WHO WEARS THE PANTS…


I’m going to steal, plagarize, imitate ( yeh, that’s the ticket… ) ~ …no, better yet: PAY HOMAGE to a feature from one of my favorite bloggers’ set-pieces: FRIDAY FOTO FOLLIES. And since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I hope my friend approves.

What Aurora over at ONCE UPON A SCREEN does, is post a lot of photos that illustrate a theme. She does all manner of these. Click on Audrey and see what I mean.

We have seen some of the most beautiful women in classic Hollywood wearing designs fit for a Queen…gowned by Edith Head, Irene, Givenchy, Orry-Kelly, Yves St. Laurent et al. But I’m a jeans and boots girl. Casual is my speed. I think slacks are the most comfortable, freeing thing to wear. Taking a page from Once Upon A Screen, my post is self~explanatory: WHO WEARS THE PANTS. Here are some of my favorite actresses in outfits either from a movie, photo~shoot or just lounging around. Some of you might think this look is very unfeminine. But you’d be wrong.

I’ll start with the Patron Mistresses of Pants…Dietrich and Hepburn. And Garbo. Can’t forget Garbo. Comfort Queens.

  
Dietrich                                                     Hepburn


Hepburn wears this beautiful smoking jacket lounging outfit in “Woman of the Year
( 1942 ) and it’s one of my absolute favorites.

  

Androgyny, much?

   
Top hat, white tail and tails. No one wears this better. Alright…if you must count Fred Astaire.

The Great Garbo

Ninotchka” “Anna Karenina” “Queen Christina” and for me, her greatest performance… “Camille” ~ Garbo reigned supreme in classic films of the silent and talkie era. Her mystique is unique. She wore a lot of exotic styles in her films and could carry them off. Not glamorous here, but I love her casual look:


Comfort over style

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Here are some other actresses wearing the pants off…pants.


When I was a kid and watched her in tv’s “Bewitched” I probably had little idea of the fabulous career she had as a leading character actress. My favorite performances of AGNES MOOREHEAD are “Dark Passage” “Caged” and “Magnificent Obsession.” She can cut you to the bone ( “Citizen Kane” ) ~ She wasn’t afraid to be what her character needed her to be. But she also could be a friend. Doesn’t Aggie look marvelously relaxed and youthful here?

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She didn’t care for the name, but ANN SHERIDAN was the Oomph Girl and with good reason; she had it in spades. She was Warner Bros’ glamor girl, but if they gave her half a chance, she showed ’em she could act. Whether comedy or drama, Sheridan could handle both with equal aplomb. She’s pictured here with her director Vincent Sherman, who did two pictures with her: “The Unfaithful” and “Nora Prentiss.” Look at those shades and the hair…do a pair of slacks look like it deters Vinnie? He’s at her feet. 

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Here’s my petite Force of Nature…the Queen, BETTE DAVIS. She built many a soundstage at Warner Bros. from the box office success of her films. Seeing her in pants was such an unusual thing because it’s all about dresses for women back then. I like her riding outfit in “Dark Victory.” For me, that look is prognosis positive. Oooh look, Cora Witherspoon who could play to the manor born or W.C. Fields’ wife. I also like Davis’ outfit in “The Great Lie” when she was keeping Mary Astor company while waiting for “their” baby to be born.

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CAROLE LOMBARD ~ 1930’s icon. She was much more than a screwball comedienne. See her in “Vigil in the Night” “In Name Only” or “Made for Each Other.” But gosh darn it, it’s “My Man Godfrey” and “Twentieth Century” that cements her in our memory almost ninety years later. Looks like she’s talking to the great Lubitsch and comfortable doing it. Could it be… or not to be?

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CLAUDETTE COLBERT could wear the hell out of clothes with that petite little figure of hers. ( Her wedding gown in “It Happened One Night” is to die for! ) She had a great career in film ( “The Palm Beach Story” “Midnight” and “Since You Went Away“…to name a few ) but look at her here at home, chilling out…just as you’d expect from Cleopatra.

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One of my all~time favorite movie stars is DORIS DAY. I am just over the silvery moon about her. Pretty nautical here in her decidedly 1940’s stylized look. What a career she’s had ( comedy/drama/sing/dance ) working with some of the great leading men in Hollywood like Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, David Niven, Jack LemmonKirk Douglas…and three guys name Jim: Garner ~ Cagney ~ Stewart. She could also wear her clothes, without them wearing her, whether she’s Calamity Jane or a suburban housewife.  She could do anything. Really. 

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There she is, A girl’s best friend. The great EVE ARDEN who comes in a movie with five minutes of screen time and out she memorably exits, screen left. Here she is in her “Stagedoor” chill. The woman can wear anything. She’s as statuesque as a super model and as sharp as a laser beam. See “Mildred Pierce” if you need proof.

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GINGER ROGERS ~ She could do comedy, drama and dance her *** off. She can put on the glam with the best of ’em ( have you seen her outfits w/dance partner Fred Astaire? ) Doesn’t she look great in these wide legged pants? I always found her to be a natural onscreen.

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HARLOW in satin…is a dream. In slacks…sort of like you and me. I mean, if you and me were glamorous movie star bombshells being relaxed. My favorite films of hers are “Bombshell” and “Libeled Lady” and of course, “Dinner At Eight.” Harlow…you were gone too soon.

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This is my favorite look of IRENE DUNNE’s. She’s on set of “A Guy Named Joe.” She had a nice slacks outfit in “The Awful Truth” too. Never over the top, her talent is always under the radar.

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JENNIFER JONES looks rather pensive. A far cry from her “Portrait of Jennie” “Duel in the Sun” “Madame Bovary” looks. People blow hot or cold over Jones, but I think she’s a fine underrated actress able to exhibit wells of emotion. Her trying to retrieve her love letters from a burning fire brings me to tears. xoxoxo these pants and boots!

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KEEPING UP WITH THE JOANS ~

   

Blonde in the 30’s, brunette in the 40’s. The great underestimated JOAN BENNETT. She can fit any place: on safari or a scarlet street or be the mother of a bride. Yes her sister Constance is known as THE fashion plate. But little sister Joan’s not bad. She’s stylish as diamonds with attitude for days. Whew!!

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She looks like she stepped out of 2018 with those shades and jumpsuit. What can I say about her. No one wore clothes like her. They say no one loved being a movie star more than JOAN CRAWFORD. Well if you’re going to be good at something…

Her career spans decades. I’m partial to her Oscar-winning role in “Mildred Pierce.” But she was good in “Rain“, “Daisy Kenyon” and with Gable. Hell, she’s a STAR!

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“THE LOOK”

You know how to whistle don’t you? LAUREN BACALL is worth whistling for. She was known as “The Look” in her modeling days, and boy she had it. She was never the frilly feminine type. Very tailored. Pants suit her, don’cha think? I like her in “Dark Passage” and “Written on the Wind.” I dunno…I kind of think she was never really given a chance to bloom as an actress. Perhaps not getting good scripts. Perhaps overshadowed by her more famous husband. Perhaps there was more to Life for her. In movies, she always seems down~to~earth, no nonsense; a little intimidating. If you approach her, you’d better bring it. 

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You can’t get more doe-like, more feminine than Loretta Young. Even in this staged photo shoot, she’s a vision. ( Pssst! See her strong performances in “The Stranger” and “Midnight Mary.” )

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For this flaming redhead, comedy or drama, gowns or slacks…LUCILLE BALL could do and wear it all with ease. Yeh, I love Lucy.

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This is MERLE OBERON playing George Sand in “A Song to Remember.” And I have to tell you, I’m floored by this costume. Isn’t it smart? Merle, a unique looking beauty, hasn’t made movies were so memorable other than the towering “Wuthering Heights.” ( I personally like her and Dana Andrews in “Night Song” ). My claim to fame is when I went to see the throngs of stars attend the premiere of “The Godfather” ( 1972 ) back in NYC, I saw Merle Oberon with Robert Wolders. Very few people were excited by seeing her. Boy, I was.

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One of my favorites…PAULETTE GODDARD walks with her beau, Charlie…swinging her shades. Looking sassy, stylish, comfortable and nonchalant. I understand her collection of jewels and paintings is unparalleled in Hollywood. Another actress with not a stellar filmography, her role in “The Women” is a standout. My friend Wendy writes a wonderful essay for my blog on Goddard I urge you to read.

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The Love Goddess is looking mighty casual here in a pair of slacks. Hell, I confess…I don’t care WHAT  RITA HAYWORTH  wears.

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MY STANY!!!!

These are my two favorite fotos of Stany. One she looks younger than one remembers her, and the other she’s so disheveled in “My Reputation” ( 1946 ), her hair and plaid jacket just kill me. 

    

But the theme is pants…

Her career is legendary. But get a load of that blouse, the belt, those leopard print shoes, her attitude. That’s BARBARA STANWYCK alright. See her hand in her pocket? Damn, she’s ready to kick ass, and she ain’t takin’ names either. Elegant.

     

Thank you all for perusing my Friday Foto Follies. I might try this again in the future with another theme I’ve gathered along my way. Once again, I tip my hat to Aurora over at Once Upon A Screen who can REALLY show that a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out her photo galleries by clicking on this photo of 40’s horror Queen, Evelyn Ankers:

…and this?  Oh…it’s just my indulgence. I’m an Evelyn Ankers fan:

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STANWYCK!

 

STANWYCK COLLAGE

Even her name sounds strong and sturdy.

BARBARA STANWYCK BLOGATHON ( II )Stanwyck sadly passed away this day in 1990. There are some people so vibrant and alive and potent, you forget that they too must shuffle off this mortal coil. She really was a force of Nature. But look, no sad songs today. Today, we raise our glass to her memory with this blogathon: REMEMBERING BARBARA STANWYCK

She’s one Ruby Stevens, a girl from Brooklyn brought up in foster homes with limited education and OUT on her own at sixteen. She worked burlesque and the chorus line. She married a big Broadway star, goes west with him and gets tapped by Fate. Even then, she didn’t work in the glam factory of an M-G-M or Paramount, but toiled at Poverty Row: Columbia Studios. Newly-minted director Frank Capra saw something in DIRECTORS ( CAPRA & STANWYCK )Barbara Stanwyck  – she had something. He was willing to work with her. She becomes his muse in picture after picture after picture. And the result? Fifty years of a career. She strides across the stage, head up, shoulders back, posture perfect and stands there, taking in all the love, admiration and applause an audience can give a career well-earned.

How do you want her? Soft and vulnerable or hard-boiled and brassy? She could stride across a ranch in denim and boots or a nightclub in gown and high heels. She cut her teeth on sophisticated / screwball comedies and the darkest of dramas. She’s a reporter or mother; a damsel-in-distress or a cold-blooded murderer. She’s a woman of the West or a burlesque queen. ( Pssst! Thats Theresa Harris in the first Stanwyck photo. )

BARBARA STANWYCK ( %22BABY FACE%22 )BARBARA STANWYCK ( BURLESQUE )BARBARA STANWYCK ( MARTHA IVERS )BARBARA STANWYCK ( LADIES...)

She’s played the good wife and the adulterer. She can be upper crust or low brow. Stanwyck has an arsenal at her disposal: gun, whip or a pair of scissors. She’s a pre-code chickadee who’ll jerk your tears and she ain’t afraid of no cigar-smokin’ dames either. Her best weapon of mass destruction is her volcanic anger, or worse, her tears and that quivering chin. Be careful…shell use ’em on you to get what she wants, or let you know just how she feels.

STANWYCK ( 1920's ) 00d/14/koal/14512/01 MISSY STANWYCK ( XIX )

In our current era of make-overs, Botoxed faces and siliconed body parts…Stanwyck let Nature take its course throughout her career; her hair prematurely grey, she let herself be. She has a 30s look in the 1930s, a 40’s look in the 1940s and a 50’s look in the 1950s. She was a woman of the times. ( And went to tv, too! )

KARIN IN MOVIES ( JOEL McCREA-I )MISSY STANWYCK & ROBERT RYANSTANWYCK & GABLE ( 1950's - 1 )

STANWYCK MONGO ( I )

Happier times…

Stanwyck is a many-faceted actress which you know if you’ve seen her performances. She’s been the envy of many an actress in Hollywood, working with some of the era’s great leading men – among them McCrea, Lancaster, Holden, Ryan, Cooper and Gable. It’s a kick to me that she worked with Henry Fonda…and then years later, his daughter Jane. She probably was the envy of many a woman in America by ( “trading up” from Frank Fay ) marrying the dashingly handsome Robert Taylor with whom she appeared – in three movies. At the end of the day, she was clearly, a hard working actress.

For me, Stanwyck has only two rivals ~ The first one: BETTE DAVIS. They were aware of each other; even appeared in the same movie, once. (So Big”) Davis is a touch more histrionic in her acting style, while Stanwyck more down-to-earth. I daresay Stanwyck could cut across genres easier than Davis, handling with ease drama, comedy and westerns. ( I love ya Bette, but I aint never seen you ride a horse. No…I dont count “Dark Victory.” ) But she and Davis could shoot a man down with equal venom, and Bette also knew a thing or three about working with the creme de la creme of leading men…actually sharing some of them with Stanwyck:

    STANWYCK Youthful  BETTE DAVIS ( SWEET BLONDE )

STANWYCK     ………………         “SO BIG”        …………….    DAVIS

The Lady Eve        ………………  Fonda    …………….    Jezebel
These Wilder Years”      …………  Cagney  …………….    The Bride Came C.O.D.
The Two Mrs. Carrolls   ………..  Bogart   ……………..   Marked Woman
Double Indemnity       …………..  Eddie G. …………….   Kid Galahad
Cry Wolf           ………………….  Flynn     ……………..   …Elizabeth & Essex
B. F.’s Daughter ………………..  Coburn  ……………..  In This Our Life
My Reputation   …………………  Brent    ……………….  Dark Victory
Witness to Murder  ……………..  Sanders  …………….  All About Eve
Crime of Passion  ………………. Hayden   …………….. The Star
The Violent Men  ………………..  Ford      ……………… A Stolen Life

Stanwycks other rival is…her self – striving to do better and more challenging work. She put herself in ( or was contracted to ) the good strong capable hands of Lang, Sturges, Mann. Throw in Wilder and Wellman for good measure. She gives a director what he wants and needs. She acts as if she were talking; not in her beginnings –  have you ever seen “The Locked Door? ) but as she learned and grew, the lines sounded like words and thoughts coming from her head. Very natural. But you know what…Id have given anything to see Stanwyck and Davis cross swords in the 1940s ). 

Let me take a little look at a couple of Stanwyck films that stir my heart.

FILM NOIR

Now we’re talkin’! Now we’re getting into it! Now we’re getting down to brass tacks! The heart of darkness. Film noir. Scheming, betraying, murder. What’s a girl to do? Sometimes it’s the only way out. Stanwyck shines in the dark. Or is that the gleam from her gun?

BARBARA STANWYCK ( %22DOUBLE INDEMNITY%22 )DOUBLE INDEMNITY” ( 1944 ) ~ I’ll never get used to that godawful wig. But her Phyllis Dietrichson is brilliant; she entraps basically smart-ass, good guy Fred MacMurray in a way that’s delicious to watch. Really, like a spider. I think this is Stanwycks first foray into real darkness. The Code demands heads, but not before emotional mayhem ensues. I love Eddie G. in this. He’s the heart and soul that Walter lost and Phyllis probably never had.

BARBARA STANWYCK ( %22MARTHA IVERS%22 )THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS” (1946) ~ One of my absolute favorite favorites, I love how the story unfolds and covers you like a dark heavy blanket. I’m now at peace with Van Heflin, ( I didn’t use to be crazy about him but I am now ) one of the few actors I now think can, frankly, handle Stanwyck. Pouty husky-voiced victimized sultry noir siren, Lizabeth Scott is also featured. (Sadly, shes gone just about a year now). Shes the antithesis of Stanwycks Martha. I think Kirk Douglas hits it out of the park in his first movie, standing toe-to-toe with the Mighty Stanwyck. But it’s Her picture all the way. I love her look – elegant, kind of hard but not brittle. At times domineering and vulnerable, her character’s trapped by circumstances and must live with the heavy weight of lies. I wind up feeling sorry for her, but of course she has to pay.

BARBARA STANWYCK ( SORRY )SORRY, WRONG NUMBER” ( 1948 ) ~ What’s it like not to be able to get out of your own way. Stanwyck does it here and pays the price. I always want her to have the upperhand. Lancaster’s in it, castrated, by her and her rich Daddy. ( Ann Richards appears in this one, too. ) Stanwyck: strong-willed, pitiable, bitch, victim; painful to watch. Shes a spoiled woman with psychosomatic issues. Get outta that bed Leona. She wont. She cant.

DRAMA

CLASH BY NIGHT” ( 1952 ) ~ She’s moved into her 1950’s phase, still trying to live life on her characters’ terms. In “Clash…” she marries a man she’s no good for and lusts after a man who’s no good for her. You know, your typical female conundrum. Stanwyck can do it.

CRIME OF PASSION” ( 1957 ) ~ I always thought this was an interesting feminist picture. Alright alright, get back here. Don’t run away. Don’t let that word scare you. What I mean is that this is an object lesson in what can go wrong when a woman is not allowed to follow her own ambition. When Stanwyck is not allowed to be all that she can be as a journalist, she has to resort to her real job…getting a husband. So she marries the big blonde hunky very unambitious Johnny Guitar ( Sterling Hayden ). But love is not enough. She can’t hang out with the husbands after dinner for cards and politics. She’s got to go into the kitchen with the wives and gossip. Her ambition has no where to go. She must project her drive onto husband Sterling Hayden…with a little Raymond Burr on the side. ( Well, not so little. ) You got it…a wonderfully twisted recipe for disaster.

THE GAY SISTERS” ( 1942 ) ~ I like this movie. She looks great – ultimate 1940’s, she’s the matriarchal patriarch of her two sisters and they’re fighting for their fathers inheritance. She’s stubborn and driven and paired again with her great co-star, George Brent. ( See “So Big” ). She doesnt have a hard edge in this one, but she is strong-willed.

GEORGE BRENT ( BARBARA STANWYCK )

MY REPUTATION” ( 1946 ) ~ A different kind of Stanwyck…very little self-assurance. ( Her character makes me think a little of Davis in “Now, Voyager”). Shes got great support here from Eve Arden and one of her favorite leading men, George Brent. And yes yes its a “woman’s picture” ( and I do put that in quotes ) but thats okay. I know Stanwyck can play fierce, strong and independent…but I like that, in this movie, those traits are buried under the quivering chin of a frozen virginal widow who needs permission to live and love. And big ol’ stalwart Brent is just the guy who can cajole and thaw her. The gender politics of it all is, oh dear, very dated. But I dont laugh. I put myself in another time…another place…another mindset. I watch Stanwyck play that woman very well, even though I know she was not of it. Please read my guest writers ( TRUDY RING’s ) take on “My Reputation.” Thanx!

COMEDY

STANWYCK ( %22Ball of Fire%22 )  STANWYCK ( %22The Lady Eve%22 )

It looks like Im giving short shrift to Stanwycks comedies…but there are plenty of blogathon entries that will cover her filmography in depth. “The Lady Eve” and “Ball of Fire” both from 1941, are two of her bonafide classics. We can see she can handle light-hearted material; she gets the satire of Sturges. Shes playful ( Come on Potsie, Hook on! ) Love sort of sneaks up on her in both films in different ways. Shes calculating in one film, purposefully setting her sights on the poor innocent and in the other one, while spending time with sweet Coop, love takes her by surprise even though shes controlling events.

STANWYCK ( %22Remember the Night%22 )

A great romantic drama of hers is Remember the Night teaming her in the first of four films with Fred MacMurray. She was very good as a street-wise gal who transforms when shown kindness and love. Shes wonderful in this.

WESTERNS

BARBARA STANWYCK ( OUT WEST - II )

I’d like to see Dale Evans or Bette Davis do that!

BARBARA STANWYCK ( NIGHT NURSE ) BARBARA STANWYCK ( OUT WEST - I )

With arms akimbo its a pretty powerful stance: aggressive…power and done with contempt. “Hey, whaddya think you’re pullin’ around here?! You’ve got the wrong baby!”

STANWYCK MONGO ( VI )

She and Taylor owned a ranch with horses so we can see her comfort and skill around them in films. Stanwyck reigns as Queen of the West with Forty Guns” “Annie Oakley” “The Maverick Queen” “The Violent Men” “The Furies and later on tvs “The Big Valley”.  A gun…a whip…her tongue, no matter. Whatever. Shell hit her mark. Shes in charge. 

STANWYCK w:a GunBARBARA STANWYCK ( JOHN DOE )BARBARA STANWYCK ( GEN YEN ) BARBARA STANWYCK ( MARTHA IVERS )

STANWYCK & CRAWFORDYes, she’s a product of her time and could back down and be soft for the right strong man. But underneath it all I do believe she let him believe he was the boss. At the end of the day, I wouldve given my eye-teeth to see Stanwyck match up against Crawford in “Johnny Guitar.” They were friends off-camera, as well.

STANWYCK STATUEMany many years ago, Stanwyck was honored at Lincoln Centers Avery Fisher Hall. Yes, I was there. I attended the ceremony sitting all the way in the back of the auditorium watching film clip after film clip, after movie star praise the actress. She was sitting up in those fancy side balcony seats – box seats – and was finally introduced to the crowd. I, along with a couple of brave souls, ran down to the front of the auditorium when she came onstage. I snapped a few pictures of her, praying to the gods of Kodak that they would come out. I used slide film and the pictures did come out. Yes, it was still far away and she looked a little like a cotton-top, but the somewhat blurry pictures came out. Thing is, I actually saw her with my own eyes.

STANWYCK MONG ( III ) STANWYCK MONGO ( III ) STANWYCK MONGO ( IV )

STANWYCK MONGO ( II )Barbara Stanwyck is a ball of fire who sometimes likes to walk on the wild side. She won’t ever cry wolf because she is as straight-shootin’ as Annie Oakley. If a man with a cloak gets sick, Stanwyck will play night nurse for him. But don’t get her wrong. There won’t be anything illicit about it. If he wants to please a lady, he just has to be patient for that breakfast-for-two with Stanwyck. You can’t accuse her of having no man of her own. If she is to meet John Doe, he’ll have to pass muster with her gay sisters. But that should be easy as long as you don’t treat Stanwyck like a lady of burlesque. And if you move a little too fast with her and she gives you that withering Stanwyck glare, have no fear. There’s always tomorrow. WHEW!! …And all titles are hot-linked within that paragraph, too. Well how many titles can YOU work in?

BARBARA STANWYCK ( FIRE )

Does fifty-plus years feel like fifty-plus years when youre working your way to the top? Heart breaks and heartaches, crushes and estrangements, hurt feelings, disappointments and regrets…A Human Life. But there were accomplishments and triumphs that probably went beyond Stanwyck’s wildest dreams. She could vicariously live many lives through the women she played and I believed most everything she did. I can only hope she didnt measure herself against anyone but herself. And even doing that probably caused her sleepless nights.

If you want to catch up with the other entries made on Stany’s behalf…please click on this banner to read more great entries. Thanks for hosting this, Crystal:

BARBARA STANWYCK BLOGATHON

 

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