There is a nasty, vicious rumor that I don’t like Una Merkel.
As if! Una is the savior of many a pre-Code musical and post-Code comedy, her sarcasm as wide as those big doe eyes of hers.
Hollywood, especially the Hollywood Una resided in, was obsessed with glamour, and if a movie star wasn’t busy being fabulous they had better be singing or dancing, or, if energetic enough (and male enough) to be in a group of other like-minded men, many of whom had faces made for radio, a star could get by with being wacky.
Una was different. It’s not that Una wasn’t glamorous, because she was, with that lovely skin and a figure designers were delighted to dress. And it’s not that she couldn’t sing or dance; she more than holds her own in 42nd Street with the hot new musical actress in town, Ginger Rogers.
But Una’s true talent was in being a grounded, intelligent woman, simultaneously fun and stern. Her sarcasm was never for the sake of cruelty, but rather expressed the frustrations of the audience, probably once again caught in the midst of a madcap, unbelievable plot.
Una was often the only voice of reason amongst a sea of beautiful people doing very silly things for the sake of a plot. She narrowed her eyes and pointed her finger at people who needed a good scolding; her good-hearted machinations kept plots moving right along; she never took an egomaniac seriously.
Audiences needed and loved Una Merkel, and I do, too.
The last group. Some are still assuredly missing from my list, but many of these actors and actresses are in modern movies that I’ll probably never get around to blogging about, so this was a fun way to give them a little SBBN-approved love.
The 1967 revival of “The Little Foxes,” with Anne Bancroft, George C. Scott, E.G. Marshall, and Austin Pendleton.
Now with actresses and even a director!
Jesse Royce Landis
Contrary to the way it looks around here, I have been busy — busy clearing out all the half-finished drafts I’ve saved over the last *mumblemumble* years. This is one I started over two years ago when I first posted the Twenty Actors Meme. Once posted, I almost immediately realized I had forgotten several actors and actresses; however, I admit that when I started to gather some extra pictures recently, I abandoned the actresses part because I kept running into stubborn browser-hijacking malware. Yay internet.
So for the next few days, random photos of actors and a few actresses I like but you may not care about, but that’s okay, because pictures:
Bruno Kirby, Jr.
Bruno with a bunch of completely unknown actors you’ve never heard of before.
Charles Nelson Reilly and Julie Harris
I was lucky enough to find photos with both Chuck and Julie, seen here in a promotional for the 1965 hit “Skyscraper.” Photo courtesy the flicker of johnmcnab.
Chuck and Julie with Peter Marshall, “Skyscraper.”
No Julie this time, just Charles and some other people who were famous… they were so famous that they BLANK.
With Christina Ricci in 1991.