Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

People We Like: Linda Darnell

Having just watched the Biography feature on Linda Darnell [1923-1965] on the US edition of A LETTER TO THREE WIVES, Linda's story comes across as one of the saddest star stories. She began so young at 15 and was washed up in her 30s, then problems with alcohol and men - even Mankiewicz let her down. But like Gene Tierney she was one of the '40s most beautiful women and comes across as being really nice. Her dark lustrous looks are at their peak in A LETTER TO THREE WIVES and NO WAY OUT, both by Mankiewicz in '49 and '50. She and Paul Douglas are for me the stars of 3 WIVES, with their dark tortured romance as Linda's Lora Mae waits on new year's eve in the shack by the railway track for Douglas's Porter to give in and marry her. Its a perfect ending too, with her "you big gorilla!". That poor sap Porter doesn't stand a chance as she puts a ladder in her nylons to emphasise her legs, and as she retorts to the request that she put on her bead necklace before going out on a date, "what I got don't need beads".

Linda's best include several for Preminger and Mankiewicz, including: A LETTER TO THREE WIVES, NO WAY OUT, THE THIRTEENTH LETTER, Preston Sturges' UNFAITHFULLY YOURS, BLOOD AND SAND, THE MARK OF ZORRO, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, the delirious 1954 melodrama THIS IS MY LOVE, ISLAND OF DESIRE (cast on a desert island with Tab Hunter) and a rather good western DAKOTA INCIDENT.

Linda actually tested for THE WAYWARD BUS, with her "gas station casanova" Rik Jason (from THIS IS MY LOVE) in 1957 - the scene is included in that documentary mentioned above - and she would have been ideal for the rather blowsy, older woman here, and how did Fox repay their '40s star? They cast their new acquisition, the young English Joan Collins as the diner owner! One more hard knock for Linda...

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