vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,
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Two from '32, plus a Faustian extra



We begin with word from Heritage Auctions that it is having an Internet movie poster auction Sunday, although it includes film memorabilia items that aren't posters. Of particular interest to Carole Lombard fans is a group of two stills from films she made in 1932 -- one at Columbia, "No More Orchids," shown above with Walter Connolly and Lyle Talbot...



...and one from Paramount, "Sinners In The Sun," with Chester Morris and Adrienne Ames.

What's unusual is that on the back of the "Sinners" photo is an ad for another Paramount movie, "Million Dollar Legs":



This may have been a cost-saving device from Paramount in '32, when it was in severe financial shape. (Theaters receiving promotional photos for a movie could use the reverse for promoting an upcoming film.) Note that at some point, a person marked the first names of the actors with their photo-caricatures, and also note that in the upper left-hand corner, there is the notation "Faust Theater 1932."

A check of http://cinematreasures.org found only one theater named "Faust," a now-demolished venue in St. Paul, Minn., shown below in 1949:



The Faust apparently opened in 1912 and later was part of the Publix chain that had ties to Paramount, so it conceivably could have shown both "Sinners In The Sun" and "Million Dollar Legs" in 1932. A half-century later, it had succumbed to the devilish impulses of its name, devolving into a pornography venue that became notorious in the Twin Cities. It closed in 1989; six years later the St. Paul city council bought the property and razed the building as part of a community cleanup.

Getting back to the Lombard photos (which are 8" x 10" single weight), no bids have been made on them as of this writing; bidding closes at 11 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday. You can find out more by visiting http://movieposters.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=161149&lotNo=54091.

In yesterday's entry, I noted that on Tuesday, Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. commemorated the birth anniversary of Busby Berkeley by showing several of the films he worked on, including "Gold Diggers Of 1935" and its classic "Lullaby Of Broadway" sequence. Another film shown was 1934's "Dames," and here's the best-known version of its best-known song -- but this was made a quarter-century after the movie came out, with an arrangement drastically different than any of the numerous versions made before. It's by the veteran R&B vocal group the Flamingos, a triumph of production from George Goldner (who discovered Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, among other groups). From the opening guitar to the echo-laden "shoo-bop-sha-bop" to the reworking of the lyrics (instead of starting with "Are the stars out tonight?/I don't know if it's cloudy or bright," it begins with "My love must be a kind of blind love/I can't see anyone but you"), it conveys an atmosphere that's literally out of this world, as if it was being beamed to us via satellite. (I, for one, welcome our new vocal group overlords.) For a record aimed at the teen crowd, it's remarkably sophisticated, and I wouldn't be surprised if a number of "middle of the road" stations that normally eschewed rock 'n' roll played it at the time. This is also one of the records that disproves the conventional wisdom that 1959 and thereabouts were the "dark ages" of rock; there were many classic records issued that year -- think of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say," the reborn Drifters' "There Goes My Baby" or the Skyliners' thrilling "Since I Don't Have You." When "I Only Have Eyes For You" hit number 11 on the pop charts that May, composer Al Dubin was long dead, but co-writer Harry Warren was still with us, not to mention Berkeley, Dick Powell (who sang it in the movie), and Ruby Keeler (whom he was singing it to). Wonder what they thought of this version...

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