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Saturday, July 05, 2014

An Armed Service Between Wars


Star Hopefuls Deliver Annapolis Salute (1937) for RKO

On one hand a competent "B" service yarn served among twenty-one features RKO put out during August 1937, two-thirds of them low budget as this was level the near-bust company worked at during troubled time of receivership/reorganization. But here was happy twist on the Christy Cabanne written and directed pic: he and cast/crew crossed country to shoot much of Annapolis Salute at the naval academy in Maryland, a notable splurge, and spur to modern interest in the place as it stood in 1937. Made me wonder if spit-and-polish is maintained still, or is Annapolis of seventy-seven years ago a gone curricula? There is crisis when midshipman James Ellison visits Marsha Hunt in her guest quarters, both facing ruin in event of discovery. That, of course, would be no issue today. Principals move about Annapolis landmarks, indoors not excluded. It's probably the most extensive lensing there since John Ford did Salute in 1929. Christy Cabanne was a hand at service topics, his love vs. duty frame simplified so as not to distract from actualities on view. Trade response to Annapolis Salute was generous; they'd  appreciate clean application of formula and knew how necessary programmers were to industry function. Civilian critics were snippier, as if "juvenile rivalry between two cadets over a winsome young lady" weren't gracious plenty to please double-feature goers in 1937.

2 Comments:

Blogger Scott MacGillivray said...

Nice to see the mention of Christy Cabanne (pronounced CAB-a-nay), a workhorse of the old school. Like William Beaudine and William Berke, he was often given low budgets and undistinguished projects, and made them better than expected. (I give Mr. Cabanne a free pass on SCARED TO DEATH, Bela Lugosi's only color film -- the horrible editing undermined the director's efforts.)

9:03 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'd watch this just because Marsha Hunt is in it. Always a pleasure to see her. Looking at that photo--what would she have thought if you told her that not only would she be alive and well in the year 2014, she'd be an advocate for gay marriage, of all things? She'd have looked at you like you had the proverbial two heads.

6:46 PM  

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