September 15th, 2019

carole lombard 07
  • vp19

Is there vision to open 'Virtue'?

Many deem "Virtue" Carole Lombard's best pre-Code film (while "Twentieth Century" was released shortly before the Production Code was strictly enforced in mid-1934, it really belongs in the screwball category). As a streetwalker trying to go straight, only to have her past catch up with her, Carole -- making her first of five films for Columbia -- infuses her character with a toughness rarely evident at her home base of Paramount. Pat O'Brien, as the cabbie who becomes her husband, provides fine support.

But fans of the film have long wondered about its beginning, where we hear a judge order Lombard's character out of New York for prostitution. Note the phrase "we hear" -- we don't see anything on screen aside from darkness. Was this intentional, or was the scene filmed and then (visually) cut out?

Proponents of the latter theory now have ammunition. A lobby card apparently showing the scene has surfaced:

The image, obviously hand-tinted, shows Carole's Mae in the center, directly above the pitcher of water at the judge's table. But was this actually filmed and then cut, or was it posed to create a lobby card? That's the question.

A slight correction: Methot didn't marry Bogart until 1938.
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