Monday, 16 June 2014

Ann Richards - Badman's Territory

Badman's Territory a classic 1946 black and white western staring Randolph Scott as a Texas Sherriff and Ann Richards as the crusading newspaper women seeking to reform the lawless nature of her town. All the classic elements, the Jesse James gang, defiant cattlemen and lots of black and white hats.

For me here at Screengoddess, Ann Richards (1917-2006) is the star, as the crusading newspaper woman Henryette Alcot. Although she didn't star in many films, she is immortalised in the graphic art associated with these productions. She was born in Sydney, Australia as Shirley Ann Richards where she learnt her trade performing in amateur productions.

It wasn't until 1937 before she was talent spotted for the Cinesounds Productions talent school, which led to parts in several films in the late 1930's. The first being It isn't Done in 1937.

After a few more Australian productions, she was on her way to Hollywood, travelling in December 1941, arriving a few days after the attack on Pearl Harbour, not a good time to be travelling across the Pacific !! Her move was a success as after her first short film, The Women in the House (1942) she was rewarded with a MGM contract.

Soon after a few small and supporting roles, she was cast as the female lead in An American Romance (1944) followed by Gas Light (1944) and The Picture of Dorian Grey (1945). Despite this success she asked to released from her contract as she "loved MGM - except for the waiting - there were long periods when I wasn't being used"

After MGM, she signed for RKO leading to lead roles in The Searching Wind (1946) and Badman's Territory (1946) after which her career faded away and ended with the unsuccessful film noir Breakdown in 1952.

After her film career ended she went on to publish several volumes of poetry. It's quite poignant that the poster design featured in the top right was for the Australian release and was printed in Sydney, her home town.
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