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Nina Foch (1924-2008)


  1. Martha Vickers, The Big Sleep, 1944.    Studio memos in the Warner Bros Collection at the USC Cinema-Television Library show that Foch tested for  the over-sexed teenage Carmen - “She tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up,” said Humphrey Bogart’s Philip Marlowe. So did Martha Vickers. End of story. Or the beginning... Martha was so good, said scripter William Faulkner, that most of her role hit the cuttingroom floor to avoid over-shadowing her screen sister, Lauren Bacall. The Bogart- Bacall classic was not released until 1946 due to the back-log of Warner’s WWII films being rushed out now that the war was over. . 
  2. Jean Hagen, Singin’ in the Rain, 1951.    In the MGMusical gem about the dawn of Hollywood talkies, Nina Foch and Barbara Lawrence also tested for Lina Lamont - the silent star with, as Roger Ebert put it, a “voice like fingernails on a blackboard.”  And I have to mention the famous titular routine… It  took seven days to shoot,  with Kelly’s taps  and  rain splashing  dubbed in later  by three female dancers,  including Jeanne Coyne, the wife of Kelly’s co-director  Stanley Donen, and  by 1960, Mrs Kelly, until her 1973 death.
  3. Dodie Heath, The Diary of Anne Frank, 1958.   The poor Holocaust heroine deserved better than this film…   According to his collected papers, Foch was George Stevens’ other idea for Miep - helping the Jewish Frank and Van Daan families living (too) closely together in hiding for two years from the Nazis in cramped, hidden rooms of an Amsterdam apartment.

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