Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Forgotten Villainesses: Judith Anderson



Of course, her greatest film role was as Mrs. Danvers in REBECCA but she was also memorable in LAURA as Ann Treadwell. She also played Lady MacBeth, Gertrude in Hamlet, Medea (who kills her children to get revenge on her husband) and Slade in Lady Scarface. In the STRANGE LOVES OF MARTHA IVES, she plays a cruel aunt who torments a cat. In AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, she drives a young man to suicide.

You can't help but wonder if an actress without classic beauty got offered very different parts. 

10 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, I'd forgotten about Ann Treadwell! And yes, I remember how great she was as Mrs. Danvers - thanks for this.

Anonymous said...

Her role must have been very well known as it was referenced in the Abbott & Costello (atypical) classic THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES when someone asks the very Mres. Danvers-like housekeeper (played by Gale Sondergaard), "Didn't I see you in REBECCA?"

And yes I remember her in LAURA.

Jeff M.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

And she was an excellent Big Mama in CAT ON A HOT TIN ROF too

Ron Scheer said...

An archetypal character, for sure.

George said...

Glenda Jackson seemed to have chameleon powers to take on any role.

John said...

Agnes Moorehead was another talented actress "without classic beauty" who was typecast as villains, spinsters and harridans. She could've done anything in my opinon. Hollywood in the old days was all about faces first, talent second, I think. Character actors always get the better parts anyway. So much more they can do with them without relying on a pretty face that sighs, pouts or smiles.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Good one, John. Although she was able to summon up a certain allure that Anderson didn't have. Anderson had to just rely on pure talent.

Anonymous said...

Moorehead appeared in the movie The Conqueror (1956), which was shot near St. George, Utah – downwind from the Yucca Flat, Nevada nuclear test site. She was one of over 90 (of 220) cast and crew members — including co-stars Susan Hayward, John Wayne, and Pedro Armendariz, as well as director-producer Dick Powell – who, over their lifetimes, all developed cancer(s); at least 46 from the cast and crew have since died from cancer(s), including all of those named above.

Jeff M.

Yvette said...

Gale Sondegaard was another actress built along the same lines. :)

I remember Judith Anderson in a movie with Vincent Price that wasn't LAURA, but can't think of it at the moment...

I don't think Anderson is forgoten exactly, just maybe misplaced a little bit. :)

If you've seen REBECCA, you can never forget Anderson.

Anonymous said...

Dare we ask what happened to Mr. Danvers?

Deb

/For some reason, I can't comment under my name today!