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alix1929

Warren William

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I want a Warren William film fest and I want it NOW! Warren has always been a favorite and I am ready to see some more of his movies.

 

In Mick LaSalle's new book, DANGEROUS MEN, he has devoted a whole chapter to my hero, Warren! Did you know...

 

1) Warren was married to the same lady throughout his adult life??

 

2) He was a very active inventor! He applied for patents for things he'd invented. He designed one of the first RV's--so he could be driven in to work, and catch an extra hour of sleep!

 

3) Attended a conference on the use of sawdust.

 

Does this guy sound interesting, or what? Let's see some more of his pre-Codes. He was such a good seducer and despoiler but it sounds like he was the complete opposite in real life. By the way...DANGEROUS MEN is worth the money. It is an excellent book and I highly recommend it.

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I'll second that. William's pre-codes are always the best. SCYCRAPER SOULS, EMPLOYEES' ENTRANCE, THE MATCH KING, GOODBYE AGAIN and so many others. How about a star of the month?

 

-Brian

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Hi all! When posting on the boards previously, I used my name: Marilyn. Now I am using my IM name.

I have been away from my computer for some time.

Just catching up & reading the boards & the new format.

I HAD to start here with Warren William.

He is my absolute favorite too.

I can't get enough of him, so I too make a plea for having him as Star of the Month.

I don't mind sharing him with the world.

I just saw Employee's Entrance (again) last week when TCM aired it. Warren William was at his best (as being the worst sort)! He is sooooo good at it.

I must get that book by Mick LaSalle right away.

Quick poll: What is your favorite Warren William movie?

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Count me in among those who would love to see Warren William as Star of the Month. As a cad, he was unsurpassed. Two of my favorite WW movies hardly get mentioned here: THE DARK HORSE, a raucous political satire where he plays campaign manager to Guy Kibbee, transforming him from an unknown hick to Man of the People. Bette Davis is also good as his assistant, who marries him in the end.

 

Then there's THE MOUTHPIECE, in which WW plays an unscrupulous lawyer who woos many a lady client, but finds himself buffaloed by Sidney Fox. Aline MacMahon plays his secretary who's secretly in love with him, and she's good, too.

 

Also, did anyone play more detectives than WW? At various times he played Philo Vance, Perry Mason, The Lone Wolf (Michael Lanyard), and even Sam Spade (in a 1936 remakeover of THE MALTESE FALCON entitled SATAN MET A LADY).

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Revelry, to choose only ONE Warren William movie as a favorite?? Very, very hard indeed, because I like him in everything I've ever seen him in. I'm sorry, I just can't limit myself to one movie. These, by the way, are in no particular order: THE MATCH KING, UNDER EIGHTEEN, GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933, SKYSCRAPER SOULS. He has the best line in UNDER EIGHTEEN! Young, innocent Margie comes up to his deco-licous penthouse because she wants a loan, and a wild, outrageous pool party is going on. When he sees her, he gets out of the pool, towels off, and says, "Why don't you take off your clothes and stay awhile," leering down at her the whole time. I also love the way he says, "Cheap and vulgar" in GOLD DIGGERS.

 

I have never seen THE DARK HORSE, but I've read about it and as you've said, it's suppose to be a good one. Has TCM shown it, or is it out on DVD/video?

 

I always wondered why his career never really skyrocketed like it should have. He had the talent, the looks, and was getting the parts too! Mick LaSalle said that William never aggressively went after parts, and wasn't really very ambitious. That certainly might explain it.

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Alix, your choices are great. I posed the question just to open up dialogue on his movies. I have to say my personal favorites are:GOLDDIGGERS OF 1933 - THE MATCH KING - THE MOUTHPIECE - SKYSCRAPER SOULS & IMITATION OF LIFE. I don't have one favorite either!!! He is just so good in all his films. I have not seen THE DARK HORSE. I read what IMDB had to say about it and I want to see it! I can just see his fast talking campaign manager character in action. I sure hope TCM is paying to attention to all this hoopla over WW. I would settle for a birthday tribute or mini-festival even. By the way, where can one get a copy of THE DARK HORSE?

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Revelry, I don't know where DARK HORSE can be found. I always try requesting that TCM show it, although it doesn't always work.

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TCM has shown THE DARK HORSE a couple of times in the last two years, once as part of a salute to Bette Davis. I taped it the second time, watched it twice, and then mistakenly taped over it because I didn't label the cassette! DARN!

 

Oh well -- I've requested it again, and I've had good luck in the past (I got six of my requests aired on TCM last year). Here's hoping . . .

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Thanks Coffeedan for the info. I must have missed it playing on TCM. I will request THE DARK HORSE myself and maybe more of you folks will do so too.

I turned on TCM the other night and there was Warren William......in LADY FOR A DAY. Now isn't that too great for words to be greeted by WW when turning on the TV???

His Dave the Dude character is wonderful.

 

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Wow I guess he is a big deal! I was reading the above mentioned DANGEROUS MEN and am on the chapter about Warren Willaim. First off this is an excellent book as Alix said and everyone should check it out. Secondly, (don't kill me for this) I have never seen a Warren Willaim movie! As the writer of the book said when you see one you want to see another. I'm looking forward to catching one in the future. What's the best?

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I'm glad you ask, Jmarcmovie--and we'd never try and beat ya up just because you haven't seen a Warren William movie! I know everyone has his/her own favorite, but I absolutely love him in GOLDDIGGERS OF 1933 as J. Lawrence Bradford. This film is shown fairly frequently, so it's not a bad place to start.

 

He seemed to play a lot of pre-Code roles where he was a C.E.O. and he is always very good in the business man persona--UPPERWORLD (railroad exec.), THE MATCH KING (wooden match empire), BEAUTY & THE BOSS (rich European busines Baron), SKYSCRAPER SOULS (owner of large 1930's skyscraper and financial empire), UNDER EIGHTEEN (financier). Any of these are worth viewing.

 

And of course, watch the 1934 CLEOPATRA to see Warren in a toga!

 

He was also very sweet in IMITATION OF LIFE and THREE ON A MATCH. To be honest, you can hardly go wrong with something that he's in. I am not familiar with his work after the 1930's, but I believe he went on into some serial work perhaps.

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Alix, me friend, when researching one of my old horror faves, Universal's l941 classic, "The Wolf Man", the article I read said that "by this time, Warren William, who plays the constable, was already considered a has been and was showing signs of extreme alcoholism." When I watch this movie, again and again, Warren doesn't look that bad at all. Maybe he had great lighting and make-up. granted, he does look slightly puffy faced but mmmmmm, still a sexy guy!I know that by the early forties, he had joined our darling Kay Francis in her slide into B-movie obscurity. In fact, Kay's last movie was a real cheapie at Monogram called "Alimony Wives," in l946/47. She produced it herself and one cast member recalls that she was "one royal cheapskate." The women wore clothes from Kay's own wardrobe to cut down on costs. For lunch, Kay made sandwiches for the cast and crew. She also refused to buy any make-up for the cast. They used the make-up from Kay's own treasure trove. The movie was filmed in 4 days. Kay demanded that there be one take only of every scene. There were no retakes of anything. I'd dearly love to see this last flick from the always beauteous kicky Kay!

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Oh my Paty! How depressing to hear that about the lady my family affectionately calls "Beautiful Kay." The title, ALIMONY WIVES is a good one, but with the extra-low budget it must have been a stinker! Four days of filming? Hmmm...that hardly sounds like it's feasible, does it, but I suppose if you're not doing retakes or elaborate gowns and makeup it might happen. Poor Kay. I wonder how her later life turned out? I read in COMPLICATED WOMEN that she died in the mid-1960's and left her money to animal shelters. The imdb also says she married multiple (I'm thinking about 4) times. Oh Kay!

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Alix, here's the info I have on Kay: She set up her own production company in the '40's and made some low budget movies but eventually gave it up. She toured Broadway for a couple seasons and on a break from touring she was badly burned on her stomach. She then returned to the stage and began touring with stock companies until the early '50's. She had a kidney and a lung removed and had to wear a back brace. Supposedly she had had a drinking problem that worsened and she gained a lot of weight also. In '66 she was diagnosed w/breast cancer and had a masectomy and passed away in '68. It sounds really sad, but she lived the way she wanted. Supposedly, she never actually wanted to be a star or a great actress, she just wanted the money, as she told Bette Davis. At the time of her death, the bulk of her estate totalled $2 million dollars which she donated to a company called Seeing Eye Inc. Hope this answers some questions for you.

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Alix,

Given your enthusiasm for all things Warren William, I thought that you'd like to know that I found a used video of his penultimate appearance on film, "The Private Affairs of Bel Ami" (1948). The star is George Sanders as, (what else?), a bounder in Third Empire France.

 

William, looking more like a bored greyhound, (or is it sphinx?), than ever, is subdued, but effective as one of the parties who extracts his revenge from Sanders. Unlike in his earlier roles from the '30s, William plays a man hampered by a conscience--he's an ethical character aswim in a very grubby Parisian social pond--where appearance, money, and a name, matter more than life.

 

William wears the upper crust role like a finely made glove, looks a wee bit tired, but gives a good character part much more depth than other actors would. I hope that you get to see this interesting film if you've never caught it before.

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Thanks to you both for the great info on two of my favorite pre-Code stars.

 

The story of Kay Francis sounds soooo sad! Sorry to hear she had such a rough time. I have not seen the William film you mentioned, but will keep my eyes peeled.

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Anyone else seen this movie with Norma Shearer? I guess I taped it at some point, and labeled the cassette, but never got around to watching it until now. It was pretty good, although I found Herbert Marshall very boring and stodgy. Otherwise I enjoyed it. Care to comment??

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I was just about to post a Warren William post in the pre-code folder until I saw a whole folder devoted to Mr. William on the top of the page. I really loved Employees Entrance which was shown last week, and found Mr. William to be very appealing. I was sure that Loretta Young would end up with Will, and can't believe that that louse Wally Ford got her. In the past when the women on this website gabbed about Warren William I never really thought much about him but after watching him in Employees Entrance along with some other pictures I really think he was a talented good-looking chap. This coming from a straight guy!

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Well, my fascination with the handsome Mr. Warren is well known, but I will continue to sing his praises...

 

I love the scene in EMPLOYEES ENTRANCE where he sort of prevents Loretta Young from leaving by saying, "You don't have to go..." and trapping her inside his arms. I'd have grabbed him in a second and yelled "Okay by me!" heehee! I always think of him as the perfect pre-Code seducer and despoiler of young women.

 

Seriously though, he is such an underappreciated star, and I would dearly love it if TCM would do a "Star of the Month" tribute to Warren and focus on his pre-Code work. I'm glad, Nick, you're a fan too.

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On one of my videotapes, I have a "One Reel Wonder" that is mostly outtakes from the 1930's and 1940's that show bloopers the stars made while filming.

 

My favorite one is one of Warren William and a blonde--I'm thinking it's Joan Blondell--doing an office scene. William has a speech he's making. He's holding a cigarette, talking to the actress, and he flubs a line. He looks straight at the camera and says, "Oh D**M!" and the actress begins to crack up laughing, and he does too. Of course, the profanity is bleeped (this HAD to be cleaned up for the public to see!!) but you can clearly read his lips. His reaction when he flubs is very funny and natural.

 

I wish I knew which of my many videotapes this short is one, because it is very amusing and has bloopers of many of my favorite actors from the 30's.

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I saw a couple of Warren William films from 1935/36 that aired on TCM the past few months. All were of the one hour, B picture variety. And all weren't particularly that good. William didn't have much charisma or wit in any of them, but he did try in one or two.

 

THE WIDOW FROM MONTE CARLO (1935), with Dolores Del Rio, was the worst of the lot. It was a total mis-mash, very poorly edited, with a charmless, cliched riddled plot. William doesn't show much here, but he is handicapped by the material. 5/10

 

THE CASE OF THE VELVET CLAWS (1936) is a film I wanted to like but couldn't. I was deterred by the unneccesarily complicated plot, the lame jokes that are repeated over and over, the annoying second bananas, the scenes that go nowhere. William tries to be charming and appealing, but falls flat. This film really made me appreciate THE THIN MAN. I found Wini Shaw completely unappealing and a terrible actress, suprising since she seemed to have potential in THE GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935. The only plus of this film is that Clare Dodd got a decent amount of screen time, but then again she was basically playing the same scene over and over again, being annoyed at William for leaving her on her wedding night, and nevertheless helping him with his work. 6/10

 

DON'T BET ON BLONDES (1935) was the best of these films. Lot of funny scenes. It does seem to implode a little at the end though. William actually has a bit of charisma here, playing Odds Owen pretty well. Guy Kibbee is a hoot as an old Southerner wanting to rewrite the history of the Civil War. It's only too bad that Claire Dodd didn't get as much screen time. 7/10

 

Watching these three films, it's pretty understandable why William's star had faded by the mid-1930s. He didn't have the charisma or wit for a leading A player, not on the level of a William Powell or a James Cagney.

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A couple of people on this thread have not shown any hesitation in giving away endings to films in their enthusiastic discussion of a particular title. Though I had already seen the films in question, I beg of all posters on these boards to refrain from giving away endings to movies. Let people experience the films for themselves. Thanks.

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