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Kind Lady

Kind Lady(1951)

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According to a Daily Variety news item, M. Svet, who painted the portrait of Ethel Barrymore that is seen in the film, was the wife of Dore Schary, then head of production at M-G-M. Filming was interrupted on the production in early January 1951 when Barrymore became ill. Because of scheduling problems with other films and a stage role of Maurice Evans, when production did resume, in early Feb, Barrymore had to interrupt filming on the Twentieth Century-Fox picture The Secret of Convict Lake (see below) to complete her role in Kind Lady. According to a November 15, 1950 Hollywood Reporter news item, actress Dawn Addams was to make her debut in the picture, but she was not in the released film.
       According to an article in Los Angeles Times on October 4, 1951, shortly after Kind Lady opened in Los Angeles, representatives of the Wage Earners Committee, an anti-Communist group, picketed outside the United Artists Theater on Wilshire Blvd., carrying banners proclaiming Edward Chodorov, author of the play on which the film was partially based, as "top Communist." The article quoted committee president Norman S. Smith as saying that Chodorov had been named as a member of the Communist party by screenwriter Martin Berkeley when HUAC hearings were held in Los Angeles on September 19, 1951. Smith further stated that Chodorov had been mentioned twenty-one times in a California report on Communists in the state. An Los Angeles Times article on October 5, 1951 stated that pickets had been withdrawn after the committee was informed that M-G-M had purchased the play years before and that Chodorov "has nothing more to do with the film and receives no royalties from it." Stating that the committee did not want to impose a financial hardship on a private employer or individual engaged in "legitimate endeavors," Smith emphasized that the committee had "served notice" that it might at any time publicize those who help promote Communists. For their work on the film, Walter Plunkett and Gile Steele received an Academy Award nomination in the Costume (Black-and-White) category.
       Kind Lady was previously filmed in 1935 under the same title. That film was directed by George B. Seitz and starred Aline MacMahon and Basil Rathbone (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40). On December 2, 1949, a Ford Theatre adaptation of the story was televised on the CBS network, directed by John Sturges and starring Fay Bainter and Joseph Schildkraut was broadcast. A Broadway Television Theatre production of the story, starring Sylvia Sidney, was broadcast on non-network television on November 30, 1953.