Arabella's Notes

Claudette Colbert

1903 - 1996


a fountain of beauty and a force of nature


 

For the Love of Mike 1927

Directed by Frank Capra

First National silent B/W

Claudette Colbert..............Mary
Ben Lyon...........................Mike
George Sidney...................Abe Katz
Ford Sterling......................Herman Schultz
Hugh Cameron...................Patrick O'Reilly
Rudolph Cameron..............Henry Sharp
Evelyn Joyce.......................Mabel

Three men find a baby abandoned in an old New York tenement. After talking among themselves, the trio ( Schultz,a German delicatessen owner,  Katz, a Jewish tailor and
O' Reilly, an Irish street cleaner) decide to raise the baby themselves. Things go well for the next twenty years until young Mike grows up and has to make life decisions. Feeling that his education is too expensive for his adoptive fathers to bear, Mike decides against it until a pretty Italian girl by the name of  Mary changes his mind. So he enrolls at Yale. But college presents other pitfalls and Mike falls in with the wrong crowd. Gambling debts put him on the wrong side of the law and he plans to throw a big rowing match with Harvard to pay off his debts. That s until his three fathers and his best girl show up and he realizes his mistake in time. They all band together to beat the bad guys at their own game.

Notes:

. Claudette was suspicious of moving pictures but decided to try it if the price was right. Leland Hayward at First National made an offer she couldn't refuse. But the experience almost made her swear off films forever. Her dislike of Frank Capra lasted even longer.

. Frank Capra, on the other hand, lost on the deal. Robert Kane, the producer, planned each of 10 films for First National to be financed by the one succeeding it. “For the Love of Mike' was the final film and lost money. So Capra was never paid for his work.

. There are no known prints of this film and it is considered a lost film.


Manslaughter 1930

Directed by George Abbott

Paramount B/W

Claudette Colbert.................... Lydia Thorne
Fredric March …................. Dan O'Bannon
Emma Dunne....................Miss Bennett
Natalie Moorhead............. Eleanor Bellington
Richard Tucker..................Attorney J. B. Albee
Hilda Vaughn.....................Evans
Stanley Fields....................Peters

A romance blooming between Lydia and Dan kept getting off track. Lydia Thorne was a spoiled rich girl who never thought rules were made for her. District Attorney Dan O' Bannion, on the other hand, was honest, poor and had the idea laws applied to all. When Lydia caused the death of a police officer while speeding, it was Dan who had to see the punishment fit the crime. While political pressure reduced the original 10 years to 2, Lydia went to prison blaming Dan for the whole thing. Inside the walls Lydia learned her money and arrogance was worth nothing and soon a new and kinder Lydia emerged. But outside the walls, Dan had resigned now a broken man. Only Lydia and her new found love for him made Dan whole again.

Notes:

. Of all the woman's prison movie genre, this was the most humane. No sadistic matrons or lowlifes just a motherly figure who treats her wards like school truants.

. This was Claudette's first film with Fredric March whose roaming hands seemed to have a libido all their own.

. Colbert refused a double for the water-skiing scene and production was held up until she learned to do it herself.


 

Secrets of a Secretary 1931

Directed by George Abbott

Paramount B/W

Claudette Colbert.............Helen Blake
Herbert Marshall..............Lord Paul Danforth
Georges Metaxes..............Frank D'Agnoli
Betty Lawford..................Sylvia Merritt
Berton Churchill...............Ogden Hunt Merritt
Mary Boland.....................Mrs. Merritt
Averell Harris....................Dan Marlowe

Socialite Helen Blake marries on a whim but when her father dies broke, hubby Frank takes a powder. Pretending to be a Spanish nobleman, Frank is actually just a gigolo looking for a fast buck. Helen takes a job as social secretary to family friends, the Ogden Hunt Merritts. Their daughter Sylvia, engaged to marry the real thing, Lord Paul Danforth, is also intrigued by D'Agnoli and becomes involved with him on the sly. Hired as a gigolo and jewel thief by Dan Marlowe, Frank decides to keep the loot and it costs him his life leaving Sylvia framed for his murder. Helen and Paul become close while trying to get her released. Once free, Sylvia is whisked off to the Far East by her parents leaving Helen and Paul happily together.

Notes:

. Betty Lawford is the cousin of actor Peter Lawford.


The Man From Yesterday 1932

Directed by Berthold Viertel

Paramount B/W

Claudette Colbert...................Sylvia Suffolk
Clive Brook............................Capt.Tony Clyde
Charles Boyer......................... Dr. Rene Gaudin
Andy Devine...........................Steve Hand
Alan Mowbray........................Dr. Waite
Ronny Cosby...........................Tony's son
Greta Meyer............................Inn proprietress

World War I was raging in Europe and marriages like that of American-born Sylvia Suffolk and British Captain Tony Clyde were short and sweet. With only hours together, Clyde was on his way to France. Sylvia offers her services as a nurse to Dr. Rene Gaudin and, already pregnant with Tony's child, she receives word that he has been killed in action. It is Rene who sees her through the pregnancy and they grow to love each other. But with no death certificate they cannot marry. After armistice has been declared, Sylvia and Rene leave the baby with his nurse and set off to vacation in Switzerland only to find a very ill Tony recuperating there with the help of his good buddy Steve Hand. He had been gassed and left for dead in the trenches. But it is evident to Tony that Sylvia is in love with Gaudin. Sylvia and Tony travel alone to Paris where he sees his son. When he realizes he can never be the father the little boy needs, he literally self-destructs.

Notes:

. Both Jeanne Chauchoin and Boyer's mother wanted the two to marry but their matchmaking efforts were all in vain. Claudette married Norman Foster and Boyer later married Pat Paterson, an English-born actress, in 1934. Their marriage lasted until her death from cancer in August, 1978. Two days later, Charles Boyer committed suicide.


Sign of the Cross 1932

Directed by Cecil B. DeMille

Paramount B/W

Fredric March............Marcus Superbus
Elissa Landi...............Mercia
Claudette Colbert.......Empress Poppaea
Charles Coburn..........Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar
Ian Keith....................Tigelinius
Arthur Hohl …...........Titus
Harry Beresford.........Flavius

In 66 A.D. Rome, Nero has burned the city and blamed it on the Christians whose belief in their Christ threatens his supremacy. Titus arrives in Rome bringing a message from St. Paul to the Christians, and is arrested along with Flavius only to be pardoned by the Prefect of Rome, Marcus Superbus at the pleading of a lovely Christian woman, Mercia. He wants the woman for himself but the devout Mercia will not have him. But his continued pursuit of her angers the Empress Poppaea who wants Marcus for her own. She sends Tigelinus with an order for Mercia's arrest only to have Marcus try to intervene. Meanwhile the Christians sing as they are herded to the prison. Marcus begs Nero to spare Mercia *while Poppaea demands her death. The next day 100 Christians are taken to the arena to be killed slowly by lions. Marcus suddenly finds himself at Mercia's side professing his love for her. They walk together into the arena to meet death together. As the prison doors close behind them it creates the shadow of a cross.

Notes:

. It was Poppaea's nude bath “ in the milk of wild asses” that got most of the attention. Actually it was powdered milk that was used and warmed to accommodate the actress. But after several take the milk soured and began to congeal. Once it even curdled into cheese. The stench was sickening. It may have been the reason for multiple re-takes (although insiders swore it was for the benefit of the crew).

. What Claudette actually wore under the water was disputed. In 1975 CC claimed it was a white bathing suit. Most insiders said she went au naturel.

. Colbert was also the first actress to gain full control over publicity pictures thanks to naughty Fredric March again. Claudette claimed that one photo done for the Police Gazette made the paper “with Freddie's hand wrapped around my rear end”. The captions read “even if the Marines haven't landed, Freddie March seems to have the situation well in hand”.

 

I Cover the Waterfront 1933

Directed by James Cruze

United Artists B/W

Ben Lyon.....................H. Joseph “Joe” Miller
Claudette Colbert.........Julie Kirk
Ernest Torrance............Eli Kirk
Hobart Cavanaugh.......One Punch McCoy
Maurice Black..............Ortega (Kirk's First Mate)
Purnell Pratt..................John Phelps (Miller's boss)
Harry Beresford.............Old Chris (salvage man) Wilfred Lucas................Randall (Coast Guard officer)

Investigative reporter Joe Miller has been looking for a “big story” to get him off the San Diego waterfront and into the big time. Now he has a virtual tiger-by-the-tail and no one will believe him. Joe knows that Eli Kirk is smuggling illegal Chinese into the country on his fishing boat. So far Kirk has avoided detection even to dumping one hapless man overboard chained at the ankles when the Coast Guard came to call. Now Joe has a new source for information...slyly romancing Kirk's daughter Julie. Julie turns the tables on him and love blossoms as she shows him the hidden beauty of the waterfront and encourages him to go back to writing his novel. But when she reveals Kirk's location, Joe calls the Coast Guard. In a gunfight Kirk is shot but makes his escape. Before tracking him, Joe tells Julie he really loves her but she turns away. Joe goes to find Kirk who, although badly wounded, shoots Joe in the arm before he dies. When Julie realizes her father was a killer, she forgives Joe.

Notes:

. Ernest Torrance, who played the role of Eli Kirk, had the toughest role in the film. It was also his last role. Torrance died the following year.


It Happened One Night 1934

Directed by Frank Capra

Paramount B/W

Clark Gable...................Peter Warne
Claudette Colbert...........Ellie Andrews
Walter Connolly.............Alexander Andrews
Roscoe Karns.................Oscar Shapeley
Jamison Thomas............ King Westley
Alan Hale........................Danker
Arthur Hoyt.....................Zeke
Charles C. Wilson............Joe Gordon
…...watch for Ward Bond as a bus driver.

Millionaire Alexander Andrews kidnapped his own daughter, Ellie and held her prisoner on his yacht. Her offense: defying him to marry fortune hunter King Westley. But Ellie escaped by jumping overboard. To elude her father's detectives and bounty hunters after the $100,000 reward, Ellie took the bus to New York. Sharing the last seat with her was newspaper reporter Peter Warne, fired from his job for being drunk and down to his last $10. It is the beginning of the bus-capade of the century. Ellie has her suitcase stolen and Peter loses his only $10 to a starving woman. When he recognizes Ellie, Peter threatens to tell her father unless he gets the story. They end sharing a motel room to save money and Peter divides the room with a blanket he calls “The Walls of Jericho”. When they have to hitchhike, Peter fails miserably until Ellie literally “shakes a leg”. The two even stage a “domestic squabble” to throw off her father's detectives. They fall in love but when Ellie tells Peter she loves him, penniless Peter rejects her and runs off to sell his story so he can marry her. Thinking he has deserted her, Ellie goes back to her father, who has made a deal with Westley. Then a letter from Peter demanding payment stuns them both. Believing he wants the reward Ellie gets ready for her wedding to Westley when Peter shows up for the $39.60 he spent on the trip. Andrews offers him the reward but he refuses and leaves. It doesn't take Ellie long to follow. She never even takes time to change her dress! The last scene finds them back at another motel where Peter asks for a blanket, a rope and a trumpet. That night a trumpet sounds and the Walls of Jericho fall!

Notes:

. This record-breaking film was made in 4 weeks (Claudette's stipulation)and on a shoestring. Clark Gable, loaned by MGM for the picture as punishment, was drunk and angry when he met with Capra. Colbert was heard to say “ I just finished the worst picture in the world”.

. Claudette Colbert wears only two dresses during the entire film including her wedding dress. However, she does borrow a dressing gown and pajamas from Peter.

. The cartoon character “Bugs Bunny” took a lot of his personality from this movie. His fast-talking was partially based on bus passenger Oscar Shapeley (Roscoe Karns), the imaginary hit-man Gable mentions named “Bugs” and also Gable's way of talking while chewing on a carrot.

 

Cleopatra 1934

Directed by Cecil B. DeMille

Paramount B/W

Claudette Colbert.....................Cleopatra
Warren Williams.....................Julius Caesar
Henry Wilcoxon......................Marc Antony
Ian Keith..................................Octavian
Joseph Schildkraut................... King Herod
Gertrude Michael......................Calpurnia
C.Aubrey Smith........................Enobarbus
Leonard Mudie..........................Pothinos

After being captured by Potinos and left in the desert to die, the wily Cleopatra turns up in the camp of Julius Caesar rolled up in a rug! She promises Caesar a path through Egypt to India, seduces him and even finds and kills Potinos to prove her loyalty. The two begin a passionate affair that worried the entire city of Rome. When Caesar refused to banish Cleopatra, they had him killed and Marc Antony and Octavian were named the new rulers. Antony was also to kill Cleopatra to avenge Caesar's death but when the sensual Cleo invites him to her barge and seduces him Antony is putty in her hands. Octavian declares Antony a traitor and sends King Herod to tell Cleopatra that to save Egypt she must kill Antony. But war between Rome and Egypt breaks out early. Antony goes off to battle and is defeated. Cleopatra races to Octavian and offers Egypt in exchange for Marc's life while Marc, thinking she has deserted him, attempts suicide. Cleopatra finds him still alive and explains her mission but he dies in her arms. With the Romans at the gate, Cleopatra takes her only way out and clutches an asp to her breast.

Notes:

. DeMille beat the Hays Office by a hairs-breadth with this pre-code movie.


Imitation of Life 1934

Directed by John M. Stahl

Universal B/W

Claudette Colbert.....................Beatrice “Bea” Pullman
Warren William........................Steve Archer
Louise Beavers.........................Delilah Johnson
Rochelle Hudson......................Jessie Pullman age 18
Fredi Johnson............................Peola Johnson age 19
Ned Sparks................................Elmer Smith Alan Hale..................................The Furniture Man
Henry Armetta...........................The Painter
Wyndham Standing....................Jarvis, the butler

What began as mutual need between two widowed mothers, one black and one white, became a lifelong bond. Beatrice Pullman was a widow with a baby daughter and dreams of owning her own business some day. Delilah was also a widow with a baby daughter and in need of employment and a place to live. So Beatrice exchanged room and board for Delilah's housekeeping, cooking and child care skills. And then magic happened. Delilah was a master at making delicious pancakes from an old family recipe. That recipe and Bea's business acumen make both women rich while they lose control of their daughters. Jessie becomes spoiled and restless while Peola rejects her mother and her racial heritage to pass for white. There is time for Jessie to make amends but it is to late for Peola. The heartbroken Delilah dies before she can ask forgiveness.

Notes:

. If there was one thing Louise Beavers disliked, it was pancakes!

. 1934 was a banner year for Colbert. While It Happened One Night took home all the prizes, Cleopatra and Imitation of Life won nominations for Best Picture.

. This story was remade in 1959 starring Lana Turner and Juanita Moore.and garnered Best Supporting nods for both Juanita Moore and SusanKohner.

 

Under Two Flags 1936

Directed by Frank Lloyd

20th Century Fox B/W

Ronald Colman.......................Sergeant Victor
Claudette Colbert....................Cigarette
Victor McLaglen.....................Major J. C. Doyle
Rosalind Russell.....................Lady Venetia Cunningham
Gregory Ratoff........................Ivan
Nigel Bruce.............................Captain Menzies
John Carradine.........................Petard
Onslow Stevens.......................Sidi-Ben Youssiff

Sergeant Victor of the French Foreign Legion had just gotten his promotion for saving his convoy from attack by the rebels led by Sidi-ben Yousiff. British by birth, he had changed his name and fled his native England after pleading guilty to his brother's crime. Victor is amused by the attentions of the beautiful bar girl Cigarette who loves him and often leads her on even though his heart belongs to the lovely Lady Venetia Cunningham. But the charade is creating an powerful enemy in Major J. C. Doyle. In love with Cigarette himself, Doyle plans to rid himself of his rival by sending Victor on a mission he can't win. Lady Venetia learns of Doyle's plans for Victor and asks Cigarette to help save him but now aware that Victor doesn't love her, Cigarette refuses. The battle is on when Doyle, now ashamed of his actions, orders his battalion to save Victor who has been wounded in the fray. Before going off to stall the enemy Victor tells Doyle the truth. Cigarette also has a change of mind and brings the French troops to attack but is shot by Youssiff's men and dies in Victor's arms. Because of her valor, Cigarette is buried with honors on the post.

Notes:

. The role of 'Cigarette' was originally filmed with Simon Simone but Darryl Zanuck wasn't impressed with her footage so he re-filmed it with Claudette Colbert.

 

Bluebeard's Eighth Wife 1938

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch

Paramount B/W

Claudette Colbert.......................Nicole de Loselle
Gary Cooper...............................Michael Brandon
Edward Everett Horton...............Marquis de Loselle
David Niven................................Albert De Regnier
Elizabeth Patterson.....................Aunt Hedwige
Herman Bing...............................Monsieur Pepinard
Warren Hymer.............................Kid Mulligan
Franklin Pangborn.......................Asst. Hotel Manager

Millionaire financier Michael Brandon was a great believer in marriage....he had done it seven times. But he wasn't good at married life and had seven divorces to prove it. When he meet Nicole de Loselle in a men's store on the French Riviera and they agree to share a pair of pajamas, it happens all over again. He needed the top (he already had bottoms) and she needed the bottom (her impoverished nobleman father has to wear them to keep from being evicted). It was love at first sight. But sly Nicole only agrees to marriage after a sizable prenuptial agreement double what his previous wives demanded. The love-sick Michael agrees and, after they marry, Nicole begins a bond-breaking campaign guaranteed to lead to the divorce court. Separate rooms, real and fictitious rivals, phony love notes and even spring onions. Michael counters with spankings but finally agrees to a divorce. He hides out in a sanatorium claiming she broke his spirit. So, with the money she made on the divorce, Nicole buys the hospital and agrees to live with Michael happily ever after.

Notes:

. Ernst Lubitsch specifically asked for Claudette because he enjoyed working with her so much in The Smiling Lieutenant.

. It is the second collaboration between Billy Wilder and Charles Bracken who did the screenplay.

 

Drums Along the Mohawk 1939

Directed by John Ford

20th Century Fox Color

Henry Fonda.................Gilbert “Gil” Martin
Claudette Colbert..........Magdalena “Lana” Martin
Edna May Oliver...........Mrs. McKlennar
John Carradine...............Caldwell
Ward Bond.....................Adam Helmer
Roger Imhof...................General Nicholas Herkimer
Arthur Shields................ Reverend Rosenkrantz
Chief John Big Tree.......Blue Black
Francis Ford....................Joe Boleo


Life was hard on the colonial frontier of 1776. When Lana Martin left her lovely home in Albany, New York to follow her new husband Gilbert to the Mohawk Valley she had no idea what she was facing there. She learned to accept Gil's Indian friend, Blue Black, helping with the farming and making friends among the other neighbors. But the Declaration of Independence brought even more trouble. Hostile Indians led by the Tory, Caldwell attacked and burned their farm, causing Lana to miscarry their first child. Only the generosity of the widow McKlennar, who gave them work and a place to live, saved her sanity. But the war was on and Gil marched off with the ill-fitted militia when the Indians plan another attack only to come home wounded and delirious. In the calm before another attack, Lana gives birth to a son while Gil recovers. But the peace doesn't last. The Indians attack and the settlers seek refuge at the fort where everyone who can shoot fight together against the enemy. Mrs. McKlennar is fatally wounded . Gil breaches enemy lines to bring reinforcements to repel the attackers. With peace restored, the Martins settle down on the farm Mrs. McKlennar left them.

Notes:

. This movie, filmed on location in Utah, really held Claudette's feet to the fire. While, as a star, she had her own cottage, it came without all the trappings she usually demanded. She had also just finished a picture with laid-back“Woody” Van Dyke and had never worked with the gruff, very detailed John Ford. Colbert learned a lot from him in the process.

. Edna May Oliver was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar but lost toHattie McDaniel for “Gone With The Wind”.

 

No Time for Love 1943

Directed by Mitchell Leisen

Paramount B/W

Claudette Colbert...............Katherine Grant
Fred MacMurray.................Jim Ryan
Ilka Chase............................Hoppy Grant
Richard Haydn.....................Roger Winant
Paul McGrath.......................Henry Fulton
June Havoc...........................Darlene
Marjorie Gateson..................Sophie

Katherine Grant is a magazine photographer who puts more art than substance in her work. Her editor wants a little more “meat” so Katharine is assigned to the tunnel project under Manhattan. When Katherine spots “beefy” sandhog Jim Ryan (whose nickname is “Superman”), she almost get him killed while trying to get a picture. She manages to save Jim's life but the ensuing events get him suspended. To make up for her role in his problems, Katherine hires Jim as her assistant only to set off another debacle with her sister Hoppy and her fiance, Henry Fulton added to the mix. But Katherine falls in love with Jim and has dreams of him as Superman. When a cave-in threatens to scuttle the tunnel project Jim (actually an engineer in sandhog's clothing), devises a machine he hopes will eliminate the problem. Katherine, looking for scoop, sneaks into “the hole”. When a mudslide occurs, it's Katharine's camera that proves Jim's machine was working. Later, at Katherine's engagement party, Jim appears, slings her over a shoulder and carries her off.

Notes:

. This was the second of six films Claudette Colbert would make with Fred MacMurray.

 

Since You Went way 1944

Directed by John Cromwell

UA B/W

Claudette Colbert.......................Anne Hilton
Jennifer Jones.............................Jane Deborah Hilton
Joseph Cotten..............................Lt. Commander Tony Willett
Shirley Temple.............................Bridget “Brig” Hilton
Monty Woolley.............................Colonel William G. Smollett
Lionel Barrymore …....................Clergyman
Robert Walker...............................Cpl. William G. “Bill” Smollett II
Hattie McDaniel...........................Fidelia
Agnes Moorehead........................Mrs. Emily Hawkins
Keenan Wynn...............................Lt. Solomon
Dick Whittington is the voice of Soda the dog....
and Neil Hamilton is the man in the picture!

Anne Hilton struggles to keep body and soul together for her two daughters while her husband is overseas in WWII and soon finds out those who are her real friends. There's Fidelia who stays on but puts her salary on hold for the duration. Tony Willett gets her out of the house when he's in town without any strings attached...and Colonel Smollett, who comes along to rent a room and shakes things up a bit. But it is Corporal Smollett, the colonel's grandson, who makes the biggest impression on Jane as they fall in love during his last leave. Their last goodbye at the train depot is heartbreaking and makes the war even more real. Corporal William G. Smollett II is killed in combat but Anne Hilton, Jane and Bridget get their husband and father back.

Notes:

. David O. Selznick produced this film, wrote the screenplay and handpicked the cast.

. This film won the Oscar for Best Scoring of a Drama or Comedy and also won nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Claudette Colbert), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Jennifer Jones), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Monte Woolley) and four others. However, one “actor” failed to crack the Oscar ceiling.....Soda the English bulldog!

. Watch for cameos from Nazimova (her last film). Gordon Oliver, Florence Bates, Dorothy Dandridge, Ruth Roman, Rhonda Fleming, Guy Madison and John Derek.

 

The Egg and I 1947

Directed by Chester Erskine

Universal B/W

Claudette Colbert....................Betty MacDonald
Fred MacMurray......................Bob MacDonald
Marjorie Main..........................Ma Kettle
Percy Kilbride..........................Pa Kettle
Louise Albritton.......................Harriet Putnam
Richard Long............................Tom Kettle
Billy House...............................Billy Reed Esther Dale................................Birdie Hicks

Betty MacDonald was raised to believe that when the rooster crossed the road, the hen obediently followed. So when Bob, her husband, decided while shaving one morning that they were going to be chicken farmers, she never asked if he was drinking the aftershave. She just helped him pack up the decrepit old truck with livestock and they headed for the new homestead he bought in the mountains. Well, “new” wasn't the operative word here.....the house was run-down, the roof leaked and the stove had a mind of its own. To make it worse, the attractive lady farmer across the way, Harriet Putnam, seemed to have it all under control. They made friends with the Kettles who had a brood of kids and a penchant for borrowing and Betty began to feel at home. When their farm burns down, the neighbors all gather to rebuild it. Then, one night when Fred fails to return from the Putnam farm, the pregnant Betty flies into a jealous rage and goes home to mama. After their daughter is born Betty goes back home only to find Bob living at the Putnam farm. It seems he was buying it the night she left. She flew into his arms for a hurried kiss because there seemed to be another problem in the hen-house!

Notes:

. Marjorie Main was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Both Main and Percy Kilbride parlayed their Kettle roles into a popular 10 film franchise for Universal-International.

 

 

Thunder on the Hill 1951

Directed by Douglas Sirk

Universal B/W

Claudette Colbert …...............Sister Mary Bonaventure
Ann Blyth................................Valerie Cairns
Robert Douglas.......................Dr. Jeffreys
Anne Crawford..........................Isabel Jeffreys
Philip Friend..............................Sidney Kingham
Gladys Cooper...........................Mother Superior Michael Pate..............................Willie
John Abbott................................Abel Harmer
Connie Gilchrist.........................Sister Josephine
Gavin Muir..................................Police Sgt. Melling

At Our Lady of Rheims Convent Sister Mary Bonaventure was a stickler for perfection.

It was causing problems on the hospital ward with the nurses she supervised. She confessed to Mother Superior that her problems stemmed from her own personal stress over her sister's suicide and the blame she felt for her part in it. Outside the heavy rains were flooding the countryside and soon the townsfolk came seeking shelter. Sgt. Melling brought his prisoner, convicted murderess Valerie Cairns, to stay until the roads are passable to the prison. Valerie convinces Sister Mary that she is innocent of her brother Jason's death and asks for the nun's help. So the nun/amateur sleuth sets out to do that very thing even going by rowboat to fetch Valerie's fiance Sidney Kingham. In the end, Sister Mary finds the murderer right in the hospital under their very noses. Who was it? You will have to watch the film to find out!

Notes:

. In one scene where Claudette is supposed to be roughed up, she still did the scene herself but wisely used a back brace.

. Claudette only received $75,000 for this film, much less than the $200,000 for her last Universal movie. But times had become very lean in Hollywood by the early 1950's with the law that forced studios to drop their theater chains.

 

Texas Lady 1955

Directed by Tim Whelan

RKO Color

Claudette Colbert..................Prudence Webb
Barry Sullivan …..................Chris Mooney
Ray Collins............................Mica Ralston
James Bell..............................Cass Gower
Horace McMahon..................Stringer Winfeld
Gregory Walcott.....................Deputy Jess Foley
John Litel................................Meade Moore
Douglas Fowley.......................Clay Ballard
Don Haggerty...........................Sheriff Herndon
Walter Sande............................Whit Sturdy

It was 1885 on a river boat in New Orleans. Dressed in a stunning black gown, Prudence Webb looked as though she belonged at that gambling table. Gambler Chris Mooney believed it when he lost the $30,000 he brought and then the $30,000 he borrowed all to the little lady. When he offered to make her his gambling partner Prudence refused claiming she had now settled an old debt. Her father had lost his company's money to Chris and then killed himself. Now that she could repay her father's old debts, she was on her way to collect another one..the Clarion newspaper in Fort Ralston, Texas. But she finds that the town's founder, Micah Ralston controls the town, the paper and the law in those parts and she has a fight on her hands. Lawyer Cass Gower and the postmaster Stringy Winfeld help her get control of the paper but the fight is on. Chris arrives to help her but even his card skills fail him. It is the backing of the townspeople that finally turn the tide. For Prudence and Chris, love wins the game, too.

Notes:

. Claudette Colbert didn't like color films because she felt they aged her.

. After Texas Lady Claudette Colbert was absent from the screen for six years.

 

 

Parrish 1961

Directed by Delmer Daves

Warner Bros. Color

Troy Donahue.....................Parrish McLean
Claudette Colbert................Ellen McLean
Karl Malden.........................Judd Raike
Dean Jagger..........................Sala Post
Connie Stevens.....................Lucy
Diane McBain.......................Alison Post
Sharon Hugueny....................Paige Raike
Dub Taylor.............................Teet Howie
Hayden Rorke..........................Tom Weldon
and Carroll O'Connor as the Fire Chief

This story of two families and Connecticut tobacco begins when the McLeans, mother and son, arrive on Sala Post's farm. Post, a widower, has hired Ellen McLean to chaperone his daughter, Alison, who has become a bit unruly lately. Sala doesn't like having young Parrish around the house. So Parrish takes a job as a laborer in the fields where he immediately gets into women trouble first with a farm girl Lucy and then with Alison Post. When his mother marries Sala Post's rival, Judd Raike, things heat up all around. Parrish goes to work for his stepfather but the Raike business tactics leave a bad taste in his mouth so he quits and joins the Navy. When he returns two years later, Parrish decides to do it his way and leases land from Sala Post who has quit trying to fight Raike. When Parrish can't hire field workers, Raike's daughter Paige convinces her school chums to work the fields. Enraged, his step-brother Edgar tries to burn the fields and Parrish teaches him a lesson with his fists. This time Judd Raike also gets the message... and Parrish gets Paige.

Notes:

. This was Claudette Colbert's final film although she did another television movie.