Tarnished Lady (1931): Cukor’s First Solo Film, Starring Tallulah Bankhead

tarnished_lady_posterAfter the success of The Royal Familyof Broadway, George Cukor’s status at Paramount changed.  His “apprenticeship” formally ended with his next assignment, marking his debut as a solo director. The film was Tarnished Lady, a wannabe breezy comedy written by Donald Ogden Stewart from his short story, “New York Lady.”  (Stewart abd Cukor collaborated on better films in the future, including The Philadelphia Story).

Conceived as a vehicle for the stage actress Tallulah Bankhead, Paramount had high aspirations for Tarnished Lady–it was her first sound film.  The studio hoped to cash in on the acclaim and notoriety Bankhead had earned as a theater actress. After a successful debut on the American stage, the young Bankhead went to London and quickly became the toast of the town. The Brits were absolutely fascinated by her. Mrs. Patrick Campbell, the witty English actress whom Cukor admired, once said, “Watching Tallulah Bankhead on the stage is like watching somebody skating over very thin ice–and the English want to be there when she falls through.”

She returned to the U.S. to make films, but Bankhead the stage idol, like Ina Claire before her, was never to achieve film stardom.  Cukor found her to be an exhilarating stage actress, but from the start he realized that the qualities which made her exciting on stage did not translate well to the screen. Bankhead had interesting moments, but she was not at ease in front of the camera.

tarnished_lady_3Bankhead wanted to look like Garbo–high cheekbones and all–but she did not have that kind of face.  Her presence was striking, but her face lacked the kind of animation the camera loves. For Cukor, being photogenic was a question of movement, how the face projects under the piercing scrutiny of the camera. Despite her enormous talent, when Bankhead spoke, her mouth didn’t appear graceful, and her eyes never lit up. “Movies were never easy for her,” Cukor later said, “she wasn’t born for them.”

Truth to tell, Bankhead was basically miscast in Tarnished Lady.  The narrative centers around a popular heroine at the time: a socialite who marries for money when her family loses its fortune, but is tormented when she falls in love with a poor writer.

This classic set-up, however, suffers from a weak and untenable climax. When she happens upon her lover talking–and only talking–with another woman, her trust is completely crushed.

tarnished_lady_2Bankhead handled the story’s moments of high comedy brilliantly, but she was not creditable in scenes that demanded vulnerability and helplessness.

Bankhead was slightly more established than Cukor at the time, though, as she recalled: “Here was I, a stage actress, with a stage director and stage writers on my first film. We were all swimming without waterwings, and we have never been in the water before.”

Bankhead found Cukor to be a gallant and kind director. “If you’re tired or not up to snuff,” she told an interviewer, “he understands and makes things easy for you, instead of acting as if you’d contrived the complete feminine anatomy as a personal affront to him.” When Cukor had a correction to make, instead of bawling it out over the whole set to assert his authority or relieve his nerves–as other directors often did–he took the time to walk a few steps and say whatever he had to say into her ear. “It’s not a minor thing,” she explained, “Try being bellowed at for eight or ten hours a day, six weeks on end, and then tell me how you feel about it.” All of the performers who worked with Cukor over the years singled out this quality, one of his most consistent throughout his career.

tarnished_lady_1Bankhead’s notorious flamboyant temper flared only once, when she refused to put on a shabby dress that she thought was inappropriate for her character. But Cukor had the final word, commanding her to wear it. Bankhead said that Cukor was the only director to have ever talked to her in such manner. In later years, both joked about this incident, which contributed to Cukor’s reputation as a director who could handle Hollywood’s most eccentric and strong-willed stars.

Tarnished Lady launched one of the most enduring friendships in Cukor’s life. In l981, celebrating his golden anniversary as a filmmaker, Cukor recalled his solo directorial debut with a typically self-deprecating humor: “I could have fallen flat on my face–but with Tallulah’s help it was quite a success.”  Bankhead and Cukor never worked together again, but they remained close friends until her death, in l968.

Cukor once again found himself in Astoria, N.Y. for the filming of Tarnished Lady. About half of the scenes were shot on location, giving the film a ring of authenticity, which was innovative. Bankhead’s proposal scene, for example, was shot on the actual terrace of a NY apartment. Cukor also attempted to keep the interior scenes from becoming too stagey.

The film, however, was criticized for its inferior photography and production values. Though more cinematic than The Royal Family of Broadway, Tarnished Lady failed to draw audiences.  Credited as solo director, Cukor was the one to take the solo blame.

Detailed Synopsis

Bankhead plays Nancy Courtney, a once wealthy socialite, is struggling to maintain her prosperous lifestyle her father’s death. Although she loves writer DeWitt Taylor, who is indifferent to money, her mother urges her to marry stockbroker Norman Cravath. Nancy succumbs to her mother, but she is miserable in her marriage. DeWitt is courting Norman’s former girl friend, Germaine Prentiss, Nancy’s long-time rival, and his affair quickly changes him into a social climber.

Nancy leaves her husband, unaware of his financial bankruptcy. She goes with her friend Ben to a speakeasy and gets drunk. Returning home, she encounters Norman, who’s waiting to discuss a business transaction with Ben. Seeing his wife in disreputable state, he discards her.

Nancy tries to live on her own, but unable to find steady job she becomes destitute. When she discovers her pregnant, Ben offers a place to live, and later hires her to work in his department store.

When Norman and Germaine come in to the store, he is shocked to see Nancy. Realizing that her husband still loves her, Nancy asks for another chance, and Germaine walks out, leaving Norman with his new family.


Tallulah Bankhead ….. Nancy Courtney

Clive Brook ….. Norman Cravath

Phoebe Foster ….. Germaine Prentiss

Alexander Kirkland ….. DeWitt Taylor

Osgood Perkins….. Ben Sterner

Elizabeth Patterson ….. Mrs. Courtney

xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbetbsport.fitonbet88.oooi9bet.bizhi88.ooookvip.atf8bet.atfb88.cashvn88.cashshbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88