Comic relief is provided by grocer Eric Swenson (El Brendel), above whose shop Molly and her flatmate, Bea Nichols (Marjorie White), live. Gaynor performs a charming singing and dancing version of the song “(Keep Your) Sunny Side Up” for a crowd of her neighbors, complete with top hat and cane. Later in the film, a lavish pre-Code dance sequence for the song “Turn on the Heat,” including scantily clad and gyrating island women enticing bananas on trees to abruptly grow and stiffen, with the graphic metaphor lost on no one, occurs without Gaynor’s participation.
Several times throughout the film Gaynor sings the tune “I’m a Dreamer, Aren’t We All?” and, on one occasion, sings it impressively, according to the New York Times. The credits are: words, De Sylva & Brown; music, Ray Henderson.
An early popular recording was by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra on October 16, 1929 with a vocal group including Bing Crosby and this reached the charts in 1929. The tune was also recorded by John Coltrane in 1958  and included on his album Bahia (1964).
Another song in the film that would later be used as the theme song to the 1988 British sitcom Clarence.
In the 1950s, the song was used as the theme song for Sunnyside Up, a variety program produced by HSV-7 (a television station in Melbourne, Australia_. The song’s melody was later adapted by the Essendon Football Club for its club song, “See the Bombers Fly Up”, written by Kevin Andrews in 1959.
Discarded Lovers is a murder mystery. Early in the film a blonde bombshell movie star is murdered and her body is found in a car.
She had just finished doing the last and final scenes in a film. Irma Gladden was a sexy blonde bombshell who was having many tangled romantic affairs. She was loose and easy. In solving the murder there are the usual friends, police, reporters and employees who administer their help to the police captain and the police sergeant.
In this whodunit suspects abound and include Irma’s husband, a jealous wife, a boy friend and an ex-husband.
Cast: Ann Harding, William Powell, Lucille Browne, Henry Stephenson, Lilian Bond, George Meeker, Reginald Owen, Kay Hammond, Leigh Allen, Irving Bacon, Lila Chevret, Wong Chung, Jean Malin
Double Harness (1933) is an American Pre-Code film starring Ann Harding and William Powell. It was based on the play of the same name by Edward Poor Montgomery. A young woman maneuvers a lazy playboy into marrying her.
This was one of several films, all produced by Merian C. Cooper at RKO, that were out of distribution for more than 50 years as a result of a legal settlement that gave Cooper complete ownership of the films. Turner Classic Movies eventually acquired the rights to the films.
When spoiled younger sister Valerie Colby (Lucile Browne) becomes engaged to be married to Dennis Moore (George Meeker), a more level-headed Joan (Ann Harding) decides to do the same, not because she is in love, but in order to make something of herself. She chooses unambitious, wealthy playboy John Fletcher (William Powell), who owns a troubled shipping line.
She eventually spends the night in his apartment. To Joan’s annoyance, over the following months, she finds herself falling in love. When John shows no interest in marrying her, Joan forces the issue. She arranges for her father, Colonel Sam Colby (Henry Stephenson), to find them in a compromising position. John graciously agrees to do the honorable thing and marry Joan. However, on their honeymoon cruise, he lets her know that he expects her to grant him a divorce after a decent interval. They settle on six months.
Joan prods her husband into taking an interest in his family business. To his surprise, he finds that he enjoys it. As the new Postmaster General (Wallis Clark) is a good friend of her father’s, Joan invites him to dinner, hoping to land a government contract for John’s company.
Meanwhile, Valerie goes into debt due to her extravagant spending habits and borrows from her big sister over and over again. Joan gives Valerie all she can afford without touching John’s money. Finally, she pawns a ring for half the latest sum Valerie needs, but tells her that it is the last time.
That same day, John finally realizes that he loves his wife. However, when he goes home, Valerie goes to John behind Joan’s back and cons him into giving her a check. Joan finds out and tears up the check. In her anger, Valerie blurts out how Joan trapped John into marriage.
Disillusioned, he turns to his former paramour, Mrs. Monica Page (Lilian Bond). Joan follows them to Monica’s apartment and confesses all, including the fact that she has fallen in love with him, to no avail. She then tries to salvage her dinner party. To her delight, John shows up and makes it clear that he believes and forgives her.
According to an interview with a retired RKO executive, shown as a promo on TCM, Cooper withdrew the films, only allowing them to be shown on television in 1955–1956 in New York City.
TCM, which had acquired the rights to the six films after extensive legal negotiations, broadcast them on TCM in April 2007, their first full public exhibition in over 70 years. TCM, in association with the Library of Congress and the Brigham Young University Motion Picture Archive, had searched many film archives throughout the world to find copies of the films in order to create new 35mm prints.
According to RKO records, the film made $10,000 in profit.
^ Jump up to:abcRichard Jewel, ‘RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951’, Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p39
The immense success of The Jazz Singer, the first all-talking picture, results in the cancellation of a booking for three song-and-dance vaudeville performers: Jerry Hyland, May Daniels and George Lewis. Jerry, convinced that talkies are the future, decides they will head to Hollywood to break into the fledgling movie industry before others get the same notion.
May comes up with the idea to open a school of elocution to teach actors how to speak on film. On the train there, May encounters an old friend, Helen Hobart, an influential, nationally syndicated columnist. She offers to put them in touch with Herman Glogauer, the head of a major movie studio. George is smitten with another passenger, aspiring young actress Susan Walker.
They discover the movie world to be an eccentric place. George is unexpectedly appointed by Glogauer as supervisor of production, allowing him to promote Susan’s career. Despite his incompetence (or rather because of it), his first picture turns out to be a critical and commercial smash hit, and Susan becomes a star.
Later, a very persuasive salesman gets George to buy 2000 airplanes, which causes Glogauer to fire him. However, air movies become very popular, and George has inadvertently cornered the market. The other studios are desperate to get airplanes from Glogauer at any price, and George is once again considered a genius.
Mordaunt Hall, film critic of The New York Times, gave the film a favorable review, calling it a “merry diversion”. He praised all the main performers, as well as ZaSu Pitts as the studio’s obtuse receptionist.
At least one copy is preserved at the Library of Congress. The original camera negative has been scanned and restored at 4K resolution by Sony Pictures Entertainment, in partnership with the Film Foundation and RT features.
At the Thalia, a dancehall in Havana, Frankie, a showgirl, takes the part of Annie, who has been compelled to return to Havana from the States.
She gets into an altercation with a patron who accuses her of stealing his bankroll, but Johnnie, her “business” partner, arrives in time to protect her. Red, another rival for her love, quarrels with Johnnie and is killed in the ensuing struggle, witnessed only by Annie. Later, Frankie is attracted by the singing of Dan Keefe, a sailor, on a spree with his buddies, who protects her; she tells him of her longing to quit the life she is leading. Although disgusted with her double-dealing,
Dan stays behind and takes Frankie to church for the first time. She confesses that she loves him and plans to elope with him to the States. Johnnie and his henchmen plot to kill Dan, but Johnnie is accidentally killed; Frankie and Dan escape and sail to their happiness.
Cast: Robert Armstrong, Carole Lombard, Louis Payne, Wade Boteler, Charles Sellon, Sam Hardy, Tom Kennedy, Warner Richmond, Helen Ainsworth, Herbert Clark, George Gabby Hayes, Vernon Steele, Lew Ayres, Lynton Brent
Steve Banks (Armstrong) is a hard-drinking newspaper reporter. His wife Margaret (Lombard), a reporter for a rival paper, threatens to divorce him if he doesn’t quit the drinking that is compromising his career. Steve pursues a story about drug dealers even when his editor fires him. When the editor is murdered, Steve is accused of the killing.
Needing shelter, the driver “Gus” (Billy Bevan) and his four passengers find refuge in an isolated one-room log church. The passengers include “Billie” (Carole Lombard), who is an escaped criminal being escorted back to jail in New York by a deputy sheriff, “Dan Egan” (Owen Moore); a young woman, “The Kid,” (Diane Ellis) on her way to Chicago to meet her boyfriend; and “Hickerson,” a pompous, ill-tempered banker. In the church the group finds “Bill” (William Boyd), a self-described “hobo,” who had found shelter there earlier. Tensions quickly arise in the group over their general plight, petty jealousies, and concerns about how six people are going to share the small supply of food that Bill had brought with him.
Tensions quickly arise in the group over their general plight, petty jealousies, and concerns about how six people are going to share the small supply of food that Bill had brought with him.
After a few days being stranded, the group sees a passing mail plane high in the sky. They try to attract the pilot’s attention, but he is too far away to see them. More days pass, and the group continues to ration their dwindling supplies and battle the subfreezing temperatures. To keep warm they begin to break up the church’s pews and other furnishings to use as firewood in the room’s potbelly stove.
The group’s desperation intensifies, as does a romance between Bill and Billie. Soon Bill confides to her that he too is a wanted criminal, a fugitive from Saint Paul, Minnesota. As conditions worsen, The Kid collapses from hunger and become delirious; and the church’s interior becomes almost bare as more furnishings–even the church’s pulpit and pump organ–are consigned to the stove. Bill and Billie finally commit to leaving to avoid being imprisoned if the group is somehow rescued. They quietly depart during the night, hoping to reach a ranger station ten miles away.
Everyone else is sleeping except Dan, the deputy sheriff, who sees the two leaving; but he does nothing to stop them. After walking a short distance through snowdrifts, Bill and Billie hear and then see a search plane slowly circling overhead at low altitude. Realizing that the others inside the church will not hear the plane’s engine, they rush back and awaken them. The group hurriedly builds a signal fire, which the plane’s pilot sees. He parachutes a box of provisions to them with a note saying that help will be sent immediately.
The next day the group sees a rescue party heading toward the church. While awaiting their rescuers, Dan observes Bill and Billie sitting together on the floor. From his coat pocket Dan pulls out Billie’s extradition papers and a “wanted” notice that includes a photograph of Bill and information about his being a fugitive from Saint Paul. Dan walks over to the stove, now cold from no fires, and tosses both papers into it. Bill and Billie see him discard the papers, and they look at one another. Bill then gets up, retrieves the papers from the stove, gives them back to Dan, and asks him to drop him off in Saint Paul on his way back to New York with Billie.
The opening credits of High Voltage give Carole Lombard’s first name as “Carol,” her preferred spelling for her name up until that time. However, the year after the release of High Voltage she performed in Paramount Pictures‘ production Fast and Loose. In her credits for that film, the studio mistakenly added an “e” to Carol. Lombard liked the spelling, so she decided to keep “Carole” permanently as her screen name.
In the screen credits of High Voltage, Owen Moore’s character “Dan Egan” is identified as “The Detective”; but early in the film Dan shows Bill his badge, which actually identifies him as a New York deputy sheriff.
Diane Ellis, who portrays “The Kid” in High Voltage, would die tragically the year after her performance in this film. In October 1930, she married Stephen C. Millett, a fellow American, in Paris, France. While on their extended honeymoon in India, she contracted an infection and died a week later in Chennai (then Madras) on December 15, 1930, just five days before her twenty-first birthday.
Cast: Carole Lombard, Robert Armstrong, Roland Drew, Paul Hurst, Kit Guard, Al Hill, Robby Dunn, Budd Fine, Hedda Hopper, Jeanette Loff, John Loder, Winter Hall, Robert Parrish
The Racketeer is a 1929 American Pre-Codedrama film. Directed by Howard Higgin, the film is also known as Love’s Conquest in the United Kingdom. It tells the tale of some members of the criminal class in 1920s America, and in particular one man and one woman’s attempts to help him. Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper appears in a minor role. The film is one of the early talkies, and as a result, dialogue is very sparse.
Mahlon Keene, a suave racketeer, notices Mehaffy, a policeman, arrest a shabby, drunken violinist for vagrancy and bribes him to forget the charge; after Keene and his henchman depart, Rhoda Philbrook appears in a taxi, addresses the musician as “Tony,” and has him driven away. Meanwhile, Keene arranges for a planned robbery to be delayed.
At a charity function, Keene takes an interest in Rhoda when he detects her cheating at cards; she reveals that she has left her husband for the violinist, whom she hopes to regenerate; and for Rhoda’s sake Keene arranges for Tony’s appearance at a concert. When threatened by Weber, a rival, Keene shoots him and, after the concert, bids farewell to Rhoda. The rival gang take revenge on Keene, leaving Tony and Rhoda to a new life together.
Mary Linden (Mary Astor) is a receptionist at a paper milling company, who is secretly in love with one of the salesmen, James Duneen (Robert Ames).
Her extensive knowledge of the paper industry, the mill and its clients allows her to have input in company operations far outweighing her level as a receptionist. As the current president of the company, Ritter (Charles Sellon), approaches retirement, Mary uses her knowledge and skill of company politics to enable James to make some important sales coups, after which she begins a fifth-column attempt to get him named as the next president. James, for his part, is grateful to her for her help, but is completely oblivious to her romantic interest in him, preferring more of the party girl type.
When Ritter does retire, James wins the position, and Mary is promoted to be his personal secretary. Still unaware of her feelings, he hires his latest party girl, Daisy (Edna Murphy), to work in the office, and report to Mary. Mary is upset by this turn of events, but remains faithful to James, assisting him with running the company. In fact, it is her knowledge and acumen which makes the company successful. Mary even spurns the advances of several men, including the wealthy Ronnie Wales (Ricardo Cortez), who, although married, is estranged from his wife and wishes to pursue an affair with Mary.
However, when James becomes engaged to the daughter of a wealthy banker, Ellen May Robinson (Catherine Dale Owen), that is the straw which breaks Mary’s resolve. She resigns from the company, and eventually agrees to go away with Ronnie for an assignation in Atlantic City. Between the time of her resignation, and her agreeing to go away with Ronnie, the paper mill is already suffering terribly from a lack of good
Between the time of her resignation, and her agreeing to go away with Ronnie, the paper mill is already suffering terribly from a lack of good management, since most of James’ success was due to Mary’s guidance. James tracks her down before she can give in to the libidinous advances of Ronnie, and begs Mary to return. She is reluctant, until she discovers that James has broken off the engagement with Ellen, and upon her return to the company she is not only met with a job offer, but also a marriage proposal from James.
“Three Little Words”, music by Harry Ruby, lyrics by Bert Kalmar – played as dance music in the nightclub
While the public seemed to like the film, critics like Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times were less kind, stating that the film “is a witless and interminably dull exhibition on which three capable players, Mary Astor, Robert Ames and Ricardo Cortez, have been sacrifi[c]ed to very little purpose.
Tony, a prosperous Italian vineyardist in California, advertises for a young wife, passing off a photograph of his handsome hired man, Buck, as himself. Lena, a San Francisco waitress, takes up the offer, and though she is disillusioned upon discovering the truth, she goes through with the marriage because of her desire to have a home and partially because of her weakness for Buck, whose efforts to take her away from Tony confirm her love for her husband.
The film is based on the play The Sign on the Door by Channing Pollock. The play was first adapted for the screen in 1921 as The Sign on the Door, starring Norma Talmadge.The Locked Door was Barbara Stanwyck’s second film appearance, first starring role, and first talking picture.
Ann Carter (Barbara Stanwyck), an inexperienced young woman, accepts an invitation to dinner from Frank Devereaux (Rod LaRocque), the son of her employer. The date turns out to be far from what she expects. It is aboard a “rum boat”, a ship that sails beyond the 12 mile limit to get around the restrictions of Prohibition. Worse, Frank turns out to be a cad.
When she tries to leave, he locks the door and tries to force himself on her, tearing her dress. Fortunately, the ship drifts back into U.S. waters and a police raid stops him from going any further. When a photographer takes a picture of the two under arrest, Frank buys it from him.
Eighteen months later, Ann is happily married to wealthy Lawrence Reagan (William “Stage” Boyd). They are about to celebrate their first wedding anniversary when Frank resurfaces in Ann’s life, this time as the boyfriend of her naive young sister-in-law, Helen (Betty Bronson). Though both Ann and her husband tell Helen that Frank is no good (Lawrence knows that Frank is having an affair with the wife of one of his friends), it is clear to Ann that Helen does not believe them.
Ann goes to Frank’s apartment to stop him from taking advantage of Helen. She hides when Lawrence shows up unexpectedly. He warns Frank to leave town before Lawrence’s friend catches up with him and shoots him. Frank had already planned to go, but when Lawrence declares that he intends to administer a beating first, Frank draws a gun. He is shot in the ensuing struggle. Lawrence leaves without being seen, unaware that his wife has heard the whole thing.
To protect her husband, Ann phones the switchboard operator and reenacts her earlier assault, ending with her firing two shots. When the police arrive, the district attorney (Harry Mestayer) soon pokes holes in her story. Also, the photograph is found, providing a motive for murder. However, Frank is not yet dead; in his last few minutes of life, he explains what really happened, exonerating both Ann and Lawrence.
Jump up^White Munden, Kenneth, ed. (1997). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films, 1921-1930. University of California Press. p. 445. ISBN0-520-20969-9.
“Happy” Manning returns early from a trip to his Mexican casino, the Mina de Oro (Gold Mine), and to his wife Rose, unaware that she has been unfaithful to him with Joe, the croupier. Happy soon finds out and divorces Rose, but he keeps Joe, as Joe is too valuable an employee to lose.
Afterward, he goes to visit his younger brother and ward, Bob, who is the quarterback of his college football team in California. Bob introduces him to his fiancee Marie (an uncredited Dorothy Gulliver). Bob, believing Happy owns a gold mine, promises to spend his honeymoon there.
When Bob does get married, he sends Happy a telegram that he is coming. Happy’s friend Ortiz offers to exchange his real gold mine for Happy’s casino temporarily. Happy is shocked when Bob introduces his wife: Rose. Happy later tries to buy Rose off, but she turns him down, claiming she genuinely loves Bob. Happy is uncertain if she is lying or not and decides to not tell Bob the truth.
However, it soon becomes clear that she has not changed. Happy blocks her secret late-night rendezvous with an admirer and confronts her. She claims that she loves Happy and that she married Bob to get back at him. She then tells him she is going home. The next day, her body is found at the bottom of a cliff.
Willie Musher, assistant window-trimmer and jack-of-all-trades at Tracy’s Department Store, consistently shoulders the blame for patrons who deem themselves aggrieved and one day is awarded a $10 bill.
On his way to the bank, he stops to examine a car that is campaigning for funds for an orphans’ home; he holds his bank book in such a way that Mary, a nurse, takes the bill and leaves him a receipt. Later, he is alarmed to learn he has obligated himself to support a baby, but taking an interest in Mary and little Oscar, he gets a job as waiter in a nightclub to support the child. To Willie’s chagrin, he learns that Vanderman, Sr., wants to adopt Oscar, apparently the offspring of his son, Harvey.
Willie dreams of hair-raising stunts to kidnap Oscar; finding that he has been promoted, he proves that Oscar is not Vanderman’s grandson, adopts the boy, and asks Mary to marry him.
Young Tommy Jordan (Eddie Quillan) is sent for a repair job. When he arrives at the address he was told, two guys are waiting for him on the street, bringing him somewhere else – without letting him see where – to repair a radio.
He jokes about “must be a hide-out, that I should not know where I am”, for which he earns a “you’re a smart guy”. When left in the apartment doing his job, he follows a wire and ends up in the bedroom, lying on the floor under the bed. At this point, the telephone rings and a woman comes out of the bathroom and answers.
He is trapped under the bed and can only see her legs. When the lady has finished her conversation, they have to talk and he is told that his great idol Kayo McClure (Robert Armstrong (actor)) a fighter lives in that apartment.
She herself is “famous” Babyface (Ginger Rogers) the woman of McClure. When McClure comes back home, Tommy manages to hide and when Gang leader Nick Vatelli (Ralf Harolde) appears in McClure’s apartment with his men threatening him, Tommy acts as Policeofficers through the radio-microphone, so that they leave the flat. McClure is forever thankful to Tommy and he offers him to help him whenever he needs it. McClure hands him out a ticket to a ball.
When he gets to the ball there is Baby-Face eager to dance with him. To avoid being mixed up too much with her attracting jealousy of McClure he grabs another girl, that was handy to him, to dance. But this girl is even worse, as she is the fiancé of Nick, Edna Moreno (Joan Peers). Tommy is very fond of her and when Nick appears he finally takes Edna with him to McClure, to hide for a night. The next day Babyface argues with McClure about hiding the kids, threatening to leave him.
Edna leaves the apartment without saying anything. Tommy finds out where she is, and with the help of McClure he saves her from marrying Nick. As the movie ends, Tommy and Edna get married.
Wealthy socialite Carol Owen (Dorothy Mackaill) decides to take up flying. Gilligan (Jack Kennedy) sets her up with a homely instructor, but she requests dashing Jim Leonard (Humphrey Bogart) instead. Jim has some fun, taking her through some aerobatic maneuvers that leave her queasy, but still game. For revenge, she gives him a lift into town in her sports car, driving at breakneck speeds. They begin seeing each other.
Carol learns that Jim is designing a revolutionary airplane engine, but cannot get any financial backing. She decides to give him a secret helping hand, persuading her skeptical financial manager, Bruce Hardy (Hale Hamilton), to invest in the project. Hardy is only too pleased to oblige, as he has asked Carol numerous times to marry him.
Hardy keeps a mistress on the side, aspiring stage actress Linda Lee (Astrid Allwyn). Unbeknownst to him, she is Jim’s sister and in love with Georgie Keeler (Bradley Page), a Broadway producer. Things become serious between Carol and Jim. He begins neglecting his work and eventually spends the night with her. The next day, he asks her to marry him. She realizes that she is distracting him from making a success of his engine and turns him down.
When Hardy asks Carol once again to marry him, she jokingly tells him she would only consider his offer if she were broke. He then informs her that she is. He has been paying all her bills for the past year. Hoping to help Jim, she agrees to wed Hardy.
Hardy tries to break off his relationship with Linda. This is what Georgie has been waiting for. He has coached Linda to extort $50,000 from Hardy to finance a new play in which Linda will star, but the businessman will only write her a check for $10,000. To try to pressure Hardy, Georgie has Linda lie to Jim about the relationship.
Meanwhile, Carol has second thoughts and goes to break the news to Hardy. Before she can however, Jim shows up and insists that Hardy marry his sister. However, when Hardy shows him the canceled $10,000 check endorsed to Georgie, Jim realizes Linda has deceived him. He apologizes and leaves.
Carol decides to kill herself by crashing an airplane. As she starts to take off, Jim reads the suicide note she left with Gilligan. He manages to cling to the fuselage, work his way gingerly to the cockpit (while the plane is in flight), and reconcile with Carol.
Humphrey Bogart had a small supporting role. The film was re-released as Call It Murder by Screen Guild Productions in 1949 after Bogart became a star; he was given top billing, although he was credited eighth in the original release.
The movie begins at the murder trial of Ethel Saxon, a woman who shot her lover in a crime of passion. During the trial, Edward Weldon, the jury foreman, asks the defendant a question, which essentially leads to a guilty verdict and a death sentence for her.
The rest of film takes place on the evening of the execution, mostly in the Weldon home. Edward is dealing with the consequences of his role as foreman, and his daughter Stella is upset by the departure of her gangster boyfriend, Gar Boni, whom she met during the trial.
The evening culminates at midnight as the switch is pulled at the death house and a gun is fired in a parked car. Moments later, Stella returns home, admitting that she has shot Gar Boni.
Naive Marianne Madison, bored with her routine life, falls for dashing con artist Valentine Corliss, who has come to her small town looking for fresh marks to swindle.
He soon charms her into faking her wealthy and prominent father’s name on a letter of endorsement, which he presents to the other local merchants, who willingly give him merchandise. He prepares his escape, but not before conning Marianne into becoming his wife.
Following their wedding night in a sleazy hotel, Valentine abandons Marianne. She returns home and begs forgiveness from her jilted fiancé Dick Lindley, but having seen Marianne for who she really is, he turns his attention to her shy younger sister Laura.
The film originally was called What a Flirt and then Gambling Daughters before being changed to Bad Sister just prior to its theatrical release.
Bette Davis, nervous about her appearance in her first film, consulted with studio makeup chief Jack Pierce, who “surveyed me critically, almost resentfully,” she recalled for an interview in the April 1938 issue of Good Housekeeping. “Your eyelashes are too short, hair’s a nondescript color, and mouth’s too small.
A fat little Dutch girl’s face, and a neck that’s too long,” he told her. He suggested a different shade of lipstick and advised her to use eye shadow, but their meeting left Davis feeling anxious and lacking self-confidence.
After seeing the completed film, producer Carl Laemmle, Jr. commented, “Can you imagine some poor guy going through hell and high water and ending up with her at the fade-out?” 
Davis was required to change a baby in one scene, and the fact the infant was a boy was kept secret from her. When she undid the diaper and saw male genitals for the first time in her life, she was so embarrassed her face reddened enough to look deep gray on screen.
Davis and her mother attended a preview of the film in San Bernardino. The actress was reportedly so distressed by her performance that they left before the final credits. Certain her Hollywood career was over, she cried all the way home.
Two convicts, St. Louis (Spencer Tracy) and Dannemora Dan (Warren Hymer) befriend another convict named Steve (Humphrey Bogart), who is in love with woman’s-prison inmate Judy (Claire Luce). Steve is paroled, promising Judy that he will wait for her release five months later. He returns to his hometown in New England and his mother’s home.
However, he is followed there by Judy’s former “employer”, the scam artist Frosby (Gaylord Pendleton). Frosby threatens to expose Steve’s prison record if the latter refuses to go along with a scheme to defraud his neighbors. Steve goes along with it until Frosby defrauds his mother.
Fortunately, at this moment St. Louis and Dannemora Dan have broken out of prison and come to Steve’s aid, taking away a gun he planned to use on the fraudster, instead stealing back bonds stolen by Frosby. They return to prison in time for its annual baseball game against a rival penitentiary. The film closes with St. Louis on the pitcher’s mound with his catcher, Dannemora Dan, presumably ready to lead their team to victory.
Tracy had starred in three shorts earlier the same year and Bogart had been an unbilled extra in a silent movie a decade before, as well as starring in two short films in the past two years, but this is the first credited feature film for both actors.
This was the only feature film that Tracy and Bogart ever made together. They tried to make The Desperate Hours in 1955, but neither would consent to second billing, so the role intended for Tracy went to Fredric March instead. It was the only film Bogart made with director John Ford, and Tracy wouldn’t work with Ford again until The Last Hurrah (1958).
Claire Luce (1903–1989) made very few films, but was on Broadway in many plays from 1923–1952. She should not be confused with author/playwright/political activist Clare Boothe Luce (1903–1987).
Jean Oliver falls in love with a wealthy young man, and his mother, Mrs. Ramsey, sees to it that she is sent to prison on a trumped-up charge. Time passes. Jean is released from stir and throws in with a band of phony spiritualists, donning the robes of Madame Mystera, a crook recently killed in an accident on the elevated.
Jean quickly proposes that her new companions in crime kidnap the granddaughter of Mrs. Ramsey and hold the child for ransom. The child is taken, but the police arrest the gang. The Fox, crafty leader of the spiritualists, is the only one who knows the whereabouts of the missing child, however, and he trades this information for immunity and a statement from Mrs. Ramsey that Jean had not in fact committed the crime for which she was sent to jail. Jean is freed and reunited with Gordon Grant, her childhood sweetheart, a reporter who has accompanied the police in the raid on the gang.
Film Collectors Corner
Watch The Hole In The Wall Now – You Tube Instant Video
Albert Loriflan, a waiter in a Pariscafe, unexpectedly inherits a large sum of money from a wealthy relative. His unscrupulous boss, Philibert, refuses to release him from his long-term contract in the hope that Albert will buy him off with a large payment. But Albert refuses, and continues to work at the cafe even though he is now very rich. Before long he falls in love with Philibert’s daughter Yvonne.
The film tells the story of two men (Marshall and Gargan) and two women (Colbert and Boland), who leave from a plague-ridden ship and reach the Malayan jungle. The relationships between the four people before they enter the jungle are examined and are transformed as they interact with natural phenomena and the natives who populate the jungle. The film also relates how each of the four people carried on in life after they emerged from the jungle.
Based on the book of the same name by Max Miller, the film is about a reporter who investigates a waterfront smuggling operation, and becomes romantically involved with the daughter of the man he is investigating.
San Diego Standard reporter H. Joseph Miller (Ben Lyon) has been covering the city’s waterfront for the past five years and is fed up with the work. He longs to escape the waterfront life and land a newspaper job back East so he can marry his Vermont sweetheart. Miller is frustrated by the lack of progress of his current assignment investigating the smuggling of Chinese people into the country by a fisherman named Eli Kirk (Ernest Torrence). One morning after wasting a night tracking down bad leads, his editor at the Standard orders him to investigate a report of a girl swimming naked at the beach. There he meets Julie Kirk (Claudette Colbert), the daughter of the man he’s been investigating.
Meanwhile, Eli Kirk and his crew are returning to San Diego with a Chinese passenger when the Coast Guard approaches. Not wanting to be caught with evidence of his smuggling operation, Kirk orders his men to weigh down the Chinaman and lower him overboard to his death. The Coast Guard, accompanied by Miller, board the boat but find nothing. The next day, Miller discovers the Chinaman’s body which was carried in with the tide, and takes it as evidence to his editor, who still remains skeptical of Kirk’s guilt. To get conclusive evidence, Miller tells him he plans to romance Kirk’s daughter Julie in order to break the smuggling operation.
When Kirk returns, he informs Julie that they will need to move on soon—maybe to Singapore—as soon as he can put together enough money for the voyage. One night, Julie discovers her father drunk at a boarding house. Miller, who was there investigating Kirk, helps Julie take her father home. Julie does not discourage Miller’s flirtations, and during the next few weeks they fall in love. She is able to help Miller see the beauty of the waterfront, and inspires him to improve the novel he’s been working for the past five years. While visiting an old Spanish galleon on a date, he playfully restrains her in a torture rack and kisses her passionately—and she returns his passion.
Julie and Miller spend a romantic evening together on the beach, where she reveals that she and her father will be sailing away in the next few days. After spending the night in Miller’s apartment, Julie announces the next morning that she’s decided to stay, hoping that he will stay with her. When Miller learns from her that her father is due to dock at the Chinese settlement that night, he notifies the Coast Guard. At the dock, while the Coast Guard searches the vessel, Miller discovers a Chinaman hidden inside a large shark. When the Coast Guard attempt to arrest Kirk, he flees the scene but is wounded during his escape.
The next morning, Miller’s breaking story is published on the Standard’s front page. When a wounded Kirk makes his way back home, Julie learns that it was Miller who helped the Coast Guard uncover her father’s smuggling operation (of which she was unaware), and that she unknowingly revealed to him his landing location. Soon after, Miller, feeling guilty over the story’s impact to Julie’s life, arrives at her home and apologizes for the hurt he’s caused her, and announces that he loves her. Feeling used by his actions, an angry Julie sends him away.
Later that night, Miller locates Kirk, who shoots him in the arm. Julie arrives to help her father escape, and seeing Miller wounded, she tells her father she cannot leave Miller to die. Seeing that she loves him, Kirk helps her take Miller to safety, after which Kirk dies. Later from his hospital bed, Miller acknowledges in his newspaper column that Kirk saved his life before he died. Sometime later, Miller returns to his apartment, where Julie is waiting to greet him. Noticing that she cleaned and transformed his place into a cozy home, he tells her he finally wrote the ending to his novel, “He marries the girl”. Julie acknowledges, “That’s a swell finish”, and the two embrace.
Rights to the novel were bought by Edward Small and his partner Harry Goets in 1932. They made it through the Reliance Picture Corporation as the first of a six-film deal with United Artists. Reliance co-produced the film with Joseph Schenck’s Art Cinema Corporation.
I Cover the Waterfront was filmed from mid-February to early March 1933.
In his review for The New York Times, film critic Mordaunt Hall called the film “a stolid and often grim picture”. While Hall felt the drama was not as good as some of director James Cruze’s previous work, the “clever acting of the principals”—especially that of Ernest Torrence—offset some of the film’s shortcomings.
Hall found some of the scenes “more shocking than suspenseful” and felt a broader adaptation of Max Miller’s book may have been more interesting than the focus on the melodramatic series of incidents related to a sinister fisherman.
While acknowledging that “Colbert does well as Julie”, Hall did not find her convincing as a fisherman’s daughter because she does not look the type. Hall reserved his highest praise for Ernest Torrence in his final screen performance. Torrence died on May 15, 1933, shortly after the film was completed.
John Mosher of The New Yorker described the adaptation as a “commonplace screen romance,” but also praised the performance of the late Torrence, writing that he “was at the height of his power … One can foresee that many pictures will be empty things for lack of him.”Variety called it “a moderately entertaining picture … The late Ernest Torrence has the meat part and his performance is in keeping with the standard he had set for himself. A pretty tough assignment they gave him, one in which it was necessary to capture sympathy in face of the worst sort of opposition from the script. He’ll be sorely missed on the screen.”
The plot is based on the August 1933 short story “Night Bus” by Samuel Hopkins Adams, which provided the shooting title. One of the last romantic comedies created before the MPAA began enforcing the 1930 production code in 1934, the film was released on February 22, 1934.
Spoiled heiress Ellen “Ellie” Andrews has eloped with pilot and fortune-hunter “King” Westley against the wishes of her extremely wealthy father, Alexander. Alexander wants to have the marriage annulled because he knows that Westley is really only interested in her money. Jumping ship in Florida, she runs away boarding a bus to New York City to reunite with her new spouse. She meets fellow bus passenger Peter Warne, a freshly out-of-work newspaper reporter. Soon Warne recognizes her and gives her a choice: If she will give him an exclusive on her story, he will help her reunite with Westley. If not, he will tell her father where she is. Ellie agrees to the first choice.
As they go through several adventures together, Ellie loses her initial disdain for him and begins to fall in love. When they have to hitchhike, Peter fails to draw attention until Ellie displays a shapely leg to Danker, the next driver. When they stop en route, Danker tries to steal their luggage, but Peter seizes his car. Nearing the end of their journey, Ellie confesses her love to Peter. When the owners of the motel in which they are staying notice that Peter’s car is gone, they expel Ellie. Believing Peter has deserted her, Ellie telephones her father, who agrees to let her marry Westley. Meanwhile, Peter has obtained money from his editor to marry Ellie, but misses her on the road. Although Ellie has no desire to be with Westley, she believes Peter has betrayed her for the reward money, and agrees to have a second, formal wedding to Westley.
On her wedding day, she finally reveals the whole story. When Peter comes to Ellie’s home, Mr. Andrews offers him the reward money, but Peter insists on being paid only his expenses: a paltry $39.60. When Ellie’s father presses him for an explanation of his odd behavior, Peter admits he loves Ellie, and storms out. Westley arrives for his wedding via autogyro but at the wedding ceremony, Mr. Andrews reveals Peter’s refusal of the reward money to Ellie, sends her to Peter, and pays Westley off.
Clark Gable as Peter Warne, a recently fired newspaper reporter
Neither Gable nor Colbert was the first choice to play the lead roles. Miriam Hopkins first rejected the part of Ellie. Robert Montgomery and Myrna Loy were then offered the roles, but each turned the script down, though Loy later noted that the final story as filmed bore little resemblance to the script that she and Montgomery had been offered for their perusal.
Harry Cohn suggested Colbert, and she initially turned the role down. Colbert’s first film, For the Love of Mike(1927), had been directed by Capra, and it was such a disaster that she vowed to never make another with him. Later on, she agreed to appear in It Happened One Night only if her salary was doubled to $50,000, and also on the condition that the filming of her role be completed in four weeks so that she could take her well-planned vacation.
According to Hollywood legend, Gable was lent to Columbia Pictures, then considered a minor studio, as some kind of “punishment” for refusing a role at his own studio. This tale has been partially refuted by more recent biographies. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer did not have a project ready for Gable, and the studio was paying him his contracted salary of $2,000 per week whether he worked or not. Louis B. Mayer lent him to Columbia for $2,500 per week, hence netting MGM $500 per week while he was gone. Capra, however, insisted that Gable was a reluctant participant in the film.
Filming began in a tense atmosphere as Gable and Colbert were dissatisfied with the quality of the script. However, Capra understood their dissatisfaction and let screenwriter Robert Riskin rewrite the script. Colbert, however, continued to show her displeasure on the set. She also initially balked at pulling up her skirt to entice a passing driver to provide a ride, complaining that it was unladylike. Upon seeing the chorus girl who was brought in as her body double, an outraged Colbert told the director, “Get her out of here. I’ll do it. That’s not my leg!” Through the filming, Capra claimed, Colbert “had many little tantrums, motivated by her antipathy toward me”, however, “she was wonderful in the part.”
After filming was completed, Colbert complained to her friend, “I just finished the worst picture in the world.”Columbia appeared to have low expectations for the film and did not mount much of an advertising campaign to promote it.
Initial reviews, however, were generally positive. Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times called it “a good piece of fiction, which, with all its feverish stunts, is blessed with bright dialogue and a good quota of relatively restrained scenes.” He also described Colbert’s performance as “engaging and lively” and Gable as “excellent”.
Variety reported that it was “without a particularly strong plot”, but “manages to come through in a big way, due to the acting, dialog, situations and directing.”Film Daily praised it as “a lively yarn, fast-moving, plenty humorous, racy enough to be tantalizing, and yet perfectly decorous.” The New York Herald Tribunecalled it “lively and amusing.”John Mosher of The New Yorker, however, panned it as “pretty much nonsense and quite dreary,” which was probably the review Capra had in mind when he recalled in his autobiography that “sophisticated” critics had dismissed the film.
Despite the positive reviews, the film only did so-so business in its initial run. However, after it was released to the secondary movie houses, word-of-mouth began to spread and ticket sales became brisk, especially in smaller towns where the film’s characters and simple romance struck a chord with moviegoers who were not surrounded by luxury. It turned out to be a major box office smash, easily Columbia’s biggest hit to date.
In 1935, after her Academy Award nomination, Colbert decided not to attend the presentation, feeling confident that she would not win the award, and instead, planned to take a cross-country railroad trip. After she was named the winner, studio chief Harry Cohn sent someone to “drag her off” the train, which had not yet left the station, and take her to the ceremony. Colbert arrived wearing a two-piece traveling suit which she had the Paramount Pictures costume designer, Travis Banton, make for her trip.
On December 15, 1996, Gable’s Oscar was auctioned off to Steven Spielberg for $607,500; Spielberg promptly donated the statuette to the Motion Picture Academy. On June 9 of the following year, Colbert’s Oscar was offered for auction by Christie’s, but no bids were made for it.
It Happened One Night was adapted as a radio play on the March 20, 1939 broadcast of Lux Radio Theater, with Colbert and Gable reprising their roles. The film was also adapted as a radio play for the January 28, 1940 broadcast of The Campbell Playhouse.
In 2013 digital restoration of the film was done by Sony Colorworks, a new master film copy was made from the original negative and scanned at 4K. The digital pictures were digitally restored frame by frame at Prasad Corporation to remove dirt, tears, scratches and other artifacts, thereby returning the film to its original look.
In popular culture
It Happened One Night made an immediate impact on the public. In one scene, Gable undresses for bed, taking off his shirt to reveal that he is bare-chested. An urban legend claims that, as a result, sales of men’s undershirts declined noticeably. The movie also prominently features a Greyhound bus in the story, spurring interest in bus travel nationwide.
The unpublished memoirs of animator Friz Freleng mention that this was one of his favorite films. It Happened One Night has a few interesting parallels with the cartoon character Bugs Bunny, who made his first appearance six years later, and who Freleng helped develop. In the film, a minor character, Oscar Shapely, continually calls the Gable character “Doc”, an imaginary character named “Bugs Dooley” is mentioned once in order to frighten Shapely, and there is also a scene in which Gable eats carrots while talking quickly with his mouth full, as Bugs does.
Parodies of the film abound. The 1937 Laurel and Hardy comedy Way Out West parodied the famous hitchhiking scene, with Stan Laurel managing to stop a stage coach using the same technique.Mel Brooks‘s film Spaceballs (1987) parodies the wedding scene. As she walks down the aisle to wed Prince Valium, Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) is told by her father, King Roland, that Lone Starr forsook the reward for the princess’s return and only asked to be reimbursed for the cost of the trip.
Recent films have also used familiar plot points from It Happened One Night. In Bandits, (2001), Joe Blake (Bruce Willis) erects a blanket partition between motel room beds out of respect for Kate Wheeler’s (Cate Blanchett‘s) privacy. He remarks that he saw them do the same thing in an old movie. In Sex and the City 2, Carrie and Mr. Big watch the film (specifically the hitchhiking scene) in a hotel; later in the film Carrie uses the idea which she got from the film to get a taxi in the Middle East. Also in an earlier episode of Sex and the City, Samantha mimics Claudette Colbert by showing some leg to stop a taxi. The wedding scene at the end of Heartbreaker is a reprise of the wedding scene in It Happened One Night.
Beginning in January 2014, the comic 9 Chickweed Lane tied a story arc to It Happened One Night when one of the characters, Lt. William O’Malley, is injured during World War II and believes himself to be Peter Warne. As he sneaks through German-occupied France, several plot points run parallel to that of It Happened One Nightand he believes his French contact to be Ellen Andrews.
Michael, Paul, ed. The Great Movie Book: A Comprehensive Illustrated Reference Guide to the Best-loved Films of the Sound Era. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1980. ISBN0-13-363663-1.
Shirer, William L. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941. Edison, New Jersey: BBS Publishing Corporation, 1985. ISBN978-0-88365-922-9.
Tueth, Michael V. Reeling with Laughter: American Film Comedies–from Anarchy to Mockumentary. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2012. ISBN978-0-81088-367-3.
Wiley, Mason and Damien Bona. Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards. New York: Ballantine Books, 1987. ISBN0-345-34453-7.
Pierre Mirande (Maurice Chevalier), is a Venetian tour guide from a poor French family who falls in love with Barbara Billings (Claudette Colbert), a wealthy American tourist whose father (George Barbier). Although Barbara loves Pierre as well, her suitor, Ronnie (Frank Lyon) and her father see him as a fortune-hunter. Barbara’s mother (Marion Ballou) persuades her husband to give Pierre a job in his chewing-gum factory in the States. Despite living in a dingy boardinghouse and being given the hardest job in the plant, he manages to captivate his landlady (Andrée Corday) and the maid (Elaine Koch) with his humorous songs. Unfortunately, he falls asleep on the night he is to attend Barbara’s party, and is then fired when he is wrongly accused of spilling rum on some chewing gum samples. He wins back his job, and is promoted as well, when he sells liquor-coated chewing gum as a sales gimmick. Barbara disapproves, and plans to marry Ronnie, but Pierre whisks her away in a speedboat.
Writer Preston Sturges was fluent in French, but additional dialogue was provided by Jacques Bataille-Henri. The technical credits for the two versions are the same, except the editing for the French version was done by Barney Rogan.
William Butler Reynolds, a 20-year-old San Franciscan with a penchant for dancing and song-writing, is about to inherit a sizable fortune.
His guardian uncle decides to send him to New York to be educated in the “ways of the world” by three lady friends–Jacqueline, Maxine, and Pauline, Follies girls, who agree not to vamp him though he falls for Jacqueline and is jealous of her admirer, Phil Kempton.
Bill’s inept attempt to promote a song with a producer results in the firing of all three girls; and when Jacqueline then resists his advances, he picks up Alma, a telephone operator, and becomes attentive to Cleo, a Follies vamp, but the girls save him from her wiles. Luckily, the producer accepts the song and rehires the girls; Jacqueline, realizing the sincerity of the boy’s love for her, embarks for Europe with Phil; but Phil realizes the appropriateness of the match and sees to it that the lovers are united.
The reviewer for the Motion Picture Herald wrote, “Here’s that rare combination of intelligent direction, brilliant dialogue, and rich humor. The result is a picture that is entertainment plus.” Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times was less enthusiastic, but praised the musical numbers.