Category Archives: Uncategorized

THE LAST OUTPOST (1935)

After watching THE LAST OUTPOST, I can well understand why CARY GRANT was glad to leave Paramount .

Both he and CLAUDE RAINS deserved better. This was  Paramount trying a ‘Lives of a Bengal Lancer’ on the cheap.

The extensive stock footage used was so obviously from poorer film stock and speed.

Cary Grant, Claude Rains

There really isn’t much story. It’s set on the Eastern Front during the Great War. Rains is an intelligence officer who saves Grant’s life. Grant’s character falls for GERTRUDE MICHAEL playing his nurse who looks after him when he is injured.

Turns out she is married to Rains but hasn’t seen him for three years.

 

Cary with a moustache . Big mistake!

 

Cary Grant, Gertrude Michael.

Historyonfilm.com got it right:

“It is hard to imagine a boring movie starring Cary Grant and Claude Rains, but The Last Outpost succeeds……..it is more of a western than a WW1 movie, and the cavalry literally saves the day.”

Cary’s next film was SYLVIA SCARLETT with Katharine Hepburn and George Cukor. For the next two decades, he became a screen legend.

Another ten years , and Cary and Claude would do NOTORIOUS . I wonder if The Last Outpost ever came up in their conversations!

 

 

 

 

DOES ANYONE STILL WEAR A HAT?

 

Composer Stephen Sondheim wrote a song called “The Ladies Who Lunch” in the stage musical , “Company. ” It was first sung, very much in the style of Eve Arden , by Elaine Stritch.

So here is Eve in some of her hat extravaganzas!

 

 

With Eleanor Parker. The Voice of the Turtle

 

Did Eve ever smile? She always had that quizzical look as if she’s thinking, ‘ Are you serious!’

 

 

And why not have a personalised door mat recommended by Our Miss Brooks.

DEBORAH KERR, GLASWEGIAN!

It’s official ! We Glaswegians can claim DEBORAH KERR as our own.

If you check any source ( other than Wikipedia which got it right), Deborah’s birthplace is given as the coastal town of Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland.

Not true. Deborah’s Birth certificate shows that she was born in 1921 in a private nursing home in Glasgow.

With Yul Brynner.THE KING and I

OK, so she maybe only spent a few days in Glasgow, but that’s her birthplace. She did spend the first three years of her life in Helensburgh where her father and grandfather worked for an engineering firm.

After that it was back down to Bristol for this English family. Deborah had her education there and studied at the drama  school run by her aunt. Moving to London, Deborah trained to be a dancer at the Sadlers Wells company before concentrating on acting.

With Cary Grant.AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER

I wonder if Deborah and Cary Grant ever chatted about living in Bristol.

So, the Scottish links are tenuous but I’d still like to claim Deborah as an honorary Glaswegian! But she is the perfect English rose.

Deborah was only 20 when she starred in MAJOR BARBARA and LOVE ON THE DOLE in  1941.

After 7 years of solid work on the stage and in British films like BLACK NARCISSUS, Hollywood beckoned ,with a contract from MGM who gave her CLARK GABLE as her first leading man.

With Clark Gable.THE HUCKSTERS

Were MGM looking for another Greer Garson? Possibly .

Deborah went on to costar with most of the biggest stars in Hollywood, from Alan Ladd, Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant (3 times), Robert Mitchum ( also 3 times), David Niven, Burt Lancaster.

With Alan Ladd

Can anyone recommend THUNDER IN THE EAST?

 

With Spencer Tracy.EDWARD MY SON

I haven’t seen Edward My Son either.

 

Deborah was Oscar nominated 6 times for EDWARD MY SON, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY,  THE  KING AND I, HEAVEN KNOWS MR. ALLISON, SEPARATE TABLES and THE SUNDOWNERS.

In 1994, the Academy honoured her with an Oscar. The Oscar citation said: “…an artist of impeccable grace and beauty.”

Receiving her Honorary Oscar

 

 

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY

 

With Stewart Granger.THE PRISONER OF ZENDA

 

When she joined MGM, their slogan for her surname pronunciation was : ” Deborah Kerr, it rhymes with star!”.

This pronunciation is an English indiosyncracy – why would Kerr with an E be pronounced like an A. ( It’s still plain ordinary Kerr here in Scotland.)

With Rita Hayworth. SEPARATE TABLES

In Separate Tables, Deborah’s mother is GLADYS COOPER, playing a domineering character similar to the one she played in NOW VOYAGER.

 

With Robert Taylor in QUO VADIS

 

With Yul Brynner.THE JOURNEY

 

With Burt Lancaster.FROM HERE TO ETERNITY

 

With her husband,Peter Viertel.

 

I wish Deborah had worked with Hitchcock – – his mistake!

A fine actress who suffered, like many others, from a certain amount of Hollywood typecasting – always the cool , upper class lady. But whatever her role, her talent shone through .

 

 

 

 

 

WINGS IN THE DARK (1935)

In 1935, the New York Times said of WINGS IN THE DARK:

High altitudes have a tendency to make scenarists just a trifle giddy, with the result that the big climax of Paramount’s new photoplay has the appearance of having been composed during a tail spin.”

The film stars CARY GRANT as Ken Gordon, an aviator who is trying to develop technology for flying blind in bad weather.

MYRNA LOY is Sheila Mason, also a pilot, but Sheila does stunt flying. As she says, jobs in aviation or even flying the mails exclude women.

Myrna Loy

This film is a long 75 minutes. Ken is blinded in an accident and gets a guide dog. Sheila undertakes even more stunt work around county fairs to secretly support Ken’s continued research. When she is offered $25,000 for a non-stop flight from Moscow to New York, she accepts.

The ending is poor and the whole thing is a waste of Myrna and Cary. Why MGM loaned Myrna to Paramount is a mystery. (She was top billed.)

The supporting cast includes Hobart Kavanaugh, as Ken’s Scottish assistant,Mac. (Hobart’s Scottish accent is dubious!)

The only levity in the story is provided by Roscoe Karns as Sheila’s manager.

Roscoe Karns, Myrna Loy, Cary Grant

Myrna and Cary got together in the 1940s to much greater success in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House and Bachelor Knight. Next on my Cary Grant list is The Last Outpost. It’s Cary and Claude Rains. Could it be up there with Notorious? Doubtful.

 

 

Publicity for the film involved pictures with Amelia Earhart.

Amelia Earhart, Myrna Loy

 

Cary Grant, Amelia Earhart, and Myrna Loy,

 

Cary Grant, Myrna Loy

Myrna wears what looks like an all white flying suit. Doesn’t seem practical.

 

THE DAVID NIVEN SHOW

 

A friend picked up this two- disc DVD set for £3 recently. A real bargain.

So much to enjoy in the 12 half hour episodes from. 1959,  with so many familiar faces. DAVID NIVEN introduces each episode and appears in one.

The dvd has 12 episodes, but 13 were made. The missing one features JULIE LONDON and STEVE BRODIE.

My favorite, ‘A Day of Small Miracles’, featured EDDIE BRACKEN as The Great Merlin, Pick-pocket Extraordinaire.

Trouble is Merlin has arthritis in his hands and hasn’t worked for months. But he has many friends – his landlady isn’t pushing him for the rent, and his agent says he owes Merlin $100.

Ironically, his wallet with the $100 is stolen by another pickpocket (CASEY ADAMS), and he decides he is going to get some money crookedly, using his skills.

The first person he uses his pick pocketing skills on turns out to have collected the money from the unemployment office – Merlin gives it back.

Then he meets DON BEDDOE and does it again – quietly steals his wallet. The chap turns out to be a doctor who notices Merlin’s swollen hands and offers to help him. So the wallet is returned to the doctor .

He just can’t seem to become a crook.

In a neat twist, back at his boarding house, a cop he knows is waiting for him to tell him they recovered his wallet! And his agent calls to say there’s a job for him, still in magic!

Most interesting about this story was to see Eddie Bracken for the first time in a serious role.He was fine. Shame he was always typecast.

My second favorite episode ,’BackTrack’ stars FRANK LOVEJOY as a District Attorney standing for higher political office. His last case sent a murderer to the gas chamber.

A man comes to his office and tells him that he sent an innocent man to his death. The man says he knows the truth because he’s the real killer. He wants money to stop speaking to the authorities . He explains he has a bad heart and may only have a year to live, so  he doesn’t care if Frank turns him in.

So the D.A. has to look at the case again and there is a good twist in the end.

‘Fortune Telling Cookie’ is also good, with DON TAYLOR  visiting his fortune telling aunt and pretending to predict the future of a rich young  lady. Things get complicated when his predictions start to come true .

Nice to see the usual prim and proper ISABEL ELSOM as a gypsy lady.

The one episode David Niven appeared in with EDUARD FRANZ wasn’t so good. David is an interrogator in a future society where the bible is banned.

The DAN DURYEA  episode was also disappointing.Dan plays a Justice of the Peace in a small town. ADAM  WILLIAMS  has escaped from prison and has come back to kill Duryea.

A shame the series only ran one season.

Photos below:

Eddie Albert, Eduard Franz

Rhys Williams, Joanne Dru, Frank Lovejoy

Isabel Elsom,John Ericson, John Hoyt

Dan Duryea, James Best, Virginia Grey

John  Dehner, Anne Francis, Eddie Bracken

GAMBLING SHIP (1933)

Discovery of GAMBLING SHIP was BENITA HUME who could be Mary Astor’s twin sister. Benita lifts this movie with her bright, breezy style, playing Eleanor, the mistress  of gambling ship owner Joe Burke (Arthur Vinton).

On her way by train to California after a holiday ,she meets Ace Corbin (CARY GRANT), a gambler who has decided to get away from his old life. Both keep their identities secret, as they get to know each other and fall in love.

The plot involves two rival gambling ships. The only villain in the story is JACK LA RUE . Cary’s character,Ace,  gets involved on the side of Burke.

There’s  a neat confrontation between Ace, Joe and Eleanor, as the truth comes out and both men accuse Eleanor of two-timing them. She laughs it off and tells them she has been on the level  with both of them. She loves Ace but couldn’t leave Joe as he was in trouble.

 

Roscoe Karns, Glenda Farrell, Cary Grant

ROSCOE KARNS is, well, Roscoe Karns, funny and loyal to his boss, Joe.

GLENDA FARRELL  has a small role as Benita’s friend.Glenda is always good in this sort of wise- cracking role.

Arthur Vinton, new to me, was good as Joe.

The film is routine and didn’t do a lot for Cary, especially when they tried to make him look older, with an odd looking grey streak in his hair.

Can anyone recommend any other Benita Hume films?

 

Benita Hume

 

Roscoe Karns, Cary Grant

 

 

Benita Hume (1906 – 1967) was active in Hollywood until she married Ronald Colman in 1938. They were married until his death in 1958. In the early 50s they appeared together in a radio show ‘The Halls Of Ivy’ ( which became a TV series for one year in the mid 50s.)

In 1959,  Benita married  George Sanders and they were together until her death in 1967.

 

Ronald Colman, Benita Hume