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My name is Jacqueline T. Lynch, author of Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.,
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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Another Part of the Forest on TCM!

Ann Blyth is pictured above with Edmond O'Brien in Another Part of the Forest (1948).  See the film tonight on Turner Classic Movies after its long-awaited release on DVD - or read about the movie here at Another Old Movie Blog.

More in my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Ann Blyth and Donald O'Connor - a couple of Irish-American kids

 Ann Blyth and Donald O'Connor are a couple of swell Irish-American kids playing a couple of swell Irish-American kid entertainers in The Merry Monahans (1944).  Another top of me hat to you with the approach of St. Patrick's Day.  From my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

She and Donald are mulling over their problems on a park bench where the stereotyped Irish cop played by Robert Homans on the lookout for the reported runaway, has discovered them. 

Ann, innocent as you please, launches into her Irish accent (possibly borrowed from her Irish-born mother), and berates “my fine policeman” for thinking she was anything but the proud daughter of another Irish cop.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ann Blyth with Barry Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby in TOP O' THE MORNING

Ann Blyth behind bars...or are they merely balusters?...with Barry Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby in Top O' the Morning (1949).  With the fast-approaching St. Patrick's Day, and it's showing on Turner Classic Movies Sunday the 10th at 8 p.m., we bring our attention to this pleasant mystery-comedy...or is it comedy-mystery?

From my book on Ann's career:  Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

 The famed Blarney Stone in Blarney Castle has been stolen, and Bing Crosby, an American insurance investigator—nothing like the hard-edged Edward G. Robinson in Double Indemnity (1944)—is on the case.  However, like, Fred MacMurray in that same movie, Bing does take to relating his impressions into a Dictaphone.  

Barry Fitzgerald plays the village constable.  His re-match with Bing Crosby, a partnership that first brought success to both of them in Going My Way (1945), is the focus of the film.  Mr. Fitzgerald is a crusty, pompous codger, has no idea how truly innocent he is, and holds the reins of authority in this village only in his own mind.  The villagers, even his own daughter, acknowledge that he is not taken seriously and that solving the crime of the stolen Blarney Stone might finally get him the respect he craves. 

Hume Cronyn, in a 180-degree turn from his sinister role in Brute Force, is his assistant, delightfully played with excitable hero-worship of his superior, but as the plot progresses, we see that Mr. Cronyn has more going on under the surface.  “All the excitement!  It’s a pity Ireland doesn’t have more to steal.”

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Ann Blyth getting her hair fixed on set

Ann Blyth had her hair coiffed by the studio hairdresser about 1947.  Her costume would seem to indicated that she was in between takes of A Woman's Vengeance (1948), a marvelously atmospheric suspense story.  From my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

A Woman’s Vengeance (1948) is an English murder mystery that is more psychological drama than whodunit, and in which the three leads played by Ann Blyth, Charles Boyer, and Jessica Tandy form a triangle that is less romantic than it is simply purely lustful.  It is a literate, intelligent film of great power, deep wounds, penetrating remorse, and playful hypocrisy.  

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Ann Blyth feeds fellow cast member on set of KISMET

Ann Blyth appears to be feeding a castmate some lunch while on the set of Kismet (1955).  You can next see this lavish musical on Turner Classic Movies tomorrow, Thursday the 24th at 6 p.m. ET.

Ann’s most famous number, “Baubles, Bangles, and Beads,” is a slow waltz-tune during which she changes from a ragged street urchin to desirable woman.  A bolt of yellow cloth is chucked across the screen and she catches it, like grabbing the brass ring... 

Could she have ever imagined while lip-syncing that lovely tune to the playback of her lovely voice on the faux Persian soundstage that she’d still be singing it in concert decades later? 

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Ann Blyth's early studio publicity photos

Ann Blyth was likely around 15 years old at the time this series of publicity photos were taken.  One of the first actions a Hollywood studio, in this case, Universal, took upon signing a new talent for their roster was to experiment with the actor's appearance.  Beginning a 7-year hitch with a studio could be a daunting experience for any young actor or actress.  It must have been confusing to discover upon reaching the makeup department that what the studio really wanted must be somebody else entirely.

From my book on Ann Blyth's career, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

An early publicity photo from this time shows Ann standing on the steps of a train passenger car, posed rather stiffly, smiling dutifully, but perhaps a little nervously, for the camera.  The bright sunshine floods her features, and with glare that head Universal still photographer Ray Jones would surely not permit in his studio.  She is dressed in the proper little girl attire of the day: a long-sleeve dress and pinafore falling just above the knee, white ankle socks and Mary Janes, an enormous bow perched on the back of her head, clutching a small purse.  She looks like she might be coming to visit Grandma.  She is fourteen years old.

It’s hard to imagine in two years she’d be seducing Zachary Scott before shooting him, and slapping Joan Crawford—only on film, of course.

Universal press agent, Frank McFadden, recalled for Photoplay magazine in 1956 when he first met Ann Blyth and her mother at Los Angeles’ Union Station when she arrived to begin her seven-year contract with the studio.

“She was just a sweet little girl holding her mother’s hand, a little afraid—it seemed to me.  I took them out to the Hotel Knickerbocker, and since their room wasn’t ready, we drove around a little while and I showed them the sights.  I thought she was just another pretty child coming to Hollywood then.” 

They gussied up -- one might say for these photos, "hussy-ed up" their new acquisition for the test photos, but quickly changed tactics and put her in four innocent roles in four teen musicals before she got a chance at playing the wicked Veda Pierce.  And she didn't need a lot of makeup and provocative poses for that; she just had imagination and talent.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Brute Force with Ann Blyth and Burt Lancaster

Brute Force (1946), a powerful prison drama starring Burt Lancaster as the inmate planning a daring escape to reach his love, Ann Blyth, in time airs today on Turner Classic Movies, 3 p.m. ET.  From my book, Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.:

Ann is at first asleep, then he wakes her, and in their tender scene shows us that Lancaster is tired of running, that this will be his last job, and then he will come back to her for good.  He tells her that when he met her, he was a guy who “found the first important thing in his life.”  She doesn’t know what racket he’s in, but she senses he is troubled.  She wants to help him, wishes she weren’t sick so that she could help him.

“There are all kinds of sick people, Ruth.  Maybe we could help each other.”  The scene is gentle, affectionate, somewhat sad.  Ann’s character is not a gun moll; she’s a sweet, decent girl who trusts him.  This is important because it bolsters the visual image we already have of Burt Lancaster in the film as more a wounded animal than a psychopath.