Category Archives: Cinematheque Live

Mexicali Rose (1929)


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Mexicali Rose AKA The Girl From Mexico (1929)

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Director: Erle C Kenton

Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Sam Hardy, William Janney, Louis Nathaneux, Arthur Rankin, Harry J Vejar, Louis King, Julia Bejerano, Frankie Genardi, Greta Granstedt, Dorothy Gulliver, Jerry Miley

60 min

 

Mexicali Rose is a 1929 American pre-Code romantic drama film directed by Erle C. Kenton and starring Barbara Stanwyck and Sam Hardy.[1]

A silent and sound version are preserved at the Library of Congress.[2]

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Plot

“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.

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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.

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Cast

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References

  1. Jump up^ Brennan, Sandra. “Mexicali Rose”AllMovie. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  2. Jump up^ Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress page 115 c.1978 published by The American Film Institute

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Night Work (1930)


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Night Work (1930)

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Director: Russel Mack

Cast: Eddie Quillan, Sally Starr, Frances Upton, John T Murray, Tom Keene, Ben Bard, Robert McVade, Douglas Scott, Addie McPhaill, Kit Guard, Georgia Caine, Georgie Billings, Charles Clary

93 min

Night Work is a Pre Code comedy directed by Russel Mack, released in 1930 and starring Eddie Quillan, Sally Starr and Frances Upton.

Plot

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.

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Cast

Eddie Quillan Eddie Quillan
Sally Starr Sally Starr
Mary
Frances Upton Frances Upton
Aggie
John T. Murray John T. Murray
Calloway
Tom Keene Tom Keene
Harvey Vanderman (as George Duryea)
Ben Bard Ben Bard
Pinkie
Robert McWade Robert McWade
Phil Reisman
Douglas Scott Douglas Scott
Oscar, the Orphan
Addie McPhail Addie McPhail
Trixie
Kit Guard Kit Guard
Squint
Georgia Caine Georgia Caine
Mrs. Ten Eyck
Georgie Billings Georgie Billings
Buster (as George Billings)
Charles Clary Charles Clary
Mr. Vanderman
Tom Dugan Tom Dugan
Johnny Harris
Arthur Hoyt Arthur Hoyt
George Twining

 

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Tip Off, The (1931)


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The Tip Off (1931)

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Director: Albert S Rogell

Cast: Eddie Quillan, Robert Armstrong, Ginger Rogers, Joan Peers, Ralf Harolde, Mike Donlin, Ernie Adams, Charles Sellon, Helen Ainsworth, Luis Alberni, Harry Bowen, Dorothy Granger

71 min

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The Tip-Off is a 1931 American Pre-Code comedy film directed by Albert S. Rogell and written by Earl Baldwin. The film stars Eddie QuillanRobert ArmstrongGinger Rogers, Joan Peers and Ralf Harolde.[1][2] The film was released on October 16, 1931, by RKO Pictures.

Plot

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.

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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.

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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.

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Cast

References

  1. Jump up^ “The Tip-Off (1931) – Overview”Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  2. Jump up^ “The Tip-Off Trailer, Reviews and Schedule for The Tip-Off”TV Guide. Retrieved September 9, 2014.

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Love Affair (1932)


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Love Affair (1932)

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Director: Thornton Freeland

Cast: Dorothy Mackaill, Humphrey Bogart, Hale Hamilton, Halliwell Hobbes, Astrid Allwyn, Jack Kennedy, Bradley Page, Barbara Leonard

68 min

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Love Affair is a 1932 American Pre-Code romantic drama film starring Dorothy Mackaill as an adventurous socialite and Humphrey Bogart as the airplane designer she falls for. It is based on the short story of the same name by Ursula Parrott.

Plot

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.

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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.

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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.

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Cast

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Midnight AKA Call It Murder (1934)


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Director: Chester Erskine

Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Fox, OP Heggie, Henry Hull, Margaret Wycherly, Lynne Overman, Katherine Wilson, Richard Whorf

76 min

Midnight is a 1934 American drama film directed by Chester Erskine and starring Sidney FoxO.P. HeggieHenry Hulland Margaret Wycherly. The film was produced for Universal and was shot on a modest budget of $50,000 at Thomas Edison Studios, which producer/director Chester Erskine had re-opened specifically for the shoot.[1]

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.

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Plot

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.

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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.

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Cast

References

 Allen Eyles, Bogart, Macmillan, 1975 p 32
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Bad Sister, The (1931)


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Bad Sister is a 1931 American Pre-Code drama film directed by Hobart Henley. The screenplay by Edwin H. Knopf, Tom Reed, and Raymond L. Schrock is based on the 1913 novel The Flirt by Booth Tarkington, which had been filmed in 1916 and 1922.

The film marks the screen debut of Bette Davis and Sidney Fox, who was billed over Davis. It also features Humphrey Bogart and ZaSu Pitts in supporting roles. This film has been preserved in the Library of Congress collection.[1] [2]

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Plot

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.

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Production

The film originally was called What a Flirt and then Gambling Daughters before being changed to Bad Sister just prior to its theatrical release.[3]
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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.

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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?” [3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

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Cast

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References

  1. Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress p.11 c.1978 by The American Film Institute
  2. Jump up^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:Bad Sister, afi.com; accessed September 23, 2015.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d Stine, Whitney, and Davis, Bette, Mother Goddam: The Story of the Career of Bette Davis. New York: Hawthorn Books 1974. ISBN 0-8015-5184-6, pp. 8-11

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Up The River (1930)


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Up the River (1930) is a pre-Code comedy film about escaped convicts, directed by John Ford and starring Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart in their feature film debuts. The movie was remade by 20th Century-Fox in 1938, also entitled Up the River, with Preston Foster and Tony Martin respectively in the Tracy and Bogart roles.

Plot

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.

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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.[1][2]

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Cast

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Casting

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).

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References

  1. Jump up^ Up the River at TCM Movie Database
  2. Jump up^ Hall, Mordaunt. “Movies: About Up the River”The New York Times. Retrieved May 27, 2010.

Bibliography

  • New England Vintage Film Society, Inc. (2008). Spencer Tracy: The Pre-Code Legacy of a Hollywood Legend. Newton, MA: New England Vintage Film Society. ISBN 978-1-4363-4138-7.

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Hole In The Wall, The (1929)


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Hole In The Wall, The (1929)

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The Hole in the Wall is a 1929 mystery drama film directed by Robert Florey, and starring Claudette Colbert and Edward G. Robinson. This film marks the first appearance of Edward G. Robinson as a gangster.

Cast

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Plot

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.

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Little Cafe, The (1930)


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Little Cafe, The (1930)

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The Little Cafe (French:Le petit café) is a 1931 French-language American Pre-Code musical film directed by Ludwig Berger and starring Maurice ChevalierYvonne Vallée and Tania Fédor. The film is a foreign-language version of the 1930 film Playboy of Paris, which was based on the play The Little Cafe by Tristan Bernard. Multiple-language versions were common in the years following the introduction of sound film, before the practice of dubbing became widespread.

The film received a better reception from critics than the English-language version had.[1]

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Synopsis

Albert Loriflan, a waiter in a Paris cafe, 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.

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Cast

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References

  1. Jump up^ Bradley p.119

Bibliography

  • Bradley, Edwin M. The First Hollywood Musicals: A Critical Filmography Of 171 Features, 1927 Through 1932. McFarland, 2004.

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Four Frightened People (1934)


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Four Frightened People (1934)

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Director: Cecil B DeMille

Cast: Claudette Colbert, Herbert Marshall, Mary Boland, William Gargan, Leo Carillo, Nella Walker, Tetsu Komai, Delmar Costello

78 min

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Four Frightened People is a 1934 American Pre-Code adventure film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Claudette ColbertHerbert MarshallMary Boland, and William Gargan. It is based on the novel by E. Arnot Robertson.

Plot

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.

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Cast

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Filming locations

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Production crew

  • Executive producer (uncredited) – Emanuel Cohen
  • Art Direction – Roland Anderson
  • Production Manager (uncredited) – Roy Burns
  • Assistant Director (uncredited) – Cullen Tate, James Dugan
  • Sound Mixer (uncredited) – Harry Lindgren
  • Double (uncredited) – Mildred Mernie as Claudette Colbert, Bruce Warren as Herbert Marshall, Leota Lorraine as Mary Boland, Carl Mudge as William Gargan, Curley Dresden as Leo Carrillo

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Reception

The film was a box office disappointment for Paramount.[1]

Home Video Release

This film, along with The Sign of the CrossCleopatraThe Crusades and Union Pacific, was released on DVD in 2006 by Universal Studios as part of The Cecil B. DeMille Collection.

References

  1. Jump up^ By, D. W. (1934, Nov 25). TAKING A LOOK AT THE RECORD. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/101193306?accountid=13902

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I Cover the Waterfront (1933)


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I Cover the Waterfront (1933)

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Director: James Cruze

Cast: Ben Lyon, Claudette Colbert, Ernest Torrence, Hobart Cavanaugh, Maurice Black, Purnell Platt, Harry Beresford, Wilfred Lucas,  Rosita Marstini

75 min

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I Cover the Waterfront is a 1933 American Pre-Code romantic drama film directed by James Cruze and starring Ben LyonClaudette ColbertErnest Torrence, and Hobart Cavanaugh.

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.

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Plot

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Cast

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Production

Screenplay

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.[2] Reliance co-produced the film with Joseph Schenck’s Art Cinema Corporation.[1]

Filming

I Cover the Waterfront was filmed from mid-February to early March 1933.[1]

Soundtrack

The film’s title song, “I Cover the Waterfront“, appears in the film only as an instrumental.[3] Written by Johnny Green and Edward Heyman, the song went on to become a jazz standard recorded by many artists, including Billie HolidayLouis ArmstrongFrank SinatraThe Ink Spots, and Ella Fitzgerald, among others.[4]

I Cover the Waterfront 11

Critical response

In his review for The New York Times, film critic Mordaunt Hall called the film “a stolid and often grim picture”.[5] 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.[5]

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.[5]

I Cover the Waterfront 13

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.[5] Hall reserved his highest praise for Ernest Torrence in his final screen performance.[5] 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.”[6] 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.”[7]

I Cover the Waterfront 14

Remakes

I Cover the Waterfront was remade in 1961 by Edward Small as Secret of Deep Harbor.[3]

See also

References[edit]

  1. Jump up to:a b c “I Cover the Waterfront”American Film Institute. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  2. Jump up^ Babcock, Muriel (September 24, 1932). “Notable Novel to be Filmed”. The New York Times. p. A7.
  3. Jump up to:a b “I Cover the Waterfront: Notes”. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  4. Jump up^ “I Cover the Waterfront”. Discogs. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  5. Jump up to:a b c d e Hall, Mordaunt (May 18, 1933). “The Late Ernest Torrence in His Last Picture…”The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  6. Jump up^ Mosher, John (May 27, 1933). “The Current Cinema”. The New Yorker. New York: F-R Publishing Corp. p. 49.
  7. Jump up^ “I Cover the Waterfront”. Variety. New York: Variety, Inc. May 23, 1933. p. 15.

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Film Collectors Corner

Watch I Cover the Waterfront Now – Instant Video on You Tube

Blu Ray

Not released on Blu Ray

DVD

It Happened One Night (1934)


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It Happened One Night (1934)

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It Happened One Night 9

It Happened One Night 8

Director: Frank Capra

Cast: Claudette Colbert, Clark Gable, Walter Connolly,  Roscoe Karns, Jameson Thomas, Alan Hale, Arthur Hoyt, Blanche Friderici, Charles C Wilson, Ward Bond,  Ken Carson

105 min

It Happened One Night 7 

It Happened One Night is a 1934 American pre-Code romantic comedy film with elements of screwball comedy directed and co-produced by Frank Capra, in collaboration with Harry Cohn, in which a pampered socialite (Claudette Colbert) tries to get out from under her father’s thumb and falls in love with a roguish reporter (Clark Gable).

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.[4]

It Happened One Night 3

It Happened One Night was the first movie to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay), a feat that would not be matched until One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and later by The Silence of the Lambs (1991). In 1993, It Happened One Night was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.[5] In 2013, the film underwent an extensive restoration.[6][7]

Plot

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.

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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.

It Happened One Night 14

Main cast

It Happened One Night 13

Production

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.[8]

It Happened One Night 15

Margaret Sullavan also rejected the part.[9] Constance Bennett was willing to play the role if she could produce the film herself; however, Columbia Pictures would not allow this. Then Bette Davis wanted the role,[10] but was under contract with Warner Brothers and Jack L. Warner refused to lend her.[11]

Carole Lombardwas unable to accept, because the filming schedule conflicted with that of Bolero.[12] Loretta Young also turned it down.[13]

It Happened One Night 16
It Happened One Night (1934) Directed by Frank Capra Shown from left: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert

Harry Cohn suggested Colbert, and she initially turned the role down.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16] Capra, however, insisted that Gable was a reluctant participant in the film.[17]

It Happened One Night 17

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.[16] 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!”[18] Through the filming, Capra claimed, Colbert “had many little tantrums, motivated by her antipathy toward me”, however, “she was wonderful in the part.”[18]

It Happened One Night 19

Reception

After filming was completed, Colbert complained to her friend, “I just finished the worst picture in the world.”[18][19]Columbia appeared to have low expectations for the film and did not mount much of an advertising campaign to promote it.[20]

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”.

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[21] 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.”[22] Film Daily praised it as “a lively yarn, fast-moving, plenty humorous, racy enough to be tantalizing, and yet perfectly decorous.”[23] The New York Herald Tribunecalled it “lively and amusing.”[24] John Mosher of The New Yorker, however, panned it as “pretty much nonsense and quite dreary,”[25] which was probably the review Capra had in mind when he recalled in his autobiography that “sophisticated” critics had dismissed the film.[26]

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.[24] It turned out to be a major box office smash, easily Columbia’s biggest hit to date.[27]

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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.[28]

It Happened One Night 21

 

Academy Awards

The film won all five of the Academy Awards for which it was nominated at the 7th Academy Awards for 1934:

Award Result Winner
Best Picture Won Columbia Pictures (Frank Capra and Harry Cohn)
Best Director Won Frank Capra
Best Actor Won Clark Gable
Best Actress Won Claudette Colbert
Best Writing, Adaptation Won Robert Riskin

It Happened One Night was the first film to win the “Big Five” Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Writing). As of 2014, only two more films have achieved this feat: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975 and The Silence of the Lambs in 1991.[29] It Happened One Night was also the last film to win both lead acting Academy Awards until One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975.

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.[30] On June 9 of the following year, Colbert’s Oscar was offered for auction by Christie’s, but no bids were made for it.

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Others

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

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Radio adaptation

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.

Digital restoration

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.[37]

It Happened One Night 24

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.[38] The movie also prominently features a Greyhound bus in the story, spurring interest in bus travel nationwide.[39]

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.[40]

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Joseph Stalin was a fan of the film,[41] as was Adolf Hitler.[42]

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.[43] 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.[44]

The film has also inspired a number of remakes, including the musicals Eve Knew Her Apples (1945) starring Ann Miller and You Can’t Run Away from It (1956) starring June Allyson and Jack Lemmon, which was directed and produced by Dick Powell.[45] The Sure Thing (1985), starring John Cusack, has some similarities.

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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.[46] In Sex and the City 2Carrie 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.[47] The wedding scene at the end of Heartbreaker is a reprise of the wedding scene in It Happened One Night.[48]

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.[49]

It Happened One Night 27

Foreign film adaptations

It Happened One Night has been adapted into numerous Indian films. These include three Hindi adaptations: Chori Chori (1956), Nau Do Gyarah (1957) and Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (1991), one Tamil adaptation Chandhrodhayam (1966), and one Kannada adaptation Hudugaata (2007).[50]

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See also

It Happened One Night 32

References

Notes

  1. Jump up^ “‘It Happened One Night’ (A).” British Board of Film Classification, March 13, 1934; retrieved November 18, 2014.
  2. Jump up^ Rudy Behlmer, Behind the Scenes, Samuel French, 1990 p 37
  3. Jump up^ “Box Office Information for ‘It Happened One Night’.” The Numbers; retrieved April 12, 2012.
  4. Jump up^ Brown 1995, p. 118.
  5. Jump up^ “National Film Registry.” Archived March 28, 2013, at the Wayback MachineLibrary of Congress. Retrieved: October 28, 2011.
  6. Jump up^ “Restoring the Frank Capra Classic, It Happened One Night.” CreativeCOW.net. Retrieved: April 16, 2014.
  7. Jump up^ “Colorworks completes brilliant 4K restoration of Frank Capra classic ‘It Happened One Night’.” Shoot, November 18, 2013. Retrieved: April 16, 2014.
  8. Jump up^ Kotsabilas-Davis and Loy 1987, p. 94. Note: Loy described the first script she saw as “one of the worst [that] she had ever read.”
  9. Jump up^ Wiley and Bona 1987, p. 54.
  10. Jump up^ Weems, Erik. It Happened One Night – Frank Capra. eeweems.com, April 2013. Retrieved: April 1, 2015.
  11. Jump up^ Chandler 2006, p. 102.
  12. Jump up^ McBride 1992, p. 303.
  13. Jump up^ “Loretta Young 1999.” flickr.com. Retrieved: November 14, 2007.
  14. Jump up^ Karney 1995, p. 252.
  15. Jump up^ “All about Oscar.” britannica.com. Retrieved: April 1, 2015.
  16. Jump up to:a b Harris 2002, pp. 112–114.
  17. Jump up^ Capra 1971, p. 164.
  18. Jump up to:a b c Pace, Eric. “Claudette Colbert, unflappable heroine of screwball comedies, is dead at 92.” The New York Times, July 31, 1996, p. D21.
  19. Jump up^ “Review: ‘It Happened One Night’.” moviediva.com, April 2005. Retrieved: December 7, 2009.
  20. Jump up^ Tueth, p. 20.
  21. Jump up^ Hall, Mordaunt (February 23, 1934). “Movie Review – It Happened One Night”The New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  22. Jump up^ “It Happened One Night”. Variety. New York. February 27, 1934. p. 17.
  23. Jump up^ “It Happened One Night”. Film Daily. New York. February 23, 1934. p. 6.
  24. Jump up to:a b Mizejewski, p. 11.
  25. Jump up^ Mosher, John C. (March 3, 1934). “The New Yorker“. New York. p. 67.
  26. Jump up^ Mizejewski, p. 12.
  27. Jump up^ McBride 1992, pp. 308–309.
  28. Jump up^ Sharon Fink. “Oscars: The Evolution of Fashion.” St. Petersburg Times, February 24, 2007.
  29. Jump up^ “Awards.” awardsdatabase.oscars.org. Retrieved: September 4, 2009.
  30. Jump up^ McKittrick, Rosemary. “Gable’s Gold: Auction cashes in on Hollywood idol.”liveauctiontalk.com. Retrieved: December 7, 2009.
  31. Jump up^ “AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies” (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  32. Jump up^ “AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs” (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  33. Jump up^ “AFI’s 100 Years…100 Passions” (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  34. Jump up^ “AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes Nominees” (PDF). Retrieved July 17,2016.
  35. Jump up^ “AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition)” (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  36. Jump up^ “AFI’s 10 Top 10: Top 10 Romantic Comedy”American Film Institute. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  37. Jump up^ Altman, Randi. “Capra’s classic ‘It Happened One Night’ restored in 4K.”postperspective.com, November 2013. REtrieved: April 1, 2015.
  38. Jump up^ “The shirt off his back.” snopes.com, May 10, 2014. Retrieved: December 7, 2009.
  39. Jump up^ “Historical Timeline.” Archived December 8, 2012, at the Wayback MachineGreyhound. Retrieved: October 14, 2011.
  40. Jump up^ Dirks, Tim. “Review: ‘It Happened One Night’.” filmsite.org. Retrieved: December 7, 2009.
  41. Jump up^ “Why Stalin loved Tarzan and wanted John Wayne shot.” The Daily Telegraph, April 6, 2004. Retrieved: December 7, 2009.
  42. Jump up^ Shirer 1985, p. 588.
  43. Jump up^ “Way Out West (1937).” Filmsite Review. Retrieved: October 14, 2011.
  44. Jump up^ Crick 2009, p. 158.
  45. Jump up^ Dirks, Tim. “It Happened One Night (1934) .” Filmsite Movie Reviews. Retrieved: November 17, 2011.
  46. Jump up^ Granger, Susan. “Bandits.” All Reviews, 2001. Retrieved: October 14, 2011.
  47. Jump up^ imdb.com
  48. Jump up^ “Heartbreaker (2010) (original title: l’Arnacoeur)”. IMDb. Retrieved: April 18, 2012.
  49. Jump up^ McEldowney, Brooke. “9 Chickweed Lane.” gocomics.com. Retrieved: April 29, 2014.
  50. Jump up^ Guy, Randor (September 11, 2014). “It happened to be a hit!”The Hindu. Retrieved November 10, 2016.

Bibliography

  • Brown, Gene. Movie Time: A Chronology of Hollywood and the Movie Industry from Its Beginnings to the Present. New York: Macmillan, 1995. ISBN 0-02-860429-6.
  • Capra, Frank. Frank Capra, The Name Above the Title: An Autobiography. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1971. ISBN 0-306-80771-8.
  • Chandler, Charlotte. The Girl Who Walked Home Alone: Bette Davis, A Personal Biography. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006. ISBN 0-7432-6208-5.
  • Crick, Robert Alan. The Big Screen Comedies of Mel Brooks. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009. ISBN 978-0-7864-4326-0.
  • Harris, Warren G. Clark Gable, A Biography. London: Aurum Press, 2002. ISBN 1-85410-904-9.
  • Hirschnor, Joel. Rating the Movie Stars for Home Video, TV and Cable. Lincolnwood, Illinois: Publications International Limited, 1983. ISBN 0-88176-152-4.
  • Karney, Robyn. Chronicle of the Cinema, 100 Years of the Movies. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1995. ISBN 0-7513-3001-9.
  • Kotsabilas-Davis, James and Myrna Loy. Being and Becoming. New York: Primus, Donald I. Fine Inc., 1987. ISBN 1-55611-101-0.
  • McBride, Joseph. Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success. New York: Touchstone Books, 1992. ISBN 0-671-79788-3.
  • Mizejewski, Linda. It Happened One Night. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. ISBN 978-1-4443-1016-0.
  • 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. ISBN 0-13-363663-1.
  • Shirer, William L. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941. Edison, New Jersey: BBS Publishing Corporation, 1985. ISBN 978-0-88365-922-9.
  • Tueth, Michael V. Reeling with Laughter: American Film Comedies–from Anarchy to Mockumentary. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-81088-367-3.
  • Wiley, Mason and Damien BonaInside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards. New York: Ballantine Books, 1987. ISBN 0-345-34453-7.

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Big Pond, The (1930)


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The Big Pond (1930)

Big Pond The 1

Director: Hobart Henley

Cast: Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, George Barbier, Marion Ballou, Andree Corday, Frank Lyon, Nat Pendleton, Elaine Koch

72 min

Big Pond The 3

The Big Pond is a 1930 American Pre-Code romantic comedy film based on a 1928 play of the same name by George Middleton and A.E. Thomas.[1] The film was written by Garrett Fort, Robert Presnell Sr. and Preston Sturges, who provided the dialogue in his first Hollywood assignment, and was directed by Hobart Henley.

The film stars Maurice Chevalier and Claudette Colbert, and features George Barbier, Marion Ballou, and Andrée Corday, and was released by Paramount Pictures.

The Big Pond was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for Maurice Chevalier, and also provided Chevalier with his first American hit song “Livin’ in the Sunlight, Lovin’ in the Moonlight” written by Al Sherman and Al Lewis.[2]

Big Pond The 5

Plot

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.

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Cast

Big Pond The 13

Songs

Big Pond The 8

Production

The Big Pond and its French language version La grande mare[6] were shot simultaneously at the Paramount Astoria Studios in AstoriaQueensNew York City.[7][8]Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, Andrée Corday and Nat Pendelton played the same roles in both versions.[6]

Big Pond The 7

Awards

Maurice Chevalier was nominated for a 1930 Academy Award for “Best Actor in a Leading Role” for his performance in The Big Pond as well as his performance in The Love Parade (1929).[8]

Big Pond The 4

French version

The French language version of The Big Pond, which was filmed simultaneously with the English version, was called La grande mare. The cast was:

  • Maurice Chevalier as Pierre Mirande
  • Claudette Colbert as Barbara Billings
  • Henry Mortimer as Mr. Billings
  • Maude Allen as Mrs. Billings
  • Andrée Corday as Toinette
  • William B. Williams as Ronnie
  • Nat Pendleton as Pat O’Day
  • Loraine Jaillet as Jennie

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.[6]

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Notes

Big Pond The 8

Big Pond The 9

Film Collectors Corner

Watch The Big Pond Now – Instant Video on You Tube

Blu Ray

Not released on Blu Ray

DVD

Safety In Numbers (1930)


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Safety In Numbers (1930)

Safety in Numbers 1

Safety in Numbers 2

Director: Victor Schertzinger

Cast: Charles Buddy Rogers, Kathryn Crawford, Josephine Dunn, Carole Lombard, Roscoe Karns, Richard Tucker, Francis McDonald, Raoul Paoli, Virginia Bruce, Tom London

80 min

Safety in Numbers 3

Safety in Numbers is a 1930 American Pre-Code musical comedy film. Directed by Victor Schertzinger, it stars Buddy Rogers, and features Kathryn CrawfordJosephine Dunn, and Carole Lombard (in one of her early roles).

Plot

William Butler Reynolds, a 20-year-old San Franciscan with a penchant for dancing and song-writing, is about to inherit a sizable fortune.

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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.

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Cast

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Reception

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.[1]

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References

  1. Jump up to:a b Ott, Frederick W. (1972). The Films of Carole Lombard. Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press. pp. 75–77. ISBN 978-0806502786.

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White Woman (1933)


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White Woman (1933)

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Director: Stuart Walker

Cast: Carole Lombard, Charles Laughton, Charles Bickford, Kent Taylor,  Percy Kilbride, James Bell, Charles Middleton, Claude King, Ethel Griffies

68 min

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White Woman is a 1933 American pre-Code drama film directed by Stuart Walker and starring Carole LombardCharles Laughton, and Charles Bickford.[1] A young widow remarries and accompanies her husband to his remote jungle rubber plantation. The film was based on the Broadway play Hangman’s Whip by Norman Reilly Raine and Frank Butler.[2]

One of hundreds of Paramount films held in limbo by Universal Studios. Universal gained ownership of Paramount features produced between 1929 and 1949. Paramount remade the film in 1939 as Island of Lost Men, with Anna May WongJ. Carrol Naish and Broderick Crawford in the roles originated by Lombard, Laughton and Bickford. It was directed by Kurt Neumann.[3]

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Plot

Judith Denning, a beautiful cafe singer in Malay, has been forced to leave town after town because of gossip that says her husband’s suicide was on account of her infidelity. Upright British lawyer C. M. Chisholm accuses Judith of being a “loose white woman” who is tempting the natives and forces her to leave town by getting her fired.

Horace H. Prin, “King of the Jungle,” then offers to marry her. Prin takes Judith to his jungle home on the river, where he has been running a trading outfit for twenty years. Prin’s white management crew consists largely of criminal exiles whose secret pasts he uses as leverage to get them to remain under his ruthless tyranny.

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When Hambly, who runs a station up the river, insists that the poor diet Prin has been feeding the native workers is breeding insurrection among them, Prin has him killed. Overseer David von Elst, who has not seen a white woman in ten years, quickly falls in love with Judith. A month after Judith’s arrival, she and David decide to run away, but when they confront Prin, he refuses to give them a boat and sends David up the river to take Hambly’s place at Gubar.

David, meanwhile, has told Judith he deserted his regiment after natives decapitated his partner and threw his head through David’s window. Since then he has lacked the courage to fight Prin and return to society. Ballister, the new tough overseer, then arrives and immediately asks Judith for a “tumble,” undaunted by Prin’s eccentric tyranny. When two tribal chiefs request the right to deal with other traders, Prin foolishly refuses them, and they prepare for war against him.

The natives kill Connors, one of Prin’s men, and throw his head through David’s window, after which David finally regains his nerve and travels through the dangerous jungle to warn Judith. David and Judith prepare to leave, but Prin drains their boat of gas. Ballister, sympathetic to the lovers, warns them to take another boat. When Prin shoots his pet baby ape, “Duke,” Jakey, Prin’s most faithful white servant, throws his machine guns in the river and leaves with David and Judith. Ballister and Prin play poker and drink as the natives approach, armed with spears. After Ballister is killed, Prin declares he is forever king of the jungle and walks out into the onslaught of spears.

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Cast

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References

  1. Jump up^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1931-40 published by The American Film Institute c.1993
  2. Jump up^ Hangman’s Whip, St. James Theatre, February 24, 1933, IBDb.com; accessed August 5, 2015.
  3. Jump up^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1931-40 published by The American Film Institute, c. 1993

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Before Morning (1933)


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Before Morning (1933)

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Director: Arthur Hoerl

Cast: Leo Carillo, Lora Baxter, Taylor Holmes, Blaine Cordner, Louise Prussing, Russell Hicks, Louis Jean Heydt, Jules Epailly

56 min

Before Morning is a 1933 American Pre-Code crime drama directed by Arthur Hoerl, and starring Leo Carrillo, Lora Baxter, and Taylor Holmes. The film was adapted for the screen by Arthur Hoerl, from the 1933 Broadway play of the same name by Edward and Edna Riley.[1]

Synopsis

Actress Elsie Manning (Lora Baxter) is engaged to Horace Baker (Blaine Cordner), but has also been in a romantic relationship with James Nichols (Russell Hicks) who has named her as the beneficiary in his will. Not knowing about her engagement, Nichols asks his wife for a divorce and is refused. Nichols dies in Manning’s apartment after she tells him she’s engaged to Baker. When Baker arrives on the scene, he agrees to help her dispose of the body by having Nichols moved to a sanitarium. The owner, Dr. Gruelle (Leo Carrillo), tells them Nichols was murdered by poison and attempts to extort money from Manning for his statement that the death was of natural causes. Gruell tries the same scam on the widow of Nichols (Louise Prussing), who eventually agrees when the poison is found in her purse. It is revealed that Gruell is really a corrupt police inspector named Mr. Maitland.[2]

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Cast

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References

  1. Before Morning at the Internet Broadway Database
  2. Jump up^ “Before Morning”AFI Catalog of Feature Films. AFI. Retrieved July 20, 2015.

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Lena Rivers (1932)


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Lena Rivers AKA The Sin Of Lena Rivers (1932)

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Director: Phil Rosen

Cast: Charlotte Henry, Morgan Galloway, Beryl Mercer, James Kirkwood, John St Polis, Betty Blythe, Joyce Compton, Russell Simpson, Clarence Muse, The Kentucky Singers

67 min

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Lena Rivers, aka The Sin of Lena Rivers, is a 1932 American pre-Code drama film directed by Phil Rosen based on the 1856 novel by Mary Jane Holmes. Filmed on several occasions throughout the silent era.[1]

Plot

Lena Rivers’ mother dies in childbirth, and the child is left to be reared by her grandparents. Years later, her grandfather is reported lost at sea, and Lena and her grandmother go to live in Canterville, Kentucky with John Nichols, Lena’s uncle, despite the objections of John’s wife Mathilda and his daughter Caroline, who think that Lena is illegitimate.

Henry R. Graham, the owner of the plantation next to the Nichols’, seems bothered when he meets Lena. One day, Lena plays with a bunny on the Graham property, and she is horrified when Graham’s ward, Durrie Belmont, shoots it. Although she calls him a murderer, Durrie, who is courting Caroline, becomes attracted to Lena.

Graham takes a personal interest in Lena because she reminds him of a woman with whom he was in love, but who died while he was away, believing he had deserted her. When Lena shows a gift for calming the excitable horse Brimstone, Graham gives her the horse. After Graham introduces her to Durrie, the boy promises never to shoot another bunny and walks her home. Graham throws a party at his manor, but Lena does not come because she does not have a fancy dress, so Durrie goes to her house.

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They take a walk, and he kisses her before she goes in. Caroline sees them together and calls Lena an “ungrateful sneak,” then says she takes after her mother, who never married. Lana slaps her and runs crying to her grandmother, who assures her that her mother was married, but that her father left her to die. Graham enters Brimstone in the races for Lena because she has made astonishing progress with the previously unmanageable horse.

When Lena’s grandmother has an attack, Graham, worried about the effect her possible death might have on Lena, mentions to Durrie that he would like to adopt her. Durrie’s jealousy is aroused, as Caroline had earlier implied that Graham and Lena were having an illicit affair. In reality, Graham is Lena’s father. He had married her mother in secret because of his tyrant father, using his middle name “Rivers” as their surname.

His father “shanghaied” Graham to Europe, and when he returned, he learned that his wife had died. Until Lena recently appeared, he had been unaware that he had a daughter. Brimstone wins the race, and Lena is awarded $5,000, but Durrie discovers that Graham told the jockey of his competing horse to let Brimstone win.

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Still unaware of Graham’s real relationship to Lena, Durrie, jealous, angry and drunk, proposes to Caroline, who agrees to marry him. Lena’s grandmother dies after realizing that Lena now has enough money to support herself. Shaken by the death, Lena learns about Durrie and Caroline’s elopement and leaves town to make a new life for herself elsewhere after forgiving Graham, who has revealed his secret to her.

Meanwhile, Durrie drives recklessly and his car goes over an embankment. When Graham finds out that Durrie and Caroline are in the hospital, he sends for Lena. While Caroline flirts with a doctor, Durrie learns that Graham is Lena’s father and leaves the hospital to find her and marry her. He gets into a car to find Lena inside, and they hug and kiss.

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Cast

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References

  1. Jump up^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:..Lena Rivers

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Millie (1931)


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Millie (1931)

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Director: John Francis Dillon

Cast: Helen Twelvetrees, Lilyan Tashman, Robert Ames, James Hall, John Halliday, Joan Blondell, Anita Louise, Edmund Breese, Frank McHugh, Charlote Walker, Franklin Parker, Marie Astaire, Carmelita Geraghty

85 min

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Millie (1931) is a pre-Code drama film directed by John Francis Dillon from a screenplay by Charles Kenyon and Ralph Morgan, based on a novel of the same name by Donald Henderson Clarke. The film was an independent production by Charles R. Rogers, distributed by RKO Radio Pictures, after their acquisition of Pathé Exchange. It starred Helen Twelvetrees in one of her best roles, with a supporting cast which included Lilyan TashmanJames HallJoan BlondellJohn Halliday and Anita Louise.

Plot

Millie (Helen Twelvetrees) is a naive young woman who marries a wealthy man from New York, Jack Maitland (James Hall). Three years later, unhappy in her marriage due to her husband’s continued infidelity, she asks for and receives a divorce. Because of her pride, she does not want his money, but she also does not want to deprive her daughter of a comfortable lifestyle. She allows Jack and his mother (Charlotte Walker) to retain custody of Millie’s daughter Connie (Anita Louise).

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Focusing on her career, she rises through the hierarchy of the hotel where she is employed, shunning the attention of the rich banker Jimmy Damier (John Halliday), preferring the attentions of the reporter Tommy Rock (Robert Ames), although, due to her prior sour relationship, she refuses to marry him. Eventually, Millie is promoted to the head of operations for the hotel.

At the same time, Tommy is offered a lucrative position at the bank by Damier as a favor to Millie. However, at the celebration party, Millie discovers that Tommy, just like Maitland, is cheating on her.

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Betrayed a second time, Millie becomes very bitter. With her female cohorts, Helen and Angie (Lilyan Tashman and Joan Blondell, respectively), she becomes a woman who loves a good time, floating from man to man. This goes on for several years, until she hears that Damier has taken an interest in her teen-age daughter, Connie, who bears a striking resemblance to her.

Millie warns Damier to leave her daughter alone, but, although he promises to stay away from Connie, he ignores Millie’s warning and takes Connie to a remote lodge to seduce her. Millie is tipped off, goes to the lodge with a gun, confronts Jimmy and kills him.

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In the ensuing murder trial, Millie tries to keep her daughter’s name out of the press and claims not to remember why she shot Jimmy. She says that another woman ran out of the lodge after the shot, but claims that she did not see who the woman was and has no idea as to her identity.

The prosecution thus claims that Millie’s motive was jealousy of Jimmy’s romantic relationship with this unknown other woman. Millie’s friends, however, help to bring out the truth, and when the jury finds out that Millie’s true motive was to protect her daughter from Jimmy’s lascivious intentions, they acquit her. In the end, Millie is reunited with her daughter and her estranged husband’s family.

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Cast

(Cast as per AFI‘s database)[2]

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Production

Donald Henderson Clarke finished his novel, Millie, during summer 1930.[4] The novel was first offered to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, who passed on it due to its racy content.[5] In August of that year, it was reported that Charles R. Rogers had purchased the film rights to the novel, and had signed Charles Kenyon to adapt it into a screenplay, as well as selecting John Francis Dillon to direct.[6]

Although Rogers had signed an agreement to distribute his independent films through RKO, it was reported that he would be overseeing the production on the Universal lot.[7] Even though he was incorrectly identified as “Ralph Murphy”, Ralph Morgan was signed to collaborate with Kenyon on the screenplay adaptation in September.[8]

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Less than a week later, Helen Twelvetrees signed on for the titular role;[9] and it was reported that the screenplay adaptation had been completed.[5] Rogers would choose Ernest Haller to shoot the film and sign him for the project in the beginning of October.[10]

In January RKO announced the film would be released in February,[11] and it was released on February 8, 1931.[2]

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Notes

The film was an independent production by Charles Rogers, but became the property of RKO when he agreed to become their production chief.[12]

The theme song, “Millie”, had words and music by Nacio Herb Brown.[2]

In 1959, the film entered the public domain in the USA due to the copyright claimants failure to renew the copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.[13]

The film’s tagline was “Torn From Her Arms … Child Of Love A Woman Can Give But Once.”[1]

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References

  1. Jump up to:a b “Millie: Technical Details”. theiapolis.com. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d e f g “Millie: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on September 20, 2015. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  3. Jump up to:a b “Millie, Credits”. Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  4. Jump up^ Daly, Phil M. (April 17, 1930). “Along the Rialto”The Film Daily. p. 5.
  5. Jump up to:a b “Rogers Chances “Millie””Variety. September 24, 1930. p. 5.
  6. Jump up^ “Hollywood Flashes”The Film Daily. August 30, 1930. p. 3.
  7. Jump up^ “Don Clarke’s Story To Be First Rogers Film”Motion Picture News. August 23, 1930. p. 26.
  8. Jump up^ “Hollywood Activities”The Film Daily. September 21, 1930. p. 29.
  9. Jump up^ “Hollywood Happenings”The Film Daily. September 24, 1930. p. 6.
  10. Jump up^ Wilk, Ralph (October 12, 1930). “A Little from “Lots””The Film Daily. p. 4.
  11. Jump up^ “”Cimarron” and “Millie” Releases”The Film Daily. January 22, 1931. p. 3.
  12. Jump up^ Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York: Arlington House. p. 32. ISBN 0-517-546566.
  13. Jump up^ Pierce, David (June 2007). “Forgotten Faces: Why Some of Our Cinema Heritage Is Part of the Public Domain”. Film History: An International Journal19 (2): 125–43. ISSN 0892-2160JSTOR 25165419OCLC 15122313doi:10.2979/FIL.2007.19.2.125. See Note #60, pg. 143.

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Applause (1929)


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Applause (1929)

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Director: Rouben Mamoulian

Cast: Helen Morgan, Joan Peers, Fuller Mellish Jr., Jack Cameron, Henry Wadsworth, Billie Bernard, Phyllis Bolce, Lotta Burnell, Alice Clayton, Florence Dickinson

80 min

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Applause is a 1929 black-and-white backstage musical talkie, shot at Paramount’s Astoria Studios in Astoria, New York, during the early years of sound films. The film is notable as one of the few films of its time to break free from the restrictions of bulky sound technology equipment in order to shoot on location around Manhattan.

Production background

Based on a novel by Beth Brown, the film was staged and directed by Rouben Mamoulian,[1] and stars Helen Morgan, Joan Peers, Henry Wadsworth, and Fuller Mellish, Jr. Mae West was originally considered for the part of Kitty Darling, but Paramount decided West’s glamorous stage presence would undercut the tackier aspects of the storyline.

The National Board of Review named Applause one of the 10 best films of 1929.

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This was Morgan’s first all-talking film. She had previously appeared in the sound prologue to the part-talkie version of Show Boat, released by Universal Studios. In the same year, Morgan appeared in Applause, and Glorifying the American Girl.

In 2006, Applause was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.[2]

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Plot

The first scene has a marching band playing Theodore Mentz‘s “A Hot Time in the Old Town“.

The film tells of Kitty Darling (Helen Morgan), a burlesque star, who sends her young daughter to a convent to get her away from the sleazy burlesque environment she is involved in.

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Many years later, Kitty is not doing so well and her best days are behind her. She’s now an alcoholic who lives in the past. She lives with a burlesque comic named Hitch (Fuller Mellish Jr.). Hitch cheats on her and only cares about spending what little money she has. When he finds out she has been paying for her daughter’s convent education for over a decade, he pushes her into bringing April back home.

Her grown, but naive daughter April (Joan Peers) returns. Kitty is embarrassed by her condition and marries Hitch so that April will not be ashamed of her.

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When April arrives, she is disgusted with her mother and her sad life. Hitch tries to force her into show business and repeatedly gropes her, at one point forcing a kiss on her.

April roams the city and meets a lonely young sailor named Tony (Henry Wadsworth). They fall in love and agree to marry and April will move to his home in Wisconsin. When April goes to tell her mother about their plans she overhears Hitch belittling Kitty, calling her a “has-been.”

April is upset and calls off her wedding. She decides to join the chorus line of a burlesque show. She says a reluctant goodbye to Tony at the subway. Meanwhile, Kitty takes an overdose of sleeping pills. The bottle clearly says “For insomnia one tablet only”. She goes downstairs to the show and collapses on a couch.

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Knowing that Kitty cannot perform in the show, the producer berates her, mistaking her reaction to the overdose for delirium tremens. April, also not realizing what is happening, and over Kitty’s objections, says she will take Kitty’s place. She tells Kitty she will take care of her now, like Kitty always did for April. As April goes onstage, Kitty passes away, her head hanging over the edge of the couch.

April is disgusted at herself and cannot complete the show. As she runs off the stage, none other than Tony is there to greet her. He says he had a feeling she did not mean what she was saying. She hugs him close and says she wants to go far away. Not realizing Kitty is dead, she says they will need to take care of her mother too, and Tony agrees.

The final shot is a close-up of the Kitty Darling poster on the wall, behind Tony and April.

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Cast

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Censors

The censor boards approved of the message and production values of the film, but were concerned about a scene in which Kitty told April that two of the chorus girls in the show were Catholic, “as good Catholics as anybody even if they do shake for a living.” The line was changed to “Christians”.

Censors in OhioBritish Columbia, and Worcester, Massachusetts banned the film outright. Many cuts were made for showings in cities such as Chicago, IllinoisProvidence, Rhode Island, and St. Louis, Missouri.

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Critical reception

The film opened to mixed reviews from film critics.

Critic Mordaunt Hall, writing for the New York Times, liked the acting but was troubled by some of Rouben Mamoulian’s direction. He said, “The opening chapters are none too interesting and subsequently one anticipates pretty much what’s going to happen…however, Mr. Mamoulian commits the unpardonable sin of being far too extravagant. He becomes tedious in his scenes of the convent and there is nothing but viciousness in his stage passages.”[3]

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Photoplay described the film as “a curious one,” however recommendable for the performances by Morgan and Joan Peers. The anonymous reviewer, however, thought the two leads, “and some nice camera work, help save a confusing job.”[4]

The Library of Congress says the following about the film:

Many have compared Mamoulian’s debut to that of Orson Welles‘ Citizen Kane because of his flamboyant use of cinematic innovation to test technical boundaries. The tear-jerking plot boasts top performances from Morgan as the fading burlesque queen, Fuller Mellish Jr. as her slimy paramour and Joan Peers as her cultured daughter. However, the film is remembered today chiefly for Mamoulian’s audacious style. While most films of the era were static and stage-bound, Mamoulian’s camera reinvigorated the melodramatic plot by prowling relentlessly through sordid backstage life.[2]

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A recent[when?] review by Manuel Cintra Ferreira highlights the innovative direction and influence on the productions to come:

It is well-known that the arrival of sound brought a revolution in film-making. But (…) the early times were marked by disorientation on how to master the new technique. The cinematographic idiom, having reached a splendorous high by those years, was made to regress almost to its early stages by the demands of the complicated sound machinery, still cameras restricted to the recording of long dialogue declamations in tedious closeups, such that some commentators did not anticipate a sustained future for the “talkies”. Mamoulian’s role in inverting the slippage was profound, eventually making sound and talk an essential element of the narrative in cinema. Applause, his first work in Hollywood, is from the outset an inescapable witness of this process of change, exploring voice off and sound overlay, which, at the time, technicians considered impossible. (…) Applause became (…) the true “first great sound picture in the world”.[citation needed]

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Premiere and box office reception

The film opened strongly on October 7, 1929 at New York City’s Criterion Theatre, which was celebrating its 35th anniversary. Also on hand was a short film in which Charles K. Harris sang his classic song “After the Ball“.

A combination of mixed reviews, misleading advertising (the publicity focused on glamour shots of Helen Morgan, not what she looked like in the film), downbeat subject matter, and the Stock Market Crash caused the movie to taper off significantly as soon as it left the Criterion.

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Revival, restoration, and home video release

  • In 1939, Henry Hathaway nearly remade the film with Marlene DietrichApplause was rediscovered in the early 1960s, and there was talk of a stage musical with Judy Garland as Kitty and Liza Minnelli as April. (The musical Applause, based on the 1950 movie All About Eve, and having absolutely no relation to the 1929 film, opened on March 30, 1970 starring Lauren Bacall.)[5]
  • The film was restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive with the original Technicolor sequences.[6]
  • The film was released on DVD in 2003 through Kino Video (under license from current rightsholders Universal Studios). Special features included comments Rouben Mamoulian made for the 1986 50th anniversary of the Directors Guild of America, censorship notes, a 1929 interview with Mamoulian, rare photos and promotional materials, 1933 newsreel footage of Helen Morgan and her second husband, a clip of Morgan singing What Wouldn’t I Do For That Man? in the 1929 musical Glorifying the American Girl, excerpts from the Beth Brown novel, and essays on Morgan and the film, written by Christopher S. Connelly.

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See also

References

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Applause 5

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Topaze (1933)


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Topaze (1933)

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Director: Harry D’Abbadie D’Arrast

Cast: John Barrymore, Myrna Loy, Reginald Mason, Jobyna Howland, Jackie Searl, Albert Conti, Frank Reicher, Luis Alberini, Lowden Adams

78 min

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Topaze is a 1933 American Pre-Code film based on the French play of the same name by Marcel Pagnol. Another film version of Topaze, this one made in the original French was also released that year, starring Louis Jouvet in the title role. Subsequently Pagnol himself directed a 1936 adaptation.

Plot

Prof. Auguste A. Topaze (John Barrymore), an honest, naive chemist and schoolteacher at the –  Stegg Academy in Paris, loses his job when he refuses to accede to a demand by the Baroness de La Tour-La Tour to alter the grades of her bratty son, Charlemagne.

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On the same day, Friday the 13th, Topaze calls on the Baron de La Tour-La Tour’s mistress, Coco (Myrna Loy), who is looking for a tutor for her sister’s son, Alphonse, and had gotten Topaze’s name from La Tour. Upon meeting and listening to the sincere remarks of Topaze, the baron, head of the La Tour Chemical Works, decides to employ him as a scientific front for his phony curative water.

After an encounter at a cafe, where the Baron narrowly avoids a scene with his wife by calling Coco “Madame Topaze”, Coco reveals the true nature of her relation to the Baron to the naive Professor. When they arrive late back to Coco’s apartment, the Baron is jealous, but soon realizes Topaze is entirely innocent.

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Unaware that the water, “Sparkling Topaze,” which is being sold all over Paris, does not contain the medicinal formula he invented for it, Topaze is shocked when Dr. Bomb (who had turned down the “honor” of having the fradulent water named for him) shows up, demanding 100,000 francs from the Baron or he will expose the fradulent product. But the Baron blackmails him in return with information about his previous identity, and Bomb is dragged out.

After confirming for himself, in the lab and in a local restaurant, that “Sparkling Topaze” is in fact phony, a dazed Topaze returns to Coco’s apartment the next morning, where Coco fusses over him. At first, he is ready to be arrested, but the men who are shown in are instead a delegation from the Bureau of Awards and Merits, who award him the Academic Palms. All are friends and business associates of the Baron, and the scales begin to fall from Professor Topaze’s eyes.

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His naivete thoroughly destroyed, declaring “Topaze lies dead in an alley”, Topaze decides to fight back by becoming more corrupt than his mentors. He remakes his image and, with Bomb as his assistant, he opens his own office, where he makes dignitaries wait to see him. One is Dr. Stegg, who now wants Topaze to preside at the graduation at the school. Topaze succeeds in blackmailing the Baron into a partnership in his company with a complete account of his relationship with Coco, which he threatens to show to the Baroness, whose name the shares in the company are in.

At the Stegg Academy graduation, Topaze, who has also garnered the romantic attention of Coco, is to distribute the prize, which he is told is to go to his former nemesis, Charlemagne de La Tour-La Tour. He gives a little speech about his experiences in the great world, that honesty isn’t always rewarded and that villainy often receives more applause than virtue. Declaring that he will not reward wrongdoers, he shows up Charlemagne’s ignorance relative to all his classmates, then awards the prize to them instead.

He is last seen escorting Coco into the cinema.

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Cast

Topaze 2

Reception

Topaze won the 1933 National Board of Review Award for Best Film.

Mordaunt Hall said “[I]t is an agreeable and effective film, and Mr. Barrymore lends no little artistry to the rôle of the benign Professor Auguste Topaze, a part played with rare skill on the stage by Frank Morgan.”[1]

In 1935, a planned reissue was rejected by Joseph Breen as the Production Code was now being strictly enforced and the relationship between Coco and Philippe lacked compensating moral values.[2]

 

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References

  1. Jump up^ New York Times review by Mordaunt Hall
  2. Jump up^ The Dame in the Kimono by Leonard Leff and Jerold Simmons (Weidenfeld and Nicolson: 1990)

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Ten Cents a Dance (1931)


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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Ten Cents a Dance (1931)

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Directors: Lionel Barrymore, Edward Buzzell

Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Ricardo Cortez, Monroe Owsley, Sally Blane, Blanche Friderici, Phyllis Crane, Olive Tell, Victor Potel, Al Hill, Jack Byron

75 min

Ten Cents a Dance 2

Ten Cents a Dance is a 1931 American pre-Code romance-drama film directed by Lionel Barrymore and starring Barbara Stanwyck as a married taxi dancer who falls in love with one of her customers. The film was inspired by the popular song of the same name, which is sung over the title sequence.[1]

Plot

A beautiful streetwise taxi dancer named Barbara O’Neill (Barbara Stanwyck) works at a New York City dance hall called Palais de Dance. One of the dance hall’s wealthy patrons, Bradley Carlton (Ricardo Cortez), comes to the hall and gives Barbara $100.

Concerned about her unemployed friend and neighbor Eddie Miller (Monroe Owsley), Barbara asks Bradley to give him a job, and he agrees. That night they have dinner together.

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When Barbara gets home, Eddie is in the process of packing his bags; he can no longer afford to pay his rent. Barbara gives him the $100 she received from Bradley and tells him about his new job. Later, Eddie and Barbara meet in the park and realize that they are in love.

The next night at the dance hall, Barbara receives a gift of a new dress, but is disappointed when she sees that it was sent by Bradley. Eddie arrives at the dance hall and asks Barbara to marry him. Barbara accepts his proposal and soon quits her job.

Five months later, Eddie meets an old friend Ralph Sheridan and his sister Nancy, and does not reveal that he is now married. They play cards together and Eddie loses $240, something he does not tell his wife.

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He claims to be at a convention, but in fact he meets a woman named Nancy. Later, Eddie returns to find the rent and utilities past due because he has spent his pay gambling. Meanwhile, Barbara returns to work at the dance hall, where she sees Bradley occasionally.

Later, Barbara returns home and discovers Eddie packing his bags. Admitting that he stole $5,000 from Bradley’s office safe, he tells her that he lost that money playing the stock market. Barbara is able to talk him into staying, and she visits Bradley and asks him for a $5,000 loan. Bradley agrees because he is in love with her.

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The next morning, Barbara presents the money to Eddie who accepts it immediately. When Eddie returns from work, he and Barbara engage in a jealous fight. Soon after, she packs her belongings and returns to the dance hall, where she is met by Bradley who has two tickets for the Ile de France, where Barbara can obtain a divorce and marry him.

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Cast

(Cast list as per AFI‘s database[2])

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References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Hall, Mordaunt (March 7, 1931). “The $10,000 Kiss. Strange Temperaments. In a Dance Hall. Screen Notes.”The New York Times. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  2. Jump up^ “Ten Cents a Dance: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Retrieved December 15, 2014.

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Half Marriage (1929)


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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Half Marriage (1929)

Half Marriage 1

Director: William J Cohen

Cast: Olive Borden, Morgan Farley, Ken Murray, Ann Greenway, Anderson Lawler, Sally Blane, Hedda Hopper, Richard Tucker, Randolph Scott

68 min

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Half Marriage is an American melodramatic Pre-Code film directed by William J. Cohen from a script by Jane Murfin, based on the short story of the same name by George Kibbe Turner.[4] The film starred Olive Borden and Morgan Farley, while the later-famed gossip columnist, Hedda Hopper played Borden’s mother.

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Plot

Judy Page is a young society girl who falls in love with an architect who works in her father’s architectural firm, Dick Carroll. She lives in Greenwich Village in New York City, and one night after a party at her apartment, she runs off with Dick to get married.

They are intercepted by Judy’s mother at the apartment, who, not realizing they have already been married, insists that Judy return with her to their estate in the country. Dick remains behind in Judy’s apartment.

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In the country, Judy is being courted by Tom Stribbling, who has insinuated himself to be close to Judy, at the expense of all other suitors. Dick learns that Judy’s parents are going to be away, and visits Judy at her parents’ estate.

He has words with Stribbling, after which he makes plans to meet with Judy in the coming days at her apartment. When Tom learns of the meeting, he sends a telegram to Dick, forging that it is from Judy, cancelling the rendezvous.

At the appointed time of the meeting, Stribbling shows up, instead of Dick. When Judy makes it clear she wants nothing to do with him, Stribbling attempts to force himself on her. In the ensuing struggle, Stribbling trips, falling out of Judy’s window to his death.

Just as Stribbling trips, Dick has arrived at the apartment, to witness his fall. Afraid that Judy will be blamed for Stribbling’s death, Dick takes the blame, but the truth comes out during the brief police investigation, and Judy is cleared of any wrongdoing. Also during the investigation it is revealed that Judy and Dick are already married, much to the astonishment of her parents. After their initial shock, they give their blessing to the couple.

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Cast

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Songs

  • “After the Clouds Roll By” – Sidney Clare and Oscar Levant — performed by Ann Greenway[5]
  • “You’re Marvelous” – Written by Sidney Clare and Oscar Levant Performed by Gus Arnheim and His Ambassadors, with Ken Murray[5]

Notes

The film was also released in the USA in a silent version (at 5883 feet) by Radio-Keith-Orpheum Corporation [RKO] in 1929.[3]

References

  1. “Half Marriage: Full Credits”. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Half Marriage: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d “Half Marriage”. Silent Era. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  4. Jump up^ “Half Marriage: Screenplay Info”. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  5. Jump up to:a b “Half Marriage: Technical Details”. theiapolis.com. Retrieved April 2, 2014.

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Borrowed Wives (1930)


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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Borrowed Wives (1930)

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Director:  Frank R Strayer

Cast: Rex Lease, Vera Reynolds, Nita Martan, Paul Hurst, Robert Livingston, Charles Sellon, Dorothea Wolbert, Sam Hardy, Harry Todd, Tom London

62 min

Borrowed Wives 3

Borrowed Wives is a 1930 American Pre-Code film directed by Frank R. Strayer.

Plot summary

Peter Foley (Rex Lease) is a beneficiary of his grandfather, who leaves him $800,000 in his will. The condition for Peter getting the money is that he gets married. Peter is very interested in getting the money, especially since he has debts, and plans to marry Alice Blake (Vera Reynolds) as soon as she arrives from Kansas City.

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He plans to take her to his Uncle Henry’s (Charles Sellon) home before midnight to actually get the inheritance. The uncle needs to see the girl whom Peter is about to marry before he releases the money.

Alice’s airplane is delayed, though. The man to whom Peter is in debt, Parker (Sam Hardy), insists that his own girl friend, Julia (Nita Martan), pose as Peter’s wife in the meantime. Alice is informed by Joe Blair (Robert Livingston), a man who is secretly interested in marrying Alice himself, that Peter is actually married to Julia. Alice agrees to marry Joe if this is true.

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Peter and Julia are pursued by Bull (Paul Hurst), a motorcycle policeman who loves Julia. Further complications arise at Uncle Henry’s, when Lawyer Winstead (Harry Todd), who is found bound and gagged, agrees to marry them. The uncle, revealed to be posing as a paralytic, is exposed as a villain, but Peter and Alice are ultimately married before the last hour appointed in the will.[1]

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Cast

  • Borrowed Wives 9

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Sensation Hunters (1933)


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Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Sensation Hunters (1933)

Sensation Hunters 3

Director: Charles Vidor

Cast: Arline Judge, Preston Foster, Marion Burns, Kenneth MacKenna, Juanita Hansen, Creighton Hale, Cyril Chadwick, Nella Walker, Harold Minjir, Finis Barton, Zoila Conan

73 min

Sensation Hunters 6

Sensation Hunters is a 1933 American Pre-Code B-movie directed by Charles Vidor and released by Monogram Pictures.

Plot

Dale Jordon is on her way to Panama with Trixie Snell and Her Hotcha Girls to be a cabaret singer at the Bull Ring Cafe. Traveling by ship, Dale meets and falls in love with Tom Baylor, who owns copper interests near Panama. Baylor is concerned about Dale and they quarrel after he asks her to promise not to start drinking. Baylor sends Dale a bracelet with a note saying that they should part.

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After three months, Dale, who is rooming with friend and fellow singer Jerry Royal, is tired and frustrated with her job. She attracts the attention of a wealthy flier, Jimmy Crosby, who wants a more permanent relationship, but Dale is still in love with Baylor and refuses. After a fight with Trixie, Dale asks Crosby to take her away and promises to marry him. Crosby agrees and Dale spends her savings on a hotel room and clothes.

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Baylor returns to Panama and, meeting Dale in the hotel lobby, assumes that she is Crosby’s mistress. Dale, angered by his assumption, pretends it is true and Baylor leaves for San Francisco. Before they can leave for New York, Crosby makes a last test run. His wife has refused to give him a divorce to marry Dale, and, distraught, he commits suicide in a plane crash.

Trixie refuses to give Dale her old job back and also fires Jerry when she tries to intercede. The girls go to work in a seedy saloon to earn enough money for passage home. They almost have enough when Jerry is stabbed in a barfight. Dale spends all their money for Jerry’s medical expenses but still desperately short, prepares to become a prostitute; instead, Baylor arrives, summoned by a telegram from Jerry, and he and Dale reconcile.

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Cast

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Soundtrack

  • Arline Judge and chorus – “If It Ain’t One Man” (Written by Bernie Grossman and Harold Lewis)
  • Marion Burns – “There’s Something In the Air” (Written by Bernie Grossman and Harold Lewis)

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