DAMES IS DYNAMITE!

It’s a long story,but if you want to know how Flinders University in Australia holds the Archive of Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America 1922 – 1939, check out http://mppda.flinders.edu.au

The MPPDA was the trade association of the motion picture industry and was known as the Hays office  after its first president, Will Hays.

Delving through the correspondence, I loved one letter from the Hays office to Columbia Pictures in 1937.

Columbia had applied for registration of PARK AVENUE  DAME as an original title.

It was patiently explained that the Board of Directors had agreed that the word DAME or DAMES should not be used in titles because of unfavourable reaction that followed frequent use of the word in a slang sense.

The reply went on to say that Warner Brothers had withdrawn HARD LUCK  DAME , and Paramount withdrew ROUGH ON DAMES.

Best of all, Fox had proposed the title DAMES IS DYNAMITE for an unreleased film but were  refused.

The letter ended with the comment, “So we cannot register PARK AVENUE DAME – the use of the word in titles is an industry liability.”

 

I’ve no idea what these 4 films ended up being called, but isn’t it a pity the original titles didn’t survive!

( Still,Warners got the earlier title DAMES before the Code got to work.)

GOLD DIGGER passed ok!

 

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REMEMBER THAT LINE?

Thelma Ritter,Ann Sothern

Thelma Ritter,Ann Sothern

A LETTER TO THREE WIVES:

Thelma Ritter:    ” Do you know what I like about your program? Even when I’m running the vacuum,I can understand it.”

 

 

Garbo,Ina Claire

Garbo,Ina Claire

NINOTCHKA

Ina Claire:     “Oh dear me. I must be losing my finesse. If I’m not careful.I’ll be understood by everybody.”

 

 

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Dick Powell,Claire Trevor

MURDER MY SWEET

Dick Powell:    “I caught the blackjack right behind my ear. A black pool opened up at my feet. I dived in. It had no bottom.”

 

 

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Ann Blyth,Joan Crawford

MILDRED PIERCE

Joan Crawford:    “I can’t get you out of this,Vida.”

 

 

Paulette Goddard,Mary Boland,Norma Shearer

Paulette Goddard,Mary Boland,Norma Shearer

THE WOMEN

Mary Boland:    “Oh,isn’t it wonderful to see all our lives so settled – temporarily.”

 

 

William Tracy

Ones Courtney,William Tracy,Sara Haden,Felix Bressart

SHOP AROUND THE CORNER

William Tracy:   “Well,I would describe myself as a contact man. I keep contact between Matuschek and Co and the customers – on a bicycle .”

 

 

BELLE OF THE NINETIES

John Miljan:   “I must have your golden hair,fascinating eyes,alluring smile, your lovely arms,your form divine.”

Mae West:   “Wait a minute.Is this a proposal or are you taking an inventory?”

 

 

Humphrey Bogart

Humphrey Bogart

THE MALTESE FALCON

Humphrey Bogart to Mary Astor:  “You’re good,you’re very good.”

 

 

Dennie Moore,Norma Shearer

Dennie Moore,Norma Shearer

THE WOMEN

Dennie Moore talking about Joan Crawford’s character:

“She’s got those eyes that run up and down men like a searchlight.”

 

 

Ida Lupino

Ida Lupino

THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT

Ida Lupino:  “……I saw the doors. The doors made me do it.Yes,the doors made me do it.”

 

 

Gloria Swanson

Gloria Swanson

Hedda Hopper

Hedda Hopper

SUNSET BOULEVARD

Hedda Hopper: “Times city desk? Hedda Hopper speaking.I’m talking from the bedroom of Norma Desmond.

Dont bother with the rewrite man. Take it direct. Ready?

As day breaks over the murder house,Norma Desmond, famous star of yesteryear, is in a state of complete mental shock…….”

 

All quotes from THE MOVIE QUOTE BOOK by Harry Haun (1980)

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PUBLICITY SHOTS. 6

Barbara Stanwyck,Errol Flynn. CRY WOLF

Barbara Stanwyck,Errol Flynn. CRY WOLF

 

 

 

Barbara Stanwyck,Robert Ryan.CLASH BY NIGHT

Barbara Stanwyck,Robert Ryan.CLASH BY NIGHT

 

 

 

Felicia Farr,Richard Widmark.THE LAST WAGON

Felicia Farr,Richard Widmark.THE LAST WAGON

 

 

 

Jean Crain,Glenn Ford.THE FASTEST GUN ALIVE

Jeanne Crain,Glenn Ford.THE FASTEST GUN ALIVE

 

 

 

Rhonda Fleming,Sally Forest,Ida Lupino.WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS

Rhonda Fleming,Sally Forrest,Ida Lupino.WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joel McCrea,Jean Arthur.ADVENTURE IN MANHATTAN

Joel McCrea,Jean Arthur.ADVENTURE IN MANHATTAN

 

 

 

Bobby Driscoll Robert Newton.TREASURE ISLAND

Bobby Driscoll Robert Newton.TREASURE ISLAND

 

 

 

Van Heflin,Janet Leigh,Robert Ryan.

Van Heflin,Janet Leigh,Robert Ryan. ACT OF VIOLENCE

 

 

 

Lana Turner, Spencer Tracy,Ingrid Bergman. DR. JEKYLL AND MR HYDE

Lana Turner, Spencer Tracy,Ingrid Bergman. DR. JEKYLL AND MR HYDE

 

 

KISS ME KATE. in 3D

KISS ME KATE. in 3D

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN NAME ONLY; THE UNMASKING OF MAIDA

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IN NAME ONLY is one of the great films to come out of that golden year in Hollywood of 1939. Carole Lombard and Cary Grant were teamed for the first and only time in this romantic melodrama.

Cary plays wealthy Alec Walker who is in an unhappy marriage to Maida (Kay Francis). When he meets widow Julie Eden (Carole Lombard),he falls in love and wants a divorce.

But Maida is the wife from hell. This film isn’t a noir, but Kay Francis as Maida is up there with Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity . Maida doesn’t plan a murder but you know she is perfectly capable of it. She settles for making her husband’s life as miserable as possible.

Maida doesn’t spare him,revealing she was in love with another man,

I had a choice. I could take David and love and nothing else, or I could take you and what went with you. I took you.”  Kay’s deceptively quiet tone is lethal!

Maida presents a completely different face to Alec’s parents (Charles Coburn and Nella Walker) who are completely taken in by her. To them she is the perfect wife and the innocent victim of Alec’s infidelity.

Social standing and wealth are what Maida tick. She’s manipulative,heartless and played brilliantly and silkily smooth by Kay Francis. Maida is a monster in human form,and you get more and more impatient as the film progresses for the truth about her to come out.

She threatens Julie that she will drag Julie’s little daughter through the divorce  courts.

 

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Carole Lombard,Cary Grant

 

So, when it does happen, and the real Maida is revealed,you want to punch the air and yell out,’At last!’

So here is the scene I love every time I watch it.

Alec is in hospital,very ill with pheumonia. Julie isn’t allowed to go up to his room and when Mr.Walker arrives, he walks right passed her,ignoring her.

Mr.Walker talks to the consultant who says Alec has no desire to get well. He says, “It is our business to find someone to give him that desire.”

Mr.Walker says that Alec’s wife is on her way,but the consultant realises that it is Julie’s name that Alec has been calling out while delirious.

The consultant gets Julie to see Alec,saying his chances of recovery depend on what she says to him. –

You must tell him that there is hope – tell him whatever he wants to hear.”

(Maurice Moscovich was impressive as the consultant.)

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Julie reassures Alec that they can be married. Mr Walker sees the state she is in when she comes out of Alec’s room, and says to her,”I’m sorry it has to be this way.”

Mr.Walker leaves the room to have a word with Alec’s doctor. Julie is sitting in the ante-room, in tears, when Maida arrives. Julie immediately says,”Wait,please,don’t go in there. Alec is very ill.He may not live.But if he does live,it’s because he believes he will not see you again.”

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Maida retaliates, “You’ve handled this very skillfully,Miss Eden.You’ve made it look as if Alec’s life depends on you. I admire your ingenuity but it won’t work.”

Maida moves towards the door again and Julie blocks her way again. Almost incredulously, she says to Maida,

“You’d rather see him dead than with me, wouldn’t you.?”

Just then, very quietly Mr. and Mrs. Walker come in and,unseen, hear the rest of the conversation.

Julie says, You don’t love him“, and Maida for once tells the truth.

“I gave up love for what I’ve got.Do you think I’m going to let you or anyone else get it away from me.”

Still incredulous,Julie says,”All you can possibly get from Alec is money – he’ll give you that.”

And then Maida reveals all, “If Alec gave me every cent he had,that still wouldn’t be enough. Some day his father is going to die…..”

Mrs.Walker gasps and Maida spins round, “She wants to keep me out.”

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Calmly Mr.Walker tells her, Maida, you might as well take what you can get from Alec because you wont get anything from me.”

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The shattering silence is broken by the nurse coming in and saying that Alec is asking for Julie. She and the parents go in and Maida just stands there as the door closes on her.

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Phew! What a scene and so perfectly played by Kay and Carole.

Kay, full of ice and Carole full of warmth.

It all sounds very melodramatic, and it is! But played by Lombard and Francis,it’s terrific!

Knowing how Hollywood loved to recycle, I’m surprised IN NAME ONLY  wasn’t remade in the 1950’s – it would have fitted Douglas Sirk, but it wouldn’t have had these two great actresses – and Mr.Grant.

 

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Carole Lombard,Cary Grant,Kay Francis

 

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“TWO WOMEN AND A LOVE”

 

This post is my entry in the ….AND SCENE blogathon hosted by Sister Celluloid – who in January 2015 reviewed IN NAME ONLY and said,

“Francis prowls through the part of Maida with a velvety ruthlessness that makes you cringe even as you stand back in awe.”  

Do check out the other entries of favourite scenes at http://sistercelluloid.com

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GEORGE ‘FOGHORN’ WINSLOW (1946 – 2015)

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Marilyn Monroe,George Winslow,Jane Russell

 

 

I was sorry to hear of the passing of one of my favourite child actors, GEORGE WINSLOW. Born George Karl Wentzlaff, he died of a heart attack in his Northern California home.

George, of the raspy voice and deadpan delivery, will be forever remembered as Henry Spofford III in GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES.

The  look of surprise on Marilyn’s face in the above photo is of course because she thought Henry Spofford was an rich,eligible bachelor. Still, young Henry admires her, saying in that deep voice of his ,” You got a lot of animal magnetism.”

George’s delivery was always funny, because nobody expects this little child ( age 8 years in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) to speak as he does, the voice seeming to come from the bottom of his boots. And always delivered with a straight face. He really did steal any scene he was in.

 

George Winslow

George Winslow

 

George’s debut film was ROOM FOR ONE MORE (1952), as the smallest of the children adopted by Cary Grant and Betsy Drake.

George Winslow,Cary Grant

George Winslow,Cary Grant

 

He was Richard Widmark’s  son in MY PAL GUS (1952) – with Audrey Totter as his absent mother.

My Pal Gus

 

George had co-star status in MISTER SCOUTMASTER (1953) opposite Clifton Webb. Veda Ann Borg played his aunt. In the New York Times review of the film, George’s voice was described as a ‘bullfrog bass.’

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In ROCKET MAN (1954), he starred with Spring Byington and Charles Coburn. The film’s trailer advertised George as ‘Marilyn Monroe’s favourite boyfriend.’

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George made 10 films between  1952 and 1958, plus a few TV appearances.  He retired from show business in 1958. He served in the Navy in the war in Vietnam and retired from the US Postal Service some years ago.

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There is a lovely article about George.written on May 25, 2013, at the blog, Once Upon a Screen under the title CHILDREN IN FILM:THE BOY WINSLOW .

 

 

 

 

ICE COLD IN ALEX (1958)

 

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What were American distributors thinking when they chopped the 129 minute British war film ICE COLD IN ALEX down to 76 minutes and renamed it DESERT ATTACK.
And they didn’t release the 1958 film in the U.S.  till 1961.

ICE COLD IN  ALEX has been described as not so much a war film,rather a story of endurance. Under the skilful direction of J.Lee Thompson,this gripping film is the story of  4 people battling the elements and a cantankerous old ambulance truck as they try to reach Alexandria and the safety of British lines.

This is North Africa in 1942 when Rommel’s Afrika Corps have captured the British base at Tobruk. Captain John Mills, his sergeant Harry Andrews, a nurse Sylvia  Sims and South African soldier Anthony Quayle band together for survival.

The whole film is engrossing and the acting  is first class. There are in particular four scenes which make this film so memorable.

The group have to traverse a minefield. Mills and Quayle lead the way,literally putting one foot in front of the other as they gingerly move forward. Quayle moves more quickly and steps on something.

Mills has to examine what it is  with the fear that it might explode at any moment.

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Quayle gets into trouble again as he steps into quicksand and the others attempt a rescue. This is done so realistically, you actually see Quayle’s head go under before he is pulled out.

Anthony Quayle

Anthony Quayle

The third striking scene is when the travellers are nearing Alexandria and the last obstacle is a steep hill. The only way to get the old ambulance up it is by hand cranking it backwards up the hill. It’s painstakingly slow and they are near the top when an accident occurs and the truck careers back down the hill. They have to start all over again.

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The end of the film is the iconic image of the film.

John Mills has talked about the ice cold lager he will order when they reach safety in Alexandria. When the four travellers get to the bar,Mills tells the barman, Set ’em up,Joe.”

Harry Andrews,Anthony Quayle,Sylvia Sims, John Mills

Harry Andrews,Anthony Quayle,Sylvia Sims, John Mills

They all watch silently as the first lager is poured. Mills drinks it in one and says,”Worth waiting for.”

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TOAST FOR A SPY

This foreign title,TOAST FOR A SPY is a bit of a giveaway for part of the plot.

 

 

ON THE SET 16

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Laurence Harvey,Angela Lansbury,John Frankenheimer (director).THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE

 

 

 

Fred Zinnemann,Brandon deWilde, Ethel Waters.MEMBER OF THE WEDDING

Fred Zinnemann,Brandon deWilde, Ethel Waters.MEMBER OF THE WEDDING

 

 

Robert Taylor, Garbo.CAMILLE

Robert Taylor, Garbo.CAMILLE

 

 

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Darryl Hickman,Clark Gable,Alexis Smith.ANY NUMBER CAN PLAY

 

 

 

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Billie Burke,Judy Garland ,Norma Shearer. THE WIZARD OF OZ

 

 

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Charlton Heston,Gary Cooper.THE WRECK OF THE MARY DEARE

 

 

 

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Sumner Williams,Nicholas Ray,Ida Lupino.ON DANGEROUS GROUND

 

 

 

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Audrey Totter,Robert Taylor.THE HIGH WALL

 

 

 

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Bette Davis,Michael Curtiz.THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX

Be regal,Bette.  ( Douglas Dumbrille in background?)

 

 

Busby Berkeley,Gene Kelly, Judy Garland.FOR ME AND MY GAL

Busby Berkeley,Gene Kelly, Judy Garland.FOR ME AND MY GAL