Dan Brooks (Bing Crosby) is a disenchanted junior executive, the kind of guy expected to marry the boss’ eldest daughter and lead a staid, white collar life. But his true passion is racing, so he runs off with his horse Broadway Bill and his good friend, horse trainer Whitey (Clarence Muse), with plans to enter Bill into a national derby. They get into musical hijinks along they way as they try to raise the entrance fee, while the boss’ youngest daughter Alice (Colleen Gray), who has a crush on Dan, joins in on the scheme. Frank Capra’s Riding High (1950) is a musical remake of his own Broadway Bill, the 1934 romantic comedy starring Warner Baxter and Myrna Loy. Beyond the old stories about Riding High being an inside joke about Bing’s oft-rumored love of the leafy stuff, the film is best known for using significant footage from the original film in the 1950 version. Eleven of the supporting players in Broadway Bill return for brief scenes in Riding High. Those who were still alive did a few re-shoots, those who had passed on appear in archive footage, and they even put William Demarest in a 15-year-old suit so he would match shots of the late Lynne Overman from the 1934 footage. It’s all somewhat jarring, especially in the beginning when the film opens with 1934 scenes in what should have been a modern-day bank. Just look at that phone, that typewriter, those fashions. Even the film grain is obviously … Continue reading
Six years ago today, SBBN opened its virtual doors. Featuring short articles with small pictures and misspelled words, the early days were heady and volatile, with fewer blogs, far less film sites, and everybody wasn’t on Twitter all damn day. A simpler time. I generally don’t spill the spleen about personal matters like this on SBBN, but I felt the frequent dead air accompanied with “not feeling well, please stay tuned” posts just weren’t cutting it anymore, and a more detailed explanation was due. Since it ties into why I created this blog in the first place, now is as good a time as any. When I started She Blogged By Night — oh, before I begin, someone cue up the meedle-dee-meedle-dee flashback music and the wavy psychedelic film effects, please? Thanks. Back when I started the blog, writing about film was an almost random decision. I was only looking for something to do, a hobby to get my mind off of what I called a “mystery illness.” I was in the midst of string of bad doctors, skewed Midwestern faux Judeochristian sexist quacks I was stuck with because no clinics that accepted my insurance were taking new patients. It was an exceptionally rough time for me, because I was ill to the point of not being able to do much of anything, but no doctor would believe me. Watching a movie and blogging about it was a low-impact kind of thing that kept me occupied and connected to others. … Continue reading
Just under 16 minutes into The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), at Harry Pebbel’s office, the George Hurrell portrait of Marie Prevost can be seen above Harry’s fireplace, to the top center on this screencap, just over Walter Pidgeon’s shoulder: (Also: Heh heh, the statue of an eagle behind Walter gives him horns. Oh, symbolism, you are so symbolic sometimes.) The portrait dates from about 1930, and even though it’s Hurrell, an exceptionally popular photographer whose pictures are all over the internet, this particular portrait is pretty rare; I’ve only seen it on eBay twice and it never turns up in image searches. Here’s a cropped version from a publicity postcard I got a couple years ago: There’s a better version here, smaller and watermarked, and though I hate using watermarked pictures because I’m not trying to “steal” images, in this case I will make an exception. The picture has long since sold, best I can tell, but it looks exactly like the one used in the film: Update: Seems the same portrait was used for Harry’s secretary’s office, too! From about 35 minutes into the film: That Harry Pebbel guy must have sure liked Marie. And that pic to the right of the Money Talks poster is Robert Benchley in a picture that I at first thought was used twice. Later I realized that the Benchley photo had moved to another part of the set, seen below to the left of Kirk Douglas’ head, and the pic to the … Continue reading
Front Page Woman (1935) Starring Bette Davis, George Brent and Roscoe Karns Credits: Bette portrait from Stirred, Straight Up, With a Twist; George, Bette and Roscoe from Doctor Macro; portrait of George and lobby card from Will McKinley; ad via mudwerks on Tumblr; yellow lobby card from Greenman2008 on Flickr.
Several years ago, when The SBBN Bette Davis Project was still in its infancy, I reviewed the early Bette programmer Front Page Woman (1935). In short, I didn’t like it. Filmed immediately after Bette’s The Girl From 10th Avenue, Warner Bros. saw fit to use six of the same cast members and at least two of the same sets, as well as a plot that was a slightly madcap version of the films Kay Francis was assigned that same year, up to and including the same male co-star. Bette is Ellen Garfield, reporter assigned to the execution of a singer convicted of murdering her lover. Ellen’s boyfriend Curt (George Brent), also a reporter, tries to talk her out of attending the execution. In fact, he wants her to stop working altogether and get married like a good woman should. She refuses, but faints dead away after the execution, so he writes her story for her as she recovers. A mix-up causes both his paper and hers to run the same story, nearly getting them both fired. Instead, it spurs an intense rivalry where Ellen promises to uncover the murderer in a high-society crime case, and Curt bets her that she can’t, and if he wins, she must quit her career and marry him. It’s all supposed to be a romantic comedy, but Michael Curtiz can’t help but inject some hard-boiled journalistic action into the film while at the same time allowing the most outrageous, unbelievable courtroom antics, and ultimately it … Continue reading