“Picture Parade” – The Films of 1949

6 Oct

Once upon a time I purchased a used book entitled Peter Noble’s Picture Parade. It turned out to be from the U.K. and was one of an annual series of pictorial books in which English film critic Peter Noble covered the year’s releases, concentrating mostly on Hollywood and British films. The volume I have is from 1949, 70 years ago, and features a mix of movie star head shots and scenes from different films that premiered in England in 1949, some of which are older Hollywood films, with brief captions. While most of the illustrations are in black-and-white, there are a good number of color pages and I was struck by how beautiful the color shots were despite being printed on ordinary book paper, rather than glossy pages. There are many obscure films and stars highlighted, but most of the Hollywood stars featured in the color shots are generally still well-known and embraced by film buffs and TCM viewers today, like Marlene Dietrich:

And Clark Gable:

The picture on the book’s cover, seen at the top of this entry, is from an English film, MAYTIME IN MAYFAIR, a romantic drama in Technicolor starring Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding, which is given its own page in the book:

Other head shots are worth singling out.

Jean-Pierre Aumont, a star in both France and Hollywood at the time:

Lana Turner:

Frank Sinatra:

Deborah Kerr:

Joan Fontaine is featured both inside the book:

And on the battered back cover:

There are plenty of black-and-white head shots in the book as well, many of them artfully composed:

Ava Gardner:

Stewart Granger in profile:

Montgomery Clift, then starring in RED RIVER (1948):

Susan Hayward:

Some of the color shots feature the stars in costume for particular films.

Tony Martin and Yvonne De Carlo in CASBAH (1948):

Jean Simmons in THE BLUE LAGOON (1949):

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Betty Grable in THAT LADY IN ERMINE (1948):

Ingrid Bergman in JOAN OF ARC (1948):

Tyrone Power and Jean Peters in CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE (1947):

I have a glossy color still of Power from this film and the quality of it is comparable to the page in the book:

Some British stars get color pages.

Susan Shaw: I’m not familiar with her, but judging from this picture, I’d love to see some of her films.

Margaret Lockwood, best known for Alfred Hitchcock’s THE LADY VANISHES (1938):

Dennis Price starred in KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS (1949) and had a long career as a character actor in British films, but I’ve only seen him in four films and couldn’t tell you who he played in them. Anglophiles love him, though.

One who did become famous in the U.S. and around the world and remains widely admired is Dirk Bogarde, who was a relative newcomer to films at the time. I’m not sure which film this costume is from:

Other color shots from the book:

Maria Montez:

Ann Sheridan:

Swimming star Esther Williams and musical star Larry Parks share a page:

Some highly-regarded films from that era get special attention.

Carol Reed’s THE THIRD MAN (1949):

John Huston’s KEY LARGO (1949), starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, gets its own page:

But Huston’s Oscar-winning THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE (1948) has to share a page with two wildly unrelated films:

The English epic, CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (1949), with American star Fredric March in the title role, gets its own color page:

EASTER PARADE (1948), with Fred Astaire. Ann Miller is highlighted here, but there is no mention of Astaire’s co-star in the film, Judy Garland.

Astaire reteamed with Ginger Rogers for the first time in a decade in THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY (1949), their first and only color film together but, alas, the book gives us a spread in black-and-white:

JOLSON SINGS AGAIN (1949), starring Larry Parks, was a big hit of the year, but doesn’t get revived much these days:

Two films I like a lot from 1948, George Seaton’s APARTMENT FOR PEGGY, a drama about a young WWII veteran and his bride setting up a home on a college campus and starring William Holden and Jeanne Crain, and Preston Sturges’ dark comedy, UNFAITHFULLY YOURS, starring Rex Harrison and Linda Darnell:

I like this staged image from PITFALL (1948), a film which has gained quite a lot of fans as an unsung film noir classic over the years. (Beware the spoilers in the description if you haven’t seen it.):

Another noir classic highlighted is FORCE OF EVIL (1948), directed by Abraham Polonsky and starring John Garfield:

Two Hollywood films by émigré director Max Ophuls.


CAUGHT (1948):

I have a studio still from CAUGHT showing a more dramatic pose by the three stars:

Not one of these entries mentions the film’s directors in their captions, even though Carol Reed and Max Ophuls were both famous at the time. One of the few times a film’s director is mentioned in the book is this caption, but only because the director, Orson Welles, is also the star:

In addition to the shot of Jean Simmons earlier in the piece, THE BLUE LAGOON also rated its own color page of scenes from the film but this time the director, Frank Launder, is mentioned (in the third caption):

This film was remade in 1980 with Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins.

Alfred Hitchcock’s UNDER CAPRICORN (1949), the director’s first color film, rates its own page but, again, no mention of the director, despite his prominence in both his home country (England) and in Hollywood:

Anyway, there are quite a few other pages from the book I like.

Penny Edwards, a leading lady in westerns of the time, has never gotten her due, so I was happy to find her in color here, in a scene from TWO GUYS FROM TEXAS (aka TWO TEXAS KNIGHTS, 1948), with Iron Eyes Cody on the right:

Speaking of westerns, here’s a page devoted to four cowboy stars I like a great deal, three of whom were childhood favorites (all but William Elliott, whom I didn’t discover until adulthood).

And Alan Ladd’s first western is cited:

Two pages are devoted to animation:

Walt Disney:

Walter Lantz:

I just wish the Lantz one was in color, too.

This caption for the western BLACK BART is correct in identifying Yvonne De Carlo as playing a dancing girl named “Lola,” but it neglects to mention that she’s Lola Montez, the famous Irish dancer who masqueraded as a Spaniard and toured the world and was quite famous in her time. (Max Ophuls’ last feature, LOLA MONTES (1955), was about her.)

Jim Davis had his shot as a major studio leading man in WINTER MEETING (1948) opposite Bette Davis (no relation), which went nowhere, but he soon found his niche in westerns, mostly as heavies, but also as the occasional lead, a career that lasted until his death in 1981 while he was starring in TV’s “Dallas.”

Herbert Lom, already a prominent star in the U.K., gets his own page as “Master of Make-up”:

Rising Italian star Alida Valli, then under contract to David O. Selznick, gets her own page, which makes no mention of THE THIRD MAN, which is covered elsewhere in the book.

One of my favorite films, PORTRAIT OF JENNIE:

Dana Andrews and Jane Russell get highlighted. Who knew that Andrews had been an accountant and an opera singer?

Some more b&w portraits:

Lauren Bacall:

Ronald Reagan:

Dick Powell:

John Payne:

Linda Darnell:

Wanda Hendrix, who soon married war hero-turned-western star Audie Murphy:

Victor Mature:

And some fan magazine-style color spreads.

One devoted to Greer Garson:

And one devoted to three new Hollywood mothers, Shirley Temple, Jeanne Crain and Rita Hayworth:

And “Four Lovely Ladies”:

There are quite a number of Hollywood and British films sprinkled throughout the book that may have been major releases at the time, but are rather obscure today. Typical is this romantic comedy starring Fred MacMurray and Madeleine Carroll, listed as DON’T TRUST YOUR HUSBAND, which I’d never even heard of. IMDB lists it as AN INNOCENT AFFAIR (1948) and that title is equally unfamiliar to me.

Here’s a British film about a Yorkshire cycling club, which may be of interest today only because it stars Honor Blackman more than a decade before she appeared in the TV show, “The Avengers,” and the third James Bond movie, GOLDFINGER:

One title sounds really intriguing to me since it features the great Claude Rains in the kind of leading role that was perfect for him. I’d never heard of THE SIN OF ABBY HUNT (1949), which also stars Wanda Hendrix and MacDonald Carey, nor its American release title, SONG OF SURRENDER, but I hope I get a chance to see it eventually.

Some of my favorite films from 1949 are not even mentioned in the book. I’m assuming they hadn’t been released yet in England or perhaps the author hadn’t seen them or had seen them and hadn’t liked them as much as I did.














Finally, the title pages of the book:

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