ALICE IN WONDERLAND. 1933

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It looks like Paramount spared no expense in their film version of Lewis Carroll’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND.
Celebrating the 100 year old children’s Classic, I guess they thought it would be a big family hit. There were ambitious sets,costumes and makeup to convey the wondrous creatures of this fable.
It cried out for color,but Technicolor was not quite ready.

It’s not surprising the opening credits last 3 and a half minutes, with a picture of each star in character, and then one of the star as themselves .
Cary Grant is ‘Mock Turtle’ and is completely unrecognisable. It’s his voice, but is it even him ?

Charlotte Henry,Cary Grant

Charlotte Henry,Cary Grant

As is Gary Cooper as ‘The White Knight’ who keeps falling off his horse and has a little ladder to get him back on.
The other magical creatures Alice meets in the land behind the mirror include May Robson as the ‘Queen of Hearts’ who keeps telling her soldiers, “Off with her head!”
W. C.Fields is ‘Humpty-Dumpty': Richard Arlen is the ‘Cheshire Cat': Charlie Ruggles is the ‘March Hare’ who does a duet with Edward Everett Horton as the ‘Mad Hatter’.

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Edna May Oliver is hilarious as the ‘Red Queen’ and Jack Oakie and Roscoe Karns are ‘Tweedledum and Tweedledee’.

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It’s star laden ,but very difficult sometimes to recognise the stars!
And that apparently was why it wasn’t a success.
Ida Lupino, Betty Grable and Anne Shirley were tested for the part of Alice,but it went to Charlotte Henry whom I thought was very good. She was at least 17 at the time,(playing the much younger Alice).

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A brave effort by Paramount. I enjoyed it.But why didn’t they promote Charlotte Henry afterwards.

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KATHLEEN HUGHES

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Kathleen Hughes in a famous pose for Universal’s first 3D film, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE.

In a 2012 interview for the Film Noir Foundation, Kathleen said,

They were going to make some 3D movies and needed someone to test the camera. So they asked me if I would mind just walking back and forth on a little runway,in a bathing suit – because I was quite 3 dimensional!”

It was fascinating to hear Kathleen talking about working on the film ROAD HOUSE:

” I had just been signed by Fox – a seven year contract – unfortunately it only lasted three years. And this ( Road House) was my first film. Wow. What a picture to start your career. It was just amazing working on that picture. I was so thrilled when I got a scene almost immediately , in the bowling alley. In the first day of shooting, I had a scene with Cornel Wilde…. He was bowling and I said, ‘C’mon Petey,make this one and. I’ll kiss you’, and he said,’How can I miss.”‘

And of course it landed on the cutting room floor.”

“I didn’t have any interaction with Ida (Lupino). In her scenes where she was at the piano ,I was lost in the mob at the back of the room. But what a joy it was to be there day after day,hearing her do these wonderful songs.

Cornel used to paint in his dressing room between scenes – he had an easel and oil paints.”

“I made 14 films at Fox and then they dropped me. I freelanced for 9 months. Then Universal signed me and I spent another 3 years there.”

John Forsythe, Kathleen Hughes,Ed.G Robinson

John Forsythe, Kathleen Hughes,Ed.G Robinson THE GLASS WEB

” Edward G. Robinson was very easy to work with. He was a wonderful kisser ….a very nice man.”

Kathleen was born Margaret Von Gerkan in 1928. She was married for 57 years to producer Stanley Rubin until his death in March 2014. (Rubin produced The Narrow Margin).

I posted a review of The Glass Webb here.

Kathleen Hughes,Stanley Rubin

Kathleen Hughes,Stanley Rubin

FAREWELL, LAUREN BACALL

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Sad news of Lauren Bacall’s death yesterday. She was one of the legends of Hollywood, and primarily for 4 films that she made at the very start of her career almost consecutively - TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT,THE BIG SLEEP,DARK PASSAGE and KEY LARGO,from 1944 to 1948.

With Hoagy Carmichael

With Hoagy Carmichael

Those four  films were of course with her husband Humphrey Bogart whom she met on to Have And Have Not. She had been spotted by the wife of Howard Hawks when Lauren appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar ( when she was 18).

The rest,as they say, is history.

I was lucky enough to have seen Lauren in person several times in London when she was starring in APPLAUSE ( the stage musical version of All About Eve). She was wonderful.

And I saw her in San Francisco in WOMAN OF THE YEAR, another successful stage musical version of a classic Hollywood film of the same name.

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Dark Passage

Dark Passage

Key Largo

Key Largo

The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR. 1942

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Another little don’t-waste-a-minute (when you’ve only got 61) drama from Monogram.
Robert Lowery is a cub reporter,eager to make a name for himself. He gets involved with young
Edith Fellows who has left her boarding school to meet up with her sister whom she thinks has been living back East.
In fact the sister has been in prison and doesn’t survive long after being released – she’s murdered.

Robert Lowery

Robert Lowery

John Miljan is a crooked lawyer involved in the murder.
I don’t know much about Edith Fellows who started in films at the age of 6 in 1929.
At only 4 feet 10 inches,she still looked very young in 1942 although she was 19.
She had a nice screen personality and I don’t know why this was her last appearance until 1949 when she started doing some TV work.

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Edith Fellows

 

 

SEA TIGER  1952

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Another all action programmer from Monogram. SEA TIGER features John Archer as Ben McGrun who has regained his captaincy papers for the first time in 3 years.
The Sea Tiger is an old freighter abandoned by the Japanese at the end of WW2.
He is on board with the ship’s owner who is shot and killed just as he tells Ben,”Somewhere on this ship,there is……”
Ben is knocked out by the killer,Joe Edmun (Harry Lauter), and it looks like Ben will take the blame for the murder.

John Archer

John Archer

Marguerite Chapman is co-owner of the shipping company employing Ben – they had been a couple before Ben’s trial 3 years earlier for alleged smuggling.
Lyle Talbot is a shady insurance investigator who knows there is something of value on the old ship.

Marguerite Chapman

Marguerite Chapman

Harry Lauter is the murderous first mate of the Sea Tiger and proves a devious opponent for Ben. A good part for Harry whom I’m more used to on the right side of the law.

Harry Lauter

Harry Lauter

I enjoyed both films and wish we could see more dvd box sets of some of these B actioners which deserve more recognition.