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A United Artists Retrospective Scrapbook: 1933


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So, I've caught up with everything, and all the retrospectives done so far have been archived at this site: https://hollywoodhistoryinpictures.wordpress.com/blog-feed/

Now, lets see here, UA in 1933, we have an Oscar winner this year, careers going into retirement or hiatus , and of course, pre-codes.

Al Jolson started the year with the musical Hallelujah, I'm a Bum.

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The Adventures of Don Quixote was a European made take of the Spanish perennial that was directed by GW Pabst.

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Yes Mr. Brown was a comedy that has been lost to time, although the BFI wants to find it.

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Gloria Swanson went into semi-retirement after the amusing Perfect Understanding which paired her with a young Lawrence Olivier. She would be back several times afterwards, famously with Sunset Boulevard, but this marked the end of the main part of her career.

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Secrets though did mark the end of an on-screen career. The story of a long-suffering wife who puts up with years of her husband's indiscretions, it was the final film for Mary Pickford. She remained a wheeler-dealer behind the scenes, but she never made a film again, not even when she was almost lured out of retirement for the 1956 film Storm Center.

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Claudette Colbert was the daughter of a prime suspect in I Cover the Waterfront. She fell for the investigator on the case.

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Samarang was a pre-code romance adventure.

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Noel Coward's play Bitter Sweet came to the screen for the first time. This version is more faithful to the original play than the McDonald/Eddy version of a few years later.

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Ronald Colman had a double role in The Masquerader as both a member of Parliamenty felled by drug addiction and as a look alike enlisted to take his place.

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Charles Laughton won an Oscar for playing the notorious king in The Private life of Henry VIII
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Paul Robeson had the lead in The Emperor Jones, an early example of cinema with black leads.

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It should be said at this point that UA handled some films made by an upstart company called 20th Century. Yes, the same 20th Century that would become part of Fox a few years later. But originally, they were UA titles, and The Bowery with Wallace Beery, George Raft, Jackie Cooperm, and Fay Wray was the first of them.

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Broadway Through a Keyhole was a saucy musical

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Blood Money was the saga of a crooked bail-bondsman.

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Lee Tracy was in charge of a lonelyhearts column, a proposition that seems rather shocking.

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Roman Scandals closed the year and was another Eddie Cantor musical. This time, his support was given by Ruth Etting and Gloria Stuart.

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Lots of good ones this year.

THE PRIVATE LIFE OF HENRY VIII is at the top for me, followed by THE BOWERY and BLOOD MONEY. I also like PERFECT UNDERSTANDING and SECRETS.

These 20th Century Pictures, produced by Zanuck, are now owned by Fox. So I think he just used UA for distribution.

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  1. Hallelujah, I'm a Bum: My favorite Harry Langdon talkie and Jolson musical.
  2. Secrets: Sad to see Pickford's on-screen career go out on such a meh title.
  3. The Masquerader: A dress rehearsal for The Prisoner of Zenda?
  4. Advice to the Lovelorn: A barely recognizable adaptation of Nathaniel West's Miss Lonelyhearts.
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