Thursday, April 30, 2015

His Butler's Sister (1943)

In 1943, Franchot Tone costarred with songstress Deanna Durbin and Pat O'Brien for the Universal picture, His Butler's Sister.

His Butler's Sister is a romantic comedy with many musical moments provided by Deanna Durbin. Franchot is Charles Gerard, a famous composer, traveling by train to his home in New York City. Ann Carter, an aspiring singer from the Midwest, is also traveling by train to NYC to visit her brother, Martin. When Ann finds out Charles Gerard is on the train, she rushes to sing for him...only she serenades the wrong man! 

Ann soon discovers that her brother Martin is butler to (drumroll, please) Mr. Charles Gerard. Ann, now a maid in the house, tries to sing for Charles, but is thwarted by her brother.

Charles falls in love with his sweet, but silly maid. The romantic scenes between Franchot and Deanna are tender and genuine. The film has the perfect combination of humor and romance.

Franchot and Deanna Durbin costarred in two other pictures, Nice Girl? in 1941 and Because of Him in 1946.

The only DVD available at this time is a Region 0 DVD with Portugese subtitles on Amazon. Some of the reviews mention poor audio quality, so please read the Amazon description and reviews carefully before making the decision to purchase.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bonanza: Denver McKee (1960)

Franchot Tone made a guest starring appearance as Denver McKee in the episode of the same name that aired on October 15, 1960. 

Denver McKee is a United States Deputy Marshall who is looking forward to the return of his daughter, Connie, who has been away at school in the East.

While Denver dotes on his daughter and enjoys her homecoming, crimes are being committed more and more frequently around the Ponderosa. Denver leads a posse to track down the suspects. Although he's always liked Mr. McKee, Ben Cartwright begins to suspect that the old Deputy Marshall may not be exactly who the townspeople believe him to be.

I enjoyed Franchot's portrayal of Denver McKee. Although audiences often think of Franchot as a suave, tuxedo-ed, New York-bred gentleman, he fits right in with the other folks at the Ponderosa and gives an outstanding performance.

The Denver McKee episode is #6 on Season 2 of Bonanza. The DVD of Bonanza Season 2 can be purchased at:

At the time of this writing, Bonanza is also available to stream online at HuluPlus.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bette Davis on Franchot Tone

"When I was filming Dangerous in 1935, I had a crush on my costar, Franchot Tone. Everything about him reflected his elegance, from his name to his manners. He had a great deal going for him, including Miss Joan Crawford. He was madly in love with her. They met each day for lunch. After lunch, he would return to the set, his face covered with lipstick. He made sure we all knew it was Crawford's lipstick. I was jealous, of course."

Davis, Bette, and Mickey Herskowitz. This 'n That. New York: Putnam's, 1987. 134. Print.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Midnight Mary (1933)

I am a huge fan of Franchot Tone (obviously, ha!) and Loretta Young, so their 1933 film Midnight Mary is one of my favorites! The film is most definitely a Loretta Young vehicle and it takes a while before Franchot appears, but you will not be disappointed. Mary Martin (Loretta Young) has had a rough life from the start, losing her mother and getting mixed up with the wrong crowd at a very early age. Although she is viewed by society as an immoral woman, Mary has a heart of gold (as is often the case with Loretta Young's precode heroines.) In a robbery gone wrong, the debonair, wealthy lawyer Tom Mannering, Jr. (Franchot Tone) is enchanted by and covers for Mary.

Tom puts Mary through secretarial school and gives her a job at his law firm. Although Tom expects nothing in return for his generosity, their attraction to each other is undeniable. As is typical with precodes, Mary's past eventually comes back to haunt her. I won't spoil the plot for you, but watch Midnight Mary! You won't regret it.

I wish Loretta and Franchot had made many more movies together. As fate would have it, they only costarred in one other film, The Unguarded Hour in 1936.
Franchot and Loretta in Midnight Mary.

Midnight Mary is available in the Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Volume Three. It is combined with Other Men's Women, The Purchase Price, Frisco Jenny, Heroes for Sale, and Wild Boys of the Road. If you're a fan of precodes, you can purchase this set at: