Author Archives: Vienna

OSCAR AUCTION 2018

Two Academy Awards for Best Picture are up for auction in Los Angeles in December 2018.

Auctioneers, Profiles in History , have the 1936 Oscar for MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY and the 1948 Oscar for GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT  for sale.

Prices expect to be $200,000 to $300,000 for the Bounty statuette and $150,000 to $200,000 for the 1948 award.

 

Frank Capra presents the Mutiny On The Bounty Oscar to MGM’s Irving Thalberg.

 

Darryl  Zanuck with the Oscar for “Gentleman’s Agreement.”

 

It’s possible to look at the auction catalogue at profilesinhistory.com

It’s amazing that there is  so much classic Hollywood memorabilia still out there.

Like, for instance, Garbo’s Adrian-designed coronation cape from QUEEN CHRISTINA, or Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked  Witch of the West’s hat, or Gloria Swanson’ s Norma Desmond evening jacket.

Plus hundreds of photos, scripts, autographs, letters.

Deep pockets are required.

 

Garbo in QUEEN CHRISTINA.

 

Like the ruby slippers, there wasnt just one black hat – at least three were made.  One sold for $200,000  in 2010.

 

 

Sales of the Oscar statuette  are relatively rare. Winners , or their heirs , from 1951 onwards have  to agree to offer and sell back their Oscar to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for $1.

 

And just a reminder of the prices paid at auction for other Hollywood iconic pieces.

Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion costume sold for $3 million in 2014.

 

One of the Falcons made for THE MALTESE FALCON went for $4 million in 2013.

 

The much valued Transit Papers from CASABLANCA sold for $118,000 in 2014.

Rick examines the transit papers which would allow the bearer to travel without surveillance or interference.

 

The sale of Robby the Robot from FORBIDDEN PLANET at $5 million in 2017 made it the most expensive prop ever sold at auction.

 

And an example of how Hollywood memorabilia can increase in value.

The Best Picture Oscar for HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY sold for $95,000 in 2004, and was later sold in 2012 for $274,000.

 

 

WHO SAID IT FIRST?

Not “Who’s on first?”, but “Who said it first?”

George Raft , in a TV interview (on You Tube),  claimed that he was the first actor to say the classic line, “This town isn’t big enough for both of us.”  (in the 1931 film,QUICK MILLIONS.)

But was George correct? It’s  a line that has been used several  times in movies.

 

In THE VIRGINIAN (1929), Walter Huston plays ‘Trampas’ and says to the Virginian (Gary Cooper), “This world isn’t big enough for the both of us.”

This is a very different Trampas from the one played by Doug McClure in the 60s TV series. In the 1929 film, he is an outlaw who goes up against the Virginian.

 

In THE WESTERN CODE(1932), Wheeler Oakman says practically the same words to Tim McCoy.

 

George Raft plays Spencer Tracy’s bodyguard in “Quick Millions”. I haven’t seen this film so don’t know the context of Raft using the sentence. I did see a You Tube clip from the film in which Raft does a nifty dance to ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, with Tracy looking on.

”Quick Millions” was the second screen appearance of both  Tracy and Raft.

 

In BANDITS OF THE  BADLANDS (1945), there’s a slight variation when Fred Graham says to Sunset Carson, “This Town ain’t big enough to hold the both of us.”

 

But my favourite is from BUGS BUNNY RIDES AGAIN (1948). Always ready for a fight, Yosemite Sam  squares up to Bugs and says, “Listen,stranger, this town aint big enough for the two of us.”

Bugs immediately leaves the saloon and we hear construction noises. He tells Sam to look outside, where, miraculously, skyscrapers appear!  Bugs then remarks, “Now is it big enough?”

 

There’s a good story in the George Raft biography by Lewis Yablonsky. If only the following had been filmed.

Edward G. Robinson tells this story:

“At a function George and I stood eye to eye, glaring viciously at each other. Then I pointed my finger in his face and said ,’See here, you. No one fools with  Little  Caesar. See! See! ‘

George responded by taking out his famous coin and flipping it a few times. Then he said, ‘This town isn’t big enough for the two of us. One of us has to leave and it ain’t gonna be me.’

We paused then danced off the stage in each other’s arms! The audience loved it.”

Anyone  know any other films the line was used in?

 

.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: VICTOR MCLAGLEN

Make way, Clark!

A proud Victor McLaglen steps up to collect his Best Actor  Oscar in 1936 for THE INFORMER. Looking on is a smiling Louis B. Mayer. And Norma Shearer and David Niven are just behind Mr. Gable.

Clark Gable, Charles Laughton and Franchot Tone were all nominated for Best Actor (in MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY)- surely the first and only time?  –  three actors in the same film being Oscar nominated.

Surely there were other deserving candidates for Best Actor. What about Ronald Colman in A TALE OF TWO CITIES, or Fredric March in LES MISERABLES, Fred Astaire in TOP HAT ( oh no, the Oscars don’t consider musical performers), or Peter Lorre in MAD LOVE?

(The fifth nominee for Best Actor was Paul Muni in BLACK FURY.)

That smile from Mr. Mayer may be a bit forced. After all, the odds were that one of his stars would win. Still, Mutiny on the Bounty won Best Picture.

I never understood how the film which had Best Actor (McLaglen) and Best Director (John Ford) doesn’t win Best Picture too.

 

HOLLYWOOD’S HUMAN SHADOWS

In a 1935 Chicago Sunday Tribune article , the people who were Stand-Ins for Hollywood performers were referred to as Hollywood’s Human Shadows, a dramatic description of the job of the stand-in.

A 1944 Life magazine  article said: “Stand-Ins have the most unrewarding job in motion pictures. They relieve the stars of practically all duties except those of acting………posing under the blaze of arc lights while the camera crew run out the tape to measure the distance from lens to nose……. and they are paid the lowest movie scale – $8 a day.”

Stand-Ins are on set for the lighting, the camera set-up, the walk through (blocking of scenes). They never appear on screen, but they must have the same height, build, skin tone and hair colour of the star.And they can be standing in the one position for hours.

Sally Sage was Bette Davis’ stand-in and said that she didn’t look like Bette but had the same build and colouring. Sally said that dresses she wore weren’t copies of what Bette would be wearing, but merely garments from the Studio’s wardrobe dept.

Sally also said that no stand -in becomes a star, and that seems to have been true. No doubt many came to Hollywood hoping for that big break and that,maybe , being a stand-in would lead to bigger things.

Sally Sage worked on over 30 of Bette’s films and the two became friends.

Sally Sage and Bette Davis. SPECIAL AGENT.

 

Sally Sage and Bette Davis

Sally’s dress is not identical to Bette’s.

 

On set, the principal actors were called ‘The First Team’, and the stand-ins were ‘The Second Team’.

For two years in the 1940s, Stand-Ins held the Elmer Awards. They honoured their own – in 1942, Sally Wood won for standing in for Marlene Dietrich and Frankie Van for Hugh Herbert.

In 1944 Randolph Scott’s stand- in in Gung Ho, Jack Parker , was the Elmer winner . And Susanna Foster’s stand-in in THIS IS THE LIFE, Sally Wood.

Considering stand -ins don’t appear on screen, I’m not sure how achievement was measured. And no one seems sure why they were called Elmers.

 

A letter from the brother  of Sally Wood who is seen with Marlene Dietrich on the set of THE SPOILERS. Mention is made of Sally winning the Elmer award as best stand-in.

 

Barbara Brown and Jean Harlow.

Barbara and Jean were friends from childhood.

 

Victor Chatten, Lew Ayres

 

Sylvia  Lamarr (no relation), Hedy Lamarr.

 

 

Jean Blair (Joan’s Stand-In), Joan BLONDELL, Iris Lancaster (Joan Crawford’s  stand-in).

 

George Raft and his stand-in Mack Grey who also made some film appearances.

 

Marie Osborne, Ginger Rogers.

 

William Hoover, Edward Arnold.

Definite look-a -like.

 

Pluma Noisom, Claudette Colbert.

 

Lookalikes, not stand-ins, Margaret Bryson (Loretta Young), Virginia Rendell (Mae West), Sylvia Lamarr(Joan Crawford), Carol Dietrich (born Hoyt) for Marlene Dietrich,  Betty Dietrich (Garbo) , Ezelle Poule (Zazu Pitts).IT HAPPENED IN HOLLYWOOD.

(Carol and  Betty Dietrich were sisters.)

 

Peter Lorre and Delmar Costello. Don Turner and Errol Flynn. (Don Turner was also a stunt man.)

 

 

Joan Crawford, Kasha Haroldi ( who was married to Joan’s brother, Hal LeSeuer). Hal and Kasha called their daughter Joan.

Amazing resemblance.

 

Mary Lou Isleib was not only Shirley’s stand-in but her bridesmaid when Shirley married John Agar.

 

Irene Dunne and Kay Stanley.

 

Mary Dee’s four minutes of fame, standing in for the late  Jean Harlow in  SARATOGA.

 

In the 1937 film, STAND-IN, Joan Blondell plays a stand-in called Lester ‘Sugar’ Plum!

 

And a book I’d love to read if it ever comes down in price on Amazon!

There’s more about the job of standing in at STANDINCENTRAL.com.

 

THE BLUE VEIL (1951)

J

How to describe  THE BLUE VEIL. It seems like a mix of “Goodbye Mr. Chips” and “Good Morning,Miss Dove”. The story of  50 years in the life of Louise Mason  (JANE WYMAN) who  spends her life looking after other people’s children when she loses her husband in the First World War and then her newborn  baby .

She is courted by widower Fred Begley (Charles Laughton) and later by Gerald Kean (Richard Carlson), But she does not marry again.

By the nature of the episodic narrative, we see characters for a short period of time. JOAN BLONDELL  is a busy Broadway singer whose teenage daughter NATALIE WOOD turns more and more to Louise for motherly support.  It was a nice surprise to see Joan do a number called ‘Daddy’, possibly choreographed by Busby Berkeley. (Though I was surprised to read that Joan was Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actress.)

 

 

Charles Laughton, Jane Wyman

 

Audrey Totter, Jane Wyman.

AUDREY TOTTER plays a young mother during the Second World War who leaves her son in Louise’s charge when she goes back to England with her English husband DAN O’HERLIHY.

 

”The Blue Veil” has a large cast of well known faces . AGNES MOOREHEAD has another small part , also HARRY MORGAN, WARNER ANDERSON, LES TREMAYNE, DAN SEYMOUR, VIVIAN VANCE, CYRIL CUSACK,EVERETT SLOANE.

Just a pity the script didn’t give all these good performers much to do.

IDA LUPINO 100

Oh to be in New York now that November’s  here – or now that the Film Forum are celebrating the centenary of London born IDA LUPINO (1918-1995) with a 25 film season from November 9th to the 22nd, 2018.

From blonde ingenue of the 30s to tough Noir dame of the 40s and 50s, to her being the only woman director in Hollywood for decades, Ida’s career is well documented in this wonderful tribute.

I hope the  Forum has full houses and that there’s a loud round of applause when Ida’s name first appears on screen.

The series includes new restorations and archival prints.

Heaven!

If anyone reading this is attending,I’d love to hear from you.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Film Forum in the last week of November is screening 12 Rita Hayworth films.

(The Film Forum http://www.filmforum.org is a non-profit cinema since 1970.}

Ida with Rita Hayworth and Warren William in THE LONE WOLF’s SPY HUNT.

 

 

 

 

THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT

 

With John Garfield in THE SEA WOLF

 

With Raoul Walsh and Humphrey Bogart. HIGH SIERRA.

 

With Humphrey Bogart in HIGH SIERRA

 

 

With Richard Widmark in ROAD HOUSE.

 

With Robert Ryan in ON DANGEROUS GROUND.

 

With Steve Cochran in PRIVATE HELL 36.

 

With Edmond O’Brien in THE BIGAMIST.

 

 

With Jack Palance in THE BIG KNIFE.

 

With Dana Andrews, Sally Forrest, Thomas MitchelL in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS.

 

Films Ida directed:

Frank Lovejoy, William Talman, Edmond  O’Brien in THE HITCH-HIKER.

 

 

Keefe Brasselle, Sally Forrest in NEVER FEAR.

 

Claire Trevor, Sally Forrest, Carleton G. Young . HARD FAST AND BEAUTIFUL

 

On set .THE HARD WAY.