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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Better Remembered For Early Bette Davis ...


Ruth Chatterton Joins Warner Team For The Rich Are Always With Us (1932)

Warner Bros. thought they hooked big fish by raiding Paramount star roster and emerging with Ruth Chatterton (plus Bill Powell and Kay Francis). Ruth had scored with early talkies (Madame X) in voice like pealing bells, a thing much valued during uncertain days when screens found speech. Age was Ruth's enemy; she'd have few years left in romance leads, seeming always the senior to male co-stars, even real-life husband George Brent as here. Part and parcel of wealth was understood to be moral collapse and inability to stay married, so Chatterton and company are much occupied with Paris divorces and Transatlantic passage just to meet for drinks. Did deeper-into-Depression patrons resent such ostentation? Most projected themselves onto it, I suppose, or figured to be better off for ability to preserve relationships, however troubled. The Rich Are Always With Us isn't precode enough to join revival's Hit Parade, but there is budding Bette Davis to grab attention from others onscreen, and they'd have been stone deaf/blind not to see in '32 that she was a next big thing. Refreshing to have John Miljan as an unfaithful husband who turns out to be not a bad guy, he being typed in villainy most, if not all, times, after PCA enforcement got hold (but see him in a terrific Back To Bataan character cameo dated 1945). The Rich Are Always With Us is available on DVD from Warner Archive.

1 Comments:

Blogger Dave K said...

A NEW LOVE for A "NEW" STAR in A NEW HIT from HER NEW PRODUCERS!

Love how they only use quotation marks for the "NEW" STAR!

Like the Chatterton pre-codes a lot, especially FEMALE and FRISCO JENNY. Will try to track this one down. Bette Davis may have felt wasted in a lot of these early supporting roles, but she does pop up as a little added bonus in a lot of interesting things (PARACHUTE JUMPER, THE WORKING MAN, etc)

11:34 AM  

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