), THE SET-UP (1949), and UNDER THE GUN (1951).


Blogger Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

A lovely tribute, and thanks so much for that neat link to her interview. Such a swell lady.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Jacqueline! She's terrific. :)

I hope everyone will head from here over to Another Old Movie Blog for Jacqueline's fun look at LADY IN THE LAKE, costarring Audrey Totter.

Best wishes,

7:56 AM  
Blogger Kevin Deany said...

This is wonderful. I had no idea she was still alive.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Vienna said...

Lovely tribute and photos, Laura.
Hope you see THE SET UP soon. Great parts for Audrey and Robert Ryan

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great tribute Laura for one of the best noir ladies ever.
You have a real treat ahead of you when you get round to The Unsuspected and The Set-Up.


1:36 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Enjoyed your tribute to Audrey ... and thanks for the links to her 2000 interview and to Another Old Movie Blog's most enjoyable look at Lady in the Lake, both great reads.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

Thanks, Laura and Kathy.

5:01 AM  
Blogger ClassicBecky said...

Laura, you should definitely try to see "The Unsuspected"! I thought Audrey was so good in that one, and you get Claude Rains to boot! It has its flaws, but it is really good, and she is most of the reason.

Very nice tribute to a significant actress!

9:08 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks to you all so much for sharing your enthusiasm for this wonderful actress -- glad to know you've all enjoyed the post!

Really looking forward to THE UNSUSPECTED and THE SET-UP. Although I have it on a tape, I put THE UNSUSPECTED in my DVR last time it aired, for easy access, and hope to have time to watch it before too long! I appreciate the recommendations!

Best wishes,

9:10 AM  

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