Monday, February 18, 2013

Bob and his Ladies Week

I do so enjoy the marvelous sets created for 1930s movies.  Just think of all the effort involved in setting up the sets used in the photos below.  How would you like to have been the one that was assigned to adhering all those flowers to the "tree" to create the background for Bob and Nora's swing scene in But the Flesh is Weak.  Beautiful setting.  And I love the touch of having the pair of swans swimming behind Madge and Bob.  Fantastic sets created for maybe a minute of film, then broken down and readied for the next scene. 

                   But the Flesh is Weak (1932) with Nora Gregor

Nora Gregor seems to have appeared in only one U.S. movie, making mostly German movies.  Douglas Fairbanks in his autobiography, The Salad Days, relates a rather amusing story of an inebriated Nora showing up for a performance in a play in which they were co-starring, after "carouzing mit your freund, dat Bobbity Montygummarrry."  She makes it until the second act when she gets sick and leaves Doug alone on the stage.

Actually, Nora's life would make a great movie --- successful stage and film actress becomes the mistress of an Austrian prince and politician, eventually marrying him; flees Austria in 1938 (Nora's parents were jewish) leaving behind the family fortune; moves to South America in 1942; and finally, living alone in dire straits in Chile, commits suicide in 1949 at the age of 47.  What d'ya think, a young Meryl Streep role?

                        Piccadilly Jim (1936) with Madge Evans

Madge Evans had the same problem as Bob re typecasting.  She was quite often cast in the 'nice girl' roles with little opportunity to break out of that mold.  She made five movies with Bob:  Lovers Courageous, Hell Below, Made on Broadway, Fugitive Lovers and Piccadilly Jim.   In 1939 she married playwright Sidney Kingsley, trading Hollywood for an estate in New Jersey and a marriage that lasted until her death in 1981, just five months before Bob passed.  Not as exciting a life as Nora's, but seemingly preferable.


Carrie said...

Speaking of trees and Bob, I always think of him sitting in the one in Rage in Heaven. Then there's the massive tree house in Our Blushing Brides...sounds like a blog topic!

Kathy said...

Bob's up a tree in Rage? That's completely blocked out of my memory banks --- do bite your tongue about my age, woman. Anyway, sounds like a good excuse to watch a Bob movie later.