Mourning Becomes Electra...

Rosalind Russell with Raymond Massey

In this 1947 film that won an Academy Award nomination for Rosalind, she is miscast as the daughter of an adulterous mother (Katina Paxinou). Miss Russell did this film as a favor to director Dudley Nichols who made her pet project, "Sister Kenny." But she wanted to play the mother, Christine, as opposed to the daughter, Lavinia. Like that old saying goes, "Follow your first mind." I really believe the movie would have been a bit more believable if she had. Although critics generally found the film boring, I thought it was interesting though quite dreary. (If nothing else, it makes you appreciate the family that you have that you always thought were a curse from God.) Based on Eugene O'Neill's classic 1931 tragedy, the film followed O'Neill's work religiously which may have bogged it down some. Also starring in this movie were Michael Redgrave as Lavinia's psycho brother, Raymond Massey as her father, and Kirk Douglas as her intended.

A bit of trivia concerning the Academy Awards: Rosalind was touted as the frontrunner to win the Best Actress award. Years ago (I guess!), odds were placed on Oscar contenders as if they were horses. The Los Angeles Times even preprinted the headline "Rosalind Russell Wins" before the announcement was even made. To add insult to Roz' humiliation when she didn't win, Fredric March is reported to have actually begun to say "Rosalind.." before noticing that Loretta Young's name was written on the paper before him for her performance in "The Farmer's Daughter" (a role Rosalind had turned down, no less!). Hearing her name, Rosalind stood up (who wouldn't?!!) only to have her beads break and roll all over the place and her best friend to win the award that she never would win. (This whole story really makes me ill.) But being the good person that she was, Roz went on to the after-party anyway and openly congratulated Loretta for her success. But did she catch Fredric March out in the parking lot later and beat the hell out of him? I don't think so. Always a classy lady!

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