…………..The amount of smoking that went on in vintage movies, the cigarette manufacturers must have sent boxes of free samples to studios. Of course it was an easy ‘bit of business’ for actors. Take out the pack ,or the cigarette case, and light up. The scene is set!
Finding a photo of Bette Davis without a cigarette in her hand is almost impossible.
Yet, there were some stars who rarely smoked on film – mainly women – Doris Day, Claudette Colbert, Jean Arthur , Irene Dunne, Kate Hepburn, Myrna Loy. And some men – Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Melvyn Douglas.
I wonder if that was their choice?
………..I saw “Suspense” (1946) for the first time recently. It was interesting to see gravel-voiced Eugene Pallette in a non- comic role. Eugene is remembered for “My Man Godfrey” (the put-upon father of Carole Lombard) , and “The Adventures of Robin Hood” ( as ‘Friar Tuck’).
Active in films from 1913 according to IMDB, ”Suspense” was his last film – and a nice touch was that Eugene got the last line in the drama. And SUSPENSE certainly showed he was quite capable of roles out-with comedy.
SUSPENSE starred Belita, Barry Sullivan and Albert Dekker. Made by Monogram but with a grander budget than usual, I liked Belita who showed was a great skater she was. She made one more with Barry Sullivan – “The Gangster”, and my favourite , “The Hunted”, with Preston Foster.
I wonder that Belita wasn’t snapped up by any of the other studios. She showed she was quite capable of succeeding in films aside from her skating prowess. And for an English girl, her American accent sounded fine to me.
…………Good quote from Alfred Hitchcock:
“I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach.”
………….Initial casting for The Yearling was to have Spencer Tracy starring alongside Anne Revere in 1941. Gene Eckman was cast as young ‘Jody’, Victor Fleming directing.
MGM had bought the rights to the Marjorie Kennan Rawlings novel of 1938. Filming has started in Florida and half a million dollars had been spent on the production. But for various reasons – bad weather, creative disputes , – the production was shelved. Tracy did WOMAN OF THE YEAR instead and started his association with Katharine Hepburn.
There was an announcement from MGM in 1942 that filming would re commence, still with Tracy, but Roddy McDowell would play ‘Jody’. The film would be shot entirely at the studio.
That didn’t happen, and finally in 1945, Clarence Brown took over as director; Claude Jarman Jr. was ‘Jody’; Gregory Peck was the father; Jacqueline White was the mother and did some scenes in the early summer.
But again, for a month or so, shooting was stopped and then Jane Wyman took over the lead. Many of the location shots done by the second unit crew in Florida in 1942 were used.
The film finally premiered in December 1946 and turned out to be a big success, though not making a big profit in view of the production costs.
Who knows, maybe some of the footage with Tracy, Revere or even Jacqueline White will surface some day.
I haven’t been able to find anything on the young boy, Gene Eckman except that he was born in Atlanta and didn’t make any movies.