Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman (Hollywood Legends Series)
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Barbara Stanwyck (1907-1990) rose from the ranks of chorus girl to become one of Hollywood’s most talented leading women-and America’s highest paid woman in the mid-1940s. Shuttled among foster homes as a child, she took a number of low-wage jobs while she determinedly made the connections that landed her in successful Broadway productions. Stanwyck then acted in a stream of high-quality films from the 1930s through the 1950s. Directors such as Cecil B. DeMille, Fritz Lang, and Frank Capra treasured her particular magic. A four-time Academy Award nominee, winner of three Emmys and a Golden Globe, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy.
Dan Callahan considers both Stanwyck’s life and her art, exploring her seminal collaborations with Capra in such great films as Ladies of Leisure, The Miracle Woman, and The Bitter Tea of General Yen; her Pre-Code movies Night Nurse and Baby Face; and her classic roles in Stella Dallas, Remember the Night, The Lady Eve, and Double Indemnity. After making more than eighty films in Hollywood, she revived her career by turning to television, where her role in the 1960s series The Big Valley renewed her immense popularity.
Callahan examines Stanwyck’s career in relation to the directors she worked with and the genres she worked in, leading up to her late-career triumphs in two films directed by Douglas Sirk, All I Desire and There’s Always Tomorrow, and two outrageous westerns, The Furies and Forty Guns. The book positions Stanwyck where she belongs-at the very top of her profession-and offers a close, sympathetic reading of her performances in all their range and complexity.
Joel McCrea, Brian Donlevy, Katharine Stevens, Thurston Hall Lady of Burlesque, United Artists Director: William Wellman Producer: Hunt Stromberg Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Michael O‘Shea, J. Edward Bromberg, Iris Adrian, Gloria Dickson 1944 Double Indemnity, Paramount Director: Billy Wilder Producer: Buddy DeSylva Cast: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather 1945 Christmas in Connecticut, Warner Bros. Director: Peter Godfrey Producer: William
night and she slaps him away, we can’t blame her. Then, for the rest of the film, Joan tries to win him back, for reasons that remain mysterious. Her lover shows up on the farm toward the end, and he explains her behavior by calling Joan “a natural mud lark” (the title of Arthur Stringer’s original story was The Mud Lark), and that explanation will have to do. Joan chasing after this dumb lug farmer for so many reels makes about as much sense as Stanwyck staying loyal to Frank Fay. These things
the film’s sordidness). In Manhattan with Chico in tow, with no money for food, Lily tells her friend to master her hunger. She’s been reading Nietzsche’s Will to Power and learning its mind-over-matter lessons. When she vamps her first man, a cop on the street, Lily finally uses as a weapon the “I’m sexually available” tag that she was stuck with in her youth. Putting the moves on a chubby Southern boy in personnel at the Gotham Trust Company, where she wants employment (not easy to come by in
suppose at a certain point you just have to give in and do something or other. Henry Fonda got stuck playing the male lead, Peter, a newspaperman, and he was so miserable that he rudely ignored Stanwyck on the set. But he and Stanwyck already have sexual chemistry together in this first film they made together; maybe his initial rejection of her peaked Stanwyck’s masochistic interest. There are so many m’s in the title that it doesn’t have room for the heroine’s first name (Melsa). And Stanwyck
designer Edith Head. In The Mad Miss Manton (1938), Stanwyck attempts to play a flighty Park Avenue debutante. A rare photo of Stanwyck and her adopted son Dion (c. 1940). Courtesy of Photofest. Stanwyck in her favorite role, the clothing-challenged Stella Dallas (note the fuzzy shoes). William Holden is a violinist turned boxer in love with Stanwyck’s Lorna Moon in Golden Boy (1939). Stanwyck clings tightly to matinee idol second husband Robert Taylor. Stanwyck in one of her