Monday, February 4, 2013

Dana Andrews gets his due

The title for my class comes from
Carl Rollyson’s recent biography of Andrews.
As any reader of this blog knows, I love classic movies. I have many favorite actors and actresses from Hollywood’s Golden Age, but my favorite actor from this time period is Dana Andrews. As a kid growing up, I used to watch a lot of old movies on TV (before cable and TCM). When I discovered the films of Andrews (Laura, Fallen Angel, The Best Years of Our Lives), I was fascinated by his naturalistic acting style, one without artifice or exaggerated emotions and mannerisms.

Through my blog, I became acquainted with Andrews biographer, Carl Rollyson. Rollyson wrote the first comprehensive biography of the actor, receiving cooperation from the Andrews family. The book inspired me to organize a Dana Andrews blogathon with my fellow classic movie bloggers. It was a huge success. So successful was the blogathon that I decided to propose a class on Andrews. This spring I’ll be teaching Dana Andrews: Hollywood Enigma at Facets Film School, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL. If you’re in Chicago and you love classic movies, I encourage you to take this class.


Wednesdays, March 20-April 24, 7-10 pm

Dana Andrews (1909-1992) was one of Hollywood’s most popular movie stars during its golden age. He worked with many legendary, accomplished directors including John Ford, Lewis Milestone, Otto Preminger, Fritz Lang, and William Wyler to name just a few. Andrews’s career is a true American rags-to-riches story as he was the third of 13 children born to a Baptist minister and his wife, yet rose to become a movie star. His minimalist acting style personified ‘the male’ mask of the 1940s, in such classic films as Laura, Fallen Angel, and Where the Sidewalk Ends, in which he played the ‘masculine ideal of sang froid impassivity. These singular films, all directed by Preminger, recognized this distinguishing characteristic of Andrews’s acting ability and perhaps exploited it best. Although Andrews fulfilled his dreams, he did not live the typical celebrity lifestyle. A family man at heart, Andrews avoided the limelight that many of his contemporaries fully embraced. A complicated man, he had a problem with alcohol for most of his adult life, but despite his personal conflicts, he was admired and well liked by his colleagues, leaving us with an extraordinary body of work that will be studied for generations to come.

To register for this film class, click here.


Laura (Otto Preminger, 1944)

Fallen Angel (Otto Preminger, 1945)

A Walk in The Sun (Lewis Milestone, 1945)

Canyon Passage (Jacques Tourneur, 1946)

Boomerang! (Elia Kazan, 1947)

Daisy Kenyon (Otto Preminger, 1947)


  1. Sounds awesome! Wish I lived there and could attend.

    Hope it's a huge success for you!

    1. I wish you could, too, Patti. It should be a fun enjoyable class. Carl Rollyson who wrote the biography may pat us a visit too!

  2. Sounds like a great class!

    My fave Dana Andrews role is in "The Best Years of Our Lives". I love that scene with him in the abandoned fighter plane "graveyard", reliving some of his war experiences. Some say he was not an actor with depth, but that one scene proves he was.

    1. There are so many great moments and scenes from that film. The graveyard scene shows how acting, cinematography, and sound/music come together to create an indelible impression. Biographer Carl Rollyson is planning on making an appearance which should make it even more fun!

  3. excellent choices considering there are lots to pick from, I agree about how great he was in Best Years, you have a nice assortment here across genres, to show what he was capable of. I LOVE Walk in the Sun, and am interested to see how viewers react to the 1- 2 punch of Laura & Fallen Angel. Possibly you can do a followup post? great stuff!

    1. Thanks! I like the 1-2 punch of "Laura" and "Fallen Angel" too. And I bet most haven't seen "A Walk in the Sun" and I'm anxious to get their reaction. I will definitely blog about reactions to this class.


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