How to describe  THE BLUE VEIL. It seems like a mix of “Goodbye Mr. Chips” and “Good Morning,Miss Dove”. The story of  50 years in the life of Louise Mason  (JANE WYMAN) who  spends her life looking after other people’s children when she loses her husband in the First World War and then her newborn  baby .

She is courted by widower Fred Begley (Charles Laughton) and later by Gerald Kean (Richard Carlson), But she does not marry again.

By the nature of the episodic narrative, we see characters for a short period of time. JOAN BLONDELL  is a busy Broadway singer whose teenage daughter NATALIE WOOD turns more and more to Louise for motherly support.  It was a nice surprise to see Joan do a number called ‘Daddy’, possibly choreographed by Busby Berkeley. (Though I was surprised to read that Joan was Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actress.)



Charles Laughton, Jane Wyman


Audrey Totter, Jane Wyman.

AUDREY TOTTER plays a young mother during the Second World War who leaves her son in Louise’s charge when she goes back to England with her English husband DAN O’HERLIHY.


”The Blue Veil” has a large cast of well known faces . AGNES MOOREHEAD has another small part , also HARRY MORGAN, WARNER ANDERSON, LES TREMAYNE, DAN SEYMOUR, VIVIAN VANCE, CYRIL CUSACK,EVERETT SLOANE.

Just a pity the script didn’t give all these good performers much to do.


Oh to be in New York now that November’s  here – or now that the Film Forum are celebrating the centenary of London born IDA LUPINO (1918-1995) with a 25 film season from November 9th to the 22nd, 2018.

From blonde ingenue of the 30s to tough Noir dame of the 40s and 50s, to her being the only woman director in Hollywood for decades, Ida’s career is well documented in this wonderful tribute.

I hope the  Forum has full houses and that there’s a loud round of applause when Ida’s name first appears on screen.

The series includes new restorations and archival prints.


If anyone reading this is attending,I’d love to hear from you.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Film Forum in the last week of November is screening 12 Rita Hayworth films.

(The Film Forum is a non-profit cinema since 1970.}

Ida with Rita Hayworth and Warren William in THE LONE WOLF’s SPY HUNT.







With John Garfield in THE SEA WOLF


With Raoul Walsh and Humphrey Bogart. HIGH SIERRA.


With Humphrey Bogart in HIGH SIERRA



With Richard Widmark in ROAD HOUSE.


With Robert Ryan in ON DANGEROUS GROUND.


With Steve Cochran in PRIVATE HELL 36.


With Edmond O’Brien in THE BIGAMIST.



With Jack Palance in THE BIG KNIFE.


With Dana Andrews, Sally Forrest, Thomas MitchelL in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS.


Films Ida directed:

Frank Lovejoy, William Talman, Edmond  O’Brien in THE HITCH-HIKER.



Keefe Brasselle, Sally Forrest in NEVER FEAR.


Claire Trevor, Sally Forrest, Carleton G. Young . HARD FAST AND BEAUTIFUL





I’m grateful to Mike ( ) for reviewing RETURN FROM THE SEA,a film I’d never heard of. Neville Brand stars in a rare opportunity to get away from his usual gangster roles.

Set during the Korean War, Brand is a Chief Petty Officer on board a war ship. His men ( including Robert Arthur, Alvy Moore and James Best) look  up to him, but when they get leave back at base in San Diego, Brand finds himself alone in a bar he frequents run by Lloyd Corrigan .

Jan Sterling is a new face behind the bar and she and Neville get acquainted.

Despite a small budget, the film has two well done action sequences on board the U.S.S. Maddox.

Definitely worth seeing if it ever turns up on TV, especially to see Brand as we don’t normally see him, subdued, kindly, unsure of himself.  Jan Sterling, always good of course.

Released by Allied Artists, the film was made by independent Scott R. Dunlap. The advert above doesn’t reflect the nature of the film which is really about two people, Brand and Sterling , learning to trust one another.

Scott R Dunlap (1892-1970) had a long career in Hollywood, directing many silents, then, at the start of talkies,  becoming a talent agent/business manager (he managed Buck Jones) and then got into producing from 1937 to 1961 – mainly westerns.

He was in charge of production at Monogram in the 1940s. Some of the films his company made include COW COUNTRY (Edmund O’Brienj, THE HUNTED (Preston Foster) and JOHNNY ROCCO (Stephen McNally).



May Robson, Charlie Ruggles, Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant.

I love the scene in BRINGING UP BABY where Charlie Ruggles, as Major Horace Applegate ( an unlikely big game hunter) hears ‘Baby’ (the leopard) and says to his friend Elizabeth (May Robson), ”That was a loon, Elizabeth.”

When David (Cary Grant) says it is a leopard, the major says it is not and then proceeds to demonstrate to them what the  wail of a leopard  sounds like.


He is so convincing, the leopard answers! Still convinced it is a loon, he then says, ”I can’t understand why a loon would answer a leopard’s call.”


”There aren’t any leopards in Connecticut, are there?”


A Pacific Loon.

Loons are found throughout Canada and the Canadian one dollar coin has a loon on one side and the coin is called a ‘loonie’!



When I saw the delightful A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM some years ago, I was impressed by Verree Teasdale (1903-1987) as Hippolyta , Queen of the Amazons.




Verree Teasdale, Adolph Menjou. THE MILKY WAY.

The Harold Lloyd comedy, THE MILKY WAY(1936) was a welcome surprise on You Tube. Harold is very funny as a milkman who gets caught up with boxing promoter Adolphe Menjou . Verree is Menjou’s girlfriend and she gets plenty of Eve Arden style wisecracks.

( When Harold Lloyd says to her, “My, you look lovely this morning.”   Her reply is fast and short, “And  vice versa.”)

William Gargan and Lionel Stander add to the fun. The Milky Way ( directed by Leo McCarey) deserves a dvd release.

Wonder why Harold Lloyd didn’t do more talkies.


With Ian Hunter.

Verree was Ian Hunter’s  understanding wife in COME LIVE WITH ME (1941) , her last film,  and Hedy Lamarr’s best friend in I TAKE THIS WOMAN (1940).


With Warren William. SKYSCRAPER SOULS.

Verree  has the very last scene in the 1932 pre-code, “Skyscraper Souls” , and it’s spectacular!  ( The above photo is only  the second last scene!)


Another of Verree’s films I’d like to see is THE FIREBIRD (1934) which looks like a good murder mystery. Has anyone seen it? She plays Anita Louise’ s mother in it.

Verree only made about 20 films from 1929 to 1941, after a successful stage career. On her marriage to Adolphe Menjou  in 1935, she wasn’t as active in films as she might have been as, apparently, Menjou had several illnesses.

Her height and bearing  often had her cast as a society lady, or ‘other woman’, and generally second leads, but the little I’ve seen of her shows a very capable actress whose characters are a little bit Eve Arden or Connie Bennett, smart, witty, scene- stealing, likeable.

She’s also in Ginger Rogers’ FIFTH AVENUE GIRL – as Walter Connolly’s wife!  And again with her husband Adolph Menjou in the funny TURNABOUT.

Verree and her husband were active on the radio in a series called MEET THE MENJOUS.

Adolphe Menjou, Verree Teasdale.


I love the following photo of the cast of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

How many can you identify!  Verree’s there in the middle next  to Ian Hunter.



In 1944, Judy Garland began work on her first non-singing role in THE CLOCK. The film would be set in New York but made at the MGM studios at Culver City.

Veteran MGM  director Jack Conway was assigned to the film and started by doing some second unit filming in New York. When he took ill, MGM contract director Fred Zinnemann was assigned to take over.After one month of filming, production was shut down when the studio and Judy were unhappy with Zinnemann’s direction.

Vincente Minnelli, who had made the very successful “Meet Me In St.Louis” the previous year with Judy, took over the shooting. But he did tell producer Arthur Freed that he would only do it if Fred Zinnemann agreed.

The following letter From Zinnemann to Minnelli is on the excellent website

Publicly Zinnemann said “Judy acted in a professional and honourable way. I thought she was doing very well, but she didn’t.” 

He also said, “She might have felt insecure working with me…at the time it was quite a blow.”

In contrast, in this letter Zinnemann privately tells Minnelli, “Judy behaved pretty badly in the whole set up – and I have great contempt for the conduct of Arthur Freed.”

He also wishes Minnelli the very best of luck and says he has no hard feelings.

Judy and Vincente Minnelli were married one month after the film’s release in 1945.


Fred Zinnemann (1907-1997)


A clock was to figure largely in one of Zinnemann’s most iconic films, HIGH NOON. Two of his films won the Best Picture Oscar – FROM HERE TO ETERNITY and A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS.

Along with “High Noon”, my favourite Zinnemann films are THE SEVENTH CROSS, THE SEARCH and ACT OF VIOLENCE. He only made just over 20 films in a 30 year career.

Fred Zinnemann directed shorts for MGM from 1936 to 1942. His first feature was KID GLOVE KILLER in 1942. Followed by EYES IN THE NIGHT and THE SEVENTH CROSS with Spencer Tracy.   Perhaps then understandable that Judy Garland didn’t have confidence in this director who had only done three feature films . Although a good director is capable of tackling any genre.


It’s  not clear what Zinnemann did between 1945 and 1947. He was not happy at MGM and was suspended for refusing assignments.

After the wonderful “Seventh Cross” in 1944, Zinnemann’s next two MGM films in 1947 both starred Jackie ‘Butch’ Jenkins, MY BROTHER TALKS TO HORSES and LITTLE MR. JIM.

Was MGM punishing him, or didn’t they realise what a talent Zinnemann was.

Freed from MGM after making THE SEARCH in Europe, Zinnemann went on to direct “The Men”, “Member of the Wedding”, High Noon”, “From Here to Eternity”, “Oklahoma”.

I re-watched “The Clock” today and found it a pleasant if slight story of a wartime  romance between a soldier ‘Joe’(Robert Walker) on a 48 hour furlough in New York who meets an office worker, ‘Alice’ (Judy Garland) at Penn Station.  They spend the two days together and end up getting married before he has to return to duty.

The  cast is small and includes James and Lucille Gleason, (with Keenan Wynn and Moyna  MacGill in one scene only, though the two actors add a light touch which is welcome).

James Gleason, Judy Garland, Robert Walker.

Gleason is ‘Al Henry’ a milk truck driver who gives Judy and Robert a lift. ( they end up doing Gleason’s deliveries for him  after he is injured.)


Joe and Alice get to know each other while visiting the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, another great set at MGM.

Unfortunately, any outdoor shots  of the stars in New York were done with obvious back projection. If the film had been made after the war, perhaps The Clock and not “On The Town” would have been one of the first films made on location.

The  clock of the title comes from a scene where Joe asks Alice where they will meet and she says, “Under the clock at the Astor at 7  .” ( I have tried to find a photo of the Hotel Astor Beaux Arts clock, without success. The enormous hotel at Times Square was demolished in 1967.)


Moyna MacGill, Keenan Wynn.

Moyna MacGill (Angela Lansbury’s mother)  is so funny in this scene with Keenan Wynn. She doesn’t say a word while eating her meal and trying to ignore the drunk Wynn. Her facial expressions are priceless.


This is the amazing set of Penn Station, recreated on Stage 27 at MGM.


The actual Penn Station in above photo, and the set below. Amazing.

Apparently Vincente Minnelli discarded most of the footage that Zinnemann had filmed and also reworked the script. He also recast James Gleason who replaces Hume Cronyn . And Audrey Totter , as Alice’s friend, was replaced by Ruth Brady.

Although profitable and showing Judy was a very capable actress, MGM quickly got her back into musicals.

One can only wonder how the film would have turned out under Fred Zinnemann’s direction.


Judy Garland, Robert Walker, Vincente Minnelli.

Robert Walker (1918-1951) was the original choice for Judy’s costar in “Meet Me in St. Louis.” . He had married Jennifer Jones in 1939 and they divorced I945 after she became involved with David Selznick. He was subsequently married briefly to John Ford’s daughter, Barbara.

Robert had  mental health and drinking problems. He died aged 32 before completing his role in”My Son John”  in 1952. He had shown in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN that he was capable of much more than the light roles MGM had been giving him.


Robert and Judy with producer Arthur Freed.


Arthur Freed makes a cameo appearance at the start of the film. (Composer Roger Edens also did a cameo as a piano player.)









The BBC seem to like to mount a new production of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE every decade or so, but I only recently discovered that early television in the UK included an hour long adaptation in 1938. The BBC transmissions at the time had a range of only 25 miles, and probably only a few hundred people in the London area had the receivers (with 6 inch screens) to watch these early experimental TV services.

The picture below shows a typical page from the Radio Times of May,1938 and lists the cast of “Pride and Prejudice” which was screened twice.


Andrew Osborn and Curigwen Lewis as Darcy and Elizabeth. BBC 1938.

I guess we’ll never know how much of Jane Austen’s novel was condensed into an hour. It was performed twice – live. Mervyn Johns and Andre Morell were also in the cast.



Madge Evans, John Baragrey

The BBC didn’t do the Austen story in the 1940s, but in 1949 the Philco Television Playhouse in America took on Pride and Prejudice. I can definitely see John Baragray as the supercilious Mr. Darcy.


Peter Cushing as Mr Darcy? Yes, in the BBC production of 1952, with Daphne Slater as Elizabeth.


The BBC tackled the story again in 1958, with Jane Downs and Alan Badel.


Also in 1958, there was a Canadian adaptation with Patrick MacNee  as Darcy. (Part of the series, “General Motors Presents”. ) This production was shown in the U.S. on the ABC network. Kay Hawtrey played Elizabeth.


Virna Lisi, Franco Volpi

Italian TV also filmed it in 1957. “Orgoglio e Pregiudizio”.


And how about a Dutch version in 1961. The title was no longer ‘Pride and Prejudice’, it became “The Four Bennet Daughters” – no ‘Kitty’ in this version!


Ramses Shaffy as Darcy .1961

The Dutch production is, amazingly ,on You Tube. Looks like they played fast and loose with Jane Austen’s words.


Lewis Flander, Celia Bannerman in the 1967 production.


Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul in the 1980 production. This is the first BBC production I remember.


Jennifer Ehle, Colin Firth

And my favourite TV version from 1995.

If not for the film version in 2005 (with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen), no doubt  the BBC would have considered a new version.

There was talk of a new production for ITV in 2017  by the company Mammoth Screen, But I’ve heard nothing  more.


But my  favourite Pride and Prejudice will always be the 1940 film. It was the first version I saw and I think the cast was first class.

The only film version for several decades, Jane Austen scholars regarded it as a travesty of the novel, or a ‘most horrendous mangling  of a perfectly good book’.

I loved it, especially because of the cast which seemed ideal to me.


Maureen O’Sullivan, Greer Garson, Marsha Hunt, Mary Boland.

Mrs Bennet: “£5,000 and unmarried. That’s the most heartening piece of news since the battle of Waterloo!”


Greer Garson, Edmund Gwenn

Mr. Bennet: “An unhappy alternative is before you,Elizabeth. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins. And I will never see you again if you do!”


Melville Cooper as pompous ‘Mr.Collins’, Greer Garson as ‘Elizabeth’.


Bruce Lester, Laurence Olivier, Greer Garson, Karen Morley.

Mr Darcy: “Yes, she looks tolerable enough, but I am in no humour tonight to give consequence to the middle classes at play.”


Elizabeth: ”I might as well enquire why, with so evident a desire of offending and insulting me  you chose to tell me you liked me against your will, against your reason and even against your character.”



To hear Marsha Hunt’s ( as Mary ) rendition of “Flow gently, sweet Afton “ is a comic treat though  painful to the ear!


Nothing to do with Pride and Prejudice, but this photo shows Marsha Hunt and others at the hearings of the House Un-American  Activities committee in 1947.  I can spot Paul Henreid, Jane Wyatt, Evelyn Keyes, June Havoc and Humphrey Bogart in the row behind.

Is that Sam Wanamaker behind Evelyn Keyes? And who is that actor to the left of Paul Henreid? His face is familiar.

Looks  like three of the Hollywood Ten beside Sam  Wanamaker.


Judy Garland visits  Laurence Olivier on the set.


Greer Garson, Edna Mae Oliver

That’s a  huge hat!


Blithely assuming Elizabeth knows nothing about archery, Darcy gives her some pointers. She’ll show him!



Ann Rutherford,Marsha Hunt, Greer Garson, Heather Angel, Maureen O’Sullivan.

Mrs Bennet (  Mary Boland) : “Look At them! Five of them without dowries. what’s to become of them?”

Mr Bennet (Edmund Glenn): “Yes, what’s to become of the wretched creatures? Perhaps we should have drowned some of them at birth.”


The costumes were all wrong for the period, but MGM liked ‘lavish’  so just changed the era to forty years on! Regency period dresses were considered just too plain.


Happy Ending!



A pity MGM didn’t  splash out on colour.


Mary Boland, Edmund  Gwenn


Edward Ashley


Edna Mae Oliver


Melville Cooper

Great cast including Edna Mae Oliver, Bruce Lester, Edward Ashley, Maureen O’Sullivan, Melville Cooper, Mary Boland, Edmund Gwenn.

Freida Inescort, Laurence Olivier

Freida Inescort, just perfect as the imperious  Miss Bingley.

And not forgetting Heather Angel and Ann Rutherford.



How to sell Jane Austen to audiences. “FIVE LOVE HUNGRY BEAUTIES IN SEARCH OF HUSBANDS!”





The MGM film was partially based on a 1935 stage adaptation by Helen Jerome. In the Broadway production, Adrienne Allen (wife of Raymond  Massey from 1929 to 1939) played Elizabeth. Lucille Watson was Mrs. Bennet.


And in the London production in 1936, Celia Johnson played Elizabeth and Hugh Williams was Darcy.

Celia Johnson, Hugh Williams.


Did I say a short history! Well, who knew I was going to find so many versions from so many different countries. Such a pity we’ll never see all of them. Still, I guess that the BBC still has the monopoly on Jane Austen .

Oh, did I mention the various radio adaptations over the years?   Maybe I should leave that for another post!  (I did find a 1949 NBC broadcast starring Angela Lansbury as Elizabeth and Norma Varden as Mrs. Bennet. )



This beautiful 264 page coffee table book is big and luxurious and only cost me £4.50 in a second hand book shop. Published in 2009, it is quality printing  and photo reproduction.

George Perry provides a mini-biography and cast lists/synopsis for Bette ‘s films, all with excellent illustrations.

And there’s a sublime 30 page introduction by Richard Schickel. His analysis is so well written – and he introduced me to two words completely new to me!

The Man Who Played God was the PALIMPSEST for many roles to come.”    (Palimpsest means something re-used or altered.)

A Bette Davis film was usually an exercise in SOLIPSISM.”

(Solipsism is the quality of being self- centred or selfish.)


Some of Schickel’s comments:

”I like JEZEBEL more than I do Gone With The Wind, that glacially paced faux epic which remains, for me, a triumph of publicity over filmmaking.”


”Her movies in the 70s and 80s tended to be carelessly horrific…..but, so far as one can tell, she never patronised her roles. She gave her all to them, as if it were still 1940 and she was still queen of the Warner lot.”


”The omnipresent cigarette, the clipped words, the abrupt gestures…….”


There have been many books about Bette Davis and this one is a fine addition to the list. Definitely to be displayed prominently on the coffee table!

It’s currently on Amazon for $5! (and Amazon UK).

And some of the terrific photos in the book:







With William Wyler




Harry Warren

One of my favourite composers, HARRY WARREN (1893-1981) had 11 Oscar nominations and won the Best Song  category three times – “Lullaby of Broadway” (with Al Dubin); “You’ll Never Know” (with Mack Gordon); and “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe” (with Johnny Mercer).

Harry , a native New Yorker, was born Salvatore Antonio Guaragna. He taught himself to play the piano and played in silent movie theaters and at the Vitagraph Motion Picture Studios. His first hit was in 1922 – “Rose of the Rio Grande”.

Moving from New York to Hollywood , his first assignment at Warner Brothers was writing three songs for SPRING  IS HERE in 1929.

In 1932 he was assigned to FORTY SECOND STREET and he was teamed with lyricist Al Dubin.

He went on to write the music  for 18 Busby Berkeley musicals.

Al Dubin, Busby Berkeley, Harry Warren.


Warren and Dubin split up as a team in 1938 and for several years in the 1940’s , Harry wrote with Mack Gordon at Twentieth Century Fox. Their songs were in DOWN ARGENTINE WAY, THAT NIGHT IN RIO, WEEKEND IN HAVANA among many.

The song, “You’ll Never Know” ,first sung by Alice Faye, has been recorded over 50 times.


Harry Warren





Eleanor Powell, Gracie Allen. HONOLULU



An impressive congregation of songwriters at Hollywood’s famed Trocadero nightclub on the Sunset Strip in 1938. Front row from left to right: Lorenz Hart and Hoagy Carmichael. Back row from left to right: Al Dubin, Mack Gordon, Leo Robin, Harry Revel and Harry Warren.



Al Dubin, Harry Warren

Always interesting to know, what comes first, the words or the music.   Harry said ,with Al Dubin, he’d provide the melody first, but with Johnny Mercer, they’d work on a song together.

(Though Sammy Cahn’s answer to that question was, “The phone call!”


“Lullaby of Broadway”, Harry’ s first Oscar with Al Dubin, for Best Song in 1935.


“Remember My Forgotten Man”.


By the 1950s, Harry was working at Paramount.

Harry’s last Oscar nomination.


A recording showing many the great singers who loved to sing a Warren tune.


I found a fascinating 15 minute interview from 1972 with Harry Warren on You Tube. I wish it had been much longer and with more informed questions, but it was great to hear Harry playing and singing some  of his hits, including ‘You’ll Never Know” and “I Love My Baby, My Baby Loves Me”.

Some of Harry’s comments during the interview by Ian Whitcomb:

“Mr. Zanuck had a script of “Forty Second Street” and said he thought it would make a good picture. He said, ‘why don’t you fellas read it and come up with some songs for it.’

I remember I gave Al Dubin some music and he came back from San Francisco with the lyric for ‘Shuffle Off to Buffalo’ written on a menu card,! Busby Berkeley said, “I can do a lot with that number.”

Busby never turned down any of our songs.”


On his 80th birthday, Harry was elected to the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. There’s a Harry Warren Theatre in Brooklyn.

Harry kept a low profile in Hollywood and said he never socialised with Hollywood people. Perhaps that’s  why he is regarded as the least known of the most successful composers in Hollywood.

There is a few scenes in TV’s ‘The Nat King Cole Show’ on  You Tube, in which Nat talks to Harry then sings Harry’s ‘September in The Rain’ and ‘Lullaby of Broadway.’

Harry was married from 1917 to Josephine Wensler who died in 1993.

A year before Harry’s death in 1981, FORTY SECOND STREET became a hit all over again in a great Broadway production  directed by Gower  Champion. I wonder if Harry saw the production.

What a composer. Working at all the major studios throughout his life and leaving us with a wealth of the greatest film songs.

Favourites? There are so many to choose from – I love his songs for Carmen Miranda and ‘Shanghai Lil’ from “Footlight Parade “, and of course ‘Remember My Forgotten Man’, the title song from HONOLULU (sung by Gracie Allen, lyrics Gus Kahn );  ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’.

One great discovery for me when researching Harry  Warren’s career was discovering for the first time a Warren/Dubin song called “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, sung by Constance  Bennett in MOULIN ROUGE (1934). The song is done as a big production number and  can be seen on You Tube. I wish the film was on dvd.

i wondered if Constance was doing her own singing. Apparently yes.

Warren and Dubin were loaned to Darryl Zanuck for this film, only one of two loanouts Warners allowed them. The other was to Samuel Goldwyn  for ROMAN SCANDALS.



Two useful websites. and