Helen Craig played Mattie Mansfield in Nicholas Ray’s debut feature “They Live By Night” and her performance is easily one of the best things about the film. But I must wonder whatever became of this actress? Her career resume at the Internet Movie Database reveals she did a few movies early in her career, then had an apparent hiatus of 20 years in between screen work before doing a slew of television stuff in the 1970s. Apart from her screen presence and thespian skills as demonstrated in “They Live By Night”, she was a physical marvel. I had difficulty keeping my gaze above her shoulders and it would have been nigh impossible if not for the fact that Miss Craig was blessed with one of the most gorgeous faces I’ve seen in black-and-white on celluloid. A prominent ski jump nose, a strong jawline, a regal brow with the most fetching creases (totally sexy, gives the impression of a woman in a permanent state of deep thought and concern) plus luscious raven hair and lots of it. Such a beauty yet she could also act rather well (at least based upon her work here). So why the hiatus in between screen work? Did she focus more on the stage during the 1950s and 1960s? Has anyone seen her in any of her other films? The internet seems to be relatively short on pictures of the actress and little is said about her. It is unfortunate that so many screen performers do not get the level of respect they deserve for their work.
Yeah, she did work on the stage during that time, most notably on Broadway in a production of Eugene O’Neill’s “More Stately Mansions” at the Broadhurst Theater from Oct 31, 1967 – Mar 2, 1968.
The Snake Pit is a pretty solid film
Craig’s character is sort of a precusor of Louise Fletcher’s Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Wow, that sounds groovy! I can very easily envision Helen Craig as a Nurse Ratched type!