Another great book I’ve caught up with,LEONARD MALTIN’S MOVIE CRAZY is full of interesting Hollywood news and interviews Leonard Maltin did with Hollywoodites.
Mr Maltin’s insightful questions to stars and film makers reflect his life long love of movies. He constantly asks what life was like in Hollywood and under the studio system. The book is quite simply invaluable as a contribution to the history of Hollywood.
There is a wonderful interview from 1986 with Robert Young and his wife Betty. It’s clear that, despite what we might think of as a successful and long career,Robert Young constantly felt insecure. It was funny to hear him refer to Alfred Hitchcock as ‘Hitchy’. He told Leonard some wonderful stories of what it was like working with people like Spencer Tracy – “He was marvellous. I liked him so much.”
Another great interviewee was Joan Leslie who said, “I had one line in CAMILLE which was cut out. I played Robert Taylor’s little sister and it was in the scene where he comes home to see his father,Lionel Barrymore – I had this one line and I had two coaches to tell me how to say it – I had to say ‘Armand,so you did come all the way from Paris.”
Noah Beery Jr was interviewed in 1983. He praised Howard Hawks and Leonard asked him which Hawks film he liked most. “The one that meant the most to me,I think,was ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS, because it was a completely different part than I had ever done.And I was working with Jean Arthur and Rita Hayworth, and although I was only tagging along behind,it was such a thrill.”
Delving through the Warner Bros Archive at the University of Southern California, the author discovered correspondence between Jack Warner and Orson Welles concerning THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER, the plan being for Welles to star as ‘Sheridan Whiteside’ and also direct the film. But it wasn’t to be – RKO wouldn’t release Welles who had just finished CITIZEN KANE. Monty Woolley was allowed to re-create the role.
Welles finally played Whiteside in a TV version in 1972, with Mary Wickes still by Whiteside’s side as his nurse.
This book is 400 pages of movie gold.