I was originally going to review Honeymoon in Bali (1939) for this post but decided to go a different route instead. I did watch the movie and even though I found it to be pleasant with enjoyable performances by Madeleine Carroll and Fred MacMurray, the movie didn’t really inspire me to write a review.
I guess you could say the Washington Post summed up my thoughts when in a review on October 5, 1939 they exclaimed, “‘Honeymoon in Bali’ Is Delightfully Easy To Take!” I also realized that another blogger was writing about the movie for this blogathon so to learn more about the movie I will instead direct you to the post by Joey at Wolffian Classics Movie Digest.
In becoming more familiar with the movies of Madeleine Carroll, I discovered that not only did she make four other movies with Fred MacMurray, there were also a few other people in the movie industry that she worked with multiple times. So I thought I would explore a few of those collaborations in more detail.
Madeleine Carroll, who was born on February 26, 1906 in West Bromwich, West Midlands, England, was one of Britain’s top female movie stars in the 1930s and later starred in several films in the United States. At one time, she was one of the highest paid actresses in the world. Following are some of the professionals she worked with several times throughout her career.
Directors, Actors, Screenwriters and Costume Designers Who Worked With Madeleine Carroll
Director Alfred Hitchcock
He directed two of her movies, The 39 Steps (1935) and Secret Agent (1936)
Even though he did not work with her the most times among directors, he did play an important part in the development of her career.
Obviously it was her talent and beauty that led to her becoming a star in the first place, but it was her role in The 39 Steps (voted the best British film of 1935) that propelled her to international fame. The movie is known as the one that established the quintessential ‘Hitchcock blonde’ that became a hallmark in his later films. In her post about the movie Secret Agent, Aurora does a great job explaining how and why Madeleine Carroll set the standard for all of Hitchcock’s future leading ladies.
Director Edward H. Griffith
He directed five of her movies; Cafe Society (1939), Honeymoon in Bali (1939), Safari (1940), Virginia (1941), One Night in Lisbon (1941) and Bahama Passage (1941)
Edward H. Griffith started out as a writer for newspapers and magazines and later films before he began his career as a director. Before working with Madeleine Carroll, he was perhaps best known for directing Leslie Howard and Myrna Loy in the pre-code Animal Kingdom (1932) and Loretta Young and Tyrone Power in the comedies Ladies in Love (1936) and Café Metropole (1937).
I couldn’t find much in the way of details about his working relationship with Madeleine except for a brief mention in a 1987 LA Times article. It stated that while gossip columnists often referred to Madeleine as an “iceberg,” Griffith instead saw her as someone who was actually afraid of the camera. I’m only guessing here, but I wonder if maybe he saw something in her that others didn’t and that played a part in them working together so often.
Actor Fred MacMurray
As I mentioned above, Madeleine Carroll made a total of five movies together with Fred MacMurray; the others being Cafe Society (1939), Virginia (1941), One Night in Lisbon (1941) and An Innocent Affair (1948). All but one of these was directed by Edward Griffith. Honeymoon in Bali is the only one of those that I have seen, and I thought the two of them had very good chemistry, which I’m assuming carried over into the other movies they made together.
Actor Sterling Hayden
There were a few other actors who appeared in more movies with Madeleine such as Akim Tamiroff, Alan Mowbray and Reginald Denny, but I am including Hayden because of his relationship with her outside of their movies. He starred in two movies with her, in his acting debut in Virginia (1941) and in Bahama Passage (1941).
Once called “The Most Beautiful Man in the Movies,” Hayden fell in love with Carroll on the set of Virginia and the two were later married on Valentine’s Day 1942. After her sister was killed in an air attack on London during World War II, Madeleine spent much of their marriage overseas helping with the war effort while Sterling also served in the war. That no doubt had to put a strain on their marriage, and they ended up divorcing in 1946.
Screenwriter and Producer Virginia Van Upp
She wrote the screenplay for four of the movies in which Madeleine appeared with Fred MacMurray as well as for the movie Bahama Passage (1941).
I couldn’t find any information about her associations with Madeleine Carroll, but I did discover a bit about her background which I found interesting. Virginia Van Upp began performing in silent films as a child actress, eventually working her way up in the film industry holding several positions such as script writer, film editor and casting director.
Her most prominent role was that of Executive Producer at Columbia Pictures, and she was one of only three female producers working for major Hollywood studios at the time. In her career with Columbia, she wrote the screenplay for the movie Cover Girl (1944) and produced the movie Gilda (1946) becoming friends with the star of both those movies, Rita Hayworth.
Costume Designer Joe Strassner
He designed dresses for two of her movies, The 39 Steps and Secret Agent
Strassner was born in Germany and worked on movies in both Britain and Hollywood. He also designed the dresses for another of Alfred Hitchcock’s films, Sabotage (1936). I have yet to watch Secret Agent, but from still photos I’ve seen from the movie including the one above, it seems as if I would really like his style.
Costume Designer Edith Head
She designed costumes for five of Madeleine Carroll’s movies; Cafe Society (1939), Honeymoon in Bali (1939), Safari (1940), Bahama Passage (1941) and My Favorite Blonde (1942).
With her long resume in Hollywood, it’s no surprise that Edith Head designed the costumes for a few of Madeleine Carroll’s movies. According to the book “Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood’s Greatest Costume Designer,” Edith enjoyed designing the clothes for Cafe Society because the dresses were, “big, bouffant, off the shoulder evening gowns, utterly feminine and princess looking.” I am a big fan of Edith Head and am now interested in watching more Madeleine Carroll movies so I may just have to watch that movie soon.
Those are just a few of the many talented people Madeleine Carroll worked with throughout her career. You can read more about them in some of the other great posts written for this blogathon. Please be sure to check them out!