CLORIS LEACHMAN

The start of Kiss Me Deadly..

Born on 30/4/26, Cloris Leachman has turned 94 and we wish her very best wishes.

Cloris is someone I always remember as she appeared in one of my favourite films, KISS ME DEADLY.

She made an impressive film debut in the Mickey Spillane story, with her dramatic appearance at the very start of the thriller, as she flags down Ralph Meeker . It is her story which starts Mike Hammer on his quest.

Kiss Me Deadly.

 

With Ralph Meeker.

 

I had never seen this photo before. Presumably a publicity still, certainly not a scene in the film.

Cloris , who was still acting in 2020, made her TV debut in 1948 and it was television where her career was primarily made.
And although she did not make many films, she won a Best Supporting Oscar in 1971 for The Last Picture  Show.

She also did stage work and starred in a production of South Pacific in 1949 and was in a production of As You Like It with Katharine Hepburn in 1950.

 

Cloris Leachman and Katharine Hepburn in a scene from the 1950 play As You Like It. Leachman starred as Celia, daughter to Frederick, and Hepburn as Rosalind, daughter to the banished Duke. (Photo by �� John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

 

Cloris was a regular on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and appeared in countless TV series through the years.

 

PHOTO TIME

Time on my hands so I decided to mix up my usual photo posts.

This one came as a surprise. Back in 2017 I wrote a piece about little known producer Voldemar Vetluguin who had produced one of my favourite films, East Side, West Side.

A few days ago I was checking the stats on the blog and discovered that the post of Mr.Vetluguin had been viewed 126 times in the past week. Very surprising .

Anyway, I happened to look up this producer on IMDB and this it what I found. A picture of Harry Lauter ! I guess I should correct it.

(ps. I did)

 

Joan Blondell on the Warner Bros. lot  Is that sound stage 3 behind her.

 

Ann Blyth in costume as Helen Morgan in Both Ends of the Candle.

Heavens knows why Ann was dubbed in this film.  Her voice suited Helen Morgan’s.

 

Nice publicity shot of Constance Towers and Jeffrey Hunter in Sergeant Routledge.

 

On the set of Hell On  Frisco Bay?

Alan Ladd, Jack Warner, Edward G. Robinson.

 

Randolph Scott, Ann Richards. Badman’s Territory.

 

Fun on the set of High Society.
Bing, Grace, Celeste , Frank.

 

Interesting to see how this publicity pose was set up.

Ann Sheridan, Cary Grant. I Was  a Mail Order Bride / You  Can’t Sleep Here.)

 

And Cary and Ann on location.

 

Lovely sunny closeup of Bette Davis.

INDIA ADAMS R.I.P

The death of singer India Adams has been reported. She was 93.

Known for being the voice of Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon and Joan Crawford in Torch Song, India’s deep, rich tones add so much to songs like “Tenderly” in Torch Song and “A New Sun in the Sky” in Band Wagon.

India was performing in nightclubs well into her 80s and joined up with two other famous dubbers, Annette Warren and Betty Wand  to perform round the country as “Hollywood’s Secret Singing Stars”.
India ‘s singing in these films did not lead to a film career but she did appear on stage in Can Can and Brigadoon.

During her relocation to London during the 1960s, India was Ginger Rogers’  standby in MAME AT Drury Lane.

Back in America, India continued singing in nightclubs and on cruise ships.

In a 1995 interview, India spoke of revealing at one concert that she had sung for Cyd Charisse. Cyd was in the audience but did not come backstage to see India.

India was full of praise for Joan Crawford who sent her a thank you note and said, “I hope that I can do as good an acting job as you did a singing job.”

It was quite a coincidence that India had sung Two Faced  Woman for Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon, but the number wasn’t used until Torch Song .

 

India Adams, Joan Crawford.

 

Note the term ‘Protege’ on the back of this publicity photo. As India said, “They swore you to secrecy.”

 

 

With Ginger Rogers at Drury Lane, London,1969.

 

Betty Wand sang for Leslie Caron in GIGI, and Natalie Wood in WEST SIDE STORY.

Annette Warren sang for Ava Gardner in SHOW BOAT and in several films for Lucille Ball.

MARGARET RUTHERFORD, MISS MARPLE and AGATHA CHRISTIE

 

Margaret Rutherford.

I started this post some time ago and now that I’m at home 23 hours a day, I’m afraid it’s got longer and longer! So, if you find it too long, you  can always come back to it at some other time!

 

She may  not be everybody’s favourite Miss Marple, but I love Margaret Rutherford (1892 – 1972) in her 4 Agatha Christie 1960s films, all made by MGM in England.

Miss Marple was the unlikely sleuth who was always observing and evaluating events in the village of St. Mary Mead which was somewhere in the south of England.

She appeared in 12 Agatha Christie books and  20 short stories.

Margaret Rutherford  hardly fitted Agatha Christie’s description of her amateur detective, Jane  Marple who was described as tall , thin, demure – but Margaret’s warm personality and energetic style gave us an engaging Miss Marple.

 

  • Margaret insisted that her husband, Stringer Davis appear in the Marple films. He played librarian Jim Stringer in Murder She Said. His kindly, quiet character played well against the boisterous Margaret.( and his character was not in the novels.)
  • She also wore capes and cloaks which she was comfortable in .

 

After Murder She Said, the following three films seemed to embrace Margaret Rutherford’s comic persona –  far removed from  the Agatha Christie dramas.

It would appear that once Mrs. Christie sold the film rights, and as we know happened in Hollywood, the studio felt no obligation to remain faithful to the novels.

Of the four Margaret Rutherford films, only Murder She Said was based on a Miss Marple story, 4.50 From Paddington.

Both Murder Most Foul and Murder At The Gallop were actually Poirot stories, and Murder Ahoy wasn’t even a Christie story!

Australian actor Charles Tingwell  appeared in all four Miss Marple films, playing Inspector Craddock who relied on Miss Marple quite a lot.

Does anyone remember the TV series Emergency Ward 10? Charles Tingwell was one of the stars and I was a big fan!

 

 

 

With Stringer Davis.

 

One story of how Agatha Christie came up with the name,Marple was explained by a Christie fan who quoted Agatha,

“I was at a sale in Marple Hall in Cheshire. I was wanting a name for my old maid character and I  called her Jane Marple.”

 

 

 

Margaret Rutherford, Celia Johnson

Before her many comedy roles, Margaret had played the part of ‘Mrs. Danvers’ in REBECCAwith Celia Johnson in London’s  West End.

After 2000 performances on stage in Noel Coward’s BLYTHE SPIRIT, Margaret’s performance as Madame Arcati was preserved in the film version in 1941.

Blythe Spirit.

Margaret was in the film version of The Importance of Being Earnest in 1952. She played “Miss Prism” alongside Edith Evans as Lady Bracknell. Both Margaret and Dame Édith has been in the original stage production in 1939.

 

Margaret Rutherford, Agatha Christie

Whatever Agatha Christie thought of the Miss Marple  films, she did get on well with Margaret. In 1962,  her latest book “The Mirror Crack’d “ had the dedication, “To Margaret Rutherford with admiration.”

 

Orson Welles, Margaret Rutherford. THE V.I.P.s

In the middle of her four Miss Marple films, Margaret managed to garner an Oscar for her performance as the funny and touching Duchess of Brighton in THE V.I.P.s.

Margaret kept her Oscar above her fireplace.

 

With Stringer Davis.

 

Margaret’ s portrait by artist Michael Noakes. It hangs in the Gielgud Theatre in London.

 

A little background on Margaret Rutherford.

It’s no surprise that Margaret was a teacher of elocution. Her voice was always clear and concise. She  was also a talented pianist and gave lessons. And she liked swimming.

Margaret’s childhood was very traumatic. Her father spent 7 years in the mental hospital Broadmoor after he killed his father. When he was released , he changed his surname from Benn to Rutherford and took his wife and baby to India.

When Margaret was three, her mother committed suicide and Margaret was brought back to England and left in the care of her aunt Bessie who raised her in Wimbledon. Margaret’s father ended up back in Broadmoor.

When her aunt died, Margaret had an inheritance which enabled her to go to drama school.

Politician Tony Benn was a second cousin and regarded Margaret like an old aunt.

Margaret made her stage debut in 1925 and joined the Old Vic company in 1933.

I remember enjoying the 1979 film,Agatha  about the period in 1926 when Agatha Christie disappeared from her family home.

What happened to Agatha has never really been established. At the time she was 35 , married to Archie Christie and with a seven year old daughter, Rosalind.

Archie Christie had asked for a divorce in order to marry his secretary. Did Agatha have a nervous breakdown or memory loss?
her car was found abandoned and her disappearance was headline news. ( Her first book , The Mysterious Affair at Styles had come out in 1920 and introduced the world to that famous Belgian detective,Hercule Poirot.)

When found in Harrogate, her husband told the press she had suffered a loss of memory.
She made no mention of the events in her autobiography and was divorced  in 1928.

 

 

A young Agatha Christie

 

Max Mallowen, Agatha Christie

Agatha remarried in  1930 to archaeologist  Max Mallowen.

 

Miss Marple continued to be a popular figure in radio and on TV and film.

 

Gracie Fields,Roger Moore, Jessica Tandy

An unlikely Miss Marple was Gracie Fields who played the role in a 1956 GoodYear TV Playhouse production of A Murder Is Announced.

And Gracie played the amateur detective with a Scottish accent!
Also in the cast were Roger Moore and Jessica Tandy.

Would love to see it.

 

Helen Hayes was Miss Marple in 1983 and 1985. Helen looked the part but couldn’t quite lose her American accent. It was sad to see Bette Davis in “Murder With Mirrors”, in a supporting role not long after Bette had endured a debilitating stroke.

 

Angela Lansbury  took on the role in the 1980 film, The Mirror Crack’d, but was somewhat overshadowed by the star cast including Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and Kim Novak.

Then, in 1984, the actress who became the definitive Miss Marple, took the stories back to television – Joan Hickson [1906-1998) played the role through to 1992 and was just what we expected Miss Marple to be like from the books.

Joan had been in films since 1934, generally playing landladies, barmaids , and had done lots of TV roles,  but when she landed the part of Miss Marple, all the years of experience made her a star.

Joan actually had a small part in Margaret Rutherford’s Murder She Said in 1961! Little did she know……….

Joan Hickson

Other Miss Marples on TV were Geraldine McEwan (2004 – 2007) and Julia McKenzie (2008 – 2013).

Julia McKenzie

 

Geraldine McEwan

 

June Whitfield

I’ll be listening to June Whitfield  who played Miss Marple on BBC radio. I’ve no doubt that June will be excellent.

 

 

 

Margaret Rutherford loves wearing capes and shawls, so I think her Miss Marple should be called The Caped Crusader”!

She really was a British institution.

 

And who can forget Ron Goodwin’s theme for the film series.

GET ME OUT OF HERE!

L.B ‘Jeff’ Jeffries is a photographer used to travelling all over the world, but one photo too many at a race track left him with a leg in plaster and he is climbing the walls in his apartment.

So he phones his editor:

Jeff: “For six weeks I’ve been sitting in a two room apartment with nothing to do but look out the window at the neighbours.

You gotta get me out of here.

If you don’t pull me out of this swamp of boredom, I’m going to do something drastic.”

 

Stop whining, Jeffries!  You can get visitors like the lovely Lisa and the practical Stella.

 

 

 

The view from the window. Lots happening. How can you be bored.

 

The sculptor, the dancer and the gardener.

 

Sleeping outside 💤

 

“Rear Window”

Oops, he’s spotted you. Take cover.

 

That’s right. take a nap. Thorwald will be paying you  a visit.

 

With thanks to Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr and Hitch.

 

p.s Any suggestions for what L. B. stands for? (It’s never revealed in the film.)
How about Lionel Billington!