Nina Foch


  1. Ingrid Bergman, Saratoga Trunk, 1943.. Head bro Jack Warner shelled out $175,000 for the rights to Edna Ferber’s  latest huge (ie rambling) novel – for an  Errol Flynn-Olivia De Havilland reunion.  Or Errol Flynning  Bette Davis, Nina Foch, Vivien Leigh, Eleanor Parker, Ann Sheridan or the Russian Tamara Toumanova  as Clio Dulaine, Coop’s aristocratic Creole lover!  It also  loomed large as  the Dutch-born Nina Foch’s debut, although  she  ten years  younger than most candidates. However, Sam Wood got the gig and used his Hemingwayesque couple from the 1942 For Whom the Bell Tolls:  Cooper and Ingrid Bergman as a Swedish Creole! In Hollywood, any accent is the right accent. Sam’s assistant director was… Don Siegel.

  2. 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. . 

  3. 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.
  4. 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 aunt), 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).
  5. 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.

 Birth year: 1924Death year: 2008Other name: Casting Calls:  5