CLAUDETTE THUMBS A RIDE

Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert

It’s one of the famous scenes from IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT(1934).

Clark demonstrates his skill in thumbing a ride, but it doesn’t work.

 

Claudette tells him, l’ll stop a car and I won’t use my thumb!”

 

She is immediately successful and they get a ride from Alan Hale in his Model-T.

Clark is suitably chastened as Claudette says, “Well, I proved once and for all that the limb is mightier than the thumb.”

Game, set and match!

 

The film won all the major Oscars in 1935. Claudette was due to go on vacation to New York and decided not to attend the ceremonies at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.

In the early years of the Oscars, the award presentations were a much smaller event. The story goes that when Claudette’s name was announced, Columbia sent people to the train station, she was hustled into a limousine and rushed to the Biltmore.

 

Shirley Temple, Claudette Colbert

Still in her travelling outfit, Claudette accepted her Oscar from Shirley Temple.

It’s also said that the ‘Super  Chief’ to New York was held for her!

 

Clark Gable’s Oscar was sold to Steven Spielberg for $600,000 in 1996. The director then gave the Oscar to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The following year, Claudette’s Oscar also went to auction, with a starting price of $80,000, but there were no bids.

It was returned to Claudette’s  estate. Claudette’s closest companion for 20 years was Helen O’Hagan who was Claudette’s sole executor and main beneficiary.

(Any Oscars up for sale after 1950 have to be offered back to the Academy for a fee of $10.)

It Happened One Night was up against 11 other films for Best Film, including THE THIN MAN, CLEOPATRA, IMITATION OF LIFE, VIVA VILLA.

Clark’s competition were William Powell and Frank Morgan ( don’t know why there were only three nominees.)

Claudette won over Bette Davis, Norma Shearer and Grace Moore.

 

TIME MAGAZINE COVERS

Bob Hope. 1943

Artist BORIS CHALIAPIN (1904-1979) had his portraits  on the cover of Time Magazine an incredible 400 times from the 1940s and 1970.

Amongst the famous people on the Time cover over the years, Hollywood was well represented.

 

Greer Garson. 1943 Madame Curie.

 

Ingrid Bergman. 1943. FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS.

”Whatever Hollywood bell tolled for, she rang it.”

 

 

 

Jean Simmons. 1948. HAMLET

 

Olivia de Havilland. 1948. THE SNAKE PIT

 

Deborah Kerr. 1947

 

Gregory Peck. 1948

 

Kim Novak, Susan Strasberg, William Holden. PICNIC.

 

Katharine Hepburn. 1952. PAT AND MIKE.

 

Rosalind Russell. 1953. Broadway’s WONDERFUL TOWN.

 

Marlon Brando 1954. DESIREE

 

Marlyn Monroe 1956

 

Many of Boris Chaliapin’s paintings are held at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum – http://www.npg.si.edu

I found this beautiful study of Marlene Dietrich on the website.

Marlene Dietrich.

NEW ON BLU-RAY/DVD

Criterion is  bringing out ALL ABOUT  EVE and NOW VOYAGER on 26th November, 2019.

A lovely cover for Now Voyager, but I don’t like the All About Eve disc cover.

Special features on All About Eve include a documentary, “All About Manckiewicz “ from 1983; episodes of the Dick Cavett show in 1969 and 1980, featuring Bette Davis and Gary Merrill; a 2001 documentary,”All About Eve”; a 1951 radio adaptation.

 

Anne Baxter,  Celeste  Holm.

 

Anne Baxter, Bette Davis.

 

Bette Davis, Paul Henreid.

 

Bette Davis

 

Now Voyager  extras a 1980 interview with Paul Henreid and two radio adaptations from 1943 and 1946.

Bette Davis.

 

The Warner Archive Collection is releasing THE LETTER on blu-ray . Special features include the alternate ending sequence and two radio adaptations from 1941 and 1944.

(I haven’t seen the alternate ending of The Letter but I understand it leaves out that final scene between Leslie and her husband in which she admits she still loves the man she killed.)

 

 

I look forward to both THE LETTER and THE SET UP ( The Set Up  has a commentary by Robert Wise and Martin Scorsese.)

Both films are due out  on September 24th, 2019.

 

Audrey Totter, Robert Ryan.THE SET UP.

 

OH, WILLIAM!

 

Lillian Gish, William Powell

Yep, it’s William Powell , but not as we know him! That fringed wig doesn’t do him any favours!

In 1924 the 32 year old  William costarred with Lillian Gish in ROMOLA , a romantic drama made by MGM on location in Italy. A big budget silent directed by Henry King who had directed Lillian Gish in THE WHITE SISTER the year before.

 

William Powell, Dorothy Gish.

 

Based on the George Eliot novel, “Romola” is set in 15th century Italy, William Powell is a villain with political ambitions, who romances two young women played by the Gish sisters.

 

 

Ronald Colman

Ronald Colman is also in the film in a smallish role.

 

A  poor print of “Romola” is on You Tube. It’s difficult to judge it based on this print.

 

William Powell, Myrna LOY.

The Powell we know well, ten years after “Romola”. What a difference  a decade makes.

It’s interesting to note that William Powell and Ronald Colman (1891-1958)  went on to star in many films in the 1930s and 40s, while Lillian Gish made only 2 films in the 30s and 6 in the 40s.

Dorothy Gish (1898-1968) made  only 3 films throughout the 30s and 40s.

Both  sisters had substantial stage careers subsequently. Maybe the fact that Lillian and Dorothy each made about 60 films in the silent era starting in 1912 made  them look for new challenges.

 

Meanwhile we  can smile at that image of William.

 

 

THE WIZARD OF OZ: 80 years young

Made 80 years ago in that magical year of 1939, the making of the classic THE WIZARD OF OZ would make a fascinating mini-series.

Casting possibilities included Fannie Brice and Edna May Oliver as the witches; Ed Wynn and W.C.Fields was  considered as the Wizard.

Not just Shirley Temple, but Deanna Durban was considered for the part of Dorothy.

 

Judy Garland, Jack Haley, Ray Bolger.

 

 

Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion.

”Put  ‘em up, out ‘em up! Which one of you first!”

”I could show you my prowess,

Be a lion not a mowess….”

”Read what my medal says, ‘Courage’ – ain’t it the truth!”

 

 

 

 

 

Tagline: “the biggest screen sensation to Snow White….Amazing sights to see!………trees that talk and throw apples!”

 

 

 

Director Victor  Fleming.

Vixtor Fleming was released from his directing duties in order to work on “Gone With The Wind.”

The haunted forest has a sign: “Haunted Forest. Witch’s  castle,one mile. I’d turn back if I were you.”

Of the many songs by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg for the film, “The Jitterbug” was cut, but some film footage exists because Harold Arlen took  some home movies of the song being filmed.

It’s a great little number referenced by the wicked witch when she sends her winged monkeys to capture Dorothy, saying “I’ve sent a little insect ahead to take the fight  out of ‘em!”

 

Margaret Hamilton as the wicked witch of the west.

”I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too.”

 

Great special effects where the wicked witch , on her broomstick, sky-writes a message to Dorothy. The original message said, “Surrender Dorothy or die – WWW”

And this famous phrase wasn’t in the Baum book.

 

Billie Burke as the Glinda, the good witch of the North.

 

 

The magical world of Oz, Emerald City.

Wonderful special effects including the cyclone.

The splendid 3-strip Technicolor for the fantasy scenes was an amazing contrast to the black and white scenes in Kansas.

 

Rare picture of Buddy Ebsen (before he was replaced due to a severe reaction to makeup ), Bert Lahr and Ray Bolger.

 

Judy on the set.

 

 Which hair-do!

 

A ticket to the premiere at Grauman’s Chinese.

 

 

Loew’s Capitol, New York.

Amazingly, Judy and Mickey performed after each screening for two weeks in August 1939.

Bert Lahr and Ray Bolger joined Judy in the third week.

 

 

Bert Lahr, Judy, Ray Bolger.

Wonder if they did only Oz songs.

 

 

Yellow Brick Road in Cross Roads, Texas.

 

 

A re-issue with a picture of Judy from “Meet Me in St. Louis.”

 

Another reissue with a photo of Judy, not from the film.

 

Dorothy to the Scarecrow before she returns to Kansas,

“I think I’m going to miss you most of all.”

 

CIRO’S : NIGHTCLUB OF THE STARS

 

This incredible scroll , 42” by19”, was signed by all the stars who frequented Ciro’s Nightclub on Sunset Blvd in the 1940 and 50s.

It’s fun to spot all the signatures, over 95 stars.

The scroll was auctioned in 2014 by Heritage Auctions, but I don’t know how much it sold for.

Ciro’s opened at 8433 Sunset Blvd. in 1940 by Billy Wilkerson who also ran the Hollywood Reporter. The club ran till 1957.

There’s a book, CIRO’S :NIGHTCLUB OF THE STARS which is full of photos.

 

 

 

Apparently the space for dancing was quite small.

 

Lex Barker and Lana Turner.

 

Carole Lombard, William Powell.

 

Louis B. Mayer, Tony Martin, Judy Garland and her husband David Rose.

 

 

Ginger Rogers and Jack Benny.

 

Carole Landis  and Franchot Tone.

 

Columnist Sheila Graham with Marilyn.

 

Buddy Rogers and Mary Pickford.

 

Kirk Douglas and Rita Hayworth.

 

Ida Lupino and Orson Welles

Wonder what Orson is saying to make Ida give him that look!

 

 

Back row: Darryl Zanuck ,Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, Walter Winchell, Jane Russell.

Front row: Lucille Ball, Jimmy McHugh, Louella Parsons

 

Rosalind Russell and husband Frederick Brisson.

 

James Stewart and Myrna Dell.

 

The club photographer captures Paulette Goddard and Charlie Chaplin.

 

Kirk Douglas and Rita Hayworth.

 

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard.

 

Gregory Peck, his first wife Greta and Fred Clark.

 

Judy Garland and Humphrey Bogart.

 

John Payne, Shelley Winters, Herman Hover.

 

 

BEST WISHES TO ANN BLYTH

Birthday greetings to ANN BLYTH who is 91 today.

Ann was active in Hollywood films in the 1940s and 50s, but after THE HELEN MORGAN STORY in 1957, she worked exclusively on stage and television till her retirement in 1985.

Her lovely singing voice was heard in KISMET, ROSE MARIE, THE STUDENT PRINCE, though not in The Helen Morgan Story (in which she was dubbed by Gogi  Grant.)

At the age of 16 Ann was Oscar nominated for her fine performance as the venomous Veda In MILDRED PIERCE.

With Gregory Peck in THE WORLD IN HIS ARMS.

 

With Robert Taylor  and Stewart Granger in ALL THE BROTHERS WERE VALIANT.

 

With Joan Crawford in MILDRED PIERCE.