Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews (Hollywood Legends Series)

Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews (Hollywood Legends Series)

Carl Rollyson

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 1604735678

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews (Hollywood Legends Series)

Carl Rollyson

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 1604735678

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Dana Andrews (1909–1992) worked with distinguished directors such as John Ford, Lewis Milestone, Otto Preminger, Fritz Lang, William Wyler, William A. Wellman, Mervyn Le Roy, Jean Renoir, and Elia Kazan. He played romantic leads alongside the great beauties of the modern screen, including Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Greer Garson, Merle Oberon, Linda Darnell, Susan Hayward, Maureen O’Hara, and most important of all, Gene Tierney, with whom he did five films. Retrospectives of his work often elicit high praise for an underrated actor, a master of the minimalist style. His image personified the “male mask” of the 1940s in classic films such as Laura, Fallen Angel, and Where the Sidewalk Ends, in which he played the “masculine ideal of steely impassivity.” No comprehensive discussion of film noir can neglect his performances. He was an “actor’s actor.”

Here at last is the complete story of a great actor, his difficult struggle to overcome alcoholism while enjoying the accolades of his contemporaries, a successful term as president of the Screen Actors Guild, and the love of family and friends that never deserted him. Based on diaries, letters, home movies, and other documents, this biography explores the mystery of a poor boy from Texas who made his Hollywood dream come true even as he sought a life apart from the limelight and the backbiting of contemporaries jockeying for prizes and prestige. Called “one of nature's noblemen” by his fellow actor Norman Lloyd, Dana Andrews emerges from Hollywood Enigma as an admirable American success story, fighting his inner demons and ultimately winning.

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“little man . . . consumed with little things.” Like a preacher’s son, he decried his “evil thoughts,” although what those might be he did not say. After this month of intense self-examination, he did not record another word in his journal until August 1931. Norma still expected Carver to return to Huntsville to “claim my hand in the true conventional manner.” She said that she would like to follow the “dictates of my heart” and leave for California, and that she did not “give a hang” for what

entertainment they watched a Gene Autry production, “the corniest bit of picture making I’ve ever seen. We all just howled.” Dana had obtained a baby prairie dog for David: “The natives tell me they make wonderful pets.” He mentioned notes from Aggie and David and that “Gramp” (William Murray) had undergone serious surgery and “would appreciate your dropping in just to say hello.” Mary’s letters made a “banquet of reading” that the camp envied, and Dana promised to keep writing himself so that

with blood in their eyes and might have destroyed us until we explained what the hell we were doing. . . . It was a pretty scary moment there,” Dana told Clyde Williams. Dana always seemed lonesome away from his family and compensated by writing love letters to Mary and calling her when he had a moment: “I mustn’t think about it too much or I’ll go crazy; I’m a sex-starved maniac on top of everything else, you know. It’s a good thing I’m working hard every day—if you know what I’m driving at—and

fight against the Japanese, but he maintains a composure and sensitivity (he feels the pressure, too) that no one else aboard ship is able to summon up. Although the script would go through several more rewrites, expanding and contracting the details about Dana’s character, in the end Moulton emerges as quintessential Dana Andrews: reserved but also commanding and engaging, the very image of authority—but without the prickliness and pomposity that makes the dour Don Ameche character so hard to

this timepiece is shown, establishing its importance in the story about to unfold). Then McPherson walks to one of the glass cases, slides a door open, and picks up a glass piece for closer examination. Why? The piece cannot possibly contribute to solving his case. Lydecker warns the detective to be careful because the object is priceless. This moment deftly signals that there is more to McPherson, an aesthetic sensitivity that Lydecker fails to perceive. Indeed, the decadent world Waldo Lydecker

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