Sylvia Sidney in Behold My Wife

One of the greatest stars of 1930's cinema, Sylvia Sidney, had a fantastic run of starring roles during that decade. In 1934, the amazingly gorgeous and skillful actress was featured in a brilliant (and what would nowadays probably be considered quite controversial) drama called Behold My Wife.

The plot of Behold My Wife revolves around the alcoholic son of a wealthy family and his attempt to 'get back at' his rich and rigid parents by marrying an unsuspecting Native American woman. The premise is handled with a certain degree of care and it's certainly the type of film that could not or would not be made today.

In a somewhat unlikely bit of casting, this motion picture has Sylvia Sidney portraying a Native American person. It's worth mentioning that two years before this movie, Sidney had played a Japanese girl in the 1932 adaptation of Madame Butterfly. Perhaps it was her success in that role which led to her being cast here. Regardless, the talented actress handles her part in Behold My Wife with ease and she looks great doing it. It's an entertaining film with equal measures of disturbing social commentary, thick melodrama and snarky humor. This is to be considered a definite must for fans of Sylvia Sidney's early work.

Jo Ann Harris on Barnaby Jones in 1974

1970's TV goddess Jo Ann Harris made three appearances on the popular private detective series Barnaby Jones. Her first guest spot on the show was in 1974 in an episode titled "Odd Man Loses," which also featured guest stars Dick Van Patten and Christopher Stone.

Jo Ann Harris & Buddy Ebsen

In this episode of Barnaby Jones, Jo Ann Harris portrays the young and beautiful wife of an older man (Dick Van Patten) who works as an accountant for a large company. Reluctantly, Van Patten has teamed with the two other guys from his carpool to steal a briefcase full of cash from an important executive. Of course, the robbery goes horribly wrong and, even though the trio of amateur criminals get away with the money, they have to cover-up a murder and try to keep their cool when a private investigator starts asking tough questions.

Jo Ann Harris & Dick Van Patten

The excessively lovely Jo Ann Harris does a terrific job here. She gives a strong, confident performance as a woman (perhaps unwittingly) involved in a heinous crime. In the beginning of the episode she acts like a spoiled wife and, by the end, she has had an opportunity to utilize her patented 'bad girl' persona. Overall, this can be considered yet another '70s television triumph for the talented and visually striking actress. 

Glynis Barber and Sherlock Holmes

Legendary literary character Sherlock Holmes has been brought to the screen countless times. In 1979, the infamous detective was portrayed on a television series called Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson starring Geoffrey Whitehead as a young-ish Holmes and Donald Pickering as his faithful sidekick Watson. The show utilized a half hour format and told mostly original stories in the spirit of Sherlock's creator Arthur Conan Doyle.

Stunningly beautiful actress Glynis Barber actually appeared in two episodes of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. In 1980, she had small role in the episode "The Case of the Sitting Target." I guess the producers must have liked her because two episodes later, Barber returned to play a much more substantial role in the episode "The Case of the Three Uncles." In fact, Glynis Barber was the primary focus of this edition of the short-lived series and she does a great job playing a devious young woman from a wealthy family who is bold enough to try to fool the infinitely intelligent Mr. Holmes. Glynis Barber, quite beautiful in period garb, makes a great impression on the humble viewer and this guest role can easily be considered some of the best work from the early years of her career.  

(It's also interesting to note that three years later, Glynis Barber would again be tapped for another Sherlock Holmes television project: the 1983 version The Hound of the Baskervilles.) 

Frances Farmer in South of Pago Pago

In 1940, Frances Farmer co-starred with Victor McLaglen and Jon Hall in a tropical island adventure called South of Pago Pago. This exciting motion picture represented yet another high point in the relatively short silver screen career of the beautiful actress. Though billed third in the credits, Farmer was the certainly the star of this fine film and she shines throughout.

South of Pago Pago tells the story of a thrilling escapade in the South Sea region of the Pacific Ocean. Ruthless pearl hunters come to an island paradise and end up ruining it because of their greed and evil ways. Farmer comes along as one of the pursuers of pearls but she ends up recognizing that what they are doing is not right and she falls in love the island's handsome prince (Jon Hall). She plays the character perfectly: Farmer begins as a tough, world-weary woman and she transforms into a woman of conscience. Her vast skills as a actress allow her to let the vulnerable side of her character show and she is easily able to deliver a believable and consistently engaging performance. Frances Farmer, quite obviously, is at her most physically attractive in this movie and her talent and good looks combine wondrously to produce a very memorable viewing experience for her fans.

Sally Gray in Checkmate

The beautiful and talented British actress Sally Gray started acting in motion pictures in 1935. She appeared in several projects that year and one of these was the excellent crime film Checkmate. The movie is about a devious gang of jewel thieves who have been operating in a London neighborhood. The police know of their existence but have been unable to stop them, so a clever cop is sent undercover to bust the bad guys. To do this, he must pose as a lodger and make nice with a family in order to get closer to the secretive crooks.

Checkmate boasts a particularly good cast. Well known UK actors Maurice Evans, Felix Aylmer and Donald Wolfit play the main roles while actresses Evelyn Foster and Sally Gray portray sisters who are intrinsically involved in the case. Everybody works together to help make this a fine piece of 1930s cinema (because it's only an hour long and has a modest budget, Checkmate is also known as a 'quota quickie').  

Sally Gray is decidedly lovely in Checkmate and she is easily able to stand-out in the small but distinguished cast. Even at this early stage in her career, Gray has her own unique acting style and this, combined with her distinctive golden blond locks and enchanting looks, helped to propel her to great success in the following years.

Sally Gray & Felix Aylmer

Sally Gray & Evelyn Foster

Sally Gray with Maurice Evans and Donald Wolfit

Blythe Danner in Dr. Cook's Garden

In 1971, actress Blythe Danner co-starred with Bing Crosby, Frank Converse and Barnard Hughes in a TV movie called Dr. Cook's Garden. Based on a play by Ira Levin, this telefilm is about a small town doctor in Vermont who perhaps eliminates various citizens for the greater 'good'.

This was one of Blythe Danner's earlier television appearances. She had been working on Broadway since the late '60s and her popularity in that field allowed her to have a 'special guest star' credit for this 1971 entry in the popular ABC Movie of the Week series.

Blythe Danner & Frank Converse

In Dr. Cook's Garden, Blythe Danner plays a beautiful young nurse named Jane Rausch who is in the employ of the titular Doctor Cook (Bing Crosby). When a handsome doctor (Frank Converse) who grew up in the town returns home, he quickly befriends Jane before turning his sights on investigating Dr. Cook for possible murder. It's a fun and intriguing story and the cast does very well with the material. Also, of course, Blythe Danner has a very pleasing demeanor and she looks lovely throughout.

Rosemary Forsyth in What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?

After making a big splash in Hollywood in 1965 with featured roles in the movies Shenandoah and The War Lord, beautiful actress Rosemary Forsyth continued on the path to success by working steadily in film and television throughout the late 1960s and into the following decades. One of her best and most visible screen appearances of the '60s was as a key supporting player in the 1969 camp-thriller masterpiece What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?.

What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? was produced by the legendary Robert Aldrich, the man responsible for the classic motion pictures What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte. This film is very much in the mould of those earlier successes -- all three projects involve pairs of older actresses who go head to head in very campy situations. This trio of fine films also has another thing in common: great support casts. Indeed, Rosemary Forsyth's lovely presence in Aunt Alice is nothing short of wonderful and her unique looks and innate charm are a welcome inclusion to the already terrific proceedings.

Rosemary Forsyth & Robert Fuller