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Hollywood Madonna

October 20, 2012

Tags: Loretta Young, Bernard F. Dick, Walter Brennan, Richard Greene, Kentucky

I just learned that Turner Classic Movies is making Loretta Young star of the month for January. I grew up watching her on television making those memorable, sweeping entrances, which Bernard F. Dick describes so well in his biography of Young, titled Hollywood Madonna. Dick's book is part of the Hollywood Legends series published by University Press of Mississippi. Dick has a wonderful chapter, by the way, on Young's radio performances. She took them quite seriously.

I don't know Young's work that well, and I'd be interested in hearing from you about which of her films you think I should watch. I'm looking forward to watching Kentucky starring Young, Richard Greene, and Walter Brennan, who won an Academy Award for his performance. I planning to write a biography of Brennan.


  1. October 20, 2012 9:54 AM EDT
    Young was a better actress than she's given credit for. Kentucky is a fun movie, filmed in Technicolor. I think my favorite Young performance is in The Bishop's Wife. It's a multi-layered portrayal of a woman who becomes disillusioned with her life and marriage. It's a holiday classic that I grow more found of ever time I see it.
    - Stephen Reginald
  2. October 20, 2012 10:00 AM EDT
    I've read a lot about The Bishop's Wife. Sounds like I should see that one soon. From an unpublished manuscript about Jane Wyman I learned that Young and Wyman became quite close after Wyman converted to Catholicism.
    - Carl Rollyson
  3. October 20, 2012 10:24 AM EDT
    Hi Carl, I can point you towards some of Loretta's best pre-codes when, my goodness, is she ever beautiful ... and not always so nice! Don't miss: Taxi! on the 2nd; Employees' Entrance, She Had to Say Yes, Midnight Mary and Heroes for Sale on the 9th; The Life of Jimmy Dolan or A Man's Castle (which just aired) on the 16th; Grand Slam is fun on the 23rd! There are several listed that I still have to catch myself, but I'd swear by any of that bunch. It looks like I need to black out my calendar the evening of the 9th! Enjoy!
    - Cliff Aliperti
  4. October 20, 2012 10:35 AM EDT
    Thanks Cliff. I've not seen the films you mention, but judging from stills, I have to agree: Loretta Young was beautiful, take away your breath beautiful.
    - Carl Rollyson
  5. October 20, 2012 11:37 AM EDT
    I like Young in "The Bishop's Wife," too, and enjoy Carl Grant as a well-tailored, sardonic, slightly sinister angel. Young's child was by Clark Gable, not Spencer Tracy, right?
    - Kathleen Spaltro
  6. October 20, 2012 12:56 PM EDT
    Yes, Kathleen, Gable was the father. Spencer Tracy was otherwise occupied.
    - Carl Rollyson