Friday, June 19, 2009

Who's Who This Week In Pictures

Of the many South Americans who have made conspicuous careers in motion pictures, Lupe Velez of Mexico is one of the most successful. The very titles of the pictures in which she has starred – “Hell Harbor,” “Tiger Rose,” “The Storm,” “Lady of the Pavements” – indicate her tempestuous temperament.

In “The Broken Wing,” at the Paramount theater, she is the heroine of the action and passion, typical Lupe Velez.

Her real name is Guadalupe Villalobos, and she was born at San Luis Potosi on July 18, 1909. Her father was a Mexican Army officer. From her mother, who was an opera singer, she inherited her taste for the dramatic. As a child she danced and sang Mexican folk songs.

When she was 15 she played in the musical comedy “Rataplan” and was “discovered” by Hollywood scouts. She has since appeared in such productions as “Stand and Deliver,” “Wolf Song” (with Gary Cooper), “The Gaucho” (with Douglas Fairbanks), “Where East Is West” (with Lon Chaney), “Resurrection,” “The Squaw Man” and “The Cuban Love Song” (with Lawrence Tibbett).

Another player in the same photoplay is Leo Carrillo. He comes of Spanish stock, but his family has lived for generations in California. He enjoyed a good education, but did not care much about “settling down.”

For some years he was a cartoonist on The San Francisco Examiner, and then he went on the stage. He has played many important parts in stock and other theatrical productions, but finally he found himself in the movies.

Among the pictures in which he took leading parts were “The Girl From Rio,” “Hell Bound,” “The Homicide Squad,” “Lasca of the Rio Grande” and “The Guilty Generation.”

His best remembered part on the “legitimate” stage was in “Lombardi, Ltd.”

“The Broken Wing” also has in its cast Melvyn Douglas, a native of Macon, Ga. He will be remembered from his motion picture debut in “Tonight or Never,” when he played opposite Gloria Swanson, and in “Prestige.”

Mr. Douglas was in stock productions at Chicago, Madison, Evansville, Sioux City, Columbus, Cleveland and Detroit before coming to the New York stage.

In “Girl Crazy,” which is to be presented at the Mayfair Theater, there are Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey and Mitzi Green.

Mr. Wheeler was born at Paterson, N. J. He began in a humble way as “prop” boy and “bit” player in stock companies. He drifted into vaudeville and at the age of 20 he was a headliner on the old circuits. His first important appearance as a comedian was in Ziegfeld’s “Rio Rita,” with Robert Woolsey. His first motion picture was in the screen adaptation of the same musical comedy hit. He has appeared in eight comedy films.

Mr. Woolsey, whose cinematographic career is almost parallel with that of Wheeler, was born at Oakland, Cal. For many years he was a professional jockey, but had to retire from the turf after a bad fall.

For Mitzi Green, born in New York City on Oct. 22, 1921, and who appeared on stage when she was only 3, a rosy future seems to be in store. On the occasion of her stage debut she did a clever imitation of Sadie Burt, and at 7 she did a “single.”

Mitzi has appeared in “Honey,” “Sooky,” “Skippy” and other films. The girl prodigy is fond of swimming, dancing, tennis and piano playing and she delights in horseback riding.

A newcomer to motion pictures, but well known in the sports sphere, is Johnny Weismuller, world champion swimmer, who is to be seen in “Tarzan, the Ape Man,” Edgar Rice Burroughs’s celebrated story, to be shown at the Capitol.

Mr. Weissmuller, a native Chicagoan, stands six feet four inches and weighs 190 pounds. As a boy, Johnny was thin and weak, so much so that his parents consulted physicians, who advised that he build up his body by swimming.

With him is Maureen O’Sullivan, the dark-haired, blue-eyed Irish colleen who came to this country to play with John McCormack in “Song o’ My Heart.”

She is a daughter of a Major in the British Army, and was brought up in a convent school at Roehampton, England. Her success in America was instantaneous. She has appeared with Will Rogers in “So This Is London,” in “The Princess and the Plumber” and in “A Connecticut Yankee.”

A third prominent member of the “Tarzan” cast is C. Aubrey Smith, the English actor who came to this country to stage plays and who went from regular theater to the motion pictures.

In 1927 he staged mixed Doubles” at the Bijou Theater in New York and in 1928 he took the part of Sir Basil Winterton in “The Bachelor Father” at the Belasco Theater.

His first American film appearance was in the film adaptation of “The Bachelor Father,” when he appeared with Marion Davies. Other pictures in which he has been featured include ‘’The Perfect Alibi,” “Daybreak,” based on Arthur Schnitzler’s novel; “Never the Twain Shall Meet,” “Just a Gigolo,” “The Man in Possession,” “Son of India,” “Guilty Hands,” “The Phantom of Paris” and “Surrender.”

George O’ Brien and Victor McLaglen act the principal parts in “The Gay Caballero” at the Roxy Theater. The former entered film work when he became the protégé of Thomas Meighan, and he has played in many photoplays. Mr. O’Brien has used the same big black horse in pictures for five years.

Mr. McLaglen is probably best remembered for his part as Captain Flagg in the film play of “What Price Glory?”

He was born in London but lived in South Africa for several years. His early life was crammed with adventure. Of imposing physique and a lover of all outdoors, he went to London, where – faute de mieux – he enlisted in the Royal Life Guards. Later he drifted to Canada, where he worked in mines in the Northern Ontario cobalt fields. He was an accomplished wrestler and boxer and could hold his own against celebrated professional pugilists.

When the war broke out Mr. McLaglen enlisted for service with the British forces and when with the Royal Irish Fusiliers to the Mesopotamian front. Upon his return to the United States he ventured into the motion-picture field, and there remained ever since. Among his earlier parts were roles in “Men of Steel” and “The River Pirate.”

He was also seen in “On the Level,” “Spring 3100,” “The Cock-Eyed World,” “The Black Watch,” “Strong Boys,” “Captain Lash,” “Hangman’s House,” “Mother Machree,” “Loves of Carmen,” “Percy,” “A Girl in Every Port,” “Hot for Paris,” “Happy Days,” “The Unholy Three,” “Dishonored” (with Marlene Dietrich), “Three Rogues,” “Women of All Nations,” “Annabelle’s Affairs” and “Wicked.”


diane said...

I have just seen Mitzi Green in
"Dude Ranch" and she was very
impressive. She was a real cutie
and the first child star Paramount
signed to a contract. She was
mainly an impersonator and some of
the clips of her from youtube are
very cringeworthy - but she was
also a very powerful singer for a
small child and when she was able
to just sing straight - "Sing You
Sinners" she was great.

GAH1965 said...

Personally I'm a big Mitzi Green fan and wish she has made more films, and that the ones that she did make were much more readily available for viewing today. She was a very talented mimic and comedienne.