Remembering Film Noir Beauty Gloria Grahame on What Would be Her 100th Birthday
Queen of noir Gloria Grahame is her most darkly luminous in the 1954 crime film Naked Alibi, where she plays a bar singer in a seedy Mexican town who is stuck in a dysfunctional relationship with police killer Al Willis (played by Gene Barry). Sterling Hayden stars as a disgraced police chief who must prove Willis’ guilt and recruits Grahame’s character to the cause. As a border town woman, Grahame is worldly-wise yet fragile, sultry and broken at the same time — just the sort of octane that makes a noir film burn.
You can catch this classic tonight during Turner Classic Movies’ celebration of actress Gloria Grahame on what would have been her 100th birthday (she was born Gloria Grahame Hallward in Los Angeles on Nov. 28, 1923, and died of cancer at the age of 57 in New York City on Oct. 5, 1981). Tonight’s five-film lineup starts with two films noir directed by Fritz Lang and featuring Grahame alongside Glenn Ford: The Big Heat (1953) and Human Desire (1954). Following those are The Naked Alibi (1954), a noir led by Sterling Hayden; the British crime film The Good Die Young (1954), also featuring Laurence Harvey and Joan Collins; and Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979, aka Head Over Heels), a romantic comedy starring John Heard and Mary Beth Hurt that featured one of Grahame’s final film appearances.
Sadly the actress passed away at the age of 57 from a second bout of cancer. But not before she was fair game for the Hollywood tabloids with the news of her courting her 13-year-old step-son (whom she eventually married), getting electroshock therapy due to a nervous breakdown plus was rumored to be hard to work with on set. Other notable films include Oklahoma!, It’s a Wonderful Life and The Greatest Show on Earth.
TCM, beginning at 8pm