Looking Back April 22

Springtime and flowers ... both a genuine delight. Here is a look back at a few movies with a flower name in the title.

‘Primrose Path’ (1940)

• Ginger Rogers stars as Ellie May Adams with Joel McCrea playing the leading male role of Ed Wallace.

• Ellie May lives on Primrose Hill, a not-so-good part of town, with

• Ellie May meets Ed Wallace while digging clams on the beach. When she threatens suicide, the two marry but the bride hides her past from the groom.

• When Ed finds out about his wife’s drunken father, prostitute mother, unruly sister and viperish grandmother, the marriage is in great jeopardy.

• Ginger Rogers dyed her hair brunette for the role but kept it secret until the film was released. She also wore no makeup during filming.

• The movie was banned in Detroit. To placate the censors, the character played by Marjorie Rambeau, a prostitute, was killed.

‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’ (1944)

• Roy Rogers (as Roy) is an insurance investigator who goes undercover to solve a robbery. Sam Weston (Harry Shannon), father of Betty Weston (Dale Evans), is a suspect. Roy gets a job singing on Betty’s showboat, Yellow Rose of Texas.

• This mono RCA film was originally 69 minutes but was later edited to 54 minutes.

• Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers perform aboard the showboat.The soundtrack includes “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” ‘Western Wonderland,” “Down Mexico Way,” “Lucky Me, Unlucky You,” “A Two-Seated Saddle and a One-Gaited Horse and more.”

• This movie is referenced on the television show “The Big Bang Theory”. On the episode “The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation (2009),” Rajesh mentions that this is one of the movies he saw in India about Texas.

Reader poll

Listed 7th on the cast credits for “The Blue Dahlia” was a name that would become very familiar in American homes in the years to come. Who was it?

  • a) Jack Weston 0%
  • b) Paul Lynde 20%
  • c) Tony Randall 60%
  • d) Hugh Beaumont 20%

5 total votes.

‘The Blue Dahlia’ (1946)

• When Johnny (Alan Ladd) comes home from the Navy, he finds his wife Helen (Veronica Lake) kissing her boyfriend Eddie ( Howard Da Silva), owner of the Blue Dahlia nightclub. When the wife is found dead, the husband is the prime suspect.

• Not long after this film was released, a young woman named Elizabeth Short was murdered in Los Angeles. Dubbed the “The Black Dahlia,” the Short case remains unsolved.

• When Alan Ladd was called up for military duty, the production of the film had to be rapidly stepped up.

• Many of the cars in this movie have a “B” sticker on the windshield. This was due to wartime gasoline rationing. The “B” sticker allowed the driver only eight gallons of gas per week.

‘Lilies of the Field’ (1963)

• Sidney Poitier plays the role of Homer Smith, an unemployed construction worker, who stops at a remote farm to get water for his car when it overheats. A group of nuns, headed up by Lilia Skala as Mother Maria, believe that Homer was sent by God to help build a much-needed church.

• This film was shot on location in Arizona in just 14 days.

• Financial backing of the film was scarce. Director Ralph Nelson put up his own house as collateral. Poitier gave up his usual salary for a smaller amount and a percentage of the profits.

• The film crew had to work through the night to keep up with the progress of the chapel’s construction along the storyline.

• The chapel was an actual building (with borrowed doors) but had to be demolished after the film because it was built on rented property.

• Sidney Poitier won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The movie also received four additional Oscar nominations.

‘Cactus Flower’ (1969)

• Dr. Julian Winston (Walter Matthau) pretends to be married to avoid commitment, but when he falls for his girlfriend Toni (Goldie Hawn) and proposes, he must recruit his nurse, Stephanie ( Ingrid Bergman) to pose as his wife.

• The original Broadway production by this same title ran for 1,234 performances starring Lauren Bacall and Barry Nelson.

• The three kids seen behind the GTO in the 5th Avenue showroom during Julian and Toni’s walk are David and Jenny Matthau.

• Making this movie was the first time Bergman had been on a Hollywood stage since the 1940s.

• Goldie Hawn won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Not herself in attendance for the awards ceremony, Raquel Welch accepted for her.

‘Driving Miss Daisy’ (1989)

• An elderly Jewish widow (Miss Daisy played by Jessica Tandy) living in Atlanta can no longer drive. Her son (Boolie Werthan played by Dan Aykroyd) insists she allow him to hire a driver, which in the 1950s meant a black man. She resists any change in her life but the driver (Hoke Colburn played by Morgan Freeman) is hired by her son. She refuses to allow him to drive her anywhere at first, but Hoke slowly wins her over with his good graces.

• In the scenes involving the black 4 door Cadillac sedan, the director uses both a 1955 and a 1956 Cadillac. The cars’ exteriors are identical except for the rear exhaust fender flare on the ‘56. The rear fender on the ‘55 is flat.

• Author Alfred Uhry based the story of Daisy and Hoke on his own grandmother Lena Fox and her chauffeur Will Coleman.

• Jessica Tandy won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as Daisy Werthan. At age 81, she became the oldest winner of a Best Actress Oscar, surpassing George Burns.

• Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, and Angela Lansbury all were interested in playing Miss Daisy. Studio executives also considered a Bette Midler/Eddie Murphy pairing.

• The play “Driving Miss Daisy” won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1988.

• This was the last film to win the Best Picture Oscar with a PG-rating.

‘The War of the Roses’ (1989)

• Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito play a husband ( Oliver Rose), a wife (Barbara Rose) and a divorce attorney (Gavin D’Amato), respectively.

• The Roses want a divorce but neither are willing to leave the house and so each begins a campaign to force the other out.

• Danny DeVito also directed this film. He reported that the first assembled cut ran three hours and four minutes. It was edited down to just one hour and 56 minutes.

• The car driven by Oliver was a 1960 Morgan Roadster, known by collectors as a Morgan 4/4. The car really was crushed in the film and later bought by a private collector who restored it.

Additional ‘flower’ films

“The Poppy Trail” (1920)

“Black Orchid” (1958)

“Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” (1960)

“Steel Magnolias” (1989)

“White Oleander” (2002)

“Ladies in Lavender” (2004)