Friday, July 20, 2012

Say what?

TCM is showing a night of pre-Code movies starring Barara Stanwyck tonight. The first two, Shopworn at 8:00 PM and Ten Cents a Dance at 9:15 PM, were made at Columbia and are both available on a Columbia pre-Code box set for which TCM has been running promos recently. For some reason, I thought all four of the movies in that box set were Stanwyck pictures, and conversely that all of tonight's movies were in that box set, but that's not the case. The third film, Illicit at 10:45 PM, is a Warner Bros. film and part of a DVD release with Girl Missing. The last, Forbidden at 12:15 AM, isn't on DVD at all.

When I was looking up these movies on TCM's site for the DVD information, I noticed that there's a rather interesting article on Ten Cents a Dance, which stars Stanwyck as a taxi dancer who has to choose between a rich businessman (Ricardo Cortez) and a seemingly nice guy (Monroe Owsley) who is in fact a good-for-nothing schlub. The movie was directed by Lionel Barrymore during a brief period in his career when he was getting into directing. The Oscar that he would win for A Free Soul would put an end to that. The article says something rather wacky about this, however:

Barrymore would go on to work on one more film as director - Guilty Hands [1931] - but would be replaced by W.S. Van Dyke and receive no screen credit. Luckily, his film career as a character actor took off the same year when he was nominated and won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar® for A Free Soul.

"Character actor"? Maybe by the time he was confined to his wheelchair and played Dr. Gillespie or the evil banker in It's a Wonderful Life. But not through the 1930s, where he was the driving force behind great films like Dinner at Eight and You Can't Take It With You. Worse, anybody getting paid to write about old Hollywood movies ought to know that the Acadmey didn't award Supporting Actor and Actress Oscars until 1936.

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