This week’s mystery movie was the 1936 Warner Bros. picture Brides Are Like That, with Ross Alexander, Anita Louise, Joseph Cawthorn, Kathleen Lockhart, Gene Lockhart, Richard Purcell, Mary Treen, Joseph Crehan, Frank Darien, Robert Emmett Keane and Kay Hughes.
Screenplay by Ben Markson from the play Applesauce by Barry Conners.
Edited by Clarence Kolster. Photographed by Sid Hickox. Art direction by Esdras Hartley.
I rarely do seasonal movies, but thought I would experiment with Brides Are Like That for its Thanksgiving scenes. Parts of the movie are quite stagey, revealing its origins as Applesauce, which played for 90 performances on Broadway with Clara Blandick, Walter Connolly and William Holden (d. 1932) in the cast. Applesauce received a favorable review in the New York Times (Sept. 29, 1925), which noted that the play had been a success in Chicago in the previous season.
The Lockharts have been in Mystery Movie Jail with Van Johnson, Edward G. Robinson and Mitchell Leisen, but I decided to let them out as this was their movie debut.
Since the movie was transferred from Broadway, perhaps the New York Times didn’t entirely hate it. Let’s see…
Frank S. Nugent, writing in the New York Times (March 23, 1936) said:
Not every play can hibernate for eleven long years and then return to the living world without its plot creaking in several joints and long gray whiskers on its dialogue. The late Barry Conners’ comedy Applesauce, which Broadway enjoyed back in 1925, is one of the happy exceptions. Its film editing, bearing the glossy title Brides Are Like That has reached the Strand with unimpaired vigor, warmth and humor. Although it is one of the Warners’ lesser efforts, a Class B picture designed for the double-bill houses, it still is a pleasant little domestic farce and it has been played with proper exuberance by its cast.
For Monday, we have a mysterious Thanksgiving ball. High jinks will ensue.
Update: It’s a Thanksgiving picture – sort of. You have been warned.
Update: This is Dick Purcell (Mackley Q. Greene in The Bank Dick).
For “Hm Wednesday,” we have a mystery woman engaging in the promised high jinks, and cultural appropriation. Her companion has been cropped out due to insufficient mysteriousness.
Update: For “Aha Thursday,” adding our mystery woman’s mysterious companion.
Update: This is Mary Treen with Gene Lockhart.
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (Tuesday’s mystery gent), Mike Hawks (Tuesday’s mystery gent) and Sheila (Tuesday’s mystery gent).
Update: This is Kathleen Lockhart.
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery woman), Funky PhD (Wednesday’s mystery woman), Tucson Barbara (Wednesday’s mystery woman), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery woman), Roget-L.A. (mystery movie, Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests), Dan Nather (mystery movie), David Inman (Wednesday’s mystery woman) and L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast).
Finally, for Friday, we have these mysterious personages in Pilgrim getups. And Tuesday’s mystery gent returns as Back of the Head Guy.
Update: This is Anita Louise and Ross Alexander, with Dick Purcell as Back of the Head Guy. Alexander is a returning mystery guest, having appeared in Gentlemen Are Born last year. Alexander committed suicide at the age of 29.
Brain Trust roll call: Sheila (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mystery woman and Thursday’s mystery gent), Mary Mallory (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Funky PhD (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery gent), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guests) and B.J. Merholz (Thursday’s mystery gent).