Lady with Red Hair (1940)

Approved   |    |  Biography, Drama


Lady with Red Hair (1940) Poster

A messy divorce leaves Mrs. Leslie Carter shunned by Chicago society for being an adulteress and forbidden from having custody of her son. She's determined to return to her hometown in a ... See full summary »


6.3/10
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18 October 2010 | Doylenf
6
| Cornel Wilde has a bit part in a boarding house scene...
As everyone else has commented, THE LADY WITH RED HAIR is another of those Warner bios that takes liberty with the facts, but manages to be good entertainment.

However, as the very theatrical title lady, MIRIAM HOPKINS gives an over-the-top melodramatic touch to her entire role, making it seem implausible that theater patrons would give her "acting" such a standing ovation. Indeed, the worse part of the film is when it shows Hopkins practicing her art or giving a demonstration of her talent as a stage actress.

The other flamboyant performance is given by CLAUDE RAINS, but rightfully so, since he's playing David Belasco who apparently liked to "ham it up" at every opportune moment whether teaching others how to act or simply acting up a storm in his personal life.

Director Curtis Bernhardt has done nothing to keep Hopkins or Rains from all the theatrical excesses they bring to their characterizations, but we do get some good supporting work from HELEN WESTLEY as the boarding home owner, LAURA HOPE CREWS (as Miriam's mother), JOHN LITEL as a producer, and many other Warner contractees. But RICHARD AINLEY is colorless in the sort of part that could easily have gone to CORNEL WILDE, who instead has a bit part as a wannabe actor at the boarding house. Ainsley's performance is wooden indeed and pales opposite the strident and mannered acting of Hopkins.

Interesting but something about the screenplay suggests that much was altered and cut in producing this film based on Leslie Carter's memoirs. Little JOHNNY RUSSELL appears briefly in two scenes as Carter's son, the one she loses custody of in a court battle. (He played Shirley Temple's little brother in THE BLUE BIRD shortly before this film).

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