Well, if astrology is correct, then today's birthday ladies are! Hmmm, I have never thought of Irene "First Lady of Hollywood" Dunne and Audrey "Bad Girl" Totter as being in anyway similar, but perhaps it's the roles they played that separated them and not their selves.
Let's see ... they both starred in movies with Bob, Irene in Unfinished Business (1941) and Audrey in both Lady in the Lake (1947) and The Saxon Charm (1948).
Irene reads Bob's palm on the set of Unfinished Business
Adrienne (Audrey) offers coffee to Marlowe (Bob) in Lady in the Lake
And they both had just one husband, rather unique for Hollywood. Irene was married to Dr. Francis Griffin, a dentist, for 37 years and Audrey to Dr. Leo Fred, an assistant Dean of Medicine at UCLA, for 43 years. Both ladies outlived their husbands and died in their 90's, Irene 91 and Audrey 95! They were both involved in politics, particularly Ms. Dunne, and like Bob, were staunch Republicans.
One of my favorite things about Once More, My Darling (1949) is the character of Mrs. Laing, the long-suffering mother of our favorite playboy Collie (or Bob, all the same). Mom is so wonderfully brought to the screen by Jane Cowl, a highly successful stage actress and playwright who Bob somehow managed to talk into doing the movie.
Ms. Cowl was born on December 14, 1884, in Boston, Massachusetts. The photo below was taken to promote the movie The Spreading Dawn (1917). She made two silent movies and hurriedly returned to the stage where she was active from 1903 to 1947. Besides being an excellent actress, its easy to see how her classy appearance added to her stage appeal.
Unfortunately, Ms. Cowl died of cancer only a year after making Once More. She starred in two other excellent movies before her death: Man of her Own (1950) with Barbara Stanwyck and Payment on Demand (1951), released after her death, with Bette Davis. Holding your own against Montgomery, Stanwyck and Davis ... not bad for a "newcomer!"
TCM will be showing Night Flight (1933) Friday, December 9th at 8:00 p.m. PST. Bob's part in the movie isn't nearly as large as one would wish, but..."what there is is choice!" It is basically a John and Lionel Barrymore movie with guest stars Helen Hayes, Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and Bob.
Bob and Lionel Barrymore in Night Flight (1933)
Bob portrays a pilot, one of his few action roles. Of course he is still our lovable playboy, making a great entrance at 8 minutes into the movie. The two-minute scene with its pre-code banter between Bob and his "girl" makes the movie worth watching! He has a couple more scenes later in the movie, so don't give up on the movie. It is too bad Clark, Helen, Myrna and Bob do not have any scenes together. That would have helped a somewhat weak movie. And it definitely needs more Bob!!
Am showing the above blow-up of Bob's face, well, just because he looks so great in the uniform.
In a surprise attack by the Japanese Navy on December 7, 1941, the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was bombed, resulting in the loss of the lives of 2,403 U.S. Citizens. This attack leads the United States into WWII, referred by President Roosevelt as "a day which will live in infamy."
Lt. Henry Montgomery, Jr., was on leave that day, enjoying hunting with friends on his New York farm. On hearing the news, he returned to his naval base to begin, along with millions of others, a fight and sacrifice that would last for four years.
TCM is showing They Were Expendable (1945) on Wednesday, the 7th, at 4:00 p.m. EST. It is a very fitting movie to show, the opening scene is concluded with the news that the attack has occurred.
I have featured this photo on the site previously. It is a trimmed (darn it!) photo, some lucky fan of Bob's obviously made it fit a photo frame. The bottom of the photo contained the studio identification information, Robert Montgomery and MGM spelled out on the left, and RM - 1 on the far right. Bob came to Hollywood in January, 1929, which would date the photo as being early 1929. It may not be the earliest portrait of Bob taken in Hollywood, not all were numbered, but at least there is some idea as to when it was taken.
I ran across the photo below recently. No information came with it, have not seen it before. I am guessing it was not taken at the studio. The pose is unusual, no photography studio identification either. Perhaps Bob set up the photo by himself? He was a photography nut from his early youth. The hairline is very close to what it is in the prior photo, could be an indication it was taken at or near the same time.
I am guessing late 1928 while still in New York. That would make him 24 years old. But just guessing. What do you think? Am I in the ballpark?
I'll have to say that snarfing up leftovers is my favorite part of the day's festivities. The rather hectic day has almost concluded, the bird/pie/side dish was/or wasn't once again a success and I have had time to rest my aching feet. No more shopping for the meal, hurrying out to get that one essential item I've overlooked. Sheer relief that I have survived, plenty of cold turkey as my reward. Fortifying myself for the Christmas onslaught!
I have always liked Clifton Webb. Interesting character. Started off as a dancer, appearing on Broadway.
Having seen Webb in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit on Broadway, Director Otto Preminger insisted on having Webb cast in his movie Laura (1944), as the villain Waldo Lydecker. Great part and great performance by Mr. Webb, earning him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. IMO he should have won, but it was the year of Going My Way and Barry Fitzgerald had it sewn up. Claude Rains (Mr. Skeffington) and Monty Woolley (Since You Went Away) were also nominated ... some tough competition!
In 1948 Webb starred in Sitting Pretty, the first of several Mr. Belvedere movies, playing a character patterned on Mr. Webb's real-life persona: "fastidious, fussy, abrasive and condescending." A nicer version of that character appears in Cheaper by the Dozen (1950), with Webb as the father of all those kids and Myrna Loy as the ever-understanding wife and mother.
Webb lived with his mother Maybelle until her death at 91. He was inconsolable for a year after her death. Noel Coward, a close friend of Webb's, is quoted as saying: "It must be difficult to be orphaned at 70."
Greetings to Jack Flynn ... wonder who he was? I am guessing the card is from 1940, or there about.
Sorry about the small size of the picture below, and it's not the greatest drawing of Bob. I found him by looking for his hairline ...
This is "Red Feather" by Winslow Homer, a gift to the Wadsworth Atheneum of Hartford, CT, by Mr. & Mrs. Robert Montgomery. Bob wasn't much of a modern art enthusiast.
This small blurb is from the September 16th, 1933, issue of Film Pictorial. The concept of 'working titles' must have been confusing for fans awaiting the release of Transcontinental Bus, when the title has been changed to Fugitive Lovers. At least it was a better title, as was Mystery of Mr. X an improvement over Mystery of the Dead Police.
Volunteered to serve his country in wartime, for four long years, even though he was past draft age and could have sat out the war. Served his country again as media consultant for President Eisenhower, without being compensated ... making his millions from hard work and good business sense, not from the public trough.
Love the total control studios had over portraying their images to the public. As in even the behind the scenes photos were impeccably set up. Note in this set photo from Hell Below the crew is dressed to the hilt, the camera man at the very top even has a hat on! Right. And what, pray tell, is he filming from that angle ... the top of Eugene Pallette's head? Whatever. It is an interesting photo with Bob in it, so what's not to like!
Constance Bennett, the lady with the large eyes, was born October 22, 1904. Born into an acting family, she was the older sister of Joan Bennett who appeared with Bob in Three Live Ghosts (1929). Constance was the highest-paid actress in the movies in 1931 when she made The Easiest Way. A strong-willed independent lady who would later establish successful clothing and cosmetics businesses, Constance was an accomplished poker player ... kinda fitting.
Bob and Constance Bennett ... one good-looking couple!
Bob, Constance and Adolphe Menjou
Love the caption for the above photo, used in a vintage movie magazine: It took all three stars to save the old worn-out plot of "The Easiest Way." Ouch!
Brian Aherne was handsome, debonair and instantly likeable on the screen. A successful actor in both movies and the theater, Aherne was a longtime friend of depressive George Sanders (no mean accomplishment) about whom he wrote the excellentbiography, "A Dreadful Man: A Personal Intimate Book About George Sanders."
What Every Woman Knows (1934)
Aherne was also a pilot and owned his own plane. A multi-talented gent was he. And, following a Bette Davis theme for the week, was quoted as saying, "Surely nobody but a mother could have loved Bette Davis at the height of her career."
Bob and Bette Davis were not exactly good friends, but they were both pros ... and would not let anything as minor as a personal animosity get in the way of making a film. They even shared a few moments of enjoyment on the set of June Bride, or at least that is how it appears with a camera on them. In the photo below, Bette is smiling at Bob ...
and later she can't keep a straight face over whatever Bob is doing off camera.
Yeah, definitely pros at their business. Which leads me to the classic clip of Bob playing a joke on Bette. You can see it here at 4:17 into the clip. Now just what could he have done for Bette to react that way. Ah, the possibilities. I love Bob's snort at the very end.