Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Anne Baxter (1923-1985)

On location for Jean Renoirs Swamp Water (1941).

[On The Magnificent Ambersons]
Orson works his players hard, but hes wonderful to work with. Remember the sleigh scene in the picture, where I was thrown out into the snow with Tim Holt? That scene was made in a downtown ice house at two in the morning. Orson realized by dinnertime that we werent getting anywhere. Id stiffen up every time I had to fall from the sleigh. So he took us all out to dinner and gave me three glasses of sparkling Moselle. After that it was easy falling out of the sleigh.” (1943 interview with Sheilah Graham)

With Tim Holt in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942).

“So far, Orson Welles is my favorite director. He gives you the feeling when you go into a scene that you are doing something no one has ever done before. He takes the trouble to know every member of his cast so well that he understands exactly how to approach him and get his best work for each scene. You get very tired, physically and emotionally, working for Orson, but it is worth it.” (1943 Photoplay/Movie-Mirror interview)

Overheated publicity shot for Five Graves to Cairo (1943).

[On her character in Five Graves to Cairo]
“Many movie parts for girls are what I call stooge roles, just a succession of reactions to things a man says and does. Mouche means little fly in French, and by her own choice and strength of character Mouche flew in the face of destruction, fighting even Marshal Rommel himself to gain her personal goal in the war. Here was no stooge part. Just the opposite — a girl who was indomitable and decisive, and yet delicately feminine.” (1946 Saturday Evening Post interview)

Going toe-to-toe with Bette Davis in All About Eve (1950).

[On All About Eve]
“I patterned Eve after the understudy I had in a Broadway play when I was 13. She actually threatened to finish me off. She was the bitchiest person I ever saw.

Basking in her Oscar for The Razors Edge.

The Razors Edge contained my only great performance. When we shot the hospital scene in which Sophie loses her husband, child and everything else, I relived the death of my brother, whom I adored and who died at three. It gives me chills right now to think of it.

A libidinous Nefretiri in The Ten Commandments (1956).

“Im an actress, not a personality. Its more successful to be a personality. But can you use it in every role? I dont spill over into everything I do. I do what I do from inside someone elses skin.

Beauty, brains and brilliance.

“I wasnt afraid to fail. Something good always comes out of failure.

My favorite Anne Baxter films: Swamp Water (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), Five Graves to Cairo (1943), All About Eve (1950), I Confess (1951), The Blue Gardenia (1953)

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