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Barbara Stanwyck

The Miracle Woman

Dan Callahan

Publication Year: 2012

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Cover, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction

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pp. 3-4

This book is a heartfelt appreciation of Barbara Stanwyck’s work in movies. While there have been many studies and biographies on female film stars of equal stature—stars like Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich...

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Orphan of the Storm: The Locked Door Mexicali Rose

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pp. 5-16

Barbara Stanwyck had a hard childhood, that’s certain. She didn’t linger over it, and I’m not going to, either, but it’s worth mulling over some of the available information and considering what it might tell us about her. We’ll never be sure just...

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The Capra Miracle: Ladies of Leisure, The Miracle Woman, Forbidden, The Bitter Tea of General Yen, Meet John Doe

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pp. 17-35

Judging by Joseph McBride’s surely definitive biography of the director, Frank Capra lied about a lot of things, appropriating credit whenever he could, but he could also be brutally frank about others and about himself. There’s something of Elia Kazan about him...

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The Rough-and-Tumble Wellman Five: Night Nurse, So Big!, The Purchase Price, The Great Man’s Lady, Lady of Burlesque

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pp. 36-45

In the same years she was laying the groundwork for her career with Frank Capra, Stanwyck made several films with another director, William “Wild Bill” Wellman, an adventurous teller of tall tales so rip-snortingly vigorous and “manly” that in interviews...

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Pre-Code Sex: Illicit, Ten Cents a Dance, Shopworn, Ladies They Talk About, Baby Face

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pp. 46-55

There’s been a lot written about movies made before the censorious Production Code cracked down on Hollywood in 1934—probably too much, so that the talkies made from 1930–34 are now endlessly packaged at New York’s Film Forum...

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Drama Grab Bag, 1930s: Ever in My Heart, Gambling Lady, A Lost Lady, The Secret Bride, The Woman in Red, Red Salute, A Message to Garcia, Banjo on My Knee, Internes Can’t Take Money, Always Goodbye

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pp. 56-66

As she worked out her contract at Warner Bros. and then acted at 20th Century Fox, Stanwyck found herself in some bread-and-butter program pictures and a few bizarre ventures into political intrigue. Ever in My Heart (1933) is a total downer, a bold...

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Screwball Stanwyck: The Bride Walks Out, Breakfast for Two, The Mad Miss Manton, You Belong to Me, Christmas in Connecticut, The Bride Wore Boots

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pp. 67-72

Comedy is not something that came easily to Stanwyck, but she stuck to it and eventually mastered the genre. Early on, she professed that she found light material “a vacation—I was playing, not working.” But later, being interviewed by John Kobal...

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Private Lives: Fay’s End, Robert Taylor (His Brother’s Wife, This Is My Affair, The Night Walker), Robert Wagner

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pp. 73-80

Oscar Levant described Frank Fay’s influence over Stanwyck during their marriage as “suffocating and total.” In a drunken rage, he once threw their adopted baby, Dion, into their pool. When he knocked Stanwyck down in front of a screaming Dion...

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The Scratch and the Itch: Stella Dallas

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pp. 81-98

Olive Higgins Prouty wrote her bestseller, Stella Dallas, after her three-year- old daughter died of encephalitis. Known today mainly through this novel and a story about another misfit that would become the Bette Davis vehicle...

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Stage Stanwyck: The Plough and the Stars, Golden Boy, Clash by Night

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pp. 99-108

Kenneth Tynan wrote that Greta Garbo couldn’t be considered a great actress, finally, because she had never put herself to the test in major theater roles; she had never given us her Hedda Gabler, her Masha in Three Sisters, her Mrs. Alving...

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Sturges/Stanwyck: Remember the Night, The Lady Eve [Contains Image Plates]

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pp. 109-120

As we get farther and farther away from the classic Hollywood period of the old studio system, where so many disparate talents flourished, the case of Preston Sturges as writer and director only seems more exotic and unexplained. According to Sturges...

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Stanwyck Soap and 1950s Drama: The Gay Sisters, Flesh and Fantasy, My Reputation, The Other Love, B. F.’s Daughter, East Side, West Side, To Please a Lady, Titanic, Executive Suite, These Wilder Years

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pp. 121-133

There were times when Stanwyck cast an envious eye over the kind of material Bette Davis was making her own at Warner Bros. She very much wanted to play in Dark Victory (1939), which went to Davis, and she also lusted for...

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Wilder/Stanwyck: Ball of Fire, Double Indemnity

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pp. 134-150

Before moving to direction, Billy Wilder, like Preston Sturges, turned out a lot of screenplays (Wilder’s were usually co-written with Charles Brackett). A prickly Austro-Hungarian refugee from Germany, Wilder’s smart-aleck voice as a writer comes...

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Stanwyck Noir: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, The Two Mrs. Carrolls, Cry Wolf, The Lady Gambles, The File on Thelma Jordan, No Man of Her Own, The Man with a Cloak, Jeopardy, Witness to Murder, Crime of Passion

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pp. 151-170

Double Indemnity heralded a new era, one where Stanwyck dominated many a shadowy thriller, some of them failures, some of them overlooked gems, and some like The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), which is a qualified success on its own limited terms...

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Ordeal for Oscar: Sorry, Wrong Number

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pp. 171-177

Because Stanwyck never worked at one studio for long, she never had studio backing in the annual Oscar race, and so she went home empty-handed four times, the last time for a movie version...

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Two for Sirk: All I Desire, There’s Always Tomorrow

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pp. 178-185

There is no cinema reputation that has made a more dramatic turnaround in recent years than the work of Danish-German émigré Douglas Sirk. In his most productive period, the 1950s, his Universal soap operas and melodramas were looked down on as tearjerker money makers...

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Wild West Stanwyck: Annie Oakley, Union Pacific, California, The Furies, The Moonlighter, Blowing Wild, Cattle Queen of Montana, The Violent Men, Escape to Burma, The Maverick Queen, Trooper Hook, Forty Guns

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pp. 186-205

When asked about the western, which was probably her favorite genre, Stanwyck sighed happily, “Oh, I love to do them. I just love to do them.” She owned ranches for most of her life and also raced horses. Wide-open spaces agreed with her...

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Aftermath: The Barbara Stanwyck Show, Walk on the Wild Side, Roustabout, The Big Valley, The House That Would Not Die, A Taste of Evil, The Letters, The Thorn Birds, The Colbys

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pp. 206-222

When film roles started to grow sparse in the late 1950s, Stanwyck was eager to get into television with a western series. She appeared on several Zane Grey Theater presentations, but the networks wanted her to parrot Loretta Young’s successful anthology show, where Young swirled...

Filmography

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pp. 223-237

Bibliography

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pp. 238-240

Index

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pp. 241-252


E-ISBN-13: 9781617031847
E-ISBN-10: 1617031844
Print-ISBN-13: 9781617031830
Print-ISBN-10: 1617031836

Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Hollywood Legends Series

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Motion picture actors and actresses -- United States -- Biography.
  • Stanwyck, Barbara, 1907-1990.
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