Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Watch out for the little old lady down the street ...

                      Lionel Barrymore in The Devil Doll (1936)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bob Competes With Frank Morgan for the Girl? Only in the Movies.

When Ladies Meet (1931) is included in the newly released Forbidden Hollywood, Vol. 9.  Bob co-stars with Myrna Loy, but it is definitely a Myrna Loy movie with able support from Ann Harding, Frank Morgan, Alice Brady and our Bob.  The 'forbidden' description applies because of Myrna's designs on married Frank Morgan.  Bob, her ardent suitor, seeks to break up the Loy/Morgan affair by setting up a meeting of Frank's wife Ann Harding with Loy.  Great scene, great performance by Harding.  The movie has a really excellent script adapted from a Rachel Crothers play with superb art direction by Cedric Gibbons ... most of the scenes are in a Connecticut country cottage, a home about which to dream.  
Myrna discusses discusses filming Ladies in her autobiography, Being and Becoming
Bob Montgomery adored Alice Brady, and, both being great wits, they made very entertaining companions.  We became a little coterie of three, occasionally going to Alice's house or having something to eat after work.  That kind of easy camaraderie is rare in pictures, everything goes so fast you very often don't get to know people.
 Now that had to be a fun trio. 

Miscellaneous Thoughts and an ID'd Photo

First I get help identifying the photo in the Oct. 20th post, and now I have been able to identify the mystery photo in the March 31st post.  I thought it was from the 20s, actually it is a 1932 movie titled While Paris Sleeps which starred Victor McLaglen and featured William Bakewell and Helen Mack, the young couple in the photo.  I ran across a sister photo which had the ID information ... one of my mini-Viola! moments.

  William Bakewell and Helen Mack in While Paris Sleeps (1932)

When was the last time you saw anyone wear a hat?  And I don't mean a baseball cap, or a uniform hat...just your everyday Dick and Jane going out in public.  Everybody wore hats back when, and then they just went away.  Kinda sad.  I think most men look great in a fedora.  Bob Montgomery looked great in any kind of hat.

     Riders of the Black Hills (1938) with the Three Mesquiteers
            (Bob Livingston, Ray Corrigan and Max Terhune)
There were some fabulous sets dreamed up by the studios in the 1930s and 1940s.  Be it a nightclub stage dreamed up by Busby Berkeley or a simple country cottage in the English countryside, they were extremely important in making a successful movie.  Sometimes the sets are a bit much.  I hope Irene is  on a stage picking fake flowers and not on a real garden set.  Gotta check out this movie some time.  Either way, Irene, always the pro, managed not to break out laughing at her fake flower bouquet.  

                         Irene Dunne in Sweet Adeline (1934)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Happy Birthday, Constance Bennett!

I have always admired Constance Bennett.  She was beautiful, a good actress, played a mean hand of poker and ran her own cosmetics and clothing company.   Her good business sense also helped make her the highest-paid actress in the early 1930s.  That's saying a lot in the time of Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford.  $150,000 for a movie or $30,000 per week ... darn good money for 1931.  That's a heck of a lot more than Bob was making when he co-starred with Constance in The Easiest Way.

            Bob and Constance Bennett in The Easiest Way (1931)

 She was born October 22, 1904, into the acting Bennett family.  Both parents were actors and sister Joan Bennett would also become a successful actress.  She married five times, the last time to a U.S. Air Force officer in 1946, finally a good marriage that lasted until her death in 1965.  Even as a life-long Democrat involved in politics throughout her life, she remained friends with Montgomery, Mr. Republican, and appeared twice on Robert Montgomery Presents

             Clark Gable and Constance in After Office Hours (1935)

60 years is much too short a life, but Constance apparently lived those years fully.  She is buried in Arlington National Cemetery ... not many Hollywood people have that distinction. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

And the Mystery Person Is.................

I love group photos of stars who appear to have little in common.  Granted, they all seem to be hams, but really, Don Ameche and W. C. Fields singing together?!  Of course the photo did not come with any information as to why this divergent group was posing for a photo.  Perhaps they've come together for a charity event or a morale booster for the troops, does appear to have been taken in the early to mid-40s. 

What I do know is that the stars are Fields, Nelson Eddy, Charley McCarthy, Edgar Bergen, Ameche and Dorothy Lamour.    The guy sitting down ... anyone know who he is? 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

From Mad to Cad

     Bob, as mad Philip, and Ingrid Bergman in Rage in Heaven (1941)

                                  Ingrid with George Sanders

Both male leads in Rage in Heaven were cast against type.  Bob is the psychotic villain while Sanders plays the noble, nice guy Ward who wins Ingrid in the end.  George does a nice job, but he played the cad/purring villain with such absolute perfection that the movie is a true waste of his particular talent.  (In case you haven't read it already, do try Brian's Aherne book on Sanders, titled "A Dreadful Man.")

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Commander Bob serving in the USNR

Bob joined the U.S.N.R. in April, 1941, eight months before the U.S. entered WWII, and was released from active duty in October, 1945.  He stayed on as a reservist until at least 1959, the Captain's uniform he wears as an extra in The Gallant Hours was his!

I'm guessing the photo below is fairly representative of the duties he performed.  Then Commander Montgomery is shown presenting a model of the frigate Constitution to Commander William Collins and the crew of the "Mod 89," the first of two prototypes of the Lockheed RV Constitution transport plane, on July 22, 1948.  The plane was massive, 50 feet to the tip of the tail.  It also proved to be underpowered for the Navy and, at that time, too large for civilian use.  Both planes were retired in 1953.

Can't imagine Bob signing up for the Army, their unforms were just no way as classy as the Navy's.  Besides, I'm sure the navy blues set off Bob's blue eyes just great.  Well, his love of sailing had perhaps a tad more influence on his decision. 

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Robert Montgomery, MGM, RM-7

This photo was taken in 1930, used to promote Love in the Rough.  Bob was 26 at the time, still ascending the ladder to stardom.  I'd say by his confident air that he already knew he'd make the top. 

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Worst Woman in Paris? (1933)

That is an actual title of a movie.  Fallen women being such a hot subject in pre-code Hollywood, I imagine it was difficult coming up with titles for all of them.  And who better to corrupt the woman than Adolphe Menjou, with the perfect villain mustache.  Yeah, Benita, whatever you do, DON'T OPEN THAT DOOR!!!

                               Benita Hume & Adolphe Menjou

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Two More Bob Movies to be Released on DVD

I need to check WBshop more often.  There are two Bob movies being released on DVD on October 6th!  Both are co-starring Helen Hayes, Vanessa:  Her Love Story (1935) and Another Language (1933).  

Vanessa is both dated and severely cut from it's original length, only the early TV edited version exists.  (At least that's my assumption, will delve into that in a later post.)  But it's worth a viewing, if only to see Bob in a period piece and some nifty outfits.  Yes, he was a well-dressed man in almost all circumstances.  

Another Language is the better movie.  It is also very much a Helen Hayes movie with a supporting cast including our Bob as her husband who is still under the domination of his mother.

(On a personal note, I finally figure out how to place the text of the blog alongside a photo and darn if I can get it to work with a second photo.  Maybe in another four years...)

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Happy Birthday, Virginia Bruce!

My apologies to the spirit of Virgina Bruce for getting this post in two days late.  Virginia's birthday was September 29th.  Virginia co-starred with Bob in Yellow Jack (1938).  Have always enjoyed this photo, an example of those great 1930s movie sets.  So much better than being in an 1898 Cuban jungle, with all the crawling and flying critters.

                    Bob and Virginia Bruce in YellowJack (1938)

Ran across a clip of Virginia singing in the movie Born to Dance (1936).  The song is "I've Got You Under My Skin" and she sings it to co-star Jimmy Stewart.  Had a nice soprano voice, helped by the always excellent coaching of MGM's Roger Edens.  You can see it here.