The Women

All posts tagged The Women

Va-Va-Villainess: Dolores Gray

Published June 13, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

The sultry Dolores Gray (1922-2002) had a unique career. She will probably go down in history as the only actress to win a Tony Award for a show that lasted only 6 performances (1954’s Carnival in Flanders). She also lit up the MGM Studios in the mid-fifties with her personal brand of glossy sophistication, but, ultimately, only had major roles in four films.

Thankfully, those celluloid adventures offered her the chance to often play game seductresses and extremely glamourous, catty rivals to her (generally more innocent and trustworthy) female co-stars.

She, perhaps, made her most significant performing mark as the vindictive, backstabbing Sylvia Fowler in 1956’S The Opposite Sex, a remake of Clare Booth Luce’s zing worthy The Women. This project found her going arched eyebrow to arched eyebrow (with some exuberant fisticuffs thrown in for good measure) with such cinematic notables as June Allyson, Ann Sheridan and Ann Miller.

Her most popular public offering, though, was perhaps 1957’s Designing Woman, directed by the diva loving Vincente Minnelli. Here, as theater starlet Lori Shannon, Gray provided competition for Lauren Bacall’s sensitive fashionista Marilla. While her character is more of a victim of circumstance here than in the previous effort, Gray still puts in a good show as a majorly distracting influence upon the whirlwind romance and marriage of Bacall’s fashion queen and Gregory Peck’s beleaguered sports writer, Mike Hagen.

While Gray was quoted, by certain sources, as wishing that she had a more extensive filmography, one cannot deny the quality of the cool charm that she provided in the credits that she did have.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

Va Va Villainess: Helene Millard

Published December 7, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

Helene 1

The grand Helene Millard perfected the art of being a distinguished featured player in ‘30s and ‘40s cinema. Portraying characters with names like Mrs. Vincent Cantillon, June Deering and Sylvia DeWitt, she was always memorable even when her screen time was uncredited and seemingly insignificant.

She is perhaps best known for backing up Norma Shearer in a number of her most famous films, including The Divorcee and The Women. It was in 1929’s Their Own Desire that she made the most impact, though. As the scheming Beth Chevers, she steals the heart of Lewis Stone’s Henry Marlett, causing much trauma for his ex-wife and daughter, played rambunctiously by Shearer.

Helene 2Nicely, Millard is given scenes in the latter half of the film that show her character to have a modicum of heart and a significant conscience, making her a more full bodied presence than the usual femme fatale stereotype. While books like They Had Faces Then, a study of ‘30s actresses, and The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Character Actors, have (practically or completely) ignored Millard’s contributions, it is amazing to think that 90 years after her performance here, that she is still gaining new fans and being recognized as a true force of celluloid nature.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!