June 11th, 2019

carole lombard 02
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A 'Parade' at Paramount, 'Stand Tall!' in Atlanta

Via fate, Carole Lombard saved the best for last when she made what would be her final film, "To Be Or Not To Be," for legendary director Ernst Lubitsch. When he briefly served as Paramount's head of production -- the only time a noted director held that post at a major Hollywood studio -- Carole received arguably her best vehicle at Paramount, "Hands Across The Table."

Lombard long had admired Lubitsch's work, and I wouldn't be surprised if that affection preceded her arrival at the studio in 1930. And the director's first talkie will be shown at Paramount next month...along with several bonus elements any classic Hollywood historian will savor.

"The Love Parade," starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, will be shown July 13 at the Paramount Theater in Hollywood. The film premiered in November 1929, slightly more than two years since Warners' "The Jazz Singer" became the first sound feature of note and nine months after MGM's pioneering "The Broadway Melody."

But Lubitsch took the medium of the movie musical to places it had never been before -- a royal battle of the sexes, full of the director's sophisticated naughtiness. This was intelligent musical filmmaking atypical for 1929, not the static backstagers others were supplying the public. For someone with no background in talkies, he helped the "Lubitsch touch" sparkle in sound.

The program begins at 1 p.m. with a discussion moderated by Leonard Maltin about famed designer Travis Banton, whose fashion mastery was evident long before he met Lombard or Marlene Dietrich (above). Banton designed a spectacular wedding dress MacDonald wore in the film. Guests include studio fashion archivist Randall Thropp and Nicola Lubitsch, the director's daughter.

The dress belongs to a private collector, but that day it will be reunited with its 20-foot train that's part of the Paramount archives.

The event costs $50, but money is going to a good cause -- to raise funds for Hollywood Heritage's historic Lasky-DeMille barn. Inside the 118-year-old structure, the first feature in Hollywood, "The Squaw Man," was made in 1913.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4265482?fbclid=IwAR2Mvj_o_usrfkA364KZzuiM9omnd_4z2puP1ZO3xMaGtnYefj5oRJ0feHI. It's a splendid way to salute a film that took giant steps in advancing the new medium of sound.

And speaking of giant steps...

...my fictional larger-than-life leading lady, Colleen Cossitt, figuratively took a (gentle) giant step today when the story she stars in, the romantic comedy "Stand Tall!", was selected as part of the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival:

"Stand Tall!" is among 80 screenplays in various formats -- shorts, features, rom-coms, dark comedies, web series and more. The top 30 percent of screenplays submitted were chosen by a panel of 12 judges. The festival, in its fourth year, will take place July 19-21 at the Atlanta Brewing Company. Learn more by visiting https://info.filmfestivalcircuit.com/atlanta-comedy-film-festival.

And keep your fingers crossed for Vegas showroom star Colleen (all 16-foot-1 1/8 of her!), the six-foot scientist she's lovingly labeled "my little Keswick" (Fletcher's his last name; he accidentally tripled her stature), and their friends and foes. Peruse the script at https://filmfreeway.com/projects/476988.
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