The Locked Door (1929)

“The Locked Door” is an early talkie and one of Barbara Stanwyck’s first film roles. The story was originally a stage play called “The Sign on the Door”, a melodrama by Channing Pollock that ran from 1919-1920 and which garnered very good reviews. It was spiced up for film by C. Gardner Sullivan, who added a little Prohibition twist to the plot. “The Locked Door” was received relatively well yet usually compared disfavorably to the stage play. Dick Hunt in the Los Angeles Evening Herald wrote the plot was “a bit commonplace at this day and age”, and that it was a formula which had “been used again and again and the present version takes very few steps toward changes.” Film Daily in 1930 noted that while the stage play had been gripping: “its talker form, though dulled somewhat by the stream of similar stories…still makes the grade as effective entertainment…largely due to a slight modernization plus the efficient directorial efforts of George Fitzmaurice and the very acceptable cast.” That very acceptable cast, of course, was Barbara Stanwyck, Rod La Rocque, William “Stage” Boyd, and Betty Bronson. And we should probably clear up the confusion about William “Stage” Boyd before we go any further: Larry is played by William “Stage” Boyd, not the same actor as William Boyd of Hopalong Cassidy fame. Sometime around 1929, probably after filming for “The Locked Door”, William Boyd was signed to RKO the day William “Stage” Boyd hit the papers for possession of pornography, … Continue reading

The Twenty Actors Meme

I decided to consider myself technically tagged after Princess Fire and Music’s post. Note that she is a better blogger than me: she didn’t cheat. This is Dean Treadway of filmicability’s meme, not the other similar memes going about, which means I have chosen my 20 favorites. Not best, not most admired, just favorite. This was difficult for me because I love actors, love the roles they get (as opposed to many of the roles women get, as I mentioned in my 20 Actresses Meme post), but I also have a psychotic fondness for supporting actors. There’s a huge huge pool of candidats to choose from. That said, I promise I only cheated a little, and of course I included some runners-up too. And while posting this I recalled several actresses I forgot in the previous Twenty Actresses meme. Where’s Pam Grier? Emma Thompson? Laura Dern? I’m an idiot. Orson Welles – My favorite actor. I emulate him by walking around the house bellowing, “Who ate the last Fudgsicle?!” Charles Laughton – Known as Charles Fucking Laughton in this household. And don’t you fucking forget it. Sterling Hayden Buster Keaton Ricardo Montalban Martin Balsam – Gesundheit. Peter Lorre Vincent Price William Shatner. If you don’t like that picture, try the alternate. Toshiro Mifune Cary Grant Sessue Hayakawa Claude Rains – It’s hard to see Claude in this picture. Hint: look under the hair. Fredric March Dana Andrews James Mason George Brent – You have no idea how hard it is … Continue reading