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Artists & Models (1937) 2/01/09


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This Raoul Walsh musical will be showing on the 1st day of *31 Days of Oscar*

 

Anyone seen it? I've heard it is not as good as the 50's remake with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

 

703-artistsandmodelshs.jpg

 

*Artists & Models* (1937)

An ad man gets his model girlfriend to pose as a debutante for a new campaign.

Cast: Jack Benny, Ida Lupino, Richard Arlen, Gail Patrick Dir: Raoul Walsh BW-97 mins

 

 

Here is the TCM article:

 

_Sunday, February 1,2009 2:00 PM_

*Artists and Models (1937)*

 

Jack Benny's first true starring role was in the 1937 film, Artists & Models, a madcap musical comedy directed by Raoul Walsh at his usual fast pace. In his memoir, Walsh wrote, "[i made] a light comedy called Artists & Models with Jack Benny, Ida Lupino, and forty of America's most beautiful girls. I got to know them all by their first names and so did Jack. He was a fine comedian and a better serious actor than many of the older stars. He was already a past master of that elusive quality show-people call timing. When Artists & Models was finished, he belied his later public image of stinginess by buying expensive gifts for everyone connected with the picture. This comedy was popular with the critics and the public. Friends and even ultra-perfectionists, like Bill Powell and Myrna Loy, gave it the nod. Only Jack Pickford seemed surprised: 'I always thought your idea of light comedy was to burn down a whorehouse.'"

 

This was Ida Lupino's last movie for Paramount under her contract with the studio. She'd been growing wary of being placed in forgettable pictures and felt that the studio was wasting her abilities. Eventually she obtained a new agent and a two-picture deal at Columbia, and within a few years she was at Warner Brothers making classics such as They Drive by Night (1940) and High Sierra (1941). A decade later, she'd begin a significant directing career.

 

Artists & Models is notable also as the first film to include work by Vincente Minnelli. He was brought to the studio from New York, where he'd been working in the theater, to design the musical number "Public Melody No. 1." According to author Stephen Harvey, Minnelli came up with "the concept" for the number but did not fully choreograph or direct it. In fact, Minnelli "felt the result was a chaotic travesty of his original notion." As time went on, it became clear that Paramount was intimidated by Minnelli's artistic ambitions. Minnelli grew frustrated, bought out his contract, and returned to New York. Later, of course, he tried Hollywood again and ended up as one of the greatest directors (of musicals and other genre films) in history.

 

"Public Melody No. 1" caused a ruckus in some states due to its onscreen blending of white and black performers. Martha Raye was particularly lambasted by racist southern theater owners and newspaper publishers for dancing on-screen with "negroes." Even Variety chimed in on this, saying in its review, "This intermingling of the races isn't wise, especially as [Raye] lets herself go into the extremest manifestations of Harlemania torso-twisting and gyrations." On the other hand, Variety said of the movie as a whole that it "holds enough variety, comedy, color, spec, flash, dash and novelty for a couple of pictures."

 

The New York Times agreed, calling the picture "a suave, witty and polished show, one of the sprightliest of the season's musical comedies... Mr. Benny, still the drollest comic on the screen, doesn't miss a bet and turns in his best performance to date."

 

Artists & Models drew an Oscar? nomination for Best Song, for "Whispers in the Dark" by Friederich Hollaender and Leo Robin. It lost to "Sweet Leilani" from Waikiki Wedding (1937). The film was successful enough for Paramount to produce a follow-up called Artists and Models Abroad (1938). It again starred Benny but was a sequel in title only and did not do as well at the box office.

 

Look for famed cartoonist Rube Goldberg in his only movie appearance -- yes, the Rube Goldberg, the man whose name became a still-used term for outrageously complicated contraptions that perform simple tasks or nothing at all. Goldberg would win a Pulitzer Prize in 1948 for editorial cartooning. He is billed in the picture with several other names as one of "America's leading artists and illustrators," and he plays an artist as part of the number "Mr. Esquire" -- an imaginative set-piece involving puppets made to resemble famous Paramount stars of the day such as Burns and Allen, W.C. Fields, Carole Lombard and Claudette Colbert.

 

Also keep an eye out for Hollywood gossip columnist and occasional actress Hedda Hopper, in the role of Mrs. Townsend.

 

Producer: Lewis E. Gensler

Director: Raoul Walsh

Screenplay: Walter DeLeon, Lewis E. Gensler, Francis Martin; Eve Greene, Harlan Ware (adaptation); Sig Herzig, Eugene Thackrey (story)

Cinematography: Victor Milner

Music: Robert Russell Bennett, Gordon Jenkins, John Leipold, Leo Shuken (all uncredited)

Film Editing: Ellsworth Hoagland

Cast: Jack Benny (Mac Brewster), Ida Lupino (Paula Sewell aka Paula Monterey), Richard Arlen (Alan Townsend), Gail Patrick (Cynthia Wentworth), Ben Blue (Jupiter Pluvius), Judy Canova (Toots), Charles Adler (Yacht Club Boys), James V. Kern (Yacht Club Boys), George Kelly (Yacht Club Boys), Billy Mann (Yacht Club Boys), Cecil Cunningham (Stella), Donald Meek (Dr. Zimmer), Hedda Hopper (Mrs. Townsend).

BW-97m.

 

by Jeremy Arnold

 

http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article/?cid=217903

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From Kyle's Poster thread:

film_posterFeb01a

 

Incidentally it seems there were technical problems during the first minutes of the picture, and that it affected everyone regardless of their cable/satellite provider. Hopefully, this movie will be rescheduled for a later date!

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Thanks for posting those nice poster images from "Artists And Models".

 

Yes there was a technical problem on TCM when they ran the movie on February 1, resulting in the first seven minutes of the film to be shown without picture, just sound. But if one stayed with it when the picture came on, it was fine to the end. There is a long and interesting thread on this in the Hot Topics forum (including two posts by me!)

 

By the way, the 1955 movie called "Artists And Models" is NOT a remake of the 1937 movie.

 

And there's an error in the TCM article. It says that "Artists And Models" was the only movie appearance of artist/cartoonist Rube Goldberg. But he was in at least one other movie, "Soup To Nuts" (Fox, 1930), which he also wrote, and which also features several of his wacky inventions.

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Well, the good thing is that tcmprogrammr checked the other thread (in "Hot Topics") and told us that the problem with the image during the first few minutes was on TCM's end and that they'll try and reschedule the movie. I really do look forward to TCM being able to show it again.

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Despite the technical problems, it's gratifying that there has has been such a buzz about this movie. Perhaps it will prompt the TCM programmers to dig deeper into the Universal owned library for more Paramount musicals that haven't seen the light of day in decades. I'd love to see them air more of Bing Crosby's earlier films such as THE BIG BROADCAST, COLLEGE HUMOR or TOO MUCH HARMONY. And since it's been beautifully restored by UCLA, I think it would be a major coup for TCM to broadcast the television premiere of FOLLOW THRU (1930) in all its two strip Technicolor glory. Who wouldn't love to see Nancy Carroll AND Thelma Todd in early color?

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