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ALL ABOUT EVE
granddaughter of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Anne Baxter began her career in
teenage good-girl supporting roles during the early 1940s, but by the second
half of the decade, proved herself a very capable actress in more-demanding and
less-wholesome roles, earning two Oscar nominations.
One of Baxter's earliest films under contract to 20th
Century-Fox was SWAMP WATER (1941), French director Jean Renoir's first
American film, shot on location in the Okefenokee National Wildlife
Refuge. Opposite Dana Andrews
(left), Baxter plays Julie, a backwater orphan whose father is wanted
for murder. Although Baxter doesn't have a whole lot to do in the film
and at times seems wrong physically for the part, she nonetheless plays
her role effectively.
After testing for a number of first rate parts for
which she was still too young, Baxter's break-out role (although still a
juvenile) was that of Joseph
Cotten's daughter Lucy in Orson
Welles' butchered adaptation of Booth Tarkington's novel THE
MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (1942). Although severely re-edited by
officials at RKO who cut
approximately three reels of footage from Welles'
original rough cut (much of which, presumably, featured development of
Baxter's character), AMBERSON'S still features first-rate
performances by Cotten and Agnes
Moorehead, as well as intriguing stylized photography.
Unfortunately for Baxter, what remains of her character, although
respectably played, isn't terribly interesting.
Video Clip from THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS:
with Joseph Cotten,
Ray Collins, Dolores Costello and Tim
Holt (a .AVI file courtesy RKO Pictures/Turner Entertainment).
(For help opening the above file, visit the plug-ins
Baxter (still a juvenile) with Roddy
McDowall, Monty Wolley and Otto
Preminger in a publicity still from THE PIED PIPER (1942), a wartime
drama about an Englishman who attempts to smuggle a group of French
children to safety.
A poster from THE NORTH STAR (1943), Samuel
Goldwyn's World War II tribute to America's Russian allies -- in
this case, a commune of Ukrainian farmers menaced by the Nazis.
Baxter received top billing for the first time in THE NORTH STAR, which
also features Dana Andrews,
Walter Huston, Walter Brennan,
Jane Withers, Farley Granger and Erich Von Stroheim.
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