Alexis Smith

  1. Claire James, Navy Blues, 1941.    
    A ropey-dopey Warner Bros musical with too much emphasis on Jacks Haley and Oakie as conniving sailors and  bot enough  on  The Navy Blues Sextet, the pin-uppy members of which band were voted for by  US soldiers from a group of 150 mainly Warner starlets.  Alexis, The Flame Girl as Warners called her (ugh!)  was in the group but  but replaced bv James when  switched to Dive Bomber, where she met and wed Craig Stevens until her 1993 death… and then James  was replaced by Alix Talton (Miss Atlanta 1938) when  moved into You’re in the Army Now. Navy Blues . “There are so many more interesting things to think about,” Alexis said, “than whether Ida Lupino or Jane Wyman got the roles I should have gotten.”  Well, I can hardly agree with that, can I… ???

  2. Olivia De Havilland, Princess O’Rourke, 1942.      Change of the incognito Euro-princess fleeing WWII and  falling for an American Everyman. Like an early draft for  Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman  Holiday ten years later.  “I was pretty much a utility girl at Warners. Anything Ann Sheridan or Ida Lupino or Jane Wyman didn’t want to do, I sort of fell heir to.  People frequently feel it was a shame Warner typecast me, but I don’t believe that. I believe I typecast myself. I wasn’t creative.”
  3. Arlene Dahl, My Wild Irish Rose, 1947.   Change of Broadway star Lilian Russell in the slice of old Blarney as  Buffalo’s  Chauncey Olcott and his songbook get “abused,” said the New York Times, “for purposes of a conventional movie musical.” Dirk Bogarde referred to Alexis as “Fun, professional, loyal, and courageous” and “The days are brighter for knowing her.”
  4. Patricia Neal, The Fountainhead, 1948.   First, Mervyn LeRoy was to direct Barbara Stanwyck opposite Humphrey Bogart. By ’48, director King Vidor switched Bogie to join – of course – Bacall.  Next, Gary Cooper and Bacall.  Except Betty quit. After rejecting Smith, Bette Davis, Greta Garbo and Ida Lupino, head brother Jack Warner took a chance on the young Neal. Cooper objected. Warner insisted. Result : Cooper and Neal promptly had an affair.
  5. Julie London, Return of the Frontierman, 1949.     There was much London calling after Smith refused point-blank to play Janie Martin in the Western programmer. She was immediately suspended by the brothers Warner and moved on into a singing career – Cry Me A River, etc. She was a torch singer inasmuch as every guy carried a torch for her.
  6. Andrea King, I Was a Shoplifter, 1949.  More like We Were… considering how the narration explains how  nine of ten shoplifters are women, and 10% of those are pros.  Such the Ina Perdue (!) character, going from Smith to King as the leader of a gang of “recruited” kleptomaniacs. “Anthony” Curtis is their enforcer, while Rock Hudson is  working store security. They would not be in the same film again until the starry casting for Agatha Christie’s The Mirror Crack’d… 31 years later!
  7. Celeste Holm, All About Eve, 1950
  8. Nina Foch, The Ten Commandments, 1954.

 Birth year: 1921Death year: 1993Other name: Casting Calls:  7