Canadian-born actress Alexis Smith (born 1921) would have turned 96 years old on June 8. Turner Classic Movies is celebrating her birthday by presenting nine of her movies, mostly during her time as a Warner Bros. contract player.
In addition to Michael Curtiz’s box office hit Night and Day, a highly fictionalized Cole Porter biopic starring Cary Grant as a heterosexual version of the famed gay composer. Night and Day is being shown as part of TCM’s Gay Pride Month celebration.
Of note, the little-remembered James V. Kern directed the 1947 Western Stallion Road. Kern, whose handful of big-screen credits include Never Say Goodbye (1946), starring Errol Flynn and Eleanor Parker, and the Buster Keaton-inspired musical April Showers (1948), starring Ann Sothern and Jack Carson, had previously worked with Alexis Smith on Warners’ The Doughgirls (1944), with Ann Sheridan heading an extensive, largely female, cast. In the early 1950s, Kern became a television director, handling dozens of episodes of I Love Lucy, My Three Sons, The Ann Sothern Show, and The Joey Bishop Show.
Alexis Smith died on June 9, 1993, the day after she turned 72. After her film career petered out in the 1950s, she went on to receive acclaim on the Broadway stage, making sporadic film appearances all the way to the year of her death.
Smith’s last film appearance was in a minor supporting role in Martin Scorsese’s overly genteel period drama The Age of Innocence (1993), starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Winona Ryder.
Below is TCM’s Alexis Smith movie schedule on June 8.
6:00 AM ONE LAST FLING (1949). A jealous wife decides working for her husband is the best way to keep tabs on him. Dir.: Peter Godfrey Cast: Alexis Smith. Zachary Scott. Douglas Kennedy. B&W. 64 mins.
8:45 AM SPLIT SECOND (1953). Escaped convicts hold hostages in a ghost town that’s the target of a nuclear bomb test. Dir.: Dick Powell Cast: Stephen McNally. Alexis Smith. Jan Sterling. B&W. 86 mins.
11:30 AM STALLION ROAD (1947). A veterinarian and a novelist compete for the heart of a lady rancher. Dir.: James V. Kern Cast: Ronald Reagan. Alexis Smith. Zachary Scott. Peggy Knudsen. Patti Brady. Harry Davenport. Angela Greene. Frank Puglia. Ralph Byrd. Lloyd Corrigan. B&W. 97 mins.
1:15 PM MONTANA (1950). An Australian gets caught in the battle between ranchers and sheep men. Dir.: Ray Enright Cast: Errol Flynn. Alexis Smith. S.Z. Sakall. Color. 76 mins.
2:45 PM SAN ANTONIO (1945). A reformed rustler tracks down a band of cattle thieves and tries to reform a crooked dance-hall girl. Dir.: David Butler Cast: Errol Flynn. Alexis Smith. S.Z. Sakall. Color. 109 mins.
4:45 PM THE SMILING GHOST (1941). A newswoman investigates a haunted house. Dir.: Lewis Seiler Cast: Wayne Morris. Brenda Marshall. Alexis Smith. B&W. 71 mins.
6:00 PM THE WOMAN IN WHITE (1948). Classic mystery about the adventures of a young tutor sent to a ghostly country estate. Dir.: Peter Godfrey Cast: Alexis Smith. Eleanor Parker. Sydney Greenstreet. Gig Young. Agnes Moorehead. John Abbott. John Emery. Curt Bois. Emma Dunn. Matthew Boulton. Anita Sharp-Bolster. B&W. 109 mins.
Note: This Alexis Smith post is currently being revised and expanded. Please check back later.