The famous rowing scene story from Heaven Knows Mr. Allison, told by Robert Mitchum:
“She was a touch edgy now and then, but no temper — absolutely no temper.
Of course, there was that day when Deborah and I were out in a life raft off Tobago, trying to catch the giant turtle we needed to keep us alive. The sun was blazing, the sea was rough, and we had been going through the same piece of action for hours. Deborah was wearing her heavy nun’s outfit, and she was paddling the life raft, while I was trying to spear the turtle.
The director, John Huston, was behind us in the camera skiff, and pretty comfortable, I might say, while all the time he was bawling, ‘Faster, Deborah; paddle faster. You’re not working hard enough.’
Suddenly the flimsy paddle in Deborah’s blistered hands broke in half. For a moment she sat there, glaring at Huston. Then she picked up a piece of the broken paddle and flung it straight at, John’s head. ‘There,’ she said, ‘that will show you how blankety hard I’m working, Mr. Huston!’
But she wasn’t mad. Just edgy.”
From Here to Eternity (1953)
“That scene is shown but constantly. If I’m on a TV talk show in the States, up comes Burt and I rolling in the surf. The whole audience, many of them two years old when that was made, go ‘Hahhhhh’.
There you are, that’s what you can do with your swimsuit on!”, Deborah added, with a pardonable air of self satisfaction.
Deborah at home (X) - Pacific Palisades
The sun room, which links the dining room with the living room, and the indoors with the garden, is a kind of informal gathering place full of books, record albums, the piano, and art objects picked up from Italy to the Congo.
Deborah sensibly furnished the long narrow room in earthy browns and greens. The big easy chairs are covered in a brown nubby fabric and the walls are a cool shade of eucalyptus green.
The Sundowners (1960)
Fred Zinnemann: Deborah is a very, very good actress. She’s very adaptable and able to play almost anything.
Interviewer: In The Sundowners she’s warm and earthy, and completely believable. The scene in which she watches a wealthy woman on a train powdering her nose is particularly well done.
F.Z.: That’s interesting, you know, because I remember the writer was a lady writer [Isobel Lennart]. That scene had two pages of dialogue in it, which I threw out, because I said it could all be done just with looks. And this writer never forgave me, because her lovely dialogue was thrown out the window, but it would have just killed the scene.
I: Well, the scene is perfect - we understand exactly what Kerr is feeling.
F. Z.: That’s all you need.