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What follows are the premises of Faustina’s movies, beginning with her breakthrough to stardom.
For more expansive versions of the films’ stories, more stars, directors, and the artist’s work in biographical or historical context, search the The Riddle and The Sphinx by titles or actors.
How Grand Was Her Canyon (1948)
A young woman’s heart opens wide as the great outdoors.
With John Kodiak as the troubled villain who traps her in a cabin and Wayne John who rides to her rescue ~
Happy Ever-After (1950)
A young housewife moves into a old house where she and her spouse get tangled up with her mischievous cousin, who happens to look exactly like her, and also happens to be a ghost.
With William Holdyrn as the bewildered husband and Gillian Dish as the enterprising neighbor ~
Lost and Found Girl (1952)
A switch of plans, a change of uniforms, and she’s flying! The waitress has no qualifications, but she fills in for her roommate as stewardess on a flight to Paris. The transatlantic flight has its hazards – turbulence anyone? Then all bets are off when she sets foot in the City of Lights.
With Jack Lambing as the wight who’s bound to find her, no matter how much she gets lost ~
Madness lurks in this marriage, casting the shadow of threatened murder. But things aren’t always what they seem.
With Fred MacMorrow as the brooding spouse, a temperamental writer ~
Gypsy Maiden (1956)
An accident-prone but merry maid is brought up among definitely swarthier and dwarfish companions in this musical tale. The bumbling prince with a voice of gold has a knack for stumbling on the lass when she’s knocked unconscious.
X and Y (1956)
A situation comedy: an Algebra teacher’s sweaters get everyone into a sweat.
With Gordon Gale as the short-fused Principal and Burgess Merritt as the shy but lindy-hopping astronomer boyfriend ~
Doctor’s Wife (1959)
Madame Bovary becomes a modern New Jersey story.
In A Spot (1962)
A burlesque farce in which a golden-hearted girl from the chorus saves a couple of good-hearted truckers on the run from the mob by teaching them to go Oo-la-la!
With Rick Hodsun as the truck driver who’ll take her home to the farm, and Nero Mustell as the one who becomes the stage star, “Queen LaRoo” ~
Helena, Lodestone of Heaven (1962)
Once upon an asteroid, mankind found itself without magnetic poles, and, it turns out, without trust. Helena alone holds trust for humankind. She was magnetized because her mother was struck by lightning. She’s taken hostage by aliens, then rescued by a youth who studied ancient Earthly lore.
A Thousand Wives and One (1963)
This Scheherazade, a Western woman, fears what may transpire if she does not entertain her husband, a man of some power in the Middle East at turn of the 20th century. She determines to divert him with a different womanly persona every evening. He begins to wonder whether she’s altogether well in the head.
With Sir Alec Stout as the glowering potentate ~
(unfinished epic of the Era of Reconstruction, filming fall-winter 1963-1964)
Dolly Deer leaves the Iowa prairie in 1868 in search of her fortune after the Civil War. She never heard what became of her husband, a Sioux. He left to join the Union Army, and she will never know whether she is a widow. Since then, her father died when the Trading Post burned down. She thinks she might become a teacher to the Freedmen, so heads South on a Mississippi riverboat.
A mishap leads her to the worldly-wise Molly, who convinces her the two of them should try card sharping. In the course of amateurishly plying their trade, Dolly finds herself in amatory trouble with the riverboat gambler, “Luck.” Since she doesn’t know if she has a living husband, she flees at New Orleans, where she falls on hard times.
When Luck comes again, it’s too late. Ill, malnourished, heartsick, she collapses, expiring in the midst of Mardi Gras revels.
With Shirley Winters as ambitious Molly, Anthony Gwinn as the husband who haunts her, and Louis DeJour as “Luck” ~ Featuring Danny Kane as the addle-pated General Store proprietor ~
THE UNKNOWN FAUSTINA
The following films were contemplated but never undertaken:
Shakespeare’s Hamlet, set a trailer park: role, Ophelia (1949) ~
Unnamed satire on nuclear war: role, cameo speaking fake and real Russian (1964) ~
Other Career Highlights
Broadway: Hedwig in Ibsen’s Wild Duck (1949)
Radio: Suspense, “A Voice In the Dark” (1954)
Broadway revival: The Desire of Strangers (1958)