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"Mr. Smith" played by Lee Tracy in 1932 !


FredCDobbs
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This proves that a well-known film (MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON) is a repeat of a story that had already been told earlier in the decade. Of course, it comes down to whether you prefer Lee Tracy or James Stewart as the honest muckraker.

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I don't think I've seen The Power and the Glory, or maybe I got bored with it and turned it off.

 

 

I wonder if it would be interesting to have a month in which the forerunners of these films are shown early in the evening and the later films shown right after?

 

Another interesting pair are the first and third versions of The Maltese Falcon. These are based on the same book, and have a lot in common, but the first, being a pre-code, had more xxx in it.

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One of the most obvious thefts of a literary work that I've ever seen in film is THE LAST FLIGHT (1931).

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Flight_(1931_film)

 

Which is an outright theft of Hemmingway's THE SUN ALSO RISES (first published in 1926). Including the single dame and several guys wandering around Europe getting drunk after WW I, and even taking in a bullfight.

 

See this review of The Last Flight book:

 

A montage of World War I and Amer?icans in Paris in the 1920s, this novel by John Monk Saunders, author of Wings, is an almost perfect facsimile of the ?lost generation? novel?a readable and revealing imitation of the moods of The Sun Also Rises.

 

 

Whether early Hemingway or vin?tage Hollywood, Single Lady is certain to surprise and delight readers today.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Single-Lady-Lost-American-Fiction/dp/0809307618

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Washington Merry-Go-Round has long been one of my favorites. It's the first film I saw Lee Tracy in and he instantly became a favorite actor of mine. Definitely more cynical than Carpra's All-American effort, and a distinctly harder ending.

 

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Lee Tracy is a favourite of mine, too. Few actors of the pre-code era were quite such natural casting as fast talking reporters or fast talking con men or fast talking politicians or fast talking anything than Tracy. Perhaps only Pat O'Brien or Glenda Farrell had tongues quite so quick at that time.

 

It's been a while since I saw Washington Merry Go Round but, yes, I couldn't help but think of the later Capra film when I watched it too. As a matter of fact, I combined the two films together on a single disc because I thought they were such an appropriate double bill.

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> {quote:title=slaytonf wrote:}{quote}Washington Merry-Go-Round has long been one of my favorites. It's the first film I saw Lee Tracy in and he instantly became a favorite actor of mine. Definitely more cynical than Carpra's All-American effort, and a distinctly harder ending.

Since I've never been a fan of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, I liked Washington Merry-Go-Round much better. But the film that I was thinking of when I saw WM-G-R this afternoon was Walter Huston's Gabriel Over The White House, a much darker movie than either of them. And though I'm a huge fan of Lee Tracy, his persona doesn't seem to match his role here nearly as well as Walter Huston's or even Jimmy Stewart's do in their respective Washington movies.

 

Of course another thing about the two earlier movies that I really liked were the scenes staged in the Bonus Army encampment in southeast Washington's Anacostia Flats. Those scenes lent an immediacy and a sense of realism to the Tracy and Huston movies that I've always felt that Mr. Smith Goes to Washington lacks, in spite of its all-star cast.

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Tracy had originated the role on stage of the reporter in The Front Page, the part that would eventually morph into being Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday. Actually, Tracy is so good I could easily envision him playing the manipulative newspaper editor role, as well.

 

Tracy lacked Cary Grant's charm and sex appeal, of course, which is a large contributing fact to the success of the Howard Hawks comedy. When it came to fast talk and comedy timing, however, he could have given Cary a run for the money, though with Tracy there would have been a harder edge.

 

Still, I can't help but think of the contrast between these two actors, one a movie legend, the other a largely forgottten performer.

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Y'know, Finance, you hit upon an idea!

 

 

In that *Front Page* version you mention, Lee Tracy WOULD have been good as Hildy, and O'Brien would have been better as Burns than Menjou. Of course, I think the CHIMPAZEE who played CHEETAH would have been better than MENJOU in anything!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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We're starting to get away from Fred's original idea for this thread. But since we're mentioning the original stage version of THE FRONT PAGE, it is worth noting that it was Osgood Perkins (father of Anthony Perkins) who played Walter Burns opposite Lee Tracy as Hildy Johnson.

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

> I think Pat O'Brien might have been a bit young to play Walter Burns........I always liked Menjou, despite the fact that I myself am a t shirt and jeans guy.

Actually, Pat O'Brien had already played Walter Burns on the Broadway stage before he played Hildy Johnson in the film.

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