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QUESTION ABOUT "VIRTUE" (1932)


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While watching "Virtue" this AM, I noticed that during the first minute or so of the movie (right after the opening credits) my TV screen was totally black....i.e.---NO PICTURE at all. Can someone who

has seen this movie prior to today please answer the following question for me: Was that deliberately

filmed that way, or was this a TCM glitch, or possibly a screw-up from my cable company?

THANKS A LOT for your help!

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I'm not entirely sure myself. I theorize it may have been intentional, in order to focus on the backstory of Mae (Lombard's character) without visuals getting in the way. If that was indeed the case, it certainly was different, to say the least.

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> {quote:title=VP19 wrote:}{quote}

> I'm not entirely sure myself. I theorize it may have been intentional, in order to focus on the backstory of Mae (Lombard's character) without visuals getting in the way. If that was indeed the case, it certainly was different, to say the least.

 

Yes, and that was a bad "artistic" idea. I could tell because the camera finally dollied back from the close-up of the rear of the cop's coat and that was like a "fade in" to the image.

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finance--It is listed in Maltin's Classic Movie Guide (my version has films up to 1960 although I understand the newest version goes up to 1965.) It was a worthwhile investment because it does list a lot of films the regular guide does not have in it. I'm assuming the regular Maltin book just got too big and a lot more folks like us are getting into old films that haven't been given their due. I actually mark all the films I've seen in both books. Sometimes I'll run across something I've marked and I can't remember it. LOL

 

I actually like Virtue and I normally don't care for Lombard (I've disliked her since her screechy turn in Twentieth Century--I want to smack her throughout.) Loved the scene with her smacking around Gert and I thought Mayo Methot was quite compelling. And Jack La Rue is such a good looking slimeball.

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The black screen for the first minute or so of VIRTUE was not intended to be seen that way. Although the movie has two long-lasting popular stars I can not find any concrete evidence it was ever theatrically re-released, as often happens with movies with big stars who continue to remain popular.

 

But at some point perhaps a reissue was considered then rejected but the opening scene was cut, then lost. Anyway since the scene basically makes it quite clear that the cops are telling Mae (Carole) to get out of town, you're a prostitute and we don't want your kind here, at some point it was cut. As I understand it, all that now survives for that scene is the soundtrack but no picture. So some prints have that first scene restored but the sound only with the black screen we saw on this print.

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If part of the opening scene was lost and only the audio survives, then whoever reissued it with this print should've made a better artistic choice. If I had edited it, I would've timed it and started the audio underneath the opening credits...then, when we reach the last of the credits, we go right into the scene where the image is now available. The way it is now it seems like a hack job. It's obvious something's missing/been lost. But again, if that lone audio track had just begun when we see the actors' names, it would've been very mood enhancing and just gone very naturally into the first available shot.

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This is interesting. I sometimes make a backup copy of a rarely shown film, and I made a second copy of this one, yesterday. After reading this, I compared the opening shown yesterday to the opening from the broadcast of a year or so ago. The earlier broadcast goes right from the opening credits to Lombard being escorted onto the train -- no audio-only opening.

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Perhaps the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a copy of the original script, or contemporary accounts (reviews, etc) of "Virtue." Then again, I don't know whether Sony still has the original Columbia archives, or if those moved from Gower Gulch to Culver City when Sony took over the lot initially built by Thomas Ince for Triangle and was later MGM's home for more than 60 years.

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> Interesting. I have 2 versions of the Maltin guide, 1990 and 2006, and neither one has VIRTUE.

>

VIRTUE is listed in Leonard's "Classic Movie Guide" which, as helenbaby pointed out, covers only older films, many of which were included in earlier editions of his "Movie Guide" book. But over the years as newer titles were added space limitations forced him to delete older and more obscure movies (much to the frustration of we fans of the older stuff).

In 2005 he put out the first "Classic Movie Guide" which not only restored all of those dropped titles, but added many that had never been listed before. That book covered films only up to 1960. He did not indented this version of his Guide to be printed annually, like the regular version, but every five years or so. And so the second edition came out last year. The big change this time is his extension of the cut-off year for inclusion of newer titles. Now the Guide includes movies made up through 1965.

 

Here is VIRTUE's entry:

 

Rating: Three stars.

(Running time, director, cast).

"Fine comedy-drama about the romance of streetwalker Carole Lombard and taxi driver Pat O'Brien, who has a thing against all women. Genuinely warm chemistry between the two stars and plenty of snappy pre-code patter spark this likable film, written by Robert Riskin."

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> {quote:title=VP19 wrote:}{quote}

> Perhaps the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a copy of the original script, or contemporary accounts (reviews, etc) of "Virtue."

>

I do know where to get a copy of the script, and I do have a few original 1932 reviews of VIRTUE, but the script wouldn't necessarily reveal anything, as we have do the soundtrack complete on the film as it has been shown. What needs to be found is the missing picture element, not the soundtrack or any description of the dialogue or sound.

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> My bad. I didn't notice that helenbaby's post said CLASSIC movie guide. Why doesn't he just include EVERYTHING in his regular guide? Would that make it too thick?

>

Yes, to try to put everything in one book would definitely make it way too thick. It just would not be practical. So after so many years of having older titles that had been dropped being unlisted anywhere, I think he had a good idea to compile a separate Guide that covers all the older stuff (although personally I wish he'd kept the latest edition at the cut-off year of 1960, and not extended it to 1965. I'm one whose interest in movies drops off sharply after 1960 and doesn't think of post-1960 movies as "old".)

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