A Mary Astor Kick

While I’m thinking about Hollywood, I wanted to mention that my wife has been on a Mary Astor kick lately. If you’re not a film buff and you’ve heard of Mary Astor at all you probably associate her with Bridget O’Shaughnessy in The Maltese Falcon or Judy Garland’s mother in Meet Me in St. Louis but she’s a much more notable figure than that. Her Hollywood career began in 1921, playing adult female leads at age 14, and her last credit was in Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte in 1964. She had more than 150 movie and television credits and played on Broadway as well.

What do I mean by “a Mary Astor kick”? She just finished reading Mary Astor’s two autobiographies side-by-side concurrently. Then she read one of her novels (we’re looking for others). Now she’s watching as many of her films as she can.

That’s one thing I’ll say about the Internet. If you dig around enough you can find quite a bit of stuff.

6 comments… add one
  • TastyBits Link

    I did not know that she was an author. I know Hedy Lamarr developed frequency hopping.

    Kinda OT – It seems like early 1930s movies do not have a soundtrack. Do you know why? (I do not watch many movies -new or old, and it may be just the few I have seen.)

    OT – I love the Thin Man series, but the later ones are not that good.

  • She wrote thrillers. My wife said she’s a pretty good writer.

    To the best of my knowledge King Kong (Max Steiner) in 1933 was the first sound movie to have a fully orchestral score.

    I could probably recite The Thin Man and After the Thin Man (the first two in the series).

  • PD Shaw Link

    I just watched the 1933 King Kong and the prominence of the score really stood out once they get to the island. It’s the kind of score that’s telling the story, not just background. They must have figured the visuals paired much better with music than having people talk about what they were seeing.

  • bob sykes Link

    Mary Astor was miscast in The Maltese Falcon. She was too shrill to be a convincing love interest.

    But that is a minor complaint. The Maltese Falcon is a truly great film.

  • steve Link

    Watched quite a few of the older silent movies. IIRC they nearly all had music in the background. I wonder if they just initially thought they wouldn’t need music once you could hear people talk?


  • The first silent movie that had an actual orchestral score was Don Juan in 1926 in which, coincidentally, Mary Astor starred. Some had incidental music. Many theaters had accompanists who played along with the silents.

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