Private Hell 36……….Dollars That Burn


”Blowing  Wild”………………”Wild Ballad.”




”Westward The Women”………..”CARAVAN OF WOMEN.”



”IF I Were King.”   Same title.





”Johnny Concho”………..”Redemption of a Coward.”



The Unsuspected………The Alibi of Satan


Call Northside 777  ……..Call North 777.


Double Indemnity…….The Flame of Sin!



The Locket……….The Trace of a Memory



Talk of the Town……….He Came At Night.


Kiss The Blood off My Hands……..The Fearless.






My reaction to this early talkie was to wish it had been re-imagined in the 1940s as a film noir. All the ingredients are there – a spoilt rich girl who lands in jail and a district attorney who falls for her but prosecutes her anyway, and good scenes in court and in a women’s prison.


Claudette Colbert, Emma Dunn

Claudette Colbert plays Lydia Thorne,  a rich heiress who lives with her aunt,  Emma Dunn .
Lydia lead a a hedonistic life style which eventually catches up with her.

For most of the movie, Claudette’s character is quite unlikeable, spoilt and selfish. She  drives too fast and bribes highway cops to stop them giving her a penalty. Eventually she is responsible for the death of one of the motor cycle cops in a car chase and is charged with manslaughter.



Fredric March, Claudette Colbert.

Fredric March plays a hardworking prosecutor who proves Claudette’s guilt, even although he has fallen fo her. Being part of the rich set, Claudette can hardly believe she is going to prison.

Best line in the film comes in the prison setting when Claudette (as Lydia Thorne) meets her former maid, ‘Evans ‘. (No first name).

Claudette is surprised to see her , and the following dialogue expresses so perfectly that they are no longer employer and employee.

Claudette says, “Why, Evans !”  and the maid replies, ‘Why, Thorne.”

( The maid has been convicted of stealing Claudette’s jewels for her boyfriend , and Claudette ( who isn’t too bothered about the theft) was supposed to appear at her trial and support her so the maid would get a shorter sentence. But Claudette  simply forgets about the court date.)

Hilda Vaughan, as ‘Evans’, is only in a few scenes but conveys the character well – a plain looking woman who stole to try and keep her boyfriend from leaving her.


The film falls down in the last few minutes when Claudette has a sudden change of heart – throughout the film she  vows vengeance on the lawyer who put  her in jail, and then she realises she really loves him!


Fredric March, Claudette Colbert.

Claudette and Fredric are excellent in their respective roles.

I was interested to see that the film’s director was George Abbott  who is best known for all the Broadway musicals he directed (The Pajama Game, What Lola Wants). He did a few films in the period 1929-1931.

The film is stretched out at just under 90 minutes. It could easily have been trimmed by about 20 minutes with better pacing.


Natalie Moorhead

Perhaps because of her striking platinum blonde hairstyle, Natalie Moorhead stood out in a small role as a friend of the heiress.

Uncredited as party guests were Bess Flowers, Frances DeeMary Gordon also appears briefly.

Louise Beavers, who would later re-unite with Claudette in “Imitation of Life” , has a small role as one the prison inmates.



Love this photo advertising the film outside the Kentucky cinema. COME IN! COOL OFF!

The car has a sign, “Advertising van, No.1” and is hauling the van advertising the film – and Westinghouse Electric Company. I imagine it would move from cinema to cinema as the film opened.


  • I came across this film from 1956, Running Target on You Tube. It’s is well worth a view in my opinion .
    It provided a rare starring role for Arthur Franz (1920-2006) who made quite a few films in the 50s including the more well known, The Sniper (1952). He was George Raft’s brother in Red Light (1949).

In Running Target, Arthur plays modern day Sheriff Scott.
Set in the Colorado Rockies, thankfully the film is in color. I don’t think there were any indoor sets, so it must have looked great on the big screen when it was released in ‘56.

This is the story of a posse trailing four prison escapees , being tracked by Sheriff Scott and four other locals who have joined Scott  who is determined to bring the escapees back without bloodshed.

One  of them is Jaynes (Richard Reeves) whose pride and joy is his high powered scope rifle . He’s along just so he can get some target practice, even though Scott says, “This is a posse, Jaynes, not a lynch mob.”

As the film opens, high up in the hills where they have been tracking the four men, Jaynes has just shot dead one of them. They find a few things ( cigarettes, a baseball) he has stolen from the gas station belonging to Smitty (Doris Dowling) who is part of the posse because, she says, the convicts stole a rifle from her – and she knows the area.



Richard Reeves, Arthur Franz.


Doris Dowling, Richard Reeves.


Doris Dowling.

I didn’t recognise Doris Dowling – she looked rather like Julie Adams.   Doris (1923-2004) followed her sister Constance to Hollywood. She only made about a dozen films in Hollywood. The two sisters moved to Rome and made several Italian films. Doris did a lot of TV in Hollywood in the 50s and 60s.


Myron Healy

What a pity, Myron Healy is only in two scenes and has no dialogue! But his character provides a good twist at the end of the film.

The film’s director was Marvin R. Weinstein and according to IMDb, this was his only film, though he had been a cinematographer. I was impressed with some of the visuals.

An independent production which I am glad to have seen.





Bruce Cabot, Fay Wray. KING KONG.


Rita Hayworth



Felicia Farr, Richard Widmark. THE LAST WAGON


Jean Harlow.


Sterling Hayden.


Deanna Durbin.


Clark Gable.



Gail Russell.


Madeleine Carroll




Gene Tierney.



Norma Shearer,  Irving Thalberg  at the White House. 1929






The Inner Sanctum Mysteries blu-Ray release contains all six of the films starring Lon  Chaney  Jr.
“Inner Sanctum”  was originally a Simon & Schuster book club publication (mystery and suspense stories), and then became a popular radio series in 1941.

Universal Studios wanted  a series for Chaney who had done several horror films in the early 1940s – The Wolf Man, Son of  Dracula – though the Inner Sanctum stories were more mystery than horror.

Universal didn’t use any of the book or radio plots and made    the 6 films in the series over a 17 month period from 1943 to 1945. Unlike other series such as The Saint or The Falcon (with the same leading character), Lon Chaney played a different character in each of the 6 films.

  • And here comes the  problem – the leading character (played by Chaney) in all 6 films is an urbane, sophisticated professional man – lawyer, scientist, doctor, artist, college professor  ( and a hypnotist!) – and a magnet for women!
    Is this Lon Chaney? I dont think so . Although only in his late 30s, Chaney always looked older. His permanent expression in the films seemed to be worried.
    Still, lovely actresses like Patricia Morison, Anne Gwynne, Brenda Joyce, Evelyn Ankers, Jean Parker, Tala Birell    all find him irresistible.
    In addition to the above ladies, there are great supporting casts: Milburn  Stone, J.Carrol Naish, Douglas Dumbrille, Paul Kelly, Thomas Gomez, Lloyd Bridges .

Lon Chaney.

One of the series’ themes is voice-over stream of consciousness by Chaney. We hear his thoughts : “Why is this happening to me….”    “I’ll never paint again”……. “I mustn’t burden her with my troubles”…… “Tragedy is determined to follow me wherever I go.”

(I told you Chaney had permanent worried look through the films!)

The poor man loses his memory, his sight, his mind – and his wife (twice!)

Still, after he decapitates J.Carrol Naish in STRANGE  CONFESSION, his lawyer says to  Brenda Joyce:

“Dont  worry, he’ll be alright. I’ll do everything  I can for him!”


Each film, except for the last one, have the same introduction – a man’s head floating around in a fish bowl talking about monsters and murder!


The head and voice belongs to actor David Hoffman.



Anne Gwynne, Lon Chaney, Evelyn Ankers

Best line in “Weird Woman” comes from Elisabeth Risdon to  Evelyn Ankers:

There’s something about your smile that makes me think of Jack the Ripper!”




Jean Parker, Lon Chaney

Lon  has the same moustache in each film.


Paul Stewart, Jean Parker.


Acquanetta, Lon Chaney.






Lon Chaney, Brenda Joyce


Brenda Joyce, Lon Chaney, J.Carrol Naish


Nice to see Rosalind Ivan  in PILLOW OF DEATH, playing against type. She lives with her relatives in an old dark house. She describes herself – “I’m just a poor relative from England.”
Unlike her usual shrewish roles, Rosalind plays a cheerful lady who cooks for the family and accepts her lot in life. 


The series is well worth a look if only for the casts. Just a pity we couldn’t have had a different leading man in  each film. The villains are often unexpected.
I expect the films happily played the second part of a double bill and were popular with 1940s audiences.

(There was a 1948 film with the title, INNER SANCTUM, starring Mary Beth Hughes. A good mystery akin to a “ Twilight Zone” episode. ) .



Loretta Young

……….I was amazed to find these photos of an enormous kettle drum which had been signed by many Hollywood stars in 1940.
Does anyone know the background behind it?  Was it done for charity, I wonder.
I could make out some of the star names – Bette Davis is prominent in the middle. Also Janet Gaynor, Jane Withers, Walter Abel,King Vidor, Grace Moore, Ann Sothern, Edward Everett Horton, Robert Armstrong, ‘Jim’ Cagney, Claude  Rains, Gloria Swanson, Margaret Lindsay , Pat O’Brien, Robert Taylor, Herbert Marshall, Al  Jolson and Ruby Keeler.


Clark Gable signs the drum. (Clark in costume for “Parnell.”)



……….Like many other stars, Linda Darnell  was an artist , having studied art before going to Hollywood. I’d love to find other paintings she did and whether many have been sold.

This landscape by Linda is on sale for $3,000 at



Linda was a sculptor too.


………..Dialogue Quotes from THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT:

Joe (George Raft): “It’s a classy chassis.”

Cassie (Ann Sheridan ): “You couldn’t even afford the head lights.”

Ann Sheridan, George Raft.


Lana (Ida Lupino): “The doors made me do it.”

Ida Lupino



(Quotes thanks to classic movie


………Eventually she did want to be left alone.

Greta Garbo


Today, 28th April,2021 there is an auction in New York from the estate of  Celeste Holm (1917-2012)


Celeste , at the age of 20, was in a touring cast of HAMLET, starring Leslie Howard. The above scrapbook was a gift  to Celeste and her husband Wesley Addy from Leslie Howard’s  widow.

Estimate $1,000 to $1,500.


This is a 1947 program for the Academy Awards.


What an amazing list of celebrities appearing at the Awards show.

Estimate for program: $300 to $500.



A signed photo of Dooley Wilson who had costarred with Celeste in the Broadway show, BLOOMER GIRL in 1944.

Estimate, $2,000 to $3,000.

The  Sarah Siddons Award , given to Celeste for her performance in MAME in Chicago in 1967.

The fictional Siddons society (from ALL ABOUT EVE) became a real awards society in Chicago in 1952.
Estimate: $10,000 to $15,000.

All the items from the  Celeste Holm collection can be viewed  at ( “stage and screen sale”.)


A Celeste Holm gallery:

With John  Garfield. GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT..


With her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT.


With Cornel Wilde and Richard Widmark. ROAD HOUSE.


With Anne Baxter. ALL ABOUT  EVE.





With Yul Brynner. THE KING AND I.  ( Celeste took over from Gertrude Lawrence on Broadway.)




I was fortunate to see Celeste in LADY IN THE DARK in Nottingham in 1981. A precious memory.


With Frank Sinatra. HIGH SOCIETY


Wesley Addy in KISS ME DEADLY.

Wesley Addy was Celeste’s fourth husband. They were married from 1966 till his death in 1996. I’ll always remember Wesley for his brief role in one of my favourites, “Kiss Me Deadly”.  His disdain for Mike Hammer was visceral. I wished he’d had a bigger role.




Note: The Leslie Howard scrapbook sold for $945.

The Oscar program went for $189.

The Dooley Wilson photo – $2520.

The Sarah Siddons Award didn’t sell.


Bette Davis on the set of DARK VICTORY.
it’s almost impossible to find a picture of Bette without a cigarette in her hand.



Jane Wyman, Charles Bickford, Lew Ayres. JOHNNY  BELINDA.


Charles Boyer, Jean Arthur, director Frank Borzage.HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT.



Mark Sandrich, Fred Astaire, Max Steiner.

Director Mark Sandrich directed 5 of the Astaire/Rogers musicals. He died of a heart attack in 1945 .

His sister was Ruth Harriet Louise who ,at age 22, was the top stills photographer at MGM from 1925 to 1930. Ruth also died young in 1940, aged 37.


1943  Carmen Miranda visits Alice Faye. HELLO FRISCO HELLO.


Bette Davis and Sally Sage , her stand in JEZEBEL.

(No cigarette.)


Barbara Stanwyck ,director Mitchell Leisen, Fred MacMurray. REMEMBER THE NIGHT.


William Wellman,  Robert Taylor. WESTWARD THE WOMEN.


Tyrone Power. RAWHIDE.


Lana Turner, Clark  Gable. SOMEWHERE I’LL FIND YOU.


…………GWTW Flash: May,1940.

British premiere of GONE WITH THE WIND was the greatest in London’s history. Notables attending  included  Winston Churchill,Robert Donat, Robert Montgomery and Leslie Howard.
Triple opening packed three theaters, Empire, Palace and Ritz. It is unlikely to be seen outside London till mid-autumn.



………..Picked up hardback copy of The Films Of Alice Faye (published 1972), and found it was not only signed by the author,W.Franklyn Moshier, but also by Miss Faye herself.

How lucky can you get!


The book covers all of Alice’s films, with wonderful illustrations and a foreword by director Henry King  who helmed IN OLD CHICAGO, ALEXANDER’S  RAGTIME BAND, LITTLE OLD NEW YORK.

Henry King details how “In Old Chicago” had a working title of “Mrs.O’Leary’s Cow” and that Darryl Zanuck wanted Jean Harlow and Clark Gable for the two lead roles.
Jean’s tragic death that summer almost ended in an indefinite postponement of the film.

King convinced the studio that Tyrone Power and Alice Faye would be ideal.


……….Coming on July 6th, 2021 from the Criterion Collection, BRINGING UP BABY on blu-Ray. Extras include a 1969 audio interview with Cary Grant; a 1977 interview with Howard Hawks; the 1937 short story by Hagar  Wilde on which the film is based.


…………It’s May , 1934 and your  Screenland movie magazine has a competition.

  • According to the rules, Clark Gable, no less, is offering  an Eastman Cine-Kodak 8 and projector if you can provide a pen portrait of no more than 15 words on any one of the following stars – Marion Davies, Clark Gable, Helen Hayes, Myrna Loy, Madge Evans, Jean Parker.
  • One of the examples given is for Joan Blondell:

“Shop girl’s holiday ; torch singer on a pianola.”

(any ideas which Blondell films are being referred to?)

I imagine the movie camera and projector would be quite an expensive buy.