Ruth Chatterton, what an edgy Old Hollywood gem. She was an actress, writer and pilot- or to put it more charmingly, an aviatrix. Briefly a marquis name, many times her roles reflected her nerve and intellect. She worked during the 1930s, an era when Hollywood was not afraid of smart women. Bette Davis co-starred in a couple movies with her and Davis described her as talented and intimidating. Bette Davis was intimidated. Precode productions took advantage of her assertive sexuality. Ruth Chatterton made three films with Dorothy Arzner one of the only woman director's of the 1930s-40s working in Hollywood. At times her films were melodramatic, with dizzyingly scandalous convoluted plots but Chatterton's talent would carry things along. Pauline Kael called her "the great Ruth Chatterton". She made her screen debut at 35 and worked in film acting for about ten years. She reached a point in her career where she could choose which projects to sign on to, an accomplishment during the contracted studio system years. Prior to her cinema career Chatterton worked on Broadway. She went back to theater when she "aged out" of working in movies. Known internationally, she also worked in Europe and translated French plays for the American stage. In her later years she retired to write novels.
Oh and she flew solo across the Atlantic- twice.
Ruth Chatterton films to check out- Female 1933, Dodsworth 1936
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