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Mary Carlisle


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Did anyone watch any of the films last night? Nice to see someone not well known getting a tribute (and in prime time to boot!) I recorded 3 of the films to watch this wknd. (Night Court; Murder in the Private Car and Dead Men Walk).

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I watched Night Court a few months back and found it passable. Dead Men Walk I've seen a few times over the years. I happened to be channel flipping last night when it was on, and I should warn you that the sound was pretty awful. I know it's a public domain title, but the picture looked a bit better than other prints of the movie that I've seen. 

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10 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I watched Night Court a few months back and found it passable. Dead Men Walk I've seen a few times over the years. I happened to be channel flipping last night when it was on, and I should warn you that the sound was pretty awful. I know it's a public domain title, but the picture looked a bit better than other prints of the movie that I've seen. 

Yes, I don't understand why they show inferior public domain copies when they are trying to create some sort of appreciation for a more obscure star's film legacy. It doesn't make sense.

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

I watched Night Court a few months back and found it passable. Dead Men Walk I've seen a few times over the years. I happened to be channel flipping last night when it was on, and I should warn you that the sound was pretty awful. I know it's a public domain title, but the picture looked a bit better than other prints of the movie that I've seen. 

I'm not getting my hopes up for Dead Mean Walk as I knew it was a poverty row studio release. But I wanted to view it. The other two sound interesting. I'm not sure I havent seen Night Court before (I'll know once I start watching it).

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Spoiler Alerts!

I was completely unfamiliar with Carlisle, so much so I wasn't always sure which character was her, as you'll read below. Both films I watched had two young, pretty blondes in substantial roles, and it was a bit of a guessing game for me both times to figure out which one was her.

I watched the first two films of the night, College Humor and Kind Lady. I particularly wanted to see College Humor, since it's a Paramount film and not likely to air on TCM as often, but I'd never seen either of them. College Humor is not much of a movie, sadly. The songs are pretty unmemorable, and the shots are unusually static for a musical. Bing Crosby and Jack Oakie were both 30, but Crosby plays a professor, while Oakie really strains credulity as a freshman! Carlisle's character was hard to fathom - she appeared to be really into both Crosby's professor and the lug of a football player played by Richard Arlen. There really aren't any scenes from her perspective, so I'm not sure how we're supposed to feel about her simultaneously pursuing two men. This sort of plot usually got a woman labeled as a "tramp", like in Baby Face, from the same year. But clearly we're not supposed to feel that way about Carlisle. Burns and Allen are funny, but limited to one scene and a very quick cameo in another scene. Wish they'd done more movies. One thing I learned from this movie is the tradition of violent fraternity hazing dates back to at least 1933!

Kind Lady was quite good. With the sentimental Christmas music in the opening scene, and seemingly something of a bond developing between Aline MacMahon and Basil Rathbone early on, I thought it was going to be similar to The Young at Heart, in which grifters initially out to fleece an old lady end up being transformed into productive members of society in spite of themselves. But no, this movie got real dark, real fast. It almost bordered on being a noir, sort of a drawing-room noir. I was pretty unfamiliar with MacMahon, besides One Way Passage and Gold Diggers of 1933, but she was great here, as was Rathbone. MacMahon was probably too young to play the kindly spinster, but let's be honest - she did have a bit of a matronly look about her. The plot was a little creaky - why did MacMahon feel she had to slip notes in the shirt pockets of the various guests to inform them what was going on? Why not just say it out loud? What, were they going to kill her in front of the guests? That would give away that they were bad guys.

I had to look up on imdb just who Carlisle played in Kind Lady, because there were two blondes with roughly equal-sized roles, the doomed maid and the niece. She played the niece, a part so fleeting it almost seemed not to do justice to Carlisle on a night devoted to her, but it was an MGM film, so TCM probably had free access to it.

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22 minutes ago, sewhite2000 said:

Kind Lady was quite good. With the sentimental Christmas music in the opening scene, and seemingly something of a bond developing between Aline MacMahon and Basil Rathbone early on, I thought it was going to be similar to The Young at Heart, in which grifters initially out to fleece an old lady end up being transformed into productive members of society in spite of themselves. But no, this movie got real dark, real fast. It almost bordered on being a noir, sort of a drawing-room noir. I was pretty unfamiliar with MacMahon, besides One Way Passage and Gold Diggers of 1933, but she was great here, as was Rathbone. MacMahon was probably too young to play the kindly spinster, but let's be honest - she did have a bit of a matronly look about her. The plot was a little creaky - why did MacMahon feel she had to slip notes in the shirt pockets of the various guests to inform them what was going on? Why not just say it out loud? What, were they going to kill her in front of the guests? That would give away that they were bad guys.

MGM remade KIND LADY in 1951 with a more age appropriate Ethel Barrymore in the title role.

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I did a writeup here on Mary Carlisle in 2012 when TCM was showing a few of her films. Now that she's gone I guess it's not inappropriate to post it again.

 

Hers is a name that will only have a slight ring of familiarity to avid film buffs but today's Lionel Barrymore tribute on TCM will also have a tribute, of sorts, to pretty blonde Mary Carlisle, as well. That's because she appears in three of the MGM features, unbilled as a honeymooner in Grand Hotel, as well as playing Lionel's daughter in Should Ladies Behave and This Side of Heaven.

Carlisle, having turned 100 on February 3rd this year, is the last survivor of the 1932 WAMPAS Baby Stars. WAMPAS was an annual event (until 1934) by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers to promote 13 starlets (14 in 1932) that were hailed to be "stars of tomorrow."

That, unfortunately, didn't usually turn out to be the case, though Ginger Rogers is among those on the 1932 list. Carlisle, unfortunately, would be among the majority, with good roles and stardom eluding her Hollywood career.

Having said that, however, Carlisle worked in the studio system during one of its most legendary periods, the 1930s, and at a lot of the majors, MGM, Paramount and RKO. She had difficulty breaking free of the picture perfect, starry eyed ingenue roles, and would end her career at the Poverty Row Studios, her final appearance as a screaming heroine in PRC's Dead Men Walk before her decision to retire from the industry. (In her later years she would manage a Beverly Hills Elizabeth Arden Salon, as well as receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010).

The highlights of Carlisle's career were, perhaps, her three co-starring appearances in Bing Crosby musicals, College Humor (1933), Double or Nothing (1937) and Doctor Rhythm (1938).

Carlisle was, needless to say, very pretty. Her slightly chubby face reminds me a bit of Toby Wing, another pretty performer who never came close to star status, as well as Patricia Ellis, another would-be star and recipient of the 1932 WAMPAS selection.

As for Carlisle's films, I have a genuine affection for a 1934 MGM "B" she made, Murder in the Private Car. She has a screaming heroine in distress role in a strange mixture of humour (Charlie Ruggles and Una Merkel are the affable leads) and completely over-the-top melodrama. Rather than being set in a secluded house, this murder mystery is on a speeding train, in which its frightened cast are trapped, with the lights frequently going out (plenty of screams then) and the killer's voice frequently coming over the intercom system to terrorize them even more.

There's even a gorilla loose on board this train, for a short while. The film has a wild careening train car loose on the tracks climax which is genuinely fun in spite of the obvious rear screen projection. TCM occasionally shows this little gem, and it's well worth a look. And Carlisle is a lovely heroine. The part may be undemanding but she fulfils its requirements just fine.

Carlisle was interviewed by Filmfax in 1989 but I have been unable to locate that interview. Always adding to the frustration of film buffs is the knowledge that a few of the remaining direct participants of the Hollywood Golden Age still with us may be willing to recount memories of that time but are not contacted. I don't know, of course, whether this would apply to Ms. Carlisle who, according to one internet source, has a Beverly Hills address today. It would certainly be worth the effort, however, for someone to see if the lady may want to share some of her film anecdotes. With Mary Carlisle we are probably talking about, among other things, the last remaining person to have worked on the set of the legendary Grand Hotel.

So here's a heads up to those watching some of today's films to keep a eye open for pretty Mary Carlisle in the three films named (though you have to look for her quickly in Grand Hotel).

220px-Mary_Carlisle.jpg

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I remember when she died some obits on her said that she was the first actress with whom Bing Crosby worked more than once. Too bad they couldn't have found more interesting facts. That's not correct anyway - offhand I can think of two other actresses Bing worked with twice before he did with Mary Carlisle: Marjorie "Babe" Kane (in two Mack Sennett shorts, 1932 and 1933) and Kitty Carlisle (in two Paramount features, 1934).

But I did enjoy TCM's tribute to her, especially "College Humor" as it is not often shown.

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I watched Private Car and Dead Men over the wknd. (didnt get to Night Court yet) Private Car was a lot of fun! Fast paced and an exciting cliffhanger ending. Dead Men wasnt bad considering the low budget. Did a lot of work with shadows and darkness for effect. Mary didnt have really much to do in either.

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I enjoyed watching Mary Carlisle in College Humor.  I finally brought closure to a question in the back of my mind from one of my favorite movies, "Grand Hotel": Who is the actress playing the newlywed who walks into the lobby of the Grand Hotel with her new husband to register after Lionel Barrymore and Joan Crawford leave.  

I haven't seen a thread on George Formby yet but I will mention he was sort of hard for me to watch but I did.  I did find his half banjo/half ukulele interesting.  I have always wondered why TCM did not try to introduce its audience to actors "under the radar" of major stars and great character actors.  When I first started watching TCM Robert Osborne made me appreciate Harlow, Grant, Astaire and Rogers, Lombard, Davis, Olivier.  Now Ben Mankiewicz is introducing me to actors such as Mary Carlisle and George Formby.  I appreciate it and I hope TCM continues this programming strategy.   

 

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On 11/16/2018 at 8:22 PM, TomJH said:

I did a writeup here on Mary Carlisle in 2012 when TCM was showing a few of her films. Now that she's gone I guess it's not inappropriate to post it again.

 

Hers is a name that will only have a slight ring of familiarity to avid film buffs but today's Lionel Barrymore tribute on TCM will also have a tribute, of sorts, to pretty blonde Mary Carlisle, as well. That's because she appears in three of the MGM features, unbilled as a honeymooner in Grand Hotel, as well as playing Lionel's daughter in Should Ladies Behave and This Side of Heaven.

 

Carlisle, having turned 100 on February 3rd this year, is the last survivor of the 1932 WAMPAS Baby Stars. WAMPAS was an annual event (until 1934) by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers to promote 13 starlets (14 in 1932) that were hailed to be "stars of tomorrow."

That, unfortunately, didn't usually turn out to be the case, though Ginger Rogers is among those on the 1932 list. Carlisle, unfortunately, would be among the majority, with good roles and stardom eluding her Hollywood career.

 

Having said that, however, Carlisle worked in the studio system during one of its most legendary periods, the 1930s, and at a lot of the majors, MGM, Paramount and RKO. She had difficulty breaking free of the picture perfect, starry eyed ingenue roles, and would end her career at the Poverty Row Studios, her final appearance as a screaming heroine in PRC's Dead Men Walk before her decision to retire from the industry. (In her later years she would manage a Beverly Hills Elizabeth Arden Salon, as well as receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010).

 

The highlights of Carlisle's career were, perhaps, her three co-starring appearances in Bing Crosby musicals, College Humor (1933), Double or Nothing (1937) and Doctor Rhythm (1938).

 

Carlisle was, needless to say, very pretty. Her slightly chubby face reminds me a bit of Toby Wing, another pretty performer who never came close to star status, as well as Patricia Ellis, another would-be star and recipient of the 1932 WAMPAS selection.

 

As for Carlisle's films, I have a genuine affection for a 1934 MGM "B" she made, Murder in the Private Car. She has a screaming heroine in distress role in a strange mixture of humour (Charlie Ruggles and Una Merkel are the affable leads) and completely over-the-top melodrama. Rather than being set in a secluded house, this murder mystery is on a speeding train, in which its frightened cast are trapped, with the lights frequently going out (plenty of screams then) and the killer's voice frequently coming over the intercom system to terrorize them even more.

 

There's even a gorilla loose on board this train, for a short while. The film has a wild careening train car loose on the tracks climax which is genuinely fun in spite of the obvious rear screen projection. TCM occasionally shows this little gem, and it's well worth a look. And Carlisle is a lovely heroine. The part may be undemanding but she fulfils its requirements just fine.

 

Carlisle was interviewed by Filmfax in 1989 but I have been unable to locate that interview. Always adding to the frustration of film buffs is the knowledge that a few of the remaining direct participants of the Hollywood Golden Age still with us may be willing to recount memories of that time but are not contacted. I don't know, of course, whether this would apply to Ms. Carlisle who, according to one internet source, has a Beverly Hills address today. It would certainly be worth the effort, however, for someone to see if the lady may want to share some of her film anecdotes. With Mary Carlisle we are probably talking about, among other things, the last remaining person to have worked on the set of the legendary Grand Hotel.

 

So here's a heads up to those watching some of today's films to keep a eye open for pretty Mary Carlisle in the three films named (though you have to look for her quickly in Grand Hotel).

220px-Mary_Carlisle.jpg

 

Yes, I really enjoyed Murder in the Private Car. Fast paced. Fun. And that thrill a second climax!

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