Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Betty Hutton (1921-2007)

“I am not a great singer and I am not a great dancer but I am a great actress, and nobody ever let me act except Preston Sturges. He believed in me.”
Betty Hutton in 1971

I fear already what will happen later today as my young co-workers wander into the office and I sadly announce the passing of Betty Hutton and they inevitably will say, "Who?" She may have faded from the pop culture landscape except for film buffs such as myself, but Hutton certainly deserves salute and remembrance. From her great work in my favorite Preston Sturges' comedy, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, to her fun turn in The Perils of Pauline, Hutton was a spunky powerhouse of a presence.

I regret that I never got the chance to catch up with her work in the film version of the musical Annie Get Your Gun, where she replaced Judy Garland as Annie Oakley, and you can't blame her for being stuck in the Oscar-winning turkey that is The Greatest Show on Earth. According to IMDb, her last appearance as an actress was in an episode of TV's Baretta in 1977. Her output might have been slim, but it was hardly paltry. RIP Ms. Hutton.

For the full Washington Post obit, click here.

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EC, I too love The Miracle at Morgan's Creek and don't blame her for the boring The Greatest Mess On Earth. You should check out Little Orphan Annie Get Your Gun. It's a fun little movie. RIP, Ms. Hutton.
I've had Annie Get Your Gun in my GreenCine queue for ages and it has never budged off the most unavailable status.
It's not just "young co-workers" who know nothing of Hutton. I mentioned her passing to my father, age 75, and he had no idea who the hell I was talking about.

Sad, really. Ah, well--we'll always have The Miracle of Morgan's Creek.
Sad to admit that I've never seen "Annie" either...and kind of sad to also admit that, despite my love of "Miracle", I don't think I've seen her in any other movie at all.

Still, it's a comic masterwork and it's enough. Oh, and way to steal "my" pullquote!
She's great in Annie Get Your Gun, and also in Incendiary Blonde, a little-seen film that I was lucky enough to catch on TCM a few years ago. For either of those films, or for Morgan's Creek or Pauline, she would have been worthy of an Oscar nomination. The fact that she wasn't recognized by The Academy for any of these performances stands as yet another sad indication of the system's failings.
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