A Dream of Kings
In what was to be her final major motion picture role, Inger displayed an extroadinary dramatic range in her sensitive portrayal of Anna, a Greek baker's widow who is struggling to maintain her husband's business. So focused is she on keeping the bakery going, perhaps to hold onto the last tangible vestige of her husband, that she has emotionally shut down her passion, her ability to live and love, and to move forward. Shown below are some vidcaps from the film.
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Behind the Scenes
Ever the consummate professional, Inger wanted to bring a greater sense of realism to her portrayal of a baker. Prior to filming, she prepared for her role as a baker by actually working in a bakery in Chicago's "Greektown", preparing dough, baking bread and other pastries. Researching a role to such a degree was not something new to her: in 1959's Diary of a Nurse, she accompanied nurses and residents on rounds at a local hospital to familiarize herself with medical terminology and procedures, and in 1962's Price of Tomatoes, she wore a metal plate around her waist to better know the feeling of carrying extra weight while being pregnant, just so that she would walk and move like a true expectant mother.
The following pictures show Inger at work in the bakery under the watchful eyes of the owners, and Inger's beaming smile shows her efforts were successful.
Inger's Love Scene with Anthony Quinn
A Dream of Kings was not only Inger's last major motion picture, it is also noteworthy for her semi-nude love scene with co-star Anthony Quinn. Perhaps typecast to a degree after her protrayal of "wholesome Holstrum" in The Farmer's Daughter, Inger's roles in A Guide for the Married Man (in the opening scene where she removes her leotard in front of Walter Matthau) and in House of Cards (the railroad car scene in her lingerie) went a long way to re-establish her ability to play alluring, sexy, femme fatale lead roles. Onscreen nudity was becoming more commonplace, accepted, and explicit by the end of the decade. By today's standards, her scene with Quinn would be considered as less than de rigeur and unexceptional, but at that time (1968-69) it was thought provocative enough to make it into Playboy Magazine's Sex in the Cinema review for the year. Inger was certainly not prudish by any means, and she saw nudity onscreen as simply intrinsic to the plot or character if it was artistically necessary.
Given her history with Quinn in the past (rumors of an affair during the time of The Buccaneer), Inger's friend Katy Theodore asked about her comfort level filming with Quinn again, especially a love scene; certainly it would be understandable if she felt somewhat awkward. Inger reportedly laughed and replied, "Oh, he's out of my life. Once a romance is dead, it's completely dead to me." With that mindset, Inger turned in a performance that many saw as an artistic breakthrough: it allowed her to showcase her dramatic range in a role much different from what audiences had become accustomed to seeing from her. It gave the audience and her fans a glimpse of the talent within: from subdued to passionate, Inger's portrayal of Anna the widow/baker gives the film sensuality and eroticism, and it might be Inger's most critically acclaimed role as an actress.
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