Audrey Totter was under contract to MGM from 1944 to 1951. Her specialty was playing hard edged, fast talking women in various films noir. When the genre went out of favor, she tried to expand into other parts but had limited success. She also had a beautiful voice and did a lot of radio acting. Ms.Totter appeared on a number of television programs in the 1950s and 1960s. As interest in her films grew due to internet exposure, Ms. Totter began receiving job offers again. “What could I play?” she said in a 2000 interview with the Toronto Star: “A nice grandmother? Boring! Critics always said I acted best with a gun in my hand.” (LA Times obituary) Audrey Totter died on December 12, 2013 at the age of 95.
Audrey Totter and Robert Taylor did appear together in one film, High Wall, 1947. The film was a departure for both them from their usual roles. Mr. Taylor played a brain damaged World War II veteran who was committed to a mental institution after being accused of murdering his wife. Ms. Totter was his psychiatrist. At first she believes in his guilt and treats him like any other patient. Gradually things change and they become emotionally involved.
Ms. Totter was excellent as she portrayed the change from cool, reserved doctor to a woman who finds she cares very much about her patient and believes in him. Mr. Taylor was outstanding in a challenging and difficult role. High Wall was well reviewed and profitable but is not well known today.
Ms. Totter and Mr. Taylor worked well together and were friendly off screen. There is an anecdote, whose source I can’t find right now, that one night they had worked very late. Neither had eaten and the commissary was closed. Fearing there would be long waiting lines at restaurants, Mr. Taylor took Ms. Totter home and Barbara Stanwyck fed them scrambled eggs and toast. I find it believable except for the Stanwyck cooking part, but who knows. Robert Taylor was unfailingly gracious to his leading ladies.
Audrey Totter is remembered today by the many fans of film noir and her movies are often shown at noir festivals.