Joan Rice's Letter, September 9th 1959

We have recently discovered that Joan Rice continued her acting career on the stage after her film career had sadly faded. Which at least goes someway in dispelling the cruel myth spread about by some, that she couldn’t act. This letter by Joan was sent in by Neil quite a while ago and is part of his personal collection.

It was written by Joan to a Mr. Northover, who must have arranged things for her during a stage production that she appeared in at the Savoy Theatre in Kettering, Northants in 1959.

It reads:

Savoy Theatre

9 Sept 59

Dear Mr Northover,

Thank you very much for sending me the copy of your report.

Please don’t apologise for anything, I was delighted to meet and talk to you. I hope you are going to enjoy the show tonight.

The spread in the paper was really something – if I do my job as well as you do yours we’ll all be all right.

Thanks for your good wishes one can’t have too many of those.


Joan Rice


Above is the theatre programme also kindly sent in by Neil, of that production, showing that Joan played the part of Catherine, in Arthur Miller’s ‘A View From The Bridge.’

This was her favourite play.


Clement Glen said...

Joan Rice's letter at the Savoy Theatre in Kettering, Northants in September 1959.

Programme of Joan Rice as Catherine, in Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge.

Neil said...

Sadly by this time her film career was virtually at an end. I think that Joan was busy on stage to try to gain more acting experience and get back into films. I am sure she was very good on stage but can't help feeling that it was on film that she was most able to project her style and beauty. As you often hear said 'the camera loved her'
Walt Disney was quick to recognise this in casting her as Maid Marian. Ken Annakin and Richard Todd didnt see it that way but they missed the point really. Walt Disney clearly didnt.

Mike Giddens said...

I have never understood the attitude of Richard Todd as far as Joan is concerned , her performance as Marian was wonderful, tottaly beleivable,she was very natural and seemed very much as ease with her role.and we the public are not stupid, if Joan could not act we would have dismised her and forgotton her long ago, but still she shines as bright as ever, bless her.

Neil said...

I think the post from Herns Son is absolutely perfect when talking of Joan Rice in the film. As he says - the public are not stupid - and that is so right. She truly does shine in the film and lights it up in the many scenes she has. She looked great in Technicolor in this role. I cant think of another colour film she made after His Majesty O'Keefe - which is a shame.

Avalon said...

What pretty penmanship! I am left-handed....I have very sloppy writing.

Mike Giddens said...

Another thing we have in comon avalon, me too, left handed

Clement Glen said...

Thanks for your interesting comments, I agree with all of them.

I sometimes wonder how Joan would have got on with a different producer on Robin Hood and not Ken Annakin. He clearly didn’t like her and no doubt didn’t want her in his next movie, Sword and the Rose. But her success as Maid Marian might have encouraged someone else to give her the part of Mary Tudor and I’m 100% sure she would played the part brilliantly once again alongside Richard Todd.

This would have also given her better exposure, confidence and perhaps a better selection of roles which undoubtedly was the underlying problem with her movie career.

Continuing with the ‘ifs’, I sometimes wonder how Joan’s movie career would have taken of if she had started it today. I believe in our modern ‘celebrity culture’ she would have thrived-the public would have loved her ‘Cinderella like’ discovery into the movie business and embraced her rather like the media continually publicise X Factor and Big Brother stars.

Hello Magazine and all the others would have loved her-if Jordan can do it with zero talent, imagine how Joan would have got on!

Neil said...

Avalon raises a very interesting point about the hand writing which I have to say I had not thought of. Maybe if we had a Hand Writing expert we would have some more insight into Joan's character. Fascinating.
Possibly she would not have been able to make The Sword and the Rose due to her role in the South Seas but I agree she would have been good. Maybe also Rob Roy - she couldnt have had a worse Scottish accent than James Robertson Justice in this film and he claimed to be born in Scotland but he wasn't.

Clement Glen said...

Graphology, is a very interesting subject Avalon and Neil. Perhaps someone out there might be able to help us.