black and white

Movie Monday: Why Pay Rent? 1935

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Why Pay Rent Image One
Image Credit: imdb.com & amazon.com

Eighty-five years ago, today, the black & white short comedy Why Pay Rent? was released. Directed by Lloyd French and, co-written by Dolph Singer & Jack Henley, it starred Roscoe Ates, Shemp Howard, Billie Leonard, Ethel Sykes and Ron Le May.

Synopsis:

Elmer (Roscoe Ates) fixes up a room for his just-married, freeloading brother-in-law and wife. When the newlyweds show up, Henry (Shemp Howard) brings a surprise in the form of stepson Junior. The apartment is now too small so, Henry decides that they’ll buy a lot and build a do-it-yourself home, a disaster in the making when Junior switches the house’s part numbers. It doesn’t help matters that Elmer, Henry and the wives are all incompetent.

Review:

In the 1930s, the Vitaphone division of Warner Brothers made a bunch of very uninspired and, often, unfunny comedy shorts. One of them, Why Pay Rent? is a bit like One Week (with Buster Keaton) but, only if the folks building the house were dumber than a pile of bricks. In many ways, this might have worked better as a Three Stooges short, which is interesting because Shemp Howard stars in this one, as well as Roscoe Ates, an incredibly unfunny comedian whose shtick was stuttering…which was annoying rather and cruel.

This film isn’t listed as lost but, I couldn’t find any video clips of it. I did find some stills of Elmer painting himself into a corner on Getty Images. ~Vic

Trivia Bit:
♦ Some of the construction sight gags, including the final scene, were re-done two years later by Moe, Larry and Curly in The Sitter Downers.

Additional Reading:
Shemp Howard Review (DVD Talk)
Why Pay Rent? (IMDB)
Why Pay Rent? (1935) (The Three Stooges Online Filmography)

Flick Friday: The Cheyenne Kid 1930

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The Cheyenne Kid Poster Image One
Image Credit: imdb.com & amazon.com

Ninety years ago, today, the obscure, low budget, black & white western film The Cheyenne Kid was released. Directed and co-written by Jacques Jaccard, it starred Jay Wilsey, Joan Jaccard (Catherine Dirking), Yakima Canutt (co-writer & stuntman), Jack Mower and Frank Ellis.

Summary:

Buck Allen, The Cheyenne Kid, has been accused of holding up the payroll car of the Cody Dam Construction Company and is being pursued by U.S. Marshal Utah Kane and, Sheriff Hank Bates but, they lose him. Buck proceeds to the home of Betty Thorpe, where he meets Duke Porter, who is posing as his friend. [Duke], who advised him that, by running away from the law, he can keep out of jail and force the guilty party to confess. Hiding in the barn, he hears a conversation between Gorman and Madge. [H]e leaps to the floor as Gorman runs out. Gorman shoots at him but, hits Madge instead. The Marshal and Sheriff ride up and Buck, knowing that Madge needs medical attention, gives himself up and, is jailed. Marshal Kane believes that Buck is innocent and is on the hunt for the guilty party but, allows the sheriff to believe that Buck is guilty. Kane has the sheriff bring Gorman to the jail and, tells Buck and Gorman of an old Indian legend that, when two people are given one weapon between them, the survivor will be the innocent party. He throws a bull-whip between them and says that is the weapon.

In the trivia section, there is one entry:

This film is presumed lost. Please check your attic.

Additional Reading:
The Cheyenne Kid (Allmovie)
About Jay Wilsey (The Old Corral B-Westerns)

Movie Monday: The Sporting Venus 1925

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The Sporting Venus Image One
Image Credit: Mike Cline’s Then Playing Blog

Ninety-five years ago, today, the silent, black & white romance film The Sporting Venus was released by MGM. Directed by Marshall Neilan, story by Gerald Beaumont and screenplay by Thomas J. Geraghty, it was filmed at Cortachy Castle in Angus, Scotland and, MGM Studios. It starred Blanche Sweet (Neilan’s wife), Ronald Coleman, Lew Cody, Josephine Crowell and Edward Martindel. This was the first of two movies paring Sweet with Coleman.

Synopsis:

Lady Gwen, the last of the sporting Grayles, falls in love with Donald MacAllan, a bright young medical student far below her station. Gwen’s father, who opposes the match, introduces her to Prince Carlos, who wishes to marry her in order to pay off his creditors.

The Sporting Venus Image One
Photo Credit: imdb.com & amazon.com

Donald enlists during the World War and Carlos continues his courtship. When Donald returns from the fighting, Carlos tells him that he is engaged to Gwen and Donald, therefore, makes no attempt to see her. Gwen mistakes Donald’s seeming indifference for contempt and seeks to forget him by living riotously in several European capitals. Having exhausted her fortune, and ruined her health, Gwen returns to Scotland and goes to live in the same cottage where Donald used to study. She becomes ill and, in delirium, calls for Donald. Her old nurse goes to fetch him at the Grayle estate, which, having become wealthy, he has just bought. Donald rescues Gwen, who has wandered out in a storm, and nurses her back to health.

The Screen Review:

A Hollywood conception of Scotsmen who wear the kilt but, whose complexions betray nary a sign of the ruddy ruggedness due to Highland rain and wind, is to be seen at the Capitol this week in a picture called “The Sporting Venus” […]. [There] is a question [of] whether the Wallaces, the Bruces, the Watts and the McTavishes will smile with any satisfaction upon it. Not that they are intentionally maligned in this story but, that the men from the land of the heather are portrayed with studio-blanched complexions and, in one or two instances, wearing brocaded silk dressing gowns.

Ronald Coleman Image Two
Photo Credit: Ronald Coleman Gallery

Marshall Neilan, the director of this celluloid effusion, in his desire to depict Lady Grayle (Blanche Sweet) as a plucky person at the eleventh hour of a fast life, shows her ladyship smoking a cigarette before she breathes her last. Ronald Colman is undoubtedly a bonnie actor but, you just know that he never was born to wear a kilt, [though], he does for a few scenes. He impersonates Donald McAllen, frequently alluded to as a commoner.

Donald and the capricious lassie, Lady Gwendolyn, are happy in Scotland until the coming of Prince Carlos […]. This Prince, played by Lew Cody, is a man of many debts and a faithful valet. His creditors see only one way to get back their money and that is to have the oily gentleman marry a wealthy wife. Donald goes to France to fight, and when he returns on leave, [believes] the Prince’s story […] that [he], more or less, is to wed Lady Gwendolyn.

Lady Gwendolyn […] becomes […] a flighty young woman who gambles in millions. The young hero goes back to France, and as a surgeon, makes a great name for himself. He purchases Grayloch, the great estate of the Grayles.

With the background of Scotland, Mr. Neilan ought to have been able to make a production far stronger than this effort, which, at best, is only a mediocre diversion. It is true that it has some beautiful scenery and the settings are quite pleasing.

Mordaunt Hall
The New York Times
May 11, 1925

This film survived but, I can’t find any clips of it. Silent Era states that a premiere took place on May 10, 1925, at the Capitol Theatre in New York City and was released May 17, 1925. AFI disagrees. ~Vic

Sources:
The Sporting Venus (American Film Institute)
The Sporting Venus (IMDB)
Gentleman of the Cinema (Ronald Coleman Website)
The Screen (The New York Times)
The Sporting Venus (Wikipedia)

Flick Friday: The Girl In Number 29 1920

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The Girl In Number 29 Image One
Image Credit: Movie Poster Database
wikipedia.org & wikimedia.org

One-hundred years ago, today, the silent black & white drama film The Girl In Number 29 premiered (though not released, widely). Directed by John Ford and written by Philip D. Hurn, it was based upon the novel The Girl In The Mirror (1919) by Elizabeth Jordan. Starring Frank Mayo, Elinor Fair, Claire Anderson, Robert Bolder and Bull Montana, it is considered a lost film.

Frank Mayo & Claire Anderson Image Two
Frank Mayo & Claire Anderson
Image Credit: Motion Picture News
wikipedia.org & wikimedia.org

From AFI:

After turning out a successful drama, young playwright Laurie Devon settles down to a life of idleness. Alarmed and disgusted, his friends make every effort to get him to work again but, he refuses. One evening, while glancing into his mirror, Laurie sees a beautiful girl in the apartment across the way, holding a revolver to her head. Dashing out of his apartment house, he prevents her from pulling the trigger. He learns that her name is Doris Williams and discovers that her plight is caused by a man named Shaw. Soon after, Shaw and his thugs abduct her, and Laurie comes to her rescue, shooting her tormentor. Returning home, he confesses his crime to his sister and friends, and learns that the whole incident was a trick to restore his interest in life. The plot succeeds and Laurie writes another hit play in which his new wife Doris is the star.

From MPN:

Laurie Devon (Mayo) is a New York playwright who, having had one success, refuses to work on another play. One night he sees a woman (Anderson) in an apartment across the street take out a gun and place it to her forehead. He reaches her in time to save her and she tells him that she is under some terrible evil influence, which she will not disclose. Devon attempts to untangle the mystery and is led on an adventure. The woman is taken to a house on Long Island, where Devon, after a fight, rescues her. He takes out the revolver and shoots one of the pursuers, who falls to the ground. On returning home, he is heartbroken and tells his sister Barbara (Fair) and his friends that he is a murderer. His sister, and two of his friends, then confess that the whole thing was a frame-up. [T]hey had hired some actors to stage everything and that it was an attempt to get the ambitionless [sic] author to write again. The revolver used in the suicide attempt by the woman, and in the later shooting, had blanks. Devon and the woman from the apartment melt into each other’s arms at the final fade-out.

Elinor Fair & Harry Hilliard Image Three
Elinor Fair & Harry Hilliard
Image Credit: Exhibitors Herald
archive.org
wikipedia.org & wikimedia.org

Additional Reading & Sources
American Film Institute
IMDB
Web Archive
Wikipedia

Shutterbug Saturday: Snow Pix

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We’ve had cold temps here and plenty of rain but, the two haven’t combined to give us any frozen precipitation. Don’t me wrong. I’m not complaining. I like a good snow storm, here and there but, I don’t like the mess. That being said, since we haven’t had any of the white stuff, I submit…for your approval…some pix I harvested from a FakeBook group back in 2018, when we had two snow bombs. I posted my own photos on December 9, 2018 and added some of my stuff to the same group. These are really good and photographer credit is listed. I will post the rest, tomorrow. ~Vic

Snowman Pooping Image One
Photo Credit: Mike Oechsle
Snow Tree Image Two
Photo Credit: Alex Webb
What Is This Image Three
Photo Credit: Laura Smith
Icicles Image Four
Photo Credit: Becky Johnson
Cold Cardinal Image Five
Photo Credit: Dora Hammond

Flick Friday: The Roman 1910

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The Roman 1910 Image One
Image Credit: imdb.com & amazon.com

One hundred, ten years ago, the silent, black & white short film The Roman was released. Directed by Francis Boggs and written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, it starred Hobart Bosworth, Betty Harte, Robert Z. Leonard and Tom Santschi. It was filmed at the studios of the Selig Polyscope Company.

The Moving Picture World (January-June 1910 Archive):

Perhaps the most attractive feature of this picture is the reproduction of early Roman costumes and Roman surroundings. It is a story of political intrigue, with all the contests and disagreeable features, connected therewith in the ancient city. But, the reproduction of manners and customs and, the historically correct scenery and settings, add immensely to the interest and, insure attention when, perhaps, the mere political story would scarcely be considered. The greatest service the motion picture can do is in the direction of educating the people, and a film like this, which faithfully illustrates long past and, perhaps, partially forgotten life, is of vast importance and, deserves a cordial reception. The Selig players have brought enthusiasm to their work and, have put much ability and life into the interpretation of this play.

American Film Institute (AFI) History:

This film may have been based on the 1835 novel Rienzi, the Last of the Tribunes, by Edward Bulgar-Lytton [sic]. An advertisement in the [February] 19, 1910, Film Index billed Bosworth above the title, “Hobart Bosworth in The Roman,” and labeled the movie “Film De Art of the Classics,” declaring: “Its teachings are based upon the scriptures and traditions of the early history of the eternal city.” The advertisement also suggested that theater owners book The Roman as a “Special Lenten Picture.”

A young woman [orders] her girl slave to deposit in the waters of the Tiber a child which she has cause to be rid of. The infant is found by one of the aristocracy and adopted. In later years she is betrothed but, just before the wedding, the ruler of the land claims the young woman, on the ground that she was born in slavery. By military force, she is torn from the arms of her foster father and taken to the ruling house where she is held captive for only a few hours, as the father and young lover, have aroused a popular rebellion which overthrows the ruler, end[ing] in his death and the defeat of his defenders. (Variety February 19, 1910)

One Trivia Bit:
♦ Per [Hobart] Bosworth, first picture made at Selig’s (Studio at 1845 Allesandro Street, now Glendale Blvd.) in the Edendale (now Silver Lake) plant of Los Angeles.

[There was not much written about this film and no video clip(s). The image, above, doesn’t seem to jive with the TCM synopsis. But, that is all I could find.

Addendum: I continued to dig and found the, above, write-ups via the Internet Archive database and AFI. Turner Classic Movies synopsis was WAY off. ~Vic]

Movie Monday: The Brash Drummer & The Nectarine 1914

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The Brash Drummer Image One
Image Credit: imdb.com

One-hundred, five years ago, today, The Brash Drummer and The Nectarine was released. A short, silent, black & white comedy, it was written and directed by George Ade, a popular American humorist for his time and a follower of Mark Twain. Starring Wallace Beery and Bevery Bayne, this piece was one of Ade’s Fables in Slang.

Summary:

Gabby Gus made the town regularly every month. He was a swell guy and thought he could cop most any Jane that he took a liking to. Clara Louise Willoughby, a farmer’s daughter with a pretty face and figure, took the salesman’s eye. He looked the old gent up in Dunn and Bradstreet and, discovered that the old boy was worth some coin. Then, he set his traps for the daughter. Dad, however, sent her away to boarding school and when she returned, she was the swellest peach in the orchard. They all fell for her. Gus hastened to her home where he discovered she was some lemon when it came to the country stuff and that she was a real ‘highfalutin’ society butterfly now. […] her aspirations were higher than a poor hick drummer. She made him feel awfully small. [Source]

I can’t find a video clip of this film but, I did find Ade’s Fables in Slang in audio book form. It has 26 stories and was published in 1899. [Disclaimer: It is nearly two hours long.] ~Vic

Movie Monday: It Should Happen To You 1954

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It Should Happen To You Image
Image Credit: imdb.com

Sixty-five years ago, today, the most popular film at the box office was It Should Happen to You. I am changing my wording from “#1” to “most popular” as I am having great difficulty determining if my “older movie” posts are actually number ones. It is hard to tell.

Starring Judy Holliday, Peter Lawford, Jack Lemmon and Michael O’Shea, this romantic comedy (Rom-Com) was written by Garson Kanin, directed by George Cukor, was originally titled A Name For Herself and was supposed to be a Danny Kaye movie.

Leonard Malton Review:

Holliday is Gladys Glover of Binghamton, N.Y., who has come to N.Y.C. to make a name for herself and does so by plastering her moniker across a Columbus Circle billboard.

IMDB Summary:

Gladys Glover has just lost her modelling job when she meets filmmaker Pete Sheppard shooting a documentary in Central Park. For Pete, it’s love at first sight but, Gladys has her mind on other things…like making a name for herself. Through a fluke of advertising, she winds up with her name plastered over 10 billboards throughout city. Suddenly, all of New York is clamoring for Gladys Glover without knowing why and playboy Evan Adams III is making a play for Gladys that even Pete knows will be hard to beat.

Trivia Bits:
♦ This film was the début of actor Jack Lemmon.
♦ Teenage John Saxon has an uncredited cameo in Central Park.
♦ Gossip columnists reported that during the filming of It Should Happen to You, Holliday dated her co-star Peter Lawford. The actress was having marital problems at the time and did, reportedly, enjoy a romantic fling with Lawford (it only lasted until the production wrapped) which may be why their scenes together have a genuine spark.
♦ The same year of the movie release, co-star Peter Lawford married Patricia Kennedy, daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy and sister of the future President. Of the extended Kennedy clan, Lawford was closest to his brother-in-law Robert.

Nominations
♢ Best Costume Design/Black & White (Jean Louis/1955 Academy Awards)
♢ Best Written American Comedy (Garson Kanin/1955 Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) Award)