Saturday 14 June 2014

This Week in Precode History: 15th - 21st June

Another interesting week in Precode history:
  • Fay Wray apparently almost drowned in a rip in Playa del Rey this week. She was saved, not by a lifeguard, but director George Hill who had a home in the area and brought her ashore.
  • A startling new magazine campaign was launched in 1934 to promote Mae West’s new film, It Ain’t No Sin (later changed to Belle of the Nineties). Have a look:
(found at the Media History Project)
  • West even made a speech regarding her film to delegates who arrives in Hollywood for the Paramount convention,
“When they told me 300 new men were coming to Hollywood, especially Paramount men, I took the day off. You’re due for several surprises here. Pleasant ones. I’m getting one ready for you now – It Ain’t No Sin. I’d like to have every one of you come up an’ see me, but you have to get a permit here to hold a meeting. Seriously, though, I appreciate the splendid salesmanship and showmanship which everyone in Paramount has demonstrated in handling my pictures. You’ve done right by me, and you have my word that you’re the men in my life I’ll never do wrong.”
  • Even the heat off screen influenced film advertisements this week:
(found at the Media History Project)
  • Jackie Cooper was announced to appear in the upcoming film, The Bowery, alongside George Raft, Steve Brodie and Wallace Beery and Raoul Walsh directing. Filming was due to start July 1.    
  • Two American films were box office smashes in London this week in 1933. Gabriel Over the White House and Murders in the Zoo brought in large crowds.
  • Oliver Hardy, of Laurel and Hardy fame, filed for a divorce this week from his wife he married in 1921. He, “alleged mental cruelty and intoxication.
Laurel and Hardy and their wives (found here)
  • The notorious nudist film Elysia was approved for exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair 1933 this week. This was allowed as the board overseeing the Fair was considered outside the jurisdiction of the Chicago censor board.
  • The film Born to be Bad scheduled for release in 1934 was put back to work for retakes of apparently “half of the picture” because of the advice of the Hays office. Writers, Anita Loos and John Emerson were engaged to re-write a number of scenes.
  • Some quotes from Hollywood management that came out this week:
“Criticism, good, bad and indifferent, is evidence of the important position of the screen as an art. The final product of our studios is established by the audience, as well as by authors, writers, directors, artists and the technicians.” Will H. Hays
“The public is tired of glamour.” Samuel Goldwyn
“I believe audiences still like fast, dramatic entertaining action on the screen.” Harry Beaumont.  

(all found at the Media History Project)
On another note, I have to acknowledge the sad passing of Carla Laemmle aged 104. Her acting achievements and connection to the history of the film industry itself, will make her legacy long-lived. Rest in Peace Carla.    

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