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Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Kay Francis Gives A Party


Kay’s having some friends over, and judging by her outfit, this gathering looks to have a nautical theme. Richard Barthelmess is first from the left. I’m not sure what that is around his eyes. Has he painted rings around them? James Cagney must have come straight over from the set of Frisco Kid, as that costume appears to be one he wears in the picture. Kay looks smart in her admiral’s attire. Did she stage this party for her own amusement, or was it matter of much-needed publicity at a time (February 1935) when her popularity was beginning to slip? Maurice Chevalier’s to the right of her. According to a recent biography, they were involved at the time. That’s Joan Blondell and husband George Barnes completing the line-up. I’d always heard these parties could run into serious money, but stars regarded them as necessary evils. Such events got a lot of press, after all, and visibility had to be maintained if careers were to flourish.

4 Comments:

Blogger Rich D said...

I'm guessing that the circles around Richard Barthelmess' eyes might be an attempt to fake out glasses or a pince-nez.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous red said...

Great photo! Kay Francis was such a babe.

Barthelmess had disastrous plastic surgery - which left huge scars on his face (I don't know if that's what's happening in this photo, though). It really depressed Barthelmess - he was ashamed, he was left totally marked - and when he made his "comeback" in Only Angels Have Wings (such a wonderful performance) - Howard Hawks wouldn't let him cover up the scars with makeup. Hawks thought it would give Barthelmess' character a realistic worn-down look. I admired Barthelmess' courage and lack of vanity to trust Hawks and not insist on covering up the scars.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could Barthelmess be doing a send-up of Bobby Clark, whose trademark was painted-on glasses? Clark & McCullough were at the height of their popularity about this time.

1:13 PM  
Blogger jtk said...

I think that photo is of Kay's nautical party given at the Vendome Cafe in Feb. 1935. Kay said she was just over a touch of the flu at the time of the party, but city health official Dr. George Parrish said she was suffering from influenza. Dr. Parrish scolded Kay in a letter saying "she used anything but good judgement" and "the fact that you are a screen star gives you no right to do a thing like that"

More nautical party photos:

http://img89.exs.cx/img89/1281/
nauticalpartymontage7eq.jpg


Kay's Nautical and Barnyard pary photos at the bottom of the page:

hometown.aol.com/kayfrancis02/page3.html

8:40 PM  

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