Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Feb. 27, 2021, Title Card for Confidentially Connie

This week’s mystery movie was the 1953 MGM picture “Confidentially Connie,” with Van Johnson, Janet Leigh, Louis Calhern, Walter Slezak, Gene Lockhart, Hayden Rorke, Robert Burton, Barbara Ruick and Marilyn Erskine.

Screenplay by Max Shulman, from a story by Max Shulman and Herman Wouk.

Photography by Harold Lipstein, art direction by Cedric Gibbons and Leonid Vasian. Edited by Fredrick Y. Smith. Assistant director Dolph Zimmer.

Music by David Rose. Recording by Douglas Shearer. Set decorations by Edwin B. Willis and Ralph Hurst. Montage by Peter Ballbusch.

Produced by Stephen Ames. Directed by Edward Buzzell.

“Confidentially Connie” is available on DVD from Warner Archive. It last aired on TCM in 2016. It’s also available for streaming on Amazon.

“Confidentially Connie” is an oddball movie and I chose it because of Elizabeth Flournoy, our mystery bus driver from last week, and because of the strange working title of another of her films, “A Steak for Connie,” which must be one of the more bizarre working titles ever given to a film (see also “A Can of Beans,” the working title for “Sunset Boulevard”).

The film is yet another light, mid-century romantic comedy that would be a must-see only if you’re going for bragging rights of seeing all of Van Johnson’s movies … or Janet Leigh’s movies … or Louis Calhern’s movies. The project must have looked good on paper: A script by Max Shulman, a cast headed by Van Johnson and Janet Leigh, in a satirical film about the high price of meat. (Trigger alert: There is lots of meat in this movie.) If the movie had been about something else, like the high price of men’s single-breasted suits or Buick Roadmasters or Danish modern furniture or abstract expressionist paintings, or maybe even rutabagas, the script might have a chance. I’m not a vegetarian, but this film really is a throwback to the early 1950s when everybody smoked (even expectant mothers!) and drank, and ate lots and lots of red meat.

As for Elizabeth Flournoy, I’m trying to persuade IMDB that it has the wrong Elizabeth Flournoy in its credits for “The Mating Season” and “Confidentially Connie.” Someone got their mitts into IMDB early on and credited the wrong Elizabeth Flournoy for a lot of movies (pro tip: there were at least three women named Elizabeth Flournoy living in Los Angeles in the 1950s). The roles that rightly should be credited to Elizabeth Betty Flournoy Graves (b. 1913, d. 2010) have mistakenly been credited to another Elizabeth Flournoy, who was born in 1886 and died in 1977, without ever appearing in a film. And a woman born in 1886 who supposedly played an expectant mother in a 1953 film sounds slightly biblical if nothing else.

Harrison’s Reports (Jan. 17, 1953) said:

Revolving around a young but independent college professor whose meager salary does not permit him to buy red meat required by his pregnant wife, “Confidentially Connie” is a highly amusing domestic comedy that, by virtue of its star power, is strong enough to top a double bill. The story is simple, but it is crammed with many comical situations, and those who will see it will tell others of its high degree of humor. Most of the hearty laughs stem from the confusion caused by Louis Calhern, the professor’s blustering father, a Texas cattle tycoon who secretly makes a deal with a local butcher to supply meats to his daughter-in-law at low prices, thus precipitating a cut-throat price war among the butcher shops in town…. It is not a big picture, but it certainly is a very good entertainment.

And let’s see which New York Times critic hated it….

Well. “Confidentially Connie” played in New York in April 1953 as the second half of a double bill with “Above and Beyond” and was not reviewed.

April 24, 1953, ad for "Confidentially Connie"
Notice the ad campaign in the New York Times makes no reference to meat.

Feb. 22, 2021, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a strange mystery photo.

Update: This is a fantasy sequence in which Louis Calhern’s character, a cattle baron, has a nightmare that his pregnant daughter-in-law must eat fish and take vitamins because She. Can’t. Get. Red. Meat!


Also for Monday, we have a mystery gent getting some exercise.

Update: This is Dick Sands.

Feb. 23, 2021, Mystery Photo

For Tuesday, we have a mystery doctor.

Update: This is Robert Burton as Dr. Willis Shoop, who urges pregnant women to get lots and lots of red meat.

Feb. 23, 2021, Mystery Photo

We also have a mystery cowboy. And yes, they are in the same mystery movie. His companion has been cropped out due to insufficient mysteriousness and will appear Friday.

Update: For “Aha Thursday,” we have our mystery cowboy’s mysterious companion.

Update: This is Emmett Lynn, left, and Louis Calhern. Also a mystery horse and mystery cows.

Feb. 24, 2021, Mystery Photo

For “Hm Wednesday,” we have this mystery woman. And would you believe it? She does not approve of such goings-on.

Update: This is Lotte Stein.

Feb. 24, 2021, Mystery Photo

We also have this mysterious “expectant mother.” No, really she is.

Update: This is Marilyn Erskine.

Feb. 24, 2021, Mystery Photo

And we also have this mystery expectant mother and yes, she is smoking. This time, it is I who do not approve of such goings-on.

Update: This is Kathleen Freeman.

Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guests).

Feb. 25, 2021, Mystery Photo

For “Aha Thursday,” we have these three mystery gents.

Update: This is Louis Calhern, left, Emmett Lynn, center, and Emory Parnell.

Feb. 25, 2021, Mystery Photo

Yes, I know we just did our mystery couple, but here they are again. After all, it *is* “Aha Thursday.”

Update: This is Kathleen and Gene Lockhart, whom we just saw in “I’d Climb the Highest Mountain,” exhausting my allotment of Gene and Kathleen Lockhart mystery photos for this year.

Feb. 25, 2021, Mystery Photo

And here’s another mystery couple.

Update: This is June Whitley Taylor and Hayden Rorke.

Feb. 25, 2021, Mystery Photo

And finally for “Aha Thursday,” we have a mysterious butcher.

Update: This is Walter Slezak.

Brain Trust roll call: Bruce Reznick (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mysterious pregnant woman with cigarette), Tucson Barbara (Tuesday’s mysterious smoking pregnant woman), Mary Mallory (mystery movie, and all mystery guests), Floyd Thursby (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery guests and Wednesday’s mysterious smoking pregnant woman), Beachgal (mystery movie and all mystery guests except Wednesday’s mysterious woman in the window), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery guests), Funky PhD. (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery smoking pregnant woman), B.J. Merholz (Wednesday’s mysterious smoking pregnant woman), Gary (Wednesday’s mysterious smoking pregnant woman), Mike Hawks (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery guests and Wednesday’s mysterious smoking pregnant woman), Blackwing Jenny (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mysterious smoking pregnant woman), Sheila (Wednesday’s mysterious smoking pregnant woman), Sarah (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery guest and Wednesday’s mysterious smoking pregnant woman), L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast), David Inman (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mysterious smoking pregnant woman), Sylvia E. (mystery movie and all mystery guests) and Sue Slutzky (mystery movie and all mystery guests).

Note to Blackwing Jenny: Yes. He gets about 30 seconds of screen time.

Feb. 26, 2021, Mystery Photo

For Friday, we have the mysterious occupants of the mysterious obstetrician’s waiting room.

Update: This is, from left, Elizabeth Flournoy (the 1913 one), Marilyn Erskine, Janet Leigh and Kathleen Freeman.

Feb. 26, 2021, Mystery Photo

Also for Friday, we have our mysterious leading lady, whose character is in the second trimester of her pregnancy. It is the 1950s, after all.

Update: This is Louis Calhern and Janet Leigh.

Feb. 26, 2021, Mystery Photo

And here are our mysterious leading man and leading lady.

Update: This is Van Johnson and Janet Leigh.

Brain Trust roll call: Beach Gal (Wednesday’s mysterious woman in the window, Thursday’s mystery gents and mystery couples Nos. 1 and 2), Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery guests), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie, Thursday’s mystery father-in-law, mystery couple No. 1, mysterious future sitcom Air Force  officer and mysterious butcher), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guests), Gary (mystery movie and mysterious leading lady), Alexa Foreman (mystery movie), Thom and Megan (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery cowboys, Wednesday’s mysterious smoking expectant mother and Thursday’s mystery guests), Sylvia E. (Thursday’s mysterious cowboys Nos. 1 and 2, mysterious couples Nos. 1 and 2, and mystery butcher), and Sue Slutzky (Thursday’s mysterious cowboys Nos. 1 and 2, mystery couples Nos. 1 and 2, and mysterious butcher).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1953, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Sylvia E. says:

    Ha! No guess. The first looks like an interesting (comic?) maternity ward picture.


  2. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Robert Burton in FAST COMPANY (1953)


  3. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    No. Robert Burton in CONFIDENTIALLY CONNIE.


  4. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Emmett Lynn.


  5. Sheila says:

    Houseley Stevenson for Tuesday?


  6. Bruce says:

    Wild guess: Wednesday is Kathleen Freeman in “Confidentially Connie”: IMDb has her in there, uncredited as “Mother of Twins”, and the plot includes a cowboy.


  7. tucsonbarbara says:

    Kathleen Freeman


  8. Mary Mallory says:

    CONFIDENTIALLY CONNIE. James Flavin Monday, Robert Burton and Emmett Lynn Tuesday, and Lottie Stein, Marilyn Erskine, and Kathleen Freeman today. Will Elizabeth Flournoy turn up again?


  9. Mary Mallory says:

    Dick Sands Monday.


  10. Floyd Thursby says:

    For Tuesday we have Robert Burton and Emmett Lynn. For Wednesday we have Kathleen Freeman. The movie is “Confidentially Connie.”


  11. beachgal says:

    Our movie is Confidentially Connie. Our doctor from Tues is Robert Burton. Pregnant mom #2 on Wed is Kathleen Freeman.


  12. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Lotte Stein; Marilyn Erskine; Kathleen Freeman.


  13. FunkyPhD says:

    Mystery smoking pregnant lady is Kathleen Freeman. “Confidentially Connie?”


  14. B.J. Merholz says:

    Kathleen Freeman


  15. Gary says:

    For starters …Kathleen Freeman.


  16. mike hawks says:

    Emmett Lynn, Robert Burton and Kathleen Freeman in CONFIDENTIALLY CONNIE.


  17. beachgal says:

    I think Monday exercise man is Dick Sands.


  18. Kathleen Freeman in “Confidentially Connie”! Can’t wait to see if my cousin Emory P. shows up this week!


  19. Sheila says:

    Kathleen Freeman for Wednesday.


  20. Sarah says:

    Thanks to Kathleen Freeman and Dick Sands, it’s “Confidentially Connie” (1953).


  21. LC says:

    Confidentially Connie (1953) w/Janet Leigh, Van Johnson, Louis Calhern, Gene Lockhart, Walter Slezak, Kathleen Freeman, Dick Sands, Robert Burton, Marilyn Erskine…


  22. David Inman says:

    Kathleen Freeman today, making this — I think — “Confidentially Connie.”


  23. Sylvia E. says:

    Thank you Kathleen Freeman!

    When I looked at the cast list of Confidentially Connie 1953, I had to laugh as I saw Elizabeth Flournoy (IMdB – b. 1886, AGAIN!) listed as “Expectant Mother” (though today that would be possible.) Will the poor Ms. Flournoys-deux ever get their due credits straightened out?

    Anyway, Monday’s ‘push ups’ guy is Dick Sands, I think.

    Tuesday’s Doctor is Robert Burton and the mystery cowboy is Emmett Lynn (is the ‘cropped for lack of mysteriousness guy’ Louis Calhern?)

    Wednesday’s group of distressed looking women: Lotte Stein??, Marilyn Erskine?? (or is she Ms. Flournoy?? – though she doesn’t look like last weeks bus driver to me, so I’m sticking with Erskine) and Kathleen Freeman.


  24. Sue Slutzky says:

    “Confidentially Connie”
    Monday: Dick Sands
    Tuesday: Robert Burton, Emmet Lynn
    Wednesday: Margaret Bert, Marilyn Erskine, Kathleen Freeman


  25. beachgal says:

    Mystery couple #1 are Gene & Kathleen Lockhart. Couple #2 are Hayden Rorke and June Whitley Taylor. Butcher is Henry Kulky.


  26. Mary Mallory says:

    Louis Calhern, Emmett Lynn, Henry Kulky, Kathleen and Gene Lockhart, June Whitley Taylor and Hayden Rorke, and Walter Slezak.


  27. tucsonbarbara says:

    “Confidentially Connie”

    Louis Calhern, Gene and Kathleen Lockhart, Hayden Rorke, Walter Slezak


  28. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Louis Calhern, Emmett Lynn, Emory Parnell; Kathleen and Gene Lockhart; June Whitley, Hayden Rorke; Walter Slezak.


  29. mike hawks says:

    Louis Calhern, Marilyn Erskine, Kathleen and Gene Lockhart, Hayden Rorke, June Whitley, Walter. Slezak and EMORY PARNELL.


  30. Gary says:

    This would be Confidentially Connie which I am certain I saw first run …I was 14 when this came out and I never missed a Janet Leigh movie…I have always been in love with Janet Leigh.G


  31. A. F. says:

    Confidentially Connie!


  32. Thom and Megan says:

    This week’s movie is “Confidentially Connie”. In the first scene on Tuesday, our guest is Gayne Whitman. In the second scene, they are Emmett Lynn and Louis Calhern. On Wednesday, it’s Kathleen Freeman. On Thursday, our guests are Louis Calhern, Emmett Lynn, Emory Parnell, Gene Lockhart, Hayden Rorke, June Whitley Taylor, and Walter Slezak.


  33. Sylvia E. says:

    Is that William Baily standing with Louis Calhern and Emmett Lynn? Just a guess. He seems the right age.

    Gene and Kathleen Lockhart. Sooo happy.

    Hayden Rorke and, I think, June Whitley. Sooo happy.

    Walter Slezak (the very important butcher.). Sooo kind.


  34. Sue Slutzly says:

    Thursday: Louis Calhern, Emmet Lynn and james Flavin (?)
    Gene and Kathleen Lockhart
    Hayden Rorke and June Whitley
    Walter Slezak


  35. beachgal says:

    Friday in the waiting room Elizabeth Flournoy, Marilyn Earskin, Janet Leigh, Kathleen Freeman.
    On the stairs, Louis Calhern, Janet Leigh
    Leading lady and leading man Janet Leigh and Van Johnson.
    From Thurs butcher is Walter Slezak


  36. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Elizabeth Flournoy, Marilyn Erskine, Janet Leigh, Kathleen Freeman; Louis Calhern, Janet Leigh; Van Johnson & Janet Leigh, who is equipped for motherhood.


  37. Mary Mallory says:

    Louis Calhern pops up Tuesday, then Janet Leigh with is that Elizabeth Flournoy, Erskine, and Freeman, Calhern and Leigh, and Van Johnson and Leigh.


  38. mike hawks says:

    Louis Calhern, Van Johnson and Janet Leigh.


  39. Sylvia E. says:

    Maybe I’ll write a children’s book called “Where’s Elizabeth Flournoy?” Is that her in the Friday waiting room image, far screen left? Sure looks like her.

    The rest of the images have our previously ID’d cast, plus Janet Leigh and Van Johnson.

    This was a fun one.


  40. Benito says:

    CONFIDENTIALLY CONNIE. Janet Leigh quits smoking while pregnant, but only to save money, and insists that she needs meat…


  41. tucsonbarbara says:

    Janet Leigh and Van Johnson


  42. Sue Slutzky says:

    Friday’s pregnant ladies: Marilyn Erskine, Kathleen Freeman, Janet Leigh and I think Elizabeth Flournoy. Then, Louis Calhern with Janet Leigh and Van Johnson wraps it all up.
    As a vegetarian, the scene in the trailer that turned me off was the doctor advising Janet to eat a lot of meat, and then her response. 😦


    • lmharnisch says:

      There is a *lot* of meat in this film. It was originally called “A Steak for Connie.” If that isn’t a record for the strangest working title of a film, it must at least be a contender.


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