Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main title over presidential seal
This week’s mystery movie was the 1944 Twentieth Century-Fox picture Wilson, with Charles Coburn, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Thomas Mitchell, Ruth Nelson, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Vincent Price, William Eythe, Mary Anderson, Ruth Ford, Sidney Blackmer, Madeleine Forbes, Stanley Ridges, Eddie Foy Jr., Charles Halton, Thurston Hall, J.M. Kerrigan, James Rennie, Katherine Locke, Stanley Logan, Marcel Dalio, Edwin Maxwell, Clifford Brooke, Tonio Selwart, John Ince, Charles Miller and Alexander Knox.

Harrison's ReportsWritten by Lamar Trotti.

Photographed in Technicolor.

Photographed by Leon Shamroy.

Technicolor director Natalie Kalmus.

Associate Richard Mueller.

Music by Alfred Newman.

Technical advisors Ray Stannard Baker and Miles McCahill.

Orchestral arrangements by Edward Powell.

Art direction by Wiard Ihnen.

Set decorations by Thomas Little and Paul S. Fox.

Edited by Barbara McLean.

Costumes by Rene Hubert.

Makeup by Guy Pearce.

Photographic effects by Fred Sersen.

Sound by E. Clayton Ward and Roger Heman.

Directed by Henry King.

Further information on Wilson is available from the AFI Catalog.

Wilson is available on DVD from Critics’ Choice Videos.


I have been on the trail of Wilson for a long time, not because I expected to be good but because it’s so difficult to see – especially for a film that won five Academy Awards, and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Actor. The movie has only aired five times on TCM, most recently in 2018.

The result of my search: Wilson is at best a curiosity, a long-winded, tedious film that staggers and labors under the weight of being an “important” picture, portraying Woodrow Wilson (played by the uncompelling Alexander Knox) as the 20th century’s Abraham Lincoln. Made during World War II, the film waves the flag unceasingly and the score is burdened with heroic, patriotic music except for moments when Wilson is engaging in his penchant for popular tunes of the day. The Princeton president is just a regular fellow, you see.

Blackface in Wilson

And as a bonus, it has one of the most grotesque examples of blackface I’ve seen: An unidentified actor as Lew Dockstader doing a Teddy Roosevelt impersonation with a rifle and a Rough Rider hat, mustache and spectacles, yelling “Bully!” In blackface. It is one of many jaw-dropping moments in the picture. (And no, though Wilson runs 2 1/2 hours, the film somehow skips The Birth of a Nation, the first film shown in the White House).

You’ll notice that Harrison’s Reports gave the film an excellent review. I’m guessing Bosley Crowther at The New York Times might have quibbled a bit.

Nope, he loved it. (Aug. 2, 1944):

The life of a man and his significance in history cannot be described with clear and judicious definition in broadly pictorial terms — especially when the subject is one of great depth and scope. yet within the capacious framework of a predominant spectacle-film, Producer Darryl F. Zanuck and Twentieth Century-Fox have managed a commanding screen biography of Woodrow Wilson, the twenty-eighth president of the United States.

Man in formal attire with a wing collar
For Monday, we have a mystery fellow.

Update: This is Jess Lee Brooks.

Man with white hair, mustache and beard, in wing collar.
For “Tricky Tuesday,” we have a mysterious gentleman.

Update: This is Sir Cedrick Hardwicke with Gibson Gowland in the background.

Brain Trust roll call: Incredible Inman (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery guest) and Anne Papineau (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery guest).

Man in white suit at political convention.
For “Hm Wednesday,” we have another mystery fellow.

Update: This is Emory Parnell.

Brain Trust roll call: Floyd Thursby (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery guest), Anne Papineau (Tuesday’s mysterious guest), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and both mystery guests), Chrisbo (mystery movie), Mike Hawks (Tuesday’s mystery fellow and mysterious out-of-focus person), B.J. Merholz (Tuesday’s mystery guest), Sheila (mystery movie and both mystery guests), L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast) and Megan and Thom (Tuesday’s mystery guest).

Sylvia: No, it’s not a musical but there is plenty of music from the era.

Two dapper men wearing campaign buttons. That fellow on the left sure looks familiar. The hair throws me off, though.
For “Aha Thursday,” we have two mysterious fellows.

Update: This is Vincent Price, left, and Sidney Blackmer.

Brain Trust roll call: Anne Papineau (Wednesday’s mystery guest), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery guest), Jenny M. (Wednesday’s mystery guest), Mike Hawks (Wednesday’s mystery guest), Patrick (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Sylvia E. (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Blackwing Jenny (Wednesday’s mysterious uncle), Greg (Wednesday’s mystery fellow), Megan and Thom (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery guest) and Mary Mallory (mystery movie and Monday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests).

A mysterious ensemble!
For Friday, we have this mysterious group.

Update: This is, from left, Ruth Ford, Madeleine Forbes, Alexander Knox, Thomas Mitchell, Ruth Nelson, Mary Anderson and Charles Coburn.

A mystery duo
And this mystery couple.

Update: This is Alexander Knox and Geraldine Fitzgerald.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Tuesday’s mystery guest, Thursday’s mystery guest No. 2), Anne Papineau (Thursday’s mystery guests), Greg (mystery movie, Thursday’s mystery guest No. 1), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guests) and Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests).

About lmharnisch

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

  1. Jesse (aka Jess Lee) Brooks today, and I’m guessing this is “Wilson.”


  2. Anne Papineau says:

    Jess Lee Brooks


  3. Anne Papineau says:

    Is this “Wilson”?


  4. Matt Berger says:

    Not sure who he is, but – like last week – he seems to approve of such goings on.


  5. Mary Mallory says:

    Dudley Dickerson.


  6. Floyd Thursby says:

    For Monday we have Jess Lee Brooks in “Wilson.”


  7. Anne Papineau says:

    Sir Cedric Hardwicke


  8. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Monday: Jesse Graves in WILSON (1944).
    Tuesday: Cedric Hardwicke


  9. Chrisbo says:

    wild guess: Wilson?


  10. Sylvia E. says:

    No guess, yet. Questions though.
    Monday’s guy looks like he’s singing. Is this a musical?


  11. mike hawks says:

    Cedric Hardwicke and Gibson Gowland in WILSON.


  12. B.J. Merholz says:

    Sir Cedric Hardwicke behind unrecognizable makeup and Ray Collins out of focus.


  13. Sheila says:

    Jess Lee Brooks and Cedric Hardwicke, ‘Wilson’?


  14. Rogét-L.A. says:

    Tuesday’s mysterious gentleman looks like Leon Ames in heavy makeup.


  15. LC says:

    Wilson (1944) w/Alexander Knox, Charles Coburn, Ruth Nelson, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Thomas Mitchell…


  16. Megan and Thom says:

    I think today’s guest is Cedric Hardwicke.


  17. Anne Papineau says:

    Emory Parnell on Wednesday


  18. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Emory Parnell.


  19. Jenny M says:

    Emery Parnell


  20. Mary Mallory says:

    HOT LEAD AND COLD FEET. John Williams yesterday and Darren McGavin today.


  21. mike hawks says:

    Emory Parnell.


  22. Patrick says:

    Jess Lee Brooks, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Gibson Gowland and Emory Parnell in Wilson from 1944.


  23. Sylvia E. says:

    Wednesday confirms for me that this is a film set in the political world (Monday’s guy has a portrait of Lincoln behind him). And I think Wednesday’s guy might be Emory Parnell, who played lots of political guys. Not much to go by, but I’m getting that “feeling” again, so taking a shot.

    Wilson 1944
    Monday – maybe Jess Lee Brooks
    Tuesday – no guess
    Wednesday – maybe Emory Parnell


  24. Sylvia E. says:

    Oops! Actually, it’s Tuesday’s guy that has that Lincoln portrait.


  25. My uncle Emory! ❤️ Parnell, that is.


  26. Greg says:

    Wednesday’s mystery man is Emory Parnell.


  27. Sylvia E. says:

    Is Tuesday’s actor, Sam Harris?


  28. Sylvia E. says:

    Oops! Just found an image of Tuesday’s guy, Cedric Hardwick.


  29. Megan and Thom says:

    Our movie is Wilson with Jess Lee Brooks from Monday.


  30. Mary Mallory says:

    Emory Parnell today and WILSON.


  31. Mary Mallory says:

    Jess Lee Brooks MOnday, and Sam Harris and Robert Middlemass Tuesday.


  32. Mary Mallory says:

    Cedric Hardwick, Sidney Blackmer in the background, and Cy Kendall Tuesday, and William Yetter and Arno Frey today.


  33. Anne Papineau says:

    For Thursday, Vincent Price and Sidney Blackmer


  34. Greg says:

    I believe the gent on the left in Thursday’s photo is Vincent Price. This, and the convention background, would make the movie (maybe) “Wilson” from 1944.


  35. mike hawks says:

    Vincent Price and Sidney Blackmer.


  36. Vincent Price, Sidney Blackmer.


  37. Sylvia E. says:

    Not sure on either guy. I’ll guess that the guy on screen right is Edwin Maxwell.


  38. Mary Mallory says:

    William Eythe on Thursday and Mary Anderson, Alexander Knox, Thomas Mitchell, Ruth Nelson, Ruth Ford, and Charles Coburn, and then Knox and Geraldine Fitzgerald.


  39. Left to right: Ruth Ford, Madeleine Forbes, Alexander Knox, Thomas Mitchell, Ruth Nelson, Mary Anderson, Charles Coburn.
    Alexander Knox, Geraldine Fitzgerald.


  40. mike hawks says:

    Alexander Knox, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Thomas Mitchell, Mary Anderson, Ruth Nelson, Ruth Ford.


  41. Gary says:

    All of the stills I have seen for Wilson are in B and W. But in the credits Natalie Kalmus islisted as the echnicolor authority. Must be Wilson.


  42. Sylvia E. says:

    Hmmm…don’t see my comments from Thursday,
    so don’t know how I did with my Thursday guess. I’m going to assume that I didn’t get the one guy I tried for.

    Friday – image 1 shows the first term Wilson with wife number 1, I think daughters and others: Alexander Knox, Ruth Nelson, Mary Anderson, Ruth Ford, Charles Coburn and Thomas Mitchell
    Image 2 – Wilson with wife #2: Alexander Knox and Geraldine Fitzgerald

    Going through Henry King’s movies, there are so many that I remember from my ‘kidhood’ becoming favorites by viewing them over and over again on “The Million Dollar Movie”.


  43. Greg says:

    Does anyone else notice the strong resemblance of Gibson Gowland to Mark Twain?


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