Tantalizing Tuesday: Lizabeth Scott

too-late-for-tears

“Don’t ever change, Tiger. I don’t think I’d like you with a heart.”
-Danny, in Too Late for Tears

In an interview in 1996 Lizabeth Scott said that the film noir roles that she played, often the good girls gone bad, were not written for her, that it was serendipity, due to the popularity of noir at the time. She said, “I fell in love with the lens, and the lens fell in love with me.”

You came along.jpg
Elizabeth Scott, in her first film, You Came Along

Her career started on the stage, a comedy with a touring company in her teens. She then landed a small part in The Skin of Our Teeth, and also was the understudy to Tallulah Bankhead, the star of the play. But later, when she was still understudy-ing for Miriam Hopkins, she left the play, seeing that she was not going to get the role, and headed for Hollywood.

After a screen test for Warner Bros., Jack Warner said, “This girl is nothing but a second lead, and we have plenty of those.” Before she went back to New York, she was called in to see Hal Wallis, who was at WB at the time. She entered his office and promptly tripped on his rug and fell. He gallantly lifted her up and helped her to sit down. Later he would be her producer at Paramount.

In that meeting, he said, “If I had the power, I would sign you immediately.” To that, Lizabeth thought to herself, ‘this man is just a prevaricator’, and still left to go back to New York, as being a star on the stage was her big ambition. But eventually she found her way back to Hollywood, Paramount, and her beloved lens.

lizabeth scott

She caught my attention when I started to watch noir and crime film, with that sweet face and those beautiful eyes, but then she could pull off a woman with a ruthless will. Focused and intent on her goal, each character would knock down anything in her way, and anybody. It seemed like despite her efforts to get to the stage, the scripts were there, made just to fit her, and she fit them like a set of kid gloves.

I just love this scene from Dead Reckoning with Humphrey Bogart. Rip tries to put Dusty in her place after she interrupts him while he is talking, but she flips the script.

quotes from Lizabeth Scott’s interview with Carol Langer in 1996.
photos are public domain

27 thoughts on “Tantalizing Tuesday: Lizabeth Scott

  1. My dad was a big film buff, as my mom still is. I was raised on gangster pictures, westerns, noir, musicals and mid-century melodrama.
    I didn’t know you wrote on film, but I’m delighted to find these well-written articles.
    We’ve been waiting for the 1950 film, “A Hatful of Rain” to return to TCM for over three years now. We were totally caught up in it and the last 20 minutes got cut in a storm. Can’t find the film anywhere!
    Kat

    1. Thank you! My children grew up hearing Bogart in the background as common as evening news or soap operas ^_^
      That movie doesn’t sound familiar to me. I’m intrigued!
      On Twitter I follow some folks that watch movies and comment on them. They showed one on Sunday from an internet archive. I’ll look for the link. Maybe your film is in there.

      1. It’s a b/w film about a Korean war-vet who’s a morphine addict and tears his family apart. Don Murray, Eve Marie Saint and Tony Franciosa. It is really compelling.

      2. Love it-
        I don’t have cable anymore so I just bought The Big Sleep, Casablanca, and To have and Have not on Amazon.
        Also Now, Voyager. I am a Bette Davis addict

      3. I tried to watch the recent tv movie about Whatever Happened to Baby Jane with Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon, but I just could not hack it!

      1. I have to warn you, I’m a huge English football (soccer) fan, and play fantasy football. You can mute me if you wish. 😉

      2. I’m not very political and I try to stay clear (rather unsuccessfully) of the news, but deep down I’m pretty worried, and I can’t stand DT.

      3. It IS very sad, isn’t it? It really grabs the viewer.
        It has been quite a while since I saw it, so it will have to be watched again from the beginning. Too bad, eh? 😉

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