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Jean Peters (1926-2000)

 

  1. June Haver, I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now, 1946.    This was supposed to be the debut oi Jean, aka Miss Ohio State University, as Katie McCullen, sister of song-writer Mark Stevens.  She passed, saying the role made her look too ugly. (Difficult). Fox kept the faith with its “pocket Betty Grable.” Later  debuted opposite Tyrone Power as The Captain From Castile, married Howard Hughes and, like him, disappeared from view. And never kissewd and told about their life together. The  answer was Mark Stevens. The bigger question was - kissing who?  Certainly not Peters.
  2. Anne Baxter, Yellow Sky, 1947., Peters anf Lasurrn Caball knew how to look after rthemselvds. They refused, point-blank, to make this tacky Western because her (tomboy!) role of Mike was too sexy.  Er, Anne Baxter sexy?  Can’t find the word szewxy  in any reviews and all Gregory Peck remembered was breaking an ankle in a bad horse fall.  
  3. Shirley Temple, Mr Belvedere Goes To College, 1948.     For Clifton Webb’s return as Mr B, Jean was set to be Ellen Baker.So was Jeanne Crain.
  4. Barbara Lawrence, The Street With No Name, 1948.     Almost an FBIrecruiting movie, it would hardly have improved her career. Nothing did until Viva Zapata!, 1952. Three years later, Jean retired on marrying tycoon Howard Hughes, January 12 1957.  After their 1971 divorce, she said: “My life with Howard Hughes was and shall remain a matter on which I will have no comment.” Not even to say how much she got for saying that - and sticking to it.
  5. Colleen Gray, Sand, 1948.     Another weak Western not made any stronger by Mark Stevens as the hero. No one in the  movie, man or beast, is called Sand… Three strikes and Peters was out.  Fox canned her, she went back to Ohio farm life until called back by Elia Kazan, no less,  for the wife of  Marlon Brando, no less, in  Viva Zapata! no less in  1951.  
  6. Jennifer Jones, Portrait of Jennie, 1948.  Gone With The Wind producer David O Selznick planned the film with Shirley Temple over several years, so that Jennifer could really grow older… DOS then thought that was too riskty. Or, to out it another way, he had met Mrs Robert Walker, made a  “star” and would marry her…  Film flopped. The reason Peters didn’t stand a chance…
  7. Hedy Lamarr, Samson and Delilah, 1948.  Lamarr’s favourite movie - all her’s when their studios refused to loan Rita Hayworth, Jean Simmons or Lana Turner to CB DeMille for Hollywood’s  first biblical epic in colour. He also looked over Larraine Day, Ava Gardner, Jane Greer, Miriam Hopkins (in 1935), song ’n’ dancer Betty Hutton, Maria Montez (perfect !), Maureen O’Hara,. Nancy Olson (too demure), Ann Sheridan,  Jean Simmons (too young at 19), Gene Tierney, Italian Alida  Valli., pllus two Swedes: Viveca Lindfors and Marta Toren. Here’s a review signed Groucho Marx: “No picture can hold my interest where the leading man's bust is larger than the leading lady's!
  8. Betsy Drake, Dancing in the Dark, 1949.     After thoughts of Dick Haymes or Clifton Webb making a star of Betty Grable, the 1947 plan was John Payne as  the conceited movie idol turned  lowly talent scout who discovers… Peters. (Before Howard Hughes managed that!). Terrible film proving that only MGM could make musicals, not  Fox. 
  9. Gene Tierney, Way Of A Gaucho, 1952.     As if dropping Robert Mitchum wasn’t silly enough, Hollywood’sresident realisateur Jacques Tourneur (a director son of a director father) dumped his Anne of the Indies star, 1951, for Tierney.
  10. Mitzi Green, Bloodhounds of Broadway, 1952.    Peters was in, then out. Enter: Green, the second Mitzi of what Fox fearlessly called a musical.  Leading lady was Mitzi Gaynor.  She owned the hounds. Named Nip and Tiuck.   Madonna’s 1989 version was way better.

  11. Lauren Bacall, How To Marry A Millionaire, 1952.   Bacall strikes again and proves who she is when her Schatze says: "I've always liked older men . . . Look at that old fellow what's-his-name in The African Queen. Absolutely crazy about him!" He was, of course, her late husband, Humphrey Bogart.  As for co-star Marilyn Monroe: “She had no meanness in her - no bitchery. She just had to concentrate on herself and the people who were there only for her."

  12. Joanne Dru, Siege At Red River, 1953. She tested for the Van Johnson Western about preventing hostiles getting hold of the Gatling gun.

  13. Lauren Bacall, The Gift of Love, 1957.  Bacall’s first film since the death of Bogie.  Bizarrely, she dies and winds up as a ghost…  Peters, of course, was wed during 1957-1971. Tell me more, tell me more… No! “My life with Howard Hughes was and shall remain a matter on which I will have no comment.“  

  14. Lauren Bacall, Designing Woman, 1956.    Bacall strikes again… Plans for to reunite James Stewart and Grace Kelly after Rear Window fell apartt when Grace met Monaco… Jim vetoed new plans with Peters (a later regret) and Gregory Peck met Bacall met Gregory Peck.

  15. Suzy Parker, The Best of Everything, 1958.   What was supposed to be Jean Peters’ comeback and her fifth film for director Jean Negulesco became a third A-film for Suzy, the ex-mannequin. They weren’t called supermodels in those 50s.





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