May 19th, 2008

carole lombard 01
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A Lombard 'Power' play

Of late, we've been examining things related to Carole Lombard up for auction, and we'll continue in that vein today -- because a new item has surfaced, concerning a film of hers that we've only peripherally noted.

First of all, here's the item:



An attractive picture of the young Carol Lombard, before she had learned to speak (on screen, that is!). It's a publicity still from Pathe, issued for its film "Power," which premiered in September 1928 -- and it almost certainly means this photo was taken while Lombard still was a teemager (she turned 20 on Oct. 6, 1928).

"Power," to my knowledge, has not been issued on video or DVD, and I doubt few of us have seen it (I haven't). Based upon some online research, here's more about it:

Pathe commissioned "Power" as a quasi-follow-up to "Skyscraper," which had been a success earlier in the year. Like its predecessor, it's a buddy comedy, and it reunites stars William Boyd and Alan Hale Sr. and director Howard Higgin. This time, Boyd and Hale play ironworkers on a western dam project -- who have all sorts of problems when they find themselves romantically linked to the same woman.

And no, that woman isn't Lombard; she's Jacqueline Logan. But they do have something in common -- both made their debuts in "A Perfect Crime," the 1921 movie directed by Allan Dwan. Nearly seven years older than Lombard, the Texas-born Logan was a WAMPAS Baby Star of 1922 and made more than 50 movies throughout the 1920s, most notably playing Mary Magdalene in the 1927 "The King Of Kings." However, she made only a handful of talkies and left the screen for good in 1931 -- save for a one-shot supporting role in a 1973 British sex comedy, "Secrets Of A Door-To-Door Salesman." She died in 1983.

Actually, Joan Bennett -- whose older sister Constance would engineer Carol's dismissal from Pathe when she signed with the studio the following year -- has higher billing than Lombard, even though it's her first credited role. Bennett's character is listed as "A Dame," while Lombard's is referred to as "Another Dame," indicative of this film's depth of sophistication. (Poor Pauline Curley, who had been acting in films since the teens, gets even worse billing as "Still Another Dame." No wonder this was her last credited part.)

Higgin would direct Lombard a few more times, notably in two undistinguished 1929 talkies, "High Voltage" and "The Racketeer." Tay Garnett, who became a successful director in the 1930s, wrote the story and screenplay, and future Lombard director Mitchell Leisen handled art direction.

The item can be seen at http://cgi.ebay.com/Carole-Lombard-ORIGINAL-1928-publicity-portrait_W0QQitemZ230253757608QQihZ013QQcategoryZ18824QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem. Bidding lasts through Monday; as of this writing, one bid has been made, for $9.99.
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