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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Where Bogart Became A Cult Figure

Tracking The Brattle Bogart Bonanza --- Part One

I don't know what hangs me up on the Harvard/Brattle thing with Humphrey Bogart. This was where the cult was said to have begun, my question being when? Greenbriar has delved there before. I looked to trades for something like a Bogart celebration at mainstream theatres, but nothing so far prior to the 60's, except --- a surprising month-long festival held at the Savoy Cinema in Cheshire Sale, England, which took place during April of 1954. That ambitious booking ran for consecutive Sundays and was US-reported by Boxoffice magazine. A ballot listed six of Bogart's films from which patrons were asked to select their three favorites. Prizes for participants included "a gentlemen's shirt, a handsome tie, and guest tickets to the Savoy," this a hook-up with local haberdashery, where photos of Bogart were displayed to customers along with bally for the shows. Poster copy read: "Humphrey Bogart, the Man Of The Month. Here For a Month For You!" The trade reported excellent business and patron requests for another Bogart month.

It may not have been beginning for a Bogart "cult" as we'd come to know it, but the notion of his films in festival format was demonstrated as one that customers would respond to, and as early as 1954. Warners may already have been aware of Bogart's potential in pairs, having reissued Treasure Of The Sierra Madre with Key Largo in 1953. Attitudes and reception to Bogart oldies would go fascinating directions once the Brattle tied on. The theatre had begun as legit purveyor at Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass., switching to movies in the early 50's. The first instance I found of a Bogart playing there was The Maltese Falcon in September 1953. A review appeared in campus newspaper the Harvard Crimson, the twelve-year old revival called "one of the finest detective stories ever filmed," but little said of Bogart other than singling him out as "a fine actor in any role." The film seemed to its reviewer to be "full of quotations," thanks to having been imitated so constantly, an interesting observation in light of crowd recital of favorite lines that would come with The Maltese Falcon's absorption by the Brattle/Bogart brigade.

Beat The Devil was lauded in the 3/24/54 Harvard Crimson, seen not at the Brattle but instead at mainstream Loew's State in downtown Cambridge. Harvard's observer parted from exhibitors and most of a public nationwide in citing Beat The Devil's "deftness of line and surprise of situation." Here was germ of the film's appeal for intelligentsia that would persist from '54's mainstream rejection of Beat The Devil to the present day. It would show up often at the Brattle from 1956 onward, always a pet of The Harvard Crimson and Brattle patronage who felt Huston's send-up spoke directly to them. A beginning of camp sensibility can be found in earliest reception of Bogart films at the Brattle. Dead Reckoning played there in February 1956, almost a year before HB died, and according to witness reviewer Robert H. Sand, was "great, if unintentional, comedy." The picture itself was not a decade old; had the thing dated so badly then, or would Harvard's brain trust have laughed at it as much in 1947 when new? The Brattle run of Dead Reckoning was apparently not part of a Bogart week, so had not protection of better pics for buffer. "If the film were not so hysterically funny, it would be corny and bloody," said the review, which invited the audience to laugh "at, if not with, the characters."

For Bogart festivals at the Brattle, held at least yearly and usually during exams ("a packed, unruly, and partisan crowd"), it was a matter of rounding up the usual suspects. Sometimes there'd be snafus when a print couldn't be located, or one came in that was damaged. Howls of protest greeted a banged-up Casablanca one year where crucial dialogue went missing. It needed a full house to bring the Bogarts to life, as much of appeal came of communal watch and shout-out of lines. When the Brattle tried a summer series, less crowded auditoria fell silent and stayed so, first-time attendees coming away in wonder of what all the Bogart fuss was about. Revisionist opinion would sometimes call on venerated titles, as with "shuddering loser" High Sierra, to which a 1958 reviewer attached words like "dismal" and "acutely embarrassing."

Often it was a matter of keeping Bogart on message, that is, hewing by way of selection to the icon's accepted image as tough guy and lone defender of coolness. Observance of said rule kept out The African Queen, twitchy Captain Queeg of The Caine Mutiny, and much of what Bogie did after leaving Warners. Perceived clunkers like The Big Shot, Crime School, and San Quentin, were tasted and spat out by loyalists who learned quick that Bogart's name in credits was no guarantor of satisfaction. Off-casting occasion might be tolerated here and there, but only just, a 1959 Brattle run of Sabrina adjudged OK "for those who like champagne," but once again, a beat print was to blame for diminished fun. It's easy to forget in our digital landscape an earlier era's bane of classic bookings, so much of celluloid delivered to then-theatres in barely usable shape.

Part Two of the Bogart Cult is HERE.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Puff ... A Party ... A Tragedy!

Marihuana Pics Reveal Naked Truth

I backed off Reefer Madness revivals for guessing that, like most ancient exploitation, it would stop being funny after ten minutes and bore to tears from there, like serial chapters strung together for all-day (or night) Batman ordeals from the mid-60's. Alternative was Thunderbird's 16mm trailer for Marihuana, a grenade tossed by Dwain Esper in 1936. Two and a half minutes was plenty enough of this, the preview containing what there was of interest in the feature. I ran that spicy spool to much applause at college meets, the joke on and off before it got wearisome. Trouble with "camp" shows was so often too much of a sometimes not-so-good thing. Midnight rallies of even classic stuff could exhaust in a hurry, unless you'd slept till noon that day. We drove to Winston for The Cocoanuts and Duck Soup, a show begun at stroke of 12, and worse yet, with creaky Cocoanuts for an opener. I'll not forget fighting off fatigue as 2 AM neared with Duck Soup still in offing. By its belated credits, I'd lost the contest with sleep same as Tim Holt standing off Fred C. Dobbs by the campfire.

Ad art for the marihuana mash-ups was art in themselves, as here with the snake wrapped around a hypodermic needle. And what's this with Fu Manchu's stand-in as drug dispenser? "Weed With Roots in Hell" was guarantor of big laughs at the trailer's finish: by any measure, it's great copy. Was "No Children Please" a request or command? The Grand was a scratch house in Minneapolis built for vaude but converted to film. It closed in the year Marihuana came out, but would rise like a phoenix from ashes as the "Gopher" in 1938. I like its invitation for "Girls!" to "Get Up a Party and See What Happens at These Wild Marihuana Sex Parties." Did parents monitor theatre ads close as they should? I'll bet lots more teens showed up for this attraction than adults. Assassin Of Youth first lit up in 1937. I wonder how many Drive-In attendees did the same in privacy of their cars ("Route 8 Opposite Thistle Down," which I could find no record of --- was it a mythical site, like a 30's strawberry field forever?). UPDATE: Mike Mazzone just called to inform that the East Side Drive-In, as it was better known, was located in North Randall, Ohio, Thistle Down being a famous horse race track.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Some 1977 Trucking Instruct

Blu-Ray Sorcerer Finally Crosses The Bridge

Saw this at a rockpile of a theatre built to unseat the Liberty as our Showplace of choice. Being pure strip-down to cinderblocks and cheapest chintz plus seating, the "College Park Cinema" was 70's agnate to jungle rot of Sorcerer, truly a place where movies went to die. And still we came, generally for likes of Billy Jack in tenth run, or four-wall regional fluff like Adventures Of The Wilderness Family or Preacherman Meets Widder Woman. Then there was Sorcerer, an in-out quick smeller that larger bergs wrote off as a flop. I went out of love for theme of desperate men hauling nitro, Sorcerer reminding me less of France's The Wages Of Fear than Warners' Blowing Wild, where Gary Cooper and Ward Bond drove soup and dodged banditos. For my getting-in-free time (courtesy Brick Davis as manager), Sorcerer was swell and the acme till then (and since) of nitro nail-biters. A group of us watched before convening to concessions storage for all-night card play and cuffo eats. So yes, fun could be had at the College Park.

Now comes Sorcerer on Blu-Ray, a vivid fix supervised by William Friedkin, who put life's blood to his '77 project, only to see it mishandled since. Tangled rights were an issue, even as fans clamored for fit revival. Sorcerer is cold-as-ice storytelling, none of characters likeable, that largely a point of 70's flipping the bird at movies as they'd been. More bracing then than now? Could be, but the thing still clicks for me, especially when in a mood for pitiless pics. Took effort in '77 keeping the ensemble straight, what with Roy Scheider the only familiar face among foreign guys new to me. That too, of course, was aspect of get-used-to-it upturn of convention once mavericks like Friedkin got keys to kingdom. He's lately out with memoirs, by the way. We think of that filmmaking generation as forever young, but Friedkin will be seventy-nine this year. The man can rest on laurels of The French Connection, Sorcerer, and To Live and Die In L.A., if not ones I've yet to see. Are there others of his as good? (and don't say The Exorcist --- that's where I came out of the Capri in Charlotte and walked along a mile-long line saying "Turn back," "Don't go in," "It's a stinker." Remarkable the childish things you do even as late as age 20).

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Those Rib-Tickling Drews Are Back

Sidney Drew's Wedding Nightmare in Miss Stickie-Moufie Kiss (1915)

One of nine fascinating shorts in Unknown Video's Nickelodia 3 disc. Sidney Drew seeks solace of sea drowning over continued marriage to "human fly paper" of a Mrs., her part enacted by real-life partner and wife, standard-billed "Mrs. Sidney Drew." Miss Sticky-Moufie-Kiss sounds funny, but actually isn't, being tragi-comedy made by men who'd obviously wed in haste to repent at leisure. The set-up and suicide ending (!) unravels in a reel, Sid the soldier home from trenches whose intended does a regress to baby talk and manner. This all came under heading of "genteel" comedy as practiced by Vitagraph in opposition to pie-toss at Sennett. Folks laughed less at their stuff, but Vita won plaudits of stuff-shirt critics and commentators who thought slapstick was getting out of hand. John Bunny had been the company's first humor brand till death cleared for the Drews and a replacement series.

Moving Picture World thought Miss Sticky-Moufie-Kiss was OK, but noted that "a greater variety of situations would have improved the play." That reference to a "play" was perhaps spill-off from Sidney Drew's being a theatre name and fount of prestige, him among other things, a Barrymore relation. Toward added names of weight, MPW noted illustrator James Montgomery Flagg as creative contributor, his titles design, and maybe contribution to text of same, being a lure to those who knew his art from popular magazines. Sidney Drew was a subtle and accomplished farceur, his look of mortification a bridge across the near-century that's passed since this short was made. "Is salt water sweet?," he asks his new wife before wading out to blue-tint oblivion in evening attire. Such ancient reels as Miss Sticky-Moufie-Kiss seldom chickened out ...

More of Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew at Greenbriar Archives HERE.  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Three Power-Driven Days For Springfield

A Star Says Thanks For The Bookings

Here is evidence of how closely aligned Classic Era stars were with their heartland audience. Tyrone Power was approaching a career high in 1938. He'd be named "King of Movies" by exhibitor polling the next year, and here was three day run of oldies featuring the 20th Fox headliner. What impresses most is Power wiring the Landers Theatre in Springfield, Missouri to convey thanks for the half week's fest. I'm guessing this stunt was cooked up by Landers management in concert with Fox's nearby exchange, word sent to Hollywood or N.Y. for telegraphic follow-up. The Landers was, or would be, operated by the Fox Midwest Amusement, Corp., so a close relationship was already in place. Note receipt by Ethel Moran of two passes "With Mr. Power's Complements." Did the star actually participate in any of this, or even apprised of the stunt? It wasn't unusual to see actor names signed to letters in trade magazines. Some of them kept keen eye on selling outcome of film work, a wise policy to sustain long term careers. The Landers had quite a history. It was built in 1890 for vaude and live drama. Numerous hauntings have been reported over a hundred plus years the place has thrived (Springfield Little Theatre its current name). A janitor consumed by fire in 1920 is said to walk corridors, and there are frequent cries from a baby that fell from the balcony generations ago, these in addition to myriad green orbs and black voids sighted. No doubt a fun place even without Cafe Metropole, Thin Ice, or Love Is News on deck.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Election Results Are In

All The King's Men (1949) A Winner On Blu-Ray

I admit right off to rooting for Willie Stark. The heavies to me were the righteous lot of Robert Rossen stand-ins armed with pipes and intellect but no solution to problems Willie solves. In short, he's a can-do guy, and that's what we like best in movies. Rossen forgets (again) that conscience characters are a big bore. Look at Body and Soul for him making same mistakes as director. Part of my Willie thing may be love of Brod. He could never do wrong, and I'm glad they gave him an Oscar so parts could be bigger henceforth. Cards are stacked on Willie and we're not permitted much insight into progress he makes. The bad guy emerges and doesn't change except for getting worse. Crawford is lots of fun for playing it like one of countless bruisers he essayed for Universal and elsewhere. He deserved Academy plaudits for bravura that every now and then throws Rossen off plodding message.

All the southerners are toothless hicks, of course (I still have all my teeth, however), or wily snakes like Ralph Dumke, whose very face is a map of corruption and lends fun for being nakedly obvious about it. John Ireland is supposed to be the audience ID figure, but is so dense catching on to reality of things that I stopped identifying with him. How do we know Mercedes McCambridge was a great actress? I say the way she reacts when Ireland gives her a hard slap: OWWW!, which is exactly what real people would exclaim after such a whack, but almost never do in movies. It's a great scene, for which she got a deserved Supporting Actress statue. Another deathless moment is when Willie casts off his prepared speech and shoots from the hip to a rally crowd, here where I suspect BC clinched his AA.

Columbia had pledged 67 features for the 1949-50 season, 31 to be "Double A's budgeted upward from $750K," said Variety. The year's biggest noise besides All The King's Men would be Jolson Sings Again, on which much hope was hung. King's Men got the full Klieg treatment at its 11/16/49 Pantages open, with fifty stars in attendance and bleachers set for gawking. Radio coverage and a parade supplied augment. Thanks-be kicker was White House request for a print that President Truman could show guests at his Key West retreat. That came mid-December with trumpets blown by Columbia as lead-up to Academy bestow of three gold men, including most coveted Best Picture. King's took $2.4 million in domestic rentals, which didn't beat Jolson, but left all other Columbia stuff in shade. The pic would enhance Screen Gems TV packaging from early 60's availability to syndication, and now shines on Blu-Ray from Twilight Time. My recommend is to grab it, nix Rossen's sermonizing, and enjoy Brod Crawford with all stops pulled.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Paramount Celebrating Simpler Times

Call Him Irresponsible: Jackie Gleason in Papa's Delicate Condition (1963)

Corinne Griffith was a silent era star who retired, got rich on real estate, and wrote many books, one of which was a fond look back at turn-of-century childhood as she knew it. Papa's Delicate Condition had been published in 1952,  bought by Paramount but not movie-made for ten years, at which time Jackie Gleason was cast as lead, Fred Astaire having flirted with the part, but ultimately begging off (though he'd do similar role in The Pleasure Of His Company). Papa's Delicate Condition was memorable for us because the Liberty sent a pony cart to the elementary school and carried kids back for its 3:00 show. The ride was a mere quarter mile past gas stations and the Thrift Supermarket where I'd later get my first Famous Monsters mag. Other than parking stock cars out front for two years' later Red Line 7000, this was the last real bally stunt I recall the Liberty doing.

Papa's Delicate Condition was typical of small-town celebrating we'd see lots of in the 60's. Those with eyes knew it was a life fast fading, urban sprawl and homogenization of culture more apparent with each McDonald's built. There was strong Hollywood impulse to lay open scrapbooks of ways once known, but not to be again. Vets in industry power, those who'd seen carriages go from horse to horseless, would record memory for ones of us longest removed from a past they'd idealize. 1960's Pollyanna from Disney was fond lament for days gone, Walt not permitting a frame's cut despite 134 minute overlength. Meaningful coincidence was fact I'd see Papa's Delicate Condition and To Kill A Mockingbird within a week of each other in April 1963, both cut from down home bolts of cloth. Small town setting could be a rose amidst thorns of serious topic addressed in Mockingbird and one along lines of The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs. Things having changed less radically in first half of a twentieth century enabled The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and others of like backdrop to bridge a not so wide gap between period set Papa's Delicate Condition and backlot streets minimally redressed to represent heartland circa 1905 or 1965.

George Marshall directed Papa's Delicate Condition. He grew up in precisely the period it depicts. Like William Wellman at helm of The Happy Years for MGM in 1950, Marshall knew whereof he spoke re vanished customs and simplicity of life now forfeit to modern pace. Such men were valuable for first-hand recall they'd sprinkle on nostalgia subjects like topping Jackie Gleason applies to Papa's drug store banana split. He buys the place for easier access to "cough medicine" dispensed in back, a furtive habit men engaged where saloons were banished and at-home tipple was forbidden. We'd see pharmacies drink-dispensing as late as A Free Soul in 1931, this being Prohibition's alternative to quick slugs in rural America. For his sneaking off for libation in Papa's Delicate Condition, Gleason reminds us of Bill Fields doing same thing as hen-pecked 30's family man.

Jackie Gleason is nicely cast as reprobate, but loveable, father. It's probably his best movie role, at comedy anyway. Gleason wears turn-of-century finery like, again, Fields in resplendent Poppy attire, the mustache complementing him as it  distinctly would not after JG lost weight and did his strident Smoky and The Bandit act in 1977. I wonder how famed Gleason might have been had he crested earlier, and in features rather than TV. There was effort at consolidating screen stardom for him through the 60's, but somehow it never jelled. More like Papa's Delicate Condition might have been the trick, but a mere $665K in domestic rentals wouldn't inspire Paramount or anyone to follow-up with family fare for Gleason. Papa's Delicate Condition has streamed on Retroplex in HD and is available on DVD in a three-pack with Houdini and Money From Home.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Allentown Puts Sizzle In Reheated Steak

Showmanship Unplugged For A Revived King's Row

You'd not sneak sex and depravity onto mainstream screens during the Code-locked 40's, but ads could bait hook for those who'd imagine movies had finally cut loose to deliver the goods. Of course they didn't --- and wouldn't --- until years later and abandonment of the PCA in favor of a rating's system. Not that King's Row wasn't strong meat in context of 1941, and there is plentiful Disgrace, Desire, and Cruelty to go around, but elements were "Hidden" and "Left Out" from the novel on which Warner's film was based. A biggest knock Hollywood got from readers in those days was familiar chorus of "It wasn't as good as the book," an oft-truism thanks to censoring of film content. What mattered for showmen, however, was filling seats, and that often meant scrapping suggested ads in favor of lurid art to grab attendance by the collar. The State Theatre needed that extra jolt, as this was 1946 and King's Row by then had a five years' growth of beard. Allentown, Pa.'s State began life as a vaudeville house in 1906 (originally called the Orpheum). Eventually they went over to a screen policy. Don't know if Allentown's was a "Pagan Population," but chances were good they'd come to a show about a fictional one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Turning Clocks Back In 1975

Mitchum Is Marlowe in Farewell, My Lovely (1975)

I went and saw this at least four times in 1975. It was like they'd gone out and made a brand new old movie. The thing was retro to a fault. You could almost forget in hindsight that it was done in color. Robert Mitchum would finally play Philip Marlowe ... in fact, it may have been a first time he'd been a detective ... but wait, there was Out Of The Past, nearly thirty years before. Mitch had stiff competition through the 60's from younger blood like Steve McQueen and Paul Newman, who scarved up parts he might have done, and better. They were just younger enough to knock Bob out of games, which was perhaps why he spoke dismissively of McQueen in at least one interview. Well, Mitchum had thirteen years on Steve, and all of them showed. And he'd done a lot of bad pictures. Mister Moses and Anzio weren't going to unseat The Cincinnati Kid and Bullitt. Mitchum was being embraced by hipsters during the 70's. They knew he smoked weed and had once been convicted for it, so he was one old man that was OK. Some of his relic movies held up fine too. Mitchum had an attitude that wore well, and he still looked presentable, as in rugged and up to romantic parts if offered. Farewell, My Lovely had some of both. He'd smack guys around and bed Charlotte Rampling, who was of our generation. She was a ringer in some ways to Lauren Bacall, maybe or maybe not a good thing. To me, her cat eyes were a little scary. But she melted into arms of this elder man, 58 at the time, which was seriously old to mine eyes in 1975. Now, of course, I'm much reassured by Bob's prowess at such venerable age.

Partial reward to Mitch was invite to host Saturday Night Live, but they didn't know what to do with him beyond weirdly satirizing Out Of The Past. I think RM did more private-eyeing in the 70/80's than he had in accumulation of work up to then. These would eventually peter to TV "movies" and dreadful cheapies gone direct to video, but if you watched HBO or Showtime closely, you could catch Mitch in all sorts of degraded circumstance. The nadir came with an NBC sitcom opposite bratty kids. Surely this wasn't for anything other than money. Features seemed done with Bob, other than supporting eccentrics like Bill Murray or Johnny Depp. Farewell, My Lovely may have been his last real roar, and I'm not forgetting a second Marlowe go, which was The Big Sleep remade in modern dress, and in England, but those were two strikes that put Mitch largely out. Who wanted to see him in ugly wide ties like men wore in the 70's? TV did confer a biggest latter comeback with Winds Of War and Remembrance or whatever, and those were like trips back too, only long and sorta dull as doled over sweeps weeks. By this time (early 80's), Mitchum was about the only guy left who looked like he could actually win a war, with or without help from puny players in support.

Farewell, My Lovely could make you forget all those years since they'd made good movies. At least that's how I felt at age 21, but then I had considerable growing up to do. 1974 found me buying a corduroy trench coat that was a ringer for something Mitch or Bogart would wear. Chances are I was clad in it to one/more of the Farewell screenings. A couple of sizes too big at the time, I was ten more years growing into it. Fits fine now. Thank heaven old stars didn't start me smoking cigarettes. I had tried it after screen examples, but one inhale settled hash. These really were tough guys for being able to draw smoke clear down to lungs. Well, they ruined theirs and I've still got mine, so there was at least that advantage to lacking man-up for cigs. Farewell, My Lovely cast other vets besides Mitchum. There was John Ireland as a police detective, always talking about "heat from upstairs." Here was a show determined to be old-fashioned, which was exactly what I wanted then and still enjoy now. David Shire did a score keyed to jazzy and mournful, saluting a past we'd not get back in spite of game tries like Farewell, My Lovely. There was a CD that's now out of print, much like the movie on DVD, which I now note sells for $75 and upward on Amazon. FML does stream in HD at Apple-I Tunes.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Precode Comes On Loud

Jean Harlow Besieged in Bombshell (1933)

Adjust your ears first to the sound level, as it's a din throughout. Was director Victor Fleming deaf to such overreaching noise? Bombshell was to Hollywood what The Front Page was for newspapers, opportunity for insiders to turn laser on industry they toiled in but knew too well truth of. Talent sure had love-hate relationship with this biz judging by acerbic treatment given it here, the picture racket being just that and nothing more. Anybody buying into glamour of movies would henceforth need their head examined. Metro was surprisingly permissive for letting their setup be so lacerated. Were fan mag readers put wise by Bombshell, or were they already hep to corrosive phoniness of H'wood? For old pic buffs, Bombshell is like being let in the gate, its "Monarch" studio being Metro in all but name. "Lola Burns" as played by Jean Harlow does retakes on Red Dust and MGM stars are referenced throughout. There is everything here but cameos. Bombshell and Buster Keaton's Free and Easy would make ideal tandem touring of the Culver lot as it stood in the early thirties.

Harlow is much, as in too much, a case as well with Red-Headed Woman she'd (over)done before. Calming influence was needed that wasn't applied, but she wasn't alone of players turned loose at Metro to raise volume rather than laughs. I actually dreaded watching Bombshell again for disappointment I'd had with it before, HD at Warner Instant being the clincher, plus prior adjustment to now known quantity. What registers over the noise is touring Leo-land and going up stairs to dressing dorm of talent, a closest peek at such environs a public had been afforded so far in talkies. We could imagine such digs to be like Harlow's Dinner At Eight boudoir, but reality was rooms simpler and certainly smaller. I'd venture "star" accommodations got little past decent space at a Holiday Inn. Studios, including MGM, kept luxuries before the camera where they'd pay best.

Part of reason I laugh less at Bombshell is my wanting "Lola Burns" shed of parasites taking such gross advantage, a comic situation too close to Harlow's own circumstance for viewing comfort (project begun as take-off on the Clara Bow madhouse). It was noted by Metro staff at the time that Bombshell was miseries of "Baby" writ broad, the actress worse off than put-upon star she played. Read any Harlow bio (David Stenn and Mark Vieira's the outstanding two) and you'll say throughout, Throw The Bums Out!, including worst-of-all Mama Jean, whom many could wish not to have survived childbirth. Part of what commends Harlow's story is the tragic offscreen life, really good films of hers coming down to half-or-so-dozen. Best of Bombshell is Lee Tracy's demon press agent, and watch for Ted Healy as indolent brother to Harlow. Wish Tracy and Ted could have done more as a team in Bombshell, but that might have been like pairing method actors in the 50's, though I would like once to hear Healy say, What are you, a wise guy?, his signature line, to Tracy.
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