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carole lombard 02

Today, 'Godfrey' turned blu(-ray)

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.18 at 20:59
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

Today's one worth celebrating for Carole Lombard fans. That's because arguably her best-known film (and only Oscar-nominated performance), "My Man Godfrey," is back on DVD -- this time in a new blu-ray version from the Criterion Collection. (A traditional DVD version also is available.)

Both versions have the features Criterion added to its initial "Godfrey" release in 2001, in addition to some new ones this time around. We wrote about the new version about three months ago (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/913891.html), and now I can provide additional details. First, more on the packaging, which looks exquisite:

Cute caricatures of Godfrey and Irene at the scavenger hunt.

A recent review from Blu-ray Authority praised the updated version: https://www.blurayauthority.com/blu-ray/my-man-godfrey-criterion-collection-blu-ray/ And the independent site CriterionForum.org was similarly effusive (http://criterionforum.org/DVD-review/my-man-godfrey-blu-ray/the-criterion-collection/2024). Here are some screen grabs from the blu-ray:

One extra I'm particularly thrilled about is an essay on the film from Facebook friend Farran Smith Nehme, a lady who knows her classic movies. And while I recommend purchasing the movie, Criterion issued the essay at its site today, and it's every bit as sharp as I'd expect from her. It's at https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/5928-my-man-godfrey-the-right-kind-of-people.

Nehme begins with "Ask people to name a screwball comedy, and the title you're very likely to hear first is 'My Man Godfrey.'" I'm a bit skeptical about that -- casual movie buffs are probably more familiar with "Bringing Up Baby," as Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn are far more recognizable to them than Powell and Lombard -- but once past that, it's brilliantly written, and notices how Carole's masterful line delivery gives her Irene Bullock character the texture and heart other actresses (think Constance Bennett, director Gregory La Cava's initial choice for the role until Powell insisted on his ex-wife) might not have been able to supply.

Nehme's essay replaces one from Diane Jacobs for the 2001 version. That can be found at https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/123-my-man-godfrey.

Finally, I discovered this recipe Powell gave a celebrity cookbook in 1940. Did he ever make it for Lombard (or for new wife Diana Lewis)? I don't know, but it's fun to share anyway: https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/2385-chef-du-cinema-my-man-godfrey

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In the heartland, keeping the cinematic spirit alive

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.17 at 15:47
Current mood: happyhappy

Carole Lombard poses in costume on location in Napa, Calif., in 1940 for the drama "They Knew What They Wanted." It was released later that year, and in December played the now-defunct Liberty Theater in Exeter, Pa., a bit west of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre:

Fortunately, many old movie houses have survived the onslaught of suburban multiplexes, even those in small towns struggling in what is sometimes patronizingly referred to as "flyover country." Many of these small theaters still have but one screen, and are located in downtowns whose business traffic has slowed thanks to Walmarts, Targets and Dollar General stores on the outskirts of town.

The Los Angeles Times recently reported on one of these success stories, in Webster City, Iowa:

I have a special fondness for Iowa, as I spent two years of graduate study at Iowa State University in Ames in the '80s. I don't recall if I ever visited Webster City, which is about halfway between Des Moines and the Minnesota border, but like many towns in the heartland it's been battered by the economy over the past decade (Electrolux closed a washing-machine factory in 2011). Laotians and Hispanics have entered to work agricultural jobs, blending in with the whites who stayed put.

Movies have been shown in Webster City since 1916, and I'm certain more than a few starred Carole. This venue was known as the Orpheum, the Granada and finally the Webster in the 1930s, changing ownership along the way. It appeared the last picture show would take place in 2013, when it was shuttered. But in north-central Iowa, the community made certain there was a happy ending.

This pic, from May, advertises a feature called "The Miracle Season" in 2-D -- which meant adult admission was a mere $4 (children pay $3); tickets for 3-D showings are $6 and $5 respectively, although for those who prefer 2-D, versions of those films run on Sundays and matinees. Anyway, a miracle of sorts came to the Webster in 2013.

Jeff Pingel and the husband-and-wife team of Larry and Kay Ross created a nonprofit group, bought and renovated the theater for $270,000 and re-opened it in 2014. That group now has the acronym HERO (Help Entertain and Restore Organization), and for those of us who love the experience a classic movie theater can bring, they are indeed heroes. Jake Pulis, Kay Ross and Pingel are shown in the lobby, with the concession stand behind them:

As you might guess, the venue is family-oriented, running films several weeks after they open nationally. It's closed on Mondays, but tomorrow the stellar romantic comedy "Crazy Rich Asians" will end its run, to be followed by "Slender Man" and "Alpha," the latter in 3-D.

Find more on the 236-seat theater, which also is available for rentals and other community events, at http://www.webstertheater.org/. The Times story is at http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-ca-webster-city-theater-20180916-story.html.

Finally, here's an inspiring 12-minute documentary on the Webster's revival. It brought tears to my eyes, as the theater is a metaphor for a town that wouldn't be licked.

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Cinematic Sundays: 'Man Of The World'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.16 at 13:19
Current mood: indifferentindifferent

Tracking Carole Lombard movies from the first half of 1931 is rather confusing. Paramount released five titles of her during those six months, including two with William Powell, whom she'd marry in late June. We're reviewing "Man Of The World" as this week's entry in "Cinematic Sundays."

"Man Of The World" is the first Lombard-Powell collaboration released, but not the first film they made; that honor goes to "Ladies' Man," our entry next week. Indeed, "Man Of The World" was noted as Powell's swan song for the studio, as he'd just signed with Warners (as did Kay Francis, his co-star in "Ladies' Man" and until Myrna Loy arrived, arguably the actress most associated with him on screen). His status was noted as such by syndicated columnist Robbin Coons in the March 5 Asbury Park (N.J.) Press:

Lombard initially wasn't cast as the female lead -- Jean Arthur was -- but the change was announced in mid-January in papers such as the Wausau (Wis.) Daily Herald on Jan. 16:

Also note the film's initial title, "Cavalier Of The Streets."

Richard Wallace was announced as its director in the Jan. 18 Muncie (Ind.) Star Press:

A month later, Edward Goodman was named an uncredited co-director.

"Man Of The World" sort of indicates why the movie business then was called "the film factory." It was ready for release before March had expired. The Louisville Courier-Journal publicized its arrival March 15...

...as did an ad in the March 26 Detroit Free Press:

But the first papers to review it were on March 21 -- the New York Daily News...

...and the Brooklyn Eagle:

Neither was all that enthused with the film, although both thought Powell rose above the material.

(Also note the adjacent News story about four of its writers joining the staff of Fox Studios, among the influx of eastern journalists headed for Hollywood. My mother once told me that Francis Paterno, my paternal grandfather and at the time a reporter for the Eagle, had toyed with the idea of going west to write for the movies. He died in 1950, more than five years before I was born, so had he done so chances are I never would've existed, a la what potentially imperiled Marty McFly. Thanks, Grandpa.)

A News ad from the 21st that ran on the same page -- it opened at both the Manhattan and Brooklyn Paramount palaces:

The Fox hosted its San Francisco premiere, and the March 26 Examiner seemed as excited about Gershwin music on the program as the movie. (A banner headline for the film ran above the story.)

That page also advertised the movie:

The Los Angeles Times was as ambivalent about the film on March 28 (it actually ran in the late editions the night before) as the New York papers we cited, but Philip K. Scheuer praised both Powell and Lombard:

By now, we've come to appreciate the honest, independent reviews from the Pittsburgh dailies. "Man Of The World" didn't hit town until April. On the 16th, Karl Krug of the Press noted the cinematic return of native Pittsburgher Powell:

Meanwhile, the Post-Gazette's Harold W. Cohen reviewed in the following day and liked it too...though he ignored the hometown angle. (Take my word on the review, as the first column is a bit difficult to read.):

Cohen said Powell surmounts what he called a "lugubrious" script, and calls Lombard "better than she has ever been."

Next week: "Ladies' Man," Lombard-Powell, part II (or should that be part I?).

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From the photographer of her final session

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.15 at 17:28
Current mood: hopefulhopeful

When it comes to Carole Lombard, veteran photographer Robert Coburn (who took many portraits of Rita Hayworth at Columbia) is best known for shooting what would be her final session on New Year's Eve, 1941. But he took other photos of Carole for "To Be Or Not To Be," including this publicity still with co-star Jack Benny:

This oversized (10.5" x 13.25") single-weight photo, with Lombard and Benny in character as Maria and Joseph Tura, is listed in good condition. There are a few creases and minor signs of wear.

This picture, one I've never seen before, can be yours for $75 under eBay's "buy it now" policy. To find out more, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lubitschs-TO-BE-OR-NOT-TO-BE-1942-Carole-Lombard-Jack-Benny-Photo-By-Coburn/263933523783?hash=item3d73a9f747:g:ZKwAAOSwsspbkDCB.

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Carole covers Romania

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.14 at 17:41
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

By the summer of 1936, Carole Lombard's first film for Universal, "Love Before Breakfast," had made its way to Europe. The Internet Movie Database reports it opened in England on April 15, Portugal on May 19, Hungary on June 11 and Spain on July 18. IMDb doesn't provide any premiere date for Romania, but it apparently was sometime that summer, since the July 31 issue of its magazine Cinema featured Lombard on both its front...

...and back covers (the latter alongside Preston Foster):

So Romania either was full of Lombard fans, or its editor, publisher and/or both adored her. (Not hard to do, right?).

But we know there was more in this issue's 24 pages (covers included). For example, a feature on Errol Flynn and Lily Damita...

...this two-page spread, with the likes of Leslie Howard and Clark Gable...

...and a piece on "The Great Ziegfeld" and "Romeo And Juliet" at the Salzburg Film Festival in Austria. Apparently MGM placed importance on international festivals in the prewar years; I don't know whether other U.S. studios did likewise:

Interested in purchasing this magazine? It might help to have a rudimentary knowledge of Romanian, but even if you don't, it's a fascinating snapshot of film history. The specifics:

It's complete, with no cuts. The seller (from Romania's capital, Bucharest) says it's "Used, but in good condition, considering the age." More than 82 years.

Bidding opens at $9.99, with the auction concluding at 4:45 a.m. (Eastern) Thursday. Like to bid, or merely learn more? Visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Extremely-Rare-Cinema-Magazine/273459213431?hash=item3fab707477:g:BkUAAOSw~ZFbmiJc.

Of course, Lombard's other Universal film was on the horizon...

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Book reviews in the news

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.13 at 18:46
Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

Carole Lombard must've heard two books that feature her received glowing reviews today. Here's the lowdown:

First up, Michelle Morgan's "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star." OK, so this bio is two years ago, but some classic Hollywood buffs are only now learning about it. (Better late than never.)

Nicole Sherwood of the site "Old Hollywood" gave the book five stars. Here's proof. (Editor's note: I assisted Morgan in researching it at the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and am one of two people the book is dedicated to.)

Sherwood is a fan of Morgan's work, but says this is the first non-Marilyn Monroe volume of hers she's read. And Sherwood "absolutely loved it":

"With Michelle's books you can tell that she is passionate about the subject and she researches the facts and avoids the scandals."

And that Morgan does here, as she emphasizes Lombard's life and personality more so than her tragic demise.

Sherwood needed little persuasion about Carole, whom she called "a remarkable woman, ahead of her time in terms of her attitude towards business, beauty, women, war and work. ... There is so much to learn about Carole as she had a very energetic and positive personality and an honest, open attitude towards life."

She applauds Morgan's decade-long research on the book, including production notes and other documents heretofore unavailable to Lombard biographers. Interviews with Carole herself also emphasize her modernity.

And the photos? Sherwood loves them, calling the images "beyond beautiful." (Which they are.) She comments:

"Carole was a very private woman who endured a lot of tragedies and struggles during her career and lifetime. She is an inspiration and her story and legacy deserves to be celebrated. That is exactly what Michelle does with this beautiful book."

See Sherwood's review at https://medium.com/@nlsherwood/book-review-carole-lombard-twentieth-century-star-781b1808ff5b.

The other book is one I've yet to read, but publicized less than two weeks ago (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/933141.html). Fortunately, my White Sox fan friend Dan Day Jr. has, and he likes it too:

"Hitchcock's Heroines" (written by Caroline Young)? Yes, it's a title rarely associated with Lombard -- but she indeed was a lead in a Hitchcock film, not a thriller but an American screwball comedy, 1941's "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." And while Day adores Lombard as much as I do, he examines the entirety of the women who starred on his films. (There were so many, headed by multiple leads Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly and Tippi Hedren.)

Day provides this insight:

"One of the main themes of this book is Hitchcock's quixotic personality when it came to relating to women. The author makes the case that Hitchcock was very respectful toward major stars who were not intimidated by him, such as Carole Lombard and Ingrid Bergman. However, this work does not shy away from the accusations made toward Hitchcock by women such as Tippi Hedren and Vera Miles. The charge that Hitchcock's work had a misogynistic streak running through it is also discussed."

(Day notes that having a woman write this book, with her perspective, was a definite plus.)

The reviewer also is a fan of the photos and the emphasis on the wardrobes these leading ladies wore, as it shows Hitch's emphasis on beauty.

Day concludes with, "I already own a number of books written about Alfred Hitchcock and his movies, and I'm glad I added this one to the list."

Read his review at https://dandayjr35.blogspot.com/2018/09/book-review-hitchcocks-heroines.html?showComment=1536883576993#c6208505389629344085.

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Carole and Mary, a proposed publication portrait and a switch to blonde

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.12 at 08:54
Current mood: artisticartistic

In recent years, we've noted Carole Lombard had a friend in 1930s actress Mary Carlisle, but didn't have any photographic proof even after the last surviving WAMPAS Baby Star (an award given to up-and-coming actresses by West Coast film marketers) died at age 104 early on Aug. 1.

Now, thanks to the picture above, we have proof -- and a mystery about the pic has just been answered.

Taken at Los Angeles' legendary Hotel Ambassador sometime in the 1930s, this shows Mary at left, with Carole and first husband William Powell. But who's between the two actresses? I couldn't figure it out, and neither could the person who posted it. But thanks to Jean Hunter, we have the answer; it's Russell Gleason, and the photo is from the February 1933 Modern Screen.

We have two more Lombard images. Well, the first one supposedly is. Judge for yourself.

Rolf Armstrong (1889-1960) was a noted portrait painter whose work regularly appeared in Photoplay and other film fan magazines. (He was also the uncle of actor Robert Armstrong, who made several films with Lombard.)

In 1934, he composed the above Lombard pastel portrait, titled "Mink Stole," for Modern Screen magazine, but it declined to use it. To be honest, its resemblance isn't all that obvious, perhaps the reason for its rejection; it arguably more closely resembles a 1920s star (Mae Murray?) than the '30s-ish Lombard.

Here it is, framed...

...in a close-up of Lombard's face which here more closely resembles her...

...and Armstrong's signature in the lower-right hand corner:

In 2011, "Mink Stole" was discovered after more than three-quarters of a century in storage and sold.

Armstrong's other movie star subjects included Constance Bennett (The New Movie Magazine, June 1931)...

...and Marion Davies (Photoplay, November 1921):

Finally, a photo from late 1927 in which the new, post-automobile accident Lombard introduces herself to the world. The Fox-era Carole, a starlet in westerns, wore a darker hue, but to distance the new Lombard -- now a Mack Sennett employee whose forte was comedy -- from her former persona, she made this sexy shot for noted photographer Edwin Bower Hesser, who often pictured Mary Pickford, one of Carole's idols.

Lombard was blonde as a child, but never this blonde... or this alluring, with bare shoulders and wearing a pearl necklace (and likely not much else). While we've run this shot before, seeing it in this context helps explain its importance in what we'd today call "rebranding."

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Swingin' high, and low, on the set

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.11 at 09:55
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

It isn't as well remembered as many of Carole Lombard's other performances (for reasons we'll explain later), but "Swing High, Swing Low" was perhaps her biggest hit at Paramount. In fact, it was the studio's most profitable film for all of 1937, not to mention the only movie Carole made where she sang rather than being dubbed. (I'm certain she'd admit that certainly wasn't the reason the movie was such a success.)

Lombard's seen relaxing on the set with co-star Fred MacMurray, supporting player Charles Butterworth and director Mitchell Leisen.

This vintage 8" x 10" photo is in near fine condition, with some light wear to the corners. It belonged to Argentine writer and film critic Israel Chas de Cruz, as noted by an archive stamp on the back.

The photo is valued at $650, but you can purchase it for $32 a month over 24 months. You can also make an offer. Find out more at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Swing-High-Swing-Low-Original-photograph-of-Carole-Lombard-Fred-137890/372431301969?hash=item56b6a2ad51:g:VXoAAOSwQFZblUAm.

And the reason "Swing High, Swing Low" is not well-remembered today? A full 35mm print is apparently unavailable. Leisen owned a 16mm print, and some of it has been used to restore what was missing from a 35mm version. The difference between the two is jarring, enough so that it rarely turns up on Turner Classic Movies, even though the film is in public domain.

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Carole quintupled, en Espanol

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.10 at 16:11
Current mood: creativecreative

How did I miss this Carole Lombard image all these years?

I never knew about it until yesterday, when this made the rounds of the Facebook site "Clark Gable: Original King of Hollywood" (https://www.facebook.com/groups/163547547571479/), administered by FB friend Jean Hunter. Needless to say, I was knocked over; it's gorgeous.

Carole's been shown in multiple form before, mostly peering at her reflection in a mirror, but sometimes employing the miracle of trick photography to appear as twins, as she did evoking sisters Lillian and Dorothy Gish in 1922's "Orphans Of The Storm":

But even putting those poses together results in one fewer Lombard than you get in the top photo. I've never seen an English-language version of that shot -- but thanks to online Spanish-to-English translators, I don't need to. Its message:

Beautiful Paramount actress who plays in the film "Ladies' Man" the suggestive role of a young woman who is capable of feeling great passions and at the same time look at life with the boredom of someone who has already lived intensely.

Do all five of her feel that way?

This ran in the August 1931 issue of Mensajero Paramount (Paramount Messenger), a Spanish-language studio house organ. Here's the page in its entirety:

The 1931-1932 volume of this is available via the Media History Digital Library, and I intend to use it for future insights in my "Cinematic Sundays" series.

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Cinematic Sundays: 'Up Pops The Devil'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.09 at 09:09
Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

Carole Lombard and Norman Foster were re-teamed (along with Skeets Gallagher) in "Up Pops The Devil" following their success in early 1931's "It Pays To Advertise." It's this week's entry in our "Cinematic Sundays" series.

While "It Pays To Advertise" was adapted from a 1914 play, "Up Pops The Devil" was as contemporary as one could get for 1931. In fact, it was performed on stage while the film version was produced and released, as witness this from the April 26, 1931 Oakland Tribune:

The premise is that while a writer in New York's Greenwich Village struggles to make ends meet, his wife gets the radical idea of becoming a dancer to keep the household financially solvent. It causes all sorts of upheaval.

Lombard's rising stock at Paramount was made evident on Jan. 23, when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported she would replace Nancy Carroll, one of the studio's top stars, as the female lead:

Louella Parsons noted Carole's rising status in her Feb. 3 column run in Hearst's first newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner:

"In Defense Of Love" was a preliminary title for the film that became known as "I Take This Woman."

Someone at the Muncie (Ind.) Star Press was an avid Paramount fan, because that paper regularly ran its press releases, including this one on April 5 on how weather effects are done on soundstages:

Among the supporting players was Paramount's newly-hired Lilyan Tashman, the April 22 Logansport (Ind.) Pharos-Tribune reported:

"Up Pops The Devil" finally hit theaters in mid-May. Here's the review in the May 16 New York Daily News:

Across the East River that day was a review from the Brooklyn Eagle:

The Los Angeles Times on May 23 called the adaptation "talky" and "static":

"Sleep 'N' Eat" was the pseudonym for black comic actor Willie Best, whose portrayal of a laundryman was arguably the most racist portrayal of a black person in any Lombard talkie (several other buffoonish stereotypes were seen in Mack Sennett two-reelers). Best later got to use his real name and drew praise from the likes of Bob Hope (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/121768.html).

In San Francisco, the Examiner's May 29 review noted that on the bill was a revival, nearly as old a one as you could get -- 1903's "The Great Train Robbery":

The Chicago Tribune used someone with the pseudonym "Mae Tinee" to write film reviews (a far cry from its Gene Siskel half a century later). To call this June 2 review gushy would be an understatement:

The June 4 Wisconsin State Journal had this review, including e.e.cummings-style downscale headlines:

Lombard: "Smooth, blonde, just right."

Ethel Merman, future Broadway belter (and Lombard co-star in "We're Not Dressing"), a blues singer? Well, that's what they called it in 1931.

In the June 11 Pittsburgh Press, critic Karl Krug wrote Lombard was improving "by leaps and bounds" as an actress:

The rival Post-Gazette ran this ad on the 13th:

"Spicy And Audaciously Daring"!

And the June 19 Alexandria (La.) Town Talk promoted the movie with not one, not two, but three ads -- all on the same page!

We'll next examine Carole's two films with future husband William Powell, beginning with "Man Of The World."

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Lombard, a 'Sinner' under the Italian 'Sun'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.08 at 00:56
Current mood: hothot

Carole Lombard's film "Sinners In The Sun" premiered in the U.S. in May 1932, but much of the rest of the world didn't see it until 1933, according to the Internet Movie Database. For example, its premieres in Sweden and Turkey weren't until the final week of May 1933.

As movies often do, its title was changed in translation, which explains why this Italian film magazine Cine-Romanzo has the word "Peccatori" on its cover...

...and also perhaps why a partially-tinted 1933 Paramount photo shows the ship-shapely Carole.

The magazine has eight pages on "Sinners," including this two-page spread:

It measures 9" x 13", though the seller doesn't list the magazine's condition.

If you're a Lombard fan fluent in Italian, or simply like this movie, you can purchase this rarity for $14.99. Get all the details by going to https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-CHESTER-MORRIS-1933-ITALIAN-MOVIE-MAGAZINE/352456068847?hash=item521004ceef:g:bPEAAOSwM1Javk3Y.

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Photos in your best Pinterest

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.07 at 16:00
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

Carole Lombard was among the most photographed actresses of her era, and though she lived but 33 years -- with roughly half of that life spent posing for professional picture-takers, such as Sir Cecil Beaton, above, in 1931 -- thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of Lombard images can be found, nearly all of them lovely.

Today, as I prepare for a move I'm making tomorrow (remaining in Los Angeles, but moving a few miles away), I thought I'd point out a site that has many such images. It's from Facebook friend and fellow Lombard fan Lisa Laird, and it's part of the popular site Pinterest.

It's called "Carole Lombard" (original, huh?) and its URL is https://www.pinterest.com/arrobins70/carole-lombard/?lp=true.

I'll show a few of my favorites here. Go to the site, and you'll see Carole in all her timeless charm... and no doubt you'll want to add a few to your collection.

First, from the beginning of her motion picture career, a Lombard with darker hair in 1925 as a Fox starlet. (If only we had some movie evidence of her from this era, but that's another story.)

Now to a shot taken for Mack Sennett in 1927. So what if Carole had been in an auto accident in 1926? With that figure and those legs, Sennett was delighted to hire her:

Lombard made a year's stop at Pathe in 1929, where she made three talkies and (temporarily) dropped the "e" from her first name. Here's a publicity still for her first talking feature there, "High Voltage":

She signed with Paramount the following year, and the year after that married William Powell. Their friendship would last far longer than their marriage, though neither could have known that while on honeymoon in Hawaii:

Carole's first few years at Paramount were confounding, as the studio never really knew what to do with her. She would get better vehicles on loanout to Columbia, in particular her 1934 breakout hit, "Twentieth Century," whose director was distant cousin Howard Hawks:

Two years later, Lombard would receive her only Oscar nomination as dizzy heiress Irene Bullock, opposite her ex, in the screwball classic "My Man Godfrey":

The new man in Lombard's life was Clark Gable, but she'd have to wait until 1939 before they could marry:

By the late 1930s, Carole was a not-infrequent guest on network radio, appearing on programs such as "The Circle" on NBC, where she's seen with Cary Grant and Ronald Colman in early 1939:

After several years of starring in dramas, Lombard returned to comedy with "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" in early 1941, followed by her long-sought collaboration with Ernst Lubitsch, "To Be Or Not To Be," a film she would not live to see released:

Carole's zest for life and her splendid talent has won her generations of fans more than three-quarters of a century after her passing, a testament to the power of her personality, beauty and timeless attitude:

carole lombard 04

Well, hello officer...and goodbye, Burt

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.06 at 16:32
Current mood: amusedamused

With pal Zasu Pitts as passenger, Carole Lombard says hi to two unidentified policemen on motorcycles in a scene from Carole's lone film for MGM, "The Gay Bride" (1934).

The seller states the pic is an original, although there's no date stamp that testifies it's a vintage. Here's what's shown on the back:

It's 8" x 10" and is listed in very good condition. There are some minor creases in the corners.

The seller is Canadian, and bidding opens at $9.99 US. The auction closes at 9:06 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. If you're interested, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Zasu-Pitts-stopped-by-motorcycle-cops-photo-1934-The-Gay-Bride/232917767928?hash=item363afb16f8:g:lSMAAOSwT6NbkH2k.

We salute the passing today of actor Burt Reynolds at age 82. Here's a trailer from one of his more obscure movies (and among my favorite performances of his), the clever 1989 comic crime caper "Breaking In":

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Stylish, indeed

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.05 at 01:11
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

RKO's Fred Hendrickson rarely is credited among the great Carole Lombard portrait photographers, but he took some fine pics, such as the one above. Another, possibly from the same 1940 session since Carole's hairstyle is similar, now is up for auction at eBay:

This image, CL-206 (one I've never seen before), is described as "stylish" by the seller, and I wouldn't disagree. Proof that Hendrickson took it is on the back of this vintage 8" x 10":

It's from the collection of the late George Smoots, and is labeled in "excellent" condition.

Bids for this rarity begin at $29.99, with the auction slated to end at 10:37 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. If you'd like to bid, go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Original-Vtg-1940-HENDRICKSON-Stamp-RKO-STYLISH-PORTRAIT-Photo/142885219842?hash=item21449f6e02:g:4B4AAOSwzC9bPun-.

Win the auction, and you may feel as happy as Carole did when she posed for this Hendrickson portrait:

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Jack Oakie with a 'White Woman'?

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.04 at 09:51
Current mood: curiouscurious

Jack Oakie made two films with Carole Lombard, "From Hell To Heaven" (from which a publicity still is shown) and "The Eagle And The Hawk" (like Cary Grant, he had no scenes with Carole). If Oakie's remembered today, it's for his turn as a Benito Mussolini type in Charlie Chaplin's 1940 classic "The Great Dictator," but that doesn't do him justice. He was a reliable, versatile actor, most at home in comedy, and an integral player at Paramount for much of the 1930s.

He and Carole were likely friends, though I've never heard of any romance between them...but might he have made a third movie with her? That's what this photo, from the Wide World syndicate, would lead you to believe.

Yep, that's Oakie with a mustache, and it appears they are listening to a record (perhaps of fellow Paramount player Bing Crosby or another crooner, future Lombard lover Russ Columbo). From the back, we learn the photo is dated Aug. 25, 1933, a week after Carole had divorced William Powell in Nevada and returned to Hollywood following her necessary six weeks' residency in the Silver State:

Can't read it since it's upside down? Here's an isolated close-up turned 180 degrees:

And if you still can't make it out, it reads:

"Carole Lombard, blonde screen star, just divorced from, although still friendly with William Powell, back on the Hollywood lot with Jack Oakie where the two began work on 'White Woman.' Incidentally a hirsute adornment can be seen on Mr. Oakie's upper lip."

Jack Oakie in that campfest "White Woman"? Picture him in the over-the-top Charles Laughton role...

Not likely, since Oakie generally played second leads of a comic nature. It's possible he was assigned to this film as comic relief (which would explain his white outfit, ideal for the steamy Malaysian jungle), until Laughton's overacting proved the production didn't need any more of it. This looks to be something we'll learn when our chronological "Cinematic Sundays" series comes to "White Woman," which should be before the end of the year.

The photo -- an image I've never seen before in my many years of Lombard research -- measures 7" x 9", has the top right corner missing, although none of the actual picture is absent. It had been in an album, but could be straightened out if framed.

Bidding begins at $4.99, and the auction is scheduled to end at 8:52 p.m. (Eastern) Monday. If you'd like to bid, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Vintage-7X9-PHOTOGRAPH-ON-SET-1933-NEWSPRINT-SQUIB-JACK-OAKIE/192646455915?hash=item2cda9fa26b:g:VA4AAOSw9tpbYhAZ.

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A 'Screwball Comedy' takes to the stage

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.03 at 18:27
Current mood: amusedamused

Carole Lombard rose to movie fame through the screwball comedy. "Twentieth Century" (above, 1934), among the earliest examples of the genre, revitalized her heretofore aimless career; two years later, she starred in "My Man Godfrey," for many the finest screwball ever made.

Hallmarks of the genre included rapid-fire dialogue (as in "His Girl Friday," whose Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant illustrate the cover of Maria DiBattista's book "Fast-Talking Dames"), assertive female characters and a heightened class sensibility. It's no wonder screwball has inspired generations of screenwriters, and now such style has made its way to the stage, too.

"Screwball Comedy," from prolific (more than 60 plays) Canadian playwright Norm Foster (not to be confused with the actor-director Norman Foster who made two films with Lombard), recently had its U.S. debut at Beverly Hills-based Theatre 40. Unfortunately, I missed the production, for which reviews were mostly positive.

The play, set in 1938, uses plenty of screwball elements. Budding reporter Mary Hayes wants a job at the Chronicle, and editor "Bosco" Godfrey (somewhere William Powell is smiling) has her go head-to-head with egotistical ace scribe Jeff Kincaid covering the lavish wedding of the owner's son. Mary and Jeff each use their sex appeal to get the story...but these foes find they're also falling for each other.

Above are Kate Whitney as Mary, Daniel Leslie as Godfrey and Lane Compton as Jeff in the Theatre 40 production.

An email to Foster produced this response:

"I am a fan of screwball comedies mainly because of the language they used and because of the fast pace involved in most of the films. 'It Happened One Night' is certainly one of my favourites along with 'His Girl Friday,' 'Ball Of Fire' and 'The More The Merrier.'

"Jean Arthur was my favourite of the screwball actresses. Carole Lombard was certainly up there too along with Barbara Stanwyck and Myrna Loy. On the male side Cary Grant was my number one. I also enjoyed Fred MacMurray and Joel McCrea in those films.
"There are a few double entendres in 'Screwball Comedy' but nothing overtly sexual. I wanted to stay true to the time period and not have the comedy spill over into a more modern bawdy comedy. My play is a homage to the screwball films, not a send-up of them."

Foster also forwarded me a copy of the play, which premiered in 2017. Here's one page of the script; imagine Lombard, Fredric March and Walter Connolly -- three stars of the 1937 newspaper comedy "Nothing Sacred" -- as Mary, Jeff and Godfrey:

It looks like a fun production, and I hope to see it in another SoCal run. Here's a promo for a Canadian production from a few months back, giving you a flavor of what it's all about:

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Cinematic Sundays: 'It Pays To Advertise'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.02 at 14:23
Current mood: stressedstressed

As soon as Carole Lombard returned to Hollywood after filming "Fast And Loose" in New York, Paramount put its newly-signed player through her paces. From late 1930 to midway through '31, Lombard made five movies for the studio -- a workhorse pace similar to what Joan Blondell would endure at Warners. (Blondell would appear in more than 30 films between 1931 and 1933.) Today, we examine the first of Carole's 1931 output...

...our latest installment in:

Lombard is shown above with leading man Norman Foster in the first of their two teamings that year.

With its title, "It Pays To Advertise" sounds like something contemporary for 1931 -- after all, the 1920s arguably was the decade where advertising became part of the American fabric, right? (Think of "Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet" and similar slogans.) Actually, "It Pays To Advertise" was sort of an oldie-but-goodie, as it was an adaptation of a 1914 hit Broadway play (made into a silent in 1919). But since the play talked, it was good enough for film studios seeking any kind of talkie material.

Among the first to promote the upcoming production was the Los Angeles Times of Dec. 19, 1930:

A month later -- Jan. 21, 1931 -- it was publicized in the Northwest Indiana Times:

Two things stand out: First, note that Carole had just finished work on "Ladies' Man" with future husband William Powell, but it wouldn't be released until after "Man Of The World," her other title with Powell. (As I said, Paramount was giving Lombard plenty of work.) The other is that Louise Brooks, who'd had some success at the studio in the mid-twenties but had then headed to Europe for art-house renown with the late-era silents "Pandora's Box" and "Diary Of A Lost Girl," was now a lower-billed supporting player. She appears early in the film as a movie star returning by air, doesn't appear thereafter, and may never have met Lombard (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/32690.html).

Brooks' return to Hollywood was played up in the Feb. 1 Pittsburgh Press:

On Feb. 8, the L.A. Times noted director Frank Tuttle played a newspaper reporter in the film (he's one of those interviewing Brooks when she arrives), as well as the work of Paramount's nursery staff on this and other films:

The Internet Movie Database reports "It Pays To Advertise" premiered on Feb. 19, and it received a three-star review in the Feb. 21 New York Daily News:

"Not weighty. Not arty. But neatly and appreciably done. You'll laugh at it." Since the Daily News clientele wasn't "weighty" or "arty" by any means -- that was the domain of the Times or Herald Tribune -- this was a seal of approval.

Lombard, Foster and Skeets Gallagher were illustrated in the Feb. 22 Detroit Free Press:

The Brooklyn Eagle was decidedly less enthusiastic about "It Pays To Advertise" than the Daily News, and said so on Feb. 23:

Now, some ads for the film, first from the Richmond (Ind.) Palladium-Item on Feb. 25:

"It Pays To Advertise" did not premiere at Brooklyn Paramount, but at the Fox. (Both palaces also held musical shows, and later hosted rock 'n' roll revues.) Here's an ad for it from the Feb. 26 Eagle:

This ran March 1 in the Harrisburg Sunday Courier, and reads like a release from the theater's publicist:

That day, the Sioux Falls (S.Dak.) Argus-Leader promoted the film, set to open March 2 at the Egyptian Theater:

The movie's title would seemingly make it a natural for newspaper advertising tie-ins, but I could find only a few examples -- one of them in Iowa's Ames Tribune on March 6. (I spent two years at Iowa State University's graduate school, and know the town well.)

A second example came in a full-page spread March 24 in another college town, New Brunswick, N.J. (home of Rutgers University) and the Daily Home News:

The L.A. Times reviewed the film March 28 (this was reprinted on March 30), and thought the movie was just another lackluster cinematic adaptation of an outmoded play:

The Oakland Tribune's Wood Soakes showed a similar lack of enthusiasm on March 30:

Carole would again work with Foster and Gallagher, which we'll cover next week.

She'd have to wait a bit longer for her next go-round with Eugene Pallette, but that result would be worth it.

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Gotta get 'Fast And Loose'? Here are four ways how

Posted by vp19 on 2018.09.01 at 22:12
Current mood: curiouscurious

Last week's subject in our "Carole Lombard Cinematic Sundays" series was "Fast And Loose," her second film for Paramount and the only movie she made in New York. While there's been talk this 1930 comedy -- for which Preston Sturges assisted on dialogue -- may soon receive an official DVD release from Universal (which controls rights to most pre-1948 Paramount product), I haven't found any word of it.

I saw "Fast And Loose" many years ago at Theatre 80 St. Marks in lower Manhattan, when it showed vintage movies (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/29850.html). It had its charms, as Lombard's only teaming with character actor extraordinaire Frank Morgan and the film debut of Broadway star Miriam Hopkins, whom over the next 11 years would vie with Carole for roles.

How can you see it? Well, it's apparently available in full length via a Russian website, but I can't vouch for its quality. Neither can I guarantee likewise for four DVD versions of "Fast And Loose," but here goes:

* eBay is selling a used version in the public domain, said to be in "good" condition. There's no artwork of any kind aside from a title. It sells for $7.99, and you can purchase it at https://www.ebay.com/itm/FAST-AND-LOOSE-1930-Pre-code-Comedy-w-Miriam-Hopkins-Carole-Lombard/352449850071?hash=item520fa5ead7:g:wK0AAOSwuTxV~Uod.

* The site moviedetective.net has a copy, also region-free without case or artwork, for $11. Check it out at https://www.moviedetective.net/product_p/fast.htm.

* "Loving The Classics" has five public domain copies available as of this writing; each is $14.95, though I believe the site has a 25 percent off sale on PD films. This is somewhat better packaged than the other two, though its print quality is rated as "B." For additional information, go to https://www.lovingtheclassics.com/by-title/f/fast-and-loose-1930.html.

* Finally, amazon.com has a copy available for $19.98, although its copy is identical to the description from "Loving The Classics." It can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Fast-Loose-Miriam-Hopkins/dp/B00J127QXC.

As I said, there's no assurance any of these copies will be top-grade. But if you're a Carole completist, try your luck. Carole and Ilka Chase await your arrival.

And tomorrow, see the next installment in "Cinematic Sundays" -- 1931's "It Pays To Advertise."

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Honored as a Hitchcock heroine

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.31 at 15:47
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

It still blows the mind of many film fans that Carole Lombard was a lead in an Alfred Hitchcock movie -- "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," made in the fall of 1940 and released in early 1941. Heck, it remains a title relatively few associate with the master of suspense.

But Lombard, who always appreciated good filmmaking of any genre, and Hitchcock were good friends. In fact, Hitch occupied Carole's Bel-Air house once she married Clark Gable and moved to the former Raoul Walsh ranch in Encino.

Little wonder then that Carole is among those spotlighted in a book issued in May about the director's array of leading ladies:

Its author, Scotland's Caroline Young, has penned several books on film history, including the 2012 "Classic Hollywood Style."

While Lombard certainly had one trait associated with Hitch heroines (blonde hair), her background as a comic actress -- and "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" was a romantic comedy, alien turf for the director -- it was Carole's personality, anything but icy, that probably endeared her to him. Hitch certainly could be complicated, as Tippi Hedren of "The Birds" and "Marnie" fame would likely tell you, but Lombard's self-confidence -- which enabled her to turn otherwise coarse moguls such as Columbia's Harry Cohn into her champions -- probably prevented him from engaging in the mind games he liked to play with other actresses.

Young wrote this of Tallulah Bankhead, who appeared in his 1944 film "Lifeboat":

"Tallulah liked to drink, was witty, and had the mouth of a sailor -- just the kind of woman Hitchcock enjoyed spending time with."

No wonder Hitch and Carole got along so well! Here's how the chapter on Lombard begins:

I haven't yet read the book, but from extracts I've seen online, it appears intelligently made, and that Young has done her research. You can read an extract at https://clothesonfilm.com/costuming-hitchcock-an-extract-from-hitchcocks-heroines-by-caroline-young/. An interview with Young about the book is at https://hitchcockmaster.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/book-interview-hitchcocks-heroines/, while you can see this review at https://silverscenesblog.blogspot.com/2018/05/book-review-hitchcocks-heroines-by.html.

Yesterday I sent Young an email about the book and how Lombard figures in it; attached was https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/373703.html, a 2011 entry on "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" I wrote for a Hitchcock blogathon. She replied of Carole's directing Hitch's customary cameo, "Hitchcock's certainly saw Carole's potential as a director [I'm not sure she did], and thought she had real talent for it." (Lombard was the film's de facto producer, and probably had more interest in that end of the industry.)

She also noted Lombard "was in control of the way she looked on screen, choosing her favorite director, Irene, for the costumes." However, Carole probably wasn't in control of the cinematography -- no matter, as Hitch photographs her lovingly, perhaps more so than in any other movie she made:

Had Lombard lived past 1942, it's extremely likely she and Hitchcock would have collaborated again, probably in some sort of thriller genre Hitch was more comfortable with.

More samples from the book:

A hardcover edition of the book, published by Simon & Schuster, is available for $20.85 from amazon.com. Visit https://www.amazon.com/Hitchcocks-Heroines-Caroline-Young/dp/1683830814 to learn more.

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A 'new' nautical Carole, on sail

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.30 at 09:14
Current mood: chipperchipper

In 1933, Carole Lombard took part in an oceanside Paramount photo session where, on board a yacht, she adopted a nautical look. Sometimes she wore full sailor attire, including bell-bottoms...

...while other session pics had her in an abbreviated version of the outfit, the better to show off those stunning Lombard legs. One shot even featured a "guest star," studio stablemate Gary Cooper:

Now, another on-board photo of Carole has surfaced (pun intentional), this a solo shot in full sailor attire.

There's no p1202 coding, alas. Here's what the back looks like:

It reads:

SAILOR GIRL -- Carole Lombard, Paramount player, becomes nautical and, in a striking sea-faring costume, goes for a yacht trip on the Pacific, which is only a hop, skip and a jump from Hollywood.

Sign me up, captain!

This pose, one I'd never seen before, is available via eBay. It's a vintage 8" x 10", with some minor creasing and slight discoloration on the back.

One bid has been placed, at $4.99, and the auction closes at 8:51 p.m. (Eastern) Monday. To get involved or find out more, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Vintage-8x10-CANDID-SAILOR-GIRL-TRIP-ON-YACHT-IN-PACIFIC-SQUIB/192639601678?hash=item2cda370c0e:g:eToAAOSwL1hbhJvc.

Aye aye.

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This silent thought draws ire: It's lost. No big deal.

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.29 at 10:40
Current mood: angryangry

Of the billions of people currently populating the globe, you probably can count the number who have seen Carole Lombard's first film under that name, 1925's "Marriage In Transit," on one hand. And we're not talking about during its run in theaters, but in any subsequent showing or venue.

That's because "Marriage In Transit" and several other silents she made for Fox fell victim to a fire at the studio in 1937. Consequently, aside from stills, we have no record whatsoever of the films Lombard appeared in before her automobile accident in 1926 -- something that likely sent her career in an entirely different direction. And we're not singling out Carole; it's believed that 75 percent of silents from major studios, and 90 percent of all films made before 1929, are lost.

A tragedy, to be sure...or is it? Perhaps not, according to one bit of revisionist thinking. A recent article by Charles Epting at the Silent Film Quarterly site is titled "No More Tears Over Lost Films" (https://silentfilmquarterly.com/2018/08/25/no-more-tears-over-lost-films/).

Much of Epting's piece is focused at what he deems an inordinate amount of attention shown to the lost 1927 Lon Chaney film "London After Midnight." Unlike many of its now-extinct contemporaries, it survived for several decades after its initial run, and some saw it as late as the 1960s before it was a victim of a fire at MGM in 1967.

Epting notes that the film "received tepid reviews, at best, and was certainly eclipsed by some of Chaney's other performances from the same period." Among them may have been "Mr. Wu," released that same year and one I recall seeing on Turner Classic Movies' "Silent Sunday Nights":

The overemphasis on "London After Midnight" is along the lines of attention placed on the lost status of "Convention City" (1933) by pre-Code enthusiasts (of which I am one)...

...although its absence has more to do with censorship after the Production Code was rigorously enforced; while many pre-Code titles are missing segments deemed too racy for post-Code audiences, this is one of the few films that has vanished completely.

The overall tone of Epting's piece is, be thankful for what still exists, as much of what's missing probably is of no great artistic loss. For example, he cites silent comedy's "big three" of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, for whom all 31 of their silent features survive. Very good. But what of their female comedic counterparts (we'll cite three, Colleen Moore, Constance Talmadge and Clara Bow)? While we're not necessarily equating them artistically with Charlie, Buster and Harold, all three were popular in their day and drew big box office.

Moore's "Flaming Youth" was her breakout hit, and its title came to define a generation of flappers. Moore donated a copy of the film to a museum, which stored it for years...and it was later found to have deteriorated to the point where only segments of the movie survive. Fortunately, several of her other movies have survived, enabling us to see the on-screen vivacity which made her so beloved. Talmadge and Bow's movies also share a hit-or-miss fate.

Epting also notes that of the years in the 1920s for which box-office data is available (1922 data is absent), at least seven of the top ten moneymakers survive. He writes: "The films that were box-office flops are less likely to exist; but is that really much of a loss?" (Apply such criteria to today's market, and nearly all we'd be left with would be superhero titles.)

When this essay was made an entry in the Facebook group "FB Film Forum" (https://www.facebook.com/groups/449149135146390/), it caused consternation. Administrator Steve Finkelstein called the article "asinine," while one of the respondents accurately commented: "Celebrating what we have is not a valid reason for dismissing what we do not." From another: "And this is from a silent film magazine? Shameful."

I'm guessing that if one of Lombard's lost titles is ever found -- not out of the realm of possibility, as many silents thought "lost" for decades were recovered in unlikely places and subsequently restored -- we may be disappointed with its artistic quality. But that's not the point. Those who follow the careers of an actor, director or writer want to see as much as they can of their work, then judge for themselves.

A quarter-century ago, "I Take This Woman," Carole's 1931 vehicle with Gary Cooper, was feared lost. But the film was found and restored (in both 16mm and 35mm form), enabling fans of these two legends to see them in action. It's no masterpiece by any means, but a solid programmer for the time. I'm glad I don't have to conjecture about it anymore...with hopes I'll someday do likewise with "Marriage In Transit" or other early Lombard titles.

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A film festival for those who think Young

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.28 at 23:27
Current mood: pleasedpleased

Carole Lombard served as "guest editor" for Screen Book magazine's April 1936 issue. One can never be certain whether the stars who took these roles had any genuine influence over said issue, but Lombard had a keen sense of publicity and probably was fascinated to see just how "the other half" lives...just as her curiosity came to the forefront two years later when she handled publicity at Selznick International for a week.

Several Hollywood notables -- among them ex-husband William Powell -- sent autographed photos, including one who never shared a studio with Carole nor ever made a film with her:

We're referring to Loretta Young, whose only cinematic tie to Lombard came in 1932, when she took the female lead opposite James Cagney in "Taxi!" after Carole declined a loanout to Warners (a decision she later regretted).

If Lombard truly spent significant time at Screen Book, I'm guessing this took place in January or early February of '36 -- roughly the time she and Clark Gable hit it off romantically, and not long after Gable secretly had become father of Young's child, Judy Lewis. Hollywood gossip being what it is, there's a good chance Carole knew what happened (disguised here as "she finally collapsed from overwork").

However, we've discussed that angle of Young's life in the past. This time, we're acknowledging her splendid talent as an actress; with the possible exception of Norma Shearer, no actress received a better career rehabilitation via the pre-Code revival (something Young saw before her passing at age 87 in August 2000).

But her career past mid-1934 was wondrous as well, and two of those films will be shown the weekend after next as part of a Loretta Young Film Festival at the Warner Springs Ranch Resort in San Diego County.

It's a gorgeous place, to be sure, and one particularly appropriate for a festival such as this. That's because Young made a movie on these grounds, the first talking film adaptation of Helen Hunt Jackson's literary masterpiece of early California, the 1936 "Ramona" from Twentieth Century-Fox:

Among the first movies to take advantage of three-strip Technicolor for outdoor scenes, the above pages are ads from industry trade papers of the time.

When Young filmed "Ramona," a dressing room was built for her. In ensuing years, that building was converted into what is now known as the Gallery at Warner Springs, which also houses a gift shop, tourist information and offices.

The festival will kick off Thursday, Sept. 6 with a cocktail reception and meet-and-greet with Young's son, Chris Lewis, and his wife, Facebook friend Linda Lewis. Memorabilia and costumes from Young's career will be on display.

"Ramona" will be shown in its Technicolor glory on an outdoor screen the following night. On Saturday, another western-themed film of Loretta's will be shown, the 1945 comedy "Along Came Jones," co-starring Gary Cooper (the only film he ever produced):

Cooper had a western town built at the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth, which became a popular site to film oaters over the next decade.

There will be more to the festival than movies. Prior to "Ramona," there will be information on its filming, and a feature on the Los Coyotes tribe members cast as extras in the movie. Before "Along Came Jones," there will be an exhibition of western roping. The event is deemed a fine way to promote the area.

The resort has a variety of packages available -- find out more by visiting https://warnerspringsranchresort.com/loretta-young-film-fest. Advance tickets for each film are $10 in advance (available at https://lorettayoungfilmfestival.brownpapertickets.com) and $15 at the door.

Learn more about the event at http://ramonajournal.com/loretta-young-film-festival-promises-stars-p9543-88.htm. It's a tribute to a star whose intelligence, contributions to entertainment -- film, radio and TV -- and charitable work are increasingly appreciated.

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'A vamp of a different kind'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.27 at 17:52
Current mood: impressedimpressed

Carole Lombard had all sorts of God-given gifts that led her to stardom -- beauty, intelligence, sex appeal and comedic sense to name but a few. But one talent she possessed that often gets overlooked was her voice.

It helped Carole secure a career during perhaps the most volatile period in Hollywood history, when many an actor couldn't make the grade as the industry hurriedly made the transition from silent to sound film. Lombard had already "passed the audition" at Pathe when she posed with the parrot above in a gag photo that ran in the Dec. 16, 1928 Los Angeles Times.

A syndicated column in the July 25, 1930 St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times shows how well she adjusted to the new talkie style.

You may recognize the byline; Robert E. Sherwood was a member of the legendary Algonquin Round Table (as was Dorothy Parker, whom we discussed in an entry last week). He was a playwright who won multiple Pulitzer Prizes -- his works included "The Petrified Forest," "Idiot's Delight" and "Abe Lincoln In Illinois," all later adapted into movies -- but in the 1920s, he was among the earliest notable film critics, and his columns were syndicated.

This piece dealt with why actors from Great Britain found success in Hollywood, but the same largely wasn't true for actresses, with the possible exception of Dorothy Mackaill (above) -- and with her Follies background, she tended to play modern American roles on-screen, with little if any trace of a British accent.

An English film official suggested UK actresses study several of their American counterparts for inspiration, citing Ann Harding, Constance Bennett, Helen Twelvetrees, Dorothy Burgess...and Lombard.

What did this studio magnate say of Carole? This, according to Sherwood:

"Carol Lombard is also a vamp [like Burgess], but of a different kind. Here you have suppressed virtue as a keynote of her style. Study Carol Lombard's part in 'Love's Conquest' carefully, particularly towards the end where the suppressed virtue impulse is finally released with a wealth of finesse and subtlety."

This passage probably puzzled many American readers, even the then-relatively few avid Lombard fans. "When did she make a film called 'Love's Conquest'?" The previous year -- that was the UK title for "The Racketeer":

Well-intentioned advice, Sherwood said, but how does one translate that into cinematic training? Nevertheless, it shows how Lombard had adjusted to the techniques of sound acting. (Pun intentional.)

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Cinematic Sundays: 'Fast And Loose'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.26 at 14:00
Current mood: confusedconfused

"Fast And Loose" isn't the easiest Carole Lombard movie to research. It was made under two titles -- it was initially called "The Best People," the name of the mid-twenties play it was adapted from -- and was made as Lombard decided to revert from using the first name "Carol," her official moniker at Pathe, to her former screen name of "Carole" for good. (Alas, many remain unaware that Jane Alice Peters employed the "e" at the beginning of her film career at Fox, leading to plenty of confusion.)

Anyway, I tracked all of this material down, enough to make it the sixth and latest installment of our weekly feature, "Cinematic Sundays."

It also helps that earlier this year, we explored "Fast And Loose" in the context of her coverage from New York newspapers that summer of 1930 (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/916803.html).

The first word of the production came in Louella Parsons' Hollywood column for Hearst (shown here in the San Francisco Examiner on June 3). Lombard is first associated with the project in Grace Kingsley's Los Angeles Times column on June 14:

So it was off to New York for Lombard, a place she had never visited, and the Daily News introduced its readers to her on June 18, in words...

...and in picture, with lots of lovely Lombard leg:

Across the East River in Brooklyn that day, the Eagle alerted its readers that Carole was coming to Queens:

The Chicago Tribune referred to Lombard as "the flip chorus girl from 'Safety In Numbers'" when it noted her hiring on June 29:

As you can see, much of the advance word on this film came from large metro dailies, as one might expect -- but the Mansfield News-Journal in Ohio noted on July 1 that former Dartmouth football star Charles Starrett was joining the cast. (The 1925 team referred to was unofficial national champion with an 8-0 record, outscoring its foes 340-29.)

Starrett would later gain fame in westerns (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/444262.html).

More about Lombard ran in another Ohio daily, the Akron Beacon Journal, on July 2:

Noted comic actress Ilka Chase joined the cast, as the New York Daily News reported on July 10:

Frank Morgan (shown at top with Lombard) and Miriam Hopkins joined the cast, shown in the Akron Beacon Journal on July 26:

Edwin C. Stein of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette visited the set, and wrote about it on Aug. 6:

The Sept. 4 Los Angeles Times announced Lombard had landed a long-term Paramount contract...and had added the "e" to her first name for good. (The Times actually asked how the new name should be pronounced. What?)

And speaking of new names, here's the change from "The Best People" to "Fast And Loose" in the Oct. 3 Asbury Park Press...

...and the Oct. 11 Akron Beacon Journal:

Note Robbin Coons' column says Lombard is interested in the technical aspects of film -- perhaps a result of her recovery from a 1926 auto accident.

According to the Internet Movie Database, "Fast And Loose" premiered on Nov. 8, 1930, but it apparently opened a few days earlier in Alexandria, La. It's amusing to see the Town Talk daily's ads from Nov. 4 and 5 -- with different spellings of Lombard's name:

"Fast And Loose" was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times of Nov. 15 (it actually first ran in late editions the day before), and well-regarded critic Philip K. Scheuer was generally approving...though he gave Carole a backhanded compliment:

More ads for the film ran in the Richmond (Ind.) Item on Nov. 25...

...and the Cumberland (Md.) Evening Times on Dec. 2:

On that same page, the Evening Times noted the film's fine reviews from New York papers:

On Dec. 19, the Los Angeles Times announced Lombard's next assignment -- four days after Carole's close friend, Diane Ellis, died while on honeymoon in Madras, India:

That assignment, "It Pays To Advertise," will be next week's subject.

carole lombard 06

For an LA Hearst haven, a 'move' to an Arizona state

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.25 at 13:23
Current mood: creativecreative

Carole Lombard loved tennis, and this pic of her on the court, Paramount p1202-1195, apparently ran in a 1936 edition of William Randolph Hearst's Los Angeles Examiner. In December 1938, it announced Clark Gable was filing for divorce from Ria Langham so he could marry her:

The Examiner's offices, which later brought in sister publication the Herald-Express to become the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, were at 1111 South Broadway.

Opened in 1914, it was designed by architect Julia Morgan, who some years later would design Hearst's opulent mansion at San Simeon. The Herald-Examiner, an afternoon paper following its merger with the Herald-Express, was losing circulation and by its closing in October 1989 was down to 238,000 -- less than one-third of the rival Times.

Did Lombard ever set foot in this building? Possibly, if she was to meet Hearst columnist Louella Parsons on her own turf, but we have no recorded proof. It's decidedly more likely that Marion Davies did, as she was the love of publisher Hearst, who had offices and living quarters at the top level.

The building was named a city historical-cultural monument in 1977, effectively denying this Moorish marvel from razing once the paper shut down. But aside from some film shoots, little took place inside, even as downtown slowly began its revival. There was talk of converting it into housing, but nothing came of such plans, while residential buildings sprouted across adjacent blocks, making new apartments largely unnecessary.

Now we have real plans for its future, and it involves higher education. But not from the private University of Southern California or its principal rival, the younger, public University of California at Los Angeles (you know it better as UCLA). Instead, it's from an institution that shares membership with both in the Pacific-12 Conference...

...Arizona State University.

On the surface, that makes little sense. Why would an institution based in Tempe, Ariz. (with satellite campuses in nearby downtown Phoenix and its suburbs Mesa and Glendale),

be interested in downtown Los Angeles?

Well, just as southern California is fertile territory for recruiting college athletes, so it is for drawing college students who don't shoot baskets or spike volleyballs. Both ASU and its principal rival, the University of Arizona, have heavily promoted online education in southern California, and the private, formerly for-profit Grand Canyon University based in Phoenix frequently runs TV spots in LA. And of course, there's the nearly ubiquitous University of Phoenix.

ASU is a colossal institution -- more than 59,000 undergraduates at Tempe, and more than 109,000 students at campuses around the world. In 2013, it opened what it calls its "California Center" (appropriately located on Arizona Avenue in Santa Monica). This will boost the university's presence in Los Angeles.

Here's how the interior of the Herald-Examiner building looks today. (Note the arched window, which has been boarded up for many years following a labor dispute at the paper.)

Much of the building's 80,000 square feet will be used in a journalistic manner, as part of ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. (Cronkite, a former reporter for United Press before his long career with CBS radio and television, gave the university permission to name the school for him in 1984.) Other ASU endeavors, including its Hershberger Institute for Design and the Arts, will use the facility; Hershberger coordinates programs with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The building is expected to open in spring 2020, along with restaurants for the increasingly trendy neighborhood -- another sign of downtown's revival.

For more on the university's plans, visit http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-asu-herald-examiner-20180821-story.html.

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