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'Temperamental insurrection'

I've come across a new way to access information on Carole Lombard, thanks to the people at Google. You can check vintage newspapers for articles about her at http://www.google.com/search?q=Carole+Lombard&tbs=nws:1,ar:1&source=newspapers -- and in all, there are nearly 5,500 such items in their archives. The site also enables you to pinpoint specific dates back to 1932. (Alas, it doesn't appear one can directly copy the pages.)

With that in mind, let's return to the fall of '32, when Lombard was having a dispute with her home studio, Paramount. This story ran in the San Jose News of Oct. 18:

Carole Lombard Is Off Salary From Paramount

"HOLLYWOOD, Oct. 18 (AP) -- Carole Lombard, movie actress, "has been off salary since Friday (Oct. 14), her studio, Paramount, said today, because she has refused to play the feminine lead in a picture for which Paramount had loaned her to Warner Brothers.

"Miss Lombard did not like the part and said she would not act it. The studio decided upon the expedient of stopping her pay and is now waiting to hear further from her.

"The picture is one starring James Cagney, whose avowed determination to quit the movies, growing out of a dispute over the size of his salary, was dissipated in a recent agreement with the studio."




As another AP story from the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Independent that day put it, "Temperamental insurrection has again broken loose in Hollywood."

But the standoff didn't last long, as readers of the Reading (Pa.) Eagle discovered the next day:

MOTION PICTURE ACTRESS VICTOR IN 'INSURRECTION'

"HOLLYWOOD, Oct. 19 (AP) -- Hollywood's latest temperamental insurrection has ended in the same manner as nearly all others -- victory for the rebel.

"An order removing Carole Lombard from the pay roll was rescinded yesterday after Paramount studio officials announced they agreed with Miss Lombard's refusal to play a role in a Warner Brothers picture starring James Cagney, himself fresh from the contract wars.

"Paramount, who had loaned the film actress to Warners, said the role was unsuited to her."


The film in question was "Hard To Handle," and the eventual female lead went to Mary Brian (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/74359.html). This was the second time Lombard declined to make a film with James Cagney (the other was "Taxi!"), but it was more professional than personal; she respected and liked Cagney. It's unfortunate she didn't make this film, because it's one of Cagney's best comedies, and while Brian (shown below) was a capable leading lady, working with Jimmy might have elicited something special from Carole, something that really wasn't drawn out from her until collaborating with John Barrymore slightly more than a year later.

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