Sad news to hear of Audrey Totter’s death so soon after Eleanor Parker’s passing.
I am glad Audrey was able to make her mark on Hollywood history even though her studio MGM never seemed sure how to use her. (Far better if she had been under contract to RKO).
Her film career lasted a little more than ten years and covered only 38 films.
But Audrey will always be remembered for at least three films – LADY IN THE LAKE, TENSION and THE SET UP.
It took 2 years at MGM before Audrey got a starring role, but what a humdinger it was – MGM allowed Robert Montgomery to experiment in Lady In The Lake (1947).
Montgomery directed and starred as detective Philip Marlowe, with the camera being Marlowe’s point of view. Audrey,as Adrienne Fromsett (love that name) and the rest of the cast had to look directly at and speak to the camera. Audrey seemed to have a permanent pout and hardly ever smiled, but,boy,you paid attention when those blazing eyes shot daggers at you!
Her character in Lady In The Lake starts out unsympathetically but softens as the mystery develops.
Audrey’s other two memorable films were both from 1949. She showed her acting range playing the worn down but loving wife of on the skids boxer Robert Ryan in The Set Up. And in Tension, she is the ruthless and faithless wife of Richard Basehart.
Audrey, like the other great femme fatales, could be just as cynical,disillusioned as any noir male character. The literal translation of ‘femme fatale’ is ‘deadly woman’, and in Tension, Audrey is surely up there with Stanwyck in Double Indemnity or Ann Savage in Detour.
Audrey said, “The bad girls were so much fun to play.”
Audrey also had good roles in The Saxon Charm,Alias Nick Beal,The Unsuspected,The High Wall,Man or Gun and The Vanishing American.
Happily married to Dr.Leo Fred from the early 50s,Audrey continued acting on TV and her last TV appearance was in Murder She Wrote in 1987.
(Two of Audrey’s films I have yet to see are Sellout and Massacre Canyon.)