Lizabeth Scott could have been tossed aside as wallpaper in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers in favor of Barbara Stanwyck in the titular role but Lizabeth does so much more in the role of Toni. It’s a theme we see throughout her career as one of noir’s premier femme fatales.
She was just 23-years-old when her smoky blonde look captivated audiences in her screen debut, You Came Along (1945). Scott not only had “the look” of a femme fatale, she had a voice to match. That husky voice led to an album of torch songs and endless comparisons to Lauren Bacall.
While Bacall was often paired with Humphrey Bogart, Scott starred opposite Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster both individually in Martha Ivers and Desert Fury and with both in “I Walk Alone and it’s in these films I believe you have Scott at her best: mysterious, nuanced, and a hardboiled dame. She more than held her own with these two equally hardboiled leading men. She’s no damsel in distress, she’s as independent as they are. She also brings that toughness opposite Humphrey Bogart in Dead Reckoning (1947) and Dick Powell in Pitfall (1948).
She only made 23 films in her career including two comedies: Scared Stiff with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis and Loving You with Elvis Presley. Lizabeth was usually billed as a supporting player in the credits and never truly had the chance to become a leading lady but as you watch her films, you’ll see there was potential there.
Her career was cut short by a scandal. A newspaper alleged Scott was a lesbian and was on the client list of a notorious L.A. madam. She sued the newspaper for libel. She left films and became a recluse continuing to live life on her own terms much like the characters she portrayed onscreen.