Monday, December 22, 2014

Dame Peggy Ashcroft, 1907-1991

Peggy Ashcroft in The 39 Steps (1935)

Today marks the birth anniversary of actress Peggy Ashcroft. Her film career is relatively limited, mostly because like a whole lot of British actors and actresses, she did quite a lot of work on the stage. But there's some memorable work that she left behind on film. First would be in one of Alfred Hitchcock's early classics, The 39 Steps. Here, she plays the wife of the sternly religious Scottish farmer, who offers Robert Donat the box bed, and then helps Donat to escape when the police approach, even giving him her husband's bible which returns in another key scene.

A half century later, Ashcroft, by now carrying the Dame title, would win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in A Passage to India, playing the mother of a British civil servant working in India, who travels to India with the woman (Judy Davis) who is supposed to marry the old woman's son. Needless to say, things happen once they get to India.

In between, Ashcroft made about 10 films, with all that stage work and some TV work in between.

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