A happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there -- thanks for bringing us into the world! -- so I thought I'd open this entry with this fan magazine pic of Carole Lombard and her mother, Elizabeth Peters, from the summer of 1931, not long after Carole married William Powell and honeymooned in Hawaii. (She caught ill there, a harbinger of a rocky marriage that evolved into a successful friendship.)
But today's entry focuses on the future, specifically something coming up in a bit over two months...
...a new blogathon headed our way. The topic: The films of 1932, a year that may not possess the inherent majesty of 1939 but in many ways is its pre-Code equivalent. Yes, '32 was a terrific year for movies, despite the Depression (which impacted the box office and in turn, the industry). Think of the many classics issued that year -- "Shanghai Express" (illustrated in the banner), Academy Award winner "Grand Hotel," Ernst Lubitsch's exquisite "Trouble in Paradise," the steamy "Red Dust," and so many more. It's only natutal I'd want to get in on the action with a Lombard spin on things.
But which film of Carole's?
Five productions starring her were released that year, and while the best of the quintet probably was "Virtue" (easily the most pre-Code in tone of the group), I've written extensively on it, perhaps too much so. If any fellow bloggers want to take a stab at it, be my guest.
"No Man Of Her Own" has that irresistible Clark Gable angle plus Lombard in lingerie (something for everybody!), but as a movie I find it falls apart in the second half and doesn't quite equal the star-studded sum of its parts.
"No One Man" (made in late 1931, issued in early '32), Carole's first top-billed Paramount production, is rather pedestrian despite the presence of Paul Lukas and everyone's favorite pre-Code antagonist, Ricardo Cortez. The same can be said of that summer's release...
..."Sinners in the Sun," perhaps now better remembered as Cary Grant's second film (a supporting role) and one where Lombard shows off a variety of fashions (from gowns to swimsuits) but does relatively little else.
So by process of elimination, I'm going with...
..."No More Orchids," Carole's Columbia followup to "Virtue." It's got a lot going for it: a hint of the comedic Lombard to come, a capable leading man in Lyle Talbot, the presence of Walter Connolly, a superb character actor who'd support Carole on three other occasions, and C. Aubrey Smith in an uncharacteristic bad-guy role. What else will I write about "Orchids"? You'll have to wait two months to find out.
To find out more about this blogathon, go to https://aurorasginjoint.com/2016/05/07/hot-and-bothered-the-films-of-1932-blogathon/. It's being co-hosted by Aurora and CineMaven's Essays From the Couch (https://cinemavensessaysfromthecouch.wordpress.com/).
Many fascinating films from '32 are still there for the taking -- not just the four from Lombard I left on the table, but several superb movies from her husband at the time, William Powell, notably two fine pairings with Kay Francis, the moving "One Way Passage" and the outrageous "Jewel Robbery" (aka the erudite Mr. Powell engages in drug humor!). Hope both of them are claimed soon.
And again, a happy Mother's Day as I reflect on my mother, who reached age 93 and left us in December 2013.