As part of its month-long celebration of "31 Days of Oscar", Turner Classic Movies is showing Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated films, this year in alphabetical order. We're up to the "M's", and that means Mildred Pierce (1945).
Joan Crawford did not attend the awards ceremony that night, due to illness, or what she claimed was illness but may have been a severe care of nerves. Here Ann visits her bedside, and we have a glimpse of the off-screen affectionate rapport between the big star and the newcomer that was so important to their riveting chemistry on screen. Their relationship began when Joan Crawford volunteered to do Ann's screen test with her. From my book on Ann Blyth's career:
"Ann felt that Joan’s making the test with her was very generous, as testing with newcomers was not a normal chore for a star...
She played with me… She tried to do everything in my favor. And that wasn’t just in the test. It was all through the picture.
Joan Crawford returned the admiration in an article for the Saturday Evening Post in November 1946:
Ann, as the daughter, was perfect. I loved every scene with her except where I had to slap her and she had to slap me…After I slapped Ann, I burst into tears and found myself apologizing frantically. Later, it wasn’t quite so hard to have Ann slap me, but my hand was shaking so the scene faded out, and then it was Ann who was remorsefully apologizing."
Mildred Pierce will be shown this coming Friday, February 17th at 1.pm. on Turner Classic Movies.
The audio book for Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. is now for sale on Audible.com, and on Amazon and iTunes.
Also in paperback and eBook from Amazon.