The War Widow from Duluth Who is Worried About Frances

Forty years ago today — Dec. 3, 1982 — the dramatic film Frances premiered in American theaters. In addition to featuring Cloquet native Jessica Lange in the leading role as Frances Farmer, the film also includes a reference to Duluth.

Frances Farmer was a film star in the 1930s who was institutionalized in the 1940s. The film tells the story of her alleged mental illness and the emotionally abusive treatment she received from her mother, Lillian Farmer.

In the scene with the Duluth mention, Frances sits in a courtyard next to her mother, who is reading letters and telegrams sent to Francis from fans.

“This one is from Duluth, Minnesota,” Lillian says. “It’s from a war widow with two small children. She works in a defense plant. She’s very concerned about you. I wrote her and I told her not to worry so much about you … that she had to get on with her war work and you would be back on the silver screen before she knew it.”

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