Mere days ago, a fascinating email arrived to StinkyLulu's inbox -- a message that the Pan-American email gremlins had kept to themselves for weeks. (Most likely so they could snag the netflix copies for their greedy gremlin selves.) The email came from Ken, an old-school (ie. blogless) film aficionado in Toronto. A font of film wisdom, Ken's email schooled Lulu with all kinds of thoughts about variously overlooked performances from both
1942 and 1958. (O'course, Ken endeared himself immediately to Lulu when he revealed that he shared many of StinkyLu's less-than-popular feelings about (a) Moorehead's Ambersons performance and (b) the delights of Dame May.)
But, really, Ken's perspective on the Snubbees from the Class of 1942 is worth sharing all on its own. So -- with permission from Ken & some minor html/edits/links -- StinkyLulu offers you, lovely reader...
Canadian Ken's Snubbed Supporting Actresses of 1942:
Who should have been nominated?
•#1- Dame May Whitty in Mrs. Miniver (see also).
It's fine fine work from a dependable and charismatic pro.
#2- Nancy Coleman in Warner Brothers' King's Row.
King's Row was perhaps the year's most uneven epic, boasting some of 1942's best and worst performances...but, best of all, Nancy Coleman - a beautiful Warner starlet who also happened to be one heck of an actress. She brings dimension and complexity to a role that would have been zip in the hands of, say, Susan Peters. Coleman drifted out of films far too soon, but she left behind a couple of memorable '40s performances - and King's Row certainly contains one of them.
#3 - Susan Hayward in I Married a Witch.
I've always thought the early '40s were Hayward's best period. She looked amazing, often superbly cast as jealous co-eds and scheming vixens. She was gormless Judy Canova's country club nemesis in Sis Hopkins and a society bitch supreme in The Hairy Ape. And I Married a Witch is certainly one of her finest '40s hours. Veronica Lake has to summon up a supernatural storm to wreck Hayward's society wedding. And Hayward meets it head-on with hilarious and scary fireworks of her own. She achieved leading lady stardom in the '50s. But I think the '40s gave us Hayward's most enjoyable combinations of artistry and oomph.
#4- Elizabeth Patterson - also in I Married a Witch.
Patterson later gained TV immortality as The Ricardos' neighbour Mrs. Trumble - ever-willing to babysit Little Ricky. But in the '30s and '40s she easily outacted more famous biddies like Beulah Bondi in picture after picture. I Married a Witch contains one of her polished gems of razor-sharp dithering.
#5 - and the winner-
Anne Baxter as Lucy in The Magnificent Ambersons.
The performance that should be revered. An utterly fresh and original spin on the ingenue - smart, skeptical and supportive at the same time - and all in a way that actually seems real. Yes, the writing's excellent - but Baxter's delivery constantly makes good lines better. And as a rich, warm, playful inventive and fully realized performance it's seldom been bettered.
Wow, huh. That Ken sure knows his Class of '42. (And to top it all off, Ken even offers a special honorable mention to the "droll, vivacious" Diana Lynn in The Major and the Minor. "Has precociousness ever seemed quite so palatable?" he asks.) StinkyLulu's just peeved as all getout to have resisted an early impulse to check out I Married A Witch for 1942's CouldaShouldaWouldas... Live & learn. (And put more must-see movies on the list...)
Thanks, Ken, for adding so much to the ongoing, obsessive fun of Supporting Actress Sunday. Here's hoping that your excellent suggestions regarding the overlooked ladies of each year keep on coming... (And that goes for you too, lovely reader. If you have suggestions/reminders for StinkyLulu, regarding Supporting Actress Sundays -- or whutevah -- drop Lulu a line...)