This business of being a movie star is getting tougher all the time. With the public no longer so gullible as in former years, but continually on the watch for the use of “doubles,” there’s a growing tendency among directors to have their stars actually perform stunts and difficult feats wherever practicable.
Martha Raye, for instance, was really tossed around by those husky adagio dancers in Paramount’s “Mountain Music.” Again, in her current picture, “Tropic Holiday,” she actually did some matadoring in the bullfight sequence.
Dorothy Lamour had to learn to throw a knife for a scene of “Her Jungle Love.” and Henry Fonda learned hatchet — throwing for “Spawn of the North,” the Alaskan saga in which he and Miss Lamour are currently starring with George Raft. Again, in the Alaskan picture. Raft really had to mix in with a crowd of husky extras in a gang fight scene.
Randolph Scott, in person, had to ride through fire several times in the prairie-fire sequence of “The Texans.”
Katharine Hepburn did many scenes with a leopard in HKO’s “Bringing Up Baby.” In one scene, she had to pull the leopard’s tail. In another she had to spank the beast. And what if it was a trained leopard?
Heather Angel and John Howard faced a lion in “Bulldog Drummond in Africa.” Fred MacMurray has to climb out on the wing of a plane for a scene of William Wellman’s Technicolor picture, “Men With Wings.” Such close-ups cannot be “faked” in a color picture.