Friday, July 13, 2018

THE WINTER IN JULY BLOGATHON: Day of the Outlaw (1959)


Debbie Vega is at it again as Moon in Gemini hosts The Winter in July Blogathon on July 13, 14 and 15. It's all about films that take place in the winter so click HERE to get your chills.


"You don't find much mercy anywhere in Wyoming."
- Blaise Starrett

Rancher Blaise Starrett (Robert Ryan) has come to town. The town of Bitters, Wyoming is a collection of buildings and twenty or so citizens from outlying farms. A warm breeze brings the promise of springtime, but there will be one last storm before the end of this long winter.

"What have you been thinking about all winter? Barbed wire or Crane's pretty wife, Helen?"
- Dan

Starrett is a rage-filled man. A farmer named Hal Crane plans to fence his land with barbed wire. The brooding Starrett will kill Crane before he lets that happens. Dan (Nehemiah Persoff), Starrett's trusted friend and foreman is heartsick over Starrett's intention.


"You back your orders with guns. You want another man's wife but the man has to be dead before you'll take her."
- Helen Crane

Starrett and Helen Crane's (Tina Louise) affair ended practically before it started, but they have let their illicit feelings simmer over the past months and now the entire town knows a showdown is coming. The people of Bitters are neither innocent bystanders nor salacious gossipers. Blaise Starrett was a man who tamed the land and is a leader in the community. They want to be his friend and they want him to be a good neighbour. They will not stand for a killing.


"Now listen, do as you're told and you can go about your business just like we're not here, almost."
- Captain Jack Bruhn

The private squabbles in the town take a back seat to the arrival of a gang of outlaws. Former Captain Jack Bruhn (Burl Ives) leads a gang that is on the run from the Cavalry. They have loot in the amount of forty thousand dollars, and more than one murder victim left on the trail. Bruhn lets the populace know that the kind of men he commands could tear the town apart, and only he can handle them.


"Strange how one word can change a man's life. I could have ordered "Retreat"! My command was "Fire!"
- Captain Jack Bruhn

Bruhn's powers of command over his men and the town are displayed early. He demands that the liquor be locked up and his men must keep away from the four women in Bitters. Amazingly, Bruhn, for all his control and bluster, has a bullet lodged in his chest. The only doctor in town is a veterinarian who agrees to remove the bullet. Not the best of circumstances and there is no anesthesia. We learn in a conversation of distraction during the operation that while serving in the Army, Bruhn was the commander under something now known as the Mormon Massacre.

Bruhn is in bad shape after the operation. Morphine is helping with the pain but Doc Langer (Dabbs Greer) explains to Starrett that once morphine no long helps, Bruhn will start coughing and then it is a matter of time before his lungs rip and he dies. Without Bruhn, the gang will ravage the town.


"I don't think you want those women to get hurt. I don't think Bruhn wants it either."
- Blaise Starrett

Desperation leads to a plan to get the women out of town. Delayed by the guard just long enough for the other outlaws to recognize that something is wrong, the hastily made plan was marked for failure. Bruhn demands a reckoning but it doesn't work out as planned. It is Blaise Starrett who lays a beating on the biggest bully in the gang, Tex (Jack Lambert). In retaliation, Starrett is then beaten by two of the gang.


"Don't worry about the boy. I'll take care of him. I promise."
- Gene

Now that the acknowledged leader of the townsfolk is out of commission, Bruhn takes a young boy, Bobby (Michael McGreevy) the son of Vic who runs the General Store, as a hostage to keep folks in line. Bobby's older sister Ernine (Venetia Stevenson) is concerned about him and sneaks into the hotel  where the outlaws have holed up. She only succeeds in putting herself and others in danger. It appears she really can trust the youngest and newest member of the gang, Gene (David Nelson). He worships Bruhn but keeps himself apart from the others.


"We've got this town under out thumb but we ain't gettin' no pleasure. Two more days like this is gonna seem like two more years. Maybe not even you can keep us in line, Bruhn."
- Tex

Bruhn, in his weakened condition, is cajoled by the gang into letting the women come over to the hotel for a party. There is no way this won't get out of hand. The raucous music and shouting from the hotel draws the bedridden Starrett's attention. Bruhn still has the upper hand over his men, but this time he had to draw a gun.


"There's another way through the mountains. No trail, no pass, but there's a way. I've been through it."
                                                                                                                                         - Blaise Starrett

Starrett has a bold and reckless plan to lure the gang out of Bitters by promising to guide them to a trail through the mountains. Bruhn has no other option but to follow him into the wilderness. Behind them is the Cavalry; they can only go forward. Bruhn, five henchmen and their guide ride into the snowy mountains.


"If you go, you'll never come back. There's no way through that mountain."
- Ernine

A moment of weakness leads Ernine to tell young Gene that he was doomed if he left. Out of loyalty, Gene tells Captain Bruhn who then confronts Blaise Starrett. Of the seven men riding into the storm, only those three are aware they are on a trail to nowhere.

Bruhn was also aware that he did not have long to live because of his wound. Men can create their own destiny and destiny can play its own hand of cards. In the case of these characters, actions and events will lead to redemption in very strange and ironic ways. Redemption through love and redemption in its truest sense of cleansing the soul.

Burl Ives

Day of the Outlaw was written by Philip Yordan and based on a novel by Lee E. Wells. Director Andre De Toth used Oregon and Arizona for location shooting of this spare and engrossing film. Together with Russell Harlan, a three-time Oscar nominee for his black and white cinematography, they captured the outer world of the winter elements working its oppressive power on the inner world of fear, doubt and anger welling within the characters. Alexander Courage's score is sweeping and emotional, with an interesting motif of a gentle, yet insistent timing at a key moment in the finale. The movie feels both open and claustrophobic as the far mountains seem a million miles away, yet right on top of Bitters.

Robert Ryan

Robert Ryan and Burl Ives are the leads in this story as two men with a lot to atone for in their lives. They are more alike than they could first imagine. Tina Louise is lovely to look at, as the character of Helen should be, and subtly portrays that character's conflict and her integrity.

Helen Westcott, Nehemiah Persoff, Alan Marshal
Betsy Jones-Moreland, Tina Louise, Michael McGreevy, Don Elson

The ensemble of townspeople played by Dabs Greer, Robert Cornthwaite, Donald Elson, Elisha Cook Jr., Venetia Stevenson, Michael McGreevy, Betsy Jones-Moreland, Helen Westcott, Nehemiah Persoff as Dan, and Alan Marshal as Hal Crane are achingly believable.

Jack Lambert

Bruhn's gang of outlaws is comprised of familiar-faced character actors of substance and ability. Jack Lambert as Tex is outstanding. Also, Frank DeKova, Lance Fuller, Paul Wexler and Jack Woody. David Nelson is young Gene, a character out of place with these cutthroats, who will play a major role in the life of his Captain.

Winter is also a character in Day of the Outlaw; omniscient and menacing. People are buried beneath cloaks and coats. The breath of humans and animals alike is clearly visible. Snow in drifts and falling and blowing impedes movement. The wind can be seen even in set-bound locations and when we are brought inside the buildings, the sound of the wind is the background music for conversations and fear. Winter is here.


















Sunday, July 8, 2018

THE FAVORITE FOURSOME BLOGATHON: The Hi-Lo's


Hosted by MovieMovieBlogBlog, in celebration of that wonderful blog's fourth anniversary (cue the cheering and confetti) The Favorite Foursome Blogathon is underway.


Click HERE for the fun.




COOL TV was a Canadian specialty channel with a focus on music (jazz, blues, world) that operated from 2003 to 2008. COOL TV did not introduce me to The Hi-Lo's; I had long admired and enjoyed the close harmonies of this jazz vocal group. However, COOL TV brought The Hi-Lo's into my life in a big way.

During that decade I became something of a professional patient. A struggle with colorectal cancer involved radiation, two bouts of chemotherapy and numerous surgeries. Downtime was devoted to something referred to medically as recuperation. The most recuperative of my time was spent in my happy place in front of the television. The happiest of my happy places was at lunchtime when COOL TV showed The Rosemary Clooney Show.

A syndicated half-hour program of 40 episodes produced between 1956 and 1958, The Rosemary Clooney Show starred the popular singer with Nelson Riddle and his Orchestra, and "four guys called the Hi-Lo's". This was how the guys introduced the line-up, and themselves, not to mention "our very, very special guest (fill in the blank)". What guests! Everyone from Boris Karloff to Buster Keaton, Carol Channing to Charles Coburn, Dorothy Kirsten to Mel Torme, and more.

Gene Puerling, Bob Strasen, Clark Burroughs, Bob Morse

The Hi-Lo's were featured as a group, soloists, in duets with Rosie, and in skits. Vocalist and arranger Gene Puerling (1929-2008) formed the group in 1953. Our personnel that appeared on the program are Gene, Bob Morse (1923-2001), Bob Strassen (1928-1994), and Clark Burroughs.

As you can see from the picture above, the name of the group came not only from their sizes; Bob S. and Bob M. being tall and Gene and Clark on the shorter side, but also from their range with the Bobs baritones, Gene a bass-baritone, and Clark a tenor.

A sample of The Rosemary Clooney Show with guest star Boris Karloff.

Watching The Rosemary Clooney Show daily not only gave me a chance to enjoy great guest stars, and Rosie singing her hits and great standards arranged by Nelson Riddle, but it was an opportunity to see and hear The Hi-Lo's in their early prime stretching their vocal abilities and having fun. I'm sure it was good for my health. I should also mention that my Hi-Lo's album collection increased greatly during this time.


This is just a touch of their discography:

Listen to the Hi-Lo's
The Hi-Lo's I Presume
The Hi-Lo's Under Glass
Suddenly It's the Hi-Lo's
The Hi-Lo's and All That Jazz
The Hi-Lo's Broadway Playbill
The Hi-Lo's Happen to Folk Songs
Ring Around Rosie (with Rosemary Clooney)


Bob Strasen left the group in 1959, but they continued with the addition of Don Shelton. Later Don would be a part of the incredible recording group Sings Unlimited with Gene, Len Dresslar (1925-2005), and the magnificent Bonnie Herman. Above enjoy The Hi-Lo's in a clip from the 1964 comedy Good Neighbor Sam. Jack Lemmon is an ad man and Dave Ketchum is the beleaguered actor in the commercial being shot.


The Hi-Lo's parted ways in the mid-1960s but were reunited in the 1970s at the urging of the German label recording Singers Unlimited. The album The Hi-Lo's - Back Again was recorded in 1978 and for the next decade, they thrilled audiences at festivals and colleges.

The music of The Hi-Lo's and Gene Puerling's arrangements would influence many singers/musicians including The Beach Boys, the Mamas and the Papas, The Gatlin Brothers, Take Six, and Manhattan Transfer. To this day students and jazz singers look to The Hi-Lo's for inspiration. Check out Toronto's own Danny Fong for some great new music.


I will leave you with The Hi-Lo's and the Gershwin's Fascinatin' Rhythm, trusting that you will now be lost in YouTube Heaven for the next hour or three.












Friday, July 6, 2018

THE SECOND ANNUAL ALFRED HITCHCOCK BLOGATHON: Stage Fright (1950)


The site Maddy Loves Her Classic Films hosts The Second Annual Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon on July 6 and 7. Click HERE for the contributions. Thank you, Maddy.

By necessity, my discussion of Alfred Hitchcock's Stage Fright is not a spoiler-free zone. This is due to the fact that the very thing that annoys some viewers about the film is the very thing that tickles me no end.

Alma Reville adapted Selwyn Jepson's novel Man Running for this film which was filmed in London. The movie was Hitchcock's first in his homeland since leaving for Hollywood a decade earlier.


The first thing we observe on the screen is this theatre safety curtain whose function is to hides and then open on a world of make-believe on stage, or in this case, on screen. The story we are about to observe is set in the professional and academic worlds of the theatre. The characters with whom we about to become involved are actors by calling or nature. We should be prepared for a world of distortion and misrepresentation. We have been warned by the safety curtain.

Jane Wyman, Richard Todd

Eve Gill is a student at RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, who has harboured a burning crush on her handsome and intriguing friend Jonathan Cooper. When he comes to her in trouble and on the run from the police, she doesn't hesitate to help him escape.

Nova Pilbeam, Derrick De Marney

We can sense the echo of an earlier Hitchcock heroine. Erica Burgoyne in 1937s Young and Innocent got caught up in the similar troubles of Robert Tisdall. An actress was at the root of Tisdall's troubles and Erica quickly became a confederate of the troubled and alluring stranger. Perhaps we are being told not to be too credulous in situations involving actresses and murder and attractive fugitives.

Marlene Dietrich, Richard Todd

Johnny tells Eve the story of the murder of actress Charlotte Inwood's husband and how he came to be blamed for it by trying to protect the woman he loves. Here is where some audiences part ways with Hitchcock. They are upset that the story presented to them on the screen in flashback turns out to be nothing but a bold-faced lie. There is precedent for such a twist (see Sherlock Holmes Faces Death), but some feel a trust has been broken. They have invested in Johnny's innocence only to be made fools.

Personally, I enjoyed Stage Fright immensely upon my first viewing. We are taken on the journey of our heroine and shown that the adventure is not always as anticipated. On subsequent viewings, it is fascinating to watch the interplay of the characters knowing the layers of lies which complicate the story.

Alastair Sim, Jane Wyman, Michael Wilding

Eve is a highly imaginative girl who is drawn to the melodramatic in life, and the chance to help Johnny, for whom she carries a torch, is irresistible. She draws her rather eccentric father Commodore Gill into the goings-on and he is a most willing participant.

Her sleuthing efforts also introduce Eve to a romantic complication in the form of Detective Inspector Wilfrid O. (O for Ordinary) Smith. The Detective Inspector is attracted to our Eve and has no idea she is playing amateur detective. Eve finds herself drawn to the man behind the badge. However, she still feels a strong sense of loyalty to the "innocent" Johnny.

Marlene Dietrich

Eve puts her acting prowess to the test by replacing, for a fee, Charlotte Inwood's maid. What does Eve hope to accomplish? A clue, a confession, something to turn the police's attention to the woman she knows has framed her Johnny. Do you think a woman like Charlotte Inwood, so bound to the axiom of "the show must go on" would be so foolish as to give anything away?

Michael Wilding, Jane Wyman, Alastair Sim, Sybil Thorndyke

The closer Eve gets to "Ordinary" Smith the more complicated and dangerous her involvement becomes. The above cozy family scene has "Ordinary" sharing his musical skill, Eve trying to get back to her job as Charlotte's maid Doris, and the Commodore amusing himself with the absurdity of the situation. He realizes that Eve has needed an ordinary man in her life all along.

Eve's mother, who lives in her own world, is enjoying the music and with unselfconscious irony compares it to Sherlock Holmes and his violin. "A stream of beautiful sound and then suddenly out pops the solution."

Patricia Hitchcock

Here is Eve's RADA friend Chubby Bannister who inadvertently presents Ordinary Smith with the hint that all is not as he suspects with Eve, or with their burgeoning romance. They meet up at a Garden Party in aid of a theatrical charity. Charlotte Inwood is performing. Eve is performing in her multiple roles of Eve Gill, charity pamphlet distributor, ladies maid and dresser, and young woman finally falling for the right guy.

Kay Walsh, Jane Wyman

Also attending the fete is Nellie Goode, Charlotte's regular maid who was willing to sell out her position for a few days. Nellie has decided she needs more money for exposing herself to the loss of a good job. As if Eve needed further complications! The Commodore will be on hand with the necessary funds, as well as a plan to trap Charlotte. As we know from Chubby's admission to Ordinary, it is Eve who will be trapped.

Richard Todd

Eve, now a most contrite amateur detective officially assists the police in a plan to get information out of Charlotte Inwood. Eve is also still acting as Johnny's loyal friend. The police, however, have a very different theory. At the eleventh hour Eve will learn the folly of her gullibility.

Jane Wyman

The sociopathic Johnny admits everything to Eve when there is no choice left to him. His only course of action will be to murder Eve. Johnny believes this will prove to the authorities that he cannot be held responsible for his actions. Under such horrifying circumstances, Eve is able to keep her wits and escape. Johnny is unable to escape the police and fate in the form of a theatre safety curtain.

I find Stage Fright layered and engrossing. Jane Wyman plays Eve Gill with a winning combination of naivete and confidence. Eve's most important relationship and the most fun to watch is that with her father the Commodore. Alastair Sim is always a scene-stealer, and here it works not only to his advantage but to that of the film and his co-stars.

The other men in Eve's life are cast to their strengths with Richard Todd as the emotionally dangerous Jonathan, and Michael Wilding an understated and realistic hero for our fanciful actress. Grand support abounds from Kay Walsh, Patricia Hitchcock, Sybil Thorndyke, and Joyce Grenfell as an over-eager volunteer carnival barker.

Marlene Dietrich is, of course, Marlene Dietrich and we wouldn't have her any other way! Hitchcock is, of course, Hitchcock; giving us a grand entertainment and something to consider about the nature of our stories and ourselves as we sip our tea.















Tuesday, July 3, 2018

THE THIRD ANNUAL OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND BLOGATHON: Linnett Moore in The Proud Rebel (1958)


Phyllis Loves Classic Movies and In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood are once again hosting their blogathon tribute to Olivia de Havilland. Click HERE or HERE for the contributions to this online event.

Samuel Goldwyn Jr. had the rights to James Edward Grant's 1947 short story Journal of Linnett Moore since 1950, but it took almost the entire decade before the funding and personnel came together to produce the Golden Globe winning picture as The Proud Rebel starring Olivia de Havilland as Linnett Moore. The screenplay is by Joseph Petracca (The Proud Ones) and Lillie Hayward (The Biscuit Eater).

The town records of Aberdeen, Illinois would show that Miss Moore resides alone on the family farm outside of the town, having lost her father and brother during the preceding Civil War. Linnett was the subject of much gossip even before the stranger and his son played by Alan Ladd and David Ladd came to town, and started working for her.

Olivia de Havilland, Eli Mintz, Mary Wickes

Mrs. Ainsley (Mary Wickes): "Why, Linnett, it's been ages. Nobody ever sees you anymore. Why, just the other day at the Union League Social everybody was talking about you and nobody knew what to say. What have you been doing with yourself out on that farm?"

An ambitious sheepherder named Harry Burleigh played by Dean Jagger, and his sons Jeb and Tom played by Harry Dean Stanton and Tom Pittman are troublemakers who like throwing their weight around. Their current target is Linnett Moore and her farm which, according to the Burleighs, is standing in the way of their expansion.

David Ladd, Alan Ladd

Johnny Chandler and his son David are traveling the country looking for a doctor to cure David's hysterical mutism. The trauma of the violent death of his mother while his father was away fighting caused David's condition. The family's sheepdog Lance has been David's only emotional support. The Burleighs covet the dog and turn their bullying on the Chandlers. Johnny takes a beating at their hands and when taken before a judge lack of witnesses causes him to be found guilty in the altercation. Unable to pay a fine and certainly unwilling to leave David, Johnny is placed in the custody of Linnett Moore to work out his fine on her farm.

We learn something of Linnett, how she sees herself and her place in the community in her conversation with Judge Morley played by Henry Hull during their transaction following the trial. Linnett is as broke as the convicted man. She simply couldn't see that poor boy separated from his father.

Olivia de Havilland, Henry Hull

Judge Morley: "Oh, that farm of yours. You'd be a darn sight better off if you got rid of that place and moved into town."
Linnett: "And do what, be a clerk or a waitress or an overworked hired girl? No. I'll stay with the farm."
Judge Morley: "Linnett, you're still a mighty handsome woman."
Linnett: "I won't stay young forever."
Judge Morley: "This is no laughing matter, people are beginning to talk about you and they ain't gonna quit talking until you're respectably married."
Linnett: "People. Don't tell me about people. What am I supposed to do, fly right into the arms of the first man to offer me lawful marriage just to please them? Poor Linnett Moore, all alone on that big farm. As if it were a crime to live alone because I'm a woman and not a man. I'm not a man-starved old maid, Judge Morley."

Young David takes to life on Linnett's farm as if he were born to it. It is the first home he has known for a long time.

Linnett (to Johnny): "He's busy. He feels useful. It's strange but when you're around him you never think about his being - the way he is."


Olivia de Havilland, Alan Ladd

Johnny has those same feelings about the farm and about getting to know Linnett, but he is driven to find a cure for his son. Aberdeen's Quaker doctor played by Cecil Kellaway works to connect the Chandlers with a colleague in Minnesota who has helped patients such as David. Johnny is both hopeful and desperate to make that trip. When the question of the medical treatment becomes a reality the question of money becomes a reality as well. Three hundred dollars is needed and the only way to get it is to sell the beloved Lance to a breeder played by James Westerfield.

King as the beloved Lance

Linnett: "Suppose he never speaks. You've got to be prepared for it. You can't sell the dog. Not on a 50/50 chance. You know how I feel about David. I'd give anything to hear him speak. That's why I'm telling you these things. I'm only thinking of what's good for him."

Johnny cannot be swayed, and will only stop his quest "When the boy speaks." More trouble comes to the little group when the Burleighs burn down Linnett's farm. Faced with a choice, Johnny offers to stay and rebuild. Despite himself, he is putting down roots.

A trip to town brings Linnett's only fine dress out of the trunk. She is very pleased when David signs that she is beautiful and that phrase is interpreted by Johnny. She can't help making a little feminine fuss over her lack of fashion.

David Ladd, Olivia de Havilland

Linnett: "My bonnet is hopelessly out of date. Hats can never stay in style but my father always said that a woman without a hat is only half dressed."

A step forward in the blossoming relationship between Johnny and Linnett occurs at the General Store when Johnny calls her "Linnett".

Linnett: "You never called me that before. As a matter of fact, I was getting tired of all that ma'am talk. Made me sound ten years older than I am and no gentleman would do that."

It is a charming moment in which to see a character who, up until now, has been all gruff and businesslike in her dealings with peers, though a beacon of gentleness to young David. Trouble during the trip to town leaves no doubt that the trip to Minnesota must be made for David's sake, but with one important difference.

Johnny: "Linnett. About the operation. I was wondering if it wouldn't be better for you to go to Minnesota. I just think he'd feel better with you and, I might never come back, but you will. Besides, I need to get the barn up and there's the harvesting, and you never know what the Burleighs are going to do. Will you, Linnett?"
Linnett:  "If that's the way you want it."


David Ladd, Olivia de Havilland, Alan Ladd

There could be no greater sign of the bond which has grown between these characters. The commitment between them is unspoken, but the trust is implicit. The strength of the unit will be tested when the operation on David is not successful and the loss of Lance is unbearable for both the boy and the dog.

The Burleighs make one last play to eliminate their enemies. The trauma of the violence with the Burleighs and danger to Johnny works a final psychological healing on David. Linnett Moore gets her family and the Chandlers find theirs in her.

Alan Ladd, David Ladd, King, Olivia de Havilland

The Proud Rebel would be the last of ten films which teamed Olivia de Havilland with director Michael Curtiz. Their first collaboration was 1935s Captain Blood when Olivia was 19 years old. Olivia was 42 years old at the time of this film's production. So much of her film career was behind her at this point.

Ted McCord is the brilliant cinematographer who makes The Proud Rebel so beautiful. It would be his final of nine films made with Curtiz. Oddly enough, despite their years at Warner Brothers, this was the only film in which McCord would film de Havilland. Also adding to the emotion of the film is Jerome Moross' sweeping score which echoes that of The Big Country released the same year.

Olivia de Havilland
Dodge City

I can see Linnett Moore as a full circle counterpart to an earlier western hero also directed by Curtiz, Abbie Irving of Dodge City. A younger woman, but still with pride and strength, and a strong stubborn streak that is both a hindrance and useful. Linnett Moore is a character and a performance that I enjoy and admire. I hope Ms. de Havilland, if she thinks of The Proud Rebel, can say the same.















Sunday, July 1, 2018

CAFTAN WOMAN'S CHOICE: ONE FOR JULY ON TCM


A pioneer is one who goes before to prepare the way for others.

Emily Dunning, who lived in New York at the turn of the century, was a pioneer.

This is her story.

Emily Dunning
1901 Graduation

Miss Dunning began her medical career in 1901 after graduating from the Cornell University School of Medicine. Despite placing tops in her class, and in the qualifying examination, Dr. Dunning's application to intern at Gouverneur Hospital in New York City was denied. The following year, with some string pulling from influential friends, she was accepted.


Emily Dunning Barringer's memoir Bowery to Bellevue published by Norton in 1950 tells of the obstacles faced by the first woman post-graduate surgical resident in a hospital. The roadblocks, prejudices, and harassment experienced by Dr. Dunning as detailed in her book were the basis for MGMs 1952 release The Girl in White.

The screenplay was written by Irma von Cube and Allen Vincent, Oscar nominees for Johnny Belinda, and Philip Stevenson, Oscar-nominated for Story of G.I. Joe. The director was John Sturges, renowned for his adventure films today, but at this point in his career at MGM, he worked on a variety of stories, from children's fare to crime dramas to this subtle drama.

June Allyson

June Allyson stars as Emily Dunning in an assured performance. She is strong and feisty without becoming precious. She is compassionate and caring without becoming sentimental. Director Sturges and cinematographer Paul Vogel don't overdo it yet make lovely use of June's expressive eyes.

Emily is confident in her knowledge and her abilities. She went into this career fully aware of the hindrances faced by women in the medical profession as she had a mentor in Dr. Marie Yoemans played beautifully by Mildred Dunnock. Dr. Yoemans had written textbooks used by medical teachers, but was constantly denied a hospital position.

Emily also faces romantic difficulties. You will note the last name of Barringer, and when you watch the movie you will see her fellow medical student and beau, despite his love, having to learn to accept a woman with a career. Arthur Kennedy plays Ben Barringer with an outer fire and an inner irony that makes him particularly appealing. 

The head of the hospital is played by Gary Merrill and his character is virulently opposed to female doctors. Before Emily even begins her first day a petition has been circulated to have her removed. Marilyn Erskine plays a delightful nurse the same age as Dr. Dunning, and before long Emily has all the nurses on her side. Her first male champion is an ambulance driver played by Jesse White.

The story of The Girl in White is an interesting one for its humanity and historical perspective. The movie doesn't rush its telling, neither does it dawdle. Our interest in Emily Dunning and her groundbreaking career is genuinely sustained.

James Arness, June Allyson

Although not named onscreen, on the credits a baby-faced James Arness is called "Matt". He is one of Emily's first ambulance cases, and the whole incident is adorable. 

Many thanks to Laura's Miscellaneous Musings for putting this movie on my radar a few years ago. Eventually (last fall) I caught the film on TCM, and now they are giving us another viewing opportunity. Laura's review is HERE.

Emily Dunning Barringer
1876-1961

TCM's primetime lineup on Friday, July 13th presents "Women in Medicine". First up is June Allyson in The Girl in White, the only biographical picture of the evening. The other movie doctors are Barbara Stanwyck in You Belong to Me, Greer Garson in Strange Lady in Town, and Kay Francis as Dr. Monica.










THE WINTER IN JULY BLOGATHON: Day of the Outlaw (1959)

Debbie Vega is at it again as  Moon in Gemini  hosts  The Winter in July Blogathon  on July 13, 14 and 15. It's all about films th...