Isabel Jewell {Starlet Dreams}

July 25, 2009

Last Sunday, the day after my first Starlet Dreams post on Irene Ware, I came across a post on Film Noir Photos highlighting Isabel Jewell.

The name might not ring a bell, but I'm sure you've seen her on screen. She had roles in a handful of outstanding 1930's films -- among them, A Tale of Two Cities, Manhattan Melodrama, Gone with the Wind and Evelyn Prentice.

But her roles were very minor. Her best known role today is as Gloria in Lost Horizon. Like many starlets who were given a chance in a big film, Isabel shined. Her performance as the tough-as-nails dying American who has more guts than the men when all their lives are in danger is brilliant.

One can only imagine the high hopes she must have held when she was initially cast in a Ronald Colman/Frank Capra vehicle. (I know MY hopes would have been soaring!) But about two years after the release of Lost Horizon, Isabel falls prey to the same curse that haunted many starlets... credits that read "blonde," "uncredited," "uncredited," First telephone operator"...

When given the chance to shine in good films like Lost Horizon and Marked Woman , or when given the opportunity to star in b-budget films like Marked Men and The Seventh Victim, Isabel proved that she had what it takes. Who knows why some starlets make it and some don't (we've had a heated discussion about the merits of luck vs. determination vs. talent, etc. last week) but whatever the reason, I think it is a darn shame that Isabel Jewell didn't become a star.

If anybody has any more information about Isabel Jewel, please post links in the comments so that I can add to my post!


Amy Perrotti said...

Very Lovely pencil sketch! Just Lovely!

Terence Towles Canote said...

Jewell's career is curious. One has to wonder what happened after Lost Horizon. She never really had a big part in a major motion picture again.

Lolita of the Classics said...

Great drawing of the jewel!

Juliette. said...

How neat-- I saw the same photo thread and thought "hey, she's another actress who coulda made it big but didn't."