Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hugh Herbert, meet F. Hugh Herbert

The other day, TCM showed the 1934 movie Smarty, an odd little film from the end of the pre-Code era about a woman (Joan Blondell) who irritates multiple husbands to the point that they smack her. I noticed in the opening credits that this was based on a play by F. Hugh Herbert, and I thought to myself that I didn't realize one of those great 1930s character actors was also a playwright.

The reason I didn't realize this is because they are in fact two different people. F. Hugh Herbert was a Vienna-born playwright who emigrated to the US and became a screenwriter on movies such as If You Could Only Cook. IMDb lists him as having precisely one acting credit. F. Hugh Herbert, that is to say, is quite a different person from Hugh Herbert, who showed up in over 100 talkies until his death in 1952. I've recommended quite a few of the films in which he appears, such as his appearance in James Cagney's acting troupe in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Note that Hugh's IMDb biography gets a few things wrong, crediting him with writing Hit Parade of 1941, and a French adaptation of The Moon Is Blue, both of which were done by F. Hugh Herbert.

The two Herberts collaborated if you will on six movies, in that F. Hugh wrote the screenplays while just plain Hugh is in the cast.

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