Thursday, June 1, 2017

Janet Blair on Franchot Tone

In 1948, actress Janet Blair discussed working with Franchot Tone. Blair said:

Yes, when Franchot and I started to work together in I Love Trouble, it was really meeting up with a Dream Prince. I discovered his brilliant mind, his sharp wit. Here is a great talent and frankly, I’m plain irritated that he doesn’t do more with it. After working with him, I’d class him as one of the greatest technicians in our business. He’s so greatly gifted it’s a shame he has a lazy streak. I’d like to see him pitching on many more productions a year than he does, and brother, how we can use his talent in building up theater here—and radio too, and television. But, as I say, the guy’s lazy. He says he wants to enjoy life a little.
Working with Franchot is a great challenge. You have to step it up in all departments. Consequently, you do a better job than you think you are capable of doing. An actress learns something from every person she works with in this business, good and bad. Without qualification I say I learned the most to the good from Franchot. I had such respect for him, a respect he rates for his great knowledge and for the sure instinct he has for imparting it to associates. It was absolutely impossible to read a line badly in a scene with him. There’s a lot of the little boy in him. It’s that and his irresistible crooked grin that captures and holds his feminine fans. So I’m corny? Okay! It’s the way I feel-having been a fan, and after being a coworker.
And there’s his sportsmanship. Once, on a different scene, I wrestled with my lines until it was embarrassing. Franchot dispelled the tension which he knew my fluffs were making for me. How? By deliberately lousing up his own lines. Him—when he could have read perfectly with a mouthful of grapefruits!
Once, I was catching it from the director for failing to come through perfectly on a piece of business he especially wanted. Chivalrous Tone stepped in between the fine line of my determination and hysteria and said softly to our director, “Now, you leave her alone, you big bully-she’s doing okay.” And grinned at both of us.
I Love Trouble and I-love-working-with-Tone are synonymous in my mind. It was hard work, and swell fun, and plenty educational. He stacks up 100 percent with me, and if he decides to take over in the directing department I want to be the first in line flagging down a role in his picture for Janet Blair.

"Franchot's Femmes: Four Women in His Life Tell All, About the Suave and Elegant Mr. Tone." Screenland. July 1948. Vol 52, No.9.Page 42-43, 64-65.

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