Where Pressbook Filing Takes a Break That Turns Into Another Post ...
Jack Barrymore in transition. He was still the
romance leading man, with added patina of being a most celebrated of actors. JB was something special to sell, as opposed to chisel-faces in sock and smooch
mode. State's Attorney was visited in a previous Watch List, thus delve to
selling aspect. Here was RKO spreading word of
His (as in JB) First Great Modern American Role. Was it actually? There'd been
lots of stateside comedies for Barrymore's start in movies, but those were
years before and silent. Close look at past hits was reminder that even
contemporary-set Barrymores tended to take place in foreign locales:Grand Hotel, Arsene Lupin, others. State's Attorney was modern, and thoroughly
American, for stripping veils off legal chicanery, JB attacking juries as he
would a first night audience.
The way RKO merchandising tags "Out of the
Glamorous Past of Painted Make-Up and Costume Romance" (above) has an
almost Good Riddance subtext. Had Jack put paid to puffed sleeves and past-set
folderol? His status as the Screen's Greatest Lover was intact, but for how
much longer? I like the "news" plant about RKO secretaries ducking
work to watch him emote. The article says they skipped lunch to hurry over to
the State's Attorney set "and watch the great screen lover in
action." Could clerical help so readily enter a sound stage where they otherwise had
no business merely to "watch"? If so, it must have been whales of fun
being an RKO employee, though I'd have been hard put choosing between State's
Attorney's set and blueprints being drawn for King Kong.