VOLDEMAR VETLUGUIN

So it’s farewell to 2017 and I leave with another obscure name which intrigued me.

VOLDEMAR  VETLUGUIN was the Russian born producer of one of my favorite films,  EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE.

And he also produced Lana Turner’s A LIFE OF HER OWN.

Both films within a two year period, 1949/1950.

 

Information on this writer/producer is sparse.

He was a writer and associate editor at REDBOOK magazine from 1933 to 1943. He then joined MGM and was at some point head of the MGM story dept. I don’t know whether he actually wrote any screenplays.

 

This may be a picture of Mr. Vetluguin.

In 1939, author Margaret Mitchell wrote to Vetluguin at Redbook, concerning an article he intended writing about GONE WITH THE WIND. Ms Mitchell apologised for spelling his name wrong.

 

Beverly Michaels

During the filming of East Side, West Side, Vetluguin  met and married BEVERLY MICHAELS  ( who has a small but memorable part in the movie.) He was 54 , Beverly was 21. They were divorced in 1952 and he died a year  later.

Which gets me onto the subject of Beverly Michaels who only made a handful of films . After making BLONDE BAIT in the Uk in 1956, Beverly retired from the screen and declined all interviews.

I’ve just watched Blonde Bait on YouTube and have discovered some interesting facts about it.

The film was called WOMEN WITHOUT  MEN in Britain, but before it was released as Blonde Bait in America, major changes were made to the plot and 4 American actors  filmed new scenes.

From the British version, PAUL CARPENTER was replaced by JIM DAVIS.

RICHARD TRAVIS, Paul CAVANAUGH and HARRY LAUTER were added to the cast.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to see Women Without  Men. It would be interesting to compare them.

In Blonde Bait,  Beverly Michaels is overshadowed by the British cast led by THORA HIRD and JOAN RICE . All three are in prison but an escape is arranged so that Beverly’s character can meet up with her boyfriend (Jim Davis) who is wanted in the States. I enjoyed it though Beverly was disappointing in the lead.

I presume the new scenes were filmed in America.

I didn’t know that Beverly had been chosen by director HUGO HAAS for two of his films – PICKUP and THE GIRL ON THE BRIDGE, both of which I want to see.

Haas then decided to use CLEO MOORE in his subsequent films.

Beverly married  writer/director RUSSELL  ROUSE in 1955  and they remained together until his death in 1987 .

Rouse directed Beverly in WICKED WOMAN which I saw recently and enjoyed – probably Beverly’s best film.

(Rouse co- wrote DOA and directed THE FASTEST GUN ALIVE and NEW YORK CONFIDENTIAL.)

 

Any further information on Mr. Vetluguin would be welcomed.

 

A very Happy New Year  to everyone. 🎉🎊

 

 

GRANNIE GET YOUR GUN (1940)

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Delightful little film which packs a lot into its hour length . And wonderful to see 82 year old MAY ROBSON in the lead.

The film is worth watching if only for the first scene.

We see Minerva Hatton (May Robson) prospecting in the desert with her great-granddaughter Charlotte (ANN E. TODD ).

Ann E. Todd

Minerva carries a shovel, wears a gun belt and is pulling a mule, as she chats to Charlotte about the old days.

Then we see them walk over to a big limousine with a horse box attached – a chauffeur , Joe ( ARCHIE TWITCHELL) is waiting for them!

Very funny.

It turns out that Minerva had  made her fortune gold prospecting in the area years before with her late husband .

Back at her big Nevada mansion, Minerva’s granddaughter Julie ( MARGOT STEVENSON) is waiting for a divorce – Charlotte is her daughter.  Julie’s husband Phil (HARDIE  ALBRIGHT) wants to get his hands on some of Minerva’s money. When he is later found shot dead, Minerva’s granddaughter is accused of the murder.

 

Margot Stevenson

 

With the help of her old friends, HARRY DAVENPORT and CLEM BEVANS, Minerva sets out to prove her granddaughter ‘ s innocence.

 

Clem Bevans

Clem Bevans was 61 when he appeared in this film. He had already cornered the market on crotchety old men.

 

May Robson, Harry Davenport

There’s another funny scene in court when the feisty Minerva pretends to be a gentle  old lady who wouldn’t hurt a fly. ( She’s taken the blame for the murder).

She speaks in a soft ,quiet voice , tearful at one point , asking for a glass of water. The district attorney isnt fooled and says,

“You’re not the saccharine old lady you ‘d have us believe. Wasn’t your name ‘Sureshot  Minerva’?”

Minerva suddenly drops the pretence and bawls out, “No, it was ‘Hardboiled Hatton.”

The real killer has a great name, ‘Riff Daggett’ ( played by CLAY CLEMENT). There’s lots of action from Minerva and her friends before Daggett’s guilt is proved.

LAIRD CREGAR has a uncredited part as a court clerk.

Margot Stevenson ( as Minerva’s granddaughter) originated  the role of Alice Sycamore in the 1936 stage production of YOU CANT TAKE IT WITH YOU. She was married for 50 years to movie heavy VAL AVERY.

May Robson (1858 – 1942) gives a great  performance as the rough diamond millionairess who hasn’t forgotten her roots. May made 6 more films before her death in 1942.

 

The film is based on Erle Stanley Gardner’s THE CASE OF THE DANGEROUS DOWAGER.

 

THE STRANGE MRS CRANE 1948

Other titles considered for THE STRANGE MRS. CRANE included “Guilty Woman’ and ‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt’, either of which would have been more suitable.

There’s nothing strange about Mrs Gina Crane (MARJORIE LORD). She’s a former con artist called Jenny Hadley who has married a rich lawyer, Clinton Crane (PIERRE WATKIN) and made a new life for herself. Not that she has changed – money and her new position is society are all that matters . ( Her husband is running for a governorship.)

 

Marjorie Lord

Unfortunately her former partner Floyd Durant (ROBERT SHAYNE) meets up with her again and threatens blackmail .

With only a 60 minute running time, it isn’t long before Mrs.Crane commits murder and an innocent girl (RUTHE BRADY) is charged with the murder.

By sheer coincidence Mrs. Crane is called to jury duty and guess which trial she is assigned to!  And she becomes the jury foreperson.

There’s a slight reference to TWELVE ANGRY MEN when there is one hold-out for a guilty verdict – until Mrs. Crane goes to work.

Unfortunately the  twist at the end of the trial  is predictable.

Also in the cast is MARY GORDON  as the Crane housekeeper.

I think Marie  Windsor or Lizabeth Scott or Audrey Totter  would have been more believable as the murderous Mrs. Crane. Marjorie Lord is lovely but she doesn’t command the screen as any of these three ladies would.

I love catching up with  little ‘B’ films like this, which turn up on You Tube. As long as there enough plot to keep one watching, it’s usually a fast hour!

Pierre Watkin

Robert Shayne

 

Mary Gordon

 

FOREIGN POSTERS 21

The FOREIGN POSTERS thread has been inactive for months, so it’s time for some more. And I only had to look up the translation of 6!

 

 

IN A LONELY PLACE……….BARE NERVES

 

CARSON CITY……….SAGEBRUSH SABOTORS

 

DARK VICTORY……….SUNSET

 

THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD.

 

THE PETRIFIED FOREST.

 

MIDNIGHT LACE………..TRAP AT MIDNIGHT

 

SOULS AT SEA………..SOULS TO THE SEA

 

THE GREAT LIE

 

HIGH NOON………..12 NOON

 

DARK VICTORY……….VICTORY IN THE DARKNESS

A TO Z OF HOLLYWOOD STYLE

I picked up this interesting little book in a charity shop for £1. Published in 2012 from the Victoria and Albert Museum ,the author is Sinty Stemp.

The 160 page book covers all aspects of what constitutes Hollywood style, including costume design, elegance,flapper style, jewellery, makeup; using quotes from the people of Hollywood.

Below are some examples.

 

CARY GRANT:  I was the only one who approved my clothes. Hitchcock trusted me implicitly to select my own wardrobe……generally I wore simple,tasteful clothes – the same kind of clothes I wear off-screen.”

 

STEVEN SPEILBERG  on JOAN CRAWFORD:  ” She’s five feet 4 inches but looks 6 feet on the screen.”

 

 

ADRIAN:  “A character can be sketched by virtue of scissors, needle and thread – clothes talk!”

“Who would believe that my career would rest on Joan Crawford’s shoulders!”

 

MAE WEST:  “Low necklines stylish? They’re imperative.”

“Say what you want about long dresses but they cover a multitude of shins.”

 

Kenneth Tynan :  “At that time (1920s and 30s) the King thug on the Warner lot was EDWARD G. ROBINSON ,wearing vast lapels like the swept back wings of a jet.”

 

“Before a shot,GARBO always asked her cameraman , “Is ze feets in?’

Her concern was not to conceal her feet if the answer was yes, but to change out of bedroom slippers she wore for comfort under even the most ornate costume.”

 

John Huston on EDITH HEAD: ” It is said of Edith that the Oscar is written into her contract; she has more Oscars than anyone else in Hollywood.”

 

Lille Dache, milliner :     Nobody thinks of CARMEN MIRANDA without a turban loaded with flowers, fruit, beads and bangles. Usually I restrain myself a little. But with Carmen, the more fantastic fruits and birds and strange beads I could get together on one turban, the better.”

 

 

JAMES STEWART:  “I kept my own Western costume for most of my films. The hat, in particular, I wore it in every Western until one very sad day it completely disintegrated.”

 

 

KATHARINE HEPBURN:  “I just had good timing. The times fit me. Pants came in, low heels came in.”

 

 

 

 

 

MGM’s LEO THE LION

The lion at the heart of MGM from the studio’s beginning in 1924 was called Leo , but it wasn’t until the 1950s that the studio used a lion actually called Leo!

MGM inherited the Lion logo from the Goldwyn studio. The following photo shows the various lions used from  1916. Not shown are TELLY (1928- 1930) and  COFFY (1932-1935).

(TANNER was the first to be filmed in color.)

 

 

But Leo was a lion without a roar until 1928 when MGM first recorded the lion’s sound for WHITE SHADOWS OF THE SOUTH SEAS.

So ‘Jackie’ was the first to roar.

Garbo doesn’t look too happy . This photo is from 1925, so I guess this is SLATS.

 

Filming the MGM mascot.

 

Advertising the MGM product, Leo( ie ‘Jackie’ ) was transported with his trainer round the country in 1930 in what was described as a ‘ large and commodious gilded cage’.

Appearing at the Liberty Theatre in Walla Walla, Washington State, Leo was welcomed by the Mayor of Walla Walla.

 

MGM’s poor lion was also subjected to a flying publicity tour in 1928 and called ‘LEO THE MGM FLYING LION.’

A plane was modified with a cage to hold  ‘Jackie’.

Unfortunately the plane crashed in the Arizona desert, but without any casualties.  It was reported that when the pilot finally contacted MGM, their first question was ,”How’s the lion.”

‘Jackie’ was retired to the Philadelphia Zoo in 1931.

 

 

The idea for this post came about after I attended a new hair salon called ROAR, run by a stylist called LEO!

 

The following are some photos showing the popularity of LEO!

I’d like to think that all the MGM lions were well looked after, but seeing them in cages doesn’t look good.

 

 

 

 

 

The Television series about the studio’s history.

 

The MGM Grand, Las Vegas

 

Leo in 2014