Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title. Stage curtains open to reveal the title Darryl F. Zanuck's Production of Lillian Russell
This week’s mystery movie was the 1940 Twentieth Century-Fox film Lillian Russell, with Alice Faye, Don Ameche, Henry Fonda, Edward Arnold, Warren William, Leo Carrillo, Helen Westley, Dorothy Peterson, Ernest Truex, Nigel Bruce, Claude Allister, Lynn Bari, Weber and Fields, Eddie Foy Jr., Una O’Connor and Joseph Cawthorn.harrisonsreports22harr_0105Screenplay by William Anthony McGuire.

Adored One by Alfred Newman and Mack Gordon. Blue Love Bird by Gus Kahn and Bronislau Kaper.

Dances Staged by Seymour Felix.

Musical direction by Alfred Newman.

Photography by Leon Shamroy.

Art direction by Richard Day and Joseph C. Wright.

Set decorations by Thomas Little.

Edited by Walter Thompson.

Costumes by Travis Banton.

Sound by Arthur von Kirback and Roger Heman.

Associate producer Gene Markey.

Directed by Irving Cummings.

Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck.

Lillian Russell is available on DVD from Critics’ Choice Videos.

More information on the history of the film is available from the AFI Catalog.


I picked Lillian Russell because it’s never aired on TCM and I was curious about it. As the Harrison’s Reports review says, the movie is a bit long, slow and talky. And the casting of Henry Fonda is rather strange. It is the last of the few filmed appearances by Joe Weber (d. 1942) and Lew Fields (d. 1941).

If Bosley Crowther reviewed Lillian Russell, it would be one of his earliest. Let’s see.

It’s Bosley, all right, May 18, 1940:

Luscious Lillian Russell, as the Champagne Charlies of the Gay nineties used to call her — she of the hourglass figure, the feathered hats and the fabulous legends whom a contemporary journalist described as a “plump and pleasing person of the blonde variety” — is the subject of the latest excursion of Twentieth Century-Fox  into the sentimental past. And, in a tune-laden picture which bears that lady’s euphonious name (and which opened yesterday at the Roxy), a courteous and oddly pious bow is made to one of the most glamorous figures of a lustily glamorous era.

…. But with all this fidelity to detail and surrounding atmosphere, it is notable that the spectacular episodes in the career of Miss Russell (nee Helen Leonard) are completely overlooked or prudently altered. Her girlhood years are treated properly, though dully, from all accounts. But her first and third marriages (she had four) are casually waived. Her domestic life with Edward Solomon, the composer, is reverently brushed in as a prolonged and tender ministration to a frustrated genius, which is terminated by the latter’s death, not by a somewhat sordid divorce.

Our mystery fellow is in a tuxedo and vest with a bow tie and high collar.
For Monday, we have a mystery fellow.

Update: This is Thaddeus Jones.

Man in a coat with wide lapels and a false beard is playing cards
For Tuesday, we have this mystery gent.

Update: This is Lew Fields.

Man in a vest and false beard plays cards
Also this mysterious gent.

Update: This is Joe Weber.

Man in a top hat, formal cutaway coat and huge flower in his lapel.
And finally, this mysterious fellow.

Update: This is Eddie Foy Jr.

Woman standing at a table speaking as two women wearing banners take notes.

For “Hm Wednesday,” we have several mystery women.

Update: This is Dorothy Peterson, center. I believe it’s Ottola Nesmith on the left and Mae Marsh on the right.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Sylvia E. (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Lorenzo (Tuesday’s mystery gent No. 3), Ed Casey (Tuesday’s mystery gent No. 3), Dan Nather (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Anne Papineau (Tuesday’s mystery guests Nos. 1 and 2), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guests), Tucson Barbara (Tuesday’s mystery guest No. 3), Incredibleinman (mystery movie and all mystery guests) and L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast).

Megan, I’ll give you half credit. You’re on the right track.

Actress in maid's outfit holding flowers. And Back of the Head Woman. On a mantel we see portraits and various dustcatchers and whatnots.
For “Aha Thursday,” we have this mystery woman. Also Back of the Head Woman.

Update: This is Una O’Connor with Alice Faye as Back of the Head Woman.

Debonair man with slight mustache, suit, vest and high-collared shirt.
We also have this mysterious gent.

Update: This is Leo Carrillo.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Wednesday’s mystery women Nos. 2 and 3), Anne Papineau (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery fellow No. 3 and Wednesday’s mystery woman No. 2), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery women), Mike Hawks (Wednesday’s mystery woman No. 2), Sylvia E. (Wednesday’s mystery women Nos. 2 and 3) and Sheila (Wednesday’s mystery woman No. 2).

For Friday, we have several mysterious gents:

Mystery fellow in a tuxedo. Several musicians are in the background.
This is mystery fellow No. 1.

Update: This is Warren William.

Elegantly dress man, hair parted in the middle. Wearing a vest and a cravat and caot with wide lapels.
This is mysterious fellow No. 2.

Update: This is Edward Arnold.

Man in shirtsleeves and a vest. Bowtie. Hair parted in the middle.
This is mystery fellow No. 3.

Update: This is the oddly cast Henry Fonda.

Man in tuxedo and bow tie sitting at a grand piano.
Would you believe it? We have a fourth mystery fellow!

Update: This is Don Ameche.

Theatrically dressed woman in a strapless gown covered with sequins and a huge hat. Many strands of pearls.
And our mysterious leading lady.

Update: This is Alice Faye.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Woman), Anne Papineau (Wednesday mystery suffragette, Thursday’s mystery guests), Ed Casey (Thursday’s mystery fellow), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Woman), B.J. Merholz (mystery movie), Dan Nather (Wednesday mystery suffragette, Thursday’s mystery woman), McDee (Thursday’s mystery fellow), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guests), Benito (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests), Sylvia E. (Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Woman), Sarah (mystery movie, Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests and Back of the Head Woman), Blackwing Jenny (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests) and Megan and Thom (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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46 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Sylvia E. says:

    The sprinkling of times I’ve guessed on Monday’s image and gotten it right, it’s been a total fluke. Never the less, I’m sending a sort of “non-guess” guess because of what seems to be the possible subject matter. Is this another “musical star” movie, but more in the world of Opera? I’d guess”Tonight We Sing” 1953 but that’s a color film. Or perhaps another “world of the stage” movie. Probably way, way off, just based on the background stuff, but why not.


  2. Mary Mallory says:

    Jesse Graves.


  3. Mary Mallory says:

    LILLIAN RUSSELL. Thaddeus Jones Monday, Lew Weber & Joseph Fields opposite each other today, and Eddie Foy Jr. playing his father Eddie Foy Sr.


  4. Sylvia E. says:

    “Lillian Russell” 1940
    Mon – I think the gentleman is Thaddeus Jones.
    Tue – Images 1&2 are angles of Lew Fields and Joe Weber. Image 3 was my entrance into the film. Eddie Foy Jr playing his father, Eddie Foy Sr. I think the routine is “The Earl and the Girl”, at least I found an image of a poster w/ Foy Sr dressed in similar garb.


    Monday: Thaddeus Jones
    Tuesday: Lew Fields; Joe Webber; Eddie Foy Jr.


  6. Lorenzo says:

    Eddie Foy, Jr.


  7. Ed Casey says:

    Eddie Foy


  8. Dan Nather says:

    Well, you have Lew Fields first up today, and I’ll bet that’s Joe Weber in the next pic,
    followed by Eddie Foy, Jr., which would make the movie LILLIAN RUSSELL (1940).


  9. Anne Papineau says:

    Might this be “Blossoms on Broadway” with Joe Weber and Lew Fields?


  10. mike hawks says:

    Weber and Fields, Eddie Foy, Jr. in LILLIAN RUSSELL.


  11. Gary says:

    Harmony Lane.


  12. tucsonbarbara says:

    Eddie Foy


  13. Smith and Dale and Eddie Foy Jr. today, making this “Lillian Russell.”


  14. Bruce says:

    Looks like the old Smith Brothers: Trade and Mark, and their cousin Barney.


  15. LC says:

    Lillian Russell (1940) w/Alice Faye, Henry Fonda, Don Ameche, Warren William, Thaddeus Jones, Eddie Foy, Jr., Edward Arnold, Claud Allister, Lew Fields…


  16. Megan says:

    Well, the last gentleman is playing Ed Wynn. I read about this a few years ago, but I can’t remember the name of the movie.


  17. Mary Mallory says:

    Dorothy Peterson standing up, Mae Marsh on the left and I believe that is Ruth Clifford on the right.


  18. Anne Papineau says:

    Eddie Foy Jr. and Dorothy Peterson in “Lillian Russell”


  19. Floyd Thursby says:

    For Tuesday we have Charles Middleton in “Stand In.”


  20. Mae Marsh, Dorothy Peterson, Ottola Nesmith


  21. mike hawks says:

    Dorothy Peterson.


  22. Sylvia E. says:

    Wed – in the middle is Dorothy Peterson as Lillian’s suffragette mom. Maybe Mae Marsh is the lady on the right? I’ll keep looking.


  23. Sheila says:

    Dorothy Peterson for Wednesday?


  24. Mary Mallory says:

    Alice Faye as BOTH woman with Una O’Connor and Leo Carrillo.


  25. Anne Papineau says:

    Una O’Connor and Leo Carrillo, he of the state park in Malibu


  26. Ed Casey says:

    Leo carrillo


  27. Alice Faye, Una O’Connor; Leo Carrillo.


  28. B.J. Merholz says:

    Wow! What a cast for Lillian Russell.


  29. Anne Papineau says:

    For Hm Wednesday, Mae Marsh seated left.


  30. Dan Nather says:

    Wednesday — I believe that’s Mae Marsh in the middle, but I can’t place the other two
    Thursday — Una O’Connor, Ernest Truex


  31. McDee says:

    Leo Carrillo on Thursday


  32. tucsonbarbara says:

    The movie is “Lillian Russell”


  33. mike hawks says:

    Una O’Connor and Leo Carillo.


  34. Benito says:

    Una O’Connor and Leo Carillo. Guessing it’s LILLIAN RUSSELL


  35. Sylvia E. says:

    Thu – Una O’Connor/BOTHW is Alice Faye (I think)
    Leo Carrillo is in image 2.

    Still working on that other suffragette.


  36. Sarah says:

    It’s “Lillian Russell (1940).” Tuesday’s gents are Lew Fields, Joe Weber, and Eddie Foy, Jr. Wednesday we have Dorothy Peterson (lady in the middle). The Thursday people are Una O’Connor (with Alice Faye as back of the head woman) and Leo Carrillo.


  37. I see Leo Carrillo and Una O’Connell…is it “Lillian Russell”?


  38. Megan and Thom says:

    Our movie is Lillian Russell with Una O’Connor and Leo Carrillo.


  39. Anne Papineau says:

    Warren William, Edward Arnold, Henry Fonda, Don Ameche and Alice Faye


  40. Mary Mallory says:

    Warren William, Edward Arnold, Henry Fonda, Don Ameche, and Alice Faye.


  41. Sylvia E. says:

    There they all are!
    William Warren, Edward Arnold, Henry Fonda, Don Ameche and Alice Faye.

    Looking forward to your Saturday breakdown.


  42. Warren William; Edward Arnold; Henry Fonda, Don Ameche; Alice Faye.


  43. Ed Casey says:

    Movie Alexander’s rag time Band


  44. Mary Mallory says:

    Ottola Nesmith Tuesday.


  45. mike hawks says:

    Warren William, Edward Arnold, Henry Fonda, Don Ameche and Alice Faye.


  46. Dan Nather says:

    I goofed up on Thursday. The gentleman is actually Leo Carillo.
    Today we have Warren William, Edward Arnold, Henry Fonda, Don Ameche, and in the title role, Alice Faye.


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