Several of Carole Lombard's films tentatively had different titles than what we know them by. For example, "The Kind Men Marry," shown above, was the proposed title of the movie we now know as "In Name Only." Several years before that, Lombard was slated to make a movie with George Raft called "Concertina"...but soon after Raft was replaced by Fred MacMurray, its title was changed to "The Princess Comes Across." Even Carole's final film, "To Be Or Not To Be," nearly ended up with the title "The Censor Forbids," before Lombard (during what would be the last week of her life), co-star Jack Benny and director Ernst Lubitsch vigorously dissuaded United Artists from issuing it under that name.
But did you know one other of Carole's movies might have had a different title, albeit only by a few letters? I didn't until recently.
The film we're referring to was one of her less successful efforts, both aesthetically and at the box office -- and came at a time when she was arguably the hottest actress in the industry. This cooled that off. By now, most Lombard fans should know I'm referring to...
No, that's not a typo, and no, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. That's an ad promoting the upcoming picture "Food For Scandal." It's from a trade magazine (not sure which one) in early 1938.
Not that it ultimately mattered much -- you can call a turkey an eagle, but it still won't fly -- but I can't figure out either why Warners called it "Food For Scandal" in the first place, or why the change was made. The closest I can come for the latter was that having the word "food" in the title may have made it sound like an epicurean's tale, possibly the 1938 equivalent of the swingin' sixties sexy stage romp "There's A Girl In My Soup" (below are Goldie Hawn and Peter Sellers in the 1970 film version):
But getting back to the ad, it's easy to see in retrospect why Warners was so confident about this film. Fernand Gravet had just come off a success the year before with Joan Blondell in "The King And The Chorus Girl" (that's the explanation for "The King" reference -- it certainly wasn't meant as a swipe at Clark Gable), Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart were accomplished tunesmiths for both stage and screen, and Lombard was riding high with two hits in theaters, "Nothing Sacred" and "True Confession." It seemed like a recipe for success.
Unfortunately, the ingredients didn't blend. Gravet never really meshed with Lombard, the Rodgers and Hart tunes were unmemorable, and Carole doesn't appear completely comfortable in the role. Moreover, screwball was a dish that Warners never really knew how to prepare. When "Fools For Scandal" was served to audiences, they deemed it rather bland, lacking in the usual Lombard spice.
The trade magazine ad is being auctioned at eBay; the minimum bid is $9.99, abd thus far no one has bid on it. The deadline is just after 11:05 p.m. (Eastern) tonight. If you're interested in the item, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/CAROLE-LOMBARD-FOOD-FOOLS-FOR-SCANDAL-RARE-TENTATIVE-38_W0QQitemZ200380035876QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item2ea794b324&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14.