Megan McGurk introduces five stellar woman’s pictures from the 1940s each Thursday in March.
Tickets are available from Eventbrite.
Third Finger, Left Hand (1940)
Screens 2 March, 7.00
Myrna Loy plays a successful magazine editor who pretends to be married. She wears a gold wedding band for protection against wolves and sexual harassment on the job. But then suddenly, Melvyn Douglas shows up and claims to be her husband. What’s a busy editor to do? Art director Cedric Gibbons understood the appeal of seeing a woman seated behind a very big desk. And costume designer Dolly Tree combines a glorious wardrobe for Loy’s career woman, including sobersides tweed and a whimsical cherry basket hat.
Moon over Miami (1941)
Screens 9 March, 7.00
Shot in gorgeous, sweet-shop Technicolor, director Walter Lang styles a durable feel-good premise: How will three ambitious dames snare a man with deep pockets? Betty Grable, Carole Landis, and Charlotte Greenwood pool their resources to hunt for a millionaire in a fashionable Miami resort. Costumes by Travis Banton and choreography by Hermes Pan embellish a breezy romantic comedy musical. Betty Grable leading a conga line has the cure for what ails you.
The Gay Sisters (1943)
Screens 16 March, 7.00
Wicklow-born Geraldine Fitzgerald belongs to an elite quartet of co-stars who managed to upstage Barbara Stanwyck, alongside Joan Blondell, Gary Cooper, and Walter Huston. Stanwyck, an emotional firebrand in front of a camera, usually dominated every scene. In Irving Rapper’s film about orphaned heiresses, Fitzgerald plays the horny adventuress sister and steals more than one scene from the star. Three poor little rich gals (Nancy Coleman plays the nice one) are beset by a greedy developer (George Brent) who tries to win their familial property in court. As Fiona, the eldest, Stanwyck figures she knows all the angles to fix the legal ties that bind the Gaylord sisters.
Screens 23 March, 7.00
When a skirt-chasing composer is murdered, the prime suspects are all brunettes named Dolores. George Raft would no more have stepped on a star’s line of dialogue than he would a dance partner’s feet, which makes him ideal in the role of a police detective who leads the investigation. Raft questions a glamorous rogue’s gallery of hardworking women trying to catch a break in Hollywood, including platinum sex bomb Myrna Dell (playing a maid!) and Lynn Bari, a film studio extra. Producer Joan Harrison, who also contributed to the script, began her career as screenwriter for Hitchcock before she became an executive in RKO.
Forever Amber (1948)
Screens 30 March, 7.00
Linda Darnell shines in the screen adaptation of Kathleen Winsor’s bestselling bonkbuster. Darnell’s character is a ruthless mercenary, a Restoration-era Baby Face who sleeps her way to the top. Amber juggles demands from many men in return for a life of luxury, much like Darnell did in real life. René Hubert’s lavish designs set the stage for Twentieth Century Fox’s epic bodice-ripper costume drama that was fiercely condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency.