American actress Miriam Hopkins studied to be a dancer, but her first major opportunity with a touring ballet troupe was cut short when she broke her ankle. Opting for an acting career, Hopkins drew upon her Georgia background to specialize in playing Southern belles, most notably in the 1933 Broadway play Jezebel. Entering films with 1930’s Fast and Loose, Hopkins became a popular film star, though many critics and film historians deemed her histrionic, uninhibited style as “an acquired taste.” During the early stages of her film career, Hopkins contributed at least two memorable performances: Champagne Ivy, the doomed cockney songstress in the Fredric March version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), and the title role in Becky Sharp (1935), the first feature film to be shot in the three-strip Technicolor process. Relatively charming offscreen, Hopkins could be a terror on the set, driving co-stars to distraction with her lateness, lack of concentration and self-centered attitude towards… read more
In the early thirties, she was a wonderful (and sexy) comedienne and a fine dramatic actress. She was also, off-screen and off-stage, what they used to call a hellion. I don't know if this had any effect on her as actress but I do know that her style became coarser and more cartoonish, at least on film. On stage she still had her triumphs. I remember reading somewhere a review of the stage version of "Look Homeward Angel." She had replaced a well-received Jo Van Fleet. The reviewer wrote that Hopkins had somehow gotten deeper into the role than Van Fleet. Maybe her style was more suited to the stage after all. However, when she was directed by Lubitsch, she was as delicious a temptress as Joan Greenwood.