Tuesday, March 30, 2010


April 19, 1932

Robert Young and Maureen O’Sullivan have been added to the cast of “Strange Interlude” at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. Norma Shearer and Clark Gable head the cast of this picturization of the Eugene O’Neill stage play, under the direction of Robert Z. Leonard. Alexander Kirkland, Ralph Morgan, Henry B. Walthall and May Robson are also among the players.

“The Strange Love of Molly Louvain,” recently completed at the First National studios, has had its preview at the Eastern offices of the company. The leading roles in the photoplay are taken by Ann Dvorak, Lee Tracy, Richard Cromwell, Leslie Fenton, Guy Kibbee, Frank McHugh, Donald Dillaway, Thomas Jackson and J. Farrell MacDonald.

Lewis Milestone, the director, who arrived recently in Hollywood after a sojourn in New York, will direct several new pictures for United Artists. Among these are “Rain.” Another will be an Al Jolson picture from an original story by Ben Hecht.

“The Devil and the Deep,” described as a “story of love and adventure woven into the background of a submarine disaster,” is announced by Paramount as a vehicle for Tallulah Bankhead and Gary Cooper. The picture will introduce to the screen Charles Laughton, London actor, who recently appeared in “Payment Deferred.” The screen play is being prepared by Harry Hervey, author of “Shanghai Express,” and Benn W. Levy, English playwright and author of “Springtime for Henry.”

Elissa Landi has begun work for her next Fox picture, “Burnt Offering,” following the completion of “The Woman in Room 13,” which is soon to be released. The new picture, which will be directed by Frank Lloyd, will also be a vehicle for Alexander Kirkland.

A French-language version of “High Pressure,” in which William Powell took the main part for Warner Brothers, has started production under the direction of Henry Blake. The part taken by Mr. Powell has been assigned to AndrĂ© Luguet. The French title of the picture is “Le Brasseur d’Affairs.”

Columbia Pictures closed negotiation last week for the distributing rights to “The Blonde Captive,” a picture of the more remote parts of Australia.

Chester Morris and Richard Arlen will be seen together in “Come On, Marines,” and have reported to the Paramount Hollywood studios for film tests. The film play is based on a story by James K. McGuinness and Thomas Boyd.

A warning to would-be motion picture actors who have neither stage training, screen personality nor money has been issued by B. P. Schulberg, director of productions for Paramount. “Disillusionment and heartbreak,” says Mr. Schulberg, “are apt to be the sole rewards for those whose only qualifications for film work are good looks and ambition. Those qualities counted a few years ago, but talking pictures have placed greater demands on actors and actresses.

How do motion picture actors and actresses memorize their lines? Hollywood gossip has it that some need seclusion and quiet and others crave music or companionship. Warner Baxter, according to Fox Film officials, likes music with Spanish rhythm while studying his lines. Joan Bennett writes her lines out in longhand. With Will Rogers matters are somewhat simplified, for his is given considerable latitude for improvisation; but he is one of the few who are allowed such liberty. Another of those few is Marie Dressler.


The most “rumored” person in town at the moment is Greta Garbo. She will sign with M-G-M; she will not sign; she will go back to Sweden; she will go to another organization; all these and more, all with the explanation that they are “inside tips,” float up and down the boulevard.

The best of the rumors and facts, with no indication of which is which, seem to be these: She has asked for an extension of her passport until next year; her manager, Harry Eddington, has resigned from M-G-M to be free to negotiate with some other company; if M-G-M does not meet her terms she will go elsewhere; when she is through with her next contract she will make a two-year tour of the world making personal appearances which, she believes, will net her a million dollars a year; then she will retire.

A record for prolonged shooting is being established by “Strange Interlude” at M-G-M. It is now in its tenth week, with at least two more to go. This is because of all the asides. For the first two weeks all scenes were shot four times. Then a plan was devised so that they are shot but twice. But, with retakes and all, it still runs each scene up to four to six takes.

Paramount is preparing Marlene Dietrich’s new film, untitled, for early production. It will differ from recent Dietrich roles in that it will be a Cinderella type of New York story, except that the transformation will take a period of time rather than be an overnight affair. It is the plan to vary her program from time to time and show that she can do other things. The studio says she will be “unrestrained” in the coming one.

RKO began shooting “The Truth About Hollywood” and “Is My Face Red?” – their two most important productions at the moment. Constance Bennett was switched to the Hollywood yarn after some studio executive read “Unmated,” which was cast and in rehearsal. After spending some $20,000 on the yarn, as happened in “Once in a Life Time,” some one read the script and found that it couldn’t be shown in any State having censorship. So, with the explanation that Adele Rogers St. John’s story is “more timely” and that “Unmated” was being held for future release, the studio asked everybody to just forget about it and please not mention the matter again.

The studio is most optimistic about “Is My Face Red?” Written by two boys in the RKO publicity office, Ben Markson and Allen Rivken, a rapid script is being prepared about a broadcasting New York columnist.

Announcement of a number of adventure pictures and continued activity among the independents is another item of the week’s news. Major studios are sending companies to Iceland, Greenland, the South Seas, the Straits Settlements and Africa to film blood-and-thunder yarns; independent leasing lots buzzed with activity as new deals were made public.

Hope, that is reputed to spring eternally but which has been in a dormant state in Hollywood for some time, again has reared its head.

Carl Laemmle, Jr. says that adventure films are the mode for the coming season. He is sending Dr. Arnold Fanck, maker of “White Hell of Pitz Palu,” “White Frenzy” and “Avalanche,” to film “Iceberg in Greenland” in a hitherto unphotographed locale.

“Early sound problems prevented us from sending companies outside the studio,” Mr. Laemmle said. “Out of 500 pictures not more than fifteen or twenty were made off the Hollywood lots. Sound is now a stable thing and we are having little trouble in photographing with portable equipment.

“We have almost ready for release “The Doomed Battalion,” made in the Austrian Tyrol. The Greenland picture, one in the Straits Settlements, one in Shanghai, another in Africa, and one in Yellowstone National Park will complete Universal’s globe trotting for the year.

“Sound put the studios in a story rut, but with its perfection and with an understanding of it the curse that has been on us for three years is lifted. Dialogue, of course, will continue to make talkers a national proposition, but American can again enjoy a universality of locale.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is sending W. S. Van Dyke of “Trader Horn” to Iceland for an untitled yarn. Douglas Fairbanks will arrive within a few days with his stuff from the South Seas. Sol Lesser is editing a number of travel and adventure films from far places.

The spurt in the independent market is interesting. Groups are being formed admittedly to make pictures for the major companies. There are two reasons for this. First, some of the majors are having difficulty getting enough money from the bankers to make their complete program and independents with angels or with other banking connections can provide product; second, independents are being encouraged so that their costs may be compared with major costs, with a possible revision of the latter as a result.

One of the major concerns frankly says that it is buying twelve pictures from an “indie” with the idea of comparing costs with their own. And if what the major suspects is true, the unemployment situation will be even more acute.

The week’s most interesting independent announcement came from M. C. Levee, until recently with Paramount. He has formed the Screen Guild, which is to make pictures probably for United Artists, and it will be done on a cooperative basis. Writers, directors, artists and technicians will be paid a small amount of cash for their efforts and will then share in the profits. This has been attempted in Hollywood before in that section known locally as “Poverty Row,” where pictures are made without money with quite disastrous results to the contributors, who, it developed, knew little of book-keeping. However, no one of Mr. Levee’s standing has ever offered a profit-sharing plan before on a legitimate basis, and people not under contract are quite hopeful.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

April 19, 1932


Hollywood, April 19 (UP)
Thrown from a horse during the filming of a western motion picture scene, Lina Basquette, noted film actress and dancer, was dragged 100 feet and injured badly late today.

She was riding fast down a steep incline in Hollywood hills when a sudden lurch of the horse threw her from the saddle. Her foot caught in a stirrup and she was dragged through bushes and over rocks before other members of the company could stop the horse.

Miss Basquette was playing opposite Buck Jones in a picture involving a wild chase. She was taken to her home. Physicians said she will be confined to her bed for a day or two.


Santa Barbara, Cal., April 18 (UP)
Rumors that Pola Negri, film star, is engaged to Phillip M. Chancellor, a young multi-millionaire, were definitely quashed today by the youth’s father, Dr. Phillip Chancellor.

“Phillip is over in Berlin at present,” the doctor said, “doing some archeological work. I doubt if he ever met Miss Negri. Besides, Phillip is only 24, and when he marries I am confident he will select somebody nearer his own age.


Hollywood, April 19 (AP)

Helen Twelvetrees, motion picture actress, is expecting the birth of a baby in October, she has announced. She is the wife of Frank Woody, real estate man.


Budapest, April 18
Rumors that Greta Garbo, motion picture actress, had lost heavily in the Kreuger collapse were disposed of by an interview with Hjalman Sodblud, general auditor of the Kreuger concern, published in the newspaper Magyarorszag today.

Mr. Sodblud asserted that as soon [illegible] …ferred to Miss Garbo as his one true friend in America. Kreuger was her business adviser, he said but despite this she only owned a small number of Kreuger shares.


Hollywood, April 19 (INS)
Dorothy Lee, screen star, was on the high seas today bound for New York and romance. Before she sailed Miss Lee did not deny she would marry Fred Waring, New York musical director.

Her friends said she would marry Waring as soon as her divorce from James Fidler, Hollywood publicist, becomes final in July.


Los Angeles, April 19 (AP)
A divorce from Gunther R. Lessing, who recently sued Dolores Del Rio, film actress, and won a judgment from her for salary due as her attorney, was granted today to Mrs. Lolla Lessing, who accused Lessing of being a poor loser at bridge.

She testified Lessing threw a glass of ice cold water in her face while they were entertaining some bridge guests and on another occasion seized her by the ear and led her through a room filled with guests playing cards.

“He was angry just because he was losing,” Mrs. Lessing testified. A property settlement was affected out of court.

Miss Del Rio has appealed the judgment granted Lessing.


Paramount Actress Will Be In “And God Smiled”

By Chester B. Bahn

Last minute Rialto news –

Thelma Todd, seen in “This Is the Night,” has been signed by Brian Foy productions for the femme lead in “And God Smiled.”

His contract renewed by Universal, Slim Summerville is expected to play his old “All Quiet” role of Tjaden in “The Road Back.”

Warners have a new addition to the legal cycle in “Lawyer Man,” which will serve either William Powell or Edward G. Robinson.

Hollywood gossips that a Jack Dempsey-Estelle Taylor reconciliation is possible.

Alexander Kirkland will be opposite Elissa Landi in “Burnt Offering.”

“After All” has been rechristened “New Morals for Old” and the Jackie Cooper-Chic Sale “Limpy,” is now “When a Feller Needs a Friend.”

I hear that –

Clara Bow is ready to return to the sound-screen, but insists upon a story that will not portray her as a bad girl.

Richard Barthelmess docked in New York from abroad yesterday. Anna Sten, Samuel Goldwyn’s newest “find” was also an arrival.

Jack Oakie, rather than Lee Tracy, replaces James Cagney in “Blessed Event.”

While retaining the title, “You Said a Mouthful,” Joe E. Brown’s next vehicle will undergo radical changes in plot; the six-day bicycle race background will go by the boards.

George Bancroft has started work on his new picture, “The Challenger,” in which Wynne Gibson and Randolph Scott will have supporting roles.

Leslie Howard is going to have another fling at the movies and then return to New York to appear in “Romeo and Juliet,” possibly with Celia Johnson opposite him. At the moment he is playing “The Animal Kingdom” in New York.

From Luella O. Parsons:


While Paramount executives have been making up their several minds all these weary days and months to produce “A Farewell to Arms,” Ernest Hemingway’s play and novel, Radio has been considering “The Sun Also Rises.” Unless the latter Hemingway novel can be put on the screen so that it is acceptable to the Hays office and at the same time without ruining the text of the story, “The Sun Also Rises” will not be purchased. If the writer, now at work on the treatment, turns out a satisfactory script, David Selznick will buy it for Constance Bennett. The character of the girl to be played by Connie is particularly colorful and interesting.

Clara Bow is returning to the screen. The girl of the flaming locks, who has refused to even make a test for “The Red-Headed Woman, and who has turned down offers by the dozen, will come back from Rex Bell’s ranch in Nevada to make a picture for the Fox company. Clara said she wouldn’t play in “The Red-Headed Woman” because she didn’t want to play the part of a girl who isn’t good. But she will make a picture for Fox if she can play a girl who is not the type that seeks the easiest way.

Sam Rork has made the arrangements. I wasn’t able to get anything more than an admission from the Fox company that Clara would make a picture there. No plans have yet been made for her first story, but I think it’s a great piece of news because only a week ago she told me that she was through with the movies and was going to write poetry.

The biggest sensation that has hit Hollywood in months is Colleen Moore. The little comedienne, with the long bangs and rather indifferent grooming, has come out of her cocoon and developed into a radiant butterfly. More than a mere physical change is Colleen’s breathtaking performance in “The Church Mouse.” She is so finished, so perfect in her annunciation, and she has such grace, that those in the film industry hastened to prophecy a new and brilliant screen career. Irving Thalberg was so delighted with Colleen that he made an engagement for her to come to the studio to talk pictures. The chances are she will do a picture for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, but she must go on with her stage work for she has a future that promises more than any other stage star.

Where they are playing and why:

Warner Oland, expert portrayer of orientals, is at Fox in “Burnt Offering,” emoting opposite Elissa Landi.

Don Alvarado, who can win a cup in a tango contest any day, will play a gigolo in “Fancy Free,” also on the Fox lot.

Reporting on the United Artists lot this week and last Lucy Beaumont, DeWitt Jennings, Harold Goodwin and Mary Doran. Mary will be seen as the vamp in Harold Lloyd’s picture “Movie Crazy,” and Miss Beaumont as his ma, with DeWitt Jennings playing the part of the father.

Maitland Rice, with much theatrical experience back of him, rates the job of music department boss at the Fox company. He has been with Fox for some years and his promotion is a deserved one. Ben Jackson, former head of the music department, has been made assistant general superintendent, and his promotion is also well deserved.

There is a red wig ready and waiting for Jean Harlow at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. That means that in all probability the lady with the platinum locks will play the lead after all in “The Red-Headed Woman.” Jean and her mama return from the East Tuesday and whether there is an eleventh hour switch or not Miss Harlow will sign an M-G-M contract. I doubt if Irving Thalberg would put the platinum girl in this role if he had anyone with red hair available for the part. After searching for months there is still no red-head of the right type in the offing. I still hope something can be done to soothe the ruffled feelings of the dear public who want realism.

Snapshots of Hollywood:
Jack Dempsey, escorted by Ginger Rogers and Mervyn Le Roy, at the opening of the Colleen Moore play. A few seats back, Estelle Taylor with Ernst Lubitsch. Al Scott, Colleen’s new husband, sat in a front seat and was an interested onlooker at the royal reception given his bride. Everyone at the premier, Norma Shearer, Irving Thalberg, Bebe Daniels, Ben Lyon, William Haines with Alice Grazier. Mrs. B. P. Schulberg was hostess at a buffet supper for Colleen. The Harold Grieves (Jetta Goudal) also entertained for her. Colleen divided her time between both places. Zeppo Marx and his pretty wife, Marion, at the Grieve party. Raoul Walsh and the missus seated next to the guest of honor.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

April 18, 1932


New York, April 18 (AP)
Olive Borden, returning to the stage in a vaudeville act tonight, indicated today that her action marks a friendly separation between her husband, Theodore Stewart, and herself.

“Ted wanted me to quit the stage, but I simply can not do it,” the actress said. “I have been in the profession quite a while, and I love it. We could not agree on the subject, so we decided the only thing to do was to separate.”

Stewart, an investment broker, is on the Pacific Coast.


Los Angeles, April 18
A summons to appear in court and explain why he is alleged to be $1,250 behind in his alimony payments to Mrs. Helen Gibson, was served today on Hoot Gibson, film cowboy. Mrs. Gibson said she is destitute and has not received the $230 monthly alimony awarded her when she divorced Gibson.


Los Angeles, April 18 (AP)
Jack Noonan, brother of Sally O’Neill and Molly O’Day, film actresses, was arraigned in municipal court today on a charge of escaping from a county road camp last November.


Five Year Plan Serves as Inspiration for New Talkie

By Chester B. Bahn

Last minute Rialto news –

Wally Beery and Clark Gable are going Russian; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer will co-star them in an untitled Russian picture stating in a fortnight, with George Hill at the megaphone. The story, it is said, was suggested by the Five-Year Plan of the Soviets.

Lee Tracy will replace James Cagney in “Blessed Event,” if the latter persists in his “strike” for another salary increase.

The Claudette Colbert-Clive Brook talkie thus far known as “Bride of the Enemy,” becomes “The Woman of Flame.”

“Shanghai Express,” Marlene Dietrich’s starring vehicle, was largely filmed on locations at San Bernardino and Chatsworth, California. Few pictures have used as many or more varied types as extras, more than a thousand persons having been used in some of the scenes. More than 15,000 people watched the action on some of the days work was in progress.

Knocked out by Tom Moore in a fight scene for “Society Girl,” James Dunn is in the hospital for repairs.

Some of the lighter moments in “Tomorrow and Tomorrow,” Ruth Chatterton’s starring picture, are provided by Harold Minjir, former New York stage actor, who was seen in “The Beloved Bachelor” and “Monkey Business.” He plays the part of Paul Lukas’ secretary in this picture.

No gangster subjects treated seriously will be included in the Fox program for 1932-33.

Long rehearsals, usually necessary before a talking picture goes into production, was dispensed with entirely in the case of “Tonight or Never.” This was possible because most of the members of the cast, with the exception of the star, Gloria Swanson, had already played their roles in the New York stage production.

From Luella O. Parsons:

You will see David Selznick making pictures this year in his own way. “Symphony of Six Million” and “States Attorney” rated him that privilege from the bosses in New York and now David was put at the head of Radio; young, full of ideas, but for the first time completely on his own. Had he made two flops instead of two successes perhaps he would not have been permitted all this lee-way.

But – he has thus far proceeded carefully, buying stories for the most part from recognized authors. Crossroads, Martin Flavin’s novel and play of flaming youth, is his latest buy.

Pretty little Arlene Judge and Eric Linden, associated in other Radio pictures, will be co-featured. Don’t put the name Crossroads down in your book. The title will be changed to “Fraternity House.”

“Blessed Event” won’t be held up five minutes by Warner Brothers for James Cagney. He has had his big chance to take it or leave it and, having decided to stay in New York and pout, Jack Oakie has been borrowed from Paramount to take his place. What a chance for Oakie, who will be featured, to benefit from all the publicity given the play.

Production starts Thursday with Mary Brian in the chief femme role.

Lee Tracy, who was under consideration for the Cagney role, is needed in another Warner opus.

It’s a promising year for little Mary Brian, who returns from a successful vaudeville tour with a grand array of movie jobs waiting for her.

Possibly if Astrid Allwyn hadn’t arrived on the wave of the Garbo popularity she would have been more in the foreground than she is today. She arrived in Hollywood three years ago, just when the Garbo vogue was at its height, and she has remained, playing small parts in many pictures.

No Swedish actress, curiously enough, has benefitted from Garbo’s success. Although Swedish by ancestry, Miss Allwyn was not born in Sweden. She is an American, having first seen the light of day in Springfield, Massachusetts.

I. E. Chadwick, independent producer, believes that he can now build her into a star without mentioning the Garbo angle. He has bought Charles A. Logue’s story, “Smart Sister,” which will go into production with Richard Boleslavsky directing. In case it means anything to you, “Smart Sister” will be made at the Monogram studios and it will be presented by Trem Carr.

Chatter in Hollywood:

Helen Twelvetrees will shortly test the oft tried experiment of whether motherhood helps or hinders a young actress’s career. The long-legged bird, we hear, is flapping his wings over the Jack Woody’s home. That means that little Twelvetrees will retire until the birth of her baby. In most cases motherhood has only interrupted temporarily a screen star’s career.

Garbo has confided to one of her friends she is not leaving pictures through any dissatisfaction with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. She wants to travel and play. She was never outside of Sweden for more than a few days when she was in Europe, and she longs to visit Paris. She believes she can live there without being stared at and treated as a curiosity.

Note of Optimism:

Mary Pickford writing that she had to stand in line at the Paramount Theater in New York. Jack Warner, looking as if his European trip agreed with him, is home again. Also Mrs. Jack and Margaret Ettinger.

Marion Burns, widely touted beauty, reaches Hollywood this week.


Fantastic Film Has Logical, If Fabulous Story, With Very Capable Acting Cast

By Wood Soanes
The movies have neglected the children so long in their output that it was as startling as it was deafening to have the air rent at the Fox theater with Juvenile huzzahs as the herd of elephants started to aid the heroic ape-man, Tarzan, at the Saturday premier.

Time was when the” chase sequence” in every melodramatic picture was a signal for juvenile uproar, whether it was the good old leathernecks landing, the cavalry mounting their steeds, the tanks going into action, the pardon getting under way, or the hero breaking his chains and starting a footrace.

Parlor drama has rather edged this old formula off the platform, however, except in rare instances and “Tarzan the Ape Man” is an outstanding example. It has not one chase episode but a dozen and it abounds in thrilling sequences, contains a sufficient modicum of human nature, a dash of romance and an occasional comedy chapter.

W. S. Van Dyke has really accomplished an excellent job in translating these Edgar Rice Burroughs stories into a workmanlike film. It is fantastic, of course, and it was made for the most part on the lots in Hollywood, but it rarely gets out of focus and remains as logical a fable as the author intended it to be.

“Tarzan the Ape Man,” as prepared for the screen, is the story of an ivory hunting adventure participated in by an old hunter, his young partner and his attractive young daughter, who imposes herself on the party. In the jungle they cross paths with a white man who has been reared by the apes but who is civilized enough to be a gentleman if necessary.

Tarzan is attracted by the girl’s beauty and annoyed by the bullets of her male escort, so in an opportune moment, he seizes her and carries her off to the tree tops. After several days of this life, she develops an affection for her captor and he begins to comprehend enough to be willing to return her to her people.

And then after a fond and affectionate farewell, the white hunters find that they need Tarzan much more than he needs them. They are captured by a vicious tribe of pygmies and face certain death when Tarzan, aided by a monkey who has most of the comedy in the picture, calls upon his faithful elephant herd to get busy in a big way.

There are times when “Tarzan” threatens to go in a little too heavily for the new horror school of melodrama, but in the main it is an exciting melodrama with a synthetic jungle atmosphere that appears authentic, a variety of dramatic scenes and a well-sustained story. The acting cast is limited in size and well chosen.

Johnny Weismuller, the swimmer, makes his movie bow as Tarzan and both looks and acts the part of the handsome wild man, also doing a bit of swimming in addition to his tree top acrobatics; Maureen O’Sullivan is attractive bait for the taming of the man-simian; and C. Aubrey Smith and Neil Hamilton comfort themselves competently as the explorers.

The short subjects are varied, including a travelogue, a comedy and the usual cartoon, as well as the news reel.