Joy Barlow

It is difficult to imagine life without Joy Barlow. In The Big Sleep (1946) she played the cabbie who gave Philip Marlowe a lift, and the exchange between Barlow and Humphrey Bogart is the stuff that dreams are made of. (She said, “Listen, if you ever need a ride again…” “Day or night?” “Night. I work during the day.”)

But then, with William Faulkner writing the screenplay, based on a Raymond Chandler novel, and Howard Hawks directing, how could it not be perfect?

Unjustly, Barlow was uncredited, an omission repeated in The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945), another of my favorites, and Destination Tokyo (1943), one more favorite, where she plays “Wolf’s girl.” She was also in To Have and Have Not (1944), a film with a Faulkner screenplay based on a Hemingway novel, giving the film two Nobel Prize winners in literature, but no credit for Joy.

Mainly she was a showgirl in venues like The Hollywood Florentine Garden Revue’s “The Girls Are Back,” and she appeared in George White’s Scandals and Earl Carroll’s Vanities.

As a member of the latter, she was president of the Million Dollar Baby Club, dedicated to bettering the relations between chorus girls and millionaire admirers. I’ll bet she was a marvelous CEO.


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