vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,
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Up pops the...Renault

"I've been to Paris France and I've been to Paris Paramount. Paris Paramount is better."
-- Ernst Lubitsch


If studios had theme songs, the one for Paramount circa 1930 almost certainly would have been Cole Porter's "I Love Paris" (which would have been an anachronism, given that Porter didn't write the song until the early fifties). Paramount loved Gallic sophistication, and did everything in its power to give its Paris the feel of the real thing.

As proof, take this publicity still of Carole Lombard issued in 1931:



She's wearing an attractive outfit which may or may not be Parisian. What definitely is from Paris stands beside her, a vintage French automobile, as the back of this photo explains:



Here's what the copy says:

"Take it from Joanne Renault, heroine of the taxi army which was salvation to Paris, shot and shell were just cereal on a calm breakfast menu compared to hugging dangerous curves like Carole Lombard's. The lil' ol' Renault feels a new throb surging through its petrol arteries, never having been better 'lit up' than by the Paramount luminary who'll have you begging for dimmers in 'Up Pops The Devil.' "

Gee, I never realized Lombard not only had erotic power over men, but automobiles as well.

Some of the copy seems alien to 2008 eyes, so a little explanation is in order. In the early part of the 20th century, the Renault taxi was as synonymous with Paris as the Checker cab would be with New York in later decades. When the World War broke out in August 1914, the taxi fleet was requisitioned by France to transport troops to the First Battle of the Marne, thus giving the cab the nickname "Renault Taxi de la Marne." (Couldn't find any reference to "Joanne Renault," who was likely part of the famed French automobile family.)

Oh, and the irony here is that "Up Pops The Devil," the film the photo is promoting, wasn't set in Paris at all, but in New York's Greenwich Village.

If you're into collecting Lombard or vintage automobile memorabilia, this picture is now up for auction at eBay. Go to http://cgi.ebay.com/CAROLE-LOMBARD-GREAT-PARAMOUNT-UP-POPS-THE-DEVIL-PHOTO_W0QQitemZ200248764493QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item200248764493&_trkparms=72%3A1142%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A3%7C65%3A12%7C240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14. Bidding lasts through Friday.
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