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I think Susan Strasberg and Christopher Jones were married at the time CHUBASCO was made.  That's a movie I'd have bought on video had it ever been made available. 

 

    Another:  THE GENTLE RAIN (1966) w/Christopher George and Lynda Day. 

 

    Also:  Coming up on March 31 is another movie I don't think has ever been made available on a homevideo medium:  SOL MADRID (1968). 

 

      

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I think Susan Strasberg and Christopher Jones were married at the time CHUBASCO was made.  That's a movie I'd have bought on video had it ever been made available. 

 

    Another:  THE GENTLE RAIN (1966) w/Christopher George and Lynda Day. 

 

    Also:  Coming up on March 31 is another movie I don't think has ever been made available on a homevideo medium:  SOL MADRID (1968). 

Yes, you have to wonder why some films get home video releases and others never do. 

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screen-shot-2015-03-27-at-10-02-26-am.pn

 

MovieCollector says WONDER MAN last aired on TCM in January 2013. That would have been when there was an all-day 100th birthday tribute to Danny Kaye.

 

screen-shot-2015-03-27-at-10-01-42-am.pn

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Tomorrow on TCM:

 

This is the production where an enraged John Barrymore threw Virginia Weidler across the set when she fidgeted with his tie on camera. TCM hasn't aired it since May 2011.

 

screen-shot-2015-03-29-at-7-22-24-am.png

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Tomorrow on TCM:

 

This is the production where an enraged John Barrymore threw Virginia Weidler across the set when she fidgeted with his tie on camera. TCM hasn't aired it since May 2011.

 

screen-shot-2015-03-29-at-7-22-24-am.png

It's also a film with a touching performance by Barrymore, the last serious performance of his career.

 

The following is from The House of Barrymore, by Margot Peters:

 

His next film, however, was another effort to star him in a serious vehicle. Garson Kanin, a new director at RKO, saw Barrymore and only Barrymore as Gregory Vance, an alcoholic ex-Harvard professor turned night watchman in The Great Man Votes.

 

"Nothing doing," said RKO producer Pandro S. Berman.

 

"Why not?"

 

"We don't want him here."

 

"You don't want him here. The greatest actor in America?"

 

"Was."

 

"Could be again. In this part."

 

"He's not going to work on this lot. He's unreliable and irresponsible and impossible."

 

But Berman owed Kanin a favour, and Kanin went to Jack's house in Bel Air. When Jack finally answered the door, he was stark naked. "They keep leaving," he said, excusing the lack of servants. "More of them leave than we ever hire." Then suddenly he looked down. "Would you excuse me while I slip into something more comfortable?" he fluted, and minced off up the stairs. But when Kanin outlined the script and came to the surprise conclusion, Jack roared, "When do we start?"

 

Before shooting they met at Chasen's for dinner. Jack was as usual early so he could get a head start on "the giggle water." Kanin tried to order dinner, but Jack kept tapping the rim of his glass until the bartender had poured eight or nine martinis. When Kanin protested he was starving, "I'm sorry," said Jack with dignity, "but I simply cannot eat on an empty stomach!" He was indifferent to dinner when it finally came, but as he got into his chauffeured car he thanked Kanin for the splendid repast.

 

"Thank you, Mr. Barrymore."

 

Jack gave his short, barking laughing. "Mr. Barrymore!" he said derisively, and was driven away.

 

It was as though he was embarassed at being reminded of his lost dignity by a stranger, thought Kanin, but it gave him an idea of how to handle John Barrymore for The Great Man Votes.

 

When Jack arrived on the set the first day he was "Mr. Barrymored" from the gatekeeper to the makeup man. Finally a cameraman who had worked with him before offered his hand.

 

"Good morning, Mr. Barrymore."

 

Jack snorted. "What the hell is all this Barrymore s h i t? Who's Mr. Barrymore, for Christ's sweet sake? You must think I'm Lionel."

 

Kanin found him prompt, cooperative and prepared, though he insisted on the notorious blackboards. Often reading them required unusual gymnastics, like turning his head sharply to scratch the back of his neck. Kanin suggested the boards were more trouble than they were worth since Mr. Barrymore seemed to know his lines perfectly.

 

"Of course I know my lines," said Jack with a cold stare. "I always do." But this unbalanced verbal highwire artist needed a safety net.

 

He amazed Kanin the way he could produce tears, floods of tears, discrete tears. "What do you think?" he asked Kanin. "Did you like that little one first and then the big one or would it be better with the big one first and then the little one?" In the next scene he produced the big tear first and then, just when the camera was about to stop grinding, the little one sprang out of his eye.

 

"Oh, Christ!" he told the fascinated director. "The crying thing is nothing. All women can do it. Can do it? Hell, they do do it. And kids . . . When I was about seven, I watched Ethel do it, and Lionel, and it gave me an idea. I went off into the bathroom for about an hour or so every day and practiced. But it isn't acting. It's crying." Some people, he assured Kanin, could f a r t at will, a trick he's regrettably been unable to master. He boomed with laughter. "Did you ever hear of Le Petomane? The great French cabaret performer? That was his act. Farting. He was a tremendous hit. I saw him once when I was a kid. He'd come out and give a sort of dissertation on the subject and illustrate the different kinds. I remember that for a finish, he farted La Marseillaise. How could I forget it? But I mean to say, I wouldn't call that acting, would you?"

 

The only problem on the set was Virginia Weidler, a child actress so adroit that Jack immediately dubbed her "Mrs. Thomas Whiffen" after the old pro who acted with John Drew on his last tour. In one scene Jack has Virginia on his lap as he tells her and her brother about their dead mother. Jack was playing beautifully, but Kanin found himself watching the cunning way little Virginia was twisting Barrymore's necktie around her finger. Suddenly Jack screamed.

 

"God damn it! What the hell do you think you're doing, you hammy little ****!" He hurled the terrified child across the set. "Who the hell do you thinking you're acting with, you silly little brute. Silly, hell - crafty, God damn you, crafty! I ought to kick you in the . . ."

 

"Mr. Barrymore, please!" said Kanin.

 

"Don't tell me," Jack shouted. "Virginia. I've messed it up with bitches like her before. They don't fool me."

 

Perhaps because satire never appeals to the masses, perhaps because John Barrymore had long ceased to being a box office draw, The Great Man Votes went nowhere, a fact that depressed Jack, when had given his best. Gregory Vance was simply too verbal. Alec Woollcott had called the pre-talkies period "the last time in America that was written word was paramount." By 1939 even the spoken word in movies was no longer paramount, a trend that would hit rock bottom in "method actors" like Marlon Brando and James Dean. When Joseph Mankiewicz was asked why he no longer wrote and directed films like his brilliant All About Eve (1950), he said, "People no longer come to films to listen - they come to stare." John Barrymore was above all a verbal actor, flinging phrases like roses in The Great Man Votes: "my bacchanalian buddy . . . rancor in the breast . . . the plethora of my fragrance . . . chameleon whimsies . . . I seem to detect a perspicacity only too rare these days." Certainly the public's tolerance for these verbal gymnastics was only too rare. It gave The Great Man Votes a cold shoulder.

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Thanks Tom...you gotta love the dialogue the writer of that book invented, since it was obviously constructed based on interviewee's recollections (the author was not present during those original conversations). Plus I have a hard time believing those men didn't use expletives in a lot of their everyday speech, especially when talking about Barrymore.

 

Did the author reference Barrymore's bodily harm of costar Weidler...or is that left out of the canonization edition? 

 

Not knocking Barrymore (a truly great actor), but the man was a demon in his later years. These books tend to make it seem like he was still a well-liked bankable star at the end, but the reality was otherwise.

 

Also, the author tends to ignore the fact that John Barrymore Jr. became a method actor in the 50s and 60s. In the beginning he was a matinee idol, especially in a film like QUEBEC-- and I am sure his casting was in hopes of attracting viewers who would stare at him and desire him like they would Brando, Dean and countless others.

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Barrymore became one of Weidler's biggest boosters after the incident.  Maybe it was out of self preservation, I don't know.

 

He was quoted in publicity articles saying she was "Hollywood's Greatest Actress" and when he did a list of his most interesting women he placed her next to Ethel and his sainted mother. Another publicity item had Barrymore on the set of THE PHILADELPHIA STORY telling Grant and Hepburn how lucky THEY were to be working with Virginia.

 

It's a little over the top and silly, but I get a kick out of it.

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Barrymore became one of Weidler's biggest boosters after the incident.  Maybe it was out of self preservation, I don't know.

 

He was quoted in publicity articles saying she was "Hollywood's Greatest Actress" and when he did a list of his most interesting women he placed her next to Ethel and his sainted mother. Another publicity item had Barrymore on the set of THE PHILADELPHIA STORY telling Grant and Hepburn how lucky THEY were to be working with Virginia.

 

It's a little over the top and silly, but I get a kick out of it.

Yep, ginnyfan-- sounds like he was working overtime to save face. I am glad for Weidler's sake it was done, because if he had died without any of that publicity nonsense, we never would have known if things were made right by her. Of course, if someone did what he did to her today on a set, there would be charges filed with the police (child abuse with plenty of witnesses). It would be a career ender.

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Thanks Tom...you gotta love the dialogue the writer of that book invented, since it was obviously constructed based on interviewee's recollections (the author was not present during those original conversations). Plus I have a hard time believing those men didn't use expletives in a lot of their everyday speech, especially when talking about Barrymore.

 

Did the author reference Barrymore's bodily harm of costar Weidler...or is that left out of the canonization edition? 

 

Not knocking Barrymore (a truly great actor), but the man was a demon in his later years. These books tend to make it seem like he was still a well-liked bankable star at the end, but the reality was otherwise.

 

Also, the author tends to ignore the fact that John Barrymore Jr. became a method actor in the 50s and 60s. In the beginning he was a matinee idol, especially in a film like QUEBEC-- and I am sure his casting was in hopes of attracting viewers who would stare at him and desire him like they would Brando, Dean and countless others.

That's the complete account of Great Man Votes, according to Peters. There are no reference to physical injuries sustained by Virginia Weidler in that set incident. Did she suffer any?

 

It's interesting that as a seasoned actor of all the mediums, Barrymore felt angered and insulted by someone trying to steal a scene from him, and the fact that it was a child didn't mitigate his wrath. Still, this is Barrymore towards the end of his life when he was, to put it mildly, an increasingly erratic, volatile personality. Accounts from years earlier of the two Barrymore brothers trying to steal scenes from one another in their Rasputin and the Empress or Night Flight days has quotes from John in which he speaks affectionately about Lionel for doing so. ("Ah, that's a brother of whom to feel proud" sort of thing).

 

I like this colourful passage of the making of the film from the book because it provides us with a great line attributed to Barrymore ("I simply cannot eat on an empty stomach" in reference to his pre-meal drinking), as well as an illustration of his ability with tall tales (that bit about the unusual manner in which he claims to have heard La Marseillaise performed by a cabaret performer).

 

Perhaps, above all, though, I find interesting Garson Kanin's attempts to gain a more concentrated performance from the actor by having all on the set pay him respect as an artist with the "Mr. Barrymores." It had probably been a long time since a man who had made a public spectacle of himself time and again had been spoken to that way. Barrymore had a lot of self contempt for the manner in which he had largely squandered his great gifts as an actor in his later years. Perhaps it's not a coincidence that on a set in which he was called "Mr. Barrymore" by everyone he dug deeper for a serious characterization than he had in a long time. He would never do it again.

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Perhaps, above all, though, I find interesting Garson Kanin's attempts to gain a more concentrated performance from the actor by having all on the set pay him respect as an artist with the "Mr. Barrymores." It had probably been a long time since a man who had made a public spectacle of himself time and again had been spoken to that way. Barrymore had a lot of self contempt for the manner in which he had largely squandered his great gifts as an actor in his later years. Perhaps it's not a coincidence that on a set in which he was called "Mr. Barrymore" by everyone he dug deeper for a serious characterization that he had in a long time. He would never do it again.

I agree that he was trying to re-prove himself in this film. He does turn in a good performance. So do the kids. It's a solid little film and TCM should not wait until four years to play it again.

 

I've always thought TCM should broadcast it every November around election time.

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I agree that he was trying to re-prove himself in this film. He does turn in a good performance. So do the kids. It's a solid little film and TCM should not wait until four years to play it again.

 

I've always thought TCM should broadcast it every November around election time.

 

If I had to choose one classic film to show on every election day, it would be The Dark Horse, with Warren William as a Svengali-like campaign manager, and Guy Kibbee as the clueless puppet whom William designates to run for governor.

 

The money quote from the movie is delivered by William, when in an unguarded moment he says of his candidate, "Every time he opens his mouth, he subtracts from the sum total of human knowledge."  That could easily describe many candidates who've been in the news lately, but since this isn't a political thread, I'll simply let it go as a nonpartisan observation.

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If I had to choose one classic film to show on every election day, it would be The Dark Horse, with Warren William as a Svengali-like campaign manager, and Guy Kibbee as the clueless puppet whom William designates to run for governor.

 

Another good one in this vein is THE GREAT MCGINTY. Probably Preston Sturges was inspired by THE DARK HORSE.

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Another good one in this vein is THE GREAT MCGINTY.

Absolutely.  That would be the second half of a double feature.  The first 10 or 15 minutes of that movie may be the best 10 or 15 minutes of any Preston Sturges film, and that's saying a lot.   The combination of Brian Donlevy, William Demarest and Akim Tamiroff is unbeatable.

 

PAY THE LUG!

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That's the complete account of Great Man Votes, according to Peters. There are no reference to physical injuries sustained by Virginia Weidler in that set incident. Did she suffer any?

In one account, maybe Kanin's, the person who got the worst of it wasn't one of the principals. It was Peter Holden. Holden had witnessed this and went absolutely hysterical...LAUGHING. He couldn't stop laughing at the top of his lungs and didn't until his mother slapped him hard.

 

I wonder if this is why he gave up acting?

 

Another story Kanin used to tell was of Barrymore needing to have chalkboards up containing every one of his lines, even one word answers.  Kanin questioned this and Jack allegedly replied, "Suppose the answer is 'yes' and I say 'no'. Then where would you be?"

 

Just for fun, here's a publicity interview with Barrymore on THE GREAT MAN VOTES.

 

n3qmup.jpg

 

Virginia had a rough time with Barrymore films. Besides the "Weidler toss", she was fired from MOBY DICK in 1930 at age three because she was supposed to take her dress off in a scene and she wouldn't do it.  A couple of years later, she got a near extra part in LONG LOST FATHER. She played "Girl On Pier."

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Thanks Ginnyfan for providing the article. The headline makes me smile. Of course, he likes his latest role in his latest movie-- he was paid well for it, wasn't he? Who wouldn't like it.

 

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Tomorrow on TCM:

 

220px-goodbye_children_film.jpg

 

Louis Malle's wonderful film hasn't aired on TCM since May 2012. It's worth seeing!

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Louis Malle's wonderful film hasn't aired on TCM since May 2012. It's worth seeing!

 

I'm not sure 'wonderful' is the best word to describe AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS. I'd go with 'heartbreaking'. Having said that, I would still recommend the film.

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I'm not sure 'wonderful' is the best word to describe AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS. I'd go with 'heartbreaking'. Having said that, I would still recommend the film.

Oh but it is quite wonderful-- wonderful direction, wonderful performances and wonderful cinematography. I think you are looking at the story, which is quite somber. But I am looking at the craftsmanship of this fine motion picture-- one of Malle's best in my view.

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Tomorrow on TCM:

 

220px-goodbye_children_film.jpg

 

Louis Malle's wonderful film hasn't aired on TCM since May 2012. It's worth seeing!

 

TCM is giving us a whole evening of Louis Malle films.

Yes!

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TCM is giving us a whole evening of Louis Malle films.

Yes!

Yes, I am excited about it, too. I wish in August they would allow one of the days for Summer Under the Stars to feature a well known 'star' director. (They'd probably choose Hitchcock for the first such honoree.) I'd love to see a whole day of Malle's movies on TCM. But in the meantime, we'll take what we can...right?

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Tomorrow on TCM:

 

images36.jpg

 

It's been over a year since ZORBA aired on TCM (back in January 2014). We're beginning a month-long tribute in honor of Anthony Q.

 

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