Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Kerr Trouble


"Rumors are flying thick and fast about who will play in From Here to Eternity...I can tell you that Burt Lancaster is deep in negotiations to co-star with Montgomery Clift, and Joan Crawford is about to put her name on a contract." -- Louella Parsons' column, January 13, 1953 

"Of all surprises: Deborah Kerr, who usually plays teacup-and-lifted-pinkie ladies, gets the super-sexy role of the captain's wife in From Here to Eternity." -- Louella Parsons' column, January 18, 1953

Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity (Columbia, 1953)
"Joan Crawford offered to do anything short of scrubbing the sound stages to snag the role of the officer's wife in From Here to Eternity, but the studio decided...she was a couple of years too old for the part." -- Erksine Johnson's column, February 24, 1953

"Joan had signed on for a major role in From Here to Eternity, even though director Fred Zinneman didn't want to use her. Her chief defender in this project was Columbia Pictures studio boss Harry Cohn. But even Cohn turned against Joan when she made it known that she hated her wardrobe for Eternity and demanded that her personal designer, Sheila O'Brien, be assigned to the picture." -- Lawrence J. Quirk, "Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography" (2002)

Joan Crawford in a Sheila O'Brien gown for Harriet Craig (Columbia, 1950)
"Joan Crawford's going back to glamour. Oscar-winner Helen Rose and fur designer Al Teitelbaum are collaborating on the mink and ermine creations she'll wear in MGM's Torch Song." -- Erksine Johnson's column, May 1, 1953

If she could turn back time: Joan Crawford on the set of Torch Song (MGM, 1953)
"I never go outside unless I look like 'Joan Crawford, the Movie Star.' If you want the girl next door, go next door!" -- Joan Crawford


Joan Crawford by Richard Avedon for Blackglama's "What Becomes a Legend Most?" campaign, 1969

12 comments:

  1. Problem with using Joan is she had already made a good number pictures with similar roles...fresh blood was need...also a big part of the bitter sweetness of the romance comes from the character regaining , for a time, a sense of innocence during the affair by really falling in love...for Joan, that ship had sailed...but Kerr always could create a sense innocence in her characters as needed though out her career

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    1. Can you imagine Joan thrashing about on the sand with Burt Lancaster? They'd be fighting over who got to be on top!

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    2. lol Joan could out Marine the whole regiment on Pearl !

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  2. Love Joan, but Deborah was really great in FHTE. Excellent casting against type to good effect. I remember Lana Turner exiting Anatomy of a Murder following a dust-up with Otto Preminger over her costumes. Those MGM gals were used to looking great no matter their characters' circumstances. Joan living in a hovel and working a drudge-y job, but in sharp, tailored, sleek clothes always! Thanks for sharing the fun pictures, too.

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    1. A little birdie tells me that we might be hearing more about Lana and her anatomy here shortly... ;)

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    2. The wardrobe story on Anatomy was a ruse for the studio to save face with Preminger. Lana was quoted as saying that she'd never walk away from a project for something so trifling as clothes. She also stated that she was glad that she had enough money so that neither she nor anyone in her family would ever have to work with Otto Preminger!

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    3. Now, Joel, don't give everything away!! ;)

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    4. It wasn't the clothes... it was the way he reacted to her and treated her when she brought up the clothes. But, anyway, we'll let TJB tell it! ("The man lived on my street, let me tell!:... "NO! I'll tell....!") ;-)

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  3. It is interesting how so often the performer seriously considered for a role and the performer who gets it are such different types. Everyone is an individual, of course, and even performers who have similar styles would bring their own stamp to a role. But the posts in the last two days - Crawford/Kerr and Baxter/Grable - feature performers who would have made those movies very different. The Goddard/Leigh comparison is not as startling, as their styles are not as far apart as the other ladies mentioned here.

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    1. Yes...it's difficult to imagine Crawford and Kerr swapping any of their roles -- can you imagine Joan eating John Kerr for breakfast in "Tea & Sympathy," or Deborah snarling at Jeff Chandler in "Female on the Beach"? And, my God, if Joan had played Anna, she would have cut that misogynistic king off at the balls and deported his ass from Siam!

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  4. casting against type...Shirley Jones in Elmer Gantry...Natalie Wood in Rebel... etc. often it's a career break out / initiation role .

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  5. Joan would have been perfect for the role...20 years before it was made. I can see 30's Joan as the anguished Karen but by the 50's she'd said goodbye to girlhood or any wisp of it permanently and the shellacked hard ass that she had become would have been completely wrong.

    Deborah Kerr and all the dainty baggage she carried up to that point added so much to the picture.

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