Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

April 22, 2017, Smart Girls Don't Talk

This week’s surprisingly difficult mystery movie has been the 1948 Warner Bros. picture “Smart Girls Don’t Talk,” with Virginia Mayo, Bruce Bennett, Robert Hutton, Tom D’Andrea, Richard Rober, Helen Wescott and Richard Benedict.

It was written by William Sackheim, photographed by Ted McCord, with art direction by Stanley Fleischer, dialogue direction by John Maxwell, set decoration by William Wallace, special effects by Robert Burks, makeup by Perc Westmore, orchestrations by Leonid Raab, music by David Buttolph and produced by Saul Elkins. The movie was directed by Richard Bare.

The DVD is available from Warner Archive for $21.99.

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June 24, 1946: What Was the First Talkie You Saw?

“I thought talking pictures was a novelty that could never last — like miniature golf.”
— George Karg

“It was certainly an improvement over the silent pictures.”
— Mrs. Edna Helsing.

From the Inquiring Camera Girl, Maryon Zylstra, Chicago Tribune, June 24, 1946.

June 24, 1946, First Talkie

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Grauman’s Chinese Theatre Turns 90

 

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The opening of “King of Kings at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Photo courtesy of Bruce Torrence.


Still ready for its close-up, the TCL Chinese Theatre, originally Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, turns 90 on May 18, looking as glamorous and exotic as when it premiered on Hollywood Boulevard in 1927. Under construction for almost 16 months, the Chinese Theatre stands as perhaps legendary theatre impresario Sid Grauman’s ultimate masterpiece, a fabulous moving picture palace that outshines virtually anything produced by the Hollywood studio system.

While not the first film theatre devised and built by visionary Grauman, the Chinese Theatre represents the pinnacle of motion picture theatre construction, an atmospheric pleasure dome for the senses which still overwhelms with its unique beauty. Opening just two years before the start of the Great Depression, the theatre stands as a fascinating concoction of hallucinatory dream and kitsch, the ultimate symbol of success for those hoping to make it in motion picture business. Like the Hollywood Sign, the theatre acts as an iconic symbol for the city in which it was created, drawing people from around the globe hoping to soak up just a tiny bit of its special stardust.

Hollywood at Play, by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester is now on sale.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: TCM Classic Film Festival Salutes Preservation

 

TCM Schedule Cover

While the TCM Classic Film Festival’s official theme for 2017 saluted comedy, the underlying thread running through this year’s festival seemed to be preservation. Featuring everything from nitrate screenings to preservation talks to archivist introductions, the Festival saluted vintage films that wouldn’t survive without the care and help of film archives and libraries.

This year’s Festival opened Thursday afternoon April 6, with a Memorial Service for Robert Osborne, for whom this year’s event was dedicated. TCM employees spoke about their beloved colleague, and clips of his time on the channel or interviewing stars at the Festival played. A five minute video highlighting Osborne’s TCM career preceded each of the screenings that day.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Jumb
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1962 MGM picture “Billy Rose’s Jumbo,” with Doris Day, Stephen Boyd, Jimmy Durante and Martha Raye, Dean Jagger, Joseph Waring, Lynn Wood, Charles Watts, James Chandler, Robert Burton, Wilson Wood, Norman Leavitt, Grady Sutton, Ron Henon, The Carlisles, The Pedrolas, The Wazzans, The Hannefords, Billy Barton, Corky Cristiani, Victor Julian, Richard Berg, Joe Monahan, Miss Lani, Adolph Dubsky, Pat Anthony, Janos Prohaska and The Barbettes.

The film was based on the musical produced by Billy Rose at the New York Hippodrome, with a book by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, and music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. The music was supervised and conducted by George Stoll. The film was photographed by William H. Daniels in Panavision and MetroColor, with art direction by George W. Davis and Preston Ames, and set decoration by Henry Grace and Hugh Hunt. Costumes by Morton Haack, hairstyles by Sydney Guilaroff, makeup by William Tuttle and circus acts coordinated by Al Dobritch.  The second unit director was Busby Berkeley. The screenplay was by Sidney Sheldon. The film was produced by Joe Pasternak and Martin Melcher, and directed by Charles Walters.

Historical notes: Durante appeared in the 1935 stage version as a press agent and was recast as the circus owner for the film. This was Raye’s first film since “Monsieur Verdoux” and Day’s last movie musical.

“Billy Rose’s Jumbo” is available on DVD from Amazon.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights — Nelson Evans, Hollywood’s Early Forgotten Portrait Photographer

Nelson Evans

Photo: Nelson Evans


Note: This is an encore post from 2012.

Unlike the theatrical world, the early motion picture industry was slow in recognizing the importance of photographs to help publicize and sell its films. While Broadway producers hired great New York portrait studios like Sarony, White, Lumiere, Vandamm, and Moody to shoot scene and portrait stills of stars for newspaper and magazine coverage in the early 1900s, film studios, particularly those here on the West Coast, did not engage in the practice until the mid-teens.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

April 8, 2017, Spy in Black

This week’s mystery movie (and sadly, a fairly poor print) has been the 1939 British film “Spy in Black,” the debut of “the Archers”: director Michael Powell and writer Emeric Pressburger. It featured Conrad Veidt, Sebastian Shaw and Valerie Hobson, with Marius Goring, June Duprez, Athole Stewart, Agnes Laughlan, Helen Haye, Cyril Raymond, George Summers, Hay Petrie, Grant Sutherland, Robert Rendel, Mary Morris, Margaret Moffatt, Kenneth Warrington and our mystery guest from last week, Torin Thatcher.

The movie was produced by Irving Asher, based on a story by J. Storer Clouston, screenplay by Pressburger and scenario by Roland Pertwee. The supervising art director was Vincent Korda, with art direction by Frederick Pusey, photography by Bernard Browne, music by Miklos Rozsa and musical direction by Muir Mathieson.

The DVD is available from a number of sources on Amazon and Amazon UK. The Valerie Hobson Collection (out of print, apparently) supposedly has a sharp transfer of the film, judging by reviews on Amazon.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Buster Keaton’s ‘The Italian Villa’

buster_keaton_home

Note: This is an encore post from 2012.

Buster Keaton seemed to have it all in the mid-1920s. His career was riding high, as the public loved his film comedies, making him one of America’s top film personalities. He had a beautiful wife, Natalie Talmadge, and two lovely boys, though the public didn’t know that behind the scenes, the marriage was shaky. All he needed was a grand house to complete the image of the successful gentleman.

The Keatons first built a nice though average size home that Natalie considered too small for the family and staff once completed. After selling it off, Buster began planning an elaborate estate for his wife, one to rival that of her more successful sisters Norma and  Constance, as well as top stars Harold Lloyd and Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

April 1, 2017, Mystery Photo

This week’s mystery movie has been the 1952 Columbia picture “Affair in Trinidad,” with Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, Alexander Scourby, Valerie Bettis, Torin Thatcher, Howard Wendell, Karel Stepanek, George Voskovec, Steven Geray, Walter Kohler, Juanita Moore. The screenplay was by Oscar Saul and James Gunn, from a story by Virginia Van Upp and Bernie Giler,  photography by Joseph Walker, art direction by Walter Holscher, set decoration by William Kiernan. The movie was produced and directed by Vincent Sherman. Dances for Miss Hayworth created by Valerie Bettis.

The DVD was released in Sony’s Martini Movies collection and  is available from Amazon.com.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: TCM Classic Film Festival Returns to Hollywood

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The TCM Classic Film Festival returns to Hollywood for its seventh year April 6-9, 2017, dedicated to the late genial host Robert Osborne. It opens Thursday afternoon with a tribute by Osborne’s colleagues and friends, with all programs that day preceded by an Osborne video tribute.

The festival features a little something for general film fans looking to see classic films on the big screen, the way they were meant to be seen. This year’s theme highlights “Comedy in the Movies,” though the schedule includes pre-code, film noir, westerns, musicals, and dramas spanning the 1920s through 2000s. Introductions by stars, critics, authors, filmmakers, and family members usually precede each screening.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Second Universal City Celebrates Its Centennial

Feb. 10, 1915, Universal City
Universal City in the Washington Times, Feb. 10, 1915.


Note: This is an encore post from 2015.

In an age where businesses come and go, bought up by larger competitors or going under due to bad financial decisions, finding one in business for decades and at the same location is very rare. Film conglomerate NBC-Universal has operated for over a century at its current Universal City location, the thriving second Universal City for the company, celebrating its Centennial, March 15, 2015.

Founder Carl Laemmle jumped into the film business as a Chicago exhibitor in 1906, quickly turning his Laemmle Film Service into one of the largest film exchanges in the country in 1909. After threats and questions by the Motion Picture Patents Company, Laemmle established his own production company, IMP Corporation (Independent Motion Picture Corporation).

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

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Week 2 — Updated + + + +)

March 25, 2017, Roughly Speaking
The two weeks’ mystery movie has been the 1945 Warner Bros. film “Roughly Speaking,” with Rosalind Russell, Jack Carson, Robert Hutton, Jean Sullivan, Donald Woods, Alan Hale, Andrea King, Ann Doran, Mona Freeman, Robert Arthur, Ray Collins, John Qualen, Kathleen Lockhart and Ann Todd. The screenplay was by Louise Randall Pierson from her book. The film was photographed by Joseph Walker, with art direction by Robert Haas, set decorations by George James Hopkins, dialogue direction by Frederick de Cordova, wardrobe by Leah Rhodes, Russell’s gowns by Travis Banton, music arrangements by Hugo Friedhofer, musical direction by Leo F. Forbstein, music by Max Steiner, produced by Henry Blanke and directed by Michael Curtiz.

It is available on DVD from Warner Archive for $17.99.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Heart of California Offers Intriguing Look at Cowboy Life

 

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A poster for “Heart of California,” courtesy of Dwight Manley.



I
n honor of Brea, California’s Centennial Celebration, a fraction of Dwight Manley’s stunning silent motion picture poster collection is currently on exhibit in that city. Containing everything from one-sheets to 24-sheets (billboards) to photographs and paperwork, the exhibition includes posters from Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks films, as well as many from lesser known or even unidentified films.

One six-sheet in the exhibit, titled “The Heart of California,” remained virtually unidentified until now. Thanks to detective work, I have discovered that it is a lost Art Acord title, one documenting California rodeo stars, cowboys, and the history of the state. Rodeo organizer F. J. Griffin shot actual cowboys in action at the Bakersfield Rodeo in 1914 to capture their talents and skills, with former 1912 world steer bulldogging champion Acord starring in the picture.

Hollywood at Play, by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester is now on sale.

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Daylight Saving Time: A Reminder From Pier Angeli and the Daily Mirror

Pier Angeli

Pier Angeli and her little friend remind Daily Mirror readers that Daylight Saving Time begins today and to set your clocks forward one hour.

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Google Fail: This Woman Is Not Tabitha Babbitt

 

Not Tabitha Babbitt
Does this woman look like a Quaker who died in the 19th century? Probably not. But Google thinks so. Here’s the story.

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RIP Robert Osborne (1932 – 2017)

 

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Robert Osborne, the always affable TCM host, has died at 84 after years of declining health.

TCM Remembers Robert Osborne (video).

Los Angeles Times.

Variety.

Washington Post.

New York Times profile.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

'The Beast of the City'
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1932 MGM film “The Beast of the City,” with Walter Huston, Jean Harlow, Wallace Ford, Jean Hersholt, Dorothy Peterson, Tully Marshall, John Miljan, Emmett Corrigan, Warner Richmond, Sandy Roth and J. Carroll Naish, and directed by Charles Brabin. It was a Cosmopolitan production, from a story by W.R. Burnett, with photography by Norbert Brodine.

I hadn’t planned to do another pre-code so soon, but this was too good to pass up.

“The Beast of the City” is available from Warner Archive for $17.99.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Hillview Apartment Building Graces Hollywood Boulevard

 

Hillview Apartments, Postcard
A postcard of the Hillview Apartment Building, from the California State Library.



L
ong an elegant sight on Hollywood Boulevard, the Hillview Apartment Building’s (now the Hollywood Hudson Apartments) central location in Hollywood and its graceful look attracted entertainers of all fields looking for a comfortable but stylish home. Almost 100 years old, the structure still operates as an apartment building for those trying to climb the rungs of the Hollywood entertainment ladder.

Hollywood functioned mostly as a sleepy little farming community until the moving picture industry discovered it in the 1910s, turning the burg into a busy industrial center by the early 1920s. Movie-struck people from around the country poured into the community hoping to gain their fame in the Hollywood game. As the town grew, its main street, Prospect Avenue, filled with stately Victorian mansions and parks, evolved into the commercially driven Hollywood Boulevard. Between 1915-1935, Hollywood Boulevard between Argyle Avenue and El Centro functioned as the film industry’s main street, a prime shooting location, entertainment center, and shopping mecca.

Hollywood at Play, by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester is now on sale.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

March 4, 2017, Mystery Photo
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1952 RKO film “Blackbeard, the Pirate,” with Robert “Yarr” Newton, Linda Darnell, William Bendix, Keith Andes, Torin Thatcher, Irene Ryan, Alan Mowbray, Richard Egan, Skelton Knaggs, Dick Wessel, Anthony Caruso, Jack Lambert, Noel Drayton and Pat Flaherty.

The screenplay was by Alan LeMay from a story by DeVallon Scott, with music by Victor Young, photography by William E. Snyder, art direction by Albert S. D’Agostino and Jack Okey, set decorations by Darrell Silvera and John Sturtevant, costumes by Michael Woulfe, musical direction by C. Bakaleinikoff and makeup by Mel Berns. Dialogue direction was by Hal A. “Yarr” Long. The movie was produced by Edmund Grainger and directed by Raoul Walsh.

It is available on DVD from multiple sources.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: 940 N. Highland Ave. Salutes Animals

 

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940 N. Highland Ave. via Google Street View.

Long a striking icon on Highland Avenue, 940 N. Highland Avenue’s attractive facade highlights the building’s original use as a dog and cat hospital. Simple and elegant, its sleek modernistic look hints at streamline moderne with its horizontal window and door lines, as stylish now as it looked at its 1930 opening.

Veterinarian Dr. Alexander (Alex) Moxley purchased the property to expand his veterinary practice beyond his 1410 E. Washington Blvd. office location. Born November 2, 1888 in Missouri, Moxley arrived in Los Angeles around 1910, as he and his wife Helen are listed in the 1910 U. S. census as living in Los Angeles. The 1910 Los Angeles city directory lists his veterinary practice at 528 S. San Pedro St. In 1912 his business is located at 1900 S. Central Ave., where he was also operating an auction house. Moxley had some renown, as a wire photo ran in multiple newspapers showing him operating on a zoo elephant. The 1917 directory lists his veterinary business at 1410 E. Washington Blvd.

Hollywood at Play, by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester is now on sale.

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