Posts Tagged ‘jane wyatt’


Sunday, December 30th, 2012


Tagline – It comes back at you again and again!

Starring – Dana Andrews (State’s Atty. Henry L. Harvey), Jane Wyatt (Madge Harvey), Lee J. Cobb (Chief Harold F. ‘Robbie’ Robinson), Cara Williams (Irene Nelson), Arthur Kennedy (John Waldron).

Released – March, 1947

Directed By – Elia Kazan

Produced By –  Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – This film is based on a real incident that took place in the state of Connecticut and is portrayed in semi-documentary style.

A kindly neighborhood priest, Father Lambert, is murdered while taking his nightly walk. There are seven witnesses, but the only description is that of a man in a dark coat and a light hat. The community is both horrified and outraged demanding that the killer be found.

The killing soon becomes a political issue as the newly elected reform government is severely criticized by opposition leader T. M. Wade, who owns the local newspaper, The Morning Record, as being incompetent and amateurish in the investigation.

Chief of Police Harold F. Robinson and State’s Attorney Henry L. Harvey face enormous pressure to bring the killer to justice. The towns civic leaders, pushed by the newspaper, want the police department to ask the F. B. I. to help. Chief Robinson manages to stall them off for two weeks in order to continue with his investigation.

Additional questioning of the witnesses brings forth no new information. The killer was a man in a dark coat and a light hat. Investigators use a composite artist to try and put a face on the killer, and distribute the sketch to all the surrounding states.

Word comes from Ohio that a man matching the description in the sketch, and owning a handgun that matches the one used in the murder, has been located. The man, John Waldron, had also left Connecticut a few days earlier.

Waldron is extradited to Connecticut, appears in a line-up, and is identified by the witnesses. He is a disgruntled ex-serviceman who had been in the Connecticut city for a couple of months before the murder and had been seen speaking to Father Lambert. Waldron claims that he left the state after breaking up with girlfriend, Irene Nelson, who is a local waitress.

The gun Waldron owns matches the murder weapon and, after harsh interrogation, signs a confession.

But, State’s Attorney Harvey, who would have to prosecute Waldron, is still not convinced of his guilt. Harvey begins to investigate on his own, speaking again with the witnesses and going over the evidence.

He has put his reputation on the line and is facing the wrath of both the police department and the public who want a conviction in this case and believe they have their man.

When the court date arrives, Harvey, although the prosecutor, begins to point out the flaws in the case. Having recreated the crime, using his associates to be in the locations of each of the seven witnesses, Harvey discovered that not one could have accurately recognized the killer.

Harvey also proves that other accounts were false, including the belief that Waldron’s gun was the murder weapon. Harvey presents the gun to the trial judge, asks him to load the gun, and then point the gun toward Harvey’s head just the way the murderer would have done to the priest and pull the trigger.

The gun fails to fire due to a mechanical problem that prohibited the gun from firing from the angle used when the priest was killed.

The charges against John Waldron are dropped. However, the question remains, just who did kill Father Lambert, and why?

NOTABLE: Boomerang received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Screenplay.

Boomerang provided the film debut’s for actors Ed Begley and Barry Kelley.

Personal Note: As a resident of Connecticut, I had only been vaguely familiar with this incident until viewing this film and researching further.

On February, 1924, Father Hubert Dahme was shot and killed at the corner of High and Main Street in Bridgeport, CT.

Nearly the entire film was shot in Stamford, CT, as the city of Bridgeport refused to allow filming to take place at the actual locations. Probably, because they did not want the negative publicity of the murder to reflect any further on their city.

Connecticut State’s Attorney Homer Cummings (Henry Harvey in the film), after thorough investigation, found that vagrant and discharged veteran Harold Israel could not have committed the murder.

Cummings’ actions saved the life of an innocent man. Although Cummings was to prosecute the case, he told the court during the trial that, “it is just as important for a state’s attorney to use the great powers of his office to protect the innocent as it is to convict the guilty.”

Homer Cummings would later be appointed to the position of Attorney General of the United States by President Franklin Roosevelt.


Lost Horizon

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Lost Horizon

Tagline – Frank Capra’s Greatest Production

Starring – Ronald Colman (Robert Conway), Jane Wyatt (Sondra Bizet), Edward Everett Horton (Lovett), John Howard (George Conway), Thomas Mitchell (Barnard).

Released – March, 1937

Directed By – Frank Capra

Produced By – Colombia Pictures Corporation

Distributed By – Colombia Pictures

Description – Millions to make it!…Two years in production!…The best seller that set a new style in romance floods the screen with splendor and drama!

Writer, soldier, and diplomat Robert Conway is about to become England’s new Foreign Secretary. Before returning home from China to assume his new position, Conway has one more assignment to complete. He is to rescue 90 Westerners in the city of Baskul.

This mission is accomplished, with little time to spare, as the plane carrying Conway and the remaining evacuees, takes off just before the area is overrun by armed revolutionaries. While it seems to be a clean escape, Conway and the rest of the passengers are unaware that their plane has been hijacked.

The new route results in the plane running out of fuel and crashing deep in the Himalayan Mountains. The hijacker is killed in the crash. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, the desperate group are rescued by a mysterious people led by a man named Chang and taken to an Eden-like valley called Shangri-La where they meet the people’s leader known as the High Lama.

Initially, the group are anxious to get back to civilization. As time passes many in the group begin to believe that Shangri-La is not only beautiful, but magical and want to stay. Among them is Conway himself who has met and fallen for the enchantingly beautiful Sondra. Paleontologist Alexander Lovett, swindler Henry Barnard, and terminally ill Gloria Stone, who miraculously seems to be recovering, also want to stay. Conway’s younger brother George and another local young woman named Maria want to leave.

The High Lama, who is the founder of Shangri-La, and is said to be hundreds of years old, wants to meet with Conway. He has been preserved, along with the paradise’s other inhabitants, by the magical properties of Shangri-La.

However, his time to pass is near. He would like to pass on his responsibility of keeping Shangri-La safe to someone who is wise and knowledgeable of the modern world. Having read the writing’s of Conway, and with Sondra’s suggestion that Conway is “the one”, they arranged for his abduction. The High Lama passes quietly after naming Conway as his successor.

Conway’s brother George refuses to believe the Lama’s story and his position is supported by Maria. Giving in to loyalty, Conway agrees to leave the paradise with his brother and Maria. Their departure comes with a warning. It is said that Maria, like the Lama, is much older than she appears.

Grueling travel, changes in Maria, a loss of sanity that results in death, a rescue, memory loss, and regret soon follow.

NOTABLE: Lost Horizon won Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, and Best Film Editing. The picture was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (H. B. Warner), Best Assistant Director, Best Music, Score, and Best Sound, Recording.

The film exceeded its original budget and almost doubled in cost. It took five years to earn the money back causing a serious financial crisis for Columbia Pictures and damaging the relationship between director Frank Capra and studio head Harry Cohn.

David Niven and Louis Hayward tested for the role of George Conway before it went to John Howard just two days prior to filming.

A scene where a model was used for Jane Wyatt that depicted her swimming in the nude caused some trouble with the California State Censor Board. The board required two signed affidavits from Columbia stating that the models breasts were covered. Columbia complied, but the scene was shot with the model bare-breasted.

The blizzard sequences shot in the film were done using bleached corn flakes.

The characters portrayed by Jane Wyatt and Edward Everett Horton were not in the original novel by James Hilton. They were added to provide romantic interest and comic relief.

Personal Note: This is one of the great film classics of the late 1930’s, providing a rare film experience with a strong finale.