1950s
  The beginning of Anna's motion picture career...

 

The Goddess (1958)

 

 

Starring Kim Stanley, Lloyd Bridges, Patty Duke

 

Excellent story by Paddy Chayefsky about a lonely young woman who makes it to the top of show business

only to realize that she is only wanted for her looks. Rumored to be based on the life of real-life goddess

Marilyn Monroe. Rumor also has it, that Kim Stanley, who was mainly a theater actress, took this part

well-knowing that it was based on Monroe. Monroe had, after all, landed the lead role in the film “Bustop”

which was based on the smash Broadway play in which Stanley starred.

 

Anna Marie Patty Duke makes her first solo appearance on the silver screen in The Goddess. Her scenes,

as “The Goddess” as a child, are overwhelmingly touching, however short. Being a neglected child, she

brings her report card in to show her mother, who doesn’t seem to care. She then goes home and tells

the family cat that she’s been promoted to the next grade. Brief, but heartbreaking.

-Bill Jankowski, The Official Patty Duke Webpage. *** (Video)


This probing inquiry into the making of a film star fails by its inability to present anything beyond the

expected. All the typical situations one would expect a woman working toward stardom to encounter are

presented without deviation. This is mainly the fault of screenwriter Chayefsky--the first time he had ever

ventured to the West Coast to put his pen to work. Luckily a subtle and workmanlike job was delivered

from Cromwell at the helm. Stanley plays the woman who rose from squalor in a southern slum to become

one of the hottest idols of the screen, a journey she makes not so much on talent as on her looks. Ultimately she cannot remain in the spotlight for long; her demise shows her as a woman dependent upon other forms of stimulation, mainly drugs and alcohol, to keep going. Those people closest to her are also affected by the changes she must go through, her mother eventually turning to religion. What could have been a powerful portrayal of the darker side of a glamorized lifestyle remains but a naive and ordinary expose that makes an actor's life look empty and shallow. It has been said that this film profiles the career of either Ava Gardne or Marilyn Monroe, yet Chayefsky (who nabbed an Oscar nomination for his screenplay) has always insisted that he was really drawing from the goddess Success as profiled by American philosopher William James.

-Cinebooks. ** 1/2

 

Absorbing biography of an ambitious girl seeking Hollywood fame. Author Paddy Chayefsky based this story on Marilyn Monroe; the film captures tragedy of the real-life Monroe with fine acting by Stanley and

Bridges, among others. Film debuts of Stanley and Duke.

-Leonard Maltin. ***

 

 

Country Music Holiday (1958)

 

Starring Ferlin Husky, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Patty Duke

 

Stupid comedy showing a hillbilly singer from the time he is in the army through his fame as a country

western song. Occasionally funny, but very boring and obviously low-budget story.

 

Anna appears briefly, and looks adorable, as the lead character’s little sister. Strictly for Anna and

Zsa Zsa fans only!

-Bill Jankowski, The Official Patty Duke Webpage. * 1/2


Cornball comedy has hick Husky a singer, half owned by Jesse White and half by Gabor. But his slim

plot is secondary, since most of the running time is taken up with musical numbers including:

"Somewhere There's Sunshine," "Terrific Together," "Don't Walk Away from Me,"

"Wide, Wide World," "My Home Town," "Just One More Chance," "The Face of Love," and

"When It Rains It Pours." Most of the specialty acts that appear in the film are long gone from

public attention.

-Cinebooks. *

 

A hillbilly’s rise to fame; lots of songs and specialties dominate this curio.

-Leonard Maltin. **

 

 

4-D Man (1959)

 

 

Starring Robert Lansing, Lee Meriwhether and Patty Duke.

 

Boring sci-fi thriller about a scientist who learns how to pass through any kind of substance. A lot of the

film deals with this new invention not exactly working out the way it was planned to.

 

Anna has two brief scenes as an ill-fated child who is about to become victim to his mad-scientist. She

does what little she can in her two scenes, but any film that features Patty Duke with pig tails, pushing a

doll carriage cannot be totally written off. Surprisingly a bit of a Sci-Fi cult classic today.

-Bill Jankowski, The Official Patty Duke Webpage. ** (Video, DVD)

 

A surprisingly well executed Sci-Fi film which sees Lansing as a scientist who has discovered a way for

man to walk through solid matter. By hooking a device to his head which scrambles his brainwaves,

Lansing is soon able to walk right into banks and steal anything he wants. The only drawback to his new

talent is that it tends to age him rapidly. This problem is solved by sapping the life force of other people,

which kills them, but makes him stronger. Lansing's fiancee is convinced that her beau has gone off the deep end, so she cons him into shutting off the 4D force and then kills him. In 1985 director Tobe Hooper tread similar ground in the multimillion dollar mess LIFEFORCE.

-Cinebooks. ***

 

Well-handled Sci-Fi of scientist who learns art of transposing matter, thus giving him power to pass through any substance.

-Leonard Maltin. ** 1/2

 

 

Happy Anniversary (1959)

 

 

Starring David Niven, Mitzi Gaynor, Carl Reiner and Patty Duke.

 

Hilarious comedy that has Niven plays to the hilt, about a couple celebrating their thirteenth wedding

anniversary and the mis-happenings that are going on in their lives between each other and with their

children. Make sure to check out Niven’s hilarious schtick, as he kicks television sets with foot!

Out of all her pre-Miracle Worker films, Anna has her biggest part, as Debbie Walters, in this film. Her

character is especially important to the plot line of the film, as she is the who causes arguably the biggest

problem her parents endure throughout the film: telling the whole city on a local television show that her

parents did not wait until their wedding night to consummate their relationship!

 

This is a rare movie of Anna’s that is barely ever shown on TV and is not available on video, but when it is,

get out a blank tape, hit record , sit back and enjoy.

 

Note: David Doyle, who would later play Richard’s father, George on The Patty Duke Show, appears as a

hotel desk worker.

-Bill Jankowski, The Official Patty Duke Webpage. ***

 

On the thirteenth anniversary of his marriage to Gaynor, a slightly drunk Niven confides to her parents that he and Gaynor shared a bed a full year prior to taking their vows. He is overheard by daughter Duke, who, believing her parents to be on the verge of divorce, goes on a children's panel TV show and tells the whole story to the nation. Further complications lead to a reconciliation and happy ending. Good adult comedy with Niven particularly enjoyable as he kicks in TV screen after TV screen.

***

 

Funny but strained comedy of married couple Niven and Gaynor being embarrassed by daughter Duke

telling the nation on TV show that father was indiscreet in his younger days.

-Leonard Maltin. ** 1/2

     

 

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