No, not the Cary Grant film, but the terrific book of the same name written by John Kobal in 1985.
Published in America in 1985, with 41 interviews which John Kobal did in the 1960s and 70s with classic Hollywood performers. The book runs to 700 pages.
I feel a bit cheated as I have an English edition from 1991 which has only 22 of the interviews.
This is a book that any fan of classic Hollywood must have, as Mr Kobal interviewed so many stars at length. He knew the questions to ask and he recorded all his interviews.
Here are a couple of quotes from some of my favourite stars:
“I would really like to have been nominated for LADIES IN RETIREMENT.That’s the one. I’ve only seen myself a very few times on the screen ,because I’m allergic to me…..but I did see Ladies in Retirement,and I knew I was giving a pretty good performance for a 21 year old girl. I was 21 and playing a very difficult age, about 46 or 47. That was the age of the woman in it, you see.
Flora Robson had made a great success of it on Broadway but Lester Cowan who produced it, chose me for the movie role.
When Harry Cohn heard that Lester wanted me to play the role, he said,’Are you out of your mind.For what unearthly reason would you want her for the role.’ Lester said,’I just know she can do it.’
There were three men in my life who really took great chances with me, Bill Wellman,,Mark Hellinger and Lester Cowan.”
” I loved it (I was a Male War Bride). Ten months! I got pneumonia in England where we went to shoot the film. I was the first one to collapse. And then,just after I had gotten back to working 6 hours a day,Cary came down with jaundice,hepatitis.Lord! The things we went through. … Well,I don’t know how long we laid off,but I went to Paris,to Rome,then I came to California, I think it was 3 months before he could work.”
“Come Next Spring was a good little picture…. I never got better word of mouth and reviews. It was the first time I played a mother. It was a good part. It was a sleeper that was never allowed to wake up. Republic was really a cowboy studio.”
Kobal asked what Barbara demands on a film.
“First of all comes the story.It’s like building a house. That’s your foundation; the basement,the steel and the cement. That’s solid. That’s the important thing. Then your interior decorator is the second thing…..that’s the director. The third thing is all your decorations. That’s my actors. But without the story, goodbye.”
“I love to do westerns.I’m particularly fond of reading about the early West . I think it was a very romatic era in our country. First of all,I love the outdoors, and secondly, I love to ride. I love that whole era.”