February 29, 1932 - Excerpted from the New York Times
An unusually large number of plays and novels are being adapted to the screen for forthcoming Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer productions. Each of the six pictures now under way at Culver City is derived from a play or novel. In one case, that of “Grand Hotel,” a novel and a play by the same author were used in making the screen adaptation.
“The Wet Parade” was adapted for screen purposes from the Upton Sinclair novel of the same name, dealing with prohibition. Under the direction of Victor Fleming, the cast includes Walter Huston, Dorothy Jordan, Lewis Stone, Wallace Ford, Neil Hamilton, Robert Young, Jimmy Durante, Myrna Loy, John Miljan and Joan Marsh.
Vicki Baum’s novel, “Grand Hotel,” was dramatized and ran for more than a year at the National Theater. For the screen version the film company assembled a cast headed by Greta Garbo and John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery and Lionel Barrymore. Edmund Goulding was given the directorial assignment for this film, which is now in the final stage of production.
Ramon Novarro’s new picture, “Huddle,” is a screen transcription from Francis Wallace’s novel of the same name, published serially in College Humor in 1931. This football story is being directed by Sam Wood, and included in the cast are Madge Evans and Una Merkel.
In “Limpy,” Jackie Cooper’s new picture, the juvenile star of “Skippy” and “Sooky” plays a crippled newsboy. William Johnston’s novel, “Limpy,” has been brought to the screen under the direction of Harry Pollard. Charles (Chic) Sale has a leading role in this photoplay, with Dorothy Peterson, Helen Parrish, Andy Shuford and Gus Leonard in the supporting cast.
Eugene O’Neill’s Pulitzer prize-winning play, “Strange Interlude,” was adapted to the screen to serve as a special production with Norma Shearer and Clark Gable in leading roles. Among others selected for the cast, under the direction of Robert Z. Leonard, are Ralph Morgan, Alexander Kirkland and Henry B. Walthall.
Ivor Novello’s stage play, “the Truth Game,” will serve as Robert Montgomery’s new starring film, with Nora Gregor, formerly of Max Reinhart’s Vienna company, in the leading feminine role. Nils Asther, Edward Everett Horton, Heather Thatcher, Frederick Kerr and C. Aubrey Smith are cast in supporting roles.
Pictures soon to go into production at the Culver City studios include four novels and one unproduced play. “China Seas,” a novel by Crosbie Garstin, will be directed by Todd Browning, who has just completed “Freaks,” a story of circus life.
“Footlights,” which will serve as Buster Keaton’s next picture, is by Clarence Budington Kelland and is at present appearing in The Saturday Evening Post. The story is to be directed by Edward Sedgwick, with a comedy cast still to be selected.
Joan Crawford’s next picture will be “Letty Lynton,” adapted to the screen from the novel by Marie Belloc Lowndes. Under direction of Clarence Brown, the leading male role in the forthcoming picture will be played by Nils Asther. No other announcements as to cast have been made.
“Night Court,” written originally for the stage by Mark Hellinger and Charles Beahan, will reach the screen with Walter Huston, Phillips Holmes, Anita Page and Lewis Stone in prominent roles. It will be directed by W.S. Van Dyke, with continuity and dialogue by Bayard Veiller and Lenore Coffee.
The temporary cast announced for “Skyscraper” included Madge Evans, Robert Young and Una Merkel. This adaptation of Faith Baldwin’s novel of the same name will find its way to the screen under direction of Edgar Selwyn, whose last picture was “The Sin of Madelon Claudet.”
Universal Pictures continue to keep their studio busy. In addition to four productions finished since the first of February and now in the cutting room, there are five still in work, besides a serial and several short features, and four ready to go into production the minute Carl Laemmle Jr., returns to Hollywood from New York.
With the “big push” of the last few weeks clicking beyond its objectives, the younger Laemmle took the opportunity to accompany his father to new York for two weeks of theatergoing. The Laemmle party arrived in New York on Friday.
Before the first of March the five productions now in work will undoubtedly be finished. They are “Mountains in Flame,” “Night World,” “Cohens and Kellys in Hollywood,” “The Stowaway” and “The Information Kid.”
“Mountains in Flame” is a story of the World War on the Italian front. It concerns the fortunes of an Austrian mountaineer and his Italian mountain-climbing companion.
Another production which will finish this week will be “Night World.” This picture was the result of Hobart Henley’s trip to New York. The things that intrigued him most here were the night clubs., and to carry out his idea P.J. Wolfson and Alan Rivken developed a story which is said to have an unusual ending.
“Cohens and Kellys in Hollywood,” is about finished. It had to be completed in a hurry because it is the annual St. Patrick’s Day release of the Universal company. This number is the sixth in the series which began with “The Cohens and Kellys.”
James Whale also suggested to Carl Laemmle, Jr. that he bring R. C. Sherriff from England to adapt Erich Maria Remarque’s novel “The Road Back,” which James Whale will direct. Mr. Whale’s next picture, however, will be “The Old Dark House,” in which Boris Karloff will undoubtedly be featured.
In the meantime Mr. Whale is delighted that his third production, “The Impatient Maiden,” should have differed so radically from “Journey’s End,” “Waterloo Bridge,” and “Frankenstein.” He is one director who refuses to be catalogued by Hollywood. “The Impatient Maiden” is the story by Donald Henderson Clarke, which, after some months of effort, was translated into screen form satisfactory to the Hays office.
Still another production completed in February was “Steady Company,” with Norman Foster, June Clyde and Henry Armetta. It was directed by Edward Ludwig.
Still awaiting a satisfactory title is the adaptation of Emil Gavreaux’s novel, “Hot News.” It has been previously referred to in the studio as “Ambition,” and was completed under that title with a cast including Charles Bickford, Rose Hobart, Pat O’Brien, Claudia Dell, Glenda Farrell, Tully Marshall, J. Farrell MacDonald and Harry Beresford.