Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Projection Jottings

May 1, 1932

Production has been started at the Paramount shop on Maurice Chevalier’s next film, “Love Me Tonight,” a musical romance, with lyrics and music by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart.

The screen play represents a collaboration by Samuel Hoffenstein, Waldemar Young and George Marion, Jr. from the original Continental play by Leopold Marchand and Paul Armont.

Supporting M. Chevalier are Jeanette MacDonald, Charles Ruggles, Charles E. Butterworth, Myrna Loy, C. Aubrey Smith, Elizabeth Patterson and Blanche Frederici. Rouben Mamoulian is in charge of the film.

Isabel Jewell has arrived in Hollywood to play in the approaching screen version of “Blessed Event.” She is the third member of the Broadway cast to be summoned to duplicate their original parts in front of the talking cameras.

Milton Wallace and Allen Jenkins preceded her by two weeks. Lee Tracy, who will play the lead in this comedy of a tabloid columnist, has signed a new contract with the Warners and seems likely to continue in pictures for some time.

Larry Baretto, author of “Children of Pleasure,” is now on the Coast collaborating with Courtenay Terrett on the screen adaptation of his book. This script will soon enter production, under the same title, as Ruth Chatterton’s second film for First National.

In addition to Miss Chatterton, George Brent and Paul Cavanaugh have already been announced for the cast.

Frances Dee, one of Paramount’s comely young women, has signed a new contract with the company. Her next appearance will be with Wynne Gibson and Pat O’Brien in ”The Strange Case of Clara Deane,” which is awaiting release.

Miss Dee is preparing to begin work with Stuart Erwin in “Merton of the Talkies,” an up-to-date microphonic version of Harry Leon Wilson’s romance of Hollywood. This will probably be one of the Summer releases.

Norma Shearer’s next enterprise will be “Smilin’ Through,” an up-to-date version of Allan Langdon Martin’s stage piece. The film will go into production at the MGM studios as soon as Miss Shearer completes work in “Strange Interlude.” Sidney Franklin, who supervised Miss Shearer in “Private Lives” last Winter, will make “Smilin’ Through.”

Two directors will guide the destinies of “Forgotten Commandment,” Paramount’s drama of modern Russia, in which Irving Pichel, Gene Raymond and Sari Maritza will appear.

Louis Gasnier, one of the pioneer directors of the films, and William W. Schorr, Russian stage director, will divide the supervision of the new picture.

Episodes from Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” are to be incorporated in “Forgotten Commandments,” which is from a story by James B. Fagan and Agnes Brand Leahy.

Ralph Graves is the latest of the screen players to take up writing and directing as a sideline. Under his new contract with MGM he will distribute his talents in three directions. For this company Mr. Graves has already completed roles in “Huddle,” with Ramon Novarro, and in Jackie Cooper’s new film, as yet un-titled.

Bing Crosby, who has taken his croon to the Paramount lot for a series of features, will probably get started on his first full-length picture in the next fortnight. In these anxious times, the company intends to make as few commercial mistakes as possible with their pet songbird.

Milton Feld, of the releasing organization has been assigned to bring the theater point of view to the Crosby set. The plan now is to feature Mr. Crosby in five pictures over a period of three years.

“Merrily We Go to Hell” is the frisky title for the Paramount version of “Jerry and Joan,” the college prize novel which originally went under the title of “I, Jerry, Take Thee, Joan.” Fredric March and Sylvia Sidney will be the principal personages in the story, and Florence Britton, who was a co-ed at the University of California not so long ago, has also been enrolled in the cast.

The “Scarface” situation is still bristling. Howard Hughes, militant producer of the gangster picture, believes that an organized conspiracy is on foot to keep the film out of those states with censor boards. He announced from his Hollywood mélange last week that his attorneys will fight the censors in the courts, and added that he has invited Clarence Darrow, Samuel Untermeyer, Garfield Hays and Morris L. Ernst to help in the battle for motion-picture liberty.

The young producer is now exhibiting his film in some of the States that are without censorship boards. The Ohio board broke the ice a fortnight ago by passing “Scarface,” but the remaining groups, led by the New York and Pennsylvania bodies, continue to frown on some of the more spectacular phases of the film.

Mr. Hughes issued a statement on the situation last week which read in part:

“It becomes a serious threat to the freedom of honest expression in America when self-styled guardians of the public welfare, as personified by our film censor boards, lend their aid and influence to the abortive efforts of selfish and vicious interests to suppress a motion picture simply because it depicts the truths about conditions in the United States which have been front-page news since the advent of prohibition.

“In order to obtain justice in the case of ‘Scarface’ I intend to file suit immediately in the New York State courts to restrain the New York censors from further interference with the exhibition of the picture in its original version. Similar action will be taken in other States and cities if necessary.”

Paramount will take advantage of the Olympic Games festivities to make a comedy with the international contests for a background. Jack Oakie will be the leading fun-maker and W. C. Fields, who hasn’t been on a motion picture set since he appeared with Marilyn Miller last year in “Her Majesty, Love,” was engaged last week to help matters along.

This production is still in the tentative stage, with not even a working title to guide it.

When he has completed “Revolt,” Mary C. McCall’s story of the Russian Revolution, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. will be featured in a film to be titled “Some Call It Love.”

Rian James is writing the story. Mr. James has already supplied the younger Fairbanks with one picture, “Love Is a Racket,” which is to be released shortly. “Some Call It Love” is about an aviator and a parachute jumper and will probably go into production in June.

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