Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Claire Trevor and Sally Forrest star in Ida Lupino's "Hard, Fast and Beautiful"

Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951) is an American drama directed by Ida Lupino and starring Claire Trevor and Sally Forrest.

Millie Farley (Trevor) is dissatisfied with her suburban life so she pours herself into her daughter Florence’s (Forrest) career as a tennis star. As Florence wins tournament after tournament, Millie uses her daughter’s success to climb the social ladder. This alienates her from her husband Will (Kenneth Patterson) and brings tension between her and her daughter when she tries to get Florence to break up with her boyfriend Gordon McKay (Robert Clarke) when she discovers he’s not as rich as his uncle who owns the country club where Florence practiced and won her first tournament.

Will the Farley family be able to come to terms with Florence’s success without destroying each other?


Sally Forrest and Claire Trevor

Ida Lupino (1918 – 1995) was an English-American actress, director, and producer. She appeared in over 50 films and was one of Warner Bros.’s biggest contract players during the 1940s starring in High Sierra (1941), The Sea Wolf (1941), and The Man I Love (1947). After she left Warner Bros., Lupino formed her own production company, producing, writing, and directing films that tackled subjects the big studios wouldn’t touch. During the 1950s, Lupino was the only female director working in Hollywood. She directed several small independent films but really made a name for herself directing for television. Lupino directed episodes of The Twilight Zone (starred in one too), The RiflemanBonanzaGilligan’s IslandIt Takes a ThiefFamily Affair, and Columbo. In 1966, she directed her one-and-only big-budget studio picture, The Trouble with Angels starring Rosalind Russell and Haley Mills.

Claire Trevor (1910 - 2000) was an American actress who appeared in over 60 movies. She received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Dead End (1937), and The High and the Mighty (1954). She won the award for her performance in Key Largo (1948). Trevor got her start on the New York stage and made her film debut in 1933. She also appeared on radio with Edward G. Robinson in the popular radio program Big Town. Trevor’s most famous role is probably Dallas in Stagecoach, but she had other memorable roles in Murder, My Sweet (1944), and Born to Kill (1947). Her last film role was in Kiss Me Goodbye (1982) where she played Sally Field’s mother.

Sally Forrest (1928 – 2015) was an American film, stage, and TV actress. She was also a dancer and was signed to a contract with M-G-M right after high school. At M-G-M, she was a chorus dancer. Her acting debut was Not Wanted (1949), produced and directed by Ida Lupino. She starred in two other films directed by Lupino, Never Fear (1949) and Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951). After her marriage in 1953, Sally began to work on television and the stage. She starred on Broadway in The Seven Year ItchDamn Yankees, and Bus Stop. Her last film was While the City Sleeps (1956) co-starring Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, and Ida Lupino.

Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan as tennis fans

Hard, Fast and Beautiful trivia

  • Look for Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan (34 minutes in), watching Sally Forrest's character playing tennis at a match in Seabright, New Jersey. 
  • Sally Forrest was borrowed from M-G-M where she was under contract.
  • Eleanor Tennant, who is credited as a technical advisor for this film coached Sally Forrest in her tennis scenes. Tennant was the first female tennis player to become a professional. She was also famous for instructing Hollywood stars like Clark Gable and Carole Lombard.
  • Robert Clarke had his hairy chest waxed to appear in the scene by the swimming pool.

To watch the movie on YouTube, click the link below.

To join the discussion on September 26, 2022, at 6:30 p.m Central Time click here. Once you RSVP, you will receive an invitation and a link to the meeting on Zoom.

Discussion questions

  1. What did you make of the mother-daughter dynamics? Was it believable?
  2. This was Sally Forrest's third film for director Ida Lupino. Do you think her acting improved with this film?
  3. The relationship between Claire Trevor and Kenneth Patterson was strained to say the least. Do you think Florence's father should have been more assertive when it came to how his daughter's career was being managed?
  4. There's a lot of tennis in this movie. Was it believable?
  5. Did anything about the film surprise you? Did it remind you of any other films you've seen?
  6. What about the title? Did it make sense?

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