Memo on Turner
She was an unlikely addition to MGM’s roster of ‘More stars than there are in Heaven,’ a fashion plate decidedly lacking the upper-crust erotica of Garbo, the highly publicized but otherwise dubious refinement of Norma Shearer, or Greer Garson’s stunning, genteel English rose. Lana had obviously been around the block, a ripe physique filling all the requirements of ‘sweater girl.’ Her thick-lipped, doe-eyed carnality carried the baby fat voluptuousness of Bernadette Peters, but one doubts Lana possessed the self-assurance to comprehend and arrest the caricature and self-parody that lay at her disposal.
If the Postman delivered anything, it was Lana inconceivably cast as a roadhouse hash slinger (!), radiant in open-toed shoes, white blouse and shorts, her beautiful bare legs held in awe by the lens, and those vacant, faraway eyes framed by a turban. Indeed, her introductory shot in that picture stands among the supreme and least plausible of all Hollywood glamour images. The great riddle — what madman cast the warm and fuzzy Cecil Kellaway as the husband? — went unanswered, but no one really cared. Lana had, as they say, ‘arrived.’
She continued mostly in dross, shuttled arbitrarily from one sound stage to another, a clotheshorse for high falutin’ wardrobe in Green Dolphin Street (1947) and The Three Musketeers (1948), the increasingly clenched expression suggesting a stranger to orgasm. Along the way she found herself in Minnelli’s superb The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), her best film. She played an actress who looked and behaved like Lana Turner, on contract at a studio churning out product by the yard, falling under the spell of an impassioned, bridge-burning producer who looked and sounded like Kirk Douglas. If you haven’t seen this one yet, put it at the top of your list.
Minnelli applies finishing touches (click to enlarge).
This image was pilfered from Greenbriar Picture Shows.
Lana at Amazon:
I’m hoping that others involved in the Lana-Thon will fill the blanks regarding Ms. Turner’s underworld connections, her intense and passionate daughter, and all manner of Hollywood Babylonia that surrounds her. Links to other Lana-Thon revelers will be added as time permits: