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 Posted:   Nov 25, 2020 - 3:30 PM   
 By:   chriscoyle   (Member)

I have been watching more movies from the early days of Hollywood and trying to understand why some stars became stars. I’ve just finished the book The Speed of Sound by Scott Eyman and I realized that the first year of sound was year one in cinema in many ways. Some careers were ruined and some were born. The big films like King Kong and their stars are part of my childhood but much of the rest is a big blur of names.
Two of the actresses I’ve come to appreciate more because of their early films are Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Blondell. I’ve always liked Stanwyck in Double Indemnity and Meet John Doe. If you watch two of her early films Baby Face and Night Nurse you see her appeal to audiences of the 1930’s. Both are Pre-code movies and she is learning her craft. In one film she is an “angel” in disguise and the opposite in the other.

Night Nurse (1931) is a wonderful film. Stanwyck wants to be a nurse and Blondell befriends her by showing her the ropes of nursing school. She treats a gangster’s gunshot wound, becomes a private nurse for 2 children that are being starved to death (who knew milk baths are the cure for starvation!) and gets socked in the face by future star Clark Gable, who gets a final ambulance ride at the end.

Baby Face (1933) is a pure woman’s film, Stanwyck is the star and she turns the men into props. She is a barmaid/ prostitute who works with her dad at a speakeasy. She’s had enough and one night she rejects the town’s big wig advances. A fight ensues, her dad is killed and the speakeasy burns down. Left with nothing she heads into the city “working” her way to the top of a bank. There is a funny part of the movie where she plays dumb like in Double Indemnity and the Bank’s Board of Directors pay her off and send her to Europe. The music from the song Baby Face “you have the cutest little baby face” plays at various times during the seduction scenes. At the end she falls in love with the one guy who wouldn’t succumb to her “charms”.

Joan Blondell is as fresh and perky as a young actress can be in Night Nurse. When I was in high school in the 70’s I hung around with some guys that were older, in college. One of their friends after finishing college had come up from Alabama to make it in NYC as an actor. He was a waiter at a famous restaurant, I can’t remember the name. Well anyway Blondell was in a Broadway play and afterwards the cast was at the restaurant. Blondell was telling stories and disparaging show business. What she was saying isn’t important. We all have had bad days but boy would I have loved to spend a couple hours at dinner talking to Joan Blondell!

TCM is showing Baby Face on Thursday December 3rd at 8:00pm and Night Nurse on Thursday December 17th at 9:15 AM. I recommend everyone give them a shot. Maybe Arthur Grant has written about these films and can share a link?

Anyone else have a favorite actress of the 1930’s?

 Posted:   Nov 25, 2020 - 5:03 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Carole Lombard


 Posted:   Nov 26, 2020 - 8:12 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

Difficult one. Fay Wray, Myrna Loy and Maureen O'Sullivan are obvious choices for me, but I fear I might actually go for the Laurel and Hardy foil Mae Busch!

Also have a soft spot for the lovely Thelma Todd.

 Posted:   Nov 26, 2020 - 9:41 AM   
 By:   Rameau   (Member)

Ooo, I do love Joan Blondell: Betty Boop made flesh. She great in Gold Diggers Of 1933, esp. in that last great number.

 Posted:   Nov 26, 2020 - 9:42 AM   
 By:   tiomkinfan   (Member)

Claudette Colbert.

 Posted:   Nov 26, 2020 - 9:46 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I like the ones mentioned above, especially Stanwyck and Maureen O'Sullivan.

I'd add Katherine Hepburn, Merle Oberon and Loretta Young.

 Posted:   Nov 26, 2020 - 9:50 AM   
 By:   Rameau   (Member)

Yup, I forgot Loretta Young, I saw her in a western with Gary Cooper last week. God, she was lovely, what a beautiful face.

 Posted:   Nov 26, 2020 - 10:13 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

God, she was lovely, what a beautiful face.

Agreed. She was stunningly beautiful.

 Posted:   Nov 26, 2020 - 10:16 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

 Posted:   Nov 26, 2020 - 10:39 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

I enjoy Jean Harlow's pre-code films, especially RED HEADED WOMAN. She had good comedic timing and it's tragedy she died so young. TCM runs this film from time to time.

 Posted:   Nov 27, 2020 - 8:36 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Probably don't know any by name but the 1930's Cleopatra was the hottest!

 Posted:   Nov 27, 2020 - 8:37 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Many years ago, we had a thread on Zany and Lovely Screwball can imagine how hugely popular that was:

Not that anyone will ever bump that topic.

 Posted:   Nov 27, 2020 - 9:10 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Okay I know one by name, Simone Simon. I think shes beautiful. First saw her in Cat People.

 Posted:   Nov 27, 2020 - 10:50 AM   
 By:   Mark   (Member)

Its Stanwyck for me. But i am also partial to Jean Arthur. In fact I am about to watch 'If Only you could Cook' in which she stars with Herbert Marshall.

My favourite screwball comedies both star these two actresses. They are The Devil and Miss Jones (not to be confused with the 70's porn flick) The More the Merrier and, best of all Ball of Fire, which is going to the film that my family sit down to watch this Xmas day.

I recently watched the film Girls Dormitory - that starred Simone Simon in her first Hollywood movie. My, was she cute - only 26.

 Posted:   Nov 27, 2020 - 11:11 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

My three favorite 1930s actress performances:

Katharine Hepburn in Holiday and Alice Adams (tied)
Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth.
Myrna Loy in The Thin Man (which I watch every New Year’s Eve along with the second film).

 Posted:   Nov 27, 2020 - 2:27 PM   
 By:   chriscoyle   (Member)

Irene Dunne is such a natural beauty and a good actress. Really stunning in Roberta with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

This is a clip from Baby Face and is a good example of the Pre-code mores of Hollywood.

 Posted:   Nov 28, 2020 - 5:43 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Any fans of 1930s actress Gail Patrick?

 Posted:   Nov 28, 2020 - 8:03 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Miss Crabtree.

 Posted:   Nov 28, 2020 - 8:41 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Any fans of 1930s actress Gail Patrick?

The hair styles back then were atrocious.

 Posted:   Nov 28, 2020 - 8:45 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Any fans of 1930s actress Gail Patrick?

The hair styles back then were atrocious.

...Says the guy who worships the 1980s.

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