|Directed by||Herbert Wilcox|
|Produced by||Herbert Wilcox|
|Written by||Pamela Bower|
|Based on||Story Because of the Dollars and play Laughing Anne by Joseph Conrad|
|Starring|| Margaret Lockwood |
|Music by||Anthony Collins|
|Edited by||Basil Warren|
Herbert Wilcox Productions (as Imperadio)
|Distributed by||Republic (UK) & (US)|
|September 1953 (UK)|
Laughing Anne is a 1953 British adventure film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Wendell Corey, Margaret Lockwood, Forrest Tucker, and Ronald Shiner.It was adapted from Joseph Conrad's short story, "Because of the Dollars" and from his 1923 two-act play, Laughing Anne.
In a cafe, a Polish seaman, Joseph Conrad tells a story... In the 1880s a ships captain called Davidson is left by his wife. He gets drunk and visits Farrell's Bar where the star attraction is the singer, Laughing Anne. Anne is in an abusive relationship with a man called Jem Farrell.
Anne stows away on Davidson's boat, saying she is leaving Farrell. Anne and Davidson fall for each other. She reveals her past.
She was a popular singer in Paris in love with boxer Farrell, who is about to challenge for the world title. Farrell refuses to throw the fight and gangsters mutilate his hands, causing his boxing career to end.
Davidson proposes to Anne and they sleep together but she feels she cannot leave Farrell and returns to him.
Six years ago, Davidson finds Anne again - and her son to Farrell, Davey. Anne discovers a plan by Farrell to steal Davidson's cargo. She warns Davidson but is killed. Davidson kills Farrell and then raises Davey.
In 1952 Herbert Wilcox announced he had signed a co production deal with Herbert Yates of Republic Pictures to make films together starring Anna Neagle and John Wayne, to be shot in color and aimed at international markets. The projects would include an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's The King's General and Joseph Conrad's Laughing Anne.
Laughing Anne would instead be made with Margaret Lockwood, who had signed a long-term contract with Wilcox, and two Hollywood names: Forrest Tucker and Wendell Corey. (Tucker had been under contract to Republic for six years.) As extra box office insurance, Ronald Shiner was cast in a leading role. Lockwood's performance was done in the style of Marlene Dietrich.
Lockwood called it "the story of a gay woman who had a very unhappy marriage and love affair, and ends up looking aged and worn. I shudder to remember just what a lifelike job the make up men did on me for my "aged and worn" scenes."
The film had to be cut for release in the US, including removal of the word "damn" and a scene where Lockwood swam nude.
The film was not well received, critically or commercially.It contributed to the decline in Lockwood's career.
The New York Times wrote:
"Always a man for pictorial respectability, Mr. Wilcox does quite nicely by an unelaborate budget, letting the Technicolor camera play over turn-of-the-century, gaslit rooms, shipboard and island exteriors and interiors. Several shots of a schooner braving awesome jungle waters are excellent. Furthermore, the film is based on a work by that master yarn-spinner and psychological prober, Joseph Conrad. The trimmings remain. But Mr. Wilcox's casual direction and a lusterless adaptation by Pamela Bower compress the story into a plodding reprise of thwarted love, sacrifice and skulduggery... In the most colorless casting, Mr. Corey is quietly effective, Miss Lockwood ranges from skittish to grim, and Mr. Forrest glares or snarls. As a sailor, Ronald Shiner takes care of the humor department. And in the role of Mr. Conrad, no less, a bearded, scholarly-looking actor named Robert Harris hears the story from Mr. Forrest in flashback on the sidelines. This much, undoubtedly, is as it should be."
Dame Florence Marjorie Wilcox, known professionally as Anna Neagle, was an English stage and film actress, singer and dancer.
Michael Charles Gauntlet Wilding was an English stage, television, and film actor. He is best known for a series of films he made with Anna Neagle, for the two films he made with Alfred Hitchcock and for being Elizabeth Taylor's second husband.
Margaret Lockwood, CBE, was an English actress. One of Britain's most popular film stars of the 1930s and 1940s, her film appearances included The Lady Vanishes (1938), Night Train to Munich (1940), The Man in Grey (1943), and The Wicked Lady (1945). She was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best British Actress for the 1955 film Cast a Dark Shadow. She also starred in the television series Justice (1971–74).
Forrest Meredith Tucker was an American actor in both movies and television who appeared in nearly a hundred films. Tucker worked as a vaudeville straight man at the age of only fifteen years old. A mentor provided funds and contacts for a trip to California, where party hostess Cobina Wright persuaded guest Wesley Ruggles to give Tucker a screen test because of Tucker's photogenic good looks, thick wavy hair and height of six feet, five inches. Tucker was a sight reader who needed only one take and his film career started well despite a perception in most Hollywood studios that blond men were not photogenic. He enlisted in the Army during World War II. After twenty years spent mainly in Westerns and action roles, he returned to his roots, showing versatility as a comedic and stage musical actor. In the television series F Troop, he became identified with the character of Cavalry Sgt. Morgan O'Rourke. Tucker struggled with a drinking problem that began to affect his performances in the later years of his career.
Wendell Reid Corey was an American actor and politician. He was President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was a board member of the Screen Actors Guild.
Herbert Sydney Wilcox CBE, was a British film producer and director who was one of the most successful British filmmakers from the 1920s to the 1950s. He is best known for the films he made with his third wife Anna Neagle.
Ronald Alfred Shiner was a British stand-up comedian and comedy actor whose career encompassed film, West End theatre and music hall.
They Flew Alone is a 1942 British biopic about aviator Amy Johnson directed and produced by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Robert Newton and Edward Chapman. It was distributed in the UK and the US by RKO Radio Pictures.
The Magic Bow is a 1946 British musical film based on the life and loves of the Italian violinist and composer Niccolò Paganini. It was directed by Bernard Knowles. The film was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.
Limelight is a 1936 British musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Arthur Tracy, Anna Neagle and Jane Winton. It was released in the U.S. as Backstage.
Highly Dangerous is a 1950 British spy film starring Margaret Lockwood. The screenplay was written by Eric Ambler.
A Girl Must Live is a 1939 British romantic comedy film directed by Carol Reed and starring Margaret Lockwood, with supporting cast Renee Houston, Lilli Palmer, and Hugh Sinclair. Based on the 1936 novel by Emery Bonett with the same title, the plot features a group of chorus line girls who compete for the affection of a distinguished bachelor.
Maytime in Mayfair is a 1949 British musical comedy film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Nicholas Phipps, and Tom Walls. It was a follow up to Spring in Park Lane.
Trent's Last Case is a 1952 British detective film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Michael Wilding, Margaret Lockwood, Orson Welles and John McCallum. It was based on the 1913 novel Trent's Last Case by E. C. Bentley, and had been filmed previously in the UK with Clive Brook in 1920, and in a 1929 US version.
Trouble in the Glen is a 1954 British comedy film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Margaret Lockwood, Orson Welles, Forrest Tucker and Victor McLaglen. It is loosely based on Maurice Walsh's 1950 novel of the same name. It was filmed in Trucolor for Republic Pictures.
Peg of Old Drury is a 1935 British historical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Cedric Hardwicke and Margaretta Scott. The film is a biopic of eighteenth-century Irish actress Peg Woffington. It was based on the play Masks and Faces by Charles Reade and Tom Taylor. It contains passages of eighteenth century Shakespearian performance, from The Merchant of Venice, Richard III and As You Like It.
Doctor Syn is a 1937 British black-and-white historical dramatic adventure film, directed by Roy William Neill for Gainsborough Pictures. It stars George Arliss, Margaret Lockwood, Graham Moffatt and Ronald Shiner. The film is based on the Doctor Syn novels of Russell Thorndike, set in 18th century Kent. The character of Syn and the events at the film's climax were both softened considerably in comparison to Thorndike's original story.
Nell Gwyn is a 1926 British romance film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Dorothy Gish, Randle Ayrton and Juliette Compton. It was based on the 1926 novel Mistress Nell Gwyn by Marjorie Bowen and follows the life of Nell Gwynne, the mistress of Charles II. Wilcox later made a second version of the film in 1934, Nell Gwynn which starred Anna Neagle.
My Teenage Daughter, later Teenage Bad Girl, is a 1956 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Sylvia Syms and Norman Wooland. The screenplay concerns a mother who tries to deal with her teenage daughter's descent into delinquency. It was intended as a British response to Rebel Without a Cause. It was the last commercially successful film made by Wilcox.
Lilacs in the Spring is a 1954 British musical film starring Anna Neagle and Errol Flynn. It was the first of two movies the stars made together, the other being King's Rhapsody. It was released in the US as Let's Make Up. It was the feature film debut of Sean Connery.