LIZABETH SCOTT

There’s nothing lonelier than being in a crowded West Village bar in Manhattan full of music, alcohol and conversation, and finding out one of your favorite actresses from ‘those old movies’ has passed away.

LIZABETH SCOTT ( %22DESERT FURY%22 )
LIZABETH SCOTT ( 9 / 29 / 1922 – 1 / 31 / 2015 )

That was my Friday night. What started off as an evening of gaiety waned to this shroud of sadness covering me. I look at my bar acquaintances knowing that I cannot share this sad news with them; not with…one…person…around me. You know what I’d get: “Whose that?” “92? Girl, she old.” Why set myself up for responses that would cut like daggers in my heart? I may be drinking, but I’m not crazy.

LIZABETH SCOTT ( MARTHA )As I scroll through the internet on my iPHONE, I couldn’t resist showing my bartender a photo or two of Lizabeth Scott knowing that, at the very least, a pretty face would be appreciated. It was, and I took that appreciative crumb and went with it. When I look at the FaceBook movie groups I belong to, I find my people. With wild avatars, noms de plume, and friends I’ve come to know, THESE are the people who’ll know what I’m talking about; what I’m feeling. I know all classic film fans don’t like the same classic film stars. That’s cool, we’re not a monolithic group. But you can surely find the people who like what you like within the whole community. I’m still at the bar, steeling myself for the frigid temperature and cold wind that’ll come raging off the Hudson as soon as I open the door. As I stroll through my movie groups, ( yes, stroll ), I could see photos of Lizabeth Scott popping up, with short messages of admiration, sympathy and appreciation. I felt sad, but I felt good knowing that she had fans among the people I understand.

LIZABETH SCOTT ( I )Don’t worry, I’m not blind. I’m aware of Scott’s limitations as an actress. I’m aware of the Confidential exposé back in the 50’s. I know she was supposed to be the “threat” to Bacall and was often saddled with that comparison. But I see the difference between the two. She was her own person…her own type. I’m a fan. Sometimes we like who we like because of, or in spite of those ‘things.’ I first saw her in her first movie, You Came Along waaaay back in my own way back, and wondered “Who’s that?” since I already knew all the movie stars there was to know …when I was a smart-ass teenager. “Hey…she’s different,” I thought. That was the start of my being on the look out for her in my movie travels.

FEMMES NOIR FILM FORUM  FILM FORUM POSTER

I had a grand time last summer at NYC’s Film Forum’s “Femmes Noir” series and one of my best days was the Lizabeth Scott double double feature of “Dead Reckoning” paired with “Pitfall” and “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers” paired with “Too Late for Tears.” I missed the first double feature, but was there for the second pairing, and relished her performances from my too-close-but-love-it-first-row-seat. ( If you’ve been to the Film Forum, you know how crazy close that is. And if you’re ever looking for me in a movie theatre, go down to the first row and work your way up the aisle. You’ll see me. ) I’ve seen about a dozen of her twenty-two feature films. Let me recommend a couple for you to check out. If you have any favorites, please let me know about ’em. You can get a detailed IMDB summary by clicking on the photos below:

LIZABETH SCOTT ( %22DESERT FURY%22 - I )“DESERT FURY” ( 1947 ) – she’s a pouty petulant young rich girl, who doesn’t fit in at school and comes back home to Nevada where her mother is a Casino queen. Scott does what every young girl does: she falls for the wrong older man. And if the man happens to have been an ex-lover of her mother’s, all the better for that sick twisted jolt noir fans enjoy. ( Veda, meet Paula… )

LIZABETH SCOTT ( %22...MARTHA IVERS%22 )

“THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS” ( 1946 ) – She’s a Victim, caught up in something that gets her thrown in the slammer. Noir guy picks her up, but he can’t let go of his past and she hangs on and hangs in there. She’s soft here and vulnerable belying that smoldering voice of hers. She faces off nicely opposite Stanwyck in one scene, though really Scranton, PA is no match for Brooklyn, NY. I wait for their scene every single time. Scott’s surrounded by a good strong cast headed by Stanwyck, Van Heflin and newcomer, Kirk Douglas. She holds her own in this dark drama.

LIZABETH SCOTT ( I WALK ALONE )

“I WALK ALONE” ( 1948 ) – Some one wrote that this was a flat noir. Pish, posh! And ACK! I read all kinds of things on the interweb-machine. I think I Walk Alone is a good one. You know the plot: Lancaster does 17 years in prison after taking the fall for a heist. When he comes out and expects Kirk Douglas to play fair and split the profits of a successful nightclub, well, you know noir…THAT ain’t gonna happen. And if you know Noir, you know Lizabeth is the girl who is perfect for late 1940’s film. She’s a glamorous chanteuse with ( a dubbed voice ) – who finds love with underdog Lancaster. It screams 1940’s in a plot you’ve probably seen before. But that’s okay. I bathe in the look and sound of the film. Check it out.

LIZABETH SCOTT ( %22PITFALL%22 )

“PITFALL” ( 1948 ) – Again, Lizabeth is the nice girl, who’s caught between a rock and a hard place; loving a married man (Dick Powell) but being loved (read: STALKED) by an obsessive and hulking Raymond Burr. When does it come to ANY good having Raymond Burr fixated on you? Again Scott is caught up in something beyond her control, which is a wonderful position to see her in. ( More on “Pitfall” when I talk of extra-marital affairs in the movies later this year ).

LIZABETH SCOTT ( COMPANY )“THE COMPANY SHE KEEPS” (1951)  – She’s got the boring nice girl part of parole officer. Jane Greer plays the ex-con struggling to go the straight and narrow. It’s a change of pace to see Scott not use her voice and persona to smoldering effect. And we get the female p.o.v. of what it’s like to get back into Society’s good graces after jail time. But what happens when a good, hard-working gal has to compete with a lying, semi-dangerous jailbird? See how THAT plays out, though for the life of me having Dennis O’Keefe as catnip for these two ladies to fight over, just does’t sit right with my fantasies. ( But there IS RAW DEAL. And I have to say, as a bad boy, he’s good ).

Seeing her in Westerns is a bit rough for me. She’ll be in the constraints of the 19th century, hair in a ponytail, long long skirt,  only allowed to look adoringly at our hero. Not that anything’s wrong with that, but in the 40’s she gets to hold a gun, smoke cigarettes and double cross anyone. She moreso suits my tastes in Too Late for Tears.” She so relentlessly pursues this money, she even scares Dan Duryea, who now wants to get away from her.

LIZABETH SCOTT ( THE RACKET ) LIZABETH SCOTT ( STOLEN FACE ) LIZABETH SCOTT ( PAID IN FULL ) LIZABETH SCOTT ( 2 OF A KIND ) LIZABETH SCOTT ( %22DARK CITY%22 ) LIZABETH SCOTT ( EASY LIVING )

Of all those blondes in Hollywood, she wasn’t cotton candy, or feline. She wasn’t a waif or wisecracker. She didn’t sing or dance or ice-skate. She was a bombshell with just a little edge. She could be hard or soft, victim or vixen. She’d pull a gun on you if she had to. Her husky voice promised much. Lizabeth Scott is gone. And ever since I attended my first TCM Film Festival in 2011 I’ve been baying at the moon for someone at TCM to bring Scott to the festival to intro one of her films or to appear on TCM. Friends who know me have known that that was one of my biggest wishes for the festival. Perhaps that never was going to happen anyway. Now, it really never will.

LIZABETH SCOTT ( NOIR QUEEN )

Lizabeth Scott was a link back to the 40’s and to my favorite genre: Film Noir. At 92, she lived a very long life. At 92, I only hope she knew how many fans she had. At 92, I still have to say…too soon. Time to leave the bar and face the cold.

Lizabeth Scott’s home sold for $2.45 million dollars:

http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/hot-property/la-fi-hotprop-lizabeth-scott-20150605-story.html

P.S. ~ Searching for Emma Matzo, read HERE.

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21 thoughts on “LIZABETH SCOTT

    • Hey T,
      I feel ya sweetheart because as you know Lizabeth Scott was and remains one of my favorite actors. Yes she was compared to Lauren Bacall (so too was Joanne Dru) but she was a great actor and beauty in her own right. Its difficult for me to single out any one performance as I love her in each and every appearance but I especially like her in “I Walk Alone” with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas and am sorely disappointed in “silver Lode” with John Payne and Dan Duryea as she (and her character) had little to do but look pretty and helplessly stand by her man! Her beauty, poise, nuance, ability, and incredibly sexy and unique voice stand alone and apart from all others because for me, there was no one quite like Lizabeth Scott and already I miss her terribly. May she rest in peace and may we all continue to enjoy her legacy of performances and films.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi there Marvin – You speak eloquently about one of our favorite actresses. Now that movies can “talk” having a great expressive voice is an asset for an actor, and Lizabeth Scott had that. ( I’ve never heard the Joanne Dru comparison. Interesting. ) “Silver Lode” – Whew! That’s a rough one. I’d rather see her in the 20th century, preferably with a trenchcoat belted at the waist. “I Walk Alone” stands out for me because it’s sooooo 1940’s; even though she gives a bravura performance in “Too Late for Tears” ( I’m telling you man, even Dan Duryea was trying to get away from her ) my emotional center lies with her in “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.” I won’t gild the lily. You said it all about her. When TCM finally puts together their little tribute to her, as they do, well…I dunno. It’ll really be real.

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  1. This is a lovely tribute to one of our favorite players, Theresa. How fortunate that she lived long enough to see her work remembered and appreciated by so many people. This is one of the reasons that Film is my favorite form of Theatre; the Stage has no history, only memories, and you know how fragile they can be.

    I don’t know where those crazy comparisons come from. One of the marks of greatness in an actor is her uniqueness. She has never reminded me of anyone but Lizabeth Scott.

    I am reminded of a party game that flourished for a week or two sometime in the past. We would remove the first letter of an actor’s name and chuckle or howl at the result. The only one I remember is “Ickey Rooney”! Is this due for a revival?

    This has been a great start to the day, with new comments on four other posts on The Couch. Keep ’em flying, Pal!

    Liked by 1 person

    • History…memories…unique-ness…yes to all you write. There’s an eight part interview of Lizabeth Scott on YouTube done a few scant years ago. So she did know her work was appreciated. ( Good. ) Again, thanxx for your comments and encouragement, Bob. Hope to keep this blog interesting.

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  2. Theresa, you need to see PAID IN FULL (1950), a full-blown melodrama (what they used to call “women’s pictures”) or, as Maltin declares, a “turgid soaper” in which Scott and Diana Lynn play siblings who are both in love with Robert Cummings. Diana is the shallow, spoiled, materialistic younger sibling and the one that Bob marries. Liz is the self-sacrificing one. You can see where this is going. When they find out that Diana can’t have babies, Liz steps up to the plate to give poor Bob a baby. But there are complications…. Oh, and music by Victor Young! “Turgid”? I don’t think so…

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    • Hi Brian – I have seen in “Paid In Full” about a hundred and thirty years ago. Yes I know the film, the melodrama, the self-sacrificing Scott, the meaner younger sister…and the baby. Oh the baby. I’d love to re-visit this movie.

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  3. Nice,beautiful tribute to Ms. Scott—-just saw Dead Reckoning—her film with Bogart—at least twice over the past month, and I think it’s one of the best of the three films I’ve seen her in, especially because she gets to play the femme fatale in it and use a gun,too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello there…thanks for reading. I haven’t seen “Dead Reckoning” for a while, but Bogie certainly has his hands full, doesn’t he? Besides, “Dead Reckoning” what else have you seen Lizabeth Scott in? “…especially because she gets to play the femme fatale in it and use a gun,too.” LOL! You said it! My favorite combination in film noir. That doesn’t work too well in musicals. Thank you for enjoying my tribute. Appreciate it.

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    • Thank you Rob. I hope to keep my blog entertaining. Lizabeth Scott…this one really hit me. I’m a fan. Victim or vixen…L0L! I have to say I liked writing that. “…Martha Ivers” is one of my favorite film of the 1940’s. Thanxx again for checking out my essays. Still looking for something from you about a film that resonates with you. You’re a filmmaker and a film buff as well.

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    • Hi there Arthur. 🙂 Welcome to my Couch. And thank you for your comments. After reading your own lovely tribute ( check it out here folks ) I re-read what I wrote and thought: “Egads, T. You sure wear your heart on your sleeve for everyone to see.” But I figure those who come across my blog are kindred spirits. You are one, and that you actually got to meet her, in person, in the flesh?! My boy, my boy!! I envy you. Thank you again for checking me out here. I just saw Easy Living this morning on TCM and it opened up a tender wound seeing and hearing Lizabeth Scott. Only a classic film fan might think 90-something is still too young to leave us.

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  4. Thank you for the beautiful article, this news saddened me too. She was an incredible person and I think it is inappropriate to compare her with Bacall, they are completely different.
    I’m a big fan of Lizabeth Scott from Russia, unfortunately I don’t speak in English, and most of her films are not translated in my language, so I saw a few films with her participation. The most memorable is “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers” and “Pitfall”. I very much want to see the film “I walk alone”, because there is still play two of my favorite actors, but I cann’t find it even in the original.
    I will miss her. Rest in peace, Lizabeth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie ~ thank you for your nice sentiments towards Lizabeth Scott. I am a big fan of hers and was really sorry that Turner Classic Movies could not get her out to their film festival for us fans to talk to her. I also like the films you’ve mentioned and hope you get to see “I Walk Alone.” Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and the lovely Lizabeth Scott were made for Film Noir. Thank you for your comments! 🙂 Wait…you’re from Russia? Wow!

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      • Here don’t arrange festivals of foreign film, even though the cultural exchange is so important, I had never seen old films on the big screen, so I have a movie to watch on the TV screen with russian subtitles – but it’s the best thing that I could wish for.
        Yes, I’m from Russia, here also like good movies and appreciate good actors 🙂

        Mmm… if I compared the Lisabeth with someone, it would be Patricia Neal, she left us also too soon. No, they have different roles, but both of them were not fully disclosed and don’t worked with directors who would show the whole world their talent.

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