Ouch! It’s not easy watching a very early talkie. The static camera,the lack of movement by the actors. But of course, it’s amazing how quickly film and recording skills improved dramatically .

I watched THE GREENE MURDER CASE (1929)  because it was one of Jean Arthur’s early sound films. Jean is scarcely recognisable , with her natural brunette hair and that cupie-doll makeup so popular back then.

It’s a Philo Vance mystery, and William Powell plays the famous detective whom the police call in when the members of a wealthy family are murdered. Also in the cast are Eugene Pallette and Florence Eldridge. Jean had been in the same year’s CANARY MURDER CASE, in a much smaller role.

Incidentally, Jean Arthur’s real name was Gladys Georgianna Greene!

I’d like to say that Jean stood out, but in fact Florence Eldridge made more of an impression, as Jean’s sister.

For most of the film Jean is the quiet,meek member of the family, but then it is revealed she is insane and a killer!



Any wonder that Jean eventually gave up on Hollywood and went to New York for two years.

It’s amazing to think that Jean was in silent films from 1923 and made nearly 40 silents without ever hitting the big time. And about 20 sound films before breaking through in 1935.

What a difference in these two photos, the same woman but so different.

When I saw the following photo of Jean from ARIZONA, I wondered, is that really her on that bucking bronco.


Indeed it is. Jean did a dozen B westerns from 1924 to 1926 including FAST AND FEARLESS , THE HURRICANE HORSEMAN and THE ROARING RIDER. She even did a Pathe serial,THE MASKED MENACE in 1927.

So I guess that’s when Jean learned to ride. (The pinto Colt she was on was called ‘Dice’ and he was still going strong when Gregory Peck rode him in DUEL IN THE SUN.)

The following photo of Jean is a puzzle. I can’t think what the situation is. Can anyone help? I love how she is not made up. Maybe a costume test, but why that board.


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