We’ve shared in this space before how fond we are of actress Kay Francis‘s oeuvre. Her movies, once called “women’s pictures,” would likely be dubbed “soap operas” by most observers today, but whatever tag you choose, the chance to see Kay suffer (she almost always suffered), adorned all the while in elegant gowns designed by the likes of Orry-Kelly and Adrian, is one not to be missed.
One attribute that makes Kay especially appealing is that she has one tiny flaw as an actress: She had trouble with her Rs, much as Elmer Fudd (opposite whom she never starred) struggled with his. To make it clearer for the uninitiated, Kay, were she still with us and if asked to introduce herself, would pronounce her own name, “Kay Fwancis.”
A few days back, we reveled in watching Mandalay (1934), which was directed by Michael Curtiz and in which Kay starred with Ricardo Cortez, Lyle Talbot, and Warner Oland. It’s a terribly entertaining picture, by any measure, but we were especially delighted to hear perhaps the best Kay Francis line (or the worst, depending upon one’s viewpoint) ever written:
“Gregory, we arrive at Mandalay tomorrow.”
(As you’ll note, we’ve opted to take the high road in spelling out the line as it was written, as opposed to going the phonetic route. You can hear that for yourself below.)