L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, March 10, 2017

She gives you that weird feeling! - Gloria Holden in Dracula's Daughter, 1936

Fantastic photography, lighting, set and costume design, really fabulous promotional graphics; we haven't seen this film, but I have my doubts that it would stand up, filmically, to the promise of its imagery. So few of these early horror films do. They're usually disappointingly slow-paced and/or awkward and/or dull. No matter how celebrated they're become, how much scholarly film writing they've inspired, when one finally gets down to watching them, typically they're pretty flat. These images are so wonderful, though that, before long, I expect we'll have to give Dracula's Daughter a chance to prove herself.



With Nan Gray.


Gloria Anna Holden (5 September 5 1903, London – 22 March 1991, Redlands), American film actress. Born in England to a German mother and British father, she emigrated to the United States as a child. She attended school in Pennsylvania, and later studied at New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She went on to small parts on Broadway, understudying others, and with an occasional leading role. She has a filmography of forty films, almost all in supporting roles. Her best-known came right at the beginning of her film career: the starring role in Dracula's Daughter and, the following year, the role of Madame Zola in The Life of Emile Zola. 

She was married three times. She married Harry Dawson Reynolds in 1921. They had a son the following year; later, taking the name Glen Corbett, he was also an actor, and the father of actress Laurie Holden. She and Reynolds later divorced, and from 1932 to 1937 she was married to actor, promoter, film scout and dialogue director Harold A. Winston. (Holden stated during their divorce proceedings that Winston "said he didn’t like the state of marriage - in fact, that he didn’t believe in it for artists." But he would apparently carry a torch for his ex- subsequent to their split; two years later, when just-signed William Franklin Beedle, Jr. needed a new name before his first big starring role, Winston suggested the last name of his former wife - and Bill Beedle became William Holden.) 

She wed for the third and final time in 1944, and remained married to William Hoyt until her death. They had a son, William Christopher Hoyt, born in 1948 and killed in an automobile accident - listed as a homicide - when he was just twenty-six. More than two decades later, Holden would die of a heart attack in Southern California at the age of eighty-seven.

Addendum: I couldn't help it. I concocted this post more than a month ago and, in the meantime, we rented the movie. Quite fun; actually, there's at least as much humor in the thing as there is horror. Well made, well acted, and it's a very nice looking film, with much better production values than one might expect from a "monster movie" from Universal Studios. Gloria Holden is a very interesting presence. I expected someone heavy-voiced and dripping with evil, à la Judith Anderson, but there is something vague and almost tender about Holden's Countess Zaleska. And, actually, in looks and voice, she reminded me a lot of a dark-wigged Meryl Streep. It's a very slight film, but much better than I would have expected.


  1. Gloria's son, Chris, was killed in 1970 when he was just 22 years old. He was struck by a 60 pound boulder thrown from a freeway overpass striking him in the head as he drove on the freeway beneath it. It was definitely a homicide and the tragedy of Gloria's and Bill's lives.

  2. This is the most accurate biography I've seen of Gloria! Thank you so much! You even have the fact that William Holden's name came from hers. When her son Larry became an actor, he couldn't use the name Holden himself as a result... hence his being called Glen Corbett. Later, the name Glen Corbett was taken by another young actor which caused some confusion for some in posts about Larry. Thank you again for your accuracy!!

    1. Thank you so much! It can be tough going, sifting out the truth of people's lives, and I try really hard to get it right. I really appreciate the encouragement. : )