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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Warner Workdays and Frances Dee's Birthday


They say crews at Warner Bros., sometimes worked around the clock in the early thirties. Pictures that would take months to shoot today were wrapped up in weeks back then. Five Star Final is the show in progress here. Director Mervyn LeRoy is lining up an imaginative angle on star Edward G. Robinson. Chances are they’ve been at it for the last eighteen hours. Every interview I’ve read with Warner players talked about those grueling hours. Unions were not yet an effective industry force; thus stages kept humming right through the nights and many weekends as well.


On the topic of birthdays, this is year 97 since Frances Dee was born, and here she’s immersed in a fishpond located in front of Paramount’s administration building around 1932. Dee was a frequent guest at Cinecons until just a few years before her death in 2004. Her performance in Blood Money is one amazing Pre-Code exhibition. Too bad it's out of circulation today, but then, so are other good ones featuring Frances Dee --- King Of The Jungle, Murders In The Zoo, An American Tragedy. What a pre-code box Universal could gather if they were so inclined. Their recent Preston Sturges Collection is a step in the right direction. So is the forthcoming release of The Heiress and Arabian Nights. Could 2007 be the year Universal commits to classics on DVD?

1 Comments:

Anonymous Griff said...

A "Pre-Code" box set from Universal featuring some terrific early '30s U and Paramount films would be most welcome, to be sure -- but Rowland Brown's sensational BLOOD MONEY is unlikely to be included. It's an early production of 20th Century Pictures; somebody should get on Fox's case about this one.

10:06 AM  

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