Suddenly famous as Titanic‘s 101-year-old survivor, Gloria Stuart is basking in a sea of Oscar buzz. But don’t expect many fond remembrances of her early work from the onetime starlet. “I hated practically everything I did,” Stuart says of the 33 films she appeared in between 1932 and 1939. “Not only hated, resented. I didn’t think I was being used properly.” Still, Stuart, now an energetic 87, recalls a few roles that did float her boat.
THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932, Kino) In James Whale’s horror hoot, she is one of five travelers trapped with a deranged family during a storm. “It’s my favorite because of the cast [including Boris Karloff], the dialogue, and because Whale was a master of setting up moods.”
THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933, Universal) Stuart wrings her hands as a woman in love with Claude Rains’ mad scientist. “I didn’t do much except say, ‘Don’t go; please come back; it’s dangerous.’ But the movie was, of course, a big [F/X] breakthrough.”
GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935 (1935, MGM/UA) As a millionairess’ daughter, Stuart is wooed by Dick Powell in Busby Berkeley’s extravaganza. “It was fun because I had a lot to do!”
REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM (1938, FoxVideo) Stuart plays Shirley Temple’s guardian. “If you were rehearsing, Shirley knew all your lines, too. She was adorable, really a genius.”