It's been a subject of debate for some time now -- what was the relationship like between Carole Lombard and Charles Laughton? These two CLs teamed twice over roughly a seven-year span, first for the over-the-top jungle melodrama "White Woman" (1933), shown above, then for the screen version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play "They Knew What They Wanted" (1940). Some maintain Laughton disliked Lombard (or vice versa), others maintain they respected each other's talents as actors, but went no further than that.
It's something we may never completely know. But here is something that can probably be used as evidence for the latter camp; it's an RKO publicity still from "They Knew What They Wanted" during its location filming in northern California's Napa Valley:
Your eyes are not deceiving you. That's Charles Laughton...dancing. Fortunately, the snipe from the photo is extant, and here's what it says:
"OFFSTAGE NONSENSE on set during filming of RKO Radio's frothy serio-comedy offering, 'They Knew What They Wanted,' is led by Charles Laughton, who is costarred in cinema with glamorous Carole Lombard. Laughton, who portrays Italian fruit grower, trips a not-so-light fantastic to the accordion music of Guido Deiro. Motion picture version of late Sidney Howard's Pulitzer Prize play was produced by Erich Pommer and directed by Garson Kanin. Stellar supporting cast is headed by William Gargan, Harry Carey, and Frank Fay."
Meanwhile, Lombard's sitting this one out -- literally:
Heaven only knows what Carole is thinking; for one of the few times in her all-too-brief life, she appears bored. Maybe she's missing Clark Gable, who had driven her up to Napa, then went back south...or maybe she's wondering whether Clark is, at that moment, being seduced by some starlet on the MGM lot.
No matter what she's thinking, it's certainly an unusual photo -- and it can be yours. But you don't have much time. Bidding on this item closes at just after 9:55 p.m. (Eastern) tonight, and as of this writing no one has bid on this yet, even though bidding starts at only $9. Had it been Lombard dancing rather than Laughton, I sense there would be significantly more interest -- no offense to the charming and well-done blog "Rooting For Laughton" (http://rootingforlaughton.blogspot.com/).
Think you might like to bid on this? Then go to http://cgi.ebay.com/CHARLES-LAUGHTON-Carole-Lombard-Vintage-Candid-On-Set_W0QQitemZ130355495817QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item1e59cb0389
By the way, remember the Lombard autographed photo we profiled last week (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/267632.html), when bidding for it began at a mere $39.95? At last check, it was now up to $743, with 12 bids having been made.