Notable Movie Debuts, 1942
Peter Ustinov in One of Our Aircraft is Missing
A Renaissance man, Peter Ustinov excelled in a number of fields, including acting, filmmaking and writing. Here’s one of his many quotable quotes:
“Marriage is like a three-speed gearbox: affection, friendship, love. It is not advisable to crash your gears and go right through to love straightaway. You need to ease your way through. The basis of love is respect, and that needs to be learned from affection and friendship.”
📸 Allan Warren
Gene Kelly in For Me and My Gal, a musical directed by Busby Berkeley and starring Judy Garland. Gene Kelly played Harry Palmer. Tangent time: Harry Palmer was the name given to Len Deighton’s central character in his early movies. However, in the books that spawned those movies, the central character didn’t have a name. Deighton’s rationale: people rarely use names when speaking with each other.
The world’s highest paid movie star in the 1960s, Elizabeth Taylor, made her debut in 1942 in There’s One Born Every Minute, a comedy about false advertising, in this case, Vitamin Z, a vitamin that enhances the female sexual appetite. Racy stuff for 1942. Rumours that Elizabeth Taylor took Vitamin Z during her adult life are simply not true…
Highest Grossing Movies, 1942
#3 Yankee Doodle Dandy, a biographical musical about George M. Cohan, the man who “Owned Broadway”. In his role as adviser to the film, Cohan suggested that Fred Astaire should star in his life story. The studio offered the role to Astaire, but he turned it down because Cohan’s eccentric, stiff-legged dancing was far removed from Astaire’s own, more fluid, style.
#2 Random Harvest, a romantic drama based on the 1941 James Hilton novel of the same name. Interesting to note that the novel kept the true identity of Paula/Margaret a secret until the very end, whereas that was impossible in the film, where characters’ faces are usually seen. This meant that the adaptors had to make radical changes to the screenplay to meet the requirements of the movie format.
#1 Mrs Miniver
The United States was officially ‘neutral’ when the film entered pre-production, in the autumn of 1940. However, as the USA moved closer to war, the screenplay was rewritten to reflect Americans’ increasingly pro-British and anti-German outlooks.
Greer Garson starred in the #1 and #2 movies of 1942. She also beat herself to win the Best Actress Oscar.