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Your Favourite Performances from 1930 to present are...


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Re: Mayo Methot - The first I knew of her was reading a bio on Bogart and all of the rough-n-tumble tales of their marriage. When I saw more older films, I started seeing her in small parts. I haven't seen either of the ones listed, but I've seen her in Dr. Socrates, Mr. Deeds, and the film that she made the biggest impression on me, Marked Woman. She had a definite hard edge that seemed authentic. I'd like to see more after reading her praises.

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Re: Mayo Methot - The first I knew of her was reading a bio on Bogart and all of the rough-n-tumble tales of their marriage. When I saw more older films, I started seeing her in small parts. I haven't seen either of the ones listed, but I've seen her in Dr. Socrates, Mr. Deeds, and the film that she made the biggest impression on me, Marked Woman. She had a definite hard edge that seemed authentic. I'd like to see more after reading her praises.

I've seen a handful of her films.  I know her mostly as Bogart's ex.  She hasn't made a big impression on me either way during the films I've seen with her in them, which generally indicates a talented actress.  For me to be able to watch someone with that off screen life and not notice her as herself is not something that happens often.

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Mayo Methot has a reasonable amount of screen time as a nightclub "hostess" (a euphemism for prostitute) in MARKED WOMAN, a Bette Davis film that gets a reasonable amount of play on TCM.

 

But I recall being quite impressed with her hard boiled performance in a similar type of role, as Carole Lombard's roommate in a fairly good little 1932 Columbia street drama called VIRTUE. If memory serves me correctly, her boyfriend in the film is played by Jack La Rue. Mayo made a bigger impression upon me than I expected, thinking that she came close to stealing the film from its two stars, Lombard, playing a hooker, and Pat O'Brien, as Carole's idealistic cab driver boyfriend.

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The Marx brothers are about so much more than physical comedy. Yes, the ridiculously crowded ship's cabin in Night at the Opera is laugh-out-loud funny, I love it too. But a lot of their comedy, mostly thanks to Groucho,  is extremely fast, clever, verbal humour. Groucho keeps the puns, backwards insults, and general word-play flying so fast, you have to be paying careful attention to catch it all. 

Another aspect of their humour that I love is their sense of the absurd. Nobody combines flights from reality, non sequiturs, and general mayhem into a crazy hilarious (duck) soup like Groucho, Harpo, and Chico. It's their celebration of chaos, their thumbing their noses at the stodginess of decorum, that I think is what I love best about them.

 

I completely agree with what you said here MissWonderly.  

 

The puns are my absolute favorite part, who doesn't love a good pun? I even love bad puns if they're really corny.  Lol.  I also love how absurd their films are.  Just when you think things couldn't get anymore ridiculous, they do.  I'm glad Zeppo quit.  He was not that funny. 

 

I also love watching Chico play the piano.  His piano playing style is so unique and is fascinating to watch.  I also love Harpo's harp playing. It's also interesting to note how much Harpo and Chico look alike.  If I didn't know that Chico was older, I would have thought they were twins! 

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I have seen Mrs. Patrick Campbell listed in the credits of movies and often wondered at why her named  appeared as such.

 

Was it a "Mrs. Norman Maine" type of choice for a stage name?

 

Maybe a quaintness of the times.  

 

"So long as they don't do it in the streets and frighten the horses!"

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I completely agree with what you said here MissWonderly.  

 

The puns are my absolute favorite part, who doesn't love a good pun? I even love bad puns if they're really corny.  Lol.  I also love how absurd their films are.  Just when you think things couldn't get anymore ridiculous, they do.  I'm glad Zeppo quit.  He was not that funny. 

 

I also love watching Chico play the piano.  His piano playing style is so unique and is fascinating to watch.  I also love Harpo's harp playing. It's also interesting to note how much Harpo and Chico look alike.  If I didn't know that Chico was older, I would have thought they were twins! 

 

I'm not certainly if it's actually true, but I've heard that Zeppo was the funniest Marx Brother off screen.

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It's also interesting to note how much Harpo and Chico look alike. If I didn't know that Chico was older, I would have thought they were twins!

There is a story in Harpo Marx's autobiography where he tells of pretending to be Chico when they were kids; if you see photos of them from that time they do look like twins!

 

Harpo's book is my favorite on this team. He led a really interesting life.

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I've noticed that nobody has been able to think of -or at least has not yet shared with us on this thread - choices for Best Juvenile Award for 1933.  It's not just me and Lawrence, then, having difficulty finding nominees for the award?  Or is it a matter of children in the movies we have seen not dominating our mind when we think of a movie from this year?  For example, I've seen Little Women, but when I think of performances that come to mind, only the adults plus Hepburn as Jo comes to mind. 

 

Meanwhile, the 1949 remake which switched around the ages of Amy and Beth so that Margaret O'Brian could play Beth I can name essentially everyone who appeared in the film without looking it up on imdb.  Obviously, I'm a fan of this version, but I have seen most versions of this book regardless of when it was made, so.....

 

I guess I'm asking whether anyone else who has seen Little Women 1933 see any candidates in the younger daughters?

 

 

 

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[...]I'm glad Zeppo quit.  He was not that funny.[...]

 

I actually like Zeppo. If he wasn't very funny by himself he at least contributed to some of Groucho's greatest moments, being one of the regular recipients of his verbal abuse and taking it with an unflappable ease, like water off a duck's back. In Horse Feathers, playing Groucho's son, his unfunniness was funny because he seems to be a huge disappointment to his 'father' for not being absurd enough. He seemed entirely used to it, patiently waiting for the usual stream of witty insults to subside.

 

I've come to miss Zeppo in the later films, more than anything because of the insipid and incongruous 'romantic leads' that were inserted in his absence. Zeppo himself was more of a pseudo-romantic lead, usually losing his girl along the way to the other three, if he has one at all. He was a figure of ridicule by the ridiculous. Allan Jones was never ridiculed by them, as much as he deserved it. Why- I even vastly prefer Zeppo's singing, being more of a throwback to a Vaudevillian sing-song style that I like to listen to.

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Here are my choices of the 59 films I've seen from 1933 for…

 

Best Supporting Actor of 1933

 

1.  JOHN BARRYMORE (Larry Renault), Dinner at Eight

2.  WALLACE BEERY (Dan Packard), Dinner at Eight

3.  LEE TRACY (Max Kane), Dinner at Eight

4.  GUY KIBBEE (Judge Henry G. Blake/"Mr. E. Worthington Manville),  Lady For a Day

5.  HERBERT MUNDIN (Alfred Bridges), Cavalcade

 

6.  LIONEL BARRYMORE (Oliver Jordan III), Dinner at Eight

7.  ONSLOW STEVENS (John P. Tedesco), Counsellor-At-Law

8.  EUGENE PALLETTE (Detective Sgt. Heath), The Kennel Murder Case

9.  GUY KIBEE (Abner Dillon), 42nd Street

10. PAUL LUKAS (Professor Fritz Bhaer), Little Women

 

and...

 

LOUIS CALHERN (Trentino, Ambassador of Silvania), Duck Soup

EDMUND LOWE (Dr. Wayne Talbot), Dinner at Eight

DORVILLE (Sancho Panza), Don Quixote (French version)

C. AUBREY SMITH (Robert Harley Hedges), Morning Glory

GIBB MCLAUGHLIN ("The French Executioner"), The Private Life of Henry VIII

GRANT MITCHELL (Ed), Dinner at Eight

JOE SAWYER (Sergeant Hunt), Eskimo

JOHN QUALEN (Johan Breitstein), Counsellor-At-Law

WALTER CONNOLLY (Count Romero), Lady For a Day

FRANK LAWTON (Joey Marryot), Cavalcade

FRANK MCHUGH (Francis), Footlight Parade

GORDON WESTCOTT (Roger Winston), Heroes For Sale

NORMAN FOSTER (Wayne Frake), State Fair

FRED STANTLEY (Will Seymour), Morning Glory

NAT PENDLETON ("Shakespeare"), Lady For a Day

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Bogie, looking at your supporting actor list, and seeing how highly you rank the performances of both John Barrymore and Lee Tracy in Dinner at Eight, makes me think of that final, almost savage scene they shared together in that film. That's the one in which agent Tracy, fed up with his pompous, has been actor client, cruelly lays the truth on the line to Barrymore.

 

I squirm with Tracy's vindictive delivery as he asks the actor if he ever looks into the mirror, how his looks are gone, and his body sags like a woman's. Tracy's words cut deeper than any knife as Barrymore is suddenly forced to face reality about himself and his future grim prospects as an actor. The role of Larry Renault had many parallels to Barrymore's own life at that stage of his career or, at least, soon would just around the corner. I sometimes wonder if the self destructive actor felt at all uncomfortable playing a role that could become a reality for himself within the film industry.

 

SPOILER ALERT FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T SEEN DINNER AT EIGHT:

 

The original plans for the suicide of Barrymore's character were to have his body lie in a squalid heap on the floor. It was Barrymore's own suggestion that his vain character, concerned about what people would think of him, even in death, arranged the setting and lighting such as he did to make himself appear "beautiful" once again. And it's a memorable scene, too, isn't it, as the overhead lighting is removed, the bags around his eyes seem to vanish and, for a moment, the years appear to roll away. Except, as we know, it is pure illusion.

 

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Here are my choices of the 59 films I've seen from 1933 for…

 

Best Actress of 1933

 

1.  GRETA GARBO (Queen Christina of Sweden), Queen Christina

2.  MAY ROBSON (Apple Annie/"Mrs. E. Worthington Manville"), Lady For a Day

3.  MARIE DRESSLER (Annie Brennan), Tugboat Annie

4.  IRENE DUNNE (Ann Vickers), Ann Vickers

5.  MAE WEST (Tira), I'm No Angel

 

6.  MAE WEST (Lady Lou/”Diamond Lil”), She Done Him Wrong

7.  BINNIE BARNES (Katherine Howard), The Private Life of Henry VIII

8.  HELEN HAYES (Stella Hallam), Another Language

9.  COLLEEN MOORE (Sally Gardner), The Power and the Glory

10. KATHARINE HEPBURN (Ada Love/”Eva Lovelace”), Morning Glory

 

and...

 

ELISSA LANDI (Eve Chilcote), The Masquerader

KATHARINE HEPBURN (Jo March), Little Women

BEBE DANIELS (Regina "Reggie" Gordon), Counsellor-At-Law

MIRIAM HOPKINS (Gilda Farrell), Design For Living

ANNABELLA (Anna), Quatorze Juillet

JOAN BLONDELL (Carol King), Gold Diggers of 1933

CLAUDETTE COLBERT (Julie Kirk), I Cover the Waterfront

BARBARA STANWYCK (Megan Davis), The Bitter Tea of General Yen

JOAN BLONDELL (Nan Prescott), Footlight Parade

DIANA WYNYARD (Jane Marryot), Cavalcade

JANET GAYNOR (Margy Frake), State Fair

MAE BUSCH (Molly “Sugar” Chase Hardy/'Lottie' on imdb), Sons of the Desert

MYRNA LOY (Belle Mercer Morgan), The Prizefighter and the Lady

 
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RE: Spoiler Alert for Dinner at Eight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know, although the two types of deaths are different causes, it is interesting that Barrymore's character dies in both Dinner at Eight and Grand Hotel, films we have been discussing in terms of supporting vs. leading in ensemble films.

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Four 1933 movies will be shown tomorrow night as part of the "Condemned" series:

 

The Story of Temple Drake

Design for Living

Baby Face

Wild Boys of the Road

 

All four are very much worth seeing.

 

Bogie, I'm glad you mentioned Colleen Moore in THE POWER AND THE GLORY, because I had forgotten to. For those who haven't seen that movie, you may think you're watching a first draft of CITIZEN KANE.

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Four 1933 movies will be shown tomorrow night as part of the "Condemned" series:

 

The Story of Temple Drake

Design for Living

Baby Face

Wild Boys of the Road

 

All four are very much worth seeing.

 

Bogie, I'm glad you mentioned Colleen Moore in THE POWER AND THE GLORY, because I had forgotten to. For those who haven't seen that movie, you may think you're watching a first draft of CITIZEN KANE.

 

Maybe we could keep this thread going like they do painting a huge expansion bridge.  We could return to 1933 in 84 weeks and maybe by that time I will have seen some of these recordings.

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Here are my choices of the 59 films I've seen from 1933 for…

 

Best Actor of 1933

 

1.  CHARLES LAUGHTON (King Henry VIII), The Private Life of  Henry VIII

2.  THE MARX BROTHERS: Groucho (Rufus T. Firefly), Chico (Chicolini), Harpo (Pinky*), and Zeppo (Bob Rolland), Duck               Soup

3.  JOHN BARRYMORE (George Simon), Counsellor-At-Law

4.  WALTER HUSTON (Judge Barney Dolphin) , Ann Vickers

5.  MALA (Mala/“Kripik”), Eskimo

 

6.  WALLACE BEERY (Terry Brennan), Tugboat Annie

7.  RONALD COLMAN (Sir John Chilcote/John Loder), The Masquerader

8.  RUDOLF KLEIN-ROGGE (Dr. Mabuse), The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

9.  WILLIAM POWELL (Philo Vance), The Kennel Murder Case

10. FEODOR CHALIAPIN, SR. (Don Quixote of La Mancha), Don Quixote (French version)

 

and ...

 

GARY COOPER (George Curtis), Design For Living

FREDRIC MARCH (Thomas B. Chambers), Design For Living

JOHN GILBERT (Don Antonio De la Prada, Spain's Ambassador to Sweden), Queen Christina

WARREN WILLIAM (Dave "the Dude"/"Uncle David Manville"), Lady For a Day

DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS, JR. (Joseph Sheridan), Morning Glory

ROBERT MONTGOMERY (Victor “Vickey” Hallam), Another Language

SPENCER TRACY (Thomas Gardner), The Power and the Glory

ADOLPHE MENJOU (Louis Easton), Morning Glory

 

* a bit of trivia: Harpo was called 'Brownie' in the Duck Soup press book

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I thought posters here might be interested in a small passage from a biography, Claude Rains: An Actor's Voice, about an encounter that the actor had with Charles Laughton in 1933 or 34 (Laughton had been a student of Rains's when Rains had been an acting teacher in England).

 

They encountered each other at a Salt Lake City airport terminal lunch room one day.

 

"Charles! You remember me? Rains?"

 

"Yes, yes," Laughton said, dispensing with the formality of a greeting. "I've just had the most extraordinary experience. I've been to the Tabernacle."

 

Rains then described Laughton's ensuing impromptu performance. "He was doing Brigham Young up and down the coffee shop."

 

The two finally boarded the plane, where Laughton proceeded to extol his own Oscar winning screen performance in Alexander Korda's The Private Life of Henry VIII. "He told me how wonderful he was," Rains recalled. The subject eventually turned to Rains's performance in The Invisible Man. Laughton became condescending.

 

"Good God Almighty, what did you do that for? A challenge? An extraordinary thing to do. I suppose you would accept a challenge like that."

 

"I got off the plant at Newark and got away from him," Rains said. "It was a long and uncomfortable ride."

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