Virginia Gilmore

  1. Sara Allgood, How Green Was My Valley, 1940.   After paying  $300,000 for Richard Llewellyn’s Welsh Germinal, head Fox Darryl Zanuck wanted Wilfred Lawson and Gilmore as the Morgans. They became Donald Crisp and Allgood in what New York Times critic Bosley Crowther hailed as “a stunning masterpiece.” It went on to  beat Citizen Kane to Best Film and became the third (of four) unequalled directing Oscars for John Ford.
  2. Lynne Roberts, Last of the Duanes, 1940. The rumoured headliners of Randolph Scott, Dean Jagger and Gilmore somehow became George Montgomery, Francis Ford (John’s elder brother) and Roberts in Fox’s third re-make of the Zane Grey Western. The star of the original, 1919 version, William Farnbum, played Texas Ranger Major McNeil here at 64.
  3. Eve Arden, Last of the Duanes, 1940.     Randolph Scott, Dean Jagger and Arden passed their saddles to George Montgomery, William Farnum (from the 1919 version!) and Eve Arden. In all, Fox made the Zane Grey story four times starring Fanum, 1919; Tom Mix, 1924; George O’Brien, 1930, and a Spanish-language version also in 1930 with George Lewis.
  4. Kay Johnson, Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake, 1941.     The sub-title was important, optherwise it sounded like another Lassie rip-off…  instead of a Tyrone Power thud ’n’ blunder romp.  Director John Cromwell, decided that Gilmore looked too young and gave her role to Johnson, who  – by the sheerest of coincidences –  happened to be Mrs Cromwell. 
  5. Barbara Stanwyck, Ball of Fire, 1941.      After two years under contract to Samuel Goldwyn, the producer finally chose her as Gary Cooper’s co-star in Billy Wilder’s riotous script.  Not for long…   First, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Jean Arthur, Carole Lombard, then Stanwyck took over as the  re-trod Snow White called Sugarpuss O’Shea. (Gilmore married Yul Brynner in 1944).
  6. Joan Bennett, Man Hunt, 1941.      Bennett’s “English”accent was about as rank as Dick Van Dyke’s lousy Cockney in Mary Poppins in a (thankfully) short role – opposite Walter Pidgeon, on the run from Nazis in London after trying to kill Hitler in Bavaria, no less.  Also seen for Jerry were  Anne Baxter, Greer Garson, Gene Tierney.. And the only real Londoner on the short list:  Ida Lupino. 
  7. Heather Angel, Time To Kill, 1941.     Change of leading lady for Lloyd Nolan’s seventh and last outing as Brett Halliday’s Irish-American shamus, Michael Shayne – in what is actually a version of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe tale, The High Window! Akin to Batman borrowing a Superman sory. Fox promoted Nolan to A-movies once Henry Fonda, Victor Mature and Tyrone Power joined WWII. Fox gave the case back to (George Montgomery’s) Philip Marlowe in the re-tread called The Brasher Doubloon, 1946.


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