“I didn’t know I was doing film noir, I thought they were detective stories with low lighting! Even Kubrick, in 1955 during filming of The Killing, never used the term film noir to my knowledge.
Kubrick had all his shots laid out before he started, all sketched out by his wife, who was quite a good artist. He had them all around his office. I guess that’s why we made it in 21 days, with very few takes. The scene where I took my eyelashes off we did in two takes.
He didn’t direct in front of anybody else. He’d say, Marie. Come over here a minute. We’d go behind the scenery, and he’d say, In this scene I want you to be really tired and lazy. I’d had some stage training, and he was trying to get me not to use my big voice.
Though I’m sure Stanley [Kubrick] was full of energy, he didn’t seem like it because he was so quiet and he moved very calculatingly–rather slow physically. Whereas Abraham Polonsky Force of Evil, 1949 was bouncing around, very full of energy and electricity.
Elisha Cook was a darling, and full of the devil. A wired–up little fellow who was always busy, busy, busy. The Killing was the first time I’d worked with him, and I didn’t work with him again until Salem’s Lot 20 years later. I got to know Sterling Hayden fairly well. He was a quiet man, who got more complicated as the years went on. Timothy Carey–he, is really weird. When I won the Look award for Best Supporting, Kubrick wanted to shoot publicity shots with his house for a background. You can’t believe this guy. He slept on a tom mattress with no sheets, windows that had burlap hanging instead of curtains. It looked worse than skid row, but Kubrick really thought he had charisma.
Kubrick had a part for me in Lolita as Shelly Winters’ best friend, but there was a problem in England with the EADY plan, and there was no way that they could squeeze me in. I haven’t seen him in a long time, but we exchange Valentine’s cards. I feel people have more time to think about it if they get a Valentine. Christmas is too crazy with other things.
No extra time was spent on the low key lighting for these films. George Diskant, the cameraman on The Narrow Margin, 1952 was excellent with tricky lighting situations because we were on the train in such confined quarters, but in all those pictures we moved very fast. I can’t remember anybody saying, Let’s get this show on the road.
I’m 5 9, and there were two stars in my life who didn’t mind that I was taller than they– George Raft and John Garfield. Raft told me how to walk with him in a scene: We’d start off in a long shot normal, and about the time we got together in a close-up, I’d be bending my knees so I’d be shorter. I had to do a tango with Raft and I learned to dance in ballet shoes with my knees bent.”