CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Betty Grable - April's Classic Movie Goddess

This lovely post was written by our resident Betty, Doris Day, and Esther Williams expert and my good friend Dawn.

One of my favorite actresses is Betty Grable, I always loved the glamour of her musicals and a fun way to spend your quiet afternoons.... Betty Grable (December 18, 1916 – July 2, 1973). Her iconic bathing suit photo made her the number-one pin-up girl of the World War II era.

For her first role, as a chorus girl in the film, Happy Days (1929), she was only 12 years old, but, because the chorus line performed in black face, you could not really tell how old she was. For her next film, her mother got her a contract by lying. When the studio found out, Grable was fired. Grable, did land another role as a 'Goldwyn Girl' in, Whoopee! (1930). Though Grable received no billing, she led the opening number, "Cowboys." Grable then worked in small roles at different studios, including the Academy Award-winning, The Gay Divorcee (1934), starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, where she performed in the number, "Let's K-nock K-nees".

In the late 1930s, Grable starred in several B movies. In 1939, Grable performed with her then husband, Jackie Coogan (married in 1937)in the film, Million Dollar Legs. A story about a small country on the verge of bankruptcy, is persuaded to enter the Olympics based in Los Angeles. Grable and Coogan, divorced later that same year (October 1939). After small parts in over 50 Hollywood movies through the 1930s, Grable finally gained national attention for her stage role in, Du Barry Was a Lady (1939). When her contract was up at Paramount, Grable decided to quit acting, bored with performing in college films.

In a 1940 she received an offer to go on a personal appearance tour, which she accepted and which led to Darryl F. Zanuck offering her a bigger contract, which she accepted. Grable, soon became 20th Century Fox's top star during the decade. She performed in, Down Argentine Way (1940), and if I had to pick only one favorite Betty Grable film it would be, Moon Over Miami (1941).

A Musical, with Betty Grable, Don Ameche, Robert Cummings, Carole Landis, Jack Haley, and Charlotte Greenwood. It was one of Haley's last performance in a major, film after 1943 he began making mostly B-pictures. Haley, is best known for his performance as the, Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz.

The story begins when, Kay and Barbara Latimer, both holding down jobs, singing at the Texas drive-in restaurant as car hops, with their aunt Susan, who is flipping burgers. Waiting for the mailman to bring their inheritance check of $55,000. Only to read the disappointing news they will only receive only $4,000. They talk Susan, into spending the money on a trip to Miami, to find rich husbands. Barbara, comes up with a plan to pretend to be Kay's secretary, and Susan her maid. They fly off to the Flamingo Hotel and make quick friends with Jack, a bartender who tells them he will protect them from the "Gold Diggers".

Kay tricks Jeff into an invitation, to his party. Where she also meet meets Phil, heir to the McNeil Mines. Close friends Jeff and Phil, begin a playful competition for Kay's hand. Kay, finds herself not able to choose whom she would like to marry. Her sister Barbara has secretly fallen in love with Jeff.

The women find themselves in financial trouble, after a couple weeks of living it up at the fancy hotel. They need $150 to pay their hotel bill. Kay, has plans to go dancing with her two friends later that evening. Kay invites Barbara, to come along so she can dance with Jeff, while she talks with Phil.

Phil admits to her that he is broke. Kay, also admits, that she came to Miami, to find a rich husband. They decide that they are not right for each other. Phil searches out Jeff to tell him that Kay loves him, after which they becomes engaged. As the women are packing to leave for Jeff's families island, Jack overhears them talking about their "Gold Digging" plans, and threatens to tell Jeff. Jack finds himself locked in the bathroom, while the women quickly leave for the island.

Phil, decides he can not live without Kay, and comes up with a plan to stop the wedding. The woman are surprised to see Jack, who came to inform Jeff that Kay, is a "Gold Digger". Will Phil get there in time to stop the wedding, or ...Will Jack ruin the girls plans?

I really enjoyed watching Betty Grable sing and dance in this fun/colorful movie. I also really enjoyed the location scenes of Cypress Gardens and Silver Springs.

She then went on to perform in the films: Springtime in The Rockies (1942), Coney Island (1943) with George Montgomery, Sweet Rosie O'Grady (1943) with Robert Young, Pin Up Girl (1944), Diamond Horseshoe (1945) with Dick Haymes, The Dolly Sisters (1945) with John Payne and June Haver. Mother Wore Tights (1947), her most popular film, was with her favorite costar, Dan Dailey.

It was during 1943 that Grable posed for her famous pinup photo. The image was taken by studio photographer Frank Powolny. It was rumored that the particular pose and angle were chosen to hide the fact that Grable was pregnant at the time of the photo.

Her postwar musicals included: That Lady in Ermine (1948) with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., When My Baby Smiles at Me (1948) again with Dailey, Wabash Avenue (1950) (a remake of Grable's own Coney Island) with Victor Mature, My Blue Heaven (1950), and Meet Me After the Show (1951). Studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck lavished his star with expensive Technicolor films, but also kept her busy. Grable made nearly 25 musicals and comedies in 13 years. Her last big hit for Fox was, How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) with Lauren Bacall and Marilyn Monroe. Grable next starred in, Three for the Show (1955) with Jack Lemmon, this film was one of her last musicals.

Grable, returned to the studio for one last film, How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955). Following this, Grable wanted the role of Miss Adelaide in the film version of the musical ,Guys and Dolls. When producer Samuel Goldwyn learned that Grable skipped a meeting with him because one of her dogs was ill, he decided to give the part to Vivian Blaine, who had played the part on Broadway.

1 comment:

Frl. Irene Palfy said...

Great work! This is an awesome article! I love the video you picked. (I am always impressed by Edward Everett Horton's dancing skills.. I love that man. So funny..)
Thank you so much for sharing all this. :")


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