Good news indeed to hear that Lena Horne now has a Broadway theatre named after her.

The Brooks Atkinson on W. 47th St, New York now bears her name. ( Brooks Atkinson was a theatre critic for the New York Times).
Lena Horne (1917-2010) was signed to MGM in 1942 and appeared in several musicals but never in a lead role.

In 1957, Lena told the New York Times: ”Mississippi wanted its movies without me. So no one bothered to put me in a movie where I talked to anybody, where some thread of the story might be broken if I were cut.”

Lena was a civil rights activist who was blacklisted . With films and television not open to her in the early 1950s, Lena became a top headliner in concerts and nightclubs. She toured America ,Canada and Europe.

In 1981, her one-woman show ran for 300 performances on Broadway. A great voice and personality.




Lena Horne.





…………Another Classic anniversary. “Casablanca “ is 80 years old and this month a three disc blu-Ray set is released featuring lots of extras including a 32 page original press book, three lobby cards, seven art cards. With deleted scenes, outtakes ( plus some extras from the 70th anniversary release.)




…………Celebrating her 92nd birthday is Lois Smith who made two movies  in the middle 1950s then didn’t appear on screen again till 1970.
I remember Lois at the spirited sister of Dana Andrews in STRANGE LADY IN TOWN. She also appeared in EAST OF EDEN.

Lois left Hollywood for New York after these two films and joined the Actors Studio. She was very successful on stage and television and then had a film comeback in the 70s.

Lois Smith, James Dean.


Greer Garson, Lois Smith.


Lois Smith


…………When I found it on You Tube, I don’t think it was unreasonable to assume that a 1952 movie called “Return of the Texan” which starred Dale Robertson was a western.

Wrong again. It’s a modern day  setting for Dale who plays a widower with two young sons returning to his home in Texas ,along with his grandfather (Walter Brennan).

He clashes with Richard Boone and falls for Joanne Dru who is engaged to  a young Robert Horton.

I quite enjoyed it but Richard Boone didn’t have a lot to do .

Dale Robertson, Joanne Dru.


Richard Boone, Dale Robertson , Tom Tully.

I wondered why the fight scene between Robertson and Boone near the end of the film finished rather abruptly. The scene above was missing!


Helen Westcott

As the wife of Richard Boone and sister of Joanne Dru, Helen Westcott is only in a couple of short scenes ( unless of course some of her scenes were also cut from the print I saw.) Helen is best known for her role in THE GUNFIGHTER.



………….The 5th Cary Comes Home Festival runs from 18th to 20th November in Cary Grant’s home town Bristol. Wish I could be there. Hope there is a good turnout.

Details at 








9 responses »

  1. Hello Vienna. A couple days ago I was checking up on True Blood the vampire series (2008) which I watched a few years ago. Lois Smith played Grandma. ( I think she came to a sticky end!) Having seen East of Eden many times over the years I have a strong memory of her as the nervous employee of Jo Van Fleet. And then in Five Easy Pieces (1970) as Jack Nicholson’s sister. Not many film appearances but always very watchable and so recognisable from the photo you showed here.
    Always enjoy your blog.
    John H.

      • Haven’t been to London either.
        In Eastbourne now after Somerset.
        Happy film noir watching xx

      • Hello Vienna, I appreciate the shout-out to Lois Smith also. She had a memorable line in a little-known film from the 1970s called “Four Friends”: After her husband’s murder of their daughter at her wedding and his subsequent suicide, the injured groom (Craig Wasson) calls on her at her home alone and she says “I was a mother. I was a wife. Now i’m just a.woman.” And she screams. Chilling!

  2. As much as I’ve always admired Lena Horne, I also have huge respect for Brooks Atkinson who championed countless young playwrights, actors and directors in what became the pinnacle of the U.S. stage (1920s-60s). I do not share in your enthusiasm that a man of his calibre and influence who contributed so directly and for so many decades to its success, has had his name removed from the theatre long and justly named after him.
    “The Lady and Her Music” was a great Broadway show; so why not build a new theatre to name for Lena Horne?

  3. On your recommendation, I watched Return of the Texan on YouTube. I agree with you; it is surprisingly good. I also agree with you about the fight scene, with the evidently missing conclusion.

    Once in a while, I have thought that it is absurd that Walter Brennan won three Academy Awards. Then I see something like his last scene in this movie and I remember just how good he could be.

    • Glad you liked it.
      It is amazing, Walter Brennan winning three supporting Oscars – COME AND GET IT, KENTUCKY, THE WESTERNER. . A good actor who perfected an on screen persona. Loved him in Rio Bravo.

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