Our exclusive photos from the Donald Gordon Collection include dozens of Donald himself posing with the stars he so admired.

Yes, with him above is Oscar winner Claire Trevor with fan Donald. He had great taste in Hollywood friends, and his association with Claire here is aces with us.

To determine just how good she was, take another look — as we just did — at seminal director Anthony Mann’s terrific 1948 film noir, Raw Deal.  Claire plays a seen-it-all gangster’s moll competing with fresh-faced Marsha Hunt for the affections of jailbird Dennis O’Keefe. Claire loses out in the end but does so with style.

Although a superb movie, Raw Deal was not of sufficient stature (a “B” picture emanating from poverty row studio Eagle-Lion) to merit Oscar consideration for its principal cast. But Claire was nominated twice for best supporting actress Oscar (for 1938’s Dead End and 1955’s The High and the Mighty), and won in that category for her moving performance in John Huston’s 1948 drama, Key Largo.

Let’s not forget that the New York City-native Trevor, (born Claire Wemlinger in 1910), was informally called “the Queen of Film Noir.” Among her many movies making the point there is 1947’s Born To Kill in which Trevor squares off with a deranged leading man played by Lawrence Tierney.

She anchors that picture, and her femme fatale lead is the polar opposite of  Edward G. Robinson’s used up singer-mistress (Gaye Dawn) in Key Largo. Tierney is her brutal lover; Trevor handles him in kind.

The actress’ terrifically strong performance is one of film noir’s most unforgettable screen turns. In fact, it’s hard to determine in Born To Kill which of the leading characters is the most twisted — Tierney’s or Trevor’s.  What a recipe for delicious noir!

Claire had a long career (from the early Thirties and lasting until the late Eighties) and a diverse one. When this picture was taken with Donald she was on her way to bigtime stardom.

A mystery to us — who were fortunate enough to be bequeathed Donald’s treasure trove of informal snaps taken in Hollywood in the Forties — is the identity of the person who took the photos that included DG.  Donald took most of the photos himself, but there are a few, such as the one with Claire, that someone else took.  Who that person is remains a mystery.

The photo indicates both Donald and Claire, together or separately, were prepared for an eventful evening on the town.  Ah, Hollywood in the Forties.

Did you like this? Share it: