Q: I enjoy watching movies from the 1940s and 1950s on TCM. My favorite actress is Lizabeth Scott. What can you tell us about her?
A: Born Emma Matzo in 1922 in Scranton, Pa., Scott was a sultry, deep-voiced star of numerous films noir, although -- as she herself pointed out -- she also worked with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lewis. Before the movies, she was a stage actress (understudying Tallulah Bankhead, to whom she was sometimes compared) and a model. Producer Hal Wallis put her in movies where, as "The Film Encyclopedia" says, she was promoted as similar to Lauren Bacall and Veronica Lake.
She made a strong impression; a 1948 Associated Press writer said, "She charms you and knocks you out at the same time." Notable films include "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers," "Dead Reckoning" and "Dark City."
She did not marry -- although there were rumors of a relationship with Wallis -- and speculation arose that she preferred women. The scandal-seeking (and gay-obsessed) Confidential magazine in 1955 implied Scott was one of Hollywood's "baritone babes." Scott sued the magazine for $2.5 million. Writer Samuel Bernstein says Scott's suit was dropped "on the technicality that since the magazine was based in New York she couldn't bring suit in California." But Scott did not refile in New York.
The Turner Classic Movies site says publicity about the suit "was devastating to Scott's career," although it may simply have killed her interest in a high-profile Hollywood life. In any case, after the Presley movie "Loving You" in 1957, she made a few TV appearances but did not work on the big screen until the 1972 movie "Pulp." Nor has she acted on-screen since. She reportedly lent her voice to cat-food commercials, but for the most part has stayed out of the public eye. Which is too bad, considering what a good and charismatic actress she was.
Q: What city is the show "Flashpoint" supposed to depict?
A: The city is never specified on the show. But there's a widespread assumption that it is Toronto since the series is made in Canada and the police unit is based on one in Toronto.
Many shows like to tie themselves to specific cities; think of the way most "Law & Order" shows have been in New York City, "Body of Proof's" Philadelphia, "Grey's Anatomy's" Seattle, "The Chicago Code" and, of course, "Hot in Cleveland." But others like to have the flexibility of a fantasy land, like "Desperate Housewives'aaaa" Fairview.
Q: I've noticed that on the walls of the courtrooms in the "Law & Order" series that they always have the phrase "In God We Trust." With the courts continuously ordering the removal of such phrases off the walls of courthouses, is producer Dick Wolf making a statement?
A: He's just reflecting the real world in which his lawyers and police officers function. A report by New York radio station WNYC not long ago referred to "the phrase 'In God We Trust' embossed above the judge's chair in Manhattan Criminal Court.