Tag Archives: rare films

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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Plot

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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Cast

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Journey’s End (1930)


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Journey’s End (1930)

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Director: James Whale

Cast: Colin Clive, Ian Maclaren, David Manners, Billy Bevan, Anthony Bushell, Robert Adair, Charles K Gerrard, Tom Whiteley

120 min

Journey’s End is a 1930 British-American war film directed by James Whale. Based on the play of the same name by R. C. Sherriff, the film tells the story of several British army officers involved in trench warfare during the First World War. The film, like the play before it, was an enormous critical and commercial success and launched the film careers of Whale and several of its stars.

The following year there was a German film version Die andere Seite directed by Heinz Paul starring Conrad Veidt as Stanhope and Wolfgang Liebeneiner as Raleigh. The film was banned just weeks after the Nazis took power in 1933.

In 1976, the play was adapted again as Aces High with the scenario shifted to the British Royal Flying Corps. The play was adapted for film again with its original title and scenario in 2017.

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Plot

On the eve of a battle in 1918, a new officer, Second Lieutenant Raleigh (David Manners), joins Captain Stanhope’s (Colin Clive) company in the British trench lines in France. The two men knew each other at school: the younger Raleigh hero-worshipping Stanhope, while Stanhope has come to love Raleigh’s sister.

But the Stanhope whom Raleigh encounters now is a changed man who, after three years at the front, has turned to drink and seems close to a breakdown. Stanhope is terrified that Raleigh will betray Stanhope’s decline to his sister, whom Stanhope still hopes to marry after the war.

An older officer, the avuncular Lieutenant Osborne (Ian Maclaren), desperately tries to keep Stanhope from cracking. Osborne and Raleigh are selected to lead a raiding party on the German trenches where a number of the British forces are killed, including Osborne. Later, when Raleigh too is mortally wounded, Stanhope faces a desperate time as, grief-stricken and without close friends, he prepares to face another furious enemy attack.

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Cast

 

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Production

When Howard Hughes made the decision to turn Hell’s Angels into a talkie, he hired a then-unknown James Whale, who had just arrived in Hollywood following a successful turn directing the play Journey’s End in London and on Broadway, to direct the talking sequences; it was Whale’s film debut, and arguably prepared him for the later success he would have with the feature version of Journey’s EndWaterloo Bridge, and, most famously, the 1931 version of Frankenstein. Unhappy with the script, Whale brought in Joseph Moncure March to re-write it. Hughes later gave March the Luger pistol used in the film.[1]

With production delayed while Hughes tinkered with the flying scenes in Hell’s Angels, Whale managed to shoot his film adaptation of Journey’s End and have it come out a month before Hell’s Angels was released. The gap between completion of the dialogue scenes and completion of the aerial combat stunts allowed Whale to be paid, sail back to England, and begin work on the subsequent project, making Whale’s actual (albeit uncredited) cinema debut, his “second” film to be released.[citation needed]

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References

Notes
  1. Jump up^ Curtis 1998, p. 86.
Bibliography
  • Curtis, James. James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters. Boston: Faber and Faber,1998. ISBN0-571-19285-8.
  • Dolan, Edward F. Jr. Hollywood Goes to War. London: Bison Books, 1985. ISBN0-86124-229-7.
  • Hardwick, Jack and Ed Schnepf. “A Viewer’s Guide to Aviation Movies”. The Making of the Great Aviation Films, General Aviation Series, Volume 2, 1989.
  • Orriss, Bruce. When Hollywood Ruled the Skies: The Aviation Film Classics of World War II. Hawthorne, California: Aero Associates Inc., 1984. ISBN0-9613088-0-X.
  • Osborne, Robert. 65 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards London: Abbeville Press, 1994. ISBN1-55859-715-8.
  • “Production of ‘Hell’s Angels’ Cost the Lives of Three Aviators.” Syracuse Herald, December 28, 1930, p. 59.
  • Robertson, Patrick. Film Facts. New York: Billboard Books, 2001. ISBN0-8230-7943-0.

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Ten Minutes To Live (1932)


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Ten Minutes To Live (1932)

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Director: Oscar Micheaux

Cast: Lawrence Chenault, A B DeComathiere, Laura Bowman, Willor Lee Guilford, Tressie Mitchell, Mabel Garrett, Carl Mahon, Galle De Gaston

58 min

Ten Minutes to Live is a 1932 American film directed by Oscar Micheaux.

Plot summary

A movie producer offers a nightclub singer a role in his latest film, but all he really wants to do is bed her. She knows, but accepts anyway. Meanwhile, a patron at the club gets a note saying that she’ll soon get another note, and that she will be killed ten minutes after that.

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Cast

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From Hell To Heaven (1933)


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From Hell To Heaven (1933)

 

 

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Director: Erle C Kenton

Cast: Carole Lombard, Jack Oakie, Adrienne Ames, Sidney Blackmer, David Manners, Sidney Blackmer, Verna Hillie, Shirley Gray, Rita La Roy, Donald Kerr, Berton Churchill, Nydia Westman

67 min

From Hell to Heaven is a 1933 American Pre-Code drama film. It was directed by Erle C. Kenton, and features an ensemble cast including Carole LombardJack OakieAdrienne Ames and Sidney Blackmer.

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Synopsis

A group of people from several walks of life gather to watch a horse race.

Cast

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Production and reception

From Hell to Heaven was Paramount‘s effort to replicate the success of Grand Hotel (1932), which had won the Academy Award for Best Picture for MGM the year before.[1] Reviews were favorable; Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times wrote, “It is not as ambitious a picture as Grand Hotel, but it is interesting.”[2]

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References

  1. Jump up^ Swindell, Larry (1975). Screwball: The Life of Carole Lombard. New York: William Morrow & Company. p. 127. ISBN 978-0688002879.
  2. Jump up^ Ott, Frederick W. (1972). The Films of Carole Lombard. Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0806502786.

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It Pays To Advertise (1931)


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It Pays To Advertise (1931)

 

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Director: Frank Tuttle

Cast: Norman Foster, Carole Lombard, Richard Skeets Gallagher, Eugene Pallette, Lucien Littlefield, Judith Wood, Louise Brooks, Morgan Wallace, Tom Kennedy, Frank Tuttle

63 min

It Pays to Advertise is a 1931 American pre-Code comedy film, based on the play of the same name by Roi Cooper Megrue and Walter C. Hackett, starring Norman Foster and Carole Lombard, and directed by Frank Tuttle.[1]

Plot

Rodney Martin sets up a soap business to rival his father. With the help of an advertising expert and his secretary, Mary, he develops a successful marketing campaign. His father ends up buying the company from him, while Rodney and Mary fall in love.[2]

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Cast

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Reception

The film received positive reviews. Photoplay wrote that it has “plenty of speed and lots of laughs”, and praised the “perfect cast”.[2]

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References

  1. Jump up^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:..It Pays to Advertise
  2. Jump up to:a b Ott, Frederick W. (1972). The Films of Carole Lombard. Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press. pp. 80–81. ISBN 978-0806502786.

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Laughter (19300


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Laughter (1930)

 

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Director: Harry d’Abbadie d’Arrast

Cast: Nancy Carroll, Fredric March, Frank Morgan, Glenn Anders, Diane Ellis, Ollie Burgoyne, Leonard Carey, Eric Blore

85 min 

Laughter is a 1930 American pre-Code film directed by Harry d’Abbadie d’Arrast and starring Nancy CarrollFredric March and Frank Morgan.[1]

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Story.[2]

A copy has been preserved at the Library of Congress.[3]

In 1931, a German-language version called Die Männer um Lucie was released starring Liane Haid and Lien Deyers. This film is considered lost.

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Plot

Peggy is a Follies dancer who forsakes her life of carefree attachments in order to meet her goal of marrying a millionaire. Alas, her elderly husband, broker C. Morton Gibson, is a well-meaning bore, and soon Peggy begins seeking entertainment elsewhere.

A year after their marriage, three significant events occur almost simultaneously. Peggy’s former boyfriend, Paul Lockridge, a composer and pianist who is in love with her and seems to have a funny quip for every occasion, returns from Paris.

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She reunites with him as he offers her his companionship as a diversion from her stuffy life. Also, Ralph Le Saint, a young devil-may-care sculptor who is still in love with Peggy, plans his suicide in a mood of bitterness, and Gibson’s daughter, Marjorie, returns from schooling abroad. Marjorie is soon paired with Ralph, and the romance that develops between them is paralleled by the adult affair between Peggy and Paul.

Ralph and Marjorie’s escapades result in considerable trouble for Morton, while Paul implores Peggy to go to Paris with him, declaring “You are rich–dirty rich. You are dying. You need laughter to make you clean,” but she refuses. When Marjorie plans to elope with Ralph, Peggy exposes the sculptor as a fortune hunter; and, dejected, he commits suicide. As a result, Peggy confesses her unhappiness to Gibson, then joins Paul and laughter in Paris.

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References

  1. The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:Laughter
  2. Jump up^ Osborne, Robert (1994). 65 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards. London: Abbeville Press. p. 27. ISBN 1-55859-715-8.
  3. Jump up^ Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congressp.101 c.1978 by the American Film Institute

 

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Heart of New York, The (1932)


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The Heart of New York (1932)

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Director: Mervyn LeRoy

Cast: Joe Smith, Charles Dale, George Sidney, Ruth Hall, Aline MacMahon, Anna Appel, Donald Cook, Oscar Apfel

73 min

The Heart of New York is a 1932 American pre-Code comedy film starring the vaudeville team of Smith & Dale and George Sidney. It was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and based on the Broadway play Mendel, Inc. by David Freedman.

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Plot

The plumber Mendel Marantz, a passionate inventor, hasn’t much luck and a family that doesn’t understand him. He finally strikes it rich with a dishwashing machine he invented.

He finds an investor, Gassenheim, and begins to make his way up in the world. But Mendel’s troubles are not over; his family doesn’t share his dream to become the landlord of the house where they live on New York’s Lower East Side.

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They prefer to move uptown to Park Avenue and adapt to how rich people live. Mendel’s ideas for the house are not forgotten. The men he once told how he wished to transform the building take on the work of renovating it, with every detail he planned.

Neighbours and visitors come to see the house and the new, beautiful penthouse. His wife and his children are still in Park Avenue and when Gassenheim stops paying royalties to Mrs. Marantz, she and the children come home, to find that Mendel is close to losing everything.

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Cast

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Hook, Line And Sinker (1930)


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Hook, Line And Sinker (1930)

HOOK, LINE AND SINKER, Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey [Wheeler and Woolsey], 1930

Director: Edward F Cline

Cast: Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey, Dorothy Lee, Ralph Harolde, Jobyna Howland, Natalie Moorhead, Hugh Herbert, George F Marion

75 min

Hook, Line and Sinker is a 1930 American Pre-Code slapstick comedy directed by Edward F. Cline from a screenplay by Ralph Spence and Tim Whelan. It was the third starring vehicle for the comedy team of Wheeler & Woolsey (Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey), and also featured Dorothy Lee. It would be one of the largest financial successes for RKO Pictures in 1930.

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Plot summary

Two fast-talking insurance salesmen — Wilbur Boswell and J. Addington Ganzy — help penniless socialite Mary Marsh to turn a dilapidated hotel, which was willed to her, into a thriving success. They soon run into trouble, however, in the form of two sets of rival gangsters who want to break into the hotel safe; also, Mary’s mother, Rebecca Marsh, wants her to marry wealthy lawyer John Blackwell, although Mary has fallen in love with Wilbur.

And while she takes an instant dislike to Wilbur, Rebecca falls for Ganzy. Adding to the complications is the fact that Blackwell is actually in league with the gangsters. The finale involves nighttime runarounds and a shoot-out in the hotel. During the pitched battle between the rival gangs and the police, Boswell and Ganzy save the jewels, after which Ganzy marries Rebecca, and then gives away Mary at her marriage to Wilbur.

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Cast

(Cast list as per AFI database)[2]

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Reception

The film made a profit of $225,000,[4] and would be one of the top two money earners for RKO Radio Pictures in 1930.[4]

Notes

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.[5]

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References

  1. Jump up^ Hook, Line and Sinker: Technical Details”. theiapolis.com. Retrieved August 6, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  2. Jump up to:a b c d Hook, Line and Sinker: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  3. Jump up^ Richard Jewel, ‘RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951’, Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994, p. 55
  4. Jump up to:a b c Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York: Arlington House. p. 24. ISBN 0-517-546566.
  5. 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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Sin Of Nora Moran, The (1933)


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The Sin Of Nora Moran (1933) AKA Voice From The Grave

Director: Phil Goldstone

Cast: Zita Johann, John Miljan, Alan Dinehart, Paul Cavanagh, Claire Du Brey, Sarah Padden, Henry B Walthall, Otis Harlan, Aggie Herring, Cora Sue Collins, Ann Brody

65 min

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The Sin of Nora Moran is a 1933 American film directed by Phil Goldstone. The film is also known as Voice from the Grave (American reissue title).

The painting for the movie poster was by Peruvian Alberto Vargas, who was working in the United States and later became known for his images of the “Vargas Girls.” This poster is frequently named as one of the greatest movie posters ever made.[1]

Plot summary

Nora Moran, a young woman with a difficult and tragic past, is sentenced to die for a murder that she did not commit. She could easily reveal the truth and save her own life, if only it would not damage the lives, careers and reputations of those whom she loves.

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Cast

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References

 1. The 25 Best Movie Posters Ever, Premier Magazine
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Dixiana (1930)


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Dixiana (1930)

Director: Luther Reed 

Cast: Bebe Daniels, Everett Marshall, Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey, Joseph Cawthorn, Jobyna Howland, Dorothy Lee, Ralf Harolde, Bill Robinson

100 min

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Dixiana (1930) is a lavish American pre-code comedy, musical film directed by Luther Reed and produced and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures.

The final twenty minutes of the picture were photographed in Technicolor. The film stars Bebe DanielsEverett MarshallBert Wheeler, Robert WoolseyJoseph CawthornJobyna HowlandRalf HaroldeBill “Bojangles” Robinson (in his film debut) and Dorothy Lee.

The script was adapted by Luther Reed from a story by Anne Caldwell. The Technicolor sequences were considered lost for years but were re-discovered in 1988 and subsequently included in the restored DVD. At the end of 1958, the film entered the public domain (in the USA) due to RKO’s failure to renew their copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.[3]

This is the film in which composer Max Steiner received his first screen credit for orchestration. Additionally, it was Wheeler & Woolsey‘s third film; however, as they were not yet an official “team”, they were still billed separately.

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Plot

Dixiana Caldwell and her friends, Peewee and Ginger, are circus performers in the antebellum South. When Dixiana falls in love with a young Southern aristocrat, Carl Van Horn, she leaves the circus where she is employed and, with Peewee and Ginger, accompanies Carl to his family’s plantation in order to meet Van Horn’s family. At first thrilled with the news of their impending nuptials, Carl’s father and stepmother, Cornelius and Birdie Van Horn, throw a lavish party for the couple. However, Peewee and Ginger inadvertently disclose Dixiana’s background as a circus performer, creating a scandal for the elder Van Horns.

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Asked by the stepmother to leave in disgrace, Dixiana and her friends return to New Orleans, seeking to gain re-employment from her former employer at the Cayetano Circus Theatre, but they are regretfully refused by him, due to way she had departed. Desperate, she takes employment at a local gambling hall, run by Royal Montague, who also has personal designs on Dixiana. As part of his plan, he intends to financially ruin Carl and his family and use Dixiana to accomplish that purpose.

Things come to a head when Dixiana is crowned Queen of the Mardi Gras. When Montague absconds with her, Carl challenges him to a duel, but, when a disguised Dixiana shows up in his stead, she tricks Montague into revealing his nefarious plans. Carl and Dixiana are reunited.[4]

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Cast

(Cast list as per AFI database)[1]

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Reception

Reviewer Mordaunt Hall of the New York Times wrote of the singing, “…one wishes there was more of it and less of the somewhat futile attempt at a story” and noted that Bill Robinson “…gives an excellent exhibition of tap dancing, which won a genuine round of applause” and concluded, “The early glimpses of the circus theatre … lead one to expect more than one is apt to get out of this production.”[5]

The film reunited the director and most of the cast of RKO’s most successful film of the year before, Rio Rita, but lackluster performances and direction, as well as a glut of movie musicals led to the film being one of RKO’s biggest disappointments of 1930. The film lost an estimated $300,000.[2][6]

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References

  1. Jump up to:a b “Dixiana: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on August 6, 2014. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  2. Jump up to:a b c Richard Jewel, ‘RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951’, Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p57
  3. 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.
  4. Jump up^ Bradley, Edwin M. (January 1, 2004). “Chapter 7: 1929-1930”. The First Hollywood Musicals: A Critical Filmography of 171 Features, 1927 through 1932. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. pp. 192–195. Retrieved 2015-02-08.
  5. Jump up^ Mordaunt Hall (September 5, 1930). “The Screen: Dixiana (1930)”. New York Times.
  6. Jump up^ Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York: Arlington House. p. 29. ISBN 0-517-546566.

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Color end sequence in Dixiana (1930)

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Behold My Wife (1934)


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Behold My Wife (1934)

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Behold My Wife! is a 1934 drama film directed by Mitchell Leisen. It stars Sylvia Sidney and Gene Raymond.[1] Based on a novel by Sir Gilbert Parker, The Translation of a Savage,[2] the story had been filmed before in the silent era in 1920 as Behold My Wife! starring Mabel Julienne Scott and Milton Sills.

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Director: Mitchell Leisen

Cast: Sylvia Sidney, Gene Raymond, Laura Hope Crews, H B Warner, Juliette Compton, Monroe Owsley, Ann Sheridan, Charlotte Granville, Kenneth Thomson

79 min

 

Contents

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Cast

Rest of cast listed alphabetically:

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Plot

Michael Carter (Gene Raymond) a young socialite returns drunk home telling the butler, that he will marry the next day. The butler talks to his parents and the next morning his sister Diana (Juliette Compton) pays a visit to see the young lady Mary White (Ann Sheridan) and to tell he a story about the brother having left for France, he always falls in love promises to marry and than leaves. Mary White can’t believe it, but at his home nobody lets her talk to him.Diana offers her a cheque and a ticket to California.

But when she walks out, triumphant about her victory, she hears a scream and the body of Mary White has landed under the window on the hard street. When returning home she tries to make up a strategy for Michael, this one notices that they have strange behavior, unless they tell him what happened. In his despair about the loss of Mary White and his own family thinking about being disgraced by him, he takes the car and drives from one state to another drinking at every station he stops.

At one bar he meets an Apache Man, very tall and very drunk and he invites him to drink from his bottle as the barman knowing him, don’t want to give him any. A little Woman comes into the bar and tries to tear away the Indian. But Mr. Carter still wants to have him on his side drinking. The indian girl Tonita (Sylvia Sidney), tells Carter he is no good and other things, meantime the drunken indian pulls out his pistol and starts shooting at bottles and things. Carter wants to shoot as well and tries to take away the pistol from the indian. In the fight he is shot in the shoulder. Tonita operates him from the bullet, to save her indian friend, and Carter asks her to marry him, as he thinks to disgrace his family. At the station the family is awaiting him with a lot of reporters and newspaper men. All the town knows about Michael and Tonita.

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The family at first desperate is again guided by Carter’s sister Diana. She proposes her parents to give a big reception ball for the newly weds and invite every important person in town. The evening of the ball she sneaks in Tonita’s room and convinces her to wear a beautiful night dress, whereas Michael wanted to dress her in her indian clothes to make a scandal. Tonita descends the stairs, beautiful and everybody is allured by her presence. She even answers to impertinent people, and finally wins them all. Michael is furious because he feels his family triumphs always over him. She is introduced to Mr. Prentice, the secret lover of Diana. When Tonita finds Michael, he tells her about his rage against his family. She realizes that he married her only because of his fight against his family and leaves him going away with Prentice. Diana follows them in his apartment and tells Prentice she left her husband to stay with him. He doesn’t want her back, as he says she is no good. Diana finds a revolver and shoots him.

Tonita proposes to take the blame as she hasn’t any reason to live any more. And while she goes to the police station to give herself up, Michael comes to Prentice’s apartment to search for her. He finds the body of Prentice, and while the police officers arrive to see if the girl told the truth, Michael hides in a closet. Through a noise he makes, they find him and he confesses that he did it. At the police station, the inspector tells him that his wife said that she did it. When left alone, he tells her that she has to shut her mouth and let them think he did it, as she was said to claim guilt to save him. The scene ends up being the one love scene between Michael and Tonita, while the police officers are enthusiastic about their new bugging device through which they can hear even their kisses.

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Indiscreet (1931)


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Indiscreet (1931)

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Director: Leo McCarey

Cast: Gloria Swanson, Ben Lyon, Monroe Owsley, Barbara Kent, Arthur Lake, Maude Eburne, Henry Kolker, Nella Walker

92 min

Indiscreet is a 1931 American pre-Code comedy film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Gloria Swanson and Ben Lyon. The screenplay by Buddy G. DeSylvaLew Brown, and Ray Henderson, based on their story Obey That Impulse, originally was written as a full-fledged musical, but only two songs – “If You Haven’t Got Love” and “Come to Me” – remained when the film was released.[1] The film is available on DVD.

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Plot

The plot of the United Artists release centers on fashion designer Geraldine Trent (Swanson), who takes up with novelistTony Blake (Lyon) after leaving her former beau Jim Woodward because of his many indiscretions with other women.

Tony has indicated he has no interest in dating a woman with a past, so Geraldine remains mum about her affair with Jim, until her younger sister Joan arrives and announces she’s engaged—to Jim. Madcap complications ensue as Geraldine tries to keep her secret from Tony while convincing her sister to rid herself of her womanizing fiancé in favor of simple country boy Buster Collins.[2]

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Cast (in credits order)

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Principal production credits

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Critical reception

In May 1931 in The New York Times, film critic Mordaunt Hall gave Indiscreet a mixed review:

It may have its off moments so far as the few serious incidents are concerned, but when it stoops to farce, there is no denying its jollity . . . on the whole, it is a well-worked out entertainment, wherein gusts of merriment cause one to overlook its occasional flaws . . . Now and again the film sobers up, but the director and the authors have solved a way of inoculating it with further mirth, and even at the end there is a streak of fun that is almost Chaplinesque.[3]

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References

  1. Jump up^ Indiscreet at the New York Film Annex
  2. Jump up^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:Indiscreet
  3. Jump up^ Hall, Mordaunt (1931). “THE SCREEN; A Merry Miss Swanson”, film review, The New York Times, May 7, 1931; retrieved October 6, 2017.

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Danger Lights (1930)


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Danger Lights (1930)

Danger Lights 1

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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Synopsis

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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Cast

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Notes

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.

References

  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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Double Harness (1933)


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Double Harness (1933)

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Director: John Cromwell

Cast: Ann Harding, William Powell, Lucille Browne, Henry Stephenson, Lilian Bond, George Meeker, Reginald Owen, Kay Hammond, Leigh Allen, Irving Bacon, Lila Chevret, Wong Chung, Jean Malin

69 min 

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Double Harness (1933) is an American Pre-Code film starring Ann Harding and William Powell. It was based on the play of the same name by Edward Poor Montgomery. A young woman maneuvers a lazy playboy into marrying her.

This was one of several films, all produced by Merian C. Cooper at RKO, that were out of distribution for more than 50 years as a result of a legal settlement that gave Cooper complete ownership of the films. Turner Classic Movies eventually acquired the rights to the films.

Plot

When spoiled younger sister Valerie Colby (Lucile Browne) becomes engaged to be married to Dennis Moore (George Meeker), a more level-headed Joan (Ann Harding) decides to do the same, not because she is in love, but in order to make something of herself. She chooses unambitious, wealthy playboy John Fletcher (William Powell), who owns a troubled shipping line.

She eventually spends the night in his apartment. To Joan’s annoyance, over the following months, she finds herself falling in love. When John shows no interest in marrying her, Joan forces the issue. She arranges for her father, Colonel Sam Colby (Henry Stephenson), to find them in a compromising position. John graciously agrees to do the honorable thing and marry Joan. However, on their honeymoon cruise, he lets her know that he expects her to grant him a divorce after a decent interval. They settle on six months.

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Joan prods her husband into taking an interest in his family business. To his surprise, he finds that he enjoys it. As the new Postmaster General (Wallis Clark) is a good friend of her father’s, Joan invites him to dinner, hoping to land a government contract for John’s company.

Meanwhile, Valerie goes into debt due to her extravagant spending habits and borrows from her big sister over and over again. Joan gives Valerie all she can afford without touching John’s money. Finally, she pawns a ring for half the latest sum Valerie needs, but tells her that it is the last time.

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That same day, John finally realizes that he loves his wife. However, when he goes home, Valerie goes to John behind Joan’s back and cons him into giving her a check. Joan finds out and tears up the check. In her anger, Valerie blurts out how Joan trapped John into marriage.

Disillusioned, he turns to his former paramour, Mrs. Monica Page (Lilian Bond). Joan follows them to Monica’s apartment and confesses all, including the fact that she has fallen in love with him, to no avail. She then tries to salvage her dinner party. To her delight, John shows up and makes it clear that he believes and forgives her.

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Cast

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Preservation status

This is one of the “lost RKO films” owned by Merian C. Cooper and only re-released in April 2007 when Turner Classic Movies acquired the rights and showed all six films on TCM.

Cooper accused RKO of not paying him all the money contractually due for the films he produced in the 1930s. A settlement was reached in 1946, giving Cooper complete ownership of six RKO titles:

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According to an interview with a retired RKO executive, shown as a promo on TCM, Cooper withdrew the films, only allowing them to be shown on television in 1955–1956 in New York City.

TCM, which had acquired the rights to the six films after extensive legal negotiations, broadcast them on TCM in April 2007, their first full public exhibition in over 70 years. TCM, in association with the Library of Congress and the Brigham Young University Motion Picture Archive, had searched many film archives throughout the world to find copies of the films in order to create new 35mm prints.[2][3][4]

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Reception

According to RKO records, the film made $10,000 in profit.[1]

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c Richard Jewel, ‘RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951’, Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p39
  2. Jump up^ Fristoe, Roger. “Rafter Romance” (TCM article)
  3. Jump up^ Osborne, RobertTurner Classic Movies broadcast on April 4 and 11, 2007.
  4. Jump up^ Eder, Bruce “Rafter Romance” (AMG review)

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Once in A Lifetime (1932)


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Once In A Lifetime (1932)

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Director: Russell Mack

Cast: Jack Oakie, Sidney Fox, Aline MacMahon, Russell Hopton, Louise Fazenda, Zasu Pitts, Gregory Ratoff, Jobyna Howland, Onslow Stevens, Gregory Gaye, Frank LaRue, Walter Brennan, Alan Ladd

91 min

Once in a Lifetime is a 1932 American pre-Code comedy film based on Once in a Lifetime by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.[1] The film was produced and distributed by Universal Pictures, directed by Russell Mack and stars Jack OakieSidney Fox and Aline MacMahon.[2]

It is preserved at the Library of Congress.[3]

Plot

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The immense success of The Jazz Singer, the first all-talking picture, results in the cancellation of a booking for three song-and-dance vaudeville performers: Jerry Hyland, May Daniels and George Lewis. Jerry, convinced that talkies are the future, decides they will head to Hollywood to break into the fledgling movie industry before others get the same notion.

May comes up with the idea to open a school of elocution to teach actors how to speak on film. On the train there, May encounters an old friend, Helen Hobart, an influential, nationally syndicated columnist. She offers to put them in touch with Herman Glogauer, the head of a major movie studio. George is smitten with another passenger, aspiring young actress Susan Walker.

They discover the movie world to be an eccentric place. George is unexpectedly appointed by Glogauer as supervisor of production, allowing him to promote Susan’s career. Despite his incompetence (or rather because of it), his first picture turns out to be a critical and commercial smash hit, and Susan becomes a star.

Later, a very persuasive salesman gets George to buy 2000 airplanes, which causes Glogauer to fire him. However, air movies become very popular, and George has inadvertently cornered the market. The other studios are desperate to get airplanes from Glogauer at any price, and George is once again considered a genius.

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Cast

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Reception

Mordaunt Hall, film critic of The New York Times, gave the film a favorable review, calling it a “merry diversion”.[1] He praised all the main performers, as well as ZaSu Pitts as the studio’s obtuse receptionist.[1]

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c Mordaunt Hall (October 29, 1932). “Jack Oakie, Aline MacMahon and Others in a Film of the Hart-Kaufman Satire on Hollywood.”The New York Times.
  2. Jump up^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1931-40 by The American Film Institute, c.1993
  3. Jump up^ Catalog of Feature Films The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress by The American Film Institute, c.1978

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Big News (1929)


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Big News (1929)

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Director: Gregory La Cava

Cast: Robert Armstrong, Carole Lombard, Louis Payne, Wade Boteler, Charles Sellon, Sam Hardy, Tom Kennedy, Warner Richmond,  Helen Ainsworth, Herbert Clark, George Gabby Hayes, Vernon Steele, Lew Ayres, Lynton Brent

75 min

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Big News is a 1929 American pre-Code film directed by Gregory La Cava, released by Pathé Exchange, and starring Robert Armstrong and Carole Lombard, billed as “Carol Lombard”.

Cast

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Plot

Steve Banks (Armstrong) is a hard-drinking newspaper reporter. His wife Margaret (Lombard), a reporter for a rival paper, threatens to divorce him if he doesn’t quit the drinking that is compromising his career. Steve pursues a story about drug dealers even when his editor fires him. When the editor is murdered, Steve is accused of the killing.

Preservation status

The film exists in a 16mm reduction print.[1]

References

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High Voltage (1929)


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High Voltage (1929)

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Director: Howard Higgin

Cast: Carole Lombard, William Boyd, Diane Ellis, Owen Moore, Phillips Smalley, Billy Bevan

63 min

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High Voltage (1929) is an American pre-Code film produced by Pathé Exchange and directed by Howard Higgin.[1][2]The film stars William BoydDiane EllisOwen MoorePhillips SmalleyBilly Bevan, and Carole Lombard in her feature-length “talkie” debut, billed as “Carol Lombard.”

This film is in the public domain.[3]

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Plot

The film begins with a bus driving along a snow-covered roadway in the Sierra Nevada between Nevada City, California, and Reno, Nevada.[4][5] Soon the vehicle gets hopelessly stuck in deep snow forty miles from the nearest town.

Needing shelter, the driver “Gus” (Billy Bevan) and his four passengers find refuge in an isolated one-room log church. The passengers include “Billie” (Carole Lombard), who is an escaped criminal being escorted back to jail in New York by a deputy sheriff, “Dan Egan” (Owen Moore); a young woman, “The Kid,” (Diane Ellis) on her way to Chicago to meet her boyfriend; and “Hickerson,” a pompous, ill-tempered banker. In the church the group finds “Bill” (William Boyd), a self-described “hobo,” who had found shelter there earlier. Tensions quickly arise in the group over their general plight, petty jealousies, and concerns about how six people are going to share the small supply of food that Bill had brought with him.

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Tensions quickly arise in the group over their general plight, petty jealousies, and concerns about how six people are going to share the small supply of food that Bill had brought with him.

After a few days being stranded, the group sees a passing mail plane high in the sky. They try to attract the pilot’s attention, but he is too far away to see them. More days pass, and the group continues to ration their dwindling supplies and battle the subfreezing temperatures. To keep warm they begin to break up the church’s pews and other furnishings to use as firewood in the room’s potbelly stove.

The group’s desperation intensifies, as does a romance between Bill and Billie. Soon Bill confides to her that he too is a wanted criminal, a fugitive from Saint Paul, Minnesota. As conditions worsen, The Kid collapses from hunger and become delirious; and the church’s interior becomes almost bare as more furnishings–even the church’s pulpit and pump organ–are consigned to the stove. Bill and Billie finally commit to leaving to avoid being imprisoned if the group is somehow rescued. They quietly depart during the night, hoping to reach a ranger station ten miles away.

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Everyone else is sleeping except Dan, the deputy sheriff, who sees the two leaving; but he does nothing to stop them. After walking a short distance through snowdrifts, Bill and Billie hear and then see a search plane slowly circling overhead at low altitude. Realizing that the others inside the church will not hear the plane’s engine, they rush back and awaken them. The group hurriedly builds a signal fire, which the plane’s pilot sees. He parachutes a box of provisions to them with a note saying that help will be sent immediately.

The next day the group sees a rescue party heading toward the church. While awaiting their rescuers, Dan observes Bill and Billie sitting together on the floor. From his coat pocket Dan pulls out Billie’s extradition papers and a “wanted” notice that includes a photograph of Bill and information about his being a fugitive from Saint Paul. Dan walks over to the stove, now cold from no fires, and tosses both papers into it. Bill and Billie see him discard the papers, and they look at one another. Bill then gets up, retrieves the papers from the stove, gives them back to Dan, and asks him to drop him off in Saint Paul on his way back to New York with Billie.

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Cast

William Boyd as “The Boy” (Bill)

“Carol” Lombard as “The Girl” (Billie Davis)

Owen Moore as “The Detective” (Dan Egan)

Phillips Smalley as “The Banker” (J. Milton Hendrickson)

Billy Bevan as “The Driver” (Gus)

Diane Ellis as “The Kid”

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Cast notes

  • The opening credits of High Voltage give Carole Lombard’s first name as “Carol,” her preferred spelling for her name up until that time. However, the year after the release of High Voltage she performed in Paramount Pictures‘ production Fast and Loose. In her credits for that film, the studio mistakenly added an “e” to Carol. Lombard liked the spelling, so she decided to keep “Carole” permanently as her screen name.[6]
  • In the screen credits of High Voltage, Owen Moore’s character “Dan Egan” is identified as “The Detective”; but early in the film Dan shows Bill his badge, which actually identifies him as a New York deputy sheriff.[8]
  • Diane Ellis, who portrays “The Kid” in High Voltage, would die tragically the year after her performance in this film. In October 1930, she married Stephen C. Millett, a fellow American, in Paris, France. While on their extended honeymoon in India, she contracted an infection and died a week later in Chennai (then Madras) on December 15, 1930, just five days before her twenty-first birthday.[9][10]

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References

  1. Jump up^ “High Voltage”The New York Times.
  2. Jump up^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films: High Voltage
  3. Jump up^ High Voltage, “Free Public Domain Movies” listing; May 23, 2008. iMovies. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  4. Jump up^ Several full 63-minute copies of High Voltage are available for viewing on YouTube.
  5. Jump up^ In the opening minutes of the film, the exterior signage and route destinations displayed on the bus identify the storyline’s setting as the Sierra Nevada.
  6. Jump up^ Gehring, Wes D. (2003). Carole Lombard: The Hoosier Tornado. Indianapolis, Indiana Historical Society Press, 78-79. ISBN 978-0-87195-167-0.
  7. Jump up^ “William Boyd,”, Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  8. Jump up^ The full 63-minute film High Voltage is available for viewing on YouTube.
  9. Jump up^ “Diane Ellis,” IMDb. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  10. Jump up^ “Diane Ellis,” Redirectify. Retrieved March 10, 2017.

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Racketeer, The (1929)


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The Racketeer AKA Love’s Conquest (1929)

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Director: Howard Higgin

Cast: Carole Lombard, Robert Armstrong, Roland Drew, Paul Hurst, Kit Guard, Al Hill, Robby Dunn, Budd Fine, Hedda Hopper, Jeanette Loff, John Loder, Winter Hall, Robert Parrish

68 min

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The Racketeer is a 1929 American Pre-Code drama film. Directed by Howard Higgin, the film is also known as Love’s Conquest in the United Kingdom. It tells the tale of some members of the criminal class in 1920s America, and in particular one man and one woman’s attempts to help him. Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper appears in a minor role. The film is one of the early talkies, and as a result, dialogue is very sparse.

Plot

Mahlon Keene, a suave racketeer, notices Mehaffy, a policeman, arrest a shabby, drunken violinist for vagrancy and bribes him to forget the charge; after Keene and his henchman depart, Rhoda Philbrook appears in a taxi, addresses the musician as “Tony,” and has him driven away. Meanwhile, Keene arranges for a planned robbery to be delayed.

At a charity function, Keene takes an interest in Rhoda when he detects her cheating at cards; she reveals that she has left her husband for the violinist, whom she hopes to regenerate; and for Rhoda’s sake Keene arranges for Tony’s appearance at a concert. When threatened by Weber, a rival, Keene shoots him and, after the concert, bids farewell to Rhoda. The rival gang take revenge on Keene, leaving Tony and Rhoda to a new life together.

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Cast

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Behind Office Doors (1931)


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Behind Office Doors (1931)

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Director:  Melville W Brown

Cast: Mary Astor, Robert Ames, Ricardo Cortez, Catherine Dale Owen, Kitty Kelly, Edna Murphy, Charles Sellon, William Morris, George McFarlane, Mary Foy

82 min

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Behind Office Doors is a 1931 Pre-Code American drama film directed by Melville W. Brown, from a screenplay by Carey Wilson and J. Walter Ruben, based on Alan Schultz’s novel, Private Secretary. It starred Mary AstorRobert Ames and Ricardo Cortez, and revolved around the premise of “the woman behind the man”. While not well-received by critics, it did well at the box office.

Plot

Mary Linden (Mary Astor) is a receptionist at a paper milling company, who is secretly in love with one of the salesmen, James Duneen (Robert Ames).

Her extensive knowledge of the paper industry, the mill and its clients allows her to have input in company operations far outweighing her level as a receptionist. As the current president of the company, Ritter (Charles Sellon), approaches retirement, Mary uses her knowledge and skill of company politics to enable James to make some important sales coups, after which she begins a fifth-column attempt to get him named as the next president. James, for his part, is grateful to her for her help, but is completely oblivious to her romantic interest in him, preferring more of the party girl type.

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When Ritter does retire, James wins the position, and Mary is promoted to be his personal secretary. Still unaware of her feelings, he hires his latest party girl, Daisy (Edna Murphy), to work in the office, and report to Mary. Mary is upset by this turn of events, but remains faithful to James, assisting him with running the company. In fact, it is her knowledge and acumen which makes the company successful. Mary even spurns the advances of several men, including the wealthy Ronnie Wales (Ricardo Cortez), who, although married, is estranged from his wife and wishes to pursue an affair with Mary.

However, when James becomes engaged to the daughter of a wealthy banker, Ellen May Robinson (Catherine Dale Owen), that is the straw which breaks Mary’s resolve. She resigns from the company, and eventually agrees to go away with Ronnie for an assignation in Atlantic City. Between the time of her resignation, and her agreeing to go away with Ronnie, the paper mill is already suffering terribly from a lack of good

Between the time of her resignation, and her agreeing to go away with Ronnie, the paper mill is already suffering terribly from a lack of good management, since most of James’ success was due to Mary’s guidance. James tracks her down before she can give in to the libidinous advances of Ronnie, and begs Mary to return. She is reluctant, until she discovers that James has broken off the engagement with Ellen, and upon her return to the company she is not only met with a job offer, but also a marriage proposal from James.

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Cast

(Cast list as per AFI database)[3]

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Soundtrack

  • “Three Little Words”, music by Harry Ruby, lyrics by Bert Kalmar – played as dance music in the nightclub

Reception

While the public seemed to like the film,[4] critics like Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times were less kind, stating that the film “is a witless and interminably dull exhibition on which three capable players, Mary Astor, Robert Ames and Ricardo Cortez, have been sacrifi[c]ed to very little purpose.[5]

Notes

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 production.[6]

The working title for this film was the title of the novel on which it was based, Private Secretary.[3]

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References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ “Behind Office Doors, Credits”. Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Behind Office Doors: Technical Details”. theiapolis.com. Retrieved August 17, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  3. Jump up to:a b c d e f “Behind Office Doors: Detail View”. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on April 2, 2014. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  4. Jump up^ Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York: Arlington House. p. 34. ISBN 0-517-546566.
  5. Jump up^ Hall, Mordaunt (March 21, 1931). “Behind Office Doors: A Noble Stenographer”New York TimesArchived from the original on March 21, 2014. Retrieved September 2,2016.
  6. 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.

Behind Closed Doors 7

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Locked Door, The (1929)


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The Locked Door (1929)

Barbara Stanwyck 58

Barbara Stanwyck 57

Director: George Fitzmaurice

Cast: Rod LaRocque, Barbara Stanwyck, William Stage Boyd, Betty Bronson, Harry Subbs, Mack Swain, ZaSu Pitts, George Bunny

74 min

The Locked Door is a 1929 American pre-Code drama film directed by George Fitzmaurice and starring Rod LaRocqueBarbara StanwyckWilliam “Stage” Boyd, and Betty Bronson.

The film is based on the play The Sign on the Door by Channing Pollock.[1] The play was first adapted for the screen in 1921 as The Sign on the Door, starring Norma Talmadge.[2] The Locked Door was Barbara Stanwyck’s second film appearance, first starring role, and first talking picture.

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Plot

Ann Carter (Barbara Stanwyck), an inexperienced young woman, accepts an invitation to dinner from Frank Devereaux (Rod LaRocque), the son of her employer. The date turns out to be far from what she expects. It is aboard a “rum boat”, a ship that sails beyond the 12 mile limit to get around the restrictions of Prohibition. Worse, Frank turns out to be a cad.

When she tries to leave, he locks the door and tries to force himself on her, tearing her dress. Fortunately, the ship drifts back into U.S. waters and a police raid stops him from going any further. When a photographer takes a picture of the two under arrest, Frank buys it from him.

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Eighteen months later, Ann is happily married to wealthy Lawrence Reagan (William “Stage” Boyd). They are about to celebrate their first wedding anniversary when Frank resurfaces in Ann’s life, this time as the boyfriend of her naive young sister-in-law, Helen (Betty Bronson). Though both Ann and her husband tell Helen that Frank is no good (Lawrence knows that Frank is having an affair with the wife of one of his friends), it is clear to Ann that Helen does not believe them.

Ann goes to Frank’s apartment to stop him from taking advantage of Helen. She hides when Lawrence shows up unexpectedly. He warns Frank to leave town before Lawrence’s friend catches up with him and shoots him. Frank had already planned to go, but when Lawrence declares that he intends to administer a beating first, Frank draws a gun. He is shot in the ensuing struggle. Lawrence leaves without being seen, unaware that his wife has heard the whole thing.

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To protect her husband, Ann phones the switchboard operator and reenacts her earlier assault, ending with her firing two shots. When the police arrive, the district attorney (Harry Mestayer) soon pokes holes in her story. Also, the photograph is found, providing a motive for murder. However, Frank is not yet dead; in his last few minutes of life, he explains what really happened, exonerating both Ann and Lawrence.

Cast

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References

  1. Jump up^ White Munden, Kenneth, ed. (1997). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films, 1921-1930. University of California Press. p. 445. ISBN 0-520-20969-9.
  2. Jump up^ White Munden 1997 pp.715-716

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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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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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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)

Little Cafe The 1

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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