Friday, June 26, 2009

Susan Hayward... part II

The second installment of my tribute to Susan Hayward.

One of Susie's few scenes from the 1939 Paramount production of "Beau Geste", her first film at that studio. Over the next year and a half she did lots of posing for still photographers and toured with Louella Parsons' "Flying Stars" but made few films. In 1941 on loan out to Columbia she finally had her first meaty role in "Adam Had Four Sons" with Ingrid Bergman, where she played her first "drunk scene", something she would do a LOT more of in the future! She got along well with Bergman and received good notices from the critics.

Susie's beautiful red hair got her noticed everywhere! She was once offered $5,000 to endorse a hair dye called, oddly enough, "Susan Hayward Red" and even though she needed the money at that time she refused, saying she didnt want anyone thinking she wasnt a natural redhead. This is a scan of one of the many small promotional postcards I have of Susie.

Finally in 1942 Susie was in a BIG film, C.B. DeMille's "Reap the Wild Wind" with John Wayne, Ray Milland and Paulette Goddard. The blazing technicolor showed her hair to great advantage and she appeared immediately in another technicolor production "The Forest Rangers", once again playing second banana to Paulette Goddard. A critic for the New York post hads this to say: "Both girls are a joy in technicolor, with the gorgeous Goddard wardrobe showing to better advantage than the Hayward britches. But Susan's hair wins out." For some reason Susie never got star billing again at Paramount for the rest of her contract.

On loan out once again, to United Artists this time, Susie appeared in "I Married a Witch" starring Fredric March and Veronica Lake. Susie played her "Bitch" role with sincerity and was starting to get typecast because she was so good at it! Apparently that film was the inspiration for the classic 60's TV show "Bewitched". It was during this time that Susan started referring to herself as "God gift to the lower part of the double bill"!

In 1944 she appeared in her only war film "The Fighting Sea-Bees", her second movie with John Wayne. On July 23rd, 1944 Susan married Jess Barker whom she had met at the Hollywood Canteen in 1943. It would turn out to be an extremely volatile marriage!!

Ah yes, the film that started it all for me! Susie had one of her best early roles in the 1944 production of "The Hairy Ape" playing opposite William Bendix. The film is far from great but Susie looked incredible and once again plays her bitch role to the hilt, causing Time magazine to declare her as "Hollywood's abelest bitch-player!". This is a scan of an original vintage Lobby Card I have in my collection, aquired many, many moons ago from my good friend, the legendary Mr Door Tree!

To be continued...

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