Here are 10 things you should know about Donna Reed, born 102 years ago today. She was, in our view, one of the loveliest actresses ever to grace the silver screen—and talented, too.
The lovely Donna Reed is Turner Classic Movies’ Star of the Month in May, and it strikes us as an apt honor. They’ll be showing her movies every Wednesday this month, beginning at 8 p.m. and extending well into Thursday morning.
Reed is remembered today primarily for her early 1960s sitcom, The Donna Reed Show, and her work as Eleanor Ewing on TV’s Dallas. Some will recall her, too, in the odd movie role, such as Mary Hatch Bailey, Jimmy Stewart’s wife in It’s a Wonderful Life or as prostitute Alma “Lorene” Burke in From Here to Eternity. But Reed’s career was long and varied one, and few women ever looked more beautiful on the silver screen than did the Iowa native, who was born Donna Belle Mullenger.
We intend to use these weekly airings to reacquaint ourselves with some of our favories among Reed’s movie roles and to experience some of her lesser-known performances, large and small, for the first time.
Here is tonight’s line-up:
8:00p.m. — Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
High society sleuths Nick and Nora Charles run into a variety of shady characters while investigating a race-track murder.
Cast: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Barry Nelson, Donna Reed Dir: Major W. S. Van Dyke II BW-97 mins
9:45p.m. — The Courtship Of Andy Hardy (1942)
A teenager dates a girl whose parents’ divorce is being decided by his father.
Cast: Lewis Stone, Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker, Fay Holden Dir: George B. Seitz BW-95 mins
11:30p.m. — Calling Dr. Gillespie (1942)
A wheelchair-bound doctor fights off a homicidal maniac.
Cast: Lionel Barrymore, Philip Dorn, Donna Reed, Phil Brown Dir: Harold S. Bucquet BW-84 mins
1:00a.m. — Dr. Gillespie’s Criminal Case (1943)
A wheelchair-bound doctor tries to prove a convicted killer’s innocence.
Cast: Lionel Barrymore, Van Johnson, Keye Luke, Alma Kruger Dir: Willis Goldbeck BW-89 mins
2:45a.m. — Babes on Broadway (1941)
Show-biz hopefuls stage a benefit for an orphanage.
Cast: Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Fay Bainter, Virginia Weidler, Donna Reed Dir: Busby Berkeley BW-118 mins
5:00a.m. — The Human Comedy (1943)
A small-town telegraph boy deals with the strains of growing up during World War II.
Cast: Mickey Rooney, Frank Morgan, James Craig, Marsha Hunt Dir: Clarence Brown BW-117 mins
7:00a.m. — The Bugle Sounds (1942)
An old-time cavalry sergeant’s resistance to change could cost him his post.
Cast: Wallace Beery, Marjorie Main, Lewis Stone, George Bancroft Dir: S. Sylvan Simon BW-102 mins
8:45a.m. — Apache Trail (1942)
An outlaw and his brother are on opposite sides of a stagecoach robbery.
Cast: Lloyd Nolan, Donna Reed, William Lundigan, Ann Ayars Dir: Richard Rosson BW-66 mins
10:00a.m. — Gentle Annie (1944)
A frontierswoman turns her family into a band of bank robbers.
Cast: James Craig, Donna Reed, Marjorie Main, Henry Morgan Dir: Andrew Marton BW-80 mins