Chip Taylor Communications

Subject: Arts: Performing Arts

The Biographies Series: Performing Arts

23 of 51 programs from the The Biographies Series, which offer in-depth and personal studies of celebrated people in Performing Arts. Other focus areas in the series include: History; Photography; Psychology; Click for more

Merle Oberon: The "Trouble" With Merle

"Recommended. The 'trouble' of the title is the multiple versions of Merle Oberon's origins. The "official" story that studio publicists created and promulgated had the star born in far-flung Tasmania, and raised in India by upper-class godparents. Oberon clung to this fiction for the rest of her life. The truth came out in a posthumous biography: Oberon was Anglo-Indian in an era where a mixed-raced background would have been enough to keep her from starring in British and American films. Producer Marée Delofski attempts to find the truth hidden in the several extant persuasive fictions." -EMRO Review
The regal and stylish Merle Oberon was one of the biggest movie stars of the 1930s and 1940s. Appearing in over 40 films, she was nominated for Best Actress in The Dark Angel and delivered striking performances in The Scarlet Pimpernel, opposite Leslie Howard, and in Wuthering Heights, opposite Laurence Olivier. Studio publicists said she was born into a wealthy family in Hobart, Tasmania; yet rumor was that the exotic, almond-eyed actress concealed her true past. Using all the elements of an unraveling mystery, this intriguing documentary pursues many stories within the story, looking not only at the controversy surrounding Merle's birthplace and her ethnic origins, but also at the demands on the actress burdened by the Hollywood myth, as well the inter-relatedness of people's lives affected by the made-up story. Produced by Screen Australia. 03/09DR JSCA 55 min.
Also See: The Scarlet Pimpernel

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