Lupe Velez and Jimmy Durante in Hollywood Party.
I’ve already written here about the great Lupe Velez, but my friend Stephen reminded me that we have a theory that any movie would have been better if it had starred Lupe Velez and Jimmy Durante. You can have your Bogart and Bacall, Liz and Dick, Tracy and Hepburn—give me Jimmy and Lupe.
They costarred on Broadway in Strike Me Pink (1933), and in the films Hollywood Party, Palooka and Strictly Dynamite. And they were! Dynamite, I mean. Jimmy and Lupe had the kind of chemistry that made for a great love team and a great comedy team (think Margaret Dumont and Groucho Marx, or Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis in Moonlighting).
Here they are in Hollywood Party, Jimmy as Schnarzan and Lupe as his Jungle Woman (keep in mind that Lupe was married to Johnny Weissmuller at the time):
And here they are as radio stars in Strictly Dynamite:
Stephen and I have a grand time imagining Jimmy and Lupe as Rhett and Scarlett, or in Now, Voyager or Casablanca, or as Norman Desmond and Josephine Gillis in Sunset Boulevard (“Ju jused to be beeg!” “I am big—at least da schnozz is! Hotcha-cha-cha!”). I’m pretty sure the real reason Brad and Angelina broke up is that—especially after seeing themselves in By the Sea—they knew they’d never have the oomph that Jimmy and Lupe did.
I’m not a big Jimmy Durante fan, but Lupe definitely livens up a film. Too bad we lost her so soon.