Posts Tagged ‘victor fleming’

Captains Courageous

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Captains Courageous (1937)

Tagline – The Most Exciting Picture Since “Mutiny on the Bounty”!

Starring – Spencer Tracy (Manuel Fidello), Freddie Bartholomew (Harvey Cheyne), Lionel Barrymore (Disko Troop), Melvyn Douglas (Frank Burton Cheyne).

Released – May, 1937

Directed By – Victor Fleming

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer

Description – Again – as in the stirring Mutiny On the Bounty – you live the roaring drama of men against the sea. You share the struggles, the heartaches, and the laughter, of courageous souls who leave the women they love to dare the wrath of the angry waves.

Harvey Cheyne is the spoiled son of his business tycoon and absentee father Frank Burton Cheyne. Shipped off to a private school, where he is shunned by his classmates, young Harvey is suspended due to his bad behavior.

Realizing that his son needs closer attention, his father decides to take Harvey along on a trans-Atlantic business trip. During the voyage Harvey displays arrogance to all around him, and during a prank gone wrong falls overboard off the coast of Newfoundland.

He is rescued by Portuguese-American fisherman Manuel Fidello and taken aboard the fishing schooner. Harvey tries to convince the captain of the schooner, Disko Troop, that he is wealthy and should immediately be taken to shore.

Captain Troop, not believing his story, refuses and puts Harvey to work at a low paying job for the three month duration of the voyage. Also on the schooner is the captain’s son Dan who gradually develops a friendship with Harvey as the young man begins to learn the ways of working on a ship.

With the guidance of Manuel, and the influence of the other tough crew-mates, young Harvey begins to learn a hard lesson. His former habits of demanding special treatment, lying, cheating, and whining to get what he wants are of no value at sea where every man, young or old, must pull their own weight.

Slowly, Manuel begins to become the father figure that Harvey had always wanted and needed. But, the hardest life-lesson is yet to be learned as tragedy looms in the near future for young Harvey.

NOTABLE: Captains Courageous received an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Spencer Tracy), and was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Writing, Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

This motion picture would become the first MGM film to be shown on television, in 1955.

Spencer Tracy hesitated before finally accepting the role of Manuel Fidello because the role required him to sing in several scenes and to have his hair curled. Tracy’s new hairdo prompted a great deal of kidding from his actor friends with Joan Crawford referring to him as Harpo.

Captains Courageous was one of Lionel Barrymore’s last films. Degenerative arthritis was beginning to cripple him. The next year in You Can’t Take it with You, Barrymore hobbled around with crutches, and shortly after that film was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

When Spencer Tracy was presented his Oscar for this film he was shocked to find that the statue was inscribed to Dick Tracy. The very embarrassed Academy replaced the statuette.

httpv://youtu.be/oHve1hyywYk

 

Clara Bow, the “It Girl”, Falls From Grace

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

June, 1931 – In two short years, Clara Bow has gone from being voted America’s most popular female star to being released from her contract with Paramount Pictures. Her scandal-ridden private life has ultimately led to a sad and sudden fall from grace. 

Clara’s image as the “It Girl” (it, referring to sex appeal) was continually enhanced by her various and multiple off-screen romances with leading men such as Gilbert Roland, Gary Cooper, John Gilbert, John Wayne, Bela Lugosi, and Director Victor Fleming.

Add to these affairs the pay off of a doctor’s wife for “alienation of affections,” a large Lake Tahoe gambling debt, a court case involving a former secretary charged with embezzlement who testified to Clara’s liking of booze, drugs, and gigolos and you have the recipe for career disaster thus causing Paramount to release her.

Tragically, as a result of her fragile emotional health and a case of shattered nerves, Clara Bow ended up spending some time in a sanatorium. After a period of recovery she made two films for the Fox Film Corporation. Although they were successful, she choose to retire from acting, married cowboy actor Rex Bell, and had two sons.

However, there was no happy ending for the “It Girl”. After a suicide attempt, and increasingly bizarre behavior she was diagnosed as a schizophrenic and again spent some time institutionalized. She lived the remaining years of her life modestly and under the care of a nurse.