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Kay Francis as SOTM January 2022


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Interesting tidbit about Kay that I don't think has been mentioned here or on TCM: Ross Hunter wanted Kay to appear in the Lana Turner version of Madame X (1966) playing Lana's mother in law. But Kay's health problems by then prevented her from accepting the part. Constance Bennett (who'd just had a facelift) was then cast. It wasn't much of a part, but it was glamorous and I'm sure Kay could've pulled it off. Would've been nice to see Kay one last time on the screen. (She would've been around 60 or 61 at the time).

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2 hours ago, Hibi said:

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/1948-press-photo-actress-kay-francis-3226363401

 

Here is something I came across about the sleeping pill incident while doing some searching. I'd forgotten her manager was held for awhile as a suspect!

The NYT has a story but you have to pay to read it.

Interesting...didn't know about all of that.

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15 hours ago, Hibi said:

Interesting tidbit about Kay that I don't think has been mentioned here or on TCM: Ross Hunter wanted Kay to appear in the Lana Turner version of Madame X (1966) playing Lana's mother in law. But Kay's health problems by then prevented her from accepting the part. Constance Bennett (who'd just had a facelift) was then cast. It wasn't much of a part, but it was glamorous and I'm sure Kay could've pulled it off. Would've been nice to see Kay one last time on the screen. (She would've been around 60 or 61 at the time).

Kay would actually have been more credible as the mother, since both Lana and John Forsythe were mid-to-late 40's at the time and Constance was only a few years older herself. (Though I think Constance was great in a frosty matriarch kind of way.)

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52 minutes ago, DougieB said:

Kay would actually have been more credible as the mother, since both Lana and John Forsythe were mid-to-late 40's at the time and Constance was only a few years older herself. (Though I think Constance was great in a frosty matriarch kind of way.)

Yeah, but Kay hadn't made a picture in 20 years. Am sure no studio would've bankrolled her in the lead. But yeah, the soap opera plot would've been a good fit for her acting wise. Bennett was only maybe 15 yrs older than Lana irl.

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40 minutes ago, Hibi said:

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/american-exotic-actress-kay-francis-1975362879

Can anyone tell me what Kay has next to her face? Is that some sort of dictaphone? I dont see any wires......

To me it looks like a waffle cone and her upper lip seems expanded in a way you wouldn't while talking. But would she allow herself to be photographed eating? Probably not, though it does say the photo's a candid.

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3 minutes ago, DougieB said:

To me it looks like a waffle cone, but would she allow herself to be photographed eating? Probably not.

LOL! Beats me. Seems like an odd picture to autograph! :D

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26 minutes ago, Hibi said:

LOL! Beats me. Seems like an odd picture to autograph! :D

It is odd. The headline says it's a candid photo, but then the description calls it promotional. If it were a candid intended for a friend who knew she liked ice cream it would make sense, but it's not the kind of thing you send out to a fan magazine (though somehow it ended up in the collection of one).

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I just updated the original post with the schedule info.

It looks like the last unknown title, at the end of the month, is FOR THE DEFENSE (1930) a very good Paramount precode in which Kay costars with Bill Powell. They were both under contract at Paramount in the late 20s/early 30s before they headed over to WB together. Of course she would stay at WB while he would move on to MGM.

FOR THE DEFENSE hasn't aired on TCM since 2015.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_the_Defense_(1930_film)

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13 hours ago, TopBilled said:

I just updated the original post with the schedule info.

It looks like the last unknown title, at the end of the month, is FOR THE DEFENSE (1930) a very good Paramount precode in which Kay costars with Bill Powell. They were both under contract at Paramount in the late 20s/early 30s before they headed over to WB together. Of course she would stay at WB while he would move on to MGM.

FOR THE DEFENSE hasn't aired on TCM since 2015.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_the_Defense_(1930_film)

Thanks for the link. I clicked it just to get a quick sense of the film but ended up reading every word of the synopsis. Sounds like a really good example that law and ethics aren't the same thing. Two of my favorite movies are courtroom dramas (Witness for the Prosecution and Anatomy of a Murder) so I'll definitely watch this one.

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5 minutes ago, Hibi said:

Yes, TCM has shown it a few times. It's one of the few Paramount films of Kays they HAVE shown. (Trouble in Paradise the other. I think its in the Public Domain)

It is not in the public domain.

TCM partnered with Universal (which controls the Paramount library from 1930 to 1949) when Universal released a restored print of FOR THE DEFENSE in 2015. I think it became part of a Universal vault series that featured some TCM-related extras, such a Robert Osborne intro. Part of the trade-off was that TCM broadcast it, presumably to stimulate DVD sales. 

It aired once in January 2015, then again in June 2015. And that was it.

Glad it's returning to the airwaves for Kay's month-long retrospective.

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Must be cheap to rent then. (For the Defense)

 

Has anyone noticed the snarky tone in the wrap arounds for Kay? First she's palmed off on Dave Karger (WHY didnt the Mank do it?) I've noticed several comments about Kay that were dismissive. "Limited Actress"; BRIEF time as Queen of the lot (it was 5-6 years. A LONG time for that status at ANY studio. Only Bette ruled longer at WB!)  Another going on about Ronald Colman in one Kay film and barely mentiong Kay! Then they skip a week for MLK day. WHY didnt they schedule her on another day of the week????

 

I know Karger knows little about older films, so someone else is writing the copy.

If they are  so dismissive of her, WHY pick Kay in the first place????

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8 hours ago, Hibi said:

Has anyone noticed the snarky tone in the wrap arounds for Kay? First she's palmed off on Dave Karger (WHY didnt the Mank do it?) I've noticed several comments about Kay that were dismissive. "Limited Actress"; BRIEF time as Queen of the lot (it was 5-6 years. A LONG time for that status at ANY studio. Only Bette ruled longer at WB!)  Another going on about Ronald Colman in one Kay film and barely mentiong Kay! Then they skip a week for MLK day. WHY didnt they schedule her on another day of the week????

 

I know Karger knows little about older films, so someone else is writing the copy.

If they are  so dismissive of her, WHY pick Kay in the first place????

This is one reason why I stopped watching the introductory and closing remarks. The hosts have transparent biases and often it gets in the way of enjoying the films. Also I don't like to give patronage to the whole idea of a D-list "celebrity" host using their position on the air for self-aggrandizement.

Classic film speaks for itself. It does not need people it will outlast, telling others how to watch it.

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13 hours ago, TopBilled said:

This is one reason why I stopped watching the introductory and closing remarks. The hosts have transparent biases and often it gets in the way of enjoying the films. Also I don't like to give patronage to the whole idea of a D-list "celebrity" host using their position on the air for self-aggrandizement.

Classic film speaks for itself. It does not need people it will outlast, telling others how to watch it.

I didn't perceive what the TCM host said about Kay as being dismissive or negative.    Instead I found the comments to reflect reality.      Francis was what I view as a decade-star: an actor that was a leading player and had a solid run but as the studio-system advanced,  as well as audiences tastes,   their run was limited in years,  with there career ending very suddenly,  before the age of 40.

E.g.  Last night Karger mentioned how she signed a 3 picture deal with poverty row studio Monogram Pictures.     Funny but as soon as I heard "poverty row" Hibi came to mind!    I.e.  would she view that as an unnecessary put-down of Kay?      I don't believe it is.    Google it and this is the first thing one sees:  Monogram was among the smaller studios in the golden age of Hollywood, generally referred to collectively as Poverty Row. 

 Karger did mention that since Kay was co-producers she had more control over the 3 films she made for them at the end of her career.  Anyone not familiar with Kay's career that had  seen the early 30's MGM or WB films  TCM showed last week and  now these Monogram films (where Kay is playing very shady,  often nasty, unfriendly characters,  and in two of them a criminal),     would welcome understanding why that came to be.

 

 

 

 

 

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On 1/24/2022 at 3:30 PM, Hibi said:

Has anyone noticed the snarky tone in the wrap arounds for Kay? First she's palmed off on Dave Karger (WHY didnt the Mank do it?) I've noticed several comments about Kay that were dismissive. "Limited Actress"; BRIEF time as Queen of the lot (it was 5-6 years. A LONG time for that status at ANY studio. Only Bette ruled longer at WB!)  Another going on about Ronald Colman in one Kay film and barely mentiong Kay! Then they skip a week for MLK day. WHY didnt they schedule her on another day of the week????

 

I know Karger knows little about older films, so someone else is writing the copy.

If they are  so dismissive of her, WHY pick Kay in the first place????

Totally agree.  I despise the fact that Karger got the nod for wraparounds.  Mank should have done it.  And, yes, I agree that many comments were negative  --   "limited actress," etc. but my favorite was (right out of Karger's mouth  --  I could not  believe it)  -- "She slept around a lot." What???? What a thing to say in an intro to the SOTM's films.  Gee, would he have said, Henry Fonda or another male star "slept around a lot??!" I don't think so.

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On 1/25/2022 at 1:58 PM, JamesJazGuitar said:

I didn't perceive what the TCM host said about Kay as being dismissive or negative.    Instead I found the comments to reflect reality.      Francis was what I view as a decade-star: an actor that was a leading player and had a solid run but as the studio-system advanced,  as well as audiences tastes,   their run was limited in years,  with there career ending very suddenly,  before the age of 40.

E.g.  Last night Karger mentioned how she signed a 3 picture deal with poverty row studio Monogram Pictures.     Funny but as soon as I heard "poverty row" Hibi came to mind!    I.e.  would she view that as an unnecessary put-down of Kay?      I don't believe it is.    Google it and this is the first thing one sees:  Monogram was among the smaller studios in the golden age of Hollywood, generally referred to collectively as Poverty Row. 

 Karger did mention that since Kay was co-producers she had more control over the 3 films she made for them at the end of her career.  Anyone not familiar with Kay's career that had  seen the early 30's MGM or WB films  TCM showed last week and  now these Monogram films (where Kay is playing very shady,  often nasty, unfriendly characters,  and in two of them a criminal),     would welcome understanding why that came to be.

 

 

 

 

 

No, I didn't take it that way. Plenty of Monogram films were more entertaining than A films from other studios. But there were plenty of  snarky comments from Karger in other wraparounds. I dont blame Karger for this, but whoever wrote the copy. (am sure it wasnt him, with his limited knowledge of older films). Just seems odd to pick Kay for SOTM then belittle her in the commentary of the films shown.

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13 hours ago, lydecker said:

Totally agree.  I despise the fact that Karger got the nod for wraparounds.  Mank should have done it.  And, yes, I agree that many comments were negative  --   "limited actress," etc. but my favorite was (right out of Karger's mouth  --  I could not  believe it  -- "She slept around a lot." What???? What a thing to say in an intro to the SOTM's films.  Gee, would he have said, Henry Fonda or another male star "slept around a lot??!" I don't think so.

YES! With men AND women!!!! I've read both bios of Kay and I don't recall in either book they found any proof of that (though there were rumors). Considering all of her husbands and male lovers, I don't think Kay focused on women. And you are right! A host wouldnt have said that about a male star. Sexist and in BAD taste!!!

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Well Karger was at it again last night. Among the inaccuracies from just the early films I heard:

"Kay's BRIEF career."  SIXTEEN YEARS is a brief movie career?????????

Paraphrasing: Kay was no longer queen of the lot when she made Confession in 1937. She most certainly WAS. She wasn't relegated to B films until 1938. And even then, she was still making top salary (5,000/wk) Bette started rising in 1938, but she didnt officially become "queen" until 1939 when she took over Kay's dressing room!

WHO RESEARCHES THIS STUFF??????? You'd think at least Karger would double check the copy he's given to say (am sure he didn't write it)

I didnt stay up past the Confession intro, so who knows what else he said!

EPIC FAIL, TCM, for this entire SOTM presentation!!! RO wouldn't be proud! Sad.

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1 hour ago, Hibi said:

Well Karger was at it again last night. Among the inaccuracies from just the early films I heard:

"Kay's BRIEF career."  SIXTEEN YEARS is a brief movie career?????????

Paraphrasing: Kay was no longer queen of the lot when she made Confession in 1937. She most certainly WAS. She wasn't relegated to B films until 1938. And even then, she was still making top salary (5,000/wk) Bette started rising in 1938, but she didnt officially become "queen" until 1939 when she took over Kay's dressing room!

WHO RESEARCHES THIS STUFF??????? You'd think at least Karger would double check the copy he's given to say (am sure he didn't write it)

I didnt stay up past the Confession intro, so who knows what else he said!

EPIC FAIL, TCM, for this entire SOTM presentation!!! RO wouldn't be proud! Sad.

You have to wonder if they were, in the backs of their minds, comparing her to Bette Davis throughout this series. If so, and they prefer to play up Bette's legacy over Kay's, then why not just do an endless loop of Davis films and stop belittling Kay's many accomplishments.

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2 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

You have to wonder if they were, in the backs of their minds, comparing her to Bette Davis throughout this series. If so, and they prefer to play up Bette's legacy over Kay's, then why not just do an endless loop of Davis films and stop belittling Kay's many accomplishments.

RIGHT! Why feature Kay in the first place then? I guess she's a "cheap" SOTM as they have easy access to her WB films. But there's no need to present her in such a tacky and inaccurate fashion. That sleeping around comment would've never got past RO.  Sad.

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