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How well do you know classic MGM films of the 40s?

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I think I've seen all of these, and just looking at the list, you have to conclude that the year was sort of of 'grasping at straws' for mgm...a 'let's do this one more time, even though it's been done to death'...The Thin Man Goes Home (taking the screwball elements out, putting the family man in..ho hum), Between Two Women (more Gillespie w/o Kildare); several seem to be way just to keep contract players working, even with cameos (Ziegfield Follies, Abbott and Costello in Hollywood) also the year ex-mgm star Crawford went to Warner's and had the huge hit Mildred Pierce..which bested every mgm release...ouch...

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12 hours ago, shutoo said:

I think I've seen all of these, and just looking at the list, you have to conclude that the year was sort of of 'grasping at straws' for mgm...a 'let's do this one more time, even though it's been done to death'...The Thin Man Goes Home (taking the screwball elements out, putting the family man in..ho hum), Between Two Women (more Gillespie w/o Kildare); several seem to be way just to keep contract players working, even with cameos (Ziegfield Follies, Abbott and Costello in Hollywood) also the year ex-mgm star Crawford went to Warner's and had the huge hit Mildred Pierce..which bested every mgm release...ouch...

Yes, Crawford seemed to have made a smart move. She found edgier material at Warners which played to her strengths. 

The Gillespie picture, classified a B film by some reviewers (though it has an 83 minute running time and the studio's usually good production values), made more money than important "A" pictures. It was wildly profitable. But Johnson was done with the franchise and on to bigger and better things at the studio. There would only be one more Gillespie offering, two years later, with James Craig taking over as the new young doctor. As you said, many of these series had run their respective courses by the mid-40s. Though MGM would dust off Kildare again in the 60s for a hit TV series.

We should also keep in mind some series had popular radio versions that continued into the early 50s. So these movies tied-in to the radio programs (and vice-versa). Maisie was another one...it kept going and going.

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1946

The studio released 25 feature films. Six of them were in Technicolor. One was in Cinecolor.

The greatest number of releases occurred in December (6). No new feature films were released in March.

Popular series— Maisie, Lassie and Andy Hardy.

Most of the leading men who had been off at war were back on screen.

These MGM contract players were in four or more films in 1946: Marshall Thompson (5); Marjorie Main (4).

JANUARY

THE HARVEY GIRLS with Judy Garland, John Hodiak, Marjorie Main, Angela Lansbury, Ray Bolger, Virginia O’Brien and Preston Foster. Took six months to film. Lansbury’s saloon singer character was intended for Ann Sothern. Garland and Bolger had previously costarred in THE WIZARD OF OZ.

A LETTER FOR EVIE with Marsha Hunt, John Carroll, Hume Cronyn and Spring Byington. A postwar romance inspired by the old Cyrano de Bergerac tale.

FEBRUARY

UP GOES MAISIE with Ann Sothern, George Murphy, Stephen McNally and Connie Gilchrist. Ninth in the series. Murphy had been in RINGSIDE MAISIE as a different character.

MARCH

There were no new features released.

APRIL

THE HOODUM SAINT with William Powell, Esther Williams, Angela Lansbury, James Gleason and Rags Ragland. Rare non-aquatic role for Williams. Failed at the box office. Ragland’s final film.

MAY

THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE with Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway, Audrey Totter, Leon Ames and Hume Cronyn. Third version of James M. Cain’s sensational novel; previous versions were made in Europe. Garfield was borrowed from Warners. Turner cited it as her personal favorite of all the films she made.

BAD BASCOMB with Wallace Beery, Marjorie Main, Margaret O’Brien, Frances Rafferty and Marshall Thompson. Sixth Beery-Main pairing. Exteriors were filmed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where Beery owned a large ranch.

JUNE

TWO SMART PEOPLE with Lucille Ball, John Hodiak and Lloyd Nolan. Ball was given another chance to carry a film at MGM. But this Jules Dassin drama was not a hit.

TWO SISTERS FROM BOSTON with Kathryn Grayson, June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Jimmy Durante, Lauritz Melchior. Hit musical from Henry Koster & Joe Pasternak. It was the first of four Allyson-Lawford pairings. Durante previously appeared with Allyson in MUSIC FOR MILLIONS.

LITTLE MISTER JIM with James Craig, Frances Gifford, Jackie Jenkins and Spring Byington. Outdoor scenes filmed in Utah. Not successful at the box office. Jenkins and Craig made another film that was released a short time after this one.

JULY

THE GREEN YEARS with Charles Coburn, Tom Drake, Dean Stockwell, Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn. Film is told in two parts, with Stockwell and Drake playing the same character at different ages. Though Tandy and Cronyn were married and she was actually two years older than him, she played his daughter in this picture! Coburn was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

EASY TO WED with Esther Williams, Van Johnson, Lucille Ball and Keenan Wynn. Ball was back to playing second banana with Wynn. She and Johnson previously worked on TOO MANY GIRLS at RKO; and they would costar in 1968’s YOURS, MINE AND OURS. This picture was a reworking of the old Jean Harlow comedy LIBELED LADY.

BOYS’ RANCH with Jackie Jenkins, James Craig, Skip Homeier, Darryl Hickman and Ray Collins.

AUGUST

PICCADILLY INCIDENT with Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding and Reginald Owen. Made in England. Neagle and Wilding made five more films, all of them hits. MGM would bring Wilding to Hollywood where he met future wife Elizabeth Taylor.

HOLIDAY IN MEXICO with Walter Pidgeon, Roddy McDowall, Jose Iturbi, Jane Powell and Ilona Massey. Jane Powell’s first MGM film.

FAITHFUL IN MY FASHION with Donna Reed, Tom Drake, Edward Everett Horton, Spring Byington, Margaret Hamilton and Connie Gilchrist. Postwar romantic comedy was not a hit.

SEPTEMBER

THREE WISE FOOLS with Margaret O’Brien, Edward Arnold, Thomas Mitchell, Lewis Stone and Lionel Barrymore. Based on a play produced on Broadway in 1918. O’Brien and Barrymore had previously costarred in a Dr. Gillespie movie.

OCTOBER

NO LEAVE, NO LOVE with Van Johnson, Keenan Wynn, Edward Arnold and Leon Ames. Hit escapist entertainment. Never airs on TCM.

THE COCKEYED MIRACLE with Frank Morgan, Keenan Wynn, Cecil Kellaway, Audrey Totter, Leon Ames and Marshall Thompson. Seldom airs on TCM.

NOVEMBER

COURAGE OF LASSIE with Pal, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Morgan, Tom Drake and George Cleveland. Taylor hadn’t been on screen since 1944’s NATIONAL VELVET. She received top billing; she had a minor role in MGM’s first Lassie picture. Cleveland appeared on the Lassie TV series in the 50s.

UNDERCURRENT with Robert Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Mitchum, Edmund Gwenn, Marjorie Main and Jayne Meadows. Taylor’s first postwar film. He hadn’t been in a feature since early 1944. A non-musical assignment for director Vincente Minnelli.

DECEMBER

TILL THE CLOUDS ROLL BY with Robert Walker, June Allyson, Van Heflin, Judy Garland, Kathryn Grayson, Lena Horne, Van Johnson, Angela Lansbury, Virginia O’Brien and Frank Sinatra. This was Sinatra’s first assignment as an MGM contract player. Mayer bought out the rest of his RKO contract, because he was such a huge fan of Sinatra. Robert Walker’s role was intended for Gene Kelly.

GALLANT BESS with Marshall Thompson , George Tobias and Clem Bevans. Producer Harry Rapf’s son made another film about Bess the horse for Eagle-Lion. Both were filmed in the Cinecolor process.

THE YEARLING with Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman, Claude Jarman and Clem Bevans. Best picture nominee. Film had a troubled production history, having originally been assigned to Spencer Tracy in the early 40s. Peck was borrowed from David Selznick and Wyman was borrowed from Warners. She was simultaneously filming the musical biopic NIGHT AND DAY.

THE SECRET HEART with Claudette Colbert, Walter Pidgeon, June Allyson, Lionel Barrymore, Robert Sterling and Marshall Thompson. Intended for Irene Dunne. Colbert previously starred in 1940’s BOOM TOWN.

LOVE LAUGHS AT ANDY HARDY with Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone and Bonita Granville. Rooney’s first postwar assignment. Penultimate Hardy picture, and the last to feature Stone as Judge Hardy. The final title in the series was made 12 years later in an attempt to revive the franchise.

THE SHOW-OFF with Red Skelton, Marilyn Maxwell, Marjorie Main, Marshall Thompson and Virginia O’Brien. Story was filmed by Paramount in 1926 and 1930; also by MGM in 1934 with Spencer Tracy.

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Quite a few surprises here TB.

If you had just asked me the generic question "How well do you know the MGM films of the 40s?" I would have rolled my eyes and said I've seen 'em all. Apparently not so. Some by design -From 1940 I've never seen "Man From Dakota" , "Wyoming" or "Twenty Mule Team" - I'm not crazy about westerns.  But I'd never even heard of Dulcy, nor had I heard of Florian. How interesting it has never been on TCM. Is it lost? Apparently it was circulating on TV at one time, because some imdb reviewers remember it. i'd also never heard of "The Hidden Eye", the follow up to "Eyes in the Night", the detective picture starring Edward Arnold as a blind detective, now in the public domain. I had no idea there was a follow up!

I will say that I tend to give wide berth to WWII era films because there is always somehow a tie in to WWII, which eventually becomes tiresome. I want to stand up at the midpoint of most war era films and scream " I get it already! The Nazis are EEEEVIL!!!!" But it is reflective of the times and how seriously the war impacted folks.

I will say one WWII era MGM film did surprise me. "The War Against Mrs. Hadley" was very well done  with a good story and well acted by its cast. I wasn't expecting much since the director was Harold S. Bucquet, who is probably best known for the Doctor Kildare series and his other entries are usually simplistic and overly sentimental.  Made early during WWII, I was expecting lots of flag waving, speechifying, and pat answers and situations. Instead this movie took on the war from a different tack and was quite human and realistic. It looked at the war from the vantage point of a very rigid society matron in Washington D.C. - a WASP upper class Republican to be exact, Fay Bainter as Mrs. Hadley, and how the war turns her well ordered world upside down. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and I'd say it certainly deserved that.

TB, have you ever seen the documentary about MGM made during the Turner era  - "When the Lion Roars"? Basically, it says from 1946 it was downhill for MGM from that point forward. Their material was simply too sentimental and sweet for the post war years and the studio had a hard time figuring out which direction to take. It even postulates that perhaps it was curtains for MGM from the death of the boy genius, Irving Thalberg, back in 1936, and from that point they were merely skating on his leftover ideas. An interesting watch if you've never seen it.

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17 minutes ago, calvinnme said:

Quite a few surprises here TB.

If you had just asked me the generic question "How well do you know the MGM films of the 40s?" I would have rolled my eyes and said I've seen 'em all. Apparently not so. Some by design -From 1940 I've never seen "Man From Dakota" , "Wyoming" or "Twenty Mule Team" - I'm not crazy about westerns.  But I'd never even heard of Dulcy, nor had I heard of Florian. How interesting it has never been on TCM. Is it lost? Apparently it was circulating on TV at one time, because some imdb reviewers remember it. i'd also never heard of "The Hidden Eye", the follow up to "Eyes in the Night", the detective picture starring Edward Arnold as a blind detective, now in the public domain. I had no idea there was a follow up!

I will say that I tend to give wide berth to WWII era films because there is always somehow a tie in to WWII, which eventually becomes tiresome. I want to stand up at the midpoint of most war era films and scream " I get it already! The Nazis are EEEEVIL!!!!" But it is reflective of the times and how seriously the war impacted folks.

I will say one WWII era MGM film did surprise me. "The War Against Mrs. Hadley" was very well done  with a good story and well acted by its cast. I wasn't expecting much since the director was Harold S. Bucquet, who is probably best known for the Doctor Kildare series and his other entries are usually simplistic and overly sentimental.  Made early during WWII, I was expecting lots of flag waving, speechifying, and pat answers and situations. Instead this movie took on the war from a different tack and was quite human and realistic. It looked at the war from the vantage point of a very rigid society matron in Washington D.C. - a WASP upper class Republican to be exact, Fay Bainter as Mrs. Hadley, and how the war turns her well ordered world upside down. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and I'd say it certainly deserved that.

TB, have you ever seen the documentary about MGM made during the Turner era  - "When the Lion Roars"? Basically, it says from 1946 it was downhill for MGM from that point forward. Their material was simply too sentimental and sweet for the post war years and the studio had a hard time figuring out which direction to take. It even postulates that perhaps it was curtains for MGM from the death of the boy genius, Irving Thalberg, back in 1936, and from that point they were merely skating on his leftover ideas. An interesting watch if you've never seen it.

DULCY aired when Ann Sothern was Star of the Month. I'm wondering if FLORIAN has rights issues. I'm curious about it.

I agree one-thousand percent about THE WAR AGAINST MRS. HADLEY. It works on so many levels. Bainter was never better. The studio really put its soul into the production. It mattered to them all.

THE HIDDEN EYE has aired, but it doesn't turn up very often. It would be fun if they played both of those back-to-back one night as a mystery double feature. 

The trouble with documentaries sometimes is they contain biases and they over-generalize. I wouldn't say MGM was always about sentimentality or happy endings. LETTY LYNTON (still stuck in litigation) was a shocking pre-code film the studio made where Joan Crawford kills someone and gets away with it. Also, the 1940 production ESCAPE where Norma Shearer is trapped in Europe and tries to help Robert Taylor get his mother to safety had a lot of dark, atmospheric touches. So did KEEPER OF THE FLAME, made in 1942.

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Well here's the trailer for "No Leave No Love". There are some imdb reviewers who have seen it. They tell a humorous story of Van Johnson appearing on the set the first day of shooting and saying that the film was going to be a stinker so the cast should just have fun with it.

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2 hours ago, calvinnme said:

Well here's the trailer for "No Leave No Love". There are some imdb reviewers who have seen it. They tell a humorous story of Van Johnson appearing on the set the first day of shooting and saying that the film was going to be a stinker so the cast should just have fun with it.

Thanks. 

He probably had the right idea...and since they were having fun, the audience had fun too.

The film made money. 

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On 12/22/2017 at 11:45 AM, TopBilled said:

BROADWAY RHYTHM is overlong. Sumptuously produced, some of the numbers are fun, but the plot connecting the musical sequences is not very original. It would have been better with Kelly and Powell livening it up.

It has been ages since I saw it. Boy! What fun it is, just going by the trailer. I always had a soft spot for Nancy Walker. In later years, she was everywhere on TV, including commercials as Bounty's Quicker-pick-er-upper. I especially liked her as Sophia's ornery sister in Golden Girls. When Rose's piano playing chicken comes back to life, everybody is overjoyed she didn't cook her. "Who do you think I am? Conan the Barbarian?"

 

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1947

The studio released 27 feature films. Four of them were in Technicolor (two of these were Esther Williams musicals).

The greatest number of releases occurred in October (5). No new feature films were released in May or in July.

Popular series— Maisie, Dr. Gillespie and the Thin Man.

Three long-running feature film series ended. The studio explored serious subject matter with a story about the Manhattan Project. Robert Montgomery made his last movie at the studio. Janet Leigh’s movie debut occurred.

These MGM contract players were in four or more films in 1947: Dean Stockwell(4); Leon Ames (4); Audrey Totter (4). 

JANUARY

THE MIGHTY MCGURK with Wallace Beery, Dean Stockwell, Edward Arnold and Aline MacMahon. Despite bad reviews, Beery’s antics remained very profitable at the box office.

LADY IN THE LAKE with Robert Montgomery, Audrey Totter, Jayne Meadows, Lloyd Nolan and Leon Ames. Used experimental camera techniques. Montgomery’s directorial debut (though he’d directed scenes of THEY WERE EXPENDABLE). It was his last MGM feature before moving over to Universal, then into television. Montgomery’s first MGM assignment was a small part in a Greta Garbo silent picture in 1929. He was the leading man in 50 MGM films between 1929 and 1947.

FEBRUARY

MY BROTHER TALKS TO HORSES with Jackie Jenkins, Peter Lawford, Spring Byington, Edward Arnold and Charles Ruggles. Jenkins’ films didn’t seem to be very profitable but the studio kept trying.

THE ARNELO AFFAIR with John Hodiak, George Murphy, Frances Gifford, Dean Stockwell and Eve Arden. Suspense thriller gave Hodiak one of his better roles at the studio but barely broken even.

THE BEGINNING OR THE END with Brian Donlevy, Hume Cronyn, Robert Walker, Audrey Totter, Tom Drake and Hurd Hatfield. Story about the Manhattan Project was suggested by Donna Reed. British actor Godfrey Tearle played Franklin Roosevelt. Lionel Barrymore, crippled in real life, was the studio’s original choice for the role but FDR’s family strenuously objected to the casting since they disagreed with Barrymore’s politics. The film is known for historical inaccuracies despite the producers’ painstaking research. It was a not a hit at the box office.

MARCH

UNDERCOVER MAISIE with Ann Sothern, Barry Nelson and Leon Ames. The tenth and final Maisie film. Sothern continued to play the character on radio, and she considered doing a TV version. But she and MGM could not come to terms on the television format, so she created her own sitcoms. In one episode of The Ann Sothern Show her character Katy O’Connor tells a waiter she used to be mistaken for someone named Ravier (Maisie’s last name), an obvious inside joke referencing her old MGM character.

HIGH BARBAREE with Van Johnson, June Allyson, Thomas Mitchell, Marilyn Maxwell, Audrey Totter and Claude Jarman. Jarman’s first film after THE YEARLING. The last part, where one of the lead characters died, did not go over well with a test audience. So the studio had to reshoot a new ending at considerable cost, where both of them survived. But it paid off, because the film was a big hit.

APRIL

IT HAPPENED IN BROOKLYN with Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, Peter Lawford, Jimmy Durante and Gloria Grahame. Sinatra and Lawford became friends and would make other films after this. Durante was simultaneously shooting scenes for an Esther Williams musical.

THE SEA OF GRASS with Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Robert Walker, Phyllis Thaxter and Melvyn Douglas. Though director Elia Kazan disowned the film, it became the highest grossing Metro feature for Hepburn & Tracy.

MAY

There were no new features released.

JUNE

LIVING IN A BIG WAY with Gene Kelly, Marie McDonald, Charles Winninger, Phyllis Thaxter and Spring Byington. A huge flop in its day, it has become one of Kelly’s least known films. Seldom airs on TCM.

FIESTA with Esther Williams, John Carroll, Mary Astor, Cyd Charisse and Ricardo Montalban. Montalban’s first MGM feature. He and Williams costarred again, and she would cite him as her favorite leading man. This was Carroll’s last MGM film. His contract had been shared by Mayer with Herbert Yates, the boss at Republic Pictures. Carroll continued to make films exclusively for Republic until 1959, appearing in that studio’s very last film.

DARK DELUSION with Lionel Barrymore, James Craig, Lucille Bremer and Keye Luke. The Kildare/Gillespie series came to an end with this production, though MGM would revive the franchise later on television. Bremer’s last MGM film.

JULY

There were no new features released.

AUGUST

THE ROMANCE OF ROSY RIDGE with Van Johnson, Janet Leigh, Thomas Mitchell, Dean Stockwell, Marshall Thompson and Guy Kibbee. Leigh’s movie debut; she had been discovered by Norma Shearer. Johnson and Leigh would make other MGM films together.

THE HUCKSTERS with Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Edward Arnold, Deborah Kerr, Keenan Wynn, Adolphe Menjou, Sydney Greenstreet and Connie Gilchrist. Gable’s first picture since ADVENTURE, and the first of three he made with Gardner. This was Kerr’s first Hollywood film. Greenstreet was borrowed from Warners.

SONG OF THE THIN MAN with William Powell, Myrna Loy, Dean Stockwell, Keenan Wynn, Jayne Meadows, Gloria Grahame and Leon Ames. The sixth and final Thin Man adventure. MGM would revive it on television in 1957 with Peter Lawford and Phyllis Kirk taking over as Nick and Nora.

CYNTHIA with Elizabeth Taylor, George Murphy, Mary Astor, S.Z. Sakall, Gene Lockhart and Spring Byington. Taylor’s first real adolescent role. Many of the scenes used elements from her own life. Astor would play her mother again in the remake of LITTLE WOMEN.

SEPTEMBER

THE UNFINISHED DANCE with Margaret O’Brien, Danny Thomas, Cyd Charisse and Karin Booth. Remake of a 1937 French film. Popular with audiences but lost money because of high production costs. O’Brien and Thomas would costar again.

OCTOBER

SONG OF LOVE with Katharine Hepburn, Paul Henreid and Robert Walker. Lavish musical biopic struggled to break even at the box office. Hepburn trained so that her scenes playing the piano were convincing.

MERTON OF THE MOVIES with Red Skelton, Virginia O’Brien, Leon Ames and Gloria Grahame. MGM purchased the rights to the story from Paramount, which had made it as a silent film and again as an early sound film. O’Brien’s last movie at MGM.

THIS TIME FOR KEEPS with Esther Williams, Johnnie Johnston, Lauritz Mechior, May Whitty, Jimmy Durante and Xavier Cugat. Johnston’s role was intended for Van Johnson.

KILLER MCCOY with Mickey Rooney, Brian Donlevy, Ann Blyth and James Dunn. Blyth’s first MGM film. A remake of 1938’s THE CROWD ROARS which had starred Robert Taylor and Frank Morgan in the roles played by Rooney and Dunn. A big hit.

DESIRE ME with Greer Garson, Richard Hart, Robert Mitchum. Film was marred by production difficulties including directors that walked off, Garson experiencing near-fatal injuries on location and a disastrous test screening that necessitated much reshooting. Original director George Cukor refused to have his name associated with it and no director is listed in the credits. Despite the attempts to fix it, the film still failed with audiences. It cost a lot of money and was Garson’s biggest flop.

NOVEMBER

GREEN DOLPHIN STREET with Lana Turner, Van Heflin, Donna Reed, Richard Hart, Frank Morgan, May Whitty, Edmund Gwenn and Reginald Owen. Reed’s last film under contract to MGM though she’d make two more for the studio as a freelancer in the 50s. Heflin and Turner costarred again.

CASS TIMBERLANE with Lana Turner, Spencer Tracy, Mary Astor, Zachary Scott and Tom Drake. Released one day after Turner’s previous film. She and Tracy had costarred in the remake of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDER a few years earlier. Scott was borrowed from Warners.

DECEMBER

HIGH WALL with Robert Taylor, Audrey Totter and Herbert Marshall.

GOOD NEWS with June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Ray McDonald, Mel Torme and Connie Gilchrist. Previously filmed by the studio in 1930 with Bessie Love. The second of four Allyson-Lawford collaborations. Charles Walters’ first feature as director.

IF WINTER COMES with Walter Pidgeon, Deborah Kerr, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, May Whitty and Binnie Barnes. Made as a silent film by Fox. At one point David Selznick owned the story and planned to make it with Joan Fontaine. This was Dame May Whitty’s last MGM film. She died five months later.

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On 12/23/2017 at 1:56 PM, TopBilled said:

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GALLANT BESS with Marshall Thompson , George Tobias and Clem Bevans. Producer Harry Rapf’s son made another film about Bess the horse for Eagle-Lion. Both were filmed in the Cinecolor process.

You asked about Cinecolor. It evolved from Multicolor around 1932, which itself evolved from PrizmaColor... an interesting process mentioned here:  http://forums.tcm.com/topic/114972-a-shortie-checklist-an-assortment-of-culinary-delights/ Basically there were three companies all tied by the same or companion labs and personnel over the decades. All were used mostly with short subjects prior to the mid '30s. Among these were travelogues produced by Howard Brown and Curtis Nagel (both veterans of Technicolor and other color processes) for Educational Pictures (i.e. Romantic Journeys) and Universal's Strange As It Seems series, produced by Jerry Fairbanks who favored Cinecolor's slightly better Magnacolor system for Paramount's Popular Science series by 1935. (All of these color short subjects are listed in those "shortie checklists" on the shorts thread under the studios backing them.)

When Walt Disney had exclusive rights to Technicolor's full rainbow, his animation rivals at Fleischer/Paramount, Charles Mintz/Columbia, Leon Schlesinger/Warner, Ub Iwerks, Harman & Ising/MGM and Walter Lantz/Universal had to either resort to Technicolor's 2-strip system or Cinecolor, which was only slightly different than the original Multicolor. In fact, 1930s cartoons and travelogues (cheaper than what FitzPatrick was doing for MGM in the full rainbow) kept Cinecolor in profit throughout that decade.

Due to the more limited colors emphasized in its system, it was most effective with outdoors scenes with lots of trees and less so if you were seeking a specific costume set up. Therefore, many westerns were shot in the process and audiences couldn't tell much of a difference. When Monogram scored a hit in 1945 with The Enchanted Forest, the bigger studios like MGM and Warner decided to try it out. In addition, Technicolor labs got backed up periodically due to high demand in the mid and late forties so sometimes both Technicolor and Cinecolor prints were made of certain films, mostly shorts (like a couple Looney Tunes of 1947-48 reissued later in Technicolor but shown in theaters in Cinecolor). By 1948, Cinecolor competed better with Technicolor with their own 3-strip process with the full rainbow, while still keeping it cheaper than Technicolor.

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19 minutes ago, Jlewis said:

You asked about Cinecolor. It evolved from Multicolor around 1932, which itself evolved from PrizmaColor... an interesting process mentioned here:  http://forums.tcm.com/topic/114972-a-shortie-checklist-an-assortment-of-culinary-delights/ Basically there were three companies all tied by the same or companion labs and personnel over the decades. All were used mostly with short subjects prior to the mid '30s. Among these were travelogues produced by Howard Brown and Curtis Nagel (both veterans of Technicolor and other color processes) for Educational Pictures (i.e. Romantic Journeys) and Universal's Strange As It Seems series, produced by Jerry Fairbanks who favored Cinecolor's slightly better Magnacolor system for Paramount's Popular Science series by 1935. (All of these color short subjects are listed in those "shortie checklists" on the shorts thread under the studios backing them.)

When Walt Disney had exclusive rights to Technicolor's full rainbow, his animation rivals at Fleischer/Paramount, Charles Mintz/Columbia, Leon Schlesinger/Warner, Ub Iwerks, Harman & Ising/MGM and Walter Lantz/Universal had to either resort to Technicolor's 2-strip system or Cinecolor, which was only slightly different than the original Multicolor. In fact, 1930s cartoons and travelogues (cheaper than what FitzPatrick was doing for MGM in the full rainbow) kept Cinecolor in profit throughout that decade.

Due to the more limited colors emphasized in its system, it was most effective with outdoors scenes with lots of trees and less so if you were seeking a specific costume set up. Therefore, many westerns were shot in the process and audiences couldn't tell much of a difference. When Monogram scored a hit in 1945 with The Enchanted Forest, the bigger studios like MGM and Warner decided to try it out. In addition, Technicolor labs got backed up periodically due to high demand in the mid and late forties so sometimes both Technicolor and Cinecolor prints were made of certain films, mostly shorts (like a couple Looney Tunes of 1947-48 reissued later in Technicolor but shown in theaters in Cinecolor). By 1948, Cinecolor competed better with Technicolor with their own 3-strip process with the full rainbow, while still keeping it cheaper than Technicolor.

Thanks for the detailed explanation. I've often wondered if the garish, ultra-bright hues in the Cinecolor films I've seen looked that way to audiences in the 40s who saw the films first-run. Perhaps the prints in circulation now have had their coloration changed due to aging and lack of restoration. Some of them are nearly unwatchable and would almost look better in black-and-white. 

I don't think MGM stayed with Cinecolor very long. The studio seemed to favor Anscocolor in the late 40s and early 50s as an alternative to Technicolor. The Anscocolor process looks really great in something like ESCAPE FROM FORT BRAVO.

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Actually they haven't aged too badly, but they just aren't that great. It was definitely not Technicolor. The reviews in vintage Film Daily and BoxOffice magazines indicate how good or bad these films looked on screens then.

For the educational film market, the U.S. military and many travelogue film makers from about 1938 or so onward, there was 16mm Kodachrome. This was basically Technicolor on a smaller scale, but with a very different process involved. Yet despite being grainier due to the smaller size, especially when Technicolor blew these films up to 35mm to please MGM, Warner, Paramount and other studios using it for their travelogues, the colors were and are still vivid. Coronet Films was among the first to use it in many of their school instructionals.

Oh... I should add that Anscocolor was the last... great... stage of SuperCinecolor's three strip system in the early fifties. Again, all part of the same family. Cinecolor also worked with Eastmancolor, which pretty much replaced it by mid-decade.

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My 1947 seen list:

  • Lady in the Lake
  • The Beginning or the End
  • The Sea of Grass
  • The Hucksters
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1948

The studio released 26 feature films. Twelve of them were in Technicolor.

The greatest number of releases occurred in December (5). No new feature films were released in January.

Popular series-- Lassie

Almost half the studio’s feature films were in Technicolor. Jeanette MacDonald returned to Metro after a six year absence. Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon tried their hand at comedy.

These MGM contract players were in four or more films in 1948: Dean Stockwell(4); Leon Ames (4); Audrey Totter (4).

JANUARY

There were no new features released.

FEBRUARY

ALIAS A GENTLEMAN with Wallace Beery, Tom Drake, Gladys George and Leon Ames. Beery and Drake previously costarred in THIS MAN’S NAVY.

TENTH AVENUE ANGEL with Margaret O’Brien, George Murphy, Phyllis Thaxter, Angela Lansbury and Connie Gilchrist. Filmed two years earlier with retakes done the year before. It flopped with audiences and modern critics haven’t been too kind.

MARCH

THE BRIDE GOES WILD with Van Johnson, June Allyson, Jackie Jenkins, Hume Cronyn, Una Merkel, Arlene Dahl and Connie Gilchrist. A big hit. Dahl’s first MGM film.

THREE DARING DAUGHTERS with Jeanette MacDonald, Jane Powell, Jose Iturbi and Edward Arnold. MacDonald’s previous film at the studio was 1942’s CAIRO.

BIG CITY with Margaret O’Brien, George Murphy, Danny Thomas, Jackie Jenkins, Robert Preston, Betty Garrett, Edward Arnold and Connie Gilchrist. O’Brien and Thomas previously costarred in THE UNFINISHED DANCE. Betty Garrett’s first MGM film.

THE SEARCH with Montgomery Clift, Wendell Corey, Aline MacMahon, Jarmila Novotna and Ivan Jandl. Filmed among the ruins of postwar Germany. Clift’s movie debut; he was nominated for Best Actor. Jandl received a special Juvenile Academy Award.

APRIL

B.F.’S DAUGHTER with Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Charles Coburn, Richard Hart, Keenan Wynn, Marshall Thompson and Spring Byington. Coburn had previously costarred with Stanwyck in THE LADY EVE and with Byington in THE DEVIL AND MISS JONES. The second of three Stanwyck-Heflin collaborations.

SUMMER HOLIDAY with Mickey Rooney, Walter Huston, Frank Morgan, Jackie Jenkins, Agnes Moorehead, Gloria DeHaven and Marilyn Maxwell. Completed two years earlier. A remake of 1935’s AH, WILDERNESS! in which a younger Mickey Rooney had Butch Jenkins’ role. It underperformed at the box office. Jenkins developed a stuttering problem (which he had for the rest of his life) and his contract was terminated. It was his last film and he never worked in Hollywood again.

HOMECOMING with Lana Turner, Clark Gable, John Hodiak, Anne Baxter and Marshall Thompson. The third of four Turner-Gable collaborations. Hodiak and Baxter were married and had previously headlined SUNDAY DINNER FOR A SOLDIER at her home studio (Fox).

STATE OF THE UNION with Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Adolphe Menjou, Angela Lansbury, Van Johnson, Lewis Stone and Margaret Hamilton. Hepburn’s role was intended for Claudette Colbert. Frank Capra directed and his company produced the picture with MGM’s help. Despite having costarred in two previous RKO films (MORNING GLORY and STAGE DOOR), Hepburn and Menjou did not get along due to their political differences.

MAY

ON AN ISLAND WITH YOU with Esther Williams, Peter Lawford, Ricardo Montalban, Jimmy Durante, Leon Ames and Cyd Charisse. Second of three Williams-Montalban pairings.

JUNE

THE PIRATE with Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Walter Slezak and Reginald Owen. Film was apparently too sophisticated for audiences and it failed to do business at the box office. A flop on the resumes of director Vincente Minnelli and producer Arthur Freed.

JULY

EASTER PARADE with Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Ann Miller and Peter Lawford. Garland rebounded with this smash hit. Astaire who had retired stepped in to replace Gene Kelly, sidelined because of an injury. This was Miller’s first MGM film.

A DATE WITH JUDY with Wallace Beery, Jane Powell, Elizabeth Taylor, Leon Ames, Carmen Miranda, Robert Stack and Xavier Cugat. Beery’s penultimate film, a big moneymaker.

AUGUST

A SOUTHERN YANKEE with Red Skelton, Brian Donlevy, Arlene Dahl and John Ireland. A remake of Buster Keaton’s silent film THE GENERAL; he served as advisor.

JULIA MISBEHAVES with Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Cesar Romero, Peter Lawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Mary Boland and Reginald Owen. A rare comedy for Garson and Pidgeon. Garson’s role was intended for Gracie Fields. Lawford and Taylor would costar again in the remake of LITTLE WOMEN.

SEPTEMBER

LUXURY LINER with George Brent, Jane Powell, Lauritz Melchior, Frances Gifford, Xavier Cugat and Connie Gilchrist. Brent previously starred in an unrelated 1933 Paramount film with the same title. Melchior’s last film for MGM.

OCTOBER

THE THREE MUSKETEERS with Lana Turner, Gene Kelly, Van Heflin, Vincent Price, June Allyson, Angela Lansbury, Frank Morgan, Reginald Owen and Keenan Wynn. Financially successful adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ novel. Turner’s first film in Technicolor.

NOVEMBER

NO MINOR VICES with Dana Andrews, Jane Wyatt, Lilli Palmer and Louis Jourdan. An independent production directed by Lewis Milestone that was released by MGM.

THE KISSING BANDIT with Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, Ricardo Montalban, Cyd Charisse and Ann Miller. One of MGM’s least successful musicals.

HILLS OF HOME with Pal, Edmund Gwenn, Donald Crisp, Tom Drake, Reginald Owen and Janet Leigh. Fourth Lassie film at MGM. Gwenn and Crisp had previously appeared in LASSIE COME HOME playing different characters.

DECEMBER

3 GODFATHERS with John Wayne, Ward Bond, Pedro Armendariz, Guy Kibbee and Jane Darwell. Previously filmed in 1936 by MGM, with Chester Morris in the main role. This remake was produced by John Ford's company and released by MGM. Kibbee’s last film.

ACT OF VIOLENCE with Van Heflin, Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh, Mary Astor, Phyllis Thaxter and Connie Gilchrist. Film addressed the ethics of WWII. Ryan was borrowed from RKO.

COMMAND DECISION with Clark Gable, Walter Pidgeon, Van Johnson, Brian Donlevy, Charles Bickford, Edward Arnold, Marshall Thompson and John Hodiak.

FORCE OF EVIL with John Garfield, Thomas Gomez and Marie Windsor. An independent production written and directed by Abe Polonsky that was released by MGM.

WORDS AND MUSIC with Mickey Rooney, Tom Drake, Janet Leigh, Vera-Ellen, June Allyson, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Gene Kelly, Ann Sothern, Marshall Thompson, Betty Garrett and Cyd Charisse. This was Vera-Ellen's first MGM film; she'd previously been under contract to producer Sam Goldwyn. It was also the last Rooney-Garland pairing.

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Despite a decline in profits and few out-and-out masterpieces that would make an AFI top 100 list today, 1948 was still a very high quality year for the studio. Even if something like The Pirate lost money, it is still a fun musical to enjoy more than once. By this stage, mostly film noirs, social dramas and the occasional "thinking man" western were still in black and white. Everything else was in color. Amusingly The Three Musketeers was "converted" to black and white and goofy title cards in order to pass as a silent movie in the early part of Singin' In The Rain. Lana Turner had a teeny shot before Jean Hagen is inserted. Lol!

Trivia note on The Pirate: this was among the later films that required an edited version for segregated theaters in the south. The problem scene involved Gene Kelly dancing with the Nicholas Brothers. This became less of a problem once the civil rights movement got going in the fifties. High Society only had minor issues with Bing Crosby performing and even touching Louis Armstrong.

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4 hours ago, Jlewis said:

Despite a decline in profits and few out-and-out masterpieces that would make an AFI top 100 list today, 1948 was still a very high quality year for the studio. Even if something like The Pirate lost money, it is still a fun musical to enjoy more than once. By this stage, mostly film noirs, social dramas and the occasional "thinking man" western were still in black and white. Everything else was in color. Amusingly The Three Musketeers was "converted" to black and white and goofy title cards in order to pass as a silent movie in the early part of Singin' In The Rain. Lana Turner had a teeny shot before Jean Hagen is inserted. Lol!

Trivia note on The Pirate: this was among the later films that required an edited version for segregated theaters in the south. The problem scene involved Gene Kelly dancing with the Nicholas Brothers. This became less of a problem once the civil rights movement got going in the fifties. High Society only had minor issues with Bing Crosby performing and even touching Louis Armstrong.

It's been awhile since I've watched THE PIRATE.

Thanks for the THREE MUSKETEERS - SINGIN' IN THE RAIN trivia. I'd forgotten about that! I think Don & Lina's silent movie was called Dueling Cavaliers.

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I still need to post about 1949, and I am finishing that section. Hopefully I will have it done this afternoon. Check back!

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My 1948 seen list:

  • The Search
  • State of the Union
  • The Three Musketeers
  • 3 Godfathers
  • Command Decision
  • Force of Evil

I have quite a few of the others in my to-watch pile.

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3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

My 1948 seen list:

  • The Search
  • State of the Union
  • The Three Musketeers
  • 3 Godfathers
  • Command Decision
  • Force of Evil

I have quite a few of the others in my to-watch pile.

I'd recommend JULIA MISBEHAVES and A SOUTHERN YANKEE if you're in the mood for comedy. Leaning towards noir, you will want to see ACT OF VIOLENCE. As for musicals check out EASTER PARADE, ON AN ISLAND WITH YOU and A DATE WITH JUDY, especially if you think you'll enjoy Carmen Miranda teaching Wallace Beery how to rumba. It's an uproarious scene.

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