JOHN FORD AND “WHAT PRICE GLORY”

Ward Bond, Maureen O’Hara, Gregory Peck

When  I  came across the above photo it led  me into an interesting story about John Ford and  the play/film “What Price Glory”.

John Ford was obviously a fan of the 1924 comedy/drama, “What Price Glory” by Maxwell Anderson and Laurence Stallings. After a successful run on Broadway, it was filmed by Raoul Walsh in 1926, with Edmund Lowe , Victor McLaglen and Dolores Del Rio.

The play tells the story of the rivalry between two U.S. marine corps officers in France during the First World War.

Gregory Peck, John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Pat O’Brien, Ward Bond.

Possibly with a view to filming it, Ford put  together a group of his Hollywood friends and staged ‘What Price Glory’ in 1949 , with Pat O’Brien and Ward Bond as the two leads, plus Maureen O’Hara as the French girl they fight over.

The play was first seen at the Masquers Club Of Hollywood, with profits to charity.

The play subsequently toured California with a changing cast including Gregory Peck, Oliver Hardy, Alan Hale, Wallace Ford, Pat O’Brien, Rod Cameron, Forrest Tucker.

What a cast. In addition to O’Brien, Bond  and O’Hara in the lead roles, others in the cast included John Wayne, Harry Carey Jr, William Lundigan, Ed Begley, Wallace Ford, Oliver Hardy, Jimmy Lyndon, Robert Armstrong and Gregory Peck!

 

Then In 1952, Ford did a film version, but couldn’t get Wayne or Maureen O’Hara for the leads. James Cagney, Dan Dailey and Corinne Calvert stepped in , but reviews suggest the 1926 silent version was better.

 

 

James Cagney, Dan Dailey.

 

If anyone has seen either film, I’d be interested to hear from you.

 

I hadn’t heard of the Masquers Club of Hollywood which started in 1925 as an Actors club. Many  famous names in Hollywood joined and they often put on shows and made several film shorts including “The Stolen Jewels” in 1931, featuring Norma Shearer, Irene Dunne, Joan Crawford. Edward G. Robinson.

 

 

A 1968 Masquers dinner for Edward G.Robinson. James Stewart, Richard Widmark, George Burns, Cesar Romero and Mervyn LeRoy.

Other testimonial dinners were given for Mae West in 1973 and Ginger Rogers in 1979.

 

Judy Garland was honoured by the Masquers in 1958 .

 

Membership declined in later years and the club has been resurrected as a historical society. An Anthony Caruso Award for achievement in film history and preservation is to be started. (Caruso was a long time Masquer.)

Anthony Caruso.

It is hoped to digitise  the club’s archives which include the personal records of producer Harry Joe Brown and actor Allyn  Joslyn. Plus an audio of Judy Garland’s speech in 1958 ( the audio is now available on the website.)

(www.masquersclub.org)

10 responses »

  1. Neither was I until recently. Finding that photo of O’Hara, Peck and Bond started me off. I couldnt think of any film the three of them had appeared in together.

  2. Happy Xmas Vienna and what a fascinating post. Have never seen either version as I am not mad about war films. All the best for 2019.

  3. Vienna, this is the kind of write-up that you do, that i really like. New information for me to digest, which is good.

    I knew about the John Ford directed play in 1949, but I’ve never got around to seeing either movie. I will eventually. Really good choice of pictures, as always.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  4. Nice post. Don’t recall the story about the stage version. Have not seen the earlier movie but as for Cagney film have always thought it a bit of a disappointment considering it is a Ford film. Been years though so perhaps a revisit might alter that opinion.

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