KIM HUNTER, 1922-2002
Kim Hunter, the versatile, distinguished actress who won the Supporting Actress Academy Award for her portrayal as the long-suffering Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and appeared as Dr. Zira in three Planet of the Apes movies, died in her Greenwich Village apartment from an apparent heart attack on September 11, 2002. She was 79.
Born Janet Cole in Detroit on November 12, 1922, where her mother was a concert pianist, she made her professional debut at 17 with a small theatre company in Miami. She gained notice immediately with her strong voice and alluring presence, and eventually studied at the Actors' Studio in New York.
She made a striking film debut in an eerie, low-budget RKO horror film, The Seventh Victim (1943), produced by Val Lewton. She played a similar ingenue role in another stylish cult flick, When Strangers Meet (1944) - a film directed by William Castle and notable for featuring Robert Mitchum in one of his first starring roles. Hunter's big break came two years later when Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger cast her in their splendid romantic fantasy, Stairway to Heaven (1946).
Despite her growing popularity as a screen actress, Hunter returned to the stage to make her Broadway debut as Stella in Tennessee Williams'A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). When Elia Kazan adapted the production for the silver screen, she continued her role as Stella opposite Marlon Brando, and won an Oscar as best supporting actress. A few more film roles followed, but sadly her screen career entered a lull in the late 1950s, after Hunter, a liberal Democrat, was listed as a communist sympathizer by Red Channels, a red-hunting booklet that influenced hiring by studios and the Television networks. Kim was blacklisted from both mediums despite never having been labeled a Communist, yet as a strong believer in civil rights she signed a lot of petitions and was a sponsor of a 1949 World Peace Conference in New York. She was widely praised in the industry for her testimony to the New York Supreme Court in 1962 against the publishers of Red Channels, and helped pave the way for clearance of many performers unjustly accused of Communist associations.
Hunter spent the next few years on the stage and didn't make a strong impression again in films until she was cast as Dr. Zira in the Planet of the Apes (1968), as a simian psychiatrist in the classic science fiction film. The success of that film encouraged her to continue playing the same character in two back-to-back sequels - Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) and Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971). Hunter spent the remainder of her career on the stage and television, but she a terrific cameo role in Clint Eastwood's Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil (1997), one of her last films. She is survived by her daughter Kathryn, from her first marriage to William Baldwin, and her son Sean, from her marriage to actor and producer Robert Emmett.
By Michael T. Toole
TCM REMEMBERS J. LEE THOMPSON, 1914 - 2002
Oscar-nominated director J. Lee Thompson died August 30th at the age of 88. Though he worked in several genres, Thompson was best-known for his action films. Thompson was born in Bristol England on August 1, 1914. After graduating from college he became a playwright and it was the appearance of one of his plays on London's famous West End that got him noticed by the British film studio, Elstree. His first filmed script was The Pride of Folly in 1937 and others appeared sporadically until his career was side-tracked during the war when Thompson served in the RAF as a B-29 tail gunner. (He also reportedly worked as a dialogue coach on Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn, 1939.) Thompson's directorial debut came in 1950 when he adapted his own play Double Error to the screen as Murder Without Crime. Throughout the decade he directed a variety of dramas and comedies until hitting it big in 1958 with Ice Cold in Alex (released in the US minus 50 minutes under the title Desert Attack). It was nominated for three BAFTAs and was enough of a commercial success that Thompson landed the film that made his career: The Guns of Navarone (1961). This enormous international hit snagged Thompson an Oscar nomination for Best Director. He immediately followed that with the original Cape Fear (1962) and his reputation was set. Though Thompson remained active almost three more decades he didn't reach that level again. He worked on Westerns (Mackenna's Gold, 1969), horror films (Eye of the Devil, 1967), literary adaptations (Huckleberry Finn, 1974) and others. During this time, Thompson directed two Planet of the Apes sequels but was kept most busy working with Charles Bronson, for whom he directed nine films. Thompson's last film was in 1989.
KATRIN CARTLIDGE, 1961 - 2002
The news of actress Katrin Cartlidge's death at the age of 41 has come as a shock. It's not just the age but the thought that even though Cartlidge was already a major actress--despite a slender filmography--she held out the promise of even greater work, a promise that so few artists of any type can make. "Fearless" is perhaps the word most often used to describe Cartlidge but emotions are never enough for an actor; much more is required. Director Mike Leigh said she had "the objective eye of an artist" while remarking on her "her deep-seated suspicion of all forms of woolly thinking and received ideas."
Cartlidge was born in London on May 15, 1961. Her first acting work was on the stage, in tiny independent theatres before she was selected by Peter Gill for the National Theatre. Cartlidge also worked as a dresser at the Royal Court where she later made one of her final stage appearances. She began appearing in the popular British TV series Brookside before making her first film in 1985, Sacred Hearts. A small role in the Robbie Coltrane-Rik Mayall vehicle Eat the Rich (1987) followed before Cartlidge had her first leading role in Mike Leigh's scathing Naked (1993).
Cartlidge never took a safe approach in her films. She told The Guardian that "I try to work with film-makers who I feel will produce something original, revealing and provoking. If something provokes a reaction, it's well worth doing." You can see this in her choice of projects. Before the Rain (1994) dramatized violence in Macedonia in the wake of the Yugoslavian break-up and made Cartlidge something of a star in the area. She appeared in Lars Von Trier's controversial look at redemption, Breaking the Waves (1996), Leigh's sharply detailed story of aging friends Career Girls (1997), as one of Jack the Ripper's victims in From Hell (2001), as a call girl trying to leave the business in Clair Dolan (1998) and in the Oscar-winning film about Bosnia-Herzegovina, No Man's Land (2001). Her last work included a BBC adaptation of Crime and Punishment (2002), playing Salvador Dali's wife Gala in the BBC comedy-drama Surrealissimo (2002) and an appearance in Rosanna Arquette's directorial debut, Searching for Debra Winger (also 2002), a documentary about women in the film industry.
Cartlidge died September 7th from septicaemia brought on by pneumonia.
By Lang Thompson
Cast & Crew
Near the end of World War II, Major Robert Collins of the United States Air Force returns to the States with fellow airmen Captain W. Anders, a former teacher nicknamed "Shakespeare," and Lieutenant R. Janoschek, an ex-prizefighter called "Handsome." Bob, who saved the lives of his two friends while overseas in combat, is on leave because he has been diagnosed with terminal leukemia and has been given at most two years to live. The three decorated officers begin a War Bond tour and are met by I. V. Hotchkiss, their chaperone from the U.S. Treasury Department, who turns out to be a woman, Ivy. Although she is stern and in command, Ivy indulges the boys' frenzy for civilian women. While in Chicago, Bob and Ivy, whom he calls "Hotcha," fall in love. In San Francisco, while in a café with Shakespeare, Hotcha meets Dr. Stubbs, who treated Bob for leukemia. Although Shakespeare tries to protect her from the truth, Hotcha knows that Bob does not have long to live. In California, at the Fliers' Chapel at the historical Mission Inn in Riverside, Hotcha's sister Frances marries a pilot named Bill, although he has been called to duty. Inspired by the young couple's romantic optimism, Hotcha and Bob marry and vow to live life to the fullest, as long as they can. They buy a house in Long Island, near the airfield where Shakespeare, Handsome and Bob will be working. A few months pass, and Bob is ordered to report to the flight surgeon. Although he is being sent to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he will probably die, he tells his friends and Hotcha that he has been ordered overseas. She sees Dr. Stubbs prepare to board with Bob, however, and learns the truth. Bob and Hotcha say good-bye, promising not to grieve over their loss, and later she receives letters from him bearing an overseas return address. One afternoon, when Shakespeare and Handsome visit Hotcha to take her out, she receives a telegram reporting Bob's death at Walter Reed Hospital. After the funeral, the boys arrive and toast Bob, and Hotcha hears Bob's voice reminding her how lucky he was and toasting the four of them.
Lewis L. Russell
William B. Davidson
Robert Emmett Keane
Angi O. Poulos
Charles La Torre
Hal K. Dawson
Frederick Field Bullard
Daniel L. Fapp
Helen Gladys Percey
Col. Clarence A. Shoop
Philip G. Wisdom
TCM Remembers - Kim Hunter
KIM HUNTER, 1922-2002
TCM Remembers - Kim Hunter
The film opens with a stanza from the poem "The Sermon of St. Francis" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: "He giveth you your wings to fly/And breathe a purer air on high/And careth for you everywhere,/Who for yourselves so little care." The working title for this film was Don't Ever Grieve Me. This film marked the debut of Lizabeth Scott, whom Hollywood Reporter called "a blonde girl with a low-pitched and vibrant voice and a fire-beneath-ice personality." According to Par News, Hal Wallis received permission from Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt Hutchings, the owners of the historic Mission Inn at Riverside, CA, for the duplication of the inn for the film. The celebrated fliers' wall at the inn contains the wings of famous flyers "Hap" Arnold, James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle, Amelia Earhart and Eddie Rickenbacher. The traditional ceremony in which fliers place their wings on the wall is included in this film.
According to Hollywood Reporter, a Beechcraft Model 18-S airplane was reproduced by the Beech Aircraft Corp. of Wichita, KS, for special air sequences, which were shot at the Metropolitan Airport in Van Nuys, CA. Director John Farrow, who was sent home wounded in 1941 with the rank of commander in the Canadian Navy, was recalled to service after the completion of this film. As reported in Hollywood Reporter, Robert Cummings was on leave from the Army Air Corps as a civilian flight instructor to make this film. Technical advisor Col. Clarence A. Shoop, who was billed onscreen as "Colonel C. A. Shoop Air Corps. U.S. Army," was the winner of the Distinguished Flying Cross for his work during the D-Day invasion in France as commander of the Seventh Photo Reconnaissance group of General Jimmy Doolittle's Eighth Air Force. Julie Bishop, who appears in the film, was Shoop's wife. Lizabeth Scott and Don DeFore reprised their roles in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on January 7, 1946, co-starring Van Johnson. The name of the character played by Robert Cummings, "Bob Collins," was also the name of the character he portrayed in his popular television series, The Bob Cummings Show, which ran from 1955-59. In the series, his character was a former World War II pilot.