A Woman’s Secret

I watched “The Bold Ones: The Senator” before going to sleep. I went out to finish my writing for the day, and I went to the grocery store. Also, I went to the record store, where I found the Raspberries’ “Side 3” album on vinyl. I had to get that copy, and I also bought a Sturgill Simpson CD. I watched the Nicholas Ray movie “A Woman’s Secret” from 1949. The stars were pretty impressive: Maureen O’Hara, Melvyn Douglas, and Gloria Grahame. The bad thing about black and white movies is that you don’t get to see Maureen O’Hara’s red hair. She was good at showing anger and jealousy. In this movie, she is a singer named Marian Washburn who starts to lose her voice. I didn’t think the explanation was too convincing, however. She meets Gloria Grahame, who is a younger girl named Susan Caldwell. Gloria’s upper lip apparently hadn’t frozen from bad plastic surgery yet, but I could not believe that she could sing with the tortured voice of hers. If there was any woman who needed someone else to sing her parts, it was Gloria Grahame. I was thinking of a couple of scenes from “Singin’ in the Rain” here. Marian and Susan have an argument, resulting in Susan getting shot close to the heart. The movie goes back in time to when Marian first meets Susan. I didn’t like that structure because I felt that we should find things out about both Marian and Susan. Susan makes a little bit of money selling perfume. She needs a make-over in personality to make her presentable. It’s almost a case of “My Fair Lady.” Supposedly, she has the raw talent to become a star. Melvyn Douglas is around, and in fact is responsible for the two principals meeting. I only really remember him from “Being There,” so it was good to see him in his younger days. I found it hard to believe that Marian could have any romantic feelings towards him. Susan didn’t seem to be the type who would work very hard to become a good singer. Melvyn said that she had the range of about five notes. For someone who suffered from such a serious injury, she didn’t look like she suffered much pain. Gloria sure didn’t seem like she was strong enough to bounce back from a bullet wound so quickly. I thought this movie might be Nicholas Ray’s attempt to showcase Gloria with her looks and strong screen presence. The story was supposed to be a mystery, but there weren’t many possibilities with only two people in the room when the shot rang out. It was more a mystery of motives than anything else. When we do learn what happens at the end, it doesn’t make much sense. Maybe what it’s trying to show is that a woman’s mind is illogical. Nicholas Ray made more interesting films in the years to follow. I’ll remember Maureen O’Hara for the John Ford films and “Miracle on 34th Street.” Gloria Grahame was featured in a different Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” One other person who was in the cast was Ellen Corby, who would be in “The Waltons” years later. Nicholas Ray’s other films included “They Live by Night,” “In a Lonely Place,” “Johnny Guitar,” “Rebel Without a Cause,” and “King of Kings.” He married Gloria Grahame in 1948, and they were divorced in 1952. Ray died of lung cancer at age 67 on June 16, 1979. Gloria Grahame’s life story was more interesting than many of her films. She got married to Nicholas Ray immediately after her divorce from her previous husband was finalized. She married Ray’s son in 1960. She underwent electroshock therapy in 1964, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1974. While in London in 1981, she underwent a medical procedure in which the doctor accidentally punctured her bowel, and she developed peritonitis. She died soon after returning to the United States at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City on October 5, 1981. She was 57. I remember seeing her in “Melvin and Howard.” The screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz was known for “Citizen Kane.” He also wrote “Dinner at Eight” and “The Pride of the Yankees.” He was known as an alcoholic, and he died on March 5, 1953 at age 55. His credits after “A Woman’s Secret” were “The Pride of St. Louis” and “The Enchanted College.” “A Woman’s Secret” seems like a minor movie in the careers of Ray, O’Hara, Grahame, and Mankiewicz. They all did better work elsewhere. Yesterday was George Harrison’s birthday. If I were a rich person, I would have bought all the new editions of the Harrison albums, but I just satisfied myself with listening to “All Things Must Pass” again. I could see how songs like “Hear Me Lord” would not have made it onto any Beatles album. I have never been able to determine all the lyrics to “Awaiting on You All.” At work, I had a discussion with someone about movies like “Open Water,” “127 Hours,” “All is Lost,” and “Deliverance.” I watched an episode of “The Bionic Woman” in which Jaime has to get past a supercomputer to save the world. I fell asleep before the conclusion, so I didn’t know how she did it. I always wondered how she could control her hearing. A wound exposed the inside of her leg, which showed components of a cheap quality, I thought. They must not have had much money left after fixing up The Six Million Dollar Man. I’m not too sure that a series about a bionic dog would have been too good. Like the bionic man and the bionic woman, I’m sure that it would be able to jump very high with that weird sound effect on the soundtrack. The audience of idiots always has to be alerted to when something bionic is happening on the screen. I kind of miss these television shows from the 1970s. Some of the people who died on February 26 include Edward G. Robinson (1974), Roy Eldridge (1989), David Doyle (1994), and Lawrence Tierney (2002). Today is a birthday for Fats Domino (87) and Tom Kennedy (88). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for February 26, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” reached Number One on the album chart in 1983. In 2002, Lawrence Tierney died of pneumonia at age 82 at a Los Angeles nursing home. In 2005, Halle Berry won a Razzie Award for Worst Actress for “Catwoman.”

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