Dragon Digital Radio

Barbara Stanwyck

May 8, 2020

In this episode, Marie and Mike talk about the long career of a great Hollywood actress, Barbara Stanwyck, who made her first movie in 1927 and was still taking on TV roles in the early 1980s. They spend a lot of time examining her troubled upbringing as a Brooklyn orphan, because those harsh experiences surely help account for the no-nonsense toughness she brings to her best film roles. A case in point is "Baby Face" (1933), a so-called pre-Code film in which Stanwyck plays an ambitious young woman whose very name, Lilly Powers, lets you know she will do whatever she has to in order to rise through Depression-era America. Another example of Stanwyck's ability to play strong-willed characters is Billy Wilder's "Double Indemnity," in which she plays the ultimate femme fatale. And yet this same actress also had the ability to play lighter comic roles, such as in "The Lady Eve" (1941). Indeed, Marie and Mike have so much to say about Barbara Stanwyck that they talk as fast as the characters in a 1930s screwball comedy.