March 29, 1945: “Practically Yours” opens in Los Angeles.
Following is the second half of my Cinecon review, covering Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
Plenty of popular character actors appeared in the films, some making multiple appearances throughout the festival. Railroads, dogs, and war seemed to be running themes. Saturday featured a full day of screenings. Sessue Hayakawa starred in the 1920 AN ARABIAN KNIGHT, an Egyptian story mixing in Asian elements as well. It prominently featured the Brand Library in Glendale as the home of the Anglo explorers. EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE, a 1927 Fox film starring George O’Brien, was basically a love letter to New York City, elegantly capturing views of the city. Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert showed great chemistry in PRACTICALLY YOURS (Paramount, 1944), the hit of the festival, touching, hilarious, and patriotic at the same time. The 1928 FINDERS KEEPERS starring Laura LaPlante presented great shots of Universal City/Studio City of the period. The last film of the evening featured recent mystery photo guest Tala Birell as a Swedish actress in the Hollywood behind the scenes film LET’S FALL IN LOVE.
Sunday was a shorter day that included appearances by film stars. Jack Mulhall and a volcano were prominently featured in the 1920 film THE HOPE, a beautiful looking film. Fay McKenzie took part in a question and answer session after the Gene Autry film DOWN MEXICO WAY. ONE WILD NIGHT, a hodgepodge of genres included an appearance by mystery guest Creighton Hale. BEAUTY’S WORTH starring Marion Davies presented elegant views of the Carmel area. Hollywood was front and center in the Raymond Chandler THE BRASHER DOUBLOON, which actually employed the Cahuenga Building at Hollywood Boulevard and Cahuenga for Philip Marlowe’s office.
Monday closed out the festival, with another fun day of films. The 1910 Selig film THE SERGEANT opened the day, prominently displaying a virgin Yosemite Valley. Paramount’s 1926 film DIPLOMACY included a nice juicy villain role for our friend Gustav von Seyffertitz, a courtly, suave, and sadistic Russian ambassador. He successfully upstaged the stars while rifling through his letters, a consummate scene stealer. James Lydon and Jane Withers appeared after their 1942 film THE MAD MARTINDALES, funny and touching. The 1915 Thomas Ince film THE COWARD presented the Civil War being fought in Pacific Palisades. Another film highlighting Hollywood and behind the scenes filmmaking was the 1941 Jackie Cooper vehicle GLAMOUR BOY. Paramount Pictures stood in for Marathon Pictures (the side street on which the original gate is located), with Cecil B. DeMille plugging his film REAP THE WILD WIND in a short scene. The Brown Derby at Hollywood and Vine gets some very nice screen time. Too many movies, not enough time to see and promote everything. The festival is a definite joy for classic movie lovers.