Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Vivian Austin and THE CHARGE AT FEATHER RIVER (Warner Bros., 1953)

Blink and you'll miss it. But if you don't blink, you shall witness something rarely shown in any classic Western like The Charge at Feather River: a cavalry officer returning to his quarters to find his wife apparently having an affair with a fellow officer. Will the rivals be heading out with the same search party to rescue a couple of white women (Vera Miles and Helen Westcott) held by the Cheyenne, their mutual distrust not exactly helpful for the mission? Why, yes! The two combatants are acted by genre stalwarts Frank Lovejoy and Don Brodie with the object of their rivalry played, briefly, oh, so briefly, by Vivian Austin. The Western in question, Feather River, was lensed in color and 3-D (which those fortunate enough to have witnessed claim was very effective), starred also-ran performer Guy Madison (playing a scout leader named, amusingly, Mikes Archer) and was produced on Warner Bros. sound stages with brief detours to Newhall and Santa Clarita. Mainly due to the-then brand new 3-D effects but also some quite good writing and solid performances, The Charge at Feather River became the highest grossing Western of 1953.

A busty blonde, Vivian Mason had been around for quite a few years by 1953, mostly performing chorus girl assignments. She was, for example, a Ziegfeld Girl in the eponymous 1941 MGM musical starring Garland, Tuner and LaMarr and there were many other such assignments. Her screen and television career lasted until 1955. Sadly, according to a Wikipedia entry, "Mason died of lanition (a lack of food and water) and dementia on August 24, 2009 in Seattle, Washington. She was a resident of the Ida Culver House-Broadview nursing home at the time of her death, and was cremated."


1 comment:

  1. HI,
    Excuse my bad english, but I'm french.
    Your blog is very very good, it' a pleasure and in this blog I find a lot of information about hollywoos starlet of the forties. Thanks for that.
    For me, in this picture it's not vivan mason but sheree North, a similar picture is on the cover of a review "cabaret" june 1955 and the name of the girl is sheree north.