Oscar®-winner Loretta Young, one of Hollywood's most gorgeous stars ever, is celebrated in a centennial film fest Mar. 8-Apr. 18 at American Film Institute's AFI Silver Theatre outside Washington, D.C.
It includes Loretta Young's "best and boldest works, early 1930s pre-Code films," AFI Silver says, playing "Depression era types: flappers, molls, hard luck orphans, working girls and beautiful dreamers..."
- Beautiful dreamer Jean Harlow is her co-star in "Platinum Blonde", directed in 1931 by the renowned Frank Capra.
- James Cagney bellows famously, "Come out and take it, you dirty yellow-bellied rat!" in their 1932 film "Taxi!"
- Five of the series' movies were made 80 years ago: "Man's Castle" with Spencer Tracy; "Midnight Mary", co-starring Franchot Tone, and based on a story by Anita Loos, author of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"; "Grand Slam", an early screwball comedy; "Employees' Entrance"; and "Zoo in Budapest".
- "Born to Be Bad" (1934), also with Cary Grant, is about a 15-year-old unwed mother.
Young was an unwed mother herself, from a brief affair with Clark Gable while filming, aptly, "The Call of the Wild". See whether you can detect the real-life passion between (the convent-educated Gretchen Michaela Young) and Gable in this film, based on the Jack London story.
The actress went to elaborate lengths to hide her pregnancy and child, whom she reared as her adopted daughter. Judy Young Lewis eventually wrote "Uncommon Knowledge" about growing up in Hollywood, and discovering only in her 30s that Gable was her father.
William Holden and Robert Mitchum are double heart throbs in "Rachel and the Stranger". Filmed 65 years ago, "Rachel and the Stranger" was based on a story by Howard Fast. A couple of years later, Fast was blacklisted as a Communist in 1950s Hollywood.
The retrospective of course includes her Oscar®-winning performance as "The Farmer's Daughter".
She also won three Emmys and two Golden Globes, for "The Loretta Young Show" and for "Christmas Eve".
Young sued in 1971 to bar "her old films from being shown on TV for fear of spoiling her current image," according to "A Biographical Dictionary of Film" (Knopf) by David Thomson.
AFI Silver's wide-ranging retrospective shines a spotlight on this "under-appreciated star’s best films, including many forgotten gems."