New titles from others and research in progress

A new edition to the Hollywood Legends Series

June 14, 2014

Tags: Sam Goldwyn, Dana Andrews, Walter Brennan, Hollywood producers, movie studios

I kept going back to Carol Easton's engaging biography not only to learn about Goldwyn and the history of Hollywood by someone who grew up in its environs, but also because the biographer was able to elicit such interesting material from actors such as Dana Andrews and Walter Brennan when others seems fearful of what Goldwyn and his organization might do to them if they talked!

The Incomparable Clifton Webb

October 6, 2012

Tags: Dana Andrews, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Darryl Zanuck

Star of stage and screen
In his prime, Clifton Webb was a great song and dance man--on a par with Fred Astaire. When Otto Preminger wanted him to star in Laura, Darryl Zanuck was skeptical. He wanted the heavyweight actor Laird Cregar. But Webb's ascerbic wit stole the show, and he became a great star for Fox. Zanuck became quite fond of his star, and when the producer's daughter announced plans for a wedding, Zanuck asked Webb to teach him how to dance. Imagine Zanuck and Webb, cheek to cheek. Off screen Webb was not like the waspish Waldo Lydecker (his character in Laura). He was witty, to be sure, but also generous, recognizing early the talents of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean and encouraging both of them. Sitting Pretty includes all of Webb's unfinished autobiography, which--as you might imagine--is as elegant as the man. Dana Andrews learned a lot from his co-star in Laura and the two remained great friends.

Dana Andrews in A Walk in the Sun

July 24, 2012

Tags: Dana Andrews, World War II, A Walk in the Sun

I'm participating in the Dana Andrews blogathon at Classic Movie man. I've chosen to discuss his work in A Walk in the Sun. Dana plays a corporal taking over from his sergeant who has broken down under the stress of war. The director, Lewis Milestone, had different actors in mind for this ensemble of soldiers, similar to what he was attempting in The Purple Heart, another WWII film starring Dana Andrews. It was that experience with Dana that made Milestone never waver in his decision to put Dana in the pivotal role of leading the men after their sergeant collapses. Dana's matter of fact nobility is often a feature of his greatest work. Near the end of the film there are unforgettable closeups of Dana as he forges relentlessly ahead--but without the usual heroics and melodrama of war films. If there has ever been a better performance in such a film I don't know what it is.

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 (more…)

Hollywood's Golden Age

June 2, 2012

Tags: Dana Andrews, Marilyn Monroe, Sam Goldwyn, biographies of film stars and other legends

From Laura (Gene Tierney getting the third degree)
Welcome to the Hollywood Legends Blog. I am the consulting editor for the Hollywood Legends Series, published by the University Press of Mississippi. I will be writing on the subjects of my biographies (Dana Andrews and Marilyn Monroe) but also about anyone who might qualify as a "legend," and that includes directors, producers, and (more…)