Full disclosure: I love Virginia Mayo. Terribly underrated in my opinion, Mayo was the complete package. She could sing, dance, play the sweet girl next door one minute and the evil femme fatale the next. I first came to know the stunning long legged Mayo through the musical comedies she did with Danny Kaye such as The Kid From Brooklyn and Secret Life of Walter Mitty. But it was her femme fatale roles that I enjoyed the most. Undoubtedly, Mayo’s most famous femme fatale role was Verna, the double dealing and deadly moll to James Cagney’s psychopathic Cody Jarrett in the gangster classic White Heat. Mayo more than held her own with Cagney in that film. Also released the same year as White Heat was another film that featured Mayo as a femme fatale. Flaxy Martin.
|The always lovely Virginia Mayo|
|Elisha Cook Jr. gets the drop on Scott and Malone in Flaxy Martin|
|Extra Mayo, please!|
|Cagney's "Cody" vs. Mayo's "Verna" in 1949's White Heat|
This movie is a whole lot of fun. It has some crackling good dialogue and fun banter. The often wooden Scott is great here as the fearless lawyer. Elisha Cook Jr. has lots of fun here in a variation of his role as “Wilmer“ from Maltese Falcon. Malone is also very good and adds a bit of mystery to the traditional "good girl who helps the hero for no comprehensible reason" role that she usually plays. Last but definitely not least is Mayo as the title character. 1949 was a great year for Mayo. It seems she did the bulk of her film noir roles that year with Flaxy Martin, Red Light, White Heat. She also did another favorite of mine, Colorado Territory which was Raoul Walsh’s remake of his 1941 film High Sierra with Mayo in the Ida Lupino role. I know this will sound heretical, but I prefer Colorado Territory to High Sierra.
|Virginia Mayo in Colorado Territory|