Ann Sheridan

August 30, 2010

by Monty Hawes
of All Good Things

guest blogger

I was trying to think of a good blog about Ann to write when I finally settled on the first film I saw with Ann. This will be kind of a two for one because I really can't remember the details of the first Ann film I saw, but I definitely remember the second. Anyway it was around the late 80's I believe and I was 16 or 17 and WTBS (the station started by Ted Turner, which would eventually lead the way for TCM) was showing Kings Row, co-starring Ronald Reagan. Well the plot line of this film intrigued me, so I wanted to watch it. But I was being constantly bothered while it was on. If it wasn't my mom, it was one of my three younger sisters. And plus it was being aired with commercials. But the real kicker was the way the film was presented. I don't know how many people remember the idea of Ted Turner wanted to make classic movies more presentable to newer fans. And he okayed the horrible decision of colorizing older films. It may have been a good idea in theory, but it was disaster when it was actually done. The color was garish on every classic film that his company touched. And since he owned the MGM library, that's a lot. Kings Row was one of the films he put his hand on and it made for a horrible viewing experience. Like I said I can't remember much about the film other than it was the first film I saw Ann Sheridan perform in. So it's noteworthy in that regard, but I need to watch it again. This time in it's original presentation.

Now the first Ann film that I truly remember watching would be the comedy I Was A Male War Bride with my favorite actor, Cary Grant. It aired on AMC, when that station showed movies with no commercials. I remember enjoying myself immensely while watching this film and fell immediately in love with Ann. At the time my favorite leading ladies were the big veterans like Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine, Olivia de Havilland, Marilyn Monroe, etc. So when Ann came along, she was a breath of fresh air to me. Her performance as Lt. Catherine Gates was a delight, and she more than held her own with the indomitable Cary. After viewing Male War Bride, I assumed Ann was a regular comedic performer, but didn't find out until later, that other than a few select comedies such as The Man Who Came to Dinner and The Dough Girls, Ann was regularly featured in melodramas and early gangster yarns. She always handled every performance with expertise, but to this day, I wished she had made more comedies. She was just so fluid and funny and sexy in Male War Bride, that in several scenes, she manages to outshine Mr. Grant. Which was no easy task.

So while Kings Row is widely regarded as Ann's best performance, which I need to see again before I can make that claim, I always think of I Was A Male War Bride as the role which I first saw her in and loved from the very minute she appears on film.


Sam said...

Oh how lovely! She was so gorgeous!

Artman2112 said...

i'm a HUGE Ann Sheridan fan and collector so it's really nice to see her get a post here! i think Ann is one of the most under-appreciated actresses of her day. she was a natural and always good no matter what tripe WB put her in. She could not only hold her own with Cary Grant, you can add Cagney, Bogey, Flynn, Garfield, Bette, Ida, you name it, no one was gonna steal her thunder and she always added a little something extra to a film just by being in it. She had style, talent and was drop dead freakin beautiful to boot.
If you wanna see Ann practically steal a film from Mr Cagney watch "Torrid Zone"! not only is it a hilarious break neck paced comedy-adventure with a great cast but Ann really gets a chance to shine. the script gave her some real zingers and her cat fighting with Helen Vinson is worth the price of admission alone! another great comedy with Ann, "George Washington Slept here" with Jack Benny! Ann plays straight man and does it with style and elegance. i remember seeing director Vincent Sherman on TCM several years ago and he said he felt Ann and Ava Gardner were very similar in that they both were beauty queens who came to hollywood who eventually became fine actresses even though they never thought so themselves. "Honeymoon for Three" with George Brent is another fun Ann comedy. Even stiff as a board George managed to be funny in that one :)
some other Ann films i would highly recommend:
Juke Girl
Angels with Dirty Faces (of course!)
They Drive by Night
Edge of Darkness
It All Came True
Ciy for Conquest

i'm embarrassed to say but i still have not seen Nora Prentiss or the Unfaithful, ack!!!

great post!

JavaBeanRush said...

"Now the first Ann film that I truly remember watching would be the comedy I Was A Male War Bride with my favorite actor, Cary Grant." - guest blogger

Me too. They seemed to be having so much fun, so natural that the film felt ad-libbed. I love it.

I'm sorry to hear that she didn't make lots of comedies. She's very good.

I enjoyed her performance in the film version of THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER. Is it Ann Sheridan who plays Lorraine Sheldon in the 1950 Lux radio adaptation?

Terence Towles Canote said...

Thanks for posting Monty's post, Kate! Anyway, I have to say my favourite Ann Sheridan part was in The Man Who Came to Dinner. She was born to play Lorraine Sheldon! Of course, I have kind of a personal connection to King's Row. The book upon which it was based was itsefl based on a city near my hometown, Fulton, Missouri, right down to the street names! Of course, that brings me to the one complaint I've always had about King's Row--the accents are off! They should be a Southern drawl, like the rest of mid-Missouri, not Midwestern accents!

KC said...

This is great Monty! I hear you about the colorized classics. The first time I saw Dark Victory it was a colorized version. It didn't spoil the movie for me, but it was distracting. Everyone had these odd raisin-colored lips!

My favorite Ann Sheridan comedy is Torrid Zone--have you seen it? If not, see it right away, you'll love it.

KC said...

BTW--beautiful picture Kate. . .

monty said...

Thanks Kate for sharing my post. It was kinda cool seeing it on your blog.