Don’t Call Me Audrey

Scrolling through the website, virtual-history.com, I found some photos new to me. This site is a little mysterious in that I couldn’t find who is running it. Possibly from Germany.
It has gathered together thousands of photos, from companies who issued film star pictures, mainly from the 1920s and 30s, and from European sources.  Many European stars are included , most of whom are unknown to me, but you can see names like Oscar Homolka, Peter Lorre, Conrad  Veidt, Marlene Dietrich, Garbo before they came to Hollywood.
And many of the postcard/cigarette card series in Europe included Hollywood stars amongst their own stars.

The site also has some issues of film magazines, mainly European .And an A to Z of films and stars.

 

Film World magazine.

 

Here is a selection of the photos:

A little careless!

 

It’s Gary, not Cary. He’s that other guy – Grant I think. He never did westerns – thank goodness.

 

S.Z. Sakall , when he was a mite slimmer.

 

Lovely picture, shame about the spelling. It’s Miss Dunne. (Though Irene’s birth name was indeed Dunn, but she added the ‘E’ in 1928 and her name was spelt Dunne from her first film in 1930.)

 

 

Never!  What film?

 

Oh, Myrna, I’m glad you  found The Thin Man.

 

Bow tie’s a bit crooked but still looking cool.

 

Cheer up, it’s only a movie.

 

Great  costume. Film?

 

Lovely.

 

Maybe Reckless?

 

That hat adds to his height.

 

 

 

Couldnt resist another lovely portrait of Jean.

 

 

HOLLYWOOD HOME MOVIES:TREASURES FROM THE ACADEMY

Wow! Big thanks to my friend Alistair for linking me to this terrific documentary from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – which is available for all to see on You Tube.

It is fortunate than many Hollywood players have donated their archives to the Oscar Academy   and other organisations which will preserve them as part of Hollywood history.

In this case, the Academy has put  together an hour of home movies,some in black and white  and some in glorious color.

I’ve taken some screen grabs but am sure you will go immediately to You Tube if you haven’t already done so.

I hope there will be more film compilations like this in the future from the Academy.

From The Florenz Ziegfeld and Billie Burke Collection:

Billie Burke

Lovely to see the real Billie Burke, so different from her character roles in the 30s and 40s.

Hollywood stars liked to get out on their boats and sail to Catalina Island. Billie can be seen here with her friend ,director Dorothy Arzner.

Billie Burke, Dorothy Arzner

 

 

From The Gilbert Roland Collection:

Shot in early Kodachrome by Gilbert Roland, again on board ship at Catalina Island. Gilbert and Constance Bennett were a couple at the time and later married.

George Cukor

Could these two be brothers!

 

David. O. Selznick

 

 

Constance Bennett

Time for a bit of knitting.

 

Gilbert Roland

 

 

From The Dolores Del Rio Cedric Gibbons Collection:

Color footage taken at a party thrown by Dolores Del Rio and Cedric Gibbons at their home in Santa Monica.

Dolores Del Rio

Such a beauty. Dolores and Cedric Gibbons  were married from 1930 to 1941.

John Gilbert

The footage shows John Gilbert looking fit and healthy, playing tennis. Sadly, six months later he passes away.

 

Gary Cooper

Love that wool jacket.

 

Cedric Gibbons

Cedric Gibbons, MGM art director from 1924 to 1956.

 

Marlene Dietrich

 

From The James Wong Howe Collection:

Famed cinematographer James Wong Howe of course had his camera along on a road trip to San Francisco.

His companions included his partner writer Sanora Babb, author James Hilton and Charles Korvin.

 As inter-racial marriage was illegal in America, Wowe and his partner were only able to get married in 1948.

Howe worked in Hollywood from the silent days till the 1970s. He won Oscars for The Rose Tattoo and HUD.

James Wong Howe

 

James Hilton, Charles Korvin

 

James Wong Howe, Sanora Babb

( this photo is not from the documentary).

 

From The Henry Koster Collection:

Home movies from the set of Come to the Stable which Henry Koster directed. With an commentary by Koster’s son, Bob Koster. A mixture of color and B&W film.

Bob Koster told the moving story of how his father was a director in Germany but after the rise of Hitler, he could no longer work there as he was Jewish. He was a friend of producer Joe Pasternak who was working at Universal and eventually he travelled to America with Pasternak in 1936 and started work at Universal, his first film being Three Smart Girls.

Celeste Holm

 

Loretta Young and her daughter.

 

 

Hugh Marlowe and his wife, K.T. Stevens

 

Thomas Gomez, Marion Martin

 

Henry Koster

 

Louis Jean Heydt

 

From The Gypsy Rose Lee Collection:

In 1965, Gypsy Rose Lee took her camera along when she appeared in The Trouble with Angels. And we are provided with some rare glimpses of Ida Lupino who directed the film. And a commentary by Hayley Mills.

Hayley told us that Ida’s director chair had “Mother of us all” written on it and Hayley said: “Ida used to insist that we all call her mother!”

Hayley also commented: “Ida was very clear, very decisive about what she wanted……I trusted her though it seemed odd to have a woman as director –  it had always been a man – I began to appreciate it.”

  • Binnie Barnes

     

  • Hayley Mills and June Harding

     

  • Gypsy Rose Lee (Louise Hovick)

    Some rare shots of Ida Lupino directing:

Ida doesn’t look too happy to be filmed.

 

 

THIS ‘N THAT 16

…………..I have had Jerry Vermilye’s book on Jean Arthur since it was published in 2012. Its 150 pages covers all of Jean’s films and includes an 80 page biographical profile.

Re-reading it recently, I was surprised to read that on Talk of The Town , Jean received half the salary of her costars, Cary Grant and Ronald Colman. (The two male stars each received $100,000 and Jean was paid $50,000).

Considering all three stars received the same star billing and their roles were certainly equally in size, one wonders how Jean was prepared to accept this big discrepancy in salaries.

 

  • ………..Out on 17th. November,2020, is the Mill Creek box set of 12 Rita Hayworth films on Blu-ray. “The Rita Hayworth Ultimate Collection has the following titles:

     MUSIC IN MY HEART –  YOU’LL NEVER GET RICH – TONIGHT AND EVERY NIGHT – DOWN TO EARTH – PAL JOEY – THEY CAME TO CORDURA – FIRE DOWN BELOW – LADY  FROM SHANGHAI – THE LOVES OF CARMEN – SALOME – MISS SADIE THOMPSON – AFFAIR IN TRINIDAD.

Looks good value at £32 for 12 of Rita’s films. Gilda not included.

 

……….Odd poster for UNDERCURRENT. A link to the title , but Kate and Bob are really up to their necks !

Don’t think it did well at the box office.

 

 

………… It’s SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, but I don’t  recall Debbie Reynolds in that outfit!

And the title has become YOU SHOULD BE MY LUCKY STAR in Germany.

 

 

A FOREIGN AFFAIR (1948)

Director and co-writer of A FOREIGN AFFAIR, Billy Wilder  did not approve of the advertising  that called the film, “A Funny Affair”.

The Paramount Press Book called it, “The Year’s Top Laugh Hit!’

Wilder had Marlene Dietrich (playing German cabaret singer Erika von Schlutow) say to  John Lund (as U.S. army captain,John Pringle):

“What do you think it was like to be a woman in this town when the Russians swept in?”

In a later scene, Marlene says to Jean Arthur, 

“Let’s go to my apartment. It’s only a few ruins away.”

So, the film reflects the cynicism/sentimentality of the writers, Wilder and Charles Brackett who are writing this script only a couple of years after the end of the war.

 

Marlene Dietrich.

Billy Wilder had brought a small crew to Berlin in 1947 and filmed the bombed- out Berlin, prior to filming of all the indoor scenes at Paramount studio.
Back screen projection showed the ruins of the Reichstag and the black market near the Brandenburg Gate.

‘Black Market’ was one of the songs written by Frederick  Hollander  for Marlene. He also wrote two other memorable songs , ‘In the Ruins of Berlin’ and ‘Illusions’.  All three songs convey so much of life in post-war Berlin and of course Marlene delivers them beautifully.

 

Frederick Hollander, Marlene Dietrich.

The composer was filmed accompanying Marlene at the Lorelei Cafe where she works.

 

”Want to buy some illusions, Slightly used, Second hand…..”

 

“A Foreign Affair”  has Jean Arthur as a prudish Iowa congresswoman, Phoebe Frost, who is a member of a fact finding committee who have come to Berlin to investigate the morale and morals of the American occupation forces.

John Lund is an army captain, John Pringle, who is enjoying an clandestine affair with cafe singer Erika von Schlutow. Unknown to him, Erica is being  pursued by an ex-lover , a high ranking Nazi whom  the Americans would like to capture.

Pringle romances Phoebe to try and keep her in the dark and she falls for him.

Marlene Dietrich, John  Lund, Jean Arthur.

 

 

When the congresswoman loosens her inhibitions, she sings  a rollicking ‘Iowa Corn Song’, a funny moment for Jean Arthur. And of course a complete contrast to Marlene.

 

But then Phoebe has her illusions about her romance with Captain Pringle shattered when Erika has her listen in to a conversation with the Captain who makes fun of Phoebe.

 

 

Jean Arthur in the background.

Later, Phoebe says to Pringle:

“You are not a funny man, Captain Pringle. But you  are quite a dancer. What a waltz we had tonight.”

Of course there is a happy ending for Phoebe if not for Erika ( though we know Erika is a survivor.)

 

On the set.

I think this was John  Lund’s chance at stardom and in my opinion he did very well. Unfortunately it did not lead to bigger roles. A Foreign  Affair was only his fourth film. My other two favourites of his are No Man of Her Own (with Barbara Stanwyck), and Steel Town ( with Ann Sheridan.) It seems a shame he ended up as the dull George Kittredge in High Society.

His last film was in 1962 when he was 51. I wonder what he did after that. He was born in 1911 and died in 1992.

 

 

The film’s cynicism about the Allies’ black market operations was not well received in the American congress and it suffered at the box office. The film was not shown in Germany till 1977.

One review said: “The ruins of Berlin is a bit stark and tragic for such corn-on-the-cob nonsense as the romance between Arthur and Lund…..”

Although critic Bosley Crowther liked it, he mentioned ‘the wretched and terrifying problem of replacing the ravages of war.’

 

Would love to see this picture in color.

 

This film was Jean Arthur’s first film in four years and turned out to be her second last film. Both she and Marlene Dietrich were in their late 40’s but looked younger.
Jean was well known for her shyness and aversion to publicity.

She ,apparently, was also jealous of Marlene who was often seen on set joking with Billy Wilder and often speaking  in German.

Wilder later said that Jean and her husband Frank Ross confronted him at his home and accused him of favouring Marlene.  He denied it.

The film is not one of the many of that time  with  a solid and varied supporting cast. Only the ever reliable Millard Mitchell has a substantial role as John Lund’s boss .

 

Billy Wilder.

A film I can watch again and again.

 

 

 

TAGLINES!

 


THE SOUTH’S GREATEST ROMANCE!

MEN FOUGHT  FOR HER SMILE, KILLED FOR HER KISS!

JEZEBEL

Until GONE WITH THE WIND!

 


TERRIFIC! TENSE! TAUT!

Can’t argue. All true.

 

At this very moment, the audience is screaming at the suspense in CRY WOLF!

Hitch would have liked this tag line but would have added , don’t tell anyone the ending.

 


THE ARMY’S GOT CASABLANCA AND SO HAS WARNER BROS.

 

 

HER MONSTROUS SECRET WRECKED 3 MEN’S LIVES!

Hollywood studio publicists knew how to grab your attention.

 

THE MONSTER DEMANDS A MATE!

BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN

Perfect and  famous for Elsa’s hair style.

 

A POWERFUL STORY OF 9 STRANGE PEOPLE!

image

Plain funny! Two or three strange people I can take, but nine!

 

 

THE WORLD’S GREATEST DANCERS IN THE WORLD’S GREATEST MUSICAL SHOW!

image Hyperbole but I like it.

 

MORE HOWLS THAN YOU CAN  SHAKE A SHIVER AT!

image

I’m shakin’ and shivering.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE

Gorgeous portrait of Tyrone Power and Jean Peters in CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE… by New York  artist, Gargink.

i haven’t been able to find out anything about this artist.

The film came out in 1947 and was the story of the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in Mexico. It was Jean Peters’s first film and the cast included Cesar Romero as Cortez who led the invasion.
it was a big budget, Technicolour feature from Twentieth Century Fox – “THREE YEARS IN THE MAKING!”  according to the advertising.

I can’t comment on historical accuracy.

Tyrone Power

 

COLUMBIA NOIR VOLUME 2

A great collection of six Columbia Noirs is coming out on Blu-ray in February,2021 from Powerhouse Films (www.powerhousefilms.co.uk)

All are first timers  on Blu-ray in the U.K. and the box set can be pre-ordered now at £49.99. (Region B for playback).

Three of them – THE MOB, TIGHT SPOT, MURDER BY CONTRACT – are actually Blu-ray world premieres.
This is a limited edition box set of 6,000 numbered units.

Extras include audio commentaries, interviews with Peter Ford, Ernest Borgnine, 120 page booklet.

The only one I haven’t seen is Murder By Contract  which gets great IMDB reviews.

Looks like a must-buy for me! A post-Xmas treat.

 

 

 

 

(I’ve just heard Eddie Muller comment on TIGHT SPOT casting – “Ginger Rogers is so wrong in that movie – Gloria Grahame would have been so great!” )

By the way, it’s great to see The  Czar of Noir ( Mr. Muller) on YouTube doing monthly Q&A’s with fans at ‘NoirCitySF’

 

 

 

 

 

IN A LONELY PLACE

Humphrey Bogart  as ‘Dixon Steele” doesn’t get the last word in In A Lonely Place.  The memorable lines  go to Gloria Grahame.

This is the story of ‘Dixon Steele’ (Bogart) who is a Hollywood writer with anger management issues. Having found love with actress ‘Laurel Gray’ ( Gloria Grahame) , you know it isn’t going to last when he is the prime suspect in a murder case.

Slowly but surely Laurel begins to fear Dix and to think he may have committed the murder of the hat check girl at the club Dix frequents.

 

Gloria Grahame, Humphrey Bogart.

In the end , in an uncontrollable temper, Dix almost kills Laurel who is going to leave him. Interrupted by a phone call from the police, Dix calms down and gives the phone to  Laurel who is told that they have the killer.

 

She says to the police captain, with Dix listening: “Yesterday this would have meant so much to us. Now it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter at all.”

 

.

Dix leaves, knowing there is nothing more to say. He has gone too far this time and there is no going back for him and Laurel .

As we see him leaving her apartment and walking away, Laurel says quietly, “I lived a few weeks while you loved me. Bye, Dix”.
(
Quoting from the lines Dix had written for the  screenplay he had written.)

Dix leaves. The End. A downbeat ending but so appropriate.

 

Right from the very start of In A Lonely Place, we know Dix Steele has a very short fuse on a ten second timer -say the wrong thing and he will explode in your face. He hasn’t had a successful picture since before the war . His attitude is “I won’t work on anything I don’t  like.” His creative juices seem to have dried up.

As the film opens, he is driving along at night in his open top limousine and is stopped at traffic lights.  A car stops along side and the woman in the car recognises him and starts talking to him. Her companion gets annoyed and shouts at Dix to stop bothering his wife. Immediately Dix is ready to get out of  the car in the middle of the road and brawl with the driver, but the other car drives off.

Very soon after, in the nightclub where everyone knows Dix, he gets in another fight, this time because a young actor has insulted his friend Charlie (Robert Warwick), a washed up actor who drinks too much.

Everyone seems to be very understanding of Dix, accepting bad behaviour from him. Even the club owner (Steven Geraydoesn’t condemn him for the damage caused . One of the club’s patrons says, “There goes Dix again.”

 

Jeff Donnell, Frank Lovejoy

Frank Lovejoy is one of the detectives assigned to the murder case . Frank has one of the most improbable character names – ‘Brub Nicolai’. Brub also happens to be an old army buddy of Dix’s. Jeff Donnell plays his wife.

Even Brub makes excuses for Dix – “None of us could ever figure him out.”

 

Art Smith is very good as Mel, Dix’s long suffering agent and friend.
When Laurel gets to know him, she confides “Why can’t he be like other people… I’m scared of him, I don’t  trust him.”

Mel responds, You know he was dynamite. Sometimes he has to explode.” Mel also adds about the script Dix  has been working on, “If Dix has success, he doesn’t need anything else.”

 

Humphrey Bogart, Robert Warwick

Dix shows he can care about people as he takes care of Charlie, giving him money every so often. Robert Warwick makes the most of a small role as the Shakespeare quoting thespian whom Dix likes. Warwick has a beautiful speaking voice. ( Warwick had been in films since 1916 and appeared in 250 films according to IMDB).

 

Dix and Laurel are happy for a little while. They are at a piano bar listening to Hadda Brooks singing ‘I hadn’t anyone till you’.

Hadda Brooks

But as the plot develops, Dix shows Laurel more instances of his violent side. Driving too fast, he almost causes an accident on the highway and the young man in the other car gets out and shouts at him. Dix beats him and is about to hit the boy with a stone when Laurel shouts, “Dix! Stop! You’ll kill him.”

Typical of Dix, even though Laurel is obviously upset, he doesn’t admit he was in the wrong, simply saying, “They think they own the road.” This kind of violent behaviour has become almost normal for him.

But then he sends an anonymous cheque to the injured boy. He can show remorse but is never able to articulate it.

 

The scene you won’t see in the film.

One of the extras on the dvd is an interview with the film’s  director ,Nicholas Ray who said, “I just couldn’t believe the ending we had written. I shot it because it was my obligation to do it.”

In the original novel by Dorothy B. Hughes, Dixon Steel is a murderer. The above shot from the original ending has Frank Lovejoy coming to arrest Dix after he has killed Laurel.

Nicholas Ray continued, “I kicked everybody off the stage except Bogart, Art Smith and Gloria and we improvised the ending as it is now. We let the audience make up its own mind about what’s going to happen to Bogart  when he goes outside of the apartment area –  which was the first apartment I lived in Hollywood by the way.”

(The beautiful set build for the film was an apartment complex build round a Spanish courtyard  based on the building Ray had lived it.)

It was also interesting to hear the director talk about his relationship with his then wife, Gloria Grahame.
Before Gloria was cast, I’ve read that Ginger Rogers and Lauren Bacall were considered for the role of Laurel. Apparently Warner Brothers wouldn’t release Lauren.

Ray : “I had separated from my wife, Gloria Grahame who was playing opposite Bogie. If I had let the producer or Bogie know that, they would have gone crazy.”

Ray moved onto the studio lot, saying he wanted to concentrate on any problems. He said: Gloria behaved beautifully. Nobody knew we were separated.”

Nicholas Ray

 

Gloria Grahame, Nicholas Ray, Humphrey Bogart.

(I wished that in the documentary about Nicholas Ray they had asked him about “Johnny Guitar” as he was so forthcoming about ‘Lonely Place’.)

 

Nicholas Ray far left. Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame.

 

Nicholas Ray, Gloria Grahame

 

One reviewer of the film in 1950 said, “The appeal of this melodrama will probably be limited to sophisticated picture goers!”

The film, Bogart’s first independent production for his Santana Productions, garnered good reviews but didn’t do well at the box office. The excellent screenplay was by Andrew Salt.

It’s a fascinating study of a man who really needs a lot of help to save him from himself. The ending that Ray gave us leaves us wondering (as Ray intended) what would happen to Dix. Would he recover from losing Laurel, would he continue as before until he finally did kill someone. And what would happen to Laurel.

It’s a great part for Gloria Grahame and she is very good, possibly the best role she ever had.

Bogart is perfect as the tortured writer. And a shout-out for Martha Stewart as Mildred, the hat check girl whose murder starts Dix’s downfall.

And I spotted June Vincent at the start of the film as the woman in the car who attracts Bogart’s attention.

 

Martha Stewart

 

 

The Criterion Collection blu-Ray.

 

 

Beautiful poster by Tony Stella.

 

 

Foreign posters:

“FEAR WITHOUT CAUSE”

(Not true, plenty of cause!)

 

NAKED NERVES

 

 

 

 

 

CASTING CHOICES: Timeline for CASABLANCA

The Hollywood Reporter in January,1942 reported that Warner Brothers would be filming “Everyone Comes To Ricks”, starring Ronald Reagan, Ann Sheridan, Dennis Morgan.

 

Ronald Reagan, Ann Sheridan

 

 

February 1942: Producer Hal Wallis learns Hedy Lamarr is not available……..

 

 

April, 1942: Warners hope David Selznick will let Ingrid Bergman join the cast…….

 

April,1942: Jack Warner suggests George Raft. Hal Wallis says Raft isn’t right and the film is being shaped for Humphrey Bogart….

 

April,1942: Michelle Morgan and Jean-Pierre Aumont  test for ‘Ilsa’ and ‘Lazlo’…….

 

May,1942: Paul Henreid  gets co-star billing……

Conrad Veidt  signed to play ‘Major Strasser’…….

Peter Lorre signs as ‘Ugarte’…..

 

May 25th, 1942: Shooting begins…..

 

June,1942: S.Z. Zakall  joins the cast as ‘Carl’……

 

August 3rd, 1942: The last  official day of shooting……

 

August 21st, 1942: Hal Wallis decides the final line,

“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

 

March 1944: Casablanca wins three Oscars, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay.

 

Casting is so important. Casablanca has surely one of the finest casts ever.

 

 

 

 

Sydney Greenstreet, Claude Rains, Peter Lorre, Dooley Wilson.

 

 

S.Z. Zakall.

 

Dan Seymour, John  Qualen, Joy Page, Norma Varden.

 

Leonid Kinskey,   Marcel Dalio, Helmut Dantine,Ludwig Stossel,  Ilsa Gruning

 

Gerald Oliver Smith, Curt  Bois, Norma Varden.

So many wonderful images.

 

 

 

 

In 1992 , ‘Casablanca, As Time Goes By, 50th anniversary Commemorative’  is published. Written by Frank Miller, it is an excellent and profusely illustrated history of the film. It is still available at reasonable prices.