Carole Lombard gives famed director Alfred Hitchcock a taste of his own medicine when she guides him through his traditional cameo in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." But who guided Carole during her brief, atypical fling behind the camera? Perhaps this woman had something to do with it:
The lady with Carole is Louise Rousseau, whom what we know about is in a newspaper caption glued to the back of the pic.
Can't read it? Here it is, enlarged:
The photo is stamped November 1940, during the latter stages of the Hitchcock comedy's production. (The background appears similar to that of Hitch's cameo.) Perhaps she gave Lombard advice -- not that Carole would really need any after being put through directors' paces for more than 15 years. (And all those directors were male, she never was directed by a woman.) Or perhaps Lombard, feminist that she was, merely sought a visual shout-out for one of her sisters in the industry.
Whatever, we know next to nothing about Rousseau, as the Internet Movie Database largely ignores newsreels (though it thoroughly covers narrative shorts). She was born in Massachusetts in 1910, and IMDb credits list her as a writer of second-feature fare, many of them westerns but also for the story of a 1949 film, "Air Hostess," whose cast included a young Barbara Billingsley (more than three decades before her air passenger jive in "Airplane!"). Rousseau, who died in 1981, also wrote episodes of TV's "The Lone Ranger" and "The Cisco Kid."
The photo, from the files of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, measures 6 3/8" x 8 3/8". (The seller is from nearby Wooster, Ohio.) The image is a bit faded from age.
It's up for auction at eBay, and as of this writing one bid has been made, for $2.99. The auction closes at 12:25 p.m. (Eastern) Thursday. To bid, or find out more, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Press-Photograph-1940-Carole-Lombard-Woman-Director-Louise-Rousseau-717/283522760195?hash=item420345fe03:g:oVoAAOSwmftdC7M6.