Hollywood Good Girl Loretta Young

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Ok, ok, she did have that one indiscretion with Clark Gable that reaped a child who through careful planning on the part of Loretta, her mother and sisters was housed with a nanny shortly after birth just down the street from the Young family home for a few months. Then put in a Catholic foundling home where Loretta adopted her sometime between her first and second Birthday.

I’d blame the Hollywood Studio System (better known as The Machine), and some really strict religious upbringing on that one. Loretta’s angel face got her roles that promised love and happiness and joy. Of course she did have her Forbidden Hollywood phase but it wasn’t half as rough as some of her fellow actresses. The roles she graduated into were light romantic comedies like Love is News with Tyrone Power, and meaningful films like The Bishop’s Wife.

Also blessed with a TV show like Doris Day, Loretta played the ideal woman on screen and off screen most of the time. And when she battled demons of her own, like her illegitimate daughter she kept ‘em private, instead of hanging it all out to dry with the laundry.

Week-End Marriage

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Week-End Marriage 1932 (First National)

“I like being independent.”

“Because you’re not in love, that’s why.”

This is the story of the Independent Woman in the 1930’s. If you were a working woman it was usually because you were single and needed to support yourself, or because you were stupid. See if you weren’t single, you had a husband who could support you, and you should stay home, do housework and make babies- that was your destiny.

This was sort of a difficult movie to watch, because so much of it can still be relevant today. Loretta Young plays a girl in love, but she doesn’t want to be single forever and manages to catch herself a hubby at the cost of him giving up a big career break in South America. Obviously no one should start a marriage with that much debt on the balance sheet.  But she, along with most women during this time, felt like they could be both a wife and working girl. Staying home and being a homemaker and mother was close to the death penalty. So… the wife does her work well, gets raises, neglects the home. The husband doesn’t take the South American gig, gets hours cut, and is now making less than his wife. Needless to say, that’s a recipe for disaster.  Aline MacMahon adds fun and clever lines to the plot helping to lighten up this tense topic.

There’s a lovely turning point in this film with a monologue given by the good doctor tending the sick bed of the neglected/made-to-look-after-himself husband that makes this whole film worth watching.  From our place in 2014, the words he spoke could have been spoken to a man or a woman. It wasn’t just about women sacrificing everything; it was about basic human needs we tend to look at as weaknesses. It feels like a brutally honest truth that we’ve all hidden under the goals we think we should have.

“You talk about freedom because you think it’s something they need and cherish, but they don’t, they hate it.  They get along best when they’re not free. They need old fashioned women nagging them, giving them families to live for. It’s human nature that’s all.”

 

Road to Paradise

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Road to Paradise 1930 (First National)

Loretta Young Times Two

A 17 year old Loretta Young plays double roles as Mary- the girl mixed up with jewel robbers, and Margaret- the high society lady they plan to rob. Both can read minds. This is a fast-paced cat vs. mouse story laced with twists and turns enough to keep you guessing if Mary will get caught up until the very last moment.   Loretta showed excellent ability here to act two different characters and played Mary’s jittery, nervous and innocent to Margaret’s classy, poised and decisive. That’s all the story line I’m giving you, as its one you really do need to see for yourself to appreciate.

 

The Bishop’s Wife

 

Hollywood could not have picked a more perfect woman to play the Bishop’s Wife.

With Loretta Young, being heavily religious herself, we were quite certain no one but Cary Grant could possibly ever turn her head away from her duties as wife to another, after all they did play in Born to Be Bad together.

Luckily, in The Bishop’s Wife, Cary Grant is just there to help with no intention of wife-stealing. You’d have to watch this collection for that.

Three Blind Mice

I have a rule about movies. If they start with a cartoon, or animation, they’re usually pretty great. In fact, I haven’t run across one yet that wasn’t. Three Blind Mice , opens with cute little cartoon caricatures of three sisters, which needless to say, gave me high hopes right off the bat.

In fact, I had way more high hopes flying around, than were probably even obtainable. But let me explain why.  First off, ever since I discovered that 20th Century Fox was releasing a Cinema Archives Collection I’ve been eager to get my hands on them. All of them. Unfortunately, libraries have been slow on the uptake of this collection. Fortunately, I work at a library and was able to con my acquisitions people into considering these. Three Blind Mice is the first to grace our “Just purchased” cart. Second, Three Blind Mice itself promised pieces and parts of the stellar cast I loved in Second Honeymoon.

Third, and this is a biggie folks, we get Loretta Young, Joel McCrea and David Niven during their “Hot Young Things in Hollywood” phase, which pretty much just means pretty clothes, pretty smiles, pretty location. Not that we mind.

Three sisters set up a plan to travel from their chicken farm in Kansas to the sunny beaches of California to catch a rich husband. Just one? Yep, the prettiest ( Miss Young) has just trained her two sisters on how to act like her personal secretary and her maid, because she’s very determined to snatch that rich husband, who will hopefully have rich friends to marry her incognito sisters.  And it’s all a lovely plan until she attaches herself to bachelor #1, (McCrea) who she thinks is massively wealthy only to discover that he too is there to snatch a rich wife, to pay off his family debt.  But when she declares love, and says she’ll marry that poor little rich boy, he throws her back. Enter very rich bachelor #2 ( Niven) who announces the engagement, and brings her home to meet his very rich sister the very next day.

Re-enter bachelor #1 on the arm of bachelor #2’s very rich sister. Can we say awkward? Nevertheless, thus is the life of a gold digger, wrought with shiny, yet jagged, things. And while there seems to be more chemistry between newly-engaged bachelor #2 and sister B than his potential bride, we’re still quite sure it will all come out ok.

While I don’t know what the new 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives Collection, or the Columbia Pictures Pre Code Collection will bring, we’ll be eagerly trying to report what’s worth it here at CH.

George Brent

March 15, 1899 ~ May 26, 1979 George Brent  Female, Baby Face
I never liked George Brent more than I did in the pre-code film Female. Playing opposite Ruth Chatterton, who I had only known prior in the Simone Simon vehicle, Girls Dormitory, Brent plays the Alpha Male. Brent’s status as a man matters of course, because until now, Ruth Chatteron’s Miss Drake had only succeeded in drawing weak and vain men into her lair; men she could quickly discard before work the next morning when she chose to be bored and send them far away to places like Montreal. And while it had to be rough being a woman in the 30’s in charge of an automobile factory, it had to be worse not being seen as a woman at all- enter George Brent. Brent comes on the scene, dashing, take charge, and not one bit interested that Miss Drake owns the factory he now works in. Nope, see he saw Miss Drake, before he realized she would be his boss… and when lured to her lair, he quickly comes back with “…I like to do my own hunting,” leaving her high and dry. He is in fact the Alpha Male, and in order to win him, she’s gotta tone it down. Brent does his best in this romantic comedy of role reversal, playing dashing, fun, and when pulling out that marriage license “wanting to be respectable after last night.” So sweet. Of course he still has some hoops to jump through before things work out, but gosh, its sure fun watching. In Baby Face he plays the last guy on Barbara Stanwyck’s ladder to “success”. After a bit of struggle she finally gives in and marries our dashing hero, but not without doing some major soul searching first…soul searching that in the end puts their whole romance in jeopardy. But don’t worry, Barbara and George have done this dance before. They get together in The Purchase Price as well, another wonderful Pre-Code gem found in the Forbidden Hollywood series. And if you’re looking for one of those respectable films, don’t worry, George made those too. Playing Mr. Ransome in the The Rains Came, he’s the reformed playboy/alcoholic who goes about saving a whole piece of India, and an 18 year old debutante too. Its for all these reasons and more that we simply can’t get enough of George. Happy Birthday!!!

MANDATORY CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD FILM LIST…PART DEAUX

LIST TWO…

Rochellelynn is correct we have watched A LOT of Classic Hollywood films. And making this list only confirms what I believed in the past. I am a Warner Brothers Studio Girl and Rochellelynn is an MGM Studio Girl. And I mean Studio as opposed to Archive. Because any Studio film can end up in an Archive or Vault Collection set. When you our illustrious readers compile your own mandatory film list it will be fun to see what kind of Classic Hollywood Film Studio type girl or boy you are, let us know!

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Adventures of Robin Hood…Warner Brothers-1938

All Through the Night…Warner Brothers-1942

Angels Wash Their Faces…Warner Brothers-1939

Angels with Dirty Faces…Warner Brothers-1938

Because of Him…Universal-1946

Black Swan…20th Century Fox-1942

Bride Came C.O.D, The.…Warner Brothers-1941

Brother Rat…Warner Brothers-1938

Calamity Jane…Warner Brothers-1953

Christmas Holiday…Universal-1944

Dead End…Samuel Goldwyn-1937

Dinner at Eight…MGM-1933

Edge of Darkness…Warner Brothers-1943

Foreign Affair…Paramount-1948

Four Daughters…Warner Brothers-1938

Gilda…Columbia-1946

Gone With the Wind…David O. Seltznik-1939

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn…Mickey Rooney…MGM-1939

Hunchback of Notre Dame…Charles Laughton…RKO-1939

I Married a Witch…United Artist-1942

It Happened One Night…Columbia-1934

Inn of the Sixth Happiness…20th Century Fox-1958

It Started with Eve…Universal-1941

Juke Girl…Warner Brothers-1942

Life with Father…Warner Brothers-1947

Mad About Music…Universal-1938

Male Animal…Warner Brothers-1942

Meet John Doe…Warner Brothers-1941

Midnight Mary…MGM-1933

Miracle of Morgan’s Creek…Paramount-1944

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town…Columbia-1936

My Favorite Wife…RKO-1940

Only Angels Have Wings…Columbia-1939

Perils of Pauline…Paramount-1947

Primrose Path…RKO-1940

Princess O’Rourke…Warner Brothers1943

Quiet Man…Republic-1952

Rachel and the Stranger…RKO-1948

Saboteur…Universal-1942

Shepherd of the Hills…Paramount-1941

So Proudly We Hail…Paramount-1943

Spanish Main…RKO-1945

Strawberry Blonde…Warner Brothers-1941

Taming of the Shrew…Columbia-1967

Tarzan the Ape Man…Johnny Weissmuller…MGM-1932

To Have and Have Not…Warner Brothers-1944

Trouble with Angels…Columbia-1966

Unconquered…Paramoun-1947

Unfaithful, The…Warner Brothers-1947

Viva Las Vegas…MGM-1964

We’re no Angels…Paramount-1955

What a Way to Go…20th Century Fox-1964

You Were Never Lovelier…Columbia-1942

MANDATORY CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD FILM LIST

LIST ONE…..

Note: We’ve watched A LOT of classic Hollywood films. This is my list so far- and no they’re not necessarily based on anything even close to “merit.” I know annstj will have her own list, so look out for  a LIST TWO. This was prompted by my younger brother asking what “other” old films he should watch( other than Thin Man) to complete his Classic Hollywood Education. Add your own Mandatories in the comments.

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American in Paris…MGM -1951

Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer…RKO-1947

Ball of Fire…Samuel Goldwyn Co. -1941

Big Sleep…Warner Brothers – 1946

Breakfast at Tiffany’s…Paramount-1961

Bringing up Baby…RKO-1938

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid…20th Century Fox-1969

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof…MGM-1958

Christmas in Connecticut…Warner Brothers-1945

Darby O’Gill and the Little People…Walt Disney-1959

Double Indemnity…Paramount-1944

Gay Divorcee, The…RKO-1934

Gigi…MGM-1958

Girl Happy…MGM-1965

Glass Bottomed Boat…MGM-1966

Good Fairy, The…Universal-1935

High Society…MGM-1956

His Girl Friday…Columbia-1940

How to Marry a Millionaire…20th Century Fox-1953

How to Steal a Million…20th Century Fox-1966

Lady Eve, The…Paramount-1941

Libeled Lady…MGM-1936

Major and the Minor…Paramount-1942

Mark of Zorro…20th Century Fox-1940

Mary Poppins…Disney-1964

More the Merrier, The…Columbia-1943

Move over Darling…20th Century Fox-1963

Mr. and Mrs. Smith…RKO-1941

Music Man…Warner Brothers-1962

My Fair Lady…Warner Brothers-1964

My Man Godfrey…Universal-1936

My Sister Eileen…Columbia-1942

Pillow Talk…Universal-1959

Singing in the Rain…MGM-1952

Some Like It Hot…United Artists-1959

Something in the Wind…Universal International-1947

Sullivan’s Travel…Paramount-1942

Take Me Out to the Ballgame…MGM-1949

Thin Man…MGM-1934

Thoroughly Modern Millie…Universal International- 1967

Three Smart Girls…Universal-1936

Tom Jones…Woodfall Film Productions-1963

Two Sisters From Boston…MGM-1946

Women, The…MGM-1934