GET SERIOUS: PAYNE AND POWELL

Two actors from different studios. They were both known for their singing voices and the musicals they appeared in.
Both changed their image dramatically in the 1940s when they changed the blue skies of musicals for the dark streets of film noir.
It’s JOHN PAYNE and DICK POWELL of course, Payne at Fox and Powell at Warners.

Dick Powell

Dick Powell

image

John Payne

Powell started his musical career in 1933 with FORTY SECOND STREET and continued with a dazzling number of films including three Gold Diggers (of 1933,1935 and 1937),DAMES,ON THE AVENUE. His usual costars were Joan Blondell or Ruby Keeler.

Ruby Keeler,Dick Powell

Ruby Keeler,Dick Powell

Over at Fox,John Payne costarred several times with Alice Faye and Betty GrableTIN PAN ALLEY,SUN VALLEY SERENADE,WEEKEND IN HAVANA,HELLO,FRISCO,HELLO,THE DOLLY SISTERS.

Alice Faye,John Payne

Alice Faye,John Payne

Betty. Grable,John Payne

Betty. Grable,John Payne

Dick changed his career around when he made FAREWELL MY LOVELY in 1944. Gone was the smiling juvenile ( well, he was 40), and in his place was the hard edged private detective or war veteran seeking answers to questions of murder and mayhem.

Dick Powell,Mike Mazurki

Dick Powell,Mike Mazurki

The same happened to John Payne 5 years later when he too entered the world of noir and made a series of thrillers from 1949 to 1956, including THE CROOKED WAY,KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL,99 RIVER STREET and SLIGHTLY SCARLET.
( Payne did return briefly to musicals in 1973 when he did a stage tour of GOOD NEWS with his former costar,Alice Faye.)

John Payne. 99 River Street

John Payne. 99 River Street

John Oayne.Kansas City Confidential

John Payne.Kansas City Confidential

4 responses »

  1. It’s striking ,the similarities between the two. Both good singers and top musical stars,then that extraordinary change of direction.

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