…….Re-reading “Inside Warner Brothers” by Rudy Behlmer who ends his introduction to the book with this paragraph:
“Anyone interested in the making of films can only be glad that Warners saved their carbons, for it is one thing to read or listen to reminiscences of someone noted in his field, selectively recalling what happened many years before – with all the attendant inaccuracies and imbalances – but it is quite another when one is able to assess film history recorded at the time the events occurred, with the drama of the moment intact.”
For example: 11 January 1935. To Hal Wallis from Jack L.Warner:
“I overheard a typical Mike Curtiz-Harry Joe Brown squawk about not wanting to use Errol Flynn in ‘The Case of the Curious Bride.’ I hope that they did not change you because I want him used in this picture, first because I think it is a shame to let people like Curtiz and Harry Brown even think of opposing an order from you or myself and, secondly, when we bring a man all the way from England , he is at least entitled to a chance and somehow or other we haven’t given him one.”
20 February, 1935: From Warners to William Randolph Hearst:
“We are going to produce “Captain Blood” with Robert Donat. Would Miss Marion Davies be interested in playing in this important picture? There is an excellent part for her.”
So, in these two memos we learn quite a lot. Jack Warner wants everybody to know that he ( and Hal Wallis) are not to be argued with! And maybe he sees a future asset in Errol Flynn!
From the second memo, we see how casting can change.
Flynn did appear in “The Case of the Curious Bride”, but in a very brief, non-speaking part.( Warren William played Perry Mason.)
Robert Donat, Marion Davies.
…….John Howard was interviewed at the time Lost Horizon was restored by Robert Gitt of the American Film Institute. Howard , in 1986, commented:
“For the past 17 years I have been teaching English in a progressive high school in the San Fernando Valley. …I never dreamed one day this movie would be restored and re-released….I vividly remember testing for the role of Ronald Colman’s brother. David Niven and Louis Hayward both thought they had the part, for I wasn’t English.
Frank Capra wrote in a line that the brother had been educated in Canada, and I won the role. However , it did take several screen tests before the final approval.. One of them was with a young Mexican girl named Rita Cansino. Columbia had just put her under contract and soon changed her name to Rita Hayworth. Margo did the role in the movie.”
(Rita Hayworth , born in New York, was not Mexican. Her father was Spanish and her mother Irish/American. Rita took the name ‘Hayworth’, her mother’s maiden name.)
After its initial release in 1937, LOST HORIZON was severely edited from its original 132 minutes , till at last in the 1980s, the missing scenes were mostly reinstated and viewers could see the original version.
Who are the two ladies and what film are they on the set of?
(That’s some carpet.)
Lauren Bacall looking very happy. Why so?!