New titles from others and research in progress

A late noir classic performance by Dana Andrews

June 15, 2012

Tags: Dana Andrews, Anne Francis, Brainstorm

Playing the mean husband opposite Anne Francis
Some of Dana's best work occurred in supporting roles in the 1960s, an overlooked period in his career. In Brainstorm he plays a sadistic husband, a rather unusual role for him. But he is a good villain, and Anne Francis is a good foil. I interviewed her. She remembered that he was always professional, always ready for the cameras. The production files from the film support her testimony. They show that he almost always got it right on the first take. He was also never late. And this is interesting, because so much has been written about his drinking. Francis saw no sign of it. Dana worked for two weeks on the film and was paid $50,000.

Comments

  1. June 30, 2012 3:11 PM EDT
    Love "Brainstorm" and Dana is really diabolical in that film, which shows his great range as an actor. The twist ending makes you wonder though, was Dana really all that bad. Francis starred with Dana in "The Crowded Sky" and "The Satan Bug."
    - Stephen Reginald
  2. June 30, 2012 4:55 PM EDT
    I have never heard of this film. Sounds very interesting, especially since it's such a change from the usual kinds of characters Dana plays.

    One of his films which really shocked me was "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt." I never saw that ending coming!

    - Patti
  3. June 30, 2012 5:08 PM EDT
    Stephen, Francis was also in Born Again with Dana. When I watch Dana in Brainstorm I'm reminded of Robert Duvall in an early Coppolo film, THE CONVERSATION. Duvall looks really mean, especially when you see his Doberman. They should have given Dana a Doberman for Brainstorm too.
    - Carl Rollyson
  4. June 30, 2012 5:10 PM EDT
    Patti, Dana's role in Brainstorm is unusual. He is usually cast as the brooding and troubled hero but not an out and out villain. But I like the film for just that reason. It shows off his range.
    - Carl Rollyson
  5. June 30, 2012 5:13 PM EDT
    I forgot about "Born Again" starring Dean Jones, who I met at a trade show many years ago.
    - Stephen Reginald
  6. June 30, 2012 5:13 PM EDT
    Patti, I forgot to say that Beyond a Reasonable is another unexpected piece of casting, I agree. I have an interpretation of the film in my book which is quite unlike what most critics have said about it. When I first watched it, I confess I didn't think much of it, although Dana's performance was good. But after watching it again--and then several more times--I've come to the conclusion that both the film and his performance deserve revaluation.
    - Carl Rollyson
  7. June 30, 2012 5:17 PM EDT
    Stephen, Dana did Born Again as a favor for his friend Irving Rapper. For those who haven't seen the film, it is based on Charles Colson's "come to Jesus" story. Dana hated this kind of religiosity. In fact, he grew to despise all religions and called himself a Humanist. He joined a humanist society and was shown on camera in a documentary hosted by Isaac Asimov that presented the humanist position. I saw it online a few weeks ago.
    - Carl Rollyson
  8. July 7, 2012 7:11 PM EDT
    I know the book and film very well. I worked for the publisher of "Born Again" many years ago. I even met Colson way back then as well.
    - Stephen Reginald
  9. July 7, 2012 7:16 PM EDT
    I reviewed one of Colson's books years ago, but I never met him. Dana Andrews, by the way, would not have been sympathetic to Colson's born again experience, although as the son of a Baptist preacher, Dana knew the phenomenon quite well.
    - Carl Rollyson
  10. August 16, 2012 6:32 PM EDT
    How have I missed Brainstorm? Now I have to find it. Thanks, Carl.
    - Fabryna