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After Clash by Night (read about that here), Barbara Stanwyck decided it was time to retire from showbusiness at the age of 40. But the break was rather short lived.
She said, “I didn’t work for a whole year. I went to Europe, but just how many cathedrals can you see? I simply didn’t know what to do with myself, so I went back to work.”
The movie she chose was Jeopardy.
Originally titled Riptide, the film noir was actually based on a short radio play called “A Question of Time.”
Jeopardy was Stanwyck’s first on-screen collaboration with Barry Sullivan, who portrayed her trapped husband. They later appeared in Forty Guns and The Maverick Queen. Sullivan said years later that Jeopardy was the film that in his mind had the most merit.
Director John Sturges was also taken by his female star, especially her sense of movement and “the marvelous sense of contained power in the way she walked, stood, sat down”. According to him, Barbara studied tigers at the zoo in order to match their behavior.
“That straight-on attack to become what she wanted to be seems to me a strong indicator of the kind of make-up she has as a person,” Sturges said.
Jeopardy was a box office success and the next year, Stanwyck and Sullivan reprised their role for a radio adaption.