Payday Loans
Jeanne Crain (1925-2003)

  1. Anne Baxter, The Magnificent Ambersons, 1942.      Orson Welles spotted the   Californian schoolgirl (17) in the RKO commissary and immediately tested Jeanne as Lucy. The older Baxter (19) won. And continually kept Crain in her shade.
  2. Dorothy McGuire, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, 1944.      Elia Kazan's directing debut was based on a book by his Yale Drama School classmate, Betty Smith. Fox bought it for Alice Faye’s first straight role as Katie or Aunt Sissy. She developed cold feet. Also in line for Katie Nolan were Crain, Mary Anderson, and (a pregnant) Gene Tierney.
  3. Cathy Downs, My Darling Clementine, 1945.   Baxter, Vanessa Brown,  Jeanne Crain and Linda Darnell  were shoo-ins for the girl Doc Holliday left in Georgia when he went West in 1873 and took over Tombstone.  No, no, no cried head Fox Darryl F Zanuck. Their fans will be upset because Clementine is a small role and he gave John Ford a total unknown… previously credited as Clothes Model, Girl on Carousel and Miss Cream Puff, etc.   Clementine Carter is not as real as Holliday and Wyatt Earp (who advised Ford on Western gun-play). She was based on Doc’s lovin’ cousin, Mattie, who gave up men after Doc and became a nun. Linda was made Doc’s hooker-lover, Chihuahua Downs won 45 other screen roles. Nothing memorable.
  4. Betty Grable, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim=, 1947.     Miss P was first designed for Crain in 1944.   Miss P became Grable. Miss P flopped. Miss P didn’t show her legs.   (Marilyn Monroe’s debut. Four years later she took one film each from Crain and Grable. Atta girl!).
  5. Shirley Temple, Mr Belvedere Goes To College, 1948.     For Clifton Webb’s return as Mr B, Jeanne was set to be Ellen Baker.  Replaced  by Grable in one film and Temple in  another - that’s quite an achievement. 
  6. Colleen Townsend. Chicken Every Sunday, 1948.  Cast changed completely as the comedy moved from Warner to Fox. Henry Fonda, Maureen O’Hara, Jeanne Crain, John Payne became Dan Dailey, Celeste Holm,  Colleen Townsend and   Alan Young. York Times critic Bosley Crowther said the movie‘s menu was good, substantial cooking in the Hollywood sentimental style, larded with wholesome portions of Ma-Loves-Pa, seasoned with generous sprinklings of standard bucolic farce. Nice one, Boz!
  7. Hedy Lamarr, Samson and Delilah, 1948.  
    Cinemperor Cecil B DeMille’s 1935 plan been Henry Wilcoxon with Joan Crawford, Larraine Day, Dolores Del Rio, Paulette Goddard, Jane Greer or Miriam Hopkins….  Next in line, producer David O Selznick envisaged Kirk Douglas and Marlene Dietrich… By ’48, CB got serious.  He sought a mix of Vivien Leigh, Jean Simmons and “a generous touch of Lana Turner” from among … Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Rhonda Fleming (the Queen of Babylon, 1954), Ava Gardner, Greer Garson (Mrs Miniver!!), Susan Hayward  (1951’s Bathsheba), Rita Hayworth (the future Salome), , Jennifer Jones (St Bernadette in 1943), Patricia Neal, Maureen O’Hara, Nancy Olson (too demure), Jean Peters, Ruth Roman, Gail Russell, Ann Sheridan, Gene Tierney... even such surprises as comical Lucille Ball (!) and song ‘n’ dancer  Betty Hutton.  Plus the Dominican Maria Montez (perfect!), Italian Alida Valli and two Swedes: Viveca Lindfors and Marta Toren.  But CB had already fancied Lamarr for his unmade epic about the Jewish queen Esther (played by Joan Collins in 1960).  Here’s a Samson review signed Groucho Marx: “No picture can hold my interest where the leading man's bust is larger than the leading lady's!" 

  8. Anne Baxter, You’re My Everything, 1949.    Oh, that Anne Baxter, she gets everything….  Well, Crain was pregnant. A devout Catholic, she and husband Paul Brooks (Errol Flynn’s double) had seven children.   (And Buster Keaton was the butler).
  9. Dorothy McGuire, Mother Didn’t Tell Me, 1949.       Mary Bard's book was bought for Fox with Crain in mind for the jealous new wife of Dr William, Lundigan.   But it was McGuire who said: I do.
  10. Jane Wyman, The Glass Menagerie, 1949. The  first Tennessee Williams play to be filmed.  By Elia Kazan?   Not at all.  Irving Rapper got the gig, having moved up from, dialogue director to full-time helmer – and surviving three battles with the irascible Bette Davis. Crain and Gene Tierney) were in the mix for the handicapped Laura, based on the playwright’s sister.  . Over the year she has also been played by such actors as Calista Flockhart, Piper Laurie and Amanda Plummer.  Later films were way better, even those made in Bollywood and Iran.

  11. Anne Baxter, All About Eve, 1950.
  12. Marilyn Monroe, Love Nest, 1950.        These days, the video-jackets show just June Haver’s co-star - Marilyn Monroe in an utterly delicious extended  cameo.  More!  More!  (We got that when Haver retired, became a nun, then changed veils to wed Fred Mac Murray, during 1954-1991).
  13. Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday, 1952.   Frank Capra (and George Stevens) wanted Liz Taylor, William Wyler liked Suzanne Cloutier (the future Mrs Peter Ustinov) for the runaway Princess Ann.   A further 28 actresses were seen, the good, bad and risible – like the current sex-bombs Yvonne De Carlo Diana Dors, Gina Lollobrigida, Sylvana Mangano, Shelley Winters.  Apart from, perhaps, Vanessa Brown, Mona Freeman and Wanda Hendrix (even though  her real name as Dixie), the Hollywood hopefuls  - singer Rosemary Clooney(George’s aunty), Jeanne Crain, Nina Foch, Janet Leigh, Joan Leslie, June Lockhart, Dorothy Malone, Patricia Neal, Barbara Rush - were soon discarded, lacking the stature of Euro-royalty. Idem for the Euros – Swedish Bibi Andersson, and the French Capucine, Leslie Caron, Jeanne Moreau. Which left several perfect Brits Claire Bloom, Joan Collins, Glynis Johns, Kay Kendall, Deborah Kerr, Angela Lansbury, Moira Shearer, and, of course, Audrey, … soon gracing the Time cover, hailed by the New York Times as a "slender, elfin and wistful beauty, alternately regal and childlike" with, added Variety, a "delightful affectation in voice and delivery, controlled just enough to have charm and serve as a trademark," (And, Indeed, it did for evermore).
  14. Susan Hayward, I'd Climb The Highest Mountain, 1950.      Pregnant. . And so the Methodist minister and his genteel bride dispatched to serve Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains area, circa 1910, went from Henry Fonda and Crain to William Lundigan and Hayward. Amen.
  15. Jennifer Jones, Carrie, 1952.        Director William Wyler's first choice for Theodore Dreiser’s novel.Jones refused to quit when pregnant again, although Willy Wyler insisted  "no picture,  not even  one of mine, is worth  risking your health  for."  He  was  right.  She had a miscarriage a matter of weeks after completing the film at the end of l950.  It then lay in producer producer David Selznick's vaults (like her previous Wild Heart) for two years while Selnzick settled his debts.
  16. Betty Grable, The Farmer Takes A Wife, 1952.        Crain was to be taken by farmer Lon McCallister in a planned 1944 re-make. Eight years later, who else but the top Fox pin-up and musical star could inherit Janet Gaynor’s 1934 wife in this (dullard) musical version from (dullard) director Henry Levin. Null and void. Mitzi Gaynor (no kin to Janet) had also been in the mix. No wonder Grable decided one more was enough and after How to Marry a Millionaire, sure enough, she retired.
  17. Jean Peters, Three Coins in the Fountain, 1953.      Noting the opportunity missed by Paramount with Roman  Holiday, Fox decided to shoot this Rome-com  in colour and, for the first time outside the US, in CinemaScope. Crain had been the earlier black-white choice for Anita, falling in love - and in doubt - with Rossano Brazzi.
  18. Anne Baxter, One Desire, 1955.      Ms Baxter again!  Never mind, Crain’s main desire had happened in 1951 when she beat Baxter to People Will Talk -  among Joe Mankiewicz’s favourite films, despite considering Crain a non-actress. 
  19. Elizabeth Taylor, Giant, 1956.        Director George Stevens sifted through 30 women before finding his place in the sun. Again.
  20. Jennifer Jones, Angel, Angel, Down We Go, 1969.       Jeanne had too much classs to be Astrid Steele with  lines like “I made 30 stag films and never faked an orgasm” - opposite a hero called Bogart Peter Stuyvesant in this psychedelic garbage.


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