Posts Tagged ‘warren william’


Friday, October 29th, 2010

Cleopatra 75th Anniversary Edition (Universal Backlot Series)

Tagline – The Love Affair That Shook The World!

Starring – Claudette Colbert (Cleopatra), Warren William (Julius Caesar), Henry Wilcoxon (Marc Antony), Joseph Schildkraut (King Herod).

Released – October, 1934

Directed By – Cecil B. DeMille

Produced By – Paramount Pictures

Distributed By – Paramount Pictures

Description – It’s 48 BC, and the Egyptian kingdom of Queen Cleopatra is threatening revolt. The impending visit of Roman Emperor Julius Caesar presents an opportunity for Cleopatra to solidify her rule.

Cleopatra sets out to seduce Caesar in a political move to keep her empire. The attraction between Caesar and Cleopatra becomes a shared one, with the Roman Senate afraid that Caesar may divorce his wife to be with the beautiful Queen and that Rome would cease to be a republic.

Before this could happen Caesar is murdered on his way to speak in the Roman Senate. With the great Caesar dead, the Senate decides that Rome will be jointly ruled by Caesar’s nephew Octavian along with, Roman politician and general, Marc Antony.

It is now also the duty of Antony to avenge the death of Caesar. Antony arranges a meeting with Cleopatra with the hope of capturing her. However, the Queen has other ideas and captures Antony taking him to her ship where she also seduces him.

As a result of this liaison, Marc Antony is declared a traitor to Rome. The ruthless ambition of Cleopatra is now evident as the Queen learns that her relationship with Rome would be greatly improved if Antony were dead.

NOTABLE: Cleopatra won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, and also received nominations for Best Picture, Best Assistant Director, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound, Recording.

In 1934 the Hays Code was only just being implemented so Director Cecil B. DeMille made sure to flaunt its restrictions while still legally able to do so. DeMille opens the film with an apparently naked but strategically lit slave girl holding an incense burner in each hand as the title appears onscreen.

While having discussions with Cecil B. DeMille about playing the role of Cleopatra, Claudette Colbert expressed a great deal of unease about her climactic scene with an asp, being terrified of snakes. On the day the scene was to be filmed, DeMille had one of the largest snakes at the Los Angeles Zoo sent over and approached Colbert onset with it as she sat in costume on her throne. The actress was terrified and pleaded with him not to come any closer to her with the enormous snake, whereupon DeMille produced the diminutive little asp and said “How about this instead?” Colbert was perfectly happy to film the scene with the smaller snake.

While popular here in America, Cleopatra was strongly criticized in Italy as being a “travesty and burlesque.”

Gold Diggers of 1933

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Gold Diggers of 1933

Tagline – 300 Gorgeous GIRLS Hand-picked from more than 5000 applicants. Each a perfect example of feminine beauty… Add these 300 beauties to the 13 stars, 5 song hits and 4 glittering ensembles and you’ll know why we call this picture “THE SHOW of a THOUSAND WONDERS”

Starring – Warren William (J. Lawrence Bradford), Joan Blondell (Carol King), Aline MacMahon (Trixie Lorraine), Ruby Keeler (Polly Parker), Dick Powell (Brad Roberts), Ginger Rogers (Fay Fortune).

Released – May, 1933

Directed By – Mervyn LeRoy

Produced By – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – This pre-code Warner Brothers musical was staged and choreographed by Busby Berkeley. During the height of the depression, producer Barney Hopkins has everything he needs to produce a hit show.

He’s got the talent in “gold diggers” with Polly the ingenue, Trixie the comedienne, Fay the glamour puss, Carol the torch singer, and a good story. Only one thing is lacking… money. Creditor’s have just closed down rehearsal due to unpaid bills.

Out of the blue, Polly’s boyfriend Brad Roberts, a talented singer and songwriter who has written the music for the show, offers to put up $15,000 to back the production. Everyone thinks he is joking until he comes up with the money and production begins.

One catch, Brad does not want to perform in the show despite his talent. This adds to everyone’s suspicion as to where this money came from and why not perform? Is Brad really hiding something?

It seems he is, as Brad is the son of a wealthy family who has no intention of allowing him to become a stage performer and end up seduced by some “gold digger.”

NOTABLE: In 2003, Gold Diggers of 1933 was selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

This film received an Oscar nomination for Best Sound, Recording.



The Wolf Man

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

The Wolf Man [Blu-ray]

Tagline – “Night monster with the blood lust of a savage beast!”

Starring – Claude Rains (Sir John Talbot), Warren William (Dr. Lloyd), Ralph Bellamy (Colonel Montford), Patric Knowles (Frank Andrews), Bela Lugosi (Bela), Maria Ouspenskaya (Maleva), Evelyn Ankers ( Gwen Conliffe), Lon Chaney, Jr. (Lawrence Talbot/The Wolf Man).

Released – December, 1941

Directed By – George Waggner

Produced By – Universal Pictures

Distributed By – Universal Pictures

Description – Returning home to Wales, in an effort to reconcile with his father Sir John Talbot, Lawrence Talbot meets and becomes romantically interested in local antique shop owner Gwen Conliffe.

He buys a silver-headed walking stick from her that is decorated with a wolf. She tells him that it is actually a werewolf, a man who changes into a wolf during certain times of the year.

Later that evening, Lawrence rescue’s Gwen’s friend Jenny from a wolf attack. During this encounter he is bitten by the wolf, who it turns out is actually a werewolf and the son of a gypsy fortuneteller.

The curse of the werewolf has now been passed to him.

NOTABLE: The Wolf Man features outstanding makeup and atmospheric music.

The makeup for Lon Chaney took six hours to apply, and another three to remove.

The silver-headed cane, used in the movie, is the only remaining prop, and is in the personal collection of genre film archivist Bob Burns.

Personal Comment: This is classic horror genre at it’s best, ranking right up there with all-time classic horror films Frankenstein, Dracula, and Dr. Jekyll & Mister Hyde.