‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 20

East 62nd Street, New York, Via Google Street View

“I stood beside him in the bay window of Laura’s living room. East 62nd Street had yielded to the spirit of carnival…”

The 200 block of East 62nd Street, New York, via Google Street View.


In case you just tuned in, I’m using Louella Parsons’ May 15, 1944, item on Rouben Mamoulian being replaced as the director of “Laura” to take a meandering look at the making of the film, which was released in Los Angeles in November 1944. Previous posts have examined the writing career of “Laura” novelist Vera Caspary and the state of the detective story in 1941, when she was writing the novel.

In this series of posts, we’re looking at some of the sites used in the novel. Recall that in “Murder for Pleasure, Howard Haycraft’s 1941 book on the history and art the detective story, Haycraft urged mystery writers to use actual locations:

The Making of “Laura” Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21

Spoilers ahead

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Architecture, Art & Artists, Baseball, Books and Authors, Film, Hollywood, New York | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Aug. 19, 1944

 

Aug. 19, 1944, Comics

Aug. 19, 1944

Really interesting news that Freddie March is ready to sign a contract to play Major Joppolo in “A Bell for Adano.” I don’t mean the movie, either. He is being signed by Leland Hayward for the stage play, which will reach New York before the movie is finished.

Little Joyce Reynolds has certainly won a place for herself on the Warner lot since “Janie.” Interesting that she will play the shrewish daughter in “Mildred Pearce,” a real departure from the wholesome schoolgirl in “Janie.”* Joan Crawford, who plays Mildred Pearce, is, I am told, negotiating with Edward Small for the lead in “Bella Donna.” That would give her one of the really dramatic parts of her career.

LEO: Stars offer fine scope for your talents and ability. Responsibility needed to fathom pitfalls and be able to combat same properly.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Columnists, Film, Hollywood, Horoscope | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

'Hot Water'
This is the 1924 film “Hot Water,” starring Harold Lloyd.

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 36 Comments

Times War Correspondent Tom Treanor Dies Covering the Liberation of France

Aug. 22, 1944, Tom Treanor

Aug. 18, 1944

Times war correspondent Tom Treanor is injured in a Jeep accident while covering the liberation of France and dies of his injuries the next day. As I noted in a 2007 post, a journalism scholarship was established in his name at UCLA, but it apparently hasn’t been awarded since 1961.
His final story is here.

Continue reading

Posted in Tom Treanor, World War II | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: The Masquers Club Laughs to Win

newmoviemagazine04weir_0206
The Masquers reliving Keystone Kops days after shooting “Stout Hearts and Willing Hands,” from left, Roscoe Arbuckle, Bobby Vernon, Ford Sterling, Chester Conklin, Clyde Cooke, Mack Swain, Jimmy Finlayson and Hank Mann.



S
ince the beginning of time, people have joined clubs in order to socialize with like-minded individuals and enjoy shared activities. Many original clubs revolved around religion, politics, colleges and fraternal organizations like the Masons, Optimists, Elks and the like. Professions organized their own clubs; actors in New York formed the Lambs’ Club as a way to honor their own and practice the art of acting.

In the teens and early 1920s, many people formed social groups in Los Angeles around similar lines. Besides fraternal organizations, social groups like the Uplifters, Breakfast Club, Jonathan Club and California Club were formed to honor spiritual as well as financial aims. The entertainment industry organized its own social groups like the 233 Club, 400 Club, Embassy Club and others in which to socialize outside of work. Many of these gradually dissolved due to financial, personal and organizational problems.

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywoodland: Tales Lost and Found” is available for the Kindle.

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Books, Reading and Lending Libraries

in_the_wrong_rain_cover

in_the_wrong_rain_cover

Note to millennials: This is an example of a book from a lending library. These were generally small  businesses that rented books for pennies a day and specialized in current literature and somewhat racy material that wasn’t available at the public library. (Hence the line in “Chinatown”: Sir, this is not a lending library, it’s the Hall of Records.” )

This 1959 example, by Times book editor Robert Kirsch, rented for a nickel a day with a minimum of 15 cents, about $1.23 in 2014 dollars, and was apparently offered by the Guild Library on Hollywood Boulevard. Lending libraries were part of the literary landscape in America until the 1970s, but I don’t recall ever seeing one after that.

This copy of “In the Wrong Rain” (which is not much of a book) is listed on EBay as Buy It Now for $10.40.

Posted in 1959, Books and Authors, Found on EBay, Libraries | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Aug. 15, 1944

Aug. 15, 1944, comics

Aug. 15, 1944

Clark Gable is not returning to work in September. He says he may never make another picture, which would be a terrible blow, not only to his studio, but to all his many fans.

Said Clark: “I saw so much death and suffering overseas that the movies will never appeal to me again, unless I can do something off the beaten path; something that is not conventional, but is important and significant. Otherwise, I don’t want to return to the screen. I don’t need the money. I’m not rich but I can live on my very little ranch and be happy.”

MGM already has announced “Lucky Baldwin” and several other pictures for Clark. (As we know, “Lucky Baldwin” was never made.)

LEO: With vibrations favorable, the Sun your ruling planet and your keyword POWER — there should be plenty of useful “fireworks,” if you are living up to the true Leo-born.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Columnists, Comics, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 19

Laura Page 151

Page 151 of “Laura.” Novelist Vera Caspary uses the date Friday, Aug. 27, 1941.


In case you just tuned in, I’m using Louella Parsons’ May 15, 1944, item on Rouben Mamoulian being replaced as the director of “Laura” to take a meandering look at the making of the film, which was released in Los Angeles in November 1944. Previous posts have examined the writing career of “Laura” novelist Vera Caspary and the state of the detective story in 1941, when she was writing the novel.

”Laura” novelist Vera Caspary chose the precise date of Friday, Aug. 27, 1941, for the interrogation of Shelby Carpenter (played by Vincent Price in the film) by Detective Mark McPherson (played by Dana Andrews). This fixes the date of the murder as the previous Friday, Aug. 20, 1941.

The Making of “Laura” Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21

Continue reading

Posted in 1941, 1944, Books and Authors, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

1944 in Print — Life Magazine, Aug. 14, 1944

Life Magazine, Aug. 14, 2014

Aug. 14, 1944

The tough, haggard man on the cover is one of the thousands who are winning the battle for France. He is Lt. Kelso C. Horne of the U.S. airborne infantry. Men like Lt. Horne saw their hardest fighting on June 6, when many of them were landed behind German lines in Normandy with parachute troops. In the great breakthrough in France, airborne troops are probably being used as infantry shock troops.

What the postwar bathroom will look like in another racy ad (by 1940s standards) from Cannon Towels.

The Saturday Review of Literature celebrates its 20th anniversary by asking readers to pick the best novel and best author to appear in the last 20 years. Readers named “Arrowsmith” as the best novel and Ernest Hemingway as the best novelist. Other best novels from the previous 20 years were, in order, “A Farewell to Arms,” “U.S.A.,” “The Grapes of Wrath” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”

Unfortunately, Life published a photo of the books rather than listing them and some of the titles are illegible. How many have you read?

Life also features Chester Gould and his comic creation Dick Tracy. Did you know there was a villain named Redrum?

From Google Books.

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Books and Authors, Photography, World War II | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Aug. 14, 1944

Aug. 14, 1944, Comics

Aug. 14, 1944

Sat and talked with Joan Fontaine the night before she left for Mexico and I have seldom seen her as happy. She had an engagement to meet Preston Sturges and there is a very good chance he may direct “The Affairs of Susan,” her first picture for Hal Wallis at Paramount. Her eyes sparkled as she told me if he didn’t direct it at least he would write the story and she knew that would make it the picture she has been waiting for all these months.

Joan was very cute when she said she had cut her household expenses because she hadn’t worked for so long. The man who was with us offered to lend her money. “Oh,” she said. “I don’t need money. I have saved enough so I can live without ever working, but I can’t be extravagant.”

LEO: Planetary rays beneficent. Solid application improved rules of progress necessary for maximum gains. You have capability.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Columnists, Comics, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 18

times_square_ebay

Times Square about 1940, in a postcard listed on EBay at $12.50.


In case you just tuned in, I’m using Louella Parsons’ May 15, 1944, item on Rouben Mamoulian being replaced as the director of “Laura” to take a meandering look at the making of the film, which was released in Los Angeles in November 1944. Previous posts have examined the writing career of “Laura” novelist Vera Caspary and the state of the detective story in 1941, when she was writing the novel.

Before getting into the locations used in the book, I thought it would be useful to touch on the general atmosphere of the novel.

The Making of “Laura” Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Books and Authors, Film, Hollywood, New York | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Aug. 13, 1944

Aug. 13, 1944, Kiss and Tell

Aug. 13, 1944

When I say [Michael Curtiz] is one of the very few I do not resent calling me “Lolly,” you get an idea we have been good friends through the years. I was one of five guests when he married Bess Meredyth.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Columnists, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 17

Laura Cover

In case you just tuned in, I’m using Louella Parsons’ May 15, 1944, item on Rouben Mamoulian being replaced as the director of “Laura” to take a meandering look at the making of the film, which was released in Los Angeles in November 1944. Previous posts have examined the writing career of “Laura” novelist Vera Caspary and the state of the detective story in 1941, when she was writing the novel.

At long last we’re going to open the book and begin the deconstruction of “Laura,” not as a reader who might casually indulge in a mystery novel for recreation, but with the eye of a writer in considering an adaptation for the screen — for the novel is merely the beginning of the journey to the film. Producing a script for “Laura” was a daunting task that required a series of writers.

The Making of “Laura” Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16

Spoilers ahead

 

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Books and Authors, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Aug. 12, 1944

 

Aug. 12, 1944, Comics

Aug. 12, 1944

Geraldine Fitzgerald’s sparkling performance as Edith Galt, second wife of Woodrow Wilson, creates a new and fresh interest in her. Fitting, I think, that Jack Warner should again lend her to Darryl Zanuck, for he did more to bring out her talents as an actress than any other producer.

Laird Cregar had a change of heart and is back in the East. George Sanders ditto. Cregar went on eight weeks suspension, but apparently thought better of his revolt and is back on the lot.

LEO: Uneventful maybe as far as important advance (events?) go. Takes on different aspect in domestic affairs, personal interests. Much depends upon your disposition, cheery manner.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

 

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Columnists, Comics, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

image
This is “Montana Moon,” a 1930 MGM film directed by Malcolm St. Clair. And although the TCM write-up says the  film was shot on location in Montana, we have the famous train station in beautiful Chatsworth, jewel of the northwest San Fernando Valley.

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 43 Comments

No Arole-Cay Ombard-Lay Otos-Phay Here!

image
Sigh.
No. 1 in eath-day een-say otos-phay.


Note: I apologize for using pig Latin, but it’s a way to be invisible to oogle-Gay. I don’t want any more traffic on this subject than I already have.

ECM-Tay’s daylong feature of arole-Cay ombard-Lay films sent my traffic through the roof yesterday. But not in a good way.

Some time ago, I wrote a post about the ane-play ash-cray that illed-kay actress arole-Cay ombard-Lay. At the time it seemed like a newsworthy event.

But over the years, the aily-Day irror-May has become the go-to place for people looking for information about the ane-play ash-cray. A subsequent post merely added fuel to the fire by using ey-kay ords-way that oogle-Gay “liked.”

So let me say it again, in words that can be read by people, but not oogle-Gay.

There are no otos-phay of arole-Cay ombard-Lay here. There is nothing that shows her ecapitated-day and there is nothing, I assure you, about whether her eft-lay and-hay was missing.

It is a tad discouraging to conduct serious historic research on Los Angeles only to become a target for people hunting uff-snay otos-phay.

Sigh.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Bimini Baths’ Curing Waters Heal the Soul

Bimini Bath House

A postcard showing the Bimini Baths, courtesy of Mary Mallory.



F
or centuries, those looking for healing of mental or physical ailments visited therapeutic spas and springs at such places as Bath, England, and Baden Baden in Germany. By the 1860s, Glen Ivy Hot Springs offered refreshing waters to Southern California residents. In the early 1900s, Los Angeles boasted a curative hot springs near Westlake Park, the Bimini Baths.

Discovered accidentally when an African American worker searching for oil struck a natural mineral springs 1,750 feet underground beneath marble three feet thick, the waters quickly became popular after Dr. David Edwards opened Bimini Baths on Dec. 31, 1902. Located remotely from downtown near Third and Vermont amid a eucalyptus grove, Bimini Baths was named after a Butterworth poem that described Ponce de Leon’s search for the fountain of youth. The Baths, the second largest on the West Coast after San Francisco’s Sutro Baths were housed in one building with three separate pools.

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywoodland: Tales Lost and Found” is available for the Kindle.

Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Aug. 8, 1944.

Aug. 8, 1944, Comics

Aug. 8, 1944

If the Indians ever pick out a tribe name for Joyce Reynolds it should be “Little Miss Sittin’ Pretty.” Not only is Joyce zooming to fame, but she is by way of becoming the richest junior miss in pictures. The Reynolds girl, now 19, inherited the $200,000 estate of her aunt and bachelor uncle, Belle and Fred Reynolds, and she comes into control of the money when she is 21. As though that weren’t enough of a nest egg for such a young girl, she will get the Texas oil properties of her late father when she is 24.

But Joyce is getting 10 times as much of a thrill out of her good fortune at Warners as from her cash fortune. She has two terrific pictures coming up, “Janie,” which is being released right away, and the well-touted “Junior Miss,” for which Jack Warner paid a small fortune.

Clark Gable has never looked as handsome as he does now with the little touch of gray in his hair. We played gin rummy the other evening, Clark, Kay Williams, Virginia Zanuck and myself, and he told me how interested he is in doing “Lucky Baldwin.” He knows the story of California’s fabulously wealthy character so well he could write a book himself. “Who told you so much?” I asked. He said, “Horace McCoy, who is writing the screenplay.” This is the first time I felt Clark has shown interest in returning to the screen. He goes to Washington with his Army film before he actually gets started at MGM.

LEO: Cheerful outlook for ambitious, venturesome Leo, especially if you take cognizance of practical angles and necessary details. Private and outside interests rate.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Columnists, Comics, Film, Hollywood, World War II | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 16

"Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery, and Horror," edited by Dorothy L. Sayers

“Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery, and Horror,” edited by Dorothy L. Sayers. From the library of Fernando Pessoa.


In case you just tuned in, I’m using Louella Parsons’ May 15, 1944, item on Rouben Mamoulian being replaced as the director of “Laura” to take a meandering look at the making of the film, which was released in Los Angeles in November 1944. Previous posts have examined the writing career of “Laura” novelist Vera Caspary, her original stories for the screen, her less than successful attempts to write plays – including the first version of “Laura” – and her work on the novel.

Before digging into “Laura,” I thought it would be worthwhile to examine the state of detective fiction as it was in 1941, when Caspary was sketching out the play and then writing her novel.

In the previous post, we found that 1941 was the 100th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and was informally celebrated as the centennial of the detective story. At the time “Laura” was written, the genre was experiencing a surge of interest. In its Sept. 6, 1941, issue, the New Yorker said:  “One out of every four new works of fiction published in the English language is a detective story, and even the New Republic reviews it.”

In this post, we are going to look at some of the central rules of the genre as they were practiced when Caspary was writing “Laura.” The evolution of conventions in the modern detective story is a subject more suitable for a doctoral dissertation than a blog post, so I will leave the exploration of all these sets of rules for the diligent researcher or the aspiring mystery writer (you know who you are).

Keep in mind that such conventions are somewhat artificial and flexible – rather like citing the rules on the tonality of Western music and having Charles Ives come along and do whatever he pleases. Dorothy Sayers might have bemoaned the way romance muddied the clear waters of the detective story, but that didn’t stop her from introducing the multi-novel relationship of Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.

Let’s look at a few of the conventions that Caspary follows in “Laura” and — more important — on the ones she violates.

 

The Making of “Laura” Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Books and Authors, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

1944 on the Radio — ‘The Lone Ranger’

radio_dial_1944

Aug. 7, 1944: Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear! “The Lone Ranger.” Courtesy of otronmp3.com.

Posted in 1944, Radio | Tagged , | Leave a comment