Monday, August 24, 2009


New York Times, April 3, 1932

Four new pictures, in addition to “Shopworn,” will be shown at the Paramount Theatre during the month of April. These are “Misleading Lady,” based on the stage hit of the same name and featuring Claudette Colbert, Edmund Lowe and Stuart Erwin; “This Is the Night,” with Lily Damita and Charles Ruggles; “Sky Bride,” with Richard Arlen, Jack Oakie and Virginia Bruce, and “Sinners in the Sun,” with Carole Lombard and Chester Morris.

The introductory work on Sidney Howard's film version of Dostoevsky's “The Brothers Karamazov” has begun in the West Coast studio of Samuel Goldwyn. Ronald Colman will take the part of Dmitri. Production has been tentatively scheduled to start May 15.

“Congress Dances,” which has been tentatively slated for the Rivoli Theatre, will have its premiere at the conclusion of the run of “One Hour With You” at the Rialto. The leading part in “Congress Dances” is taken by Lillian Harvey, assisted by Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, Henry Garat and others. It was produced by Erich Pommer and will be released by United Artists.

In order to seek local color Eddie Cantor has gone to Mexico, it is announced by Samuel Goldwyn. Mr. Cantor will appear as the main character in “The Kid From Spain.” Among new writers and composers for the same staff are Harry Ruby, Bert Kalmar and William Anthony McGuire. Messrs. Ruby and McGuire recently finished their work on “Horse Feathers,” in collaboration with S. J. Perlman. Mr. McGuire wrote “Kid Boots” and “Whooppee.”

A much-discussed subject of late has been that of misrepresentation in pictures dealing with newspaper film plays. The United Artists Corporation is the latest group to voice its opinion in the controversy in announcing that it has given its pledge “that pictures made by member producers of this company will assiduously refrain from bringing discredit upon the Fourth Estate.”

The pledge was given in a letter sent by Al Lichtman, vice president and general manager of United Artists, to the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers' Association.

“Reflection upon the American Press by stage and screen,” wrote Mr. Lichtman, “is regrettable, and I may say that no picture released by this company will bring discredit to your business.”

Several photoplays are to be started before April 15, according to an announcement by RKO-Radio. In one of these, to be entitled “The Roar of the Dragon,” Gwili Andre, who despite her non-Scandinavian name, is hailed as a “Norse beauty,” who will make her screen debut here. Other pictures announced by the same organization are: “Hold 'em in Jail,” a comedy based on the Sing Sing prison football team; “Hell Bent for Election,” a political satire, and “Is My Face Red?” said to deal with the worries of a New York columnist. Edna May Oliver will play the principal roles in the first two comedies.

Latest additions to the cast of “The Dark Horse,” a political drama now in production at the West Coast studios of First National Pictures, are Robert Warwick, Sam Hardy, Burton Churchill and Harry Holman. Other performers in this vehicle include Warren William and Bette Davis, Vivienne Osborne, Guy Kibbee and Frank McHugh.

Paramount Publix Corporation announces a picture tentatively entitled “Bride of the Enemy,” in which the stars will be Claudette Colbert and Clive Brook. Mr. Brook is just back in Hollywood after a six weeks' vacation in England.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


April 3, 1932

Among the surprises in “Horse Feathers,” the Four Marx Brothers' next comedy to be released by Paramount, is “Dance of the College Professors.” Harold Hecht, local maitre de ballet, has trained twenty elderly, bearded actors for the burlesque. The dance takes place upon Groucho Marx's cinematic installation as president of a college.

Constance Bennett will take the major role in “The Truth About Hollywood,” an RKO-Radio picture, it is announced. This assignment has postponed the making of “Unmated,” which had been scheduled for immediate production. The Hollywood picture was written by Adele Rogers Hyland and photographic work on it will be started withing a week under the direction of George Cukor.

Maxwell Anderson has been engaged by Columbia Pictures to convert “The Washington Merry Go Round” into a film-play. He has already left for the Coast to start the work. Mr. Anderson collaborated with Laurence Stallings on “What Price Glory?”Among his other screen works are the story of “The Cock-eyed World,” the adaptation and dialogue of “All Quiet on the Western Front,” and the dialogue of “Trader Horn.”

First National Pictures announced that Vivienne Osborne, who has played leading parts in “The Famous Ferguson Case” and “Two Seconds,” has started acting in “The Dark Horse.”

Lionel Barrymore has signed a new contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, according to an announcement from Culver City. Mr. Barrymore has directed a number of M-G-M features, among them being “Madame X,” “The Rogue Song” and “The Unholy Night.”

“Heroe's of the West,” by Peter B. Kyne, has gone into production at Universal City, The main parts are taken by Onslow Stephens and Jacqueline Wells. Others in the cast are Ed Cobb, Jules Cowles, Martha Mattox, Harry Tenbrook and Frank Lackteen.

Jackie Cooper, accompanied by his mother, is due to arrive in New York for a brief stay.

Richard Barthelmess, First National star, now on his way from the Orient to Europe, spent Easter Sunday in Bombay. He is due to arrive in Naples on April 4. He will go from there to Paris and soon thereafter he will embark for New York. Mr. Barthelmess is accompanied by his wife. They will leave for Hollywood after a brief stay there. His next picture will be “The Cabin in the Cotton.”

Warner Brothers announce that the following will be in the cast of “New York Town,” which is based on a play by Ward Morehouse: Joan Blondell, Eric Linden, Inez Courtney, Lysle Talbot, Gloria Shea, Humphrey Bogart and Jobyna Howland.

Among plays to be adapted for motion pictures is “Harlem,” the Negro play by William Jordan Rapp and Wallace Thurman. It will be screened by Universal Pictures Corporation.

Thirty-three children have been selected by Paramount for roles in “The Strange Case of Clara Deane.” The children, ranging in age from two to eleven years, will appear in orphanage scenes with Wynne Gibson and 4-year-old Cora Sue Collins, who plays one of the important parts in the picture.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Upon returning to Europe after an engagement of several months in Hollywood, Lil Dagover, the well-known German screen actress, hastened to add her contribution to the tales about “hardships” being endured by the greater and lesser lights of the film metropolis since the motion pictures learned to talk. In an interview printed in the Neue Freie Presse of Vienna, Frau Daugover is quoted as saying:

“Things have changed a great deal in Hollywood in the five years since my previous visit there. Most of the stars of the silent films have faded out and those who have been able to hold their places have modified their demands and views materially. The snobbishness of the old days has vanished. Today it is just a question of work; not, 'I must have an expensive car because I am the irreplaceable diva.' Competition by the actors from the theatre, many of whom are brought from the North, is the main reason for the altered conditions.

“Hollywood has ceased to be a paradise, for today even the work itself if no longer a pleasure. Extreme concentration of will-power is needed in order to be able to endure the activities, which always begin at 9 o'clock in the morning and often continue until 3 o'clock the next morning. Of course this is bad for the social life. Only once did I have occasion to meet all the big figures of the film metropolis – at the Mayfair Ball, which I attended in company with the family of Oscar Straus, the composer,”

Frau Dagover told her interviewer that she had just signed a contract for a talking part in the operetta “Teufelsreiter.”

Anna Sten, the Russian actress who supported Emil Jannings in “Tempest” and who appeared in the German version of “The Brothers Karamazov,” has been engaged by Samuel Goldwyn for United Artists. Miss Sten was born at Kiev of a Russian father and a Swedish mother. At the age of 15 she was admitted to the Russian Film Academy and later played in one of the Stanislavsky Art companies, appearing in Pirandello plays and works by Ibsen and Maeterlinck. She became interested in motion picture work, however, and she returned to the screen in a number of Russian films, including “The Yellow Pass.” She expects to leave Paris for Hollywood about the middle of next month.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who's Who This Week In Pictures

Elissa Landi, who acts the principal role in "Devil's Lottery" at the Roxy Theater, is a Venetian, but was brought up in England. Her mother is the Countess Zenardi-Landi. Before taking to the stage and screen seriously, she wrote two novels, "Neilson" and "The Helmers." She joined an English stock company at Oxford in order to secure material for the writing of plays. After minor parts, she scored in the leading feminine role in “Storm,” and later played in “Lavender Ladies,” “The Constant Nymph” and “The Stag.” She left the stage for motion pictures and appeared in eight film productions made in England, France and Sweden. In January, 1930, she appeared with Adolphe Menjou in a French picture, “My Kind of a Father.” Miss Landi went to Hollywood in the Fall of 1930, and has appeared in the films “Body and Soul,” “Always Good-bye,” “Wicked” and “The Yellow Ticket.”

Alexander Kirkland, also in “Devil's Lottery,” was born in Mexico City. He was educated at Taft School, Waterbury, Conn., and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. The stage attracted him, and he made his debut in “R. U. R.,” a New York Theater Guild production. Remaining with the Theater Guild for two years, he appeared in several plays, including “Yellow Jacket,” “Month in the
Country,” “l'Aignon,” “Marseillaise” and “Wings Over Europe.”

On a vacation trip to the West he got as far as Hollywood, where he drifted into the motion picture field. He has appeared in such screen works as “Surrender,” "Charlie Chan's Chance” and “Almost Married.” Mr. Kirkland's father is an attorney in Mexico City. His grandfather was Rear Admiral Kirkland of the United States Navy.

Barbara Stanwyck, the stellar performer in “Shopworn,” the feature at the Paramount, was christened Ruby Stevens. She developed into a graceful dancer as time went by, and being forced to earn her own living, through being left an orphan, she worked as a telephone operator for two years, after which she was employed in the pattern room of the Conde Nast Publications. She latter applied for a position as typist for a music publishing concern. While waiting to see the manager she heard some people talking about the revue then being rehearsed on the Strand Roof, and this she joined. Next, she was in the chorus of “Keep Cool,” known for the first time as Barbara Stanwyck. After stage experience in “The Noose” and “Burlesque,” she took up screen acting. Her first part was in “Behind Locked Doors,” but it was her role in “Ladies of Leisure” that brought her a contract with Columbia. Since then she has acted in “Ten Cents a Dance,” “The Miracle Woman” and “Forbidden.”

Lucien Littlefield, who takes an important part in “Shopworn,” was born at San Antonio, Texas. After appearing in stock shows he went to Hollywood, where he played first in “Rose of the Rancho.” He has been seen in “Tom Sawyer,” “Scandal Sheet,” “Reducing,” “Queen of Main Street,” “No, No, Nanette” and 'Young as You Feel.”

Zasu Pitts, the comedienne, who also appears in “Shopworn,” was born at Parsons, Texas, and reached the screen via amateur theatricals. She first appeared in “The Little Princess” and other parts without any marked attention. But when von Stroheim cast her in the feminine lead in “Greed” she was hailed as a clever actress. Since then she has contributed to the success of “The Big House,” “The Squall,” “Seed,” “War Nurse,” “The Secret Witness” and other productions.

In “Ladies of the Jury,” at the Mayfair, Edna May Oliver takes one of the leading parts. Miss Oliver was born at Boston and educated there. She began her stage career as an opera singer, but turned to the stage and appeared in her first Broadway role with Arnold Daly. Her successes include the plays, “Cradle Snatchers” and “Show Boat.” In the motion pictures she has won favor in “Cimarron” and “Laugh and Get Rich.”

Marian Marsh, a featured player in “Beauty and the Boss,” now at the Strand, was born in Trinidad, her real name being Violet Krauth. She says that she is a mixture of English, Irish, French and German. When she was a child her parents came to America and lived in Springfield, Mass., Boston, New York and latterly Hollywood. Her sister is Jean Morgan, also a film player, She took Marian to a studio to have a test made. Marian then appeared in minor parts in several films, and, for a brief period, she was on the stage, playing in “Young Sinners,” Miss Marsh's favorite role is that of Trilby in “Svengali.” To keep physically fit, Miss Marsh plays tennis, skates, rides horseback, swims and dances. Miss Marsh is 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 102 pounds. Her most recent pictures include “Five Star Final,” “The Road to Singapore,” “The Mad Genius,” “Under Eighteen” and “Alias the Doctor.”

Charles Butterworth, who is also to be seen in “Beauty and the Boss,” was born at South Bend, Ind., the son of a physician. His career had been mapped out for the law, but the college theatricals took his mind to the stage. He made an immediate hit as a comedian , but kept to the amateur stage. After having over come an early childhood ambition to become a piano tuner, Mr. Butterworth drifted into journalism for a brief spell and worked for a while on The South Bend Times. Then he went to New York and worked for a while on The New York Times. He became acquainted with J. P. McEvoy, who, after hearing Mr. Butterworth reciting “A Day at the Rotary Club,” engaged him for his revue, “Americana.” This was Mr. Butterworth's first professional theatrical test and he soon followed up his early success in such Broadway plays as “Allez Oop,” “Good Boy” and “Sweet Adeline.” After this last hit he was engaged by Warner Brothers and went to Hollywood.

Of his likes and dislikes Mr. Butterworth has said that his favorite picture is “Custer's Last Fight,” which he saw in the good old days in the saloons, and that his present ambition is to guess his weight on a penny slot machine. But he is more serious when he speaks of music, for which he has a genuine passion.

Mr. Butterworth wrote recently: “My hobbies are bobbing for apples, reading pamphlets, watching water go over a dam, and watching men hoist safes into high office windows. I feel terrible most of the time. I have spots before my eyes, but perhaps no one has noticed them. My heart pounds rather badly after running up twelve flights of stairs. I have an aunt in Flint, Mich., who wears birds on her hats.” Mr. Butterworth's latest pictures include “Life of the Party,” “Illicit,” “Fame,” “The Mad Genius” and “Side Show.”

Warren William went into picture work comparatively recently. He was born at Aitkin, Minn., his father being a newspaper man. The reputed lure of journalism, however, had no fascination for the younger William, and he expressed a desire to become a marine engineer. When the war broke out he joined up. And when he returned he drifted to the stage, having taken a part in army theatricals in France. He has acted in Ibsen and Strindberg plays.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


April 3, 1932

Production executives at the M-G-M studios approach the final quarter of the 1931-32 season with several pictures currently in work and others in various stages of preparation for the screen.

“Strange Interlude” is expected to vie with “Grand Hotel” in matter of popularity. Eugene O'Neill's characters will live again on the screen in the persons of Norma Shearer, Clark Gable, Henry Walthall, May Robson and Ralph Morgan.

Current events of the news pages will find their reflection in “China Seas.” Tod Browning will direct Clark Gable in this photoplay immediately on his completion of work in “Strange Interlude.”

Ramon Novarro is at work under Sam Wood's direction in “Huddle,” a story of campus and football romance. This novel will find Madge Evans , Una Merkel and Martha Sleeper as its principle protagonists.

Jackie Cooper's next picture will be “Limpy,” an adaptation from the William Johnston novel of the same name. Chic Sale, Dorothy Peterson, Ralph Graves, Helen Parrish, Gus Leonard and Oscar Apfel are seen in support of the juvenile star.

Marie Dressler began work last week with Polly Moran in “Prosperity,” under the direction of Leo McCarey.

Marcel de Sano will shortly get under way with one of the most-discussed stories of the year. Katherine Brush's “The Red-Headed Woman.” No cast has as yet been assigned for this bit of theatrical property.

Walter Huston heads the cast of “Night Court,” a new melodrama dealing with corrupt courts and judges in a great city, with Phillips Holmes and Anita Page in leading roles. Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt, John Miljan and Tully Marshall all have parts in “Night Court.”

Charles Riesner, director of M-G-M's three quite popular comedies, “Caught Short,” “Reducing” and “Politics,” is preparing to make in audible from that great favorite, “Turn to the Right.”

Edgar Selwyn will direct Faith Baldwin's “Skyscraper.”

Monta Bell has been added to M-G-M's directorial staff to make “Downstairs,” John Gilbert's next, from a story suggested by the actor.

Charles Brabin is working on “After All.” This is a picturization of the John Van Druten stage play of the same name, which was seen on Broadway last season. Margaret Perry repeats the role which she had in the stage production, and Robert Young, Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt, Donald Cook, Laura Hope Crews, Myrna Loy and others play prominent parts.