There were many very pretty girls-next-door in 1940’s Hollywood: Evelyn Keyes, Cathy O’Donnell, Esther Williams, Allene Roberts and of course…Donna Reed. But my favorite of favorites is Teresa Wright. It’s not just that we share the same name ( me with the “H” and her without ), that’s just fun for me. But she’s a favorite because there’s a certain gravitas underneath all her pretty. She hits it out of the park in her first six or so movies…back-to back wonderful productions which TCM’s Summer Under the Stars features for today. Some of their programming of Wright’s films hits the heart of the matter of her career.
Her eyes smile, and she’s got a distinctive voice like tinkling glass. She’s direct, she’s earnest. There’s a sincerity about her that shines through. Nothing saccharine. She’s very natural. She’s a loving wife or the girl you come home to. She’s strong-willed and determined, like a pioneer woman, with their inner strength and steel. Not edgy. She played nice girls and made herself interesting enough for you to pay attention. I’ve not seen “Pursued” but it’s one of the first of these post-war psychological westerns she stars in with Robert Mitchum.
From what I’ve read, she wouldn’t do cheesecake, preferring to be known just for her acting. She was free-lance, not tied to just one studio. She’s nominated in 1942 for both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for “Pride of the Yankees” and “Mrs. Miniver” respectively and wins for “Mrs. Miniver”. What a charmed start she’s had…her first movie is opposite the great Bette Davis ( “The Little Foxes” ), and her second film is opposite M-G-M’s Greer Garson ( “Mrs. Miniver” ). She makes a third movie and play Gary Cooper’s wife ( “The Pride of the Yankees” ). How about her fourth film…working with the Master of Suspense – Alfred Hitchcock, and he has faith in you to work opposite Joseph Cotten in “Shadow 0f A Doubt.” ( See my MovieCHAT about this film ).
He has the faith she can pull off a role where you’re going toe-to-toe with a serial killer that’s in your family and your family’s safety is in your very hands. Hitch picked the right Actress. Now you make your sixth film…how lucky a girl can she be having Myrna Loy and Fredric March as parents, working oppo-site Dana Andrews in a production that is the prestigious Oscar-winning film “The Best Years Of Our Lives.” Teresa Wright was up for the challenge. With marriage, children and the 1950’s looming, Wright does a lot of television. She’s a working actor. She acted from the Inside. Quiet, subtle, no tricks or tics. She’s held her own with veterans right from the start of her movie career.
So today, TCM and I are partners-in-crime in our adoration for this fine actress. I hope you’re part of the club.
( H O M E )