Interesting Line Up 1956 – from Various Studios

This must have been a glossy advertisement maybe in a Trade Paper or it could have been a normal Newspaper promotion.

At first glance I wrongly assumed that these were all pictures from Universal Studios but on checking that is certainly not the case

‘Many Rivers to Cross’ 1955 from MGM – the Trailer BELOW makes it look a quite expensive film, as maybe a film starring Robert Taylor, at that time, should have made me realise.

It came just a year or two after he had had a very successful run – in ‘Quo Vadis’ then ‘Ivanhoe’, ‘Knights of the Round Table’ and ‘Quentin Durward’ the last three made in England.

Another Trailer BELOW – and another major film star Glenn Ford in ‘Jubal’

Not just Glenn Ford the film also had Ernest Borgnine, Rod Steiger and Charles Bronson with the lovely Felicia Farr ( I remember her well from ‘The Last Wagon’ ) and English Actress Valerie French who I recall from another of my favourites – with a much lower budget – ‘The Secret of Treasure Mountain’ 1956 released a month earlier than ‘Jubal’

Valerie French had a fling with Rod Steiger during the making of the film and maybe afterwards. They were seen dining out together and there was talk of marriage but that didn’t happen.

She was a British Film Actress who travelled to Hollywood and seemed to have a career there around this time but although she appeared in quite a lot of things – and was active on stage – she never really made the big time

Valerie French was born in London and spent her early childhood in Spain, returning to England to attend Malvern Girls’ College in Worcestershire and then join the BBC drama department.

After several years in television production, she joined the Theatre Royal Repertory Company in Windsor, where she played small parts.

After a screen test and a role in the film “The Constant Husband” in 1955, she went to Hollywood and became a contract actress with Columbia Pictures. She starred opposite Glenn Ford and Rod Steiger in “Jubal” (1956) and with Lee J. Cobb in “The Garment Jungle” (1957).

On Broadway she acted in “Inadmissible Evidence” (1965) and “Help Stamp Out Marriage!” (1966). In “The Mother Lover,” at the Booth Theatre in 1969, she caused something of a sensation by appearing onstage nude with her back to the audience.

Miss French starred on Broadway in Harold Pinter’s “Tea Party” and “The Basement” in 1968, in a 1980 revival of Noel Coward’s “Fallen Angels,” and as the mother, Helen, in a production of “A Taste of Honey” in 1981.

Her television credits include roles in “Have Gun, Will Travel,” “The Prisoner,” “The Nurses,” “Edge of Night” and “Brighter Day.”

She was twice married and twice divorced. In a 1981 interview she said that she and her second husband, the actor Thayer David, had been planning to remarry when he died in 1978.

She died of leukemia in 1990

ABOVE – a favourite of mine – a film that up until relatively recently was impossible to find. I did acquire a 16 mm feature film version a few years ago and had some DVDs made from it – then a DVD was issued in the USA and recently it was shown on Talking Pictures in England. I really enjoyed it. Valerie French was the female lead and was very good in her role.

ABOVE – Valerie French was in this one which I definitely saw at the Cinema – ‘The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake’

It is a film that disturbed me at the time – and in a way still does. I do remember being in a low mood all those years ago when I first saw it, because of a girl I am pretty sure – but even so this film made me – still makes me – uncomfortable.

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