A literary look at Leisen   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.01.06 at 19:36

Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

carole lombard hands across the table 50b mitchell leisen front

In her brief lifetime, Carole Lombard worked with many notable directors — Howard Hawks, William Wellman, Alfred Hitchcock and Ernst Lubitsch, to name but four. And you can make a good argument that the man she’s talking with on the set, Mitchell Leisen (during a break in 1935’s “Hands Across The Table”) should be part of that pantheon, too.

“Hands Across The Table” and the 1937 musical “Swing High, Swing Low” both are stylish films, befitting Leisen’s background as an art director. But while two future prominent directors, Preston Sturges and Billy Wilder, both had scorn for Leisen’s adaptations of their scripts, history has vindicated him for his handling of “Midnight” (1939, co-written by Wilder) and “Remember The Night” (1940, written by Sturges). Other successes of his include the original “Death Takes A Holiday” (1934), “Easy Living” (1937) and “To Each His Own” (1946).

Born 10 years to the day before Carole, Leisen’s career began in silent days under Cecil B. DeMille and concluded with some television assignments (including a “Twilight Zone” episode) — and a book about this often-neglected director now is on sale at eBay:

mitchell leisen hollywood director paperback 00a

I own an earlier paperback version of this book…

mitchell leisen hollywood director 01c

…and don’t know whether this version includes any updated material. Nevertheless, author David Chierichetti provides a good read, and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in what Paramount was like during the 1930s and ’40s. Long out of print, this copy is said to be in very good condition, according to the seller; the pages are clean, the spine is creased.

The book is available for $18, well worth the asking price. To purchase it or learn more, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/MITCHELL-LEISEN-Hollywood-Director-Carole-Lombard-Jean-Arthur-Dorothy-Lamour-/131396096706?pt=US_Nonfiction_Book&hash=item1e97d152c2. Like these two Oct. 6 babies, you might feel a bit lucky after buying it.

carole lombard swing high, swing low 83c mitchell leisen front

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Posted January 6, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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