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Claudette Colbert - Star of the Month


minatonga

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Hi all

 

I got the Feb issue of Now Playing and it says Claudette Colbert is the star of the month in March. I'm very happy about that since she is one of my all time favorites. I love her comedies, especially The Palm Beach Story and The Egg and I. I looked on the site here and it seems all her movies in March are ones TCM has shown numerous times. None of the Fred MacMurray/Colbert comedies is showing, just the same movies again.

 

I'm sure TCM would show her other movies if they had them. Has anyone here seen her movies The Gilded Lily, No Time for Love, and The Bride Comes Home? Have you seen them on TCM? Or do you know if they're on video?

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Although I was very pleased to see that Claudette Colbert is the Star of the Month in March, I was disappointed not to see the delightful "The Egg and I" listed. She was great in a Drama, but she also had a charming flair for Comedy, and I was hoping for a little better balance in the movie selection. ;)ML

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Sadly Colbert's films made for Paramount belong to the Universal Catalog, so I think that TCM may get them (someday) on lease-terms.

 

At least they have scheduled some Paramounts like "The Sign of the Cross", "Cleopatra" and "The Smiling Lieutenant", which are all very good. I also remember than when TCM aired for the first time the "Complicated Women" Documentary, as a part of a Pre-Code special month, they aired "Torch Singer" an excellent drama with Claudette, Ricardo Cortez and David Manners.

 

Also scheduled in March are Claudette's great Universal-released "Imitation of Life", Columbia-released "It Happened One Night" and the great TCM-owned "It's a Wonderful World!" (MGM) and "Tovarich" (WB), both fantastic.

 

Sadly, goodies such as "The Bride Comes Home", "The Gilded Lily", "I met Hin in Paris", "Arise My Love", "No time for Love", "Skylark",...and rarities such as "Under Two Flags" and "Maid of Salem", all Paramounts, are not even available on VHS. The same happens with her excellent "She Married Her Boss", which belongs to the Columbia catalog.

 

Another great Colbert movie scheduled in March is the very entertaining RKO "Without Reservations" with John Wayne and Don DeFore.

 

I would also like to see her in "The Egg and I" (Universal).

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BTW, although out-of-print, you can get second-hand, these movies on VHS format: "Cleopatra", "The Sign of the Cross", "Bluebeard's Eighth Wife", "Midnight" (EXCELLENT), "So Proudly We Hail" (all Paramounts), "Guest Wife" (RKO), but most of them are scheduled by TCM in March 2005.

 

Colbert's 1933 "I Cover the Waterfront" (United Artists)(which I've read is good) is available on a very cheap DVD edition and "The Palm Beach Story" (Paramount) is being released on DVD this month.

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I would like to see Claudette Colbert in "Three Came Home" (1950) in which she gave a stunning performance.

In fact this is the movie where she hurt her back and had to pass on starring in "All About Eve".

Another cute comedy is "Family Honeymoon" in which she starred with Fred MacMurray her co-star in the funny "The Egg and I".

 

Mongo

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I saw "Three Came Home" many, many years ago on TV (BTW it's also available on VHS/DVD), and is a very fine drama in which Claudette gets caught in the middle of a japanese invasion during WWII...she gives a great dramatic performance opposite Sessue Hayakawa.

 

From the same decade (1950s) I remeber a film in which she co-starred with Jack Hawkins, entertaining flick "Outpost in Malaya" aka "The?Planter's Wife".

 

Also I recall fondly her perfomance as Troy Donahue's mother in the 1961 "Parrish" (and Karl Malden's wife).

 

She was very good too, in a film I saw only once (on local TV), "Thunder on the Hill", as a Nun, with Ann Blyth playing a convicted murderess!!

 

Anything Claudette Colbert was in, was at least worthwhile!!

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Being a fan of Pre-Code films, I was looking through the December issue of Classic Images, which is a interesting trade paper dealing with Classic film, including articles, as well as a number of ads for copies of rare, classic films. In the issue, I saw an ad for a dealer who sells videos for a company called Forgotten Hollywood. Anyway, one of the videos they offer is a 1929 film called THE HOLE IN THE WALL, which stars Claudette Colbert, alongside Edward G. Robinson. I'd be really interested in seeing that! The company also offered two other Colbert Pre-Codes: TONIGHT IS OURS, with Fredric March, and THREE-CORNERED MOON (both from 1933). Just curious if anyone has seen any of these, as I may order them.

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feaito says "Anything Claudette Colbert was in, was at least worthwhile!!"

 

ITA, she's good in anything and I would like to see some of the movies mentioned here, especially Maid of Salem, even though I know they won't be on during her month.

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I love Claudette Colbert but I couldn't imagine her in "All about Eve" she is just too nice a Lady or at least that is the way she was always portrayed. And I'm sure she was. One of the few stars that I have a photo of on my wall.

Never saw a Colbert film that I didn't like

Eddie

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In fact Stoney, besides the aforementioned "The Sign of the Cross" (1932) and "Tonight is Ours" (1933), Claudette Colbert starred in two other Pre-Codes with Fredric March: "Manslaughter" (1930) and "Honor Among Lovers" (1931). It would be great to see them all.

 

Speaking of Claudette's films I'd like to see, another one on my list is "Private Worlds" with Charles Boyer, Joan Bennett and Joel McCrea.

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As I can see you love Pre-Code films and you'll go to the Library...I recommend to you these books:

 

"Sin in Soft Focus" by Mark Vieira.

"Complicated Women" and "Dangerous Men", both by Mick LaSalle.

"Hollywood Censored: Morality Codes, Catholics and The Movies" by Gregory D. Black.

 

In that Order.

 

I'm currently reading "Pre-Code Hollywood" by Thomas Doherty, and it's not as good as I thought it would be, 'cos it has too much historic-politics and I didn't like the style of his writing. The parts of the book which I've liked most, are when the author describes and analyzes certain "obscure" movies from the period.

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Interesting, feaito (and yes, I don't just love Pre-Code films, I love them!...also, as a former librarian, I don't.buy.books, I rent them), I went from this site:

 

http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/02.06.03/noir-0306.html

 

'the smoothly amoral Warren William'...so that's why I am gaa-gaa over the guy?

 

to Amazon, which lists all of the books you mentioned!

 

Thanks, I'm gonna have to get as many of these as I can read at one time, pull down the venetian blinds, put a coaster...oh, I've posted my MO....:)

 

Funny, the site I listed above said that Richard Gere tried to channel Warren William in Chicago...HA, not even on a GOOD day could that automaton channel even an actor, much less Warren William.

 

 

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Well I finally got my February Now Playing Guide today, I was thinking it must have been lost in the mail given this thread. In any case, I too am thrilled to see one of my favs Claudette Colbert as star of the month, particularly since I finally get to see her in Tovarich, Cleopatra, and The Sign of the Cross. Incidently, there was a blurb in this morning's paper about the scene in that precode where our star is taking a bath (nude) in milk. Ooh la la!

 

Also, given the fact that the cover of next month's issue is a (color!) picture of Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise from Rain Man, one can certainly see who TCM's latest target audience is.

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Warren William is widely discussed in some of these books, 'cos he really is one of the brightest male stars of Pre-Code Hollywood.

 

There are so many films of him I'd love to see: "The Match King", "Employees Entrance", "Upperworld", "Three on a Match", the great "Skyscraper Souls", "The Dark Horse", "The Mouthpiece", ...

 

Interestingly, two of the few films of his I've seen, are the only two? in which he co-starred with Colbert, the delightfully tongue-in-cheek 1934 DeMille version of "Cleopatra" (much sexier and amusing than Taylor's mammooth 1963 movie), in which he plays Julius Caesar and the Tearjerker Supreme "Imitation Of Life".

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Skyscraper Souls was wonderful, everything that makes me sorry I wasn't around in 1935 and more. I've seen Employees Entrance as well, only don't remember it right now.

 

Drat and blast, I haven't seen any of the others, will have to put them on my 'list'. Have you seen him as Philo Vance, he was...well, if you're in lust with him, that is...utterly delightful.:)

 

I'm so glad to see that he is given attention in those books -- until Cablevision came down from their mountain and deigned to give us Westchester peons TCM (and thus brought me here), I thought I was the only one who appreciated him, having seen him once on the now defunct AMC.

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Because of the high prices the out-of-print VHS of "Skyscraper Souls" has reached on the net, I bet it must be the "helluva-pre-code-movie"!! And from what I have read in one of the most interesting passages of Doherty's "Pre-Code Hollywood", William's portrayal of the ruthless businessman must be magnificent.

 

Another film featuring William I must buy someday is Capra's "Lady For a Day" (1933).

 

Never seen him as Philo Vance...BTW, Gotta see William Powell in "The Kennel Club Murder Case", which I got taped from TCM, he portrays Vance there, doesn't he?

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Fascinating. I liked Skyscraper Souls for its mood, the glorious shadows and elevators and shots of skyscrapers, real or not, I am not sure.

 

Yes, feaito, Powell was Philo Vance in a number of movies. As was Basil Rathbone, apparently, I'd like to see those.

 

By the way, TCM showed Skyscraper Souls, I believe. Hopefully, they will show it again.

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It was almost exactly a year ago that TCM last showed Skyscraper Souls, which thanks to a recommendation in the Great Movie Alert thread by sandy (where is she?), I was able to tape and then watch. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

 

And, it was last October 16th that TCM showed The Kennel Murder Case with William Powell & Mary Astor, directed by Michael Curtiz. I very much enjoyed that one as well, though it was a bit improbable, getting to see Powell before he starred in the "Thin Man" series. BTW, TCM also aired The Great Man Votes with Lionel Barrymore, which I've reviewed, that same night ... and I hope they'll show that one again too!

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You guys mention so many great pre-code films in this thread - it makes me wish TCM would have another festival of them, or at least give them a weekly spotlight.

 

I saw "Employee's Entrance" and loved it. And I worked in the library too Stoneyburke! Although I was just a clerk, not a Librarian. I actually borrowed this movie from the library, and lucky for me ours has a big selection of classics.

 

And March should be great with our lady Claudette at the helm. I just wish they would show more of her early stuff - I've always wanted to see "The Gilded Lily" - perhaps it's lost since I've never heard of anyone seeing it. And I'd like to see "Bluebeard's Eighth Wife" as well.

 

Another great Pre-Code that I loved was "Night After Night" with Mae West and George Raft. It was her first film and boy was it a doozie! There's this one scene where Raft roughs up some guy as Constance Cummings watches, and they show the look on her face and she's just seething with lust for him - so turned on by his tough guy persona. Even looking at it from today's standpoint it's heavy stuff.

 

Path - you're going to LOVE "Tovarich" - Colbert and Boyer are excellent, and it's a brilliantly done film, with a fine performance from Basil Rathbone as well. It's similar to "My Man Godfrey" since in the movie Colbert and Boyer work for a zany rich family. It's good stuff.

 

Feaito - have you ever seen "Lady For a Day?" It's awesome, and it was released on DVD but is now out of print. So look for a copy now, before they become obsolete, like the HBO Sam Goldwyn DVD's have. "Lady" was made by Capra was re-made by him in the 60's with Bette Davis as Apple Annie (played by May Robson in the original) and Glenn Ford in the Warren William role of Dave the Dude. I know TCM has played it before, and hopefully they do again.

 

And thanks for the great book recommendations, although I thought I read in another thread that "Complicated Women" and "Dangerous Men" weren't all that good? I remember all of us talking about those books about a year ago when TCM premired the documentary about Pre-Code films.

 

Another great book about some Pre-Code ladies is "Ginger, Loretta, and Irene Who? I can't remember the author, but it's a great book that gives a short biography of Ginger Rogers, Loretta Young, Irene Dunne, Kay Francis, and I think Miriam Hopkins. It's an excellent book but very hard to find.

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MovieJoe, as always we have the same tastes...I read and own "Ginger, Loretta and Irene Who?" by George Eells, which discusses the lives, careers and films of Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Ruth Etting, Loretta Young, Ginger Rogers and Irene Bentley. A great reading by all counts. Hard to find, but it's worth the "search".

 

Another books worthy to have for 1930's admirers are: "Hollywood Players-The Thirties", by James Robert Parish, with mini-biographies (5-6 pages each), plus stills, and full filmographies of such pros. as Elissa Landi, Arline Judge, Kay Johnson, Robt. Armstrong, John Beal, Anna May Wong, Sally Eilers, Glenda Farrell, Gail Patrick and many, many more.

 

Excellent too: "At the Center of the Frame-Leading Ladies of the '20s and '30s", which contains extensive interviews by William M. Drew, of Annabella, Billie Dove, Fay Wray, Marian Marsh, Anita Page, Dorothy Lee, Constance Cummings, Evelyn Venable, Jean Muir and Claire Trevor.

 

'30s fans...look for both Citadel Press (Carol Publishing Group) Books of Jerry Vermilye "The Films of the '30s" and "More Films of the Thirties" which analyze films by year, such as "Safe in Hell", "Make Way For Tomorrow", "The Bad One", "Gambling Lady", "Hot Saturday", etc. etc.

 

Another grrreaat one, and not at all expensive second-hand is from "Scarface to Scarlett" by Roger Dooley, which analyzes almost every film from the 1930s. Simply spectacular.

 

And also, three great books by James R. Parish which analyze extensively the careers and films of actresses, with full detailed filmographies: "The RKO Gals" (Ann Harding, Constance Bennett, Irene Dunne, Kate Hepburn, Anne Shirley, Lupe Velez, Joan Fontaine, Wendy Barrie, ...); "The Paramount Pretties" (CLAUDETTE COLBERT, Carole Lombard, Sylvia Sidney, Miriam Hopkins, Clara Bow, Mae West, Marlene Dietrich, ...) and "The Fox Girls" (Loretta Young, Janet Gaynor, Shirley Temple, Alice Faye, Sonja Henie, ...).

 

For sure I'm gonna buy "Lady For a Day", it seems it has been re-released, and I do own "Pocketful of Miracles" which I LOVE. Guess I'm gonna like even more Warren William-May Robson's version.

 

MovieJoe, I'm sure "The Gilded Lily" is not lost, Universal has not released it, as thousands of other '30s Paramounts, maybe because they think there's no market for them. Shame!

 

"Tovarich" is one of the GREATEST comedies ever, Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer are JUST MAGNIFICENT in it. Unjustly underrated and overlooked film (by critics).

 

"Night after Night" is another little gem of a film, simply dismissed as Mae West's debut film in which she stole "everything but the camera"...George Raft, Wynne Gibson, Alison Skipworth and Constance Cummings are all uniformly very good.

 

And trust me, Pre-Code and Early thirties Lovers, both "Dangerous Men" and "Complicated Women" are highly entertaining, fast reading, written in a very easy-to-understand-way (not in that usually obscure-very dense style that many films scholars utilize...they may think sophisticated and high brow, but which IMHO gets very boring indeed)...analyzing lots of films, actors and personaes...such as Richard Barthelmess, Warren William, Shearer, Garbo, Ruth Chatterton, Crawford, Mae Clarke, Jimmy Cagney...et al. You'll devour both!

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Yes, you'll have to see Lady for a Day feaito. I've seen both versions and feel the Warren William version is superior (and not just because I don't like Glenn Ford;-) You'll get a special kick out of Guy Kibbee in the original!

 

Can't wait to see Tovarich now that you and moviejoe have recommended it!!!

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Feaito - Just the other day I managed to find both "Ginger, Loretta, and Irene Who?" and "Dangerous Men" on Ebay for only a few dollars each. I can't wait to get them. I actually read the first book years ago, since believe it or not, it was in my high school library of all places.

 

I found "The Paramount Pretties" at a used bookstore and I grabbed it. I was also lucky enough to find "Films of the 30's" and it's sequel at a used bookstore - I LOVE those books - they're such a great resource. I also have another one "Films of the 40's" and the same company (Citadel Press) did "Films Of" books for almost every Golden Age Hollywood star you could name. They're great books, and many of them can still be found on Ebay.

 

Another nice one is "The Illustrated Who's Who of the Cinema" - it focuses mainly on Golden Age stars, and it's very nicely done with pictures of every star listed.

Also worth having is "The MGM Stock Company" - It gives a short but informative biography for every major M.G.M. star from the 30's - 50's, as well as a filmography for each. I don't have these two books with me right now, otherwise I would give the author name and publishing company of both.

 

Thanks Feaito for the other book recommendations - I'm going to look for them. The "Fox Girls" and "RKO Gals" both sound great. And I'm happy to hear that "The Gilded Lily" is still around. It is such a shame that this film and hundreds of others just lie rotting away, meanwhile there are so many of us who'd like to see them. TCM should really make a STRONG effort to lease these early Paramount classics from Universal and do a festival of them.

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A few other books worth having are "The Leading Ladies" by James Robert Parish. Its a big book featuring Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Rosalind Russell, Joan Blondell and Barbara Stanwyck.

Loaded with some great pictures and information.

Also "The Real Stars" (2 paperback books) featuring Hollywood's greatest character actors edited from the popular Film Fan Monthly. Indepth bios including that of Sara Allgood, Gladys George, Grady Sutton, Mary Wickes,

John Carradine, Lee Patrick, Dwight Frye (hunchback in "Frankenstein"), Laird Cregar, Patsy Kelly, Billy Gilbert etc.

Good stuff indeed.

 

Mongo

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