Classic Movie Monthly #5 is now available for your Kindle (or other reading device, see details on Amazon page). In keeping with new tradition, the introduction to the issue is reprinted below so you can get a feel for what's inside.
(If you're outside the US, try this link instead.)
I had hoped to send out a new review post before announcing this latest issue of the monthly, but work on this issue's new article (The Story of Temple Drake!) pushed my calendar back further than I had planned. I'm going to take a day or two to decompress, but then return to work on the piece I was working on before Temple Drake sidetracked me!
Welcome to issue #5 of Immortal Ephemera’s Classic Movie Monthly. This issue looks at three literary adaptations—one from a forgotten magazine story, and two from books by Pulitzer Prize Award-winning novelists. The best known of these three movies has never had a home video release. In fact, only one of these three movies has been released on home video in America, though all three of them do play on Turner Classic Movies every so often.
Snowed Under is an underrated Warner Bros.-First National farce from the mid-1930s. This is the entry with the most modest origins, having developed from a story serialized in Liberty magazine. The movie features an ensemble cast led by George Brent, who fights off and plays with the affections of characters played by Genevieve Tobin, Glenda Farrell, and Patricia Ellis. If not for the 1936 release date, all of the witty banter tossed about in this one might make you think it was a pre-Code release. This Immortal Ephemera reprint includes information about writer “Lawrence Saunders,” aka John Burton Davis, and recounts some of the action of this wild comedy filled with as much sex as romance. A mild update of the original with footnotes and citations now included.
King Vidor and wife Elizabeth Hill adapted H.M. Pulham, Esq. from a novel by Pulitzer Prize winning author John P. Marquand. This article from the Immortal Ephemera archives examines the similarities and differences between Vidor’s film, which he also directed, and Marquand’s book, emerging as an appreciation of both story forms. You’ve more likely seen the movie, which puts its stress on the relationship between characters played by Robert Young and Hedy Lamarr. If you’ve read the book you’ll have more especially experienced the uncertainty of American life between the two World Wars. Both forms examine class differences experienced by a man from old Boston money who falls in love with a working woman in Manhattan. Can he come to terms with those differences, and should he?
The all-new original entry for issue #5 is an extended look at The Story of Temple Drake (1933), Paramount’s notorious pre-Code adaptation of William Faulkner’s even more notorious novel, Sanctuary. Faulkner had not yet claimed a Pulitzer by the time of this movie, but he was later awarded the prize—twice. This essay looks at some of the action from the book that the movie had to leave out, while detailing the difficulties it ran into with local censors and the Hays Office anyway. Also in the piece, George Raft explains why he refused to appear in the film, and Jack La Rue tells us why he took the role that Raft turned down. Brief biographies up through the time of the movie are offered for La Rue and star Miriam Hopkins. Contemporary critical reaction to the movie is cited—and not all of it was bad—as well as my own take on the movie and how it handled its sensitive subject matter.
This issue’s highlighted collectible is a group of paper stock supplement photos that were included with various editions of the Philadelphia Record newspaper in 1933, and again between 1936-38. A relatively common American ephemeral issue, there are enough of these paper-stock supplements around to make them both a fun and affordable item to collect.
TCM Ten is back with ten recommendations of 1930s films playing on Turner Classic Movies in February 2017. Not as easy as you would think for TCM’s “Oscar month.” A capsule review is included for one of my ten selections, The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933).
Back with number six in late February. Stay warm—
Once again, you can preview or purchase Classic Movie Monthly #5 (eBook) HERE.
PS: The review I'm working on is for Are These Our Children (1931) - I hope to have that to you by the end of the weekend.