News Clips

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The Awful Truth Delights

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

November, 1937Columbia Pictures screwball comedy The Awful Truth has proven to be a tremendous success for Director/Producer Leo McCarey.

As a graduate of the Hal Roach studio, and the man credited with the pairing of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, McCarey uses the screen talents of Cary Grant and Irene Dunne to absolute perfection. The duo play Jerry and Lucy Warriner a married couple who suspect each other of being unfaithful.

But, the big winner may just be Columbia Pictures. No longer will the studio have to depend, almost solely, on Frank Capra for comedy genius. Leo McCarey has demonstrated that he will be more than capable in guiding the production and direction of great comedy.

Impending divorce has never been more funny then in The Auful Truth. And, the supporting cast is pitch-perfect including Ralph Bellamy as Lucy’s post-separation suitor, Alexander D’Arcy as Lucy’s handsome music teacher and possible lover, Cecil Cunningham as Lucy’s Aunt Patsy, and Molly Lamont as heiress Barbara Vance and Jerry’s post-separation suitor.

Jealously rears its ugly head as both Jerry and Lucy will try just about anything to ruin the other’s new romantic interests.

Cary Grant and Irene Dunne skillfully, and very appealingly, play a couple who can’t live with or without each other and will sooner or later have to face The Awful Truth.

Jean Harlow Has Died

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

June, 1937 – Popular actress Jean Harlow has died at the age of 26 as a result of a cerebral edema, a complication of kidney failure. The Hollywood community was shocked to learn of the blonde bombshell’s sudden and tragic death.

Harlow had been working on the set of her new film Saratoga with co-star Clark Gable where she had been experiencing fatigue, nausea, and abdominal pain. The actress requested that actor William Powell, with whom she had recently been having a romantic relationship, be notified.

Powell immediately came to the set and escorted Harlow home. He returned to her home 10 days later to check on her condition and found that she had not improved. Powell then called the actresses mother and doctor to come right away.

Initially, it was thought that she may be suffering from a gall bladder infection or a severe case of the flu. However, on June 6th she complained of not being able to see clearly and had great difficulty breathing.

She was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles where she slipped into a coma from which she would never awaken. Her funeral was held on June 9th. Jean Harlow was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California in a private room of the Great Mausoleum purchased for her by William Powell.

Harlow was buried wearing a gown she had worn in the film Libeled Lady, holding a white gardenia and a note from William Powell that read: “Goodnight my dearest darling.”


“Boy Wonder” Irving Thalberg Dies At Thirty-Seven

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

September, 1936 – Hollywood’s “Boy Wonder” Irving Thalberg has died of pneumonia in Santa Monica, California at the age of thirty-seven.

Health issues had been a problem for Thalberg since his childhood and he had suffered a severe heart attack as recently as 1932. At the time of his¬†death, Thalberg had been working on both “A Day at the Races,” and “Marie Antoinette.”

The famed producer earned the nickname “Boy Wonder” through his uncanny ability to put together the right scripts, the right cast, and the best production staff, in spite of his young age, to almost guarantee the creation of a very profitable motion picture.

His keen judgement and organizational skills led Carl Laemmle to appoint him head of production for Universal Pictures at the age of 20. Thalberg proved to be every bit as tough as he was smart insisting things be done his way.

In 1924 Thalberg, after refuseing to marry the daughter of Laemmle, left Universal to join with Louis B. Mayer in the formation of MGM where he would become the new studio’s production chief. Their successful relationship lasted until 1932 when their differences in production philosophies took it’s toll.

In 1927 Irving Thalberg married actress Norma Shearer and helped her to become one of MGM’s biggest stars of the 1930’s. The couple had two children.

In spite of his power and brilliance, Irving Thalberg refused to allow his name to appear in the credits of his motion pictures. His feelings regarding this are summed up in his statement, “Credit you give yourself is not worth having.”

Frank Capra’s Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Gets Great Reception

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

May, 1936 – Hollywood’s hottest director, Frank Capra, has another winner with his film Mr. Deeds Goes¬† to Town.

Gary Cooper plays the role of Longfellow Deeds, a young tuba-playing hick from the small hamlet of Mandrake Falls, Vermont, who inherits a cool $20 million dollars and must fend off those looking to get their hand in his pocket. Jean Arthur provides great support as Babe Bennett, a smart big-city reporter who tricks her way into Deeds life and his heart.

Director Capra, a big fan of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Columbia Pictures released this film at a time when the President’s New Deal was being introduced to the country and hopes to accurately display the decency of the common man.

Capra is determined that his films have a “message” and are capable of conveying “fantasies of goodwill.” While there is still a very strong feeling of cynicism and corruption in the minds of American people as a result of the Great Depression, it is the hope of Frank Capra that a film like Mr. Deeds Goes to Town can help restore faith in the inner goodness of man.

John Gilbert Suffers Fatal Heart Attack

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

January, 1936 – Silent screen lover John Gilbert died at his Hollywood home as a result of a heart attack at the age of 40. Gilbert was the silent screen’s most popular romantic leading man after the 1926 death of Rudolph Valentino.

By 1934, John Gilbert’s health has been severely damaged due to his problems with alcohol and a premature death almost seemed inevitable.

Known as “the great lover,” Gilbert’s popularity as a box office attraction rivaled that of Valentino, but he was too often recognized as one of the high profile actors whose career was cut short by the addition of sound to motion pictures.

Rumor’s that his squeaky voice did him in were not true, as it was more a case of film politics and money that shortened his successful career.

John Gilbert’s many romantic screen performances were highlighted by the sexual electricity between he and co-star Greta Garbo in the films, Love, Flesh, and the Devil, and A Woman of Affairs.

The couple’s celebrated off-screen romance prompted columnist Walter Winchell to coin the phrase, “Garbo-Gilberting,” as a descriptive reference to other torrid affairs of the time.

The silent screen has lost another great star in John Gilbert.