Archive for June 2015

Backless — and peerless   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.06.30 at 15:25

Current mood: restlessrestless

How’d you like some early ’30s Carole Lombard glamour? Thanks to Otto Dyar, we have a splendid example…and it can be yours.

The above shot, showing lots of bareback from Carole, is up for auction at eBay. We even know the specifics, because the snipe and other information are on back:

According to the seller, this 8″ x 10″ is in “Very good condition with a 1″ loss to the top right corner, pinholes in the corners, corner/edge wear, and general storage/handling wear.” As of this writing, five bids have been made, topping at $26. Bidding ends at 10:23 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday.

If you’d like to try your hand at securing this photo, then make your bid at

Posted June 30, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Carole and Clara go collegiate (old-school)   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.06.29 at 16:34

Current mood: amusedamused

Some Carole Lombard news worth cheering about…if you still own a VHS player. That’s because a videocassette of two silent campus comedies from the 1920s, starring the legendary Lombard and the earlier icon Clara Bow, now is available via eBay.

The Bow film is 1925’s “The Plastic Age,” which some claim features Lombard as an extra. I’ve never been able to confirm that, but it’s well-known that future second husband Clark Gable has a small part, some half a dozen years before he returned to Hollywood and gained genuine stardom. This still provides proof:

Bow is her usual vivacious self, playing a college flapper torn between two athletes. And of course in “Run, Girl, Run,” Lombard herself plays an athlete in the midst of Mack Sennett hijinks.

The tape is a former rental which according to the seller “plays great,” and can be yours for $9.99. If interested, visit

Posted June 29, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

The ‘Power’ to get ‘From Hell to Heaven’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.06.28 at 20:00

Current mood: curiouscurious

Two relatively obscure Carole Lombard films that have not yet secured an official DVD release now are available for purchase online.

The photo on top shows Lombard with William Boyd in a scene from the 1928 Pathe silent “Power,” a film that co-stars Alan Hale Sr. and marked the movie debut of Joan Bennett.

“Power” probably is in the public domain (her three Pathe talkies have that status), and it’s likely that this was derived from a 16mm print of uncertain quality. It should also be noted that Lombard’s part is a rather small one. Nevertheless, there are some Carole completists who will want this for their collection.

The DVD sells for $19.99, and it can be yours by going to

The status of the other film being offered, from the same seller, is more problematic.

“From Hell to Heaven,” released in early 1933 with Lombard as top-billed (that’s Jack Oakie with Carole), was a Paramount offering when it hit theaters, but was it part of the pre-1948 package the studio later sold to MCA, which then gave the rights to Universal? Most of Carole’s films from Paramount now are Universal property, but a few have slipped into public domain (e.g., “Swing High, Swing Low”). Does “From Hell to Heaven” have similar status? To be honest, I don’t know.

This is only going for $15.99, and I’m not sure whether that’s indicative of the quality of the print. To purchase or learn ore, visit

Posted June 28, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Classic Movie History Project Blogathon: Of Carole and pre-Code   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.06.27 at 19:38

Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

Welcome to “Of Carole [Lombard] and pre-Code,” my contribution to the Classic Movie History Project Blogathon, hosted by Movies Silently, Silver Screenings and Once Upon A Screen (and sponsored by Flicker Alley). The three-day blogathon, which began yesterday and concludes tomorrow, examines all facets of movie history — from the dawn of film through 1975. (That year is a good cutoff point, as the release of “Jaws” that summer established the studio blockbuster culture that lives to this day, for better or worse.)

The photo at top shows Lombard in a scene from “Twentieth Century,” after her character, lingerie model Mildred Plotka turned actress Lily Garland, becomes a Broadway diva (with an inflated ego to match) before high-tailing it to Hollywood for big-screen stardom. Carole’s outfit is definitely indicative of pre-Code, although it possibly could have passed muster after the Code was strictly enforced in July 1934. And “Twentieth Century” technically is pre-Code, as it was released in April of ’34 — and some of the publicity pics Lombard took with co-star John Barrymore, such as these below, were deemed too racy by Joseph Breen even before the Code was implemented.

This brings up our topic for today: Why does Lombard tend to be overlooked when it comes to pre-Code actresses? We certainly saw Carole in the various states of undress we so associate with pre-Code. Below are screen grabs (not publicity stills) from two of her films released during the pre-Code era, “No Man Of Her Own” from the end of 1932…

…and “Bolero,” from early 1934:

If looking seductive in scanties was the only criteria for pre-Code stardom, Lombard would have ranked right up there with any of her contemporaries. Instead, she’s rarely mentioned among that crowd. Here are a few reasons:

* A surfeit of talent at her home studio, Paramount. In the early ’30s, Paramount was teeming with actresses — some of them leftovers from silents (Clara Bow), others rising to stardom at the dawn of talkies (Nancy Carroll) or the start of the ’30s (Sylvia Sidney), still others imported from Broadway thanks in part to Paramount’s Astoria studio before it shut down during the Depression downturn (Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins, even Ginger Rogers briefly) and a few imported from Europe (Marlene Dietrich). Later, Paramount’s stable of starlets included Ida Lupino, Betty Grable and Ann Sheridan, all of whom would find their main fame elsewhere. With so much competition, it’s no wonder Lombard got lost in the shuffle.

* No distinctive on-screen personality yet to speak of. The Carole of 1930 to ’33 was known for her beauty, fashion sense and fine legs…but then, so were Dietrich, Colbert and many others. Some at the studio liked her ability to identify a good script, and just about everyone at Paramount were fans of Lombard as a person. But there wasn’t much else to hang your hat on when it came to Carole; she couldn’t sing (and wouldn’t try until Mitchell Leisen successfully persuaded her to warble in “Swing High, Swing Low”), she wasn’t identified with any particular genre or director. Perceived as an all-purpose leading lady, she found no niche.

* A lack of sense of direction. Lombard later admitted that in many ways, she was her own worst enemy. After the auto accident that led to Fox dropping her contract in 1926 and her battling back to studio work via Mack Sennett and Pathe, Carole may have grown a bit too comfortable with her status and at times lacked the drive to successfully handle her career. For example, in late 1931, she declined a loanout to Warners for “Taxi!” with James Cagney; Loretta Young instead became her leading lady, and the film became a considerable hit.

Lombard may have hit her nadir in this vein when Paramount assigned her to the horror film “Supernatural” in early 1933. While she may have liked Fay Wray as an actress (both admired writers — Carole later romanced Robert Riskin, Fay eventually married him), she had absolutely no desire to go the “scream queen” route.

Fortunately for Lombard, one of the most reviled men in classic Hollywood lore came to her rescue.

Harry Cohn is remembered by many as the crudest of the movie moguls (and considering the competition, that’s saying something), but history is proving kinder to him and his work. With relatively few resources at his disposal — unlike many of his rivals, Columbia owned no theaters — Cohn kept his studio out of the red for his entire tenure, which lasted well into the 1950s. Columbia rarely held onto stars, but when Cohn had them, he knew what to do with them. And Lombard — one of the few stars who got along well with him — is one of his shining examples.

Carole made five films for Columbia between 1932 and 1934, and whereas Paramount generally gave her pedestrian scripts during that time (“The Eagle and the Hawk” was an exception, but her part was a small one), Cohn gave Lombard top-of-their-line material. It began with “Virtue,” which if you don’t count “Twentieth Century” as a pre-Coder but rather an embryonic screwball comedy, now is perceived as Carole’s finest pre-Code film.

This tale of a streetwalker going straight and finding true love with a cab driver despite a rocky road of romance must have seemed like a second chance for Carole after the “Taxi!” embarrassment. She exhibits a genuine pre-Code toughness unusual for her, especially after she gives a so-called friend part of the couple’s savings (they planned to use it to purchase a service station) and stands up to her after being deceived. Pat O’Brien, sort of a second-tier Cagney, is capable as her cabbie husband, and there’s also a nice supporting turn by future Humphrey Bogart spouse Mayo Methot. “Virtue” has risen in retrospect among Lombard fans — it’ll never be rated alongside “Twentieth Century,” “My Man Godfrey,” “Nothing Sacred” or “To Be Or Not To Be,” but it fits comfortably on a solid second tier with “Hands Across the Table” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.”

“No More Orchids,” released later in 1932, doesn’t quite reach the heights of “Virtue,” but still it’s arguably better than anything Paramount was giving Carole at the time. (“No Man Of Her Own” isn’t a bad film, and in both that and “Orchids” Lombard shows hints of her later comedic persona, but one doubts it would be remembered as well as it is if future husband Clark Gable wasn’t Carole’s leading man.) Aided by a strong cast (Lyle Talbot, shown above, plus the always-reliable Walter Connolly and Louise Closser Hale, not to mention C. Aubrey Smith as perhaps the most memorable bad guy of any Lombard film prior to “To Be Or Not To Be”), “No More Orchids” is no classic, but neverheless makes for solid entertainment.

“Brief Moment,” adapted from a hit Broadway play and initially envisioned as a Barbara Stanwyck vehicle, was Columbia’s gift to Carole in the fall of 1933. Perhaps Cohn saw this as a prestige item for his small studio, and while it’s hardly an embarrassment to Lombard, it never quite comes off as the successful vehicle Cohn expected. Perhaps Gene Raymond doesn’t have the proper chemistry with her (they would work together once more, in 1941’s “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” and while he meshes better with her there, many fans of the film wish he and Jack Carson had switched roles).

So Lombard never really joined the ranks of Norma Shearer, Constance Bennett, Hopkins, Young and others as pre-Code stars of the first degree. But her time would come, thanks in part to a new genre that evolved out of both “Twentieth Century” and Columbia stablemate “It Happened One Night” — the screwball comedy.

To see entries on the silent era for the blogathon, go to For Golden Age entries, visit And the final day’s entries will be found at

Posted June 27, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Carole and her clippings   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.06.26 at 20:00

Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

Above is one of four Carole Lombard clippings — all from fan magazines — for sale at eBay, each for $4.99. This first clipping is from sometime in 1936, probably before the fall, because while it mentions hwr working with ex-husband William Powell in “My Man Godfrey,” it says nothing about her scintillating performance, which would earn her an Academy Award nomination. (For some reason, Lombard’s career here supposedly begins in 1930, ignoring her Fox, Sennett and Pathe work.) It’s listed in good condition; find out more or purchase it at×10-R6441-/381308292157?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item58c7becc3d.

Next up…

…a clipping that discusses Carole’s recuperation from that fateful automobile accident, one that more or less gets the story right (though I’m not certain when this came out). Want it, or are curious? Then visit×10-R6442-/381308292746?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item58c7bece8a.

Our third Carole clipping…

…this is from 1935, and its concern is that following her success in “Twentieth Century,” Lombard might find herself typecast as a Lily Garland type. That certainly wasn’t the case with “Rumba” (though it wasn’t much of a movie, either), but that fall’s “Hands Across the Table” proved she had a flair for comedy without having to resort to Lily-ish temperament. It can be yours by going to×10-R6444-/400944960061?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5d5a2e923d.

Finally, we have…

…this from a fashion spread in Photoplay (the January 1940 issue, IIRC). Interested? Then check out×10-R6443/400944959796?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D29979%26meid%3Dfa7e211a6c694a83aa80c3ac8a2be059%26pid%3D100033%26rk%3D4%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D400944960061.

Posted June 26, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Stills, not much time left   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.06.25 at 20:50

Current mood: artisticartistic

Eighteen vintage stills from Carole Lombard films are available at reasonable prices (initial bids between $5 and $10)...if you act fast. Auctions on these images are scheduled to end between 12:48 and 5:08 p.m. (Eastern) Friday. That includes this pic from Lombard’s last Pathe production, “The Racketeer,” which even has some info on the back:

We don’t have enough space to run all 18, but we’ll show a few. Ome bid, for $8, has been made as of this writing for this, one of three stills from “Sinners in the Sun”:

Eight of the 18 are from 1939’s Selznick drama “Made For Each Other,” including this rarity of Lombard with James Stewart:

This is also from that film, and includes a snipe:

And take a look at this, from the 1931 Paramount vehicle “Up Pops the Devil”:

The photos, as well as others whose auctions will end later, can be found at

Posted June 25, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Lots more from the lobby   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.06.24 at 22:15

Current mood: impressedimpressed

Yesterday’s entry was about Carole Lombard lobby cards as part of a two-day auction from Profiles in History, and mentioned today’s entry would have quite a few more from Day 2 of the auction — and we’re living up to our end of the bargain. (Sorry I’m a bit late, but this afternoon I journeyed to Anaheim and watched the Los Angeles Angels outlast Houston 2-1 in 13 innings. I’m still getting used to the Astros being part of the American League West, much less leading it.)

Take the lobby card above from 1934’s “Twentieth Century.” It’s a rarity in fine condition, which may explain why its starting bid is a lofty $2,000 (it’s valued between $2,000 and $3,000), and that doesn’t include a 28 percent buyer’s premium. Interested? Go to for more.

How bountiful is this lot? Counting two other lobby cards from “Twentieth Century,” there are 39 lobby cards available from nine different Lombard movies, plus a “Twentieth Century” midget window card (the type with blank space on top to list date and place of its showing). We don’t have enough space to show them all, but I’ll run one apiece from the other eight, in chronological order.

Here’s the one lobby card from Lombard’s last Pathe film,. “The Racketeer” from late 1929. Its opening bid is $400:

One of four from Paramount’s “Up Pops the Devil” in early 1931, selling as a unit with a minimum bid of $600:

From later that year, Carole’s first film with William Powell, “Man of the World.” This group of six has an opening bid of $1,000:

There’s also a unit of six whose opening bid is $1,000 for 1932’s “Sinners in the Sun”:

Lombard’s first loanout from Paramount came later in 1932, to Columbia for “Virtue.” Three lobby cards are in this group, with an opening bid of $600:

Four lobby cards are available as a set from 1934’s dance hit “Bolero,” with bids opening at $800:

The “My Man Godfrey” unit comprises three lobby cards. The initial bid is $1,000:

And “Vigil in the Night” has a complete set of eight lobby cards, with a starting bid of $400:

Oh, and in the interest of completeness, that midget window card from “Twentieth Century”:

To check out all the Lombard items in this auction, go to

Posted June 25, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘To Advertise’ for ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’ in the lobby   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.06.23 at 08:55

Current mood: excitedexcited

You may recall the other day, we mentioned a lobby card for Carole Lombard’s 1933 film “Supernatural” was going to be part of an auction of film items from Profiles in History on March 29 (next Monday). Well, it just so happens that lobby cards from two other Lombard movies will be part of the auction — known officially as “Day 1: Morris Everett Jr. The Auction Part I” — on that day as well.

Up for auction as a unit is this and five other cards from Carole’s 1931 Paramount film “It Pays To Advertise.” Here are the five others:

Bidding on this unit starts at $600 (its estimated value is $600-$800), and a 28 percent buyer’s premium will be applied to the winning bid.

It’s fascinating to see how Profiles portrayed this Lombard vehicle:

Louise Brooks and Carole Lombard (6) lobby cards for ‘It Pays to Advertise.’ (Paramount, 1931) Color (6) lobby card set for Louise Brooks and Carole Lombard in ‘It Pays to Advertise.’ Brooks is not pictured in any material from this film. Lombard is pictured on all 6-cards in this early appearance for her. Occasional corner and marginal chipping. In very good to fine condition.”

Bad news for your Brooks cultists (and there are many), but Louise figures in a long scene at the start of the film that has little, if anything, to do with the rest of the movie. She has no interaction with Lombard, and it’s entirely possible they never even met (

You can bid on this via eBay, and to do just that or find out more, visit

Carole’s other film featured here came about a decade later, at RKO — the Alfred Hitchcock-directed romantic comedy “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” A trio of lobby cards are for auction in this set:

The starting bid for this threesome is $400; the cards’ estimated value is $400-$600. Again, there’s a 28 percent buyer’s premium that will be tacked on to the winning bid. Information on this is available at

Note the Everett auction ( is listed as Day 1, and will begin at 2 p.m. (Eastern) next Monday. That of course means there will be a Day 2, which will be a week from today (June 30), with additional Lombard lobby-card goodies. More on that tomorrow.

Posted June 23, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

So big (not really), so beautiful   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.06.22 at 22:22

Current mood: indescribableindescribable

Beautiful pic, isn’t it, showing Carole Lombard at her most regal and serene. It’s Paramount p1202-645, taken sometime in 1933. Now if you’re at a desktop computer, double-click the image and prepare to be wowed; it’s as if Carole’s been blown up to poster size. The detail is such that you can see the sparkle on her fingernails:

Alas, it’s not really that size…although if you possess darkroom equipment, you can make Carole as big (or as small) as you want. That’s because this is an Eastman Kodak nitrate negative measuring 7.75″ x 9.75″, and it’s being offered by Heritage Auctions of Dallas. The supersized version comes from Heritage’s option of viewing at a larger image — here, it’s blown up to that scale so prospective buyers can carefully check for the slightest of blemishes. According to Heritage, this is

“Vintage Eastman Kodak Nitrate negative of the beautiful Carole Lombard. An unrestored negative with bright color and a clean overall appearance. It may have general signs of use, such as pinholes and some mild developer residue. With today’s digital technology available through Photoshop, this original negative can easily be used to produce beautiful positive prints when correctly processed.”

If you’re well versed in that sort of thing, this might be worth checking out. It’s one of the miscellaneous items that’s part of its Sunday Internet Movie Poster Auction.

The current bid is $3 ($17 with buyer’s premium); as of this writing, the next bid level is $4 and $18. Internet bidding on this item ends at 5 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. The photo, with links to Heritage Auction bidding procedure, can be found at

Posted June 23, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

The film may be bad, but the script is good Norwegian wood   2 comments

Posted by vp19 on 2015.06.21 at 22:01

Current mood: creativecreative

One only wishes the finished product that was “Fools For Scandal” exhibited anywhere near the joy that this on-the-set pic of Carole Lombard and Fernand Gravet showed. The 1938 Warners comedy, set in Paris, turned out to be Carole’s cinematic Waterloo, taking arguably the hottest star in movies as 1937 turned into 1938 and both a critical and commercial failure.

What were the reasons? Little or no chemistry with co-star Gravet. Production at a studio where screwball comedy was not its strong suit. There were numerous others as well, and consequently, it was a flop. Perhaps it played better translated into other languages — like Norwegian, for instance.

And wouldn’t you know it, that’s what we have here — a script of “Fools For Scandal”…

…tailored for dubbing into Norwegian.

The English-language shooting script is in black, with Norwegian dubbing in red. Here are a few examples, after the opening page:

No, I can’t read Norwegian, either (although my grandfather was the publicity representative for the Norwegian exhibit at the New York World’s Fair of 1939-1940, and he probably got the job because my grandmother was from Finland).

The script measures 8.5″ x 14″ and is 102 pages long; it’s in fair condition. You can purchase this rarity for $199.99 or $34 for six months. Interested? Then visit

Posted June 22, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized