Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mary Treen

Mary Treen plays Monica the maid in “Casanova Brown” (1944), discussed in the previous blog post. She helps Gary Cooper hide the baby in the hotel room, and dons hospital gown, mask and gloves like he does, like a couple of stumblebum faux scientists, to come up with the best baby formula. She accepts his marriage proposal, her ego being easily flattered, not understanding it is a marriage of convenience so he can keep the baby. When the ceremony does not go through, she shrugs it off and would rather go the movies anyway.

Though in her late 30s at the time of the film, her goofiness makes her seem younger. It was one of a string of roles she played in her long career of maids and waitresses, nurses and secretaries. She was relegated to plain Jane roles that were invariably funny. Sometimes a film is only as good as its supporting players.

She’s one of the Bailey Building and Loan office team in “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), and Ginger Roger’s roommate in “Kitty Foyle” (1940). She gets a rare turn at drama as one of the front lines nurses in “So Proudly We Hail” (1943). Ever likeable, easily eccentric, willing to play up the wallflower image for a laugh, Miss Treen’s career extended into decades of television guest roles. She could steal a scene, too.

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