Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We're in the Money question

One of the Ross Alexander films I watched last night, We're in the Money, isn't on DVD, so this isn't a full-length blog post on the film. The quick verdict is that Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell are fun as process servers, but the movie bogs down in the final third.

This post, however, is a question about some of the things that happen once the movie begins to bog down. The two ladies' boss, Hugh Herbert steals a car and drives it maniacally, and then has similar problems with a small boat with an outboard motor. These scenes are very obviously (and understandably) done with rear-projection photography of previously filmed material. The footage in the boat scenes looked quite familiar, though. The only other motorboat scene I can think of that might fit the bill wsa one involving Joe E. Brown, and a quick look through Brown's IMDb filmography shows Top Speed from 1930, in which Brown also had to drive a speedboat for which he was thoroughly unqualified.

How long would a studio have kept the sort of file footage used for rear-projection photography? Top Speed came out five years before We're in the Money, and I have to wonder whether the studio heads would remember such an obscure movie. Then again, they did remake obscure stuff, so the movie would obviously have been in their records; not that these two movies share anything in common other than the boats out of control. I also seem to remember Marie Dressler in an out-of-control boat or car, but she worked at MGM, so that wouldn't be the same footage.

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