After noting Ira Resnick's prediction that Carole would have developed into a "great charcter actress" had she not perished in 1942, I started thinking of films that might have been blessed with her presence. We all know she was slated to star in THEY ALL KISSED THE BRIDE, but surely there were other roles that would have benefited by the Lombard touch, further solidifying her considerable range.
Billy Wilder in Cameron Crowe's book, CONVERSATIONS WITH WILDER, was asked if there was any performer with whom he had wanted to work but never had the chance. He answered, "Carole Lombard." And while it is blissful to think of a Wilder-Lombard comedy, another film came to mind that might have beautifully suited Carole and reunited her with her most frequent co-star.
DOUBLE IDEMINITY cast Barbara Stanwyck as a duplicitous wife who falls for insurance agent, Fred MacMurray. Together they conspire to kill her husband and make it look like an accident, thus collecting on the double ideminity accident policy. Plans go awry, however, and both succumb to tragic ends in classic film noir style.
Barbara Stanwyck, who scored a major triumph and Oscar nomination for BALL OF FIRE (1941), written by Billy Wilder, got the part after Carole (and other actresses) turned it down. Had Carole lived, perhaps Billy WIlder would have enticed her to co-star with MacMurray in DOUBLE IDEMINITY. In TRUE CONFESSION, pathological liar Carole, accused of a murder she didn't commit, turns to attorney-husband MacMurray to save her from the electric chair. Wouldn't it have been interesting for Carole and Fred to reunite in a film where their collective guilt has far deadlier implications?
Anyone who doubts whether Carole had the dramatic chops to pull off this role has only to look at TO BE OR NOT TO BE where her femme fatale skills were beautifully honed as she pretends to romance Stanley Ridges in order to obtain important papers from the S.S. (Carole could give Mata Hari competition!)
If there are other roles you think Carole might have played if the fates had been kinder, please share your thoughts.
Vince, hope you're doing okay and looking forward to seeing your posts soon!