The Face On

The Cutting Room Floor

HOLLYWOOD---If you had a face as lovely as hers, saw it in giant close-ups while the rushes were viewed every evening, and then went into a theater to discover that every last one of them had been slashed to the cutting room floor, how would you feel?

Sure---and that’s just how lovely, blues singing actress Julie London felt when, a few weeks after finishing “The Wonderful Country” with Robert Mitchum, she went eagerly into a movie theater prepared to purr happily over what she had been led to believe would prove her most opportune part in 12 starts (hitherto disappointing) as a screen actress.

“All my lovely big screen shots were gone---every last one of them,” Julie explained sadly. “Instead, all the close-ups seemed to be those of Bob Mitchum.”

    The thoroughly chagrined Julie said she clocked off approximately six minutes of herself in the movie’s 90 minutes running time, whereas she had originally appeared in 80% of the scenes.

    Thus, once more, Julie must go on the hunt for a film sponsor and a role that will come off better---at least longer.

    The platter queen, former wife of “Dragnet’s” Jack Webb, was rated as one of the most beautiful and promising film starlets when she retired in 1949 to rear her two children. For her on and off again plight in “The Wonderful Country,” she blames no one but producer-star Bob Mitchum.

    “Still, it was his own picture,” Julie said. “He had his money in it. And so, no one had a better right.”

    Julie draws what by comparative wages is the respectable sum of $75,000 per picture and admits that at such prices she entertains a guilt complex, feeling she is cheating fans as well as her producers.

    “If I were to clip all my acting footage from those 12 movies,” she laments, “there still wouldn’t be enough to add up to one presentable part.”

    All she got out of “The Wonderful Country” was the salary and “one of the best times I ever had in my life,” says Julie. As for adding anything to that all-important career potential, it was a complete bust. The film was shot entirely in Mexico.

    Mitchum’s ruthless cutting isn’t the only disappointment in Julie’s life right now. She had been keyed up for weeks by assurances from 20th Century-Fox that she would be awarded the plum role of “Cleopatra” in a multi-million-dollar epic of the Nile. She would get it they promised, if Elizabeth Taylor was unavailable. At the time it appeared there wasn’t one chance in 50 of that happening. But the million dollar salary offer spurred Liz to batter down all obstacles, and sign.

    “I studied every phase of Cleopatra’s life in preparation,” said Julie, “and from what I’ve learned and judging by the many pictures artists have drawn, I’d say that I resemble her more than any actress in Hollywood.

“And it’s hard to believe,” she concluded, “that had I landed Cleopatra I would have wound up on a cutting room floor!”


The Milwaukee Journal

Saturday - November 21, 1959

Caption:  Close-ups like this one of Julie London won’t be seen in “Wonderful Country”