Monday, March 2, 2020

CAFTAN WOMAN'S CHOICE: ONE FOR MARCH ON TCM


Never Fear aka The Young Lovers, 1950 is the first film to credit Ida Lupino as director. As one of the producers and writers on Not Wanted, 1949 Miss Lupino left Elmer Clifton's name on the credits when she took over as director following Mr. Clifton's heart attack.

The independent production company The Filmmakers was created by Ida and her husband (1948-1951)  writer Collier Young with the goal of making low-budget message films. Not Wanted, the story of a troubled unwed mother starring Sally Forrest and Keefe Brasselle was a success for the company. Sally Forrest and Keefe Brasselle were cast as the leading players in Never Fear. Sally would also feature in Miss Lupino's 1951 film Hard, Fast, and Beautiful!


Sally Forrest, Keefe Brasselle

Carol Williams (Sally Forrest) is a young woman with a happy future laid out before her. Her career and her love life are in the hands of Guy Richards (Keefe Brasselle). Guy is from a show business family. He is a choreographer and performer who has been shaping the nightclub routine that will put the two young dancers in the big time.

Carol's life is turned upside down in an instant when she is diagnosed with polio. Carol no longer sees a future with Guy, personally or professionally. Guy doesn't see it the same way. Guy, along with Carol's father are nothing but supportive to the girl they both love and find Carol a place in the Kabat-Kaiser Institute for rehabilitation, Guy takes work outside of his business to stay by her side and build up their finances.


Hugh O'Brian

Sally is not unlike many patients as she goes through the phases of disbelief and anger. It will take her time to find acceptance and create a positive attitude necessary to be effective in her therapy. Eventually, she will forge friendships among the staff and other patients. One patient, in particular, Len Randall (Hugh O'Brian) irritates and fascinates her with his confidence. Sally continually pushes Guy away as she gives in to her fear of an unknown future.


Director and Actress

Sally Forrest is quite affecting as Carol, a young woman grappling with the truths about love and life. It is a performance that reveals sincere emotions and draws us into the trenches of fighting for your health.

The rehabilitative portions of the story were filmed at the Kabat-Kaiser Institute in Santa Monica using many of the actual patients and staff. The opening credits include the producers' gratitude for their help.  

Writer/director Ida Lupino had a brush with polio as a teenager in Hollywood. 

"I realized that my life and my courage and my hopes did not lie in my body. If that body was paralyzed, my brain could still work industrially ... If I weren't able to act, I would be able to write. Even if I weren't able to use a pencil or typewriter, I could dictate."
- Ida Lupino interview in Hollywood  

Polio has nearly been eradicated in the 21st Century through the combined efforts of scientists and fundraisers to move forward to the cure. Jonas Salk's vaccine became available for wide use in 1955. Poland's Hilary Koproski's developed an oral vaccine in 1950 (not approved in the U.S.) and Albert Sabin's oral vaccine was approved in 1961. Physical therapy proved successful, with the most well-known efforts being that of the Australian Nurse Sister Kenny. Here is an interesting list of well-known polio survivors.

TCM presents Never Fear on Sunday, March 15th at the beginning of its programming day, 6:00 am. I believe this sincerely told drama is well worth your time.


Connection:


Sally Forrest and Ida Lupino with Dana Andrews and Thomas Mitchell
While the City Sleeps, 1956 directed by Fritz Lang












16 comments:

  1. Sounds like a Lifetime movie now, but I imagine it must’ve felt relevant then.

    Did anyone ever write a biography about Lupino?

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    1. The Filmmakers made movies no one else was making at the time and that set them apart. For the most part, the big studios shied away from illness as a main topic. Characters would be in major accidents and the next scene would show them in hospital with one fashionably placed bandage.

      There was a biography released a few years ago by a fellow called William Donati. It hass mixed online reviews.

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  2. I never thought about that, but yeah, when someone got sick in an old movie, a lot of the time it was a generic sickness. That was the thing that annoyed me about PRIDE OF THE YANKEES, for example: they never call ALS by name, even though Lou Gehrig would be named for the disease!

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    1. Illness was treated, in many cases, as shameful. Something to whisper about, if you spoke at all.

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  3. You mentioned that NEVER FEAR is to air on March 15. That is the anniversary of the passing of SALLY FORREST. MISS FORREST died in 2015 at the age of 86. Sally was born KATHERINE FEENEY. A bit of the IRISH, eh?

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    1. Close enough to St. Patrick's Day to raise a toast.

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  4. I saw HUGH OBRIAN in LOVE HAS MANY FACES with LANA TURNER and CLIFF ROBERTSON. I thought some of the movie was boring. I liked RUTH ROMAN in it. She was paired up with Hugh, he had the part of a playboy. I was glad to see STEFANIE POWERS in it also. I just thought of something-Lana and Cliff were both on FALCON CREST but not at the same time. Lana was on the show first. Also I remember Hugh from his ep of MURDER, SHE WROTE about the new exercise club with JASON BEGHE, SALLY STRUTHERS and RUTA LEE. JULIE ADAMS was in that ep but the other beauty shop women were not. (KATHRYN GRAYSON, GLORIA DEHAVEN and RUTH ROMAN). If MISS ROMAN had been in the ep she could have been reunited with HUGH OBRIAN.

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    1. I haven't seen Love Has Many Faces. I know O'Brian mostly from too many viewings of There's No Business Like Show Business when I was younger. Also, a few westerns and his series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. He was one of those actors who sang his own show's theme song which was written by one of my favourite composers, Harry Warren.

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  5. IDA LUPINO did two eps of COLUMBO. I like the one with JOHNNY CASH the best. He plays singer TOMMY BROWN who kills his wife EDNA(played by Ida). JOHN DEHNER and JOHN RANDOLPH are also in it. JOHN CARTER CASH, the only child of JOHNNY and his wife JUNE CARTER CASH, is 50 today. According to imdb that ep of Columbo aired on Mar. 3, 1974. That was the day the son turned 4!

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    1. I adore Columbo. I think Ida would have been a good director for that program, but it is not among her television directing credits. Dramas include Thriller, The Fugitive, and The Untouchables.

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  6. I just noticed that the post I wrote is full of the name JOHN. JOHNNY CASH and JOHN CARTER CASH. PLUS guest stars JOHN DEHNER and JOHN RANDOLPH. Speaking of the name Tommy Brown Johnny had a younger brother Tommy who was also a singer. Do you know Johnny in very many movies?

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    1. If I'm following your post correctly, I have only seen Johnny Cash in one movie, Five Minutes to Live.

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  7. What are some of your favorite IDA LUPINO movies? Its not a favorite but I saw Ida in LUST FOR GOLD with GLENN FORD and GIG YOUNG. It is very different for a western. As Ive mentioned before I like Gig and Glenn Ford is a favorite of mine-first in westerns but also in comedies. (I don't know Glenn in very many dramas). Ida did ROAD HOUSE with another favorite RICHARD WIDMARK. I remember you stated that you like Widmark best as good guys. I am that way with Widmark also-and Glenn Ford. Being Ford was a CANADIAN that reminds me of the upcoming BLOGATHON O CANADA.

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    1. Favourite Ida movies, for different reasons, include Road House*, They Drive by Night*, On Dangerous Ground*, Moontide*, The Hard Way, Ladies in Retirement, The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes*.

      *Written about for this blog.

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  8. This sounds interesting and I'm an Ida Lupino fan. She was a true Hollywood trailblazer in movies and television. I had no idea that Hugh O'Brian's acting career went back that far. I looked him up and this was his first credited role.

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    1. Hugh makes an impression beyond his good looks. I predict good things. (Hee-hee)

      Never Fear is under 90 minutes. Ida knows what she wants to present, getting the emotions across.

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