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Carole Lombard October Star of the Month

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Carole Lombard October Star of the Month

Postby moira finnie » October 3rd, 2008, 11:35 am

At long last, Carole Lombard is about to be honored as the featured actress on Mondays in October on TCM. Here's a spot where we can gab about the familiar and the rare flicks this month, all featuring that sylph-like blend of humor and elegance wrapped in the fetchingly amusing and touching actress, Miss L. I look forward to your comments.
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I'm so happy that the very funny Twentieth Century is finally back on tv, along with those Mitchell Leisen directed movies with Fred MacMurray. Thank goodness Hands Across the Table and Swing High, Swing Low are being taken out of the vault at last.

I hope that The Eagle and the Hawk with Fredric March & Cary Grant on screen is as good as it sounds from what I've read about it--though Carole is said to be in the movie only briefly.

If you missed Virtue (1932) last time it was broadcast, I hope you'll catch it this month. There's realistic, tough gal talk in this nifty little pre-code from Lombard and Mayo Methot , (who has what may be her best role in any movie), with Pat O'Brien when he was young and frisky along for the rough, Depression era ride.

Vigil in the Night, which may be one of Lombard's least characteristic roles as a self-sacrificing nurse in A.J. Cronin's story has her and Brian (sigh) Aherne pining for one another from afar...well, not too far. A very young Peter Cushing pops up unexpectedly as well. This was not a success when released, but I really liked aspects of it.

Here's a complete rundown of the movies:

October 6th, starting at 8pm EDT:
Twentieth Century
Hands Across the Table
Nothing Sacred
Lady By Choice
The Gay Bride

October13th starting at 8pm EDT:
My Man Godfrey (1936)
No Man Of Her Own
Fools For Scandal
Swing High, Swing Low

October 20th starting at 8pm EDT:
The Eagle and the Hawk
Brief Moment
Virtue
No More Orchids
The Racketeer

October 27th starting at 8pm EDT:
To Be or Not to Be (1942)
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Vigil In the Night

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Postby srowley75 » October 3rd, 2008, 12:36 pm

I'm also glad to finally see a month dedicated to the Profane Angel.

I admit that my memory is weak, but I don't remember Twentieth Century ever being broadcast on TCM. I adore that film and think that both Barrymore and Lombard are brilliant (especially throughout the opening sequence, in which Barrymore hilariously declares his love for the "charming people" in the theatre). Unfortunately, however, I've stopped recommending it to people because most of my friends have despised it (and God knows it's hard enough to convince some of them to give a classic a chance).

While I may be in the minority on this, I hold Lombard in equal reverence with those performers regularly called "legends" such as Davis, Kate Hepburn, and Stanwyck. I really can't name a comedienne on equal footing with Lombard in Hollywood history, and yet I've been truly impressed by those of her dramatic performances that I've seen as well. She's the standout in They Knew What They Wanted, opposite Charles Laughton's "meat-a-ball-a" Italian-American caricature (which, granted, isn't as bad as others that I've seen from that same era).

-Stephen
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Postby bryce » October 3rd, 2008, 12:37 pm

I'm interested in watching No More Orchids and Brief Moment, as those two were mentioned by name in a review I read (I think it was the imdb, by a guy who reviews mostly silents/pre-codes) as two other (I think?) pre-code gems worth unvaulting. I wish I knew more about Carole Lombard, as I find her incredibly beautiful and love her style. At least, in the third or fourth of that list of movies I've actually seen.

Thanks for posting about this.

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Postby srowley75 » October 3rd, 2008, 12:43 pm

bryce wrote: I wish I knew more about Carole Lombard, as I find her incredibly beautiful and love her style.


If you haven't done so already, get the Criterion version of My Man Godfrey and view the outtakes. Highly entertaining, and they'll give you some insight into why she was called "The Profane Angel." (You may even be able to find them on YouTube.)

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Postby moira finnie » October 3rd, 2008, 12:44 pm

Oh, thanks for casting a bit of light on those movies, Bryce. I wasn't sure about those No More Orchids and Brief Moment. I don't think I've seen them before either. Maybe if we both try to see them, we could each write a bit about them, okay?

I agree about Lombard's appeal. I hadn't seen her movies until I was in college, but was awestruck by her seraphic beauty and way with a comic line. Unfortunately, it seems that most of us haven't had a chance to see many of her movies, aside from My Man Godfrey, Nothing Sacred and To Be or Not to Be. This month should be quite an education.
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Postby charliechaplinfan » October 3rd, 2008, 3:29 pm

Well I'm glad it's not just me she touches so. For years she was only Gable's wife because British TV neglected to show anything with her in, yet there is so much very good choice. My first introduction was My Man Godrey ( I haven't seen the outtakes) then Nothing Sacred, she isthough, very very sacred. No one else quite touches her, even though there are many splendid actresses of this era.

BTW Has anyone here seen the film she did with Gable? it's really good much better than biogrpahies give you to believe.
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Postby jdb1 » October 3rd, 2008, 3:54 pm

I suppose I'm in the minority here -- up until now, Lombard has done nothing for me. I don't find her looks remarkable and I haven't liked her rather stagey acting, which generally seems rather forced to me.

But, as I said when we got our first look at the October schedule, I'm glad to have an opportunity to re-assess my opinion of Lombard, since I don't think I've seen all that many of her films.

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Postby Sue Sue Applegate » October 3rd, 2008, 8:19 pm

She is just so zany and off-kilter in My Man Godfrey. I loved her performance in that film, Judith.

Maybe you can give her a second chance?
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Postby mrsl » October 3rd, 2008, 9:09 pm

Once again, I'm with Judith on Carole Lombard. The few movies I've seen her in have done nothing for me, and she was a little too zany for me in Godfrey, but also, the month for Bette Davis made me appreciate her a lot more, and tho I don't appreciate his looks any better, I can appreciate Burt Lancaster's talents more since one of his 24 hour things.

Just a note to the side. I'm still reading Mitchum, Davis, and Streisand slowly but surely and enjoying every word. Mitchum was a real stinker and I would have loved to meet him, but only as person to person, not movie star to fan. I think with that twinkle in his eye, and the way she handled Gable, she and Bob might have made some pretty good screwball comedies together.

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Postby Ann Harding » October 4th, 2008, 2:38 am

I totally agree with Scrowley, Lombard is a top class actress and comedian. It's a shame they didn't include They Knew What They Wanted, this picture by Garson Kanin is amazing. 8) Carole delivers a fantastic performance as Amy the small waitress looking for a better life. :)

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Postby moira finnie » October 4th, 2008, 7:31 am

charliechaplinfan wrote:Well I'm glad it's not just me she touches so. For years she was only Gable's wife because British TV neglected to show anything with her in, yet there is so much very good choice. My first introduction was My Man Godfrey ( I haven't seen the outtakes) then Nothing Sacred, she is though, very very sacred. No one else quite touches her, even though there are many splendid actresses of this era.

BTW Has anyone here seen the film she did with Gable? it's really good much better than biographies give you to believe.


No Man of Her Own (1932) is quite a bit of fun if I remember correctly, if it stretches credulity a bit to think of Carole as a librarian. This film is on Oct. 13th on TCM. A sidelight to this movie
that might interest you was something I wrote about elsewhere:
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Of course, Gable may not have been enthused about this film project for another reason. He’d previously trawled the library for another girl earlier in his screen career, as a con man who met a beauteous small town librarian, (and real life future wife) Carole Lombard in the Wesley Ruggles’ movie, No Man of Her Own (1932). I haven’t seen this movie in a very long time, but I don’t recall anything all that daring in it. Reportedly, the pre-code frolicking on screen between the pair helped to give impetus to the formation of the National Legion of Decency. This Catholic Bishop’s and Laymen group tried to let people know about near occasions of sin on screen for the next forty years–despite the fact, that in true Hollywood fashion, the movie in question–after showing audiences all the fascinating sin, the con man is reformed by love. Oddly, off screen, neither Gable nor Lombard seem to have had made any sparks fly at that stage.


Ann,
I agree about They Knew What They Wanted (1940) being one movie that never seems to air here in the states either. It seems to be an almost unknown movie, though the durable material from which it sprang has provided the basis for more than one subsequent film and a musical, The Most Happy Fella. You might enjoy this clip featuring Garson Kanin's memories about working with her on this film.

Judith,
I think many people have not had a chance to see the range of work in Lombard's career in the '30s, thanks to the limited number of films of hers that have been released on home recordings or broadcast tv. In many of her best movies, she was a blend of striking beauty, unsentimental tenderness, and high spirits that is hard to resist.
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Postby charliechaplinfan » October 4th, 2008, 2:11 pm

It's funny how each of us sees beauty in different people. I think Carole Lombard is one of the most beautiful women to grace films, not only that, she sounds so much fun too.
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Postby srowley75 » October 4th, 2008, 2:37 pm

charliechaplinfan wrote:I think Carole Lombard is one of the most beautiful women to grace films, not only that, she sounds so much fun too.


Watched To Be or Not to Be recently and I thought she was positively luminous in that film.

And you're absolutely right about her speech. Her gift for delivering dialogue (no matter what type of character she portrayed) only makes her performances seem that much sexier to me.

-Stephen

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Postby feaito » October 4th, 2008, 9:01 pm

I am another ardent Lombard admirer, and not only of her acting talent & screen persona, but as the unaffected, down-to-earth human being she was. I love her comedies, especially "Hands Across the Table" and "My Man Godfrey" (1936), but everyone must see her in one of her finest dramatic performances in the vintage film "In Name Only" (1939). In it she, Cary Grant and Kay Francis are first rate!

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Postby moviemagz » October 5th, 2008, 7:25 am

I love Carole - she was one of the very first classic stars I became interested in back in the late 1970's (there was quite a bit of attention on her back then with multiple bographies and the film GABLE AND LOMBARD). I do think Claudette Colbert was a shade better actress in romantic comedies but Carole was absolutely wonderful and a great beauty. Just watched her recently in her pre-stardom WE'RE NOT DRESSING as Bing Crosby's leading lady and she was already great, miles ahead of most Crosby femme leads at the time.


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