Perhaps it was a spontaneous self-exam? Or halfway to a clutch-the-pearls moment? Was it smugness or disdain?
Place: Monte Carlo, 1959, Red Cross Gala
People: Peter Ustinov, Italian Baroness Afdera Franchetti, Elsa Maxwell, and Henry Fonda
In the late 1950s, when Jane Fonda asked her father how he prepared before going on stage, she was baffled by his answer, “I don’t know, I stand there, I think about my wife, Afdera, I don’t know.” Jane, a proponent of Method Acting, could not understand how effortlessly her father prepared for a role. (wikipedia)
He must not have thought about his fourth wife for long, however, as he divorced her in 1961 and moved on to wife #5.
No wonder Barbara Stanwyck gave him the look.