tage actress Barbara Bel Geddes, who was later to become a household name as a result of her role as Miss Ellie on the hit television series
, also gave one of her most memorable performances in the anchoring role of the mothering Midge. She provides the film's lightness and humor, especially when she produces an alternative portrait of Carlotta with her own bespectacled face. She is also shockingly contemporary, a working woman faced with a man suffering from a serious unwillingness to commit.
Unlike Novak and Stewart, who are sent out onto a psychic limb, Bel Geddes was immediately put at ease by Hitchcock. "He was sweet, sensitive and very intelligent," she recalls. "He made me laugh so. And he was just trying to make me relax, you see, which he succeeded in doing."
In fact, recalls Bel Geddes, Hitchcock admonished her by instructing, "Don't act, don't act." And that's all he said to me. I think I knew what he meant so I tried very hard not to."
Unlike Kim Novak, who was dressed in unusual ways to heighten the illusion of Madeleine, Bel Geddes was encouraged to be comfortable in her clothing. "He and Edith Head gave me clothes that looked very well on me -- little sweaters that I love, with little collars and little simple skirts, and I felt very secure. It was just the way I felt Midge should look."
Bel Geddes so enjoyed working with Hitchcock she later went on to take the starring role in one of his most famous television episodes,
Lamb To The Slaughter
, an adaptation of a Roald Dahl story, in which a housewife murders her husband rather ingeniously.