Thursday, December 9, 2021

MARY ASTOR co-starring John Barrymore, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Clark Gable, Edward G. Robinson, William Powell, and of course, Humphrey Bogart

Her birth name was Lucille Vasconcellos Langhanke, but Mary Astor fit better on a movie theater marquee.





























BRIEFLY A BEGINNING!

Lucille Vasconcellos Langhanke was born on May 3, 1906, in Quincy, Illinois. Her father was German immigrant, Otto Ludwig Langhanke, and after the First World War he would teach German in public schools. Her mother was American born, Helen Marie de Vasconcellos, a teacher of Portuguese roots, who taught drama and elocution. Lucille would be home schooled.

In 1919, Lucille sent in a photograph of herself for "Motion Picture Magazine's" beauty contest and was a semifinalist. The following year she entered the magazine's contest again and became a finalist and then the runner-up in the national contest. Her father made the decision to move his family to New York City to permit his daughter to be near one of the two centers, the other was in New Jersey, of the motion picture industry at the time. Later, the major studios would move production to Southern California for the weather.

Some sites contradict themselves over Lucille's age at the time of the move to New York City and the year it took place. Had the move actually taken place in 1920, any time after May 3rd, she would have been 14 years old. However, these same sites state Lucille's age as 15-years-old at the time of the move. Adding, that silent screen star, Lillian Gish, did a film test of the young woman reciting Shakespeare and the test was followed by a small role, her scenes deleted, in the short subject, "Sentimental Tommy", which was released on March 27, 1921, two months prior to her 15th birthday. 

Those are all small details that could have been mixed up over time, but what is accurate is that New York photographer Charles Albin photographed Lucille and sent her picture to Harry Durant of the movie company "Famous Players-Lasky". The company had been formed by "Paramount Pictures", Adolph Zukor and Jesse Lasky, and two things happened as a result of the photograph. 

The first was a six-month contract with "Famous Players-Lasky", the second after discussions between Jesse Lasky, producer Walter Wanger, and Hollywood Gossip Columnist Louella Parsons, Lucille Vasconcellos Langhanke was now Mary Astor.








































For a history of the film industry and the studios that Mary Astor would work in, please read my article:

"HOLLYWOOD: Segregated Housing, Motion Picture Studios and Movie Palaces", at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2019/04/hollywood-segregated-housing-motion.html


Between 1921, starting with second billing as "Marcia Harthorn", in the silent short, "Brother of the Bear", released one-month earlier then "Sentimental Tommy", and ending with seventh billing as "Jewel Mayhew", in 1964's "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte". Mary Astor appeared in 170 different roles between motion pictures and television productions.

Mary Astor would be married four times, first to director Kenneth Hawks, the brother of directors Howard Hawks and William Hawks, from 1928 until his death two years later in 1930. For that short time, her sister in laws were William's wife, actress Bessie Love, and Howard's wife, actress Athole Shearer, sister of actress Norma Shearer. 

In 1931, Mary Astor married Dr. Franklyn Thrope, but divorced him in 1935. Astor's third husband was Mexican film editor Manuel del Campo, the two married in 1936 and divorced in 1941. Mary Astor's last marriage and her longest was to stockbroker Thomas Gordon Wheelock in 1945, the two would divorce in 1955.

However, this article isn't about her private life, that admittedly included being an alcoholic as far back as 1930, but selected film roles over her 43-year film career. 


THE SILENT'S!


I already mentioned two of Mary Astor's 1921 movie appearances, in the first six months of her career, she appeared in a total of four shorts, one uncredited role, and one film with her scenes deleted. However, "Paramount Pictures" did not renew Astor's contract and she started working as a freelance actor.

THE BEGGAR MAID released on September 25, 1921






This was a 25-minute short based upon Alfred, Lord Tennyson's 1842 poem, "The King and the Beggar-Maid", and the 1884 painting by Sir Edward Burne-Jones.









































The film starred 15-years-old Mary Astor as the "Peasant Girl and Beggar Maid", and English actor and the writer of the short's screenplay, Reginald Denny, as "The Earl of Winston and King Cophetua".


THE RAPIDS released on October 30, 1922

1922 gave the young actress her first feature length motion picture roles. The 60-minute, Canadian American motion picture had Mary Astor co-starring as "Elsie Worden", with forgotten actor, Harry T. Morey as "Robert Fisher Clarke". The title refers to the location of the film, "St. Mary's Rapids", in Northern Ontario, Canada, but that was all I could locate about the plot.






























Between September 1920 to June 1930, Mary Astor's father was her manager and in 1923 he moved the family to the Los Angeles County community of "Hollywood". By that year, most motion pictures studios had made that move from the cold of New York and New Jersey to the warmth of Southern California, see my above article for details.

During 1923, Mary Astor appeared in eight motion pictures, had a new contract with "Paramount Pictures" and her acting caught the eye of John Barrymore. Barrymore asked his studio, "Warner Brothers", to get "Paramount" to loan them Astor for his co-star.


BEAU BRUMMEL released on March 30, 1924





John Barrymore portrayed "George Bryon 'Beau' Brummel. The filming had begun in 1923 and the previous year, Barrymore had portrayed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" on-screen. He would follow this picture with 1926's, "The Sea Beast", based upon author Herman Melville's, "Moby Dick".

































Mary Astor portrayed "Lady Margery Alvaney". Astor had co-starred with Noah Beery Sr in the 1924 comedy, "The Fighting Coward", and would follow this feature with, 1924's, "The Fighting Adventurer", co-starring the future "B" Cowboy sidekick, Raymond Hatton. 
 




























































Off screen, Mary Astor and John Barrymore were having the first of her documented affairs.

Mary Astor became a major leading lady for "Paramount Pictures" and was again loaned out to another studio, in this case, "United Artists", formed by Douglas Fairbanks, his wife Mary Pickford, and Charlie Chaplain.


DON Q, SON OF ZORRO released on June 15 1925





Fairbanks used an unrelated to "Zorro" novel, "Don Q's Romance", by mother and son Kate and Hesketh Prichard to turn into a sequel to his successful 1920, "Mark of Zorro", based upon the Johnston McCulley novel, "The Curse of Capistrano".

Douglas Fairbanks portrayed both "Don Cesar de Vega", and his father, "Don Diego Vega aka: Zorro". Fairbanks had just been seen in director Raoul Walsh's, 1925 classic, "The Thief of Bagdad". He would follow this feature with 1926's, "The Black Pirate".








































Mary Astor portrayed " Dolores de Muro". She was just in the forgotten drama, 1925's, "Playing with Soul", and would follow this picture with a car racing film co-starring Ben Lyon, 1925's, "The Pace That Thrills".































Four movies later and Mary Astor was back in a motion picture with John Barrymore.


DON JUAN released on August 6, 1926




John Barrymore portrayed both "Don Jose de Marana" and "Don Juan de Marana". Barrymore had played "Captain Ahab", in "The Sea Beast", and would follow this feature with 1927's, "When a Man Loves", with Dolores Costello.
































Mary Astor portrayed "Adriana della Varnese". She was in the 1926 drama, "The Wise Guy", and would follow this feature with the 1926 war drama, "Forever After".































Myrna Loy portrayed "Mai-Lady in Waiting". She was just in the 1926 comedy, "So This Is Paris", and would follow this motion picture with the 1926 Spanish American War adventure, "Across the Pacific". In 1927, look for Myrna Loy in the chorus line of "The Jazz Singer", but my favorite pre-"Thin Man" series performance. Has Myrna Loy as Boris Karloff's sadistic daughter, "Fah Lo See", in 1932's, "The Mask of Fu Manchu".









































Hedda Hopper portrayed the "Marchesia Rinaldo". Although Hopper would be seen in motion pictures until 1966, in 1935 her career with slowing down and Hedda realized she needed a steadier career choice. It was at this time she agreed to write a "Hollywood Gossip Column" for "The Washington Hearld" and the rest is history.




























Below Mary Astor followed by a cast and crew photo.


































































Then came 1927's "The Jazz Singer" and the motion picture industry changed

































Although there would be sixteen feature films following "Don Juan", by 1929 Mary Astor faced a problem with the transition to sound, her voice was considered too masculine sounding! 1929, saw the actress in only three new motion pictures, two of which that had been filmed in 1928, and Mary Astor was released from her contract and out of work for eight months.



THE ROAD TO WARNER BROTHERS!


During that eight months, Mary Astor took voice and singing lessons, determined to continue her motion picture career in talkies. Her problem may have been more with the sound equipment than had been her speaking voice. As those new sound technicians were learning both their own craft and the sound equipment. Listen to the sound of the early "Vitaphone Sound" process for "The Jazz Singer", or an early musical such as 1928's part sound, "My Man", starring Fanny Brice, or even the Marx Brothers, 1929, "Cocoanuts", for problems in that area.

Mary Astor was still not getting film offers and her friend Florence Eldridge, the wife of actor Frederick March, had an idea. Elridge was to appear in downtown Los Angeles in the stage play "Among the Married", but the second female lead still needed to cast, it went to Mary Astor. The play was doing very well and it would lead to Mary Astor appearing in the motion picture "Ladies Love Brutes", co-starring with George Bancroft and Frederick March. However, five months prior to that movies May 15, 1930 release, on January 2, 1930, tragedy had stepped in to the actress's life.

While filming a scene for "Such Men are Dangerous", Mary Astor's husband, director Kenneth Hawks, was killed in a plane crash. Astor moved into Florence Eldridge's apartment for a short time and then returned to work, but Mary Astor also suffered a nervous breakdown from delayed shock over her husband's death and went for treatment by Dr. Franklyn Thrope.

She would complete two more films in 1930, and while being treated continued to work through 1931. On a personal note, by the time her sixth motion picture following, "Ladies Love Brutes", "White Shoulders", was released on May 17, 1931.  She had fallen in love with her doctor and the two would be married the following month, on June 29, 1931 


THE LOST SQUADRON released on March 12, 1932




Richard Dix portrayed "Captain 'Gibby' Gibson". The previous year Dix had been nominated for the "Best Actor Academy Award" for "Cimarron". He had just been seen in the 1931, Civil War espionage movie, "Secret Service", and would follow this picture with the equally forgotten adventure film, 1932's, "Roar of the Dragon".

 



























Mary Astor portrayed "Follette Marsh". She had just been seen in 1931's, "Men of Chance", co-starring with Richardo Cortez, and would follow this picture with, 1932's, "A Successful Calamity", a comedy starring British actor George Arliss. 






























Erich von Stroheim portrayed "Arthur Von Furst". Austrian born von Stroheim would become both a successful actor and minor director in the motion picture industry. Among his acting roles are in, French director Jean Renior's, 1937, "Le Grande Illusion", director Billy Wilder's, 1943, "Five Graves to Cairo", screenplay writer and novelist Curt Siodmak's original version of "Donovan's Brain", 1944's, "Lady and the Monster", and again, director Billy Wilder's, 1950, "Sunset Blvd.".




























Above, Von Stroheim and Astor.


Dorothy Joran portrayed "The Pest--Woody's Sister". Jordan's career ended quickly, when she married producer Merian C. Cooper, right after he finished 1933's, "King Kong".

Joel McCrea portrayed "Red". McCrea was two films away from Merian C. Cooper's, 1932, "The Most Dangerous Game", co-starring with Fay Wray. He had just co-starred with Will Rodgers in the 1932 comedy, "Business and Pleasure".


























Above, Dorothy Jordan and Joel McCrea.


Robert Armstrong portrayed "Lieutenant Woody Kerwood, or Curwood, in some listings". Armstrong was also two films away from "The Most Dangerous Game", and seven from 1933's, "King Kong". My article "ROBERT ARMSTRONG: It Wasn't All 'The Eighth Wonder of the World', His Brat, or 'Joe'!" can be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2020/08/robert-armstrong-it-wasnt-all-eighth.html
































The movie takes place right after the first World War and is about three ex-flyers finding work in Hollywood as stunt flyers for producer and director "Von Furst" and their loves and a murder to be solved. 

































RED DUST released October 22, 1932







































The motion picture was directed by Victor Fleming, who received no on-screen-credit for directing the motion picture. Fleming started out as a cinematographer in 1915 and directed his first motion picture in 1919. In 1934, he directed Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper in Robert Lewis Stevenson's, "Treasure Island", in 1937, it was Freddie Bartholomew, Spencer Tracy and Lionel Barrymore in "Captain Courageous", in 1939, Fleming directed Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz". He did receive the on-screen directing credit for 1939's, "Gone with the Wind", but he was actually one of four directors on the motion picture. The others where the original director George Cukor, who was fired, Sam Wood, who took over for Fleming, while he recovered from exhaustion, and cinematographer William Cameron Menzies, who filmed the burning of Atlanta and the tracking shot of "Scarlett O'Hara" walking amount the Confederate dead and dying at the train station.

 
Clark Gable portrayed "Dennis Carson". Gable had just co-starred with Norma Shearer in the 1932, motion picture version of playwright Eugene O'Neil's, "Strange Interlude". He would follow this picture co-starring with future wife, Carole Lombard, in 1932's, "No Man of Her Own".

Jean Harlow portrayed "Vantine Jefferson". Harlow had just appeared with Chester Morris in 1932's, "Red-Headed Woman" and would follow this picture with another film co-starring Clark Gable, 1933's, "Hold Your Man".





























According to which story you choose, Jean Harlow was either totally nude in the barrel, or just topless. After the scene was shot, she was supposed to have stood up and been filmed saying: 
Here's one for the boys in the lab!


Gene Raymond portrayed "Gary Willis". This was Raymond's fifth on-screen appearance and he followed "Red Dust", co-starring with Loretta Young in 1933's, "Zoo in Budapest".

  

















Mary Astor portrayed "Barbara Willis", and had just been seen in a 1932, drama, "Those We Love".





















The basic plot has the owner of a rubber plantation, "Dennis", in French Indochina, becoming involved with the wife of one of his new employees. Arriving first at the plantation is the free spirit "Vantine" and the two start a pre-motion picture code romance, but shortly thereafter, "Barbara" arrives with her husband. Things start to change as "Barbara" moves into an affair with "Dennis", observed by "Vantine", but seemingly unnoticed by her husband who seems more interested in his work than his wife.













































WARNER BROTHERS!

Later in 1932, Mary Astor, signed a "Featured Player Contract", translated she would appear in whatever the studio wanted without argument, and was back with Warner Brothers. Her first feature for the studio, released on May 20, 1933, starred Edward G. Robinson having a little fun with his gangster persona. This was in a comedy about a "Prohibition Beer Baron" trying to go straight and enter "High Society".



































































THE KENNEL MURDER CASE released on October 28, 1933





The screenplay was based upon detective fiction author S.S. Van Dine's novel of the same name, and was directed by Michael Curtiz. Curtiz was a Warner Brothers contract director and filmed whatever motion picture the studio assigned him too. By this feature, he had directed the first two Technicolor horror movies, both starring Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill, 1932's, "Dr. X", and 1933's, "Mystery of the Wax Museum", which the studio would remake in 1953, as the 3-D "House of Wax", starring Vincent Price in the Atwill role.

Michael Curtiz had also directed Spencer Tracy and Bette Davis in 1932's, "20,000 Years in Sing Sing". and among his future motion pictures for Warner Brothers, would be Errol Flynn and Olivia de Haviland's, 1935, "Captain Blood", and 1938, "The Adventures of Robin Hood". Even later, the studio assigned Curtiz to a picture that they were concerned might not make back their investment, 1942's, "Casablanca".


William Powell portrayed Van Dine''s detective, "Philo Vance". Powell was two films away from 1934's, "Manhattan Melodrama", co-starring Clark Gable and Myrna Loy. The movie is only remembered because it was playing at the movie theater gangster John Dillinger was at, when he stepped out after it ended to be gunned downed by the FBI, who had been tipped off by the infamous "Lady in Red". Powell's next motion picture teamed him once more with Myrna Loy and was 1934's, "The Thin Man".






























Mary Astor portrayed "Hilda Lake". The actress had third billing in 1933's, "Jennie Gerhardt", based upon the Theodore Dreiser novel, and starring Sylvia Sidney and Donald Cook. She would follow this feature with 1933's, "The World Changes", co-starring with Paul Muni.






























The basic plot has "Philo Vance" investigating a locked room-murder of a collector of art that is hated by a large group of suspects. A broken Chinese-vase will lead "Vance" to the murderer. Motion picture historian, William K. Everson, called the picture a "masterpiece", in the August 1984 issue of "Film in Review" magazine and "one of the finest examples of the Golden Ages of Mystery novels".

Mary Astor's role was the motivation for the killer, who was angry over the victim not helping him in his courtship of "Hilda Lake".
























Above, Powell and Astor with the help of her character's boyfriend, "Sir Thomas MacDonald", played by Paul Cavanagh, recreate the murder.
























Back in 1927, British writer Edgar Wallace wrote a play entitled "The Terror", in 1928, Warner Brothers made a motion picture version, and now used it as the basis for the studio's latest mystery.


RETURN OF THE TERROR released on July 7, 1934






The picture was directed by film editor turned director, Howard Bretherton, whose 32-year-career would be mostly directing "B" Westerns and several of William Boyd's, "Hopalong Cassidy" entries. 

Mary Astor portrayed "Olga Morgan". She had just been in the forgotten crime drama musical, 1934's, "Upperworld", co-starring with Warren Williams and Ginger Rodgers.

Lyle Talbot portrayed "Dr. Leonard Goodman". Talbot was a solid "B" actor, among his early films was 1932's, "20,000 Years in Sing Sing", but it would be 1950's television that would make him a supporting actor star. He had multiple roles on series such as, 1950's, "Dick Tracy", 1952's, "Dangerous Assignment", 1953's, "The Gene Autry Show", 1952's to 1953's, "The Range Rider", 1950 to 1954's, "The Cisco Kid", 1952 to 1954's, "The Adventures of Kit Carson", and others. 

However, Lyle Talbot is best remembered as "Joe Randolph", from 1955 to 1966, on "The Adventures of Ozie and Harriet", and as, "Paul Fonda", from 1955 to 1959, on "The Bob Cummings Show".

































Above, Lyle Talbot and Mary Astor. 

The somewhat haunted house story, it takes place in an inn, think the classic "The Cat and the Canary", is about "Dr Redmayne", played by John Halliday. "Redmayne" has been accused of a series of poison murders, fakes insanity at his trial, escapes the asylum, and ends up at the Inn with a group of people, one of which is "The Terror", the real murderer.






































Astor followed "The Return of the Terror", by reuniting with Edgar G. Robinson.

THE MAN WITH TWO FACES released on August 4, 1934




Edward G, Robinson portrayed the dual roles of "Damon Welles" and "Jules Chautard". Robinson was just in the 1934, drama, "Dark Hazard", and would follow this picture with the, 1935, comedy crime drama, "The Whole Town's Talking".

 




























Mary Astor portrayed "Jessica Welles". 




























Ricardo Cortez portrayed "Ben Weston". Cortez was just in the 1934, drama, "Hat, Coat, and Glove", and would follow this feature co-starring with Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Morgan in, 1934's, "A Lost Lady".





























Mae Clarke portrayed "Daphne Flowers". Clarke is famous for one movie scene and one role she played. The classic scene from 1931's, "Public Enemy", has James Cagney pushing a grapefruit into Clarke's face. The role she portrayed was as "Elizabeth", in director James Whale's, 1931, "Frankenstein". Mae Clarke played "Myna" in Whale's  forgotten, 1931, version of "Waterloo Bridge", a must for fans of classic 1930's motion pictures.




























Louis Calhern portrayed "Stanley Vance". Calhern started acting in 1921, prior to this film he was in, 1932's, "20,000 Years in Sing Sing", 1934's, "Duck Soup". starring the FIVE Marx Brothers, and 1934's, "The Count of Monte Cristo", starring Robert Donat. In 1946, the actor was in director Alfred Hitchcock's, "Notorious", in 1950, it was director John Huston's, "The Asphalt Jungle", and in 1953, he was William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", in the movie starring Marlon Brando and James Mason.































"Jessica Welles" is about to return to the stage after a three-year absence. It is anticipated by her family and her manager "Ben Weston", that this will be a triumphant return, but her criminal husband, thought dead, "Stanley Vance", returns after serving a long sentence in prison. "Vance" now exerts control over "Jessica" and turns her into a somnambulist following his every command.

Her brother, "Damon Welles", an actor like his sister, now creates an elaborate plan to free his sister by becoming French theatrical producer, "Jules Chautard", but the plan will lead to murder.































THE CASE OF THE HOWLING DOG released on September 22, 1934






Warren Williams portrayed Erle Stanley Gardner's, "Perry Mason". 1934 was an interesting year for Williams, he had just portrayed "Philo Vance" in "The Dragon Murder Case" and would become "Julius Cesar" in director Cecil B. DeMille's, "Cleopatra", starring Claudette Corbert.

Mary Astor portrayed "Bessie Foley". She would follow this film in the role of "Odette Mauclair", in a mystery set on the "Orient Express", 1934's, "I Am a Thief".









































Above, Mary Astor and Warren Williams.

Allen Jenkins portrayed "Police Sergeant Holcomb". Musical comedy character actor Jenkins had just been in the comedy romance, 1934's, "The Merry Frinks" and followed this feature with the Dick Powell musical comedy, 1934's, "Happiness Ahead".

























Above, Warren Williams, Allen Jenkins, and Mary Astor.



Helen Trenholme portrayed "Della Street". The Canadian actress appeared on-screen only one other time, just before this picture in 1934's, "The Firebird".
































Above, Helen Trenholme and Warren Williams.


Unlike the dog in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" that did nothing during the night. This dog's apparent barking is the initial cause of "Perry Mason" becoming involved with a double murder and his client, "Bessie Foley" on trial for them. The movies a lot better than this sounds and the Gardner ending with a twist is surprising.


















Above, Lighting portraying "Prince" and below, Warren Williams and Mary Astor.




























































Above, Helen Trenholme, Mary Astor and Warren Williams.







Nine forgotten motion pictures followed and then:


DODSWORTH released on September 23, 1936






Samuel Goldwyn may have been the film's producer and yes, it was based upon the 1929 novel by Sinclair Lewis and also the 1934 play by Sidney Howard who wrote the screenplay, but buried in the small print was the name of the Academy Award nominated director, William Wyler. 

Wyler's 1936 version of playwright Lillian Hellman's "These Three", starring Merle Oberon, Joel McCrea, and Miriam Hopkins, had just shocked theater goers. He would follow this picture by co-directing with Howard Hawks, the 1936 version of authoress Edna Ferber's, "Come and Get It", starring Edward Arnold, Joel McCrea and Frances Farmer. My article, "Director WILLIAM WYLER --Director BILLY WILDER: Clearing Some of the Confusion Between Classic Movie Lovers", may be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2021/09/director-william-wyler-director-billy.html


Walter Huston portrayed "Sam Dodsworth". Huston had just portrayed British adventurer "Cecil Rhodes", in 1936's, "Rhodes" and would follow this picture with, 1938's, "Of Human Hearts", co-starring James Stewart and Gene Raymond.






























Ruth Chatterton portrayed "Fran Dodsworth". She had just co-starred with Herbert Marshall and a young Simone Simon in 1936's, "Girls' Dormitory", and followed this picture with the 1937, crime drama, "The Rat".































Paul Lukas portrayed "Arnold Iselin". Lukas had portrayed "Athos", in 1935's, "The Three Musketeers", co-starring with Walter Abel as "d'Artagnan", and followed this feature with 1936's, "Ladies in Love", starring Janet Gaynor, Loretta Young and Constance Bennett. Fans of Walt Disney's 1954 version of Jules Verne's, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", know Paul Lukas as "Professor Aronnax". 































Mary Astor portrayed "Edith Cortright". Astor had just been in the 1936 comedy crime drama, "Trapped in Television", co-starring, again, with Lyle Talbot. She followed this movie with 1936's, "Lady from Nowhere".































David Niven portrayed "Captain Lockert". Niven had been in the Francis Langford comedy drama, 1936's, "Palm Springs", and would follow this picture by co-starring with Arthur Teacher and Virginia Field in the 1936 comedy, "Thank You, Jeeves!", playing "Bertie Wooster".































The Sinclair Lewis story is about a marriage in crisis, as recently retired automobile magnate "Samuel Dodsworth" and his wife "Fran" take a European vacation. Only to discover what they want from life is actually different from their lives to this point and what happens as the two-face the reality of their marriage.























































































On September 2, 1937, Roland Coleman and Madeline Carroll stared in "The Prisoner of Zenda". 





Above, the three villains, Raymond Massey as "Black Michael", Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as "Rupert of Hentzau", and Mary Astor as "Antoniette de Mauban".



THE HURRICANE released on November 9, 1937





As the above poster indicates, the motion picture was directed by John Ford. The latest John Ford release had been 1937's, "Wee Willie Winkie", and starred Shirley Temple and Victor McLaglen. The director would follow this picture with 1938's, "Four Men and a Prayer", starring Loretta Young, Richard Greene and George Sanders.

Dudley Nichols' screenplay was based upon the novel by Charles Nordoff and John Norman Hall, better known for another novel, "Mutiny on the Bounty".


Dorothy Lamour portrayed "Marama". Lamour had just been seen in a musical written by Oscar Hamerstein II, 1937's, "High, Wide and Handsome", co-starring with Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott. After this feature, Lamour dropped to thirteenth billing in the 1937 musical romance, "Thrill of a Lifetime".

Jon Hall portrayed "Terangi". Hall was the nephew of writer John Norman Hall and had used the acting name of Lloyd Crane for his role in the 1937, "The Girl from Scotland Yard", just prior to this film. He would follow this picture with the 1940's comedy, "Sailor's Lady", co-starring with Nancy Kelly and comedian Joan Davis.























Above, Jon Hall and Dorothy Lamour.

Mary Astor portrayed "Madame Germaine DeLaage". Astor would next be loaned to "Columbia Pictures" for the 1938 comedy "No Time to Marry", co-starring first billed Richard Arlen.

C. Aubrey Smith portrayed "Father Paul". English character actor Smith had just been in "The Prisoner of Zenda", and would follow this feature with the 1937, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney feature, "Thoroughbreds Don't Cry".




























Thomas Mitchell portrayed "Dr. Kersaint". Mitchell, who would be nominated for the "Best Supporting Actor Academy Award" for this motion picture, had just been in the forgotten 1937 comedy, "Make Way for Tomorrow". He was two years away from his major motion picture breakthrough in 1939, with John Ford's, "Stagecoach", the Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", director Frank Capra's, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur, and "Gone with the Wind".





























Raymond Massey portrayed "Govenor Eugene DeLaarge". Massey had just been seen in "The Prisoner of Zenda" and would follow this picture with the Korda Brothers "Drum".



























Above, Raymond Massey, Mary Astor and Jerome Cowan as "Captain Nagle". Below, Thomas Mitchell, Jon Hall and Mary Astor.































The story is about a Polynesian sailor, "Terangi", returning to his island after servicing time in a prison for the crime of defending himself against a colonial bully. At home, he is persecuted by the colonial governor, "Eugene DeLaage" and falls in love with and marries "Marama". All the subplots come together in the climatic, "Hurricane", and the question of who will survive will be answered?






























Six more forgotten motion pictures followed the previously mentioned, 1938, "No Time to Marry", and then the big budgeted, all-star epic from "20th Century Fox":


BRIGHAM YOUNG aka: BRIGHAM YOUNG, FRONTIERSMAN released on September 27, 1940






The motion picture was directed by Henry Hathaway and followed the director's 1940, "Johnny Apollo", starring Tyrone Power, Dorothy Lamour and Edward Arnold. This picture would be followed by Hathaway's first motion picture with John Wayne, 1941's, "The Shepherd of the Hills".

The studio bet upon star power and lost to a boring, non-factual love story that became a major financial loss for "20th Century Fox".


Tyrone Power portrayed "Jonathan Kent". He had just been in the aforementioned 1940, "Johnny Apollo" and would follow this feature with 1941's, "The Mark of Zorro". 

Linda Darnell portrayed "Zina Webb". She had just been seen in her third on-screen appearance with, 1940's, "Star Dust", co-starring John Payne. Darnell would also follow this picture with 1941's, "The Mark of Zorro".
























Dean Jagger portrayed "Brigham Young". The actor proceeded this picture with an uncredited role in 1938's, "Having a Wonderful Time", that starred Ginger Rodgers and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. While following this feature with director Fritz Lang's, 1941, "Western Union".























Brian Donlevy portrayed "Angus Duncan". Donlevy was just in 1940's, "When the Daltons Rode" and followed this feature with 1941's, "I Wanted Wings".




































Jane Darwell portrayed "Eliza Kent". The actress was last seen in 1940's, "Untamed" and followed this movie with "Chad Hanna", starring Henry Fonda, Dorothy Lamour and Linda Darnell.


































John Carradine portrayed "Porter Rockwell". Carradine had been in 1940's, "The Return of Frank James", as "Bob Ford", starring Henry Fonda as "Frank James". Both actors had portrayed the same roles in, 1939's, "Jesse James", starring Tyrone Power in the title role. After this film, John Carradine was in 1940's, "Chad Hanna".





















Mary Astor portrayed "Mary Ann Young". Astor had been in the crime fantasy, 1940's, "Turnabout", starring Adolphe Menjou and Carole Landis prior to this picture.





































Vincent Price portrayed "Joseph Smith". Price was just in 1940's, "The House of the Seven Gables", and followed this picture with, 1940's, "Hudson's Bay".

































Jean Rodgers portrayed "Clara Young". Rodgers had just been in 1940's, "Viva Cisco Kid", co-starring with Cesar Romero and followed this picture with. 1940's, "Yesterday's Heroes".





































Ann Todd portrayed "Mary Kent". The young actress had just been in 1940's, "All This and Heaven Too" and followed the picture with, 1941's, "Blood and Sand", starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell and Rita Hayworth.
























The screenplay supposedly follows the journey of "Brigham Young" and his followers from first Illinois to Nebraska and then to Utah. However, the screenplay concentrates on just two characters, "Jonathan Kent" and "Zina Webb" in a love story. Which wasn't what the viewing audience thought they were going to see.

The following are images of Mary Astor in the motion picture.






















































































































THE GREAT LIE released on April 12, 1941







The motion picture was directed by screenplay writer turned director, Edmund Goulding, 1932's, "Grand Hotel", 1938's, "The Dawn Patrol", 1939's, "Dark Victory", and 1940's, "Til We Meet Again".

Bette Davis portrays "Maggie Patterson". Davis was just in director William Wyler's, 1940, "The Letter", and would follow this motion picture with, 1941's, "The Bride Came C.O.D.".
































George Brent portrayed "Peter Van Allen". He had co-starred with Ann Sheridan in 1941's, "Honeymoon for Three" and would this feature with, 1941's, "They Dare Not Love" with Martha Scott.






















Mary Astor portrayed "Sandra Kovak". 


























Hattie McDaniel portrayed "Violet". McDaniel was back to her stereotyped African American maid, even though she had won the "Best Supporting Actress Academy Award" for 1939's, "Gone with the Wind". In 1946, McDaniel would appear in a Walt Disney motion picture that is considered pure racism, "Song of the South". The live action and animated feature film, co-starred James Bassettthe African American actor Disney fought the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to give him an Oscar for his portrayal of "Uncle Remus". My article, "HATTIE MCDANIEL and JAMES BASSETT: Racism, the Academy Awards and the First African American Winners" may be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2020/07/hattie-mcdaniel-and-james-baskett.html





























The screenplay is what is affectionately called a "Tear-Jerker"!

Concert pianist "Sandra Kovak" and her husband aviator "Peter Van Allen" discover their marriage is invalid, because his divorce never was granted. So, he leaves her to marry his previously love, "Maggie Patterson", but two things now take place. First, "Peter's" airplane goes missing and it is believed he died in a plane crash. Second, "Sandra" discovers she pregnant with his child.

"Maggie" and "Sandra" meet, and the former suggests that she could raise the financially broke "Sandra's" baby as her own and would take care of "Sandra's" other finances from then on. An agreement is made, the two go to Arizona to await the birth, "Sandra" gives birth, and then two more events take place. First, "Peter" returns alive, and second, "Maggie" refuses to give up "Sandra's" baby, or acknowledge the baby isn't her own from "Peter".



















































Next for Mary Astor was the role most people know her for.


THE MALTESE FALCON premiered in New York City on October 3, 1941








































Perhaps the most known version of Dashiell Hammett's novel, but not the first. In fact, many film historians consider the 1931 original, the better version of the novel. I look at the history of the novel and both motion pictures in my article, "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of': The Maltese Falcon in Writing and on the Motion Picture Screen", at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2018/03/the-stuff-that-dreams-are-made-of.html


This version of Hammett's novel was both directed and written by John Huston. As a writer, Huston had just written the screenplay for the Gary Cooper, 1941, "Sergeant York". As a director, this was John Huston's first motion picture. For those interested in Huston's directing career, my article on four of his more unusual entries, "JOHN HUSTON: 'Moby Dick' 1956, 'The Barbarian and the Geisha' 1958, 'Freud: The Secret Passion', 1962, and 'The List of Adrian Messenger', 1963", can be found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2017/05/john-huston-moby-dick-1956-barbarian.html


Humphrey Bogart portrayed "Samuel 'Sam' Spade". He had just been seen with Sylvia Sidney and Eddie Albert in 1941's, "The Wagons Roll at Night", and followed this film with, 1942's, "All Through the Night". Most fans of Bogart think of him in similar tough guy roles, but before the contract actor was truly established. Warner Brothers introduced the audience to, "HUMPHREY BOGART: Horror Movie Actor" at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2019/08/humphrey-bogart-horror-movie-actor.html


























Mary Astor portrayed "Ruth Wonderly aka: Brigid O'Shaughnessy". Astor would follow this film was a romantic comedy, 1942's, "The Palm Beach Story", starring Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea. 































Gladys George portrayed "Iva Archer". George starred with Barton MacLane in 1941's, "Hit the Road", and followed this picture with 1943's, "The Hard Way", starring Ida Lupino, Dennis Morgan and Joan Leslie.
































Peter Lorre portrayed "Joel Cairo". Lorre had just been in 1941's, "They Met in Bombay", starring Clark Gable and Rosalind Russell. He followed this picture with 1942's, "All Through the Night".
My article, "PETER LORRE: Overlooked, or Forgotten Performances", is at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2017/11/peter-lorre-overlooked-or-forgotten.html
































Barton MacLane portrayed "Lieutenant of Detectives Dundy". MacLane is recognizable as normally the bad guy of the story and had just been in 1941's, "Wild Geese Calling", starring Henry Fonda and Joan Bennett. He followed this picture with 1942's, "All Through the Night".































Above with Barton MacLane is Ward Bond as "Detective Tom Polhaus".


Lee Patrick portrayed "Effie Perine". Patrick was in the comedy mystery, 1941's, "The Smiling Ghost", starring Wayne Morris, Brenda Marshall and Alexis Smith. She next appeared in the John Garfield, Nancy Coleman and Raymond Massey, 1941, "Dangerously They Live".






























Sydney Greenstreet portrayed "Kasper Gutman". Greenstreet only appeared on-screen 24 times, between 1941 and 1949. This was his first of those 24 appearances and he followed it with the Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, 1941, "They Died with Their Boots On". 






























Above, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor, and Sidney Greenstreet, and in the background is character actor Elisha Cook, Jr. as "Wilmer Cook".


Look on the verified as complete cast listing, on "IMDb" or other sites, for the following actress playing the "Bookstore Clerk". You won't find Dorothy Malone's name, but you will find an uncredited William Hopper as a "Reporter", and John Huston's father, Walter, as "Detective Captain Jacoby".






























The plot is well known, "Ruth Wonderly" comes into the private detective agency of "Spade and Archer" needing help locating her missing sister. According to "Wonderly" her unseen sister is involved with the also unseen "Floyd Thursby". "Miles Archer", played by Jerome Cowan, agrees to follow "Wonderly" and get her sister back.

The next morning, "Sam Spade" receives a phone call, "Miles" has been murdered and suddenly "Spade" finds himself mixed up with "Brigid O'Shaughnessy", the real name of "Ruth Wonderly", "Joel Cairo", and "The Fat Man, Kasper Gutman", all looking for the jeweled "Maltese Falcon" of the movie's title. 

Meanwhile, "Miles'" wife, "Iva", who has always been in love with "Sam", believes he murdered her husband so the two could be together. While the police just believe "Sam Spade" murdered "Miles Archer". 

For more details on the movie, see my about mentioned article.












































































































































































































































ACROSS THE PACIFIC released on September 4, 1942



































To Warner Brothers, if it worked once, then do it again, maybe!

The motion picture was initially directed by John Huston, but the Second World War would somewhat change that. 

The screenplay was written by Richard Macaulay, who wrote 1938's, "Brother Rat", that had a sixth billed Ronald Reagan, 1939's, "The Roaring Twenties", with James Cagney and Bogart, 1940's, "Torrid Zone", with Cagney, Ann Sheridan and Pat O'Brien, 1940's, "They Drive by Night", with George Raft, Bogart and Sheridan, and 1941's, "Manpower", with Edward G. Robinson, Marlene Dietrich, and Raft. 

Macaulay's screenplay was based upon a "Saturday Evening Post" serialized story by Robert Carlson entitled: "Aloha Means Goodbye", published June 28 through July 26, 1941. On, December 20, 1941, "The New York Times" reported that the sale of Carlson's story to Warner Brothers had been for $12,500 dollars. That article was almost two weeks after filming on "Across the Pacific" had suddenly stopped, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, on December 7th. The movie's filming wouldn't resume until March 2, 1942, and shortly afterwards, John Huston was drafted and became, "Captain John Huston", United States Army Signal Corps, photographic unit, and filming stopped once more.

Stepping in on April 22, 1942, would be uncredited director Vincent Sherman. He had directed Bogart's 1939, "The Return of Doctor X", and 1942's, "All Through the Night".

The original destination in the screenplay was "Yokohama, Japan" through the "Panama Canal", from Nova Scotia, via "Hawaii". The screenplay had to be rewritten, because of the attack, and the destination wasn't "Across the Pacific", but only to Panama.

Vincent Sherman was faced with the problem that John Huston had deliberately left the film with Humphrey Bogart's "Rick Leland" in a cliff-hanger situation. Further, Huston took the screenplay with him, but said that Bogart will figure out how to get out of the situation his character found himself.

Warner Brothers solution was to remove all of John Huston's filmed footage related to the ending, rewrite the screenplay to change the final destination and reshoot, but John Huston would remain as the credited director.

The studio also had to fire any Japanese actors or crew, because of FDR's executive order to round-up and intern Japanese Americans. Korean and Chinese American actors such as, Victor Sun Yung, Keye Luke, and Richard Loo, portrayed the Japanese.

Humphrey Bogart, as I mentioned, portrayed "Rick Leland". Bogart had just been seen in 1942's, "The Big Shot" and would follow this picture with 1942's, "Casablanca".





























Above, Bogart's "Army Captain Rick Leland" is being told he will be court-martialed for stealing.

Mary Astor portrayed "Alberta Marlow". Astor had just been seen in the previously mentioned, 1942, "The Palm Beach Story". She would follow this picture with the 1943 comedy, "Young Ideas", opposite Herbert Marshall.

































Above, Keye Luke, Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor.


Sydney Greenstreet portrayed "Dr. H.F.G. Lorenz". Greenstreet would bookend this movie with 1941's, "They Died with Their Boots On", and 1942's, "Casablanca".
































Above, Humphrey Bogart and Sydney Greenstreet.


The screenplay now starts on November 17, 1941, and puts dishonorably discharged "Rick Leland", Canadian "Alberta Marlow" and enemy agent "Dr. Lorenz" on the Japanese ship Genora Maru sailing from Halifax. When the ship reaches New York City for a layover, it is revealed that "Leland" is actually Army Intelligence assigned to get information about "Lorenz's" contacts and his plans. Which turn out to be blowing up the locks of the "Panama Canal". As a side assignment, he is to determine if "Marlow" is also a spy and for whom?




















































































































Above, Bogart holds a gun on the "Filipino Assassin", played by Rudy Robles, as "First Officer Miyuma", played by Richard Loo, looks on.






















































BEING LOANED OUT BY WARNER BROTHERS!


MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS released in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 22, 1944






Directed by Judy Garland's future husband Vincente Minnelli, director of the all-African American musical, 1943's, "Cabin in the Sky", starring Ethel Waters, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, and Lena Horne. 

Based upon the novel by Sally Benson with a screenplay by Irving Brecher and Fred F. Finklehoffe.

Judy Garland portrayed "Esther Smith". Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland had just been seen in 1943's, "Girl Crazy", and this musical would be followed by her Second World War love story, 1945's, "The Clock", co-starring Robert Walker.
























Margaret O'Brien portrayed "Tootie Smith". O'Brien had just co-starred with Charles Laughton and Robert Young in 1944's, "The Canterville Ghost", and would follow this picture with 1944's, "Music for Millions".























Mary Astor portrayed "Mrs. Anna Smith" and had the opportunity of showing off her piano playing. The actress had third billing in the Kathryn Grayson and Gene Kelly, 1943, comedy musical set during the Second World War, "Thousands Cheer", and followed the picture with the forgotten comedy, 1944's, "Blonde Fever", co-starring with the equally forgotten Philip Dorn.





























Above, Mary Astor and Judy Garland with Lucille Bremer as "Rose Smith", standing behind them. Below, Mary Astor and Leon Ames as "Mr. Alonzo Smith".






























This is a musical look at the "Smith Family" in the summer of 1903 and their anticipation of the upcoming 1904 "Louisiana Purchase Exposition World Fair" to be held in St. Louis. When "Alonzo", unexpectedly announces he is moving the family from St. Louis before the fair









































































Above, Judy Garland and Tom Drake as "John Truett, the Boy Next Door".
































On November 4, 1943, 20th Century Fox released the motion picture "Claudia", based upon a very successful Broadway comedy-drama. The studio signed the plays leading actress, the unknown Dorothy McGuire in her first on-screen appearance, to recreate her title role opposite Robert Young. The plot has city born child bride "Claudia" marrying rural Connecticut farm owner "David", but missing her mother in the city. She plans to sell the farm to an opera singer and move back near her mother and the picture follows the situations, comic and dramatic, that arise between "Claudia" and "David". The motion picture was a major hit and McGuire was shocked when told she would have to co-star with Young in a sequel that she didn't want to do, but under contract and had no choice.

CLAUDIA AND DAVID released on February 25, 1946






Dorothy McGuire again portrayed "Claudia Naughton". McGuire had just starred with George Brent and Ethel Barrymore in 1946's, "The Spiral Staircase", and followed this feature with 1946's, "Till the End of Time", co-starring with Robert Mitchum and Guy Madison.

























Robert Young again portrayed "David Naughton". Young was last seen in 1945's, "Those Endearing Young Charms", with Laraine Day and Ann Harding. He would follow this picture with 1946's, "The Searching Wind", co-starring Sylvia Sydney.






















Mary Astor portrayed "Elizabeth Van Doren". 

























The basic story added parenthood to the ups and downs of "Claudia" and "David's" relationship, but also jealousy caused by one of "David's" building projects clients, "Elizabeth Van Doren". Otherwise, as McGuire feared, this was nothing more than a reworking of the first movie, but also as successful at the box office.



FIESTA released on June 12, 1947







Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's publicity department had a "White Lie" on the above poster. It clearly states the motion picture was "Introducing Ricardo Montalban", who portrayed "Mario Morales". In actuality, this was the actor's fourteenth on-screen appearance, but they were all previously in Mexican feature films.




















"Fiesta" was the first motion picture to have Esther Williams, who portrayed Montalban's sister, "Maria Morales", billed prior to the motion pictures title. Her character wants to be a bullfighter like her older brother.






























"Fiesta" illustrated what point Mary Astor's motion picture career was at by 1947, with character actor Akim Tamiroff, singer and dancer Cyd Charisse, actor John Carroll, and Spanish actor Fortunio Bonanova, billed before her. 

Mary Astor portrayed the mother of star Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban, "Senora Morales".






































Above, Mary Astor with Fortunio Bonanova as her husband, "Antonio Morales". Below, Astor, Tamiroff, and Bonanova.















































CYNTHIA released August 29, 1947


































Elizabeth Taylor portrayed "Cynthia Bishop". Prior to this feature, Taylor co-starred with William Powell and Irene Dunne in 1947's, "Life with Father", and she followed this movie co-starring with Wallace Beery and Jane Powell, in 1948's, "A Date with Judy".

George Murphy portrayed "Larry Bishop". The future Senator from California had just been seen in 1947's, "The Arnelo Affair" and followed this film with third billing after Margaret O'Brien and Angela Lansbury in 1948's, "Tenth Avenue Angel".

Mary Astor portrayed "Louise Bishop".





























Above, Elizabeth Taylor, George Murphy and Mary Astor.

The screenplay starts with High School baseball player "Larry Bishop" attempting to impress "Louise" and then follows the two into marriage, the birth of their daughter "Cynthia", and the problems caused by their daughter's chronic health problems on the family's ability to stay financially secure.

















































Three motion pictures later found Mary Astor in a motion picture based on a novel by authoress Louisa May Alcott.


LITTLE WOMEN released on March 10, 1949


































The first Technicolor version of Alcott's classic novel was produced and directed by Mervyn LeRoy.

This is the classic story of the "March" sisters and their lives during the Civil War in Concord, Massachusetts. As each has their dreams either fulfilled or dashed and the impact on their siblings.


June Allyson portrayed "Jo March". Allyson had appeared as "Constance", in MGM's all-star 1948 version of Alexander Dumas' "The Three Musketeers". She would follow this picture with 1949's, "The Stratton Story", her first of many appearances with James Stewart.



























Peter Lawford portrayed "Theodore 'Laurie' Lawrence". He had just co-starred with Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon in 1948's, "Julia Misbehaves", and would next appear with Walter Pidgeon, Ethel Barrymore, Angels Lansbury and Janet Leigh, in 1949's, "The Red Danube".





























Margaret O'Brien portrayed "Beth March". She had just starred in 1948's, "Big City", and would follow this feature with the 1949 version of Francis Hodgson Burnett's "The Secret Garden".





























Elizabeth Taylor portrayed "Amy March". She had just appeared in the aforementioned, "Julia Misbehaves", and would follow this film with the still controversial crime drama, 1949's, "Conspirator", co-starring with the much older Robert Taylor as her lover.


































Janet Leigh portrayed "Meg March". This was Janet Leigh's sixth on-screen appearance and followed the film with third billing, in 1948's, "Act of Violence" co-starring with Van Heflin and Robert Ryan and featuring Mary Astor. Leigh would also appear in the previously mentioned, "Red Danube". 






























I look at Janet Leigh's later career in my article, "Janet Leigh Going 'Psycho' Within 'The Fog", that is found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2019/11/janet-leigh-going-psycho-within-fog.html


Rossano Brazzi portrayed "Professor Friedrich Bhaer". Italian actor Brazzi came to Culver City, California from Italy to make this one feature film, Later, he would appear in both 1954 American films shot in Italy, "The Barefoot Contessa", starring Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart, and the 1950's classic love story, "Three Coins in the Fountain", starring Clifton Webb, Dorothy McGurie, Jean Peters, Louis Jordan, and Maggie McNamara. In 1958, Brazzi, with dubbed singing voice, co-starred with Mitzi Gaynor in Rodgers and Hammerstein's, "South Pacific".





























Mary Astor portrayed the sister's mother, "Margret 'Marmee' March". Astor would follow this picture with sixth billing in 1949's, "Any Number Can Play", starring Clark Gable and Alexis Smith. 




















































































TELEVISION!


On July 4, 1951, Mary Astor moved, like many of her contemporaries, to the fast-growing new medium of television. Although, television broadcasts went back to the 1930's, see Astor's own previously mentioned, 1936, "Trapped by Television".





Mary Astor's first program was on the "Kraft Theatre", and this was a live broadcast of author Mark Twain's, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", with Mary Astor as "Aunt Polly". Forgotten Charles Taylor played the title role, and Tommy Rettig, "Lassie", portrayed "Huckleberry Finn". While playing the role of "Becky Thatcher", was a young actress named Natalie Wood.

According to one website, in 1952, Mary Astor was cast in the leading role of the play "The Time of the Cuckoo" by playwright Arthur Laurentis. The original Broadway production starred Shirley Booth, who received the "Tony Award" for her performance. The original cast listing does not show Mary Astor, but there are hints she might have starred in the first traveling production. Whatever the truth is here, Astor did not appear on-screen after "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", until the "Kraft Theatre" production of "The Missing Years", on February 3, 1954, co-starring with Anthony Perkins and Ted Brenner. About a man who deserted his family twelve years before and now returns to find his wife preparing to remarry after he was legally declared dead.

Technically, on December 2, 1953, Mary Astor did appear on-screen in a movie, "Yesterday and Today", looking at the silent film era and some of her work was incorporated.

After the "Kraft Theatre" appearance, Mary Astor appeared three more times on 1954 television, with the second of the three being on the live anthology series, "The Best of Broadway". That December 8, 1954, production was "The Philadelphia Story" and her co-stars were Richard Carlson and Dick Foran.


Between January 13, 1955, with "The Hickory Limb", on televisions "Ponds Theater", and October 4, 1957, with the car racing motion picture "The Devil's Hairpin", starring Cornel Wilde and his wife, at the time, Jean Wallace, Mary Astor only appeared in two other feature films. These were, "A Kiss Before Dying", starring Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, and Virginia Leith, that premiered in London, England, on April 20, 1956, and on September 26, 1956, "The Power and the Prize", starring Robert Taylor and Elisabeth Mueller.

Otherwise during that same period, the actress appeared a total of 20 different times on 15 different television programs, as varied as "Robert Montgomery Presents", "Zane Grey Theatre", and a true crime series entitled, "Justice".

Mary Astor continued to appear on television, twice she was on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", she appeared in an episode of the Western series, "Rawhide", two episodes of the medical series, "Dr. Kildare", and an episode of its rival, "Ben Casey". 

On May 5, 1961, Mary Astor was seen with fourth billing as "Mrs. Roberta Carter", in the motion picture, "Return to Peyton Place", starring 19-years-old actress Carol Lynley, Jeff Chandler, and Eleanor Parker. Below, Mary Astor in the motion picture.

























Mary Astor's last on-screen appearances came in two motion pictures in 1964.

YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE released on November 4, 1964.



























Above, Mary Astor as "Irene Perry" is second from the left next to John Emery. While Genevieve Page and Barry Kroeger are on the right. I could not identify the actor in the middle facing James Franciscus.


HUSH....HUSH. SWEET CHARLOTTE released on December 16, 1964


























Above and below, Mary Astor in her last on-screen appearance as "Jewel Mayhew".
































































Mary Astor passed away on September 25, 1987, at the age of 81. 




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