Toronto Film Society presented Forever Female (1953) on Sunday, April 10, 2016 in a double bill with The Star as part of the Season 68 Sunday Afternoon Film Buff Series, Programme 7.
Cast: Ginger Rogers, William Holden, Paul Douglas, Patricia Crowley, James Gleason, Jesse White, King Donavon and George Reeves.
Directed by English born Irving Rapper (1898-1999) who started his career as a stage actor and director before arriving in Hollywood. His film career began as a dialogue coach and assistant director. His directorial debut came in 1941 with Shining Victory. He was a friend of Bette Davis and she appeared in a supporting role in Shining Victory as a favour. He went on to direct her in other films but said he found her difficult to work with. Other directorial credits include Now Voyager (1942), The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944), The Corn is Green (1945), Deception (1946), The Glass Menagerie (1950) and Marjorie Morningstar (1958).
The story has Rogers and Douglas as a divorced couple with an amicable working relationship in which she is an actress and he a producer. She needs a hit and William Holden has written a play in which she is asked to play the mother. She wants to play the 19-year-old daughter and asks that the play be rewritten. Patricia Crowley is the ingénue who ends up playing the daughter role. The writing is quite good with many funny lines. Look for an acerbic comment early in the film by the James Gleason character referring to an actress as being known for opening refrigerators on television. Perhaps a dig at actors such as Hillary Brooke who presented a Kelvinator refrigerator in a TV commercial. She was a popular actress at the time and was well known for her work on the comedy show Abbott and Costello.
Patricia (Pat) Crowley is a familiar actress with many film and television roles to her credit. She made her film debut in Forever Female after appearing in television shows beginning in 1950. For her work in this movie and the Martin and Lewis movie Money From Home (1953), she won a Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year. She also appeared in the last Martin and Lewis film, Hollywood or Bust (1956).
She was a teenage model and began auditioning for Broadway shows. While a senior in high school she beat out 350 other hopefuls to win the lead role opposite Cameron Mitchell in Southern Exposure in 1950. Television roles soon followed and Paramount brought her to Hollywood to test for movie roles. Paramount executives wanted to change her name but she campaigned to keep her birth name and won. She was romantically liked to Tab Hunter and Vic Damone but married a law student Edward Gregory Hookstratten. He went on to become a well-known attorney representing entertainment and sports celebrites. They have two children but divorced in 1977. She married producer Andy Friendly in 1986.
Although she had a more prominent television career, she appeared in some well-known movies opposite big name stars. She played the second female lead in the musical Red Garters (1954) but headliners Rosemary Clooney and Guy Mitchell got most of the songs. Pat did have a dance number, however, opposite Mitchell with the tune “Meet a Happy Guy“. Other film actors she appeared with include Tony Curtis and Ernest Borgnine in The Square Jungle (1955), Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in There`s Always Tomorrow (1956), Audie Murphy and Anne Bancroft in Walk the Proud Land (1956), Jeffrey Hunter and Dennis Hopper in Key Witness (1960) and James Garner and Lee Remick in The Wheeler Dealers (1963). Her last film role was in Mont Reve (2012).
Her television work includes a starring role in Please Don`t Eat the Daisies (1965-1967). Ms. Crowley had guest roles in most popular television shows from the 1950s to the 2000s. From the Heyday of TV westerns she had roles on Bronco, Wanted Dead or Alive, Bonanza, Maverick and Cheyenne. Other popular shows she appeared in include: The Twilight Zone, 77 Sunset Strip, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Dr. Kildare, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, The DuPont Show with June Allyson, Marcus Welby, M.D., The Rockford Files, Police Woman, Hawaii Five O, Murder She Wrote, Happy Days and Friends to name just a few. Her last television roles were in The Closer (2006) and Cold Case (2009). Ms. Crowley is active in charity work and lives in Los Angeles.
Notes by Bruce Whittaker