March 1933 had its share of tumult, both actual and emotional, for Carole Lombard, and the photo above provides proof. It's a portrait of Lombard in "possessed" form for the Halperin brothers' horror production "Supernatural," where Wally Westmore's makeup tricks show Carole as a socialite whose body has been taken over by the spirit of a murderess. While we know Lombard had little love for this assignment, she apparently managed some fun with it anyway, as this brief from the March 25 Reno Evening Gazette made clear:
As SCTV's Count Floyd might say, that's scary, kiddies.
That same day, the Winnipeg Free Press in Canada said Carole had been given kissing instructions for her character's scenes -- specific kissing instructions:
By the time those items reached print, "Supernatural" was in the past tense for Lombard. She had finished retakes on Monday, March 20 and began work the next day on her one long scene for "The Eagle And The Hawk," according to the Hollywood Reporter of March 21:
Making "Supernatural" had been arduous for Carole. It wasn't a genre she was particularly comfortable in, proof that Paramount still viewed her as an all-purpose leading lady with no special talent aside from modeling gowns. It also came while studio economics and actors' salaries were under duress, as shown in this March 9 article from the Ludington (Mich.) Daily News:
Lombard had a reputation in the film community for owning a large record collection, and the Winnipeg paper noted on March 11 that she had worn out one particular disc, and was buying it for the eighth time:
If Carole didn't store her records securely, what happened on March 10 may have forced her to restock her collection -- the Long Beach earthquake.
Here's how the San Antonio Express reported its effect on Hollywood on March 12:
Note all the actors mentioned in this item are Paramount players. Might the studio have been the source? The quake gave rise to a famous Lombard anecdote about her reaction to the temblor (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/6
Hollywood labor peace was reached, and on March 14, this ran on the front page of the Delphos (Ohio) Daily Herald:
But further down the front page was this item, showing that Lombard had other things on her mind:
Fortunately, this story had a happy ending, as the ring was found a few days later. The Film Daily had the news on March 23:
No word as to what kind of reward Mr. Modisette received.
The man who gave Carole that ring, William Powell, was increasingly playing more friend than husband in private. In public, though, the couple were regularly seen dining and dancing:
The first item is from the March 14 San Mateo Times, the second from the Laredo Times five days later. The Little Club at the Ambassador Hotel is mentioned; here are Bill and Carole at the club with Mrs. Ernest Truex the previous December:
Powell had been away from Paramount for close to two years, but the studio was hoping to bring him back and pair with his wife, as the Hollywood Reporter noted on March 20:
Neither Lombard nor Powell ultimately appeared in "Gambling Ship."
Carole was still noted for her fashion sense, and the Albert Lea (Minn.) Evening Tribune ran a photo of one of her new outfits on March 28:
Four days earlier, the Chester Times in suburban Philadelphia ran an ad from Strawbridge & Clothier that included information on "Cinema Corner," Hollywood-inspired women's apparel designs sold on the third floor of its Center City store on Market Street. One of the frocks to be unveiled on Saturday was based on a Lombard outfit, but we don't know which one. This looks like a job for...no, not Superman, but a super fashion historian.
Finally, let's head out to Jamaica, Kingston in particular, for an item that ran in the Gleaner on March 18, written by Ewart Hodgson, film critic for the Daily Express in London. He discusses whom the loveliest star on the screen is, adding that both Lombard and Paramount stablemate Adrienne Ames are contenders, saying they "hover on the edge of the siren class, but never indulge in those antics of exotic languor affected by the Garbos and the Dietriches and their imitators."
So, who "emerges from the debate as the loveliest and most exciting creature at present encountered by this talkie commentator"?
"Lorretta Young," as Hodgson refers to her -- four times. Yes, Loretta's beauty is so mesmerizing, he can't even spell her name correctly. (And to all the many Young fans out there, no knock on her is intended; the pre-Code Loretta exhibited incredible cinematic luminosity, and was a splendid actress, too.)
This week's LiveJournal header shows Carole working on her lipstick in between scenes on the set of "Made For Each Other," while co-star James Stewart waits for her to finish.