Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Star of the Month: Barbara Stanwyck.

Banjo On My Knee (1936). A comedy film directed by John Cromwell. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in the category Sound Recording (Edmund H. Hansen).

Ernie Holley runs away on his wedding night because he thinks he has killed a wedding guest. His father Newt and bride Pearl find him in New Orleans and try and talk him into coming home.


Remember the Night (1940). A romantic comedy/drama Christmas film directed by Mitchell Leisen. Cast: Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. The film was written by Preston Sturges, his last as a writer before he became a writer-director with The Great McGinty.

Preston Sturges had suggested "Great Love" as a title for this film. Director Mitchell Leisen, shortened Sturges' script, which annoyed Sturges and one of the main reasons he wanted to directing his own scripts which he did beginning with his next film project, The Great McGinty.

During shooting, Sturges hung around the set and got to know Barbara Stanwyck. One day he told her that he was going to write a screwball comedy for her, which he did just a year later, The Lady Eve. Remember the Night was completed eight days ahead of schedule and $50,000 under budget, which Leisen attributed to Stanwyck's professionalism.

Please click here for past movie review.

The Lady Eve(1941). was loosely based in a 19-page story by Monckton Hoffe called "Two Bad Hats", which was also the working title for the film. Sturges was assigned to write a script based on Hoffe's story in 1938, with Claudette Colbert expected to be the star.

The censors at the Hays Office initially rejected the script that was submitted to them, because of an affair between your two leads" which lacked "compensating moral values." A later, revised, script was approved.

The casting of the lead roles for The Lady Eve went through some changes. At some point, the studio wanted Brian Aherne for the male lead, and Joel McCrea, Madeleine Carroll and Paulette Goddard were under consideration.

In September, Darryl Zanuck lent Henry Fonda to co-star with Paulette Goddard, who was then replaced by Barbara Stanwyck. Barbara Stanwyck from a trailer for The Lady Eve. Sturges, wore a colorful beret or a felt cap with a feather, a white cashmere scarf and a loud print shirt in loud hues ... so the crew could find him in the crowds of actors and technicians.

Stanwyck compared Sturges' set to "a carnival" because instead of going to their trailers between filming, the cast relaxed in canvas chairs listening to Sturgers  stories or going over their lines with him. To get into mood for Barbara's bedroom scene, Sturges wore a bathrobe."Location shooting for the opening jungle scene took place at Lake Baldwin of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, California. In that scene, Henry Fonda's character refers to "Professor Marsdit", whose last name is an anagram of that of Raymond L. Ditmars of the American Museum of Natural History, a well-known reptile expert and popular science writer of the time.

Please click here for past movie review.


Ball Of Fire (1941).The script was written by Charles Brackett, Thomas Monroe, and Billy Wilder from a short story written by Wilder while he was still in Europe, and based in part on the fairy tale Snow White. The professors themselves were based on the dwarfs from Walt Disney's animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Although Ball of Fire was directed by Howard Hawks, Wilder had already decided that he needed to direct his screenplays to protect them from studio and other director's interference. Hawks was happy to let Wilder study his directing on the set and Wilder thereafter directed his own films.

The film was the second feature of 1941 to pair Cooper and Stanwyck, following Meet John Doe. Wilder reveled in poking fun at those who took politics too seriously. At one point, "Sugarpuss" points to her sore throat and complains "Slight rosiness? It's as red as the Daily Worker and just as sore".

Later, she gives the overbearing housekeeper, the name "Franco", just before she knocks the woman out. Wilder also worked in a reference to Cooper's Academy Award-winning performance in Sergeant York by having Dan Duryea's character Duke Pastrami say "I saw me a movie last week" just before wetting the sights of his pistol and aiming it. Ginger Rogers and Carole Lombard turned down the role of Katherine "Sugarpuss" O'Shea, while Lucille Ball almost won the role until Gary Cooper recommended Stanwyck.

Please click here for past movie review.


You can buy this picture on Ebay.

You Belong to Me (1941). A romantic comedy directed by Wesley Ruggles. Cast Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. The film was released in the United Kingdom as Good Morning, Doctor.

Doctor Helen Hunt,  meets millionaire playboy Peter Kirk as he falls at her feet at a ski resort. He insists that only she can treat his injuries and soon proposes marriage, which she accepts.

On their wedding night, Helen is called away by a medical emergency. When she returns, Peter has fallen asleep. Peter becomes jealous and gets into an argument with two of her patients, Robert Andrews and Frederick Vandemer .

He is not to happy that Vandemer had also staged a skiing accident to get to know Helen and that Vandemer asked her to marry him. Helen hires Billings, Peter's groundskeeper, to try to interest Peter in gardening.

Instead.. Peter gets a job as a tie salesman under the name of "John Jenkins" which he seems to enjoy doing. Helen, decides to retire and become a housewife. When, the other department store employees recognize him they get mad at him for taking a job away from somebody who actually needs it, resulting in his firing.

Billings gives Peter an idea with the suggestion that he create jobs with his money. Peter decides to buy a nearly-bankrupt hospital, which will require most of his income to keep running and make Helen the chief of staff.

Lady Of Burlesque (1943). A mystery film starring Barbara Stanwyck and Michael O'Shea, based on the novel The G-String Murders written by strip tease artist Gypsy Rose Lee (with ghost-writing assistance from mystery writer Craig Rice).

The plot revolves around the murder of two strippers, backstage of a New York burlesque theater. The film is a cleaned up version because censorship of the time, adaptation of the original novel, although Gypsy Rose Lee, who appears as a character in her own book, is renamed "Dixie Daisy".


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