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Alan Ladd: The True Quiet Man

20/08/2019

 

In the 1942 film This Gun For Hire, he was only a supporting actor. But his portrayal of a cold, ruthless killer with a core of gentle sadness had an impact on audiences everywhere. Teamed with diminutive Veronica Lake, he became an immediately saleable commodity, and in the process helped launch the age of film noir. By 1954, Photoplay Magazine voted him the world’s most popular male film star; his fellow award-winner was Marilyn Monroe. But Alan Ladd’s fabulous success already contained within it the mechanism to self-destruct. A deprived childhood and a family tragedy that marked his young manhood, these would exact their toll. Dogged by a sense of inadequacy over his only average stature, Ladd suffered keenly from cruel jests about co-stars being compelled to stand in ditches. Despite the ardent support of his ever present agent/wife and the genuine affection of film crews and co-actors alike, these inner wounds remained. And though in the end his inner demons would destroy him, Alan Ladd’s story is also a positive one.

Included in the program are excerpts from some of Ladd’s most notable pictures: This Gun For Hire, The Glass Key, The Blue Dahlia, Whispering Smith, The Great Gatsby, Shane and The Proud Rebel. Interviewees include co-actors Don Murray, Lizabeth Scott, Patricia Medina, Mona Freeman, Anthony Caruso, Peter Hensen, Edith Fellows, Director Edward Dmytryk, Producer Sam Goldwyn Jr., sons-in-law Producer John Veitch and Radio Commentator Michael Jackson and Alan Ladd’s son, Producer David Ladd.

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