Sunday, March 19, 2017

Happy Birthday to Patricia Morison!

Actress-Singer Patricia Morison turns 102 today!

The 23-year-old Morison made a stunning debut as an amoral crook in her first feature film, PERSONS IN HIDING (1939), which seemed to anticipate the crime classic GUN CRAZY (1950) by over a decade.

Morison was a striking screen presence, with vivid eyes and unusually long, dark hair. She registered strongly in lead roles which included HITLER'S MADMAN (1943) opposite Alan Curtis...

...and THE FALLEN SPARROW (1943) with John Garfield.

However, Hollywood never seemed quite sure what to do with her, and she never broke through to be a movie star of the first rank.

Morison made her way to Broadway, where she had a smash success in 1948 starring in the original cast of Cole Porter's KISS ME, KATE.

Her performance was preserved on film a decade later when she appeared in an abridged TV production:

In 1954 she succeeded Gertrude Lawrence as Broadway's "Mrs. Anna" in THE KING AND I opposite Yul Brynner:

I've been fortunate to see Patricia Morison in person twice. When I was a child in the early '70s I saw her as the Baroness in a Los Angeles stage production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

Werner Klemperer played Uncle Max.

I also saw her interviewed at a screening of THE FALLEN SPARROW in 2015, just after she celebrated her centennial birthday.

An interesting side note, though her name is seen in posters for one of my favorite film noir titles, KISS OF DEATH (1947), her role as Victor Mature's first wife was cut from the film. At least one still of Morison with Mature and Coleen Gray survives; I've always wondered if outtakes exist, as it would be interesting to see them.

A Patricia Morison portrait gallery:

Happiest birthday wishes to a lovely and talented woman whose work has brought me tremendous enjoyment!

Patricia Morison films reviewed at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: PERSONS IN HIDING (1939), THE ROUNDUP (1941), ROMANCE OF THE RIO GRANDE (1941), NIGHT IN NEW ORLEANS (1942), WHERE ARE YOUR CHILDREN (1943), HITLER'S MADMAN (1943), THE FALLEN SPARROW (1943), LADY ON A TRAIN (1945), and KISS ME, KATE (1958).

September 2017 Update: Here is a review of UNTAMED (1940), screened at the Cinecon Film Festival with Morison in the audience.

May 20, 2018 Update: Patricia Morison Dies at 103.

2020 Update: Here's a review of WITHOUT LOVE (1945).

2022 Update: Here's a review of SONG OF THE THIN MAN (1947).


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

A beautiful birthday tribute.

The original cast album of Kiss Me Kate is a true treasure.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you!

Yes, I have that album too! :)

Best wishes,

11:09 PM  
Blogger john k said...

What a lovely tribute to a true renaissance woman!
I saw her recently in a HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL episode with her friend
Vincent Price, still looking stunning.

7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely tribute. Never did understand why she wasn't bigger in movies. But who could have known she had a terrific voice.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you, John and Vienna! It's great to know she has other fans out there. :) I've got to track down that HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL, I looked it up on IMDb and there's an intriguing review.

Best wishes,

12:19 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

At least at the moment that HGWT episode is on YouTube if anyone else wants to check it out!

Best wishes,

11:43 AM  

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