Thanks to the extraordinary, almost hallucinatory clarity of Twilight Time’s Blu-ray of Leave Her To Heaven, I just noticed, after many viewings of the film, that Mae Marsh has a brief one-line cameo in it, holding a fishing rod on a boat dock in the opening scene.

Marsh was there when the art of movies was born, playing in many films by D. W. Griffith, becoming a major star in the silent era.  Later on she had small character roles, often uncredited, in scores of films right up until 1964, a few years before her death.  John Ford used her often in small roles, but so did other directors.


She was like a recording angel in those fleeting later appearances, carrying the whole history of American movies in her always expressive eyes — a professional angel collecting small paychecks for doing a job she obviously loved, whatever notice it may or may not have brought her.

She persevered, as angels do.