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Saturday Night Kid, The (1929)

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The Saturday Night Kid (1929)

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Director: A Edward Sutherland

Cast: Clara Bow, Jean Arthur, James Hall, Jean Arthur, Edna May Arthur, Charles Sellon, Ethel Wales, Jean Harlow

63 min

The Saturday Night Kid is a 1929 American Pre-Code romantic comedy film about two sisters and the man they both want. It stars Clara BowJean ArthurJames Hall, and in her first credited role, Jean Harlow. The film was based on the play Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em (1926) by George Abbott and John V. A. Weaver. The movie still survives. The film was preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding by Clara Bow biographer David Stenn.

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Set in May 1929, the film focuses on two sisters – Mayme (Clara Bow) and Janie (Jean Arthur) – as they share an apartment in New York City. In daytime, they work as salesgirls at the Ginsberg’s department store, and at night they vie for the attention of their colleague Bill (James Hall) and fight over Janie’s selfish and reckless behavior, such as stealing Mayme’s clothes and hitchhiking to work with strangers.

Bill prefers Mayme over Janie and constantly shows his affection for her. This upsets Janie, who schemes to break up the couple.

One day at work, Bill is promoted to floorwalker, while Janie is made treasurer of the benefit pageant. Mayme, however, is not granted a promotion, but gets heavily criticized for constantly being late at work by the head of personnel, Miss Streeter (Edna May Oliver).

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Danger Lights (1930)

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Danger Lights (1930)

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Director: George B Seitz

Cast: Louis Wolheim, Robert Armstrong, Jean Arthur, Hugh Herbert, Frank Sheridan, Robert Edeson, Alan Roscoe, Willam P Barley

74 min

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Danger Lights is a 1930 American Pre-Code drama film, directed by George B. Seitz, from a screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman. It stars Louis WolheimRobert Armstrong, and Jean Arthur.

The plot concerns railroading on the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, and the movie was largely filmed along that railroad’s lines in Montana. The railway yard in Miles City, Montana was a primary setting, while rural scenes were shot along the railway line through Sixteen Mile Canyon, Montana. Additional footage was shot in Chicago, Illinois. The film was the first ever shot in the new Spoor-Berggren Natural Vision Process.

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Louis Wolheim plays the boss of the railroad yard in Miles City, Montana. The film opens with a landslide across the tracks in Montana, and a repair crew is dispatched to clear the tracks. Several hobos are lounging nearby and are put to work helping the repair crew. One of the hobos, played by Robert Armstrong, is discovered to have been a former railroad engineer who lost his job due to insubordination. He is given a new job for the railroad by the yard boss, but quickly falls in love with the boss’s fiancée, played by Jean Arthur.

Jealousy grows between the two over the affections of Arthur with both of them attempting to win her in marriage. Things come to a head during a fight in the railroad yard between the two, during which Wolheim is hit by a train and injured. To save his life, Armstrong must transport him in record time to Chicago for surgery.

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Danger Lights was filmed during a period when some movie studios were experimenting with various widescreen film formats. As part of this trend, two versions of the film were created. One used standard 35mm film and Academy ratio, the other used an experimental 65mm widescreen format at a 2:1 aspect ratio. This latter process was called “Natural Vision” and was invented by film pioneers George Kirke Spoor and P. John Berggren. The Natural Vision print of the film was reportedly screened at only two theaters (the only two with the equipment necessary to show the film), the State Lake Theater in Chicago and the Mayfair Theater in New York, and no copies of it are known to exist today. Danger Lights would be the only film created using this process, and the entire effort to move to wide screen would be shelved for several decades due to the increased costs of both production and presentation.[1][2][3]

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Historically significant footage

Danger Lights features rare footage of a tug of war between two steam locomotives, actual documentary footage of the activities in the Miles City yard, and what is believed to be the only motion picture footage of a dynamometer car from the steam railroad era in the USA. Similar footage may have existed in MGM’s Thunder(1929), with Lon Chaney but that film is now lost.

The portion of the film that was filmed in Montana was part of the electrified Rocky Mountain Division of the railroad, with the 3000 volt direct current trolley and the 100,000 volt alternating current “highline” plainly visible in several shots. Despite the fact that the railroad often touted the power and reliability of its straight electric locomotives, none are seen in the film.

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In 1958, 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.[4]

Danger Lights was edited down to 55 minutes for television broadcast; this version is freely available for download. In 2009 Alpha Video released the original 74 minute version[1] on DVD.


  1. Jump up to:a b c d e “Danger Lights: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  2. Jump up^ Coles, David (March 2001). “Magnified Grandeur”. The 70mm Newsletter. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  3. Jump up^ Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York: Arlington House. p. 30. ISBN 0-517-546566.
  4. 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. doi:10.2979/FIL.2007.19.2.125ISSN 0892-2160JSTOR 25165419OCLC 15122313. See Note #60, pg. 143

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Canary Murder Case, The (1929)

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The Canary Murder Case (1929)

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Director: Malcolm St Claire, Frank Tuttle (scenes for talkie version)

Cast: William Powell, Jean Arthur, James Hall, Louise Brooks, Charles Lane, Lawrence Grant, Gustav Von Seyfertitz, E H Calvert, Eugene Pallette, Ned Sparks, Margaret Livingston

82 min

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The Canary Murder Case is a 1929 American Pre-Code crimemystery film made by Paramount Pictures, directed by Malcolm St. Clair and Frank Tuttle.

The screenplay was written by Willard Huntington Wright (as S.S. Van Dine), Albert S. Le Vino, and Florence Ryerson, based on novel The Canary Murder Case by S.S. Van Dine.

It was the first film in the series of Philo Vance films adapted from the novels, starring William Powell as Philo Vance, Jean Arthur, James Hall and Louise Brooks as “the Canary”.

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Charles Spotswoode’s son Jimmy became involved with “the Canary”, a conniving star showgirl. Fortunately, Jimmy has regained his senses and reconciled with Alyce LaFosse. However, the Canary is determined to force Jimmy to marry her so she can join the social elite, threatening to reveal that Jimmy was embezzling from his father.

She turns down the elder Spotswoode’s offer of money to leave Jimmy alone. She also telephones two men she has been blackmailing, Cleaver and Mannix, and demands one final generous gift from each of them by the next day.

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She also informs “creepy” admirer Dr. Lindquist. Her ex-husband Tony Sheel eavesdrops and wants half, but she refuses to give him anything, even after he hits her. Cleaver, Mannix and Lindquist are all shown lurking about her apartment building late that night.

Spotswoode visits her at her apartment around midnight, but cannot get her to change her mind. After he reaches the lobby of her building, he and another person hear screams from her place. They knock on the door, but she assures them that she is fine.

The next day, she is found strangled to death. The coroner places the time of death around midnight. District Attorney Markham investigates, aided by Philo Vance (a close friend of Charles Spotswoode) and Police Sergeant Heath. After all the prime suspects are questioned, Vance asks Markham to keep them waiting for a few hours.

William Powell and Louise Brooks

Markham agrees, as Vance has helped solve another case. Vance subtly maneuvers Cleaver, Mannix, Lindquist and the two Spotswoodes into playing poker to pass the time so he can observe their personality traits.

Only one shows the daring, imagination and discipline required for the crime; that man bluffs Vance, betting everything with just a pair of deuces. The suspects are then released.

Only one shows the daring, imagination and discipline required for the crime; that man bluffs Vance, betting everything with just a pair of deuces. The suspects are then released.

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Sheel, who was hiding the closet and witnessed the murder, sends the killer several blackmail letters. For his trouble, he too is strangled. A pen found at the scene has Jimmy’s name on it, so Heath arrests him for the murder. Jimmy then confesses to both murders, but Vance knows better.

He telephones Charles Spotswoode with the news and suggests they meet in an hour. Spotswoode speeds to the city from his country estate to confess, but his chauffeur makes a fatal mistake by trying to beat a train to a crossing, and Spotswoode is killed.

Now Vance has to show how he murdered the Canary in order to free Jimmy. Fortunately, he is able to figure out that the Canary was dead before Spotswoode left her apartment that night. Spotswoode had made a recording (Vance speculates it was Spotswoode himself pretending to be the woman) to fool a stuttering witness into believing she was alive and well. The record is still in the apartment, so Jimmy is released.

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This film was initially made as a silent picture, then reworked as a sound film. Louise Brooks’ refusal to cooperate in the sound version had a major impact on her career.

After filming the silent version, Brooks left for Germany to make two films for director G. W. Pabst. Her option with Paramount Pictures was up, and since the studio would not give her a raise, she saw no reason to remain in Hollywood.

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Months later, Paramount decided to re-shoot some scenes of Canary with recorded dialogue. The studio cabled Brooks in Berlin, demanding that she return to record her lines. She refused, taking the position that she no longer had an obligation to Paramount. Under the purported threat that she would never work in Hollywood again after such open defiance, she bluntly replied, “Who wants to work in Hollywood?”

Paramount spent considerable money to hire actress Margaret Livingston (the “Woman from the City” in F.W. Murnau‘s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans) to dub the dialogue for Brooks where possible, as well as to re-shoot some scenes, with Livingston seen only in profile or from behind. The golden age of German cinema soon ended with the rise of Nazism, and Brooks found herself back in Hollywood. She was never able to get good roles there again and soon retired. Though her time as a star was over, her battle with studio moguls helped add to her eventual legend.

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


  1. Jump up^ “AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes & Villains Nominees” (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-05.

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Paramount on Parade (1930)

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Paramount on Parade (1930)

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Directors: Dorothy Arzner, Otto Brower, Edmund Goulding, Victor Heerman, Edwin H Knopf, Rowland V Lee, Ernst Lubitsch, Lothar Mendes, Victor Schertzinger, A Edward Sutherland, Frank Tuttle

Cast: Maurice Chevalier, Richard Arlen, Jean Arthur, William Austin, George Bancroft, Clara Bow, Evelyn Brent, Mary Brian, Clive Brook, Nancy Carroll, Kay Francis, Richard Skeets Gallagher, Gary Cooper, Ruth Chatterton, Mitzi Green, Fredric March and many others

102 min

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Paramount on Parade is a 1930 all-star American Pre-Code revue released by Paramount Pictures, directed by several directors including Edmund Goulding, Dorothy Arzner, Ernst Lubitsch, Rowland V. Lee, A. Edward Sutherland, Lothar Mendes, Otto Brower, Edwin H. Knopf, Frank Tuttle, and Victor Schertzinger—all supervised by the production supervisor, singer, actress, and songwriter Elsie Janis.

Featured stars included Jean Arthur, Richard Arlen, Clara Bow, Evelyn Brent, Buddy Rogers, Jack Oakie, Helen Kane, Maurice Chevalier, Nancy Carroll, George Bancroft, Kay Francis, Richard “Skeets” Gallagher, Gary Cooper, Fay Wray, Lillian Roth and other Paramount stars. The screenplay was written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, produced by Adolph Zukor and Jesse L. Lasky, with cinematography by Victor Milner and Harry Fischbeck.

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Paramount on Parade, released on April 22, 1930, was Paramount’s answer to all-star revues like Hollywood Revue of 1929 from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, The Show of Shows from Warner Brothers, and King of Jazz from Universal Studios.[1][2] The film had 20 individual segments—several of them in two-color Technicolor — directed by 11 directors, and almost every star on the Paramount roster except Claudette Colbert and the Marx Brothers. (Colbert became a star in May 1930 with the release of The Big Pond, also with Chevalier and also released in a French-language version.)

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International versions

Paramount also produced a French-language version Paramount en Parade directed by Charles de Rochefort and a Romanian-language version Parada Paramount (Chevalier and Martini also starred in the French version, and Romanian actress Pola Illéry starred in the Romanian version. There was also a Dutch version, Paramount op Parade with Theo Frenkel. The Scandinavian version starred Ernst Rolf and his wife, Tutta Rolf.

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Preservation status

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Paramount on Parade featured in a 1930 advertisement for Technicolor

The film, including some of its Technicolor sequences, has been restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. The original title sequence and chorus girl number immediately following it, however, are still lost. The sound for two of the Technicolor sequences (“Gallows Song” and “Dream Girl”) are also missing.

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According to Robert Gitt, film archivist now retired from UCLA, in a lecture at Pacific Film Archive at UC Berkeley, the film was also released with sound-on-disc for those theaters not equipped for sound-on-film. The archive had a report of the soundtrack for this film still existing on disc until the 1994 Northridge earthquake destroyed a set of discs that a collector was planning to donate.

In August 2010, CapitolFest in Rome, New York showed a 102-minute version restored by UCLA Film and Television Archive. Some sequences are still missing the sound, for some sequences only the soundtrack exists.

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List of sequences

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Foreign-language versions

A large number of foreign-language versions were shot including:

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  • Parada Paramount (Romanian) with Pola Illéry; directed by Rochefort
  • Paramount op Parade (Dutch) with Theo Frenkel Jr., Mien Duymaer van Twist, and Louis Davids; directed by Job Weening

At Paramount’s Hollywood studio, Ernst Rolf and his Norwegian wife, Tutta Rolf, filmed introductions and sequences for the Scandinavian version. Japanese comedian Suisei Matsui introduced the film in Japan. Mira Zimińska and Mariusz Maszynski appeared in the Polish version, and Dina Gralla and Eugen Rex appeared in the German version. Paramount filmed most of the above versions, along with Czech, Hungarian, Serbian, and Italian versions, at their Joinville Studios in Paris.

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See also


  1. Jump up^ “Paramount on Parade”. IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  2. Jump up^ “Paramount on Parade (1930) – Overview”. TCM.com. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Lynn Kear; James King (2009-07-31). Evelyn Brent: The Life and Films of Hollywood’s Lady Crook. Books.google.com.pe. p. 188. Retrieved 2016-02-06.

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Street Of Chance (1930)

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Street Of Chance (1930)

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Director: John Cromwell

Cast: Kay Francis, William Powell, Jean Arthur, Regis Toomey, Stanley Fields, Brooks Benedict, Maurice Black, Irving Bacon, John Risso, Joan Standing

75 min

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Street of Chance is a 1930 American pre-Code film directed by John Cromwell and starring William Powell, Jean Arthur, Kay Francis and Regis Toomey. Howard Estabrook was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Writing, Achievement.

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John Marsden, a famed and powerful New York gambler who refuses to throw a game, is devoted to his wife, Alma, and his impressionistic younger brother, “Babe,” to whom he sends a wedding gift of $10,000, which Babe may keep on the condition that he does not indulge in gambling. Alma, dismayed by John’s ruthless tactics and his obsession with gambling, threatens to leave him unless he takes his winnings and leaves the city with her. He agrees.

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However, that evening Babe, who has become a cardsharp, comes to town with his new wife, Judith. He goes to see his brother, whom he believes is a stockbroker, unaware of John’s true profession and the reality that he is trying to quit and rebuild his marriage. Babe insists on playing and tries to win a fortune with his savings in an organized gambling session. He wins remarkably. The professional gambler sees that his card-playing sibling is preparing to make the same mistakes he did.

John therefore decides to risk his life and gamble one more time, and to break the gambler’s code and cheat by throwing the game, in order to disillusion Babe, thereby teaching him an unforgettable lesson. However, John is caught cheating by Dorgan and becomes a marked man. John is later mortally wounded, in spite of his wife’s attempts to save him.

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