Davis and Bogart Take The Field
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Bad Sister (1931) Gives Glimpse Of Later Legends
This was the infamous one during which production a neophyte Bette Davis heard Carl Laemmle, Jr. remark that she had as much sex appeal as Slim Summerville, BD demoralized for months after. Maybe Junior had a point though, what with
Bogie and BD are admittedly best reasons to watch, but there's also Sidney Fox, plus comic stylings of ZaSu Pitts and Slim Summerville, these definite evidence that it's a Universal pic we're seeing. Aforementioned Carl, Jr. was sweet for
Comedy on tap was Pitts/Summerville. They'd become Universal's notion of Gable and Crawford for hick trade, and were probably better loved than G&C among that constituency. Easy to forget after eighty years how meaningful ZaSu/Slim's names were to ones who liked laughing, theirs faces a common clay many could identify with. Conrad Nagel is the straight arrow both sisters want. He observed, talked about later, Universal's curt discharging of Davis and Bogart, saying neither had prospects and might as well go back east, such judgment under heading of colossal boner(s). We can in a way sympathize. Neither show particular aptitude for legend status both would attain. Crystal balls weren't issued in any more quantity then than now. Bogart bios tend to skip or glaze over Bad Sister, which makes me suspect authors never saw it. Actually, he's very good in it, not so restless with hands, and relaxed as a "live wire" who turns out to be a confidence heel, scoring an illicit night with Sidney Fox from which she flees into marital embrace with Bert Roach(!). Any Bogart is worth a trackdown, it arguable that Bad Sister was the best, or at least high up, among beginning parts he had.