Patricia Neal’s Corncrake Voice

patricianealI find I’m still grieving over the death of Patricia Neal, and have been reading every scrap of online commentary. (Meanwhile, I’m fuming that Broadway didn’t dim its lights for her: she won a Tony award the first time they were presented!) One of my favorite online bits comes from Selfstyled Siren, who goes off on a lovely tangent about Miss Neal’s speaking voice: ‘Always there was that voice, its timbre joining the Tennessee accent to create a sound you anticipate the way you might yearn for a close-up of another actor. The Siren has spent this morning collecting the adjectives. Corncrake, said David Shipman (a bird, evidently–the Siren had to look that one up). Molasses, says the Times. Throaty, husky, sandpaper. And the Siren can hear all that even just reading a printed interview with Neal, like the one where she explained the fears of a young contract player at the old Warner Brothers: “Bette Davis was queen of the studio, and you couldn’t just go up to her and ask her to solve your problems.

“They were real stars in those days, babe.”

One Comment to “Patricia Neal’s Corncrake Voice”

  1. I watched HUD again the other night in her honor. Boy, does that movie hold up! In fact, it was about 10 years ahead of its time.

    I’m going to get THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES on DVD.

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