Saturday, February 27, 2016

Happy Birthday, Franchot!

Franchot was born on this day in 1905. It's hard to believe that he would be 111 years old. Even though I was born years after his death, I always think of Franchot as someone who hasn't been gone that long. I suppose it is because he comes across as so lively and in-the-moment in his work. He also had timeless looks, manners, and dress that will never go out of style.

Franchot remains relevant to me and, I think, should remain relevant to current and future generations of classic film fans. The performances he left behind are still as poignant, relatable, and stirring as they were when they were originally released. In Gentlemen are Born, he is an intelligent college graduate who struggles to find a home, work, and love in a recessed economy. In They Gave Him a Gun, he has great difficulty re-entering civilian life after a traumatic tour of duty in the war. In The Bride Wore Red, he's a modest postman sincerely in love with a woman who dreams of wealth. In Exclusive Story, he attempts to uncover corruption as an attorney. In Twelve Angry Men, he's a juror who grapples with determining another man's fate. All of these plots could easily be found in films today and people of the 21st century are still experiencing these same obstacles in their lives.

Happy Birthday, Franchot! Thank you for cheering me up with your antics in Fast and Furious and Three Loves Has Nancy, for absolutely breaking my heart with your vulnerability in Suzy, Dangerous, and Three Comrades, and frightening me in Phantom Lady and The Man on the Eiffel Tower. You are fascinating to watch, inspiring in your craft, and great fun to research.

Here's the tribute montage I made in January. I thought it was fitting to share it again today in celebration of Franchot's life and career. (If the embedded video does not play, here's the link:

Friday, February 26, 2016

Tone attends Acheson Award Presentation

Franchot and brother Jerry congratulate their father Dr. Frank J. Tone on receiving the Acheson Award in 1935.  The award was named for Edward Goodrich Acheson who invented carborundum (Frank J. was the president of the Carborundum Company). I always feel bad for the people who get x'd out on news photographs. I'm sorry, guy on the right.

Source: Spartanburg Herald Journal, October 11, 1935. Page 6.

The news story above was first written on October 10th. The next day (on which it made it into the Spartanburg Herald Journal) was the day that Franchot and Joan Crawford secretly married!
Source: New Movie Magazine, October 1934.

Source for Acheson Photograph: Harris & Ewing, photographer. L to r: Franchot Tone, Jerry Tone, brother, Dr. Frank Tone, Niagara Falls receiving Acheson Award. [1935] Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Early Influence: Charlie Chaplin

Source: Wikipedia

"I remember, too, how I used to imitate Charlie Chaplin. After I had seen him for the first time on the screen, I proceeded to make everyone's life miserable. I would dress up like Charlie and go waddling down the street. I carried a cane and woe unto any lady who happened to stoop to tie her shoe! I would ring door bells and when the people answered, I'd go skidding around the corner on one foot—at the same time tipping my hat."

In honor of Franchot's childhood love of Chaplin, I thought I'd highlight two funny gags in Franchot's films.
Realizing a lion has taken the place of Ann Sothern in Fast and Furious, 1939
Making Deanna Durbin laugh in His Butler's Sister, 1943

I didn't have a chance to create .gifs for them, but two hilarious FT movies that will have you laughing out loud are Love on the Run (1936) and Three Loves Has Nancy (1938). Franchot plays the second lead in both films, but steals every single scene in which he appears!
  • Tone, Franchot. "I've Always Been a Show-Off". Hollywood Magazine. June 1935. Page 23, 55.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Franchot Tone's Early Life in Niagara Falls

Franchot was born on February 27, 1905 in Niagara Falls, New York. His father Frank Jerome Tone was the Works Manager and President of the Carborundum Company and made many scientific and technological contributions. There's an impressive bio on Frank J. Tone here. Franchot's mother was Gertrude Franchot Tone and he had an older brother named Frank Jerome "Jerry" Tone.

Franchot as a boy.
This photo originally appeared in a 1930s fan magazine.
I saved it, but I cannot find the original article in my files today.
It's somewhere in the Media History Digital Library database.

The 1905 New York Census shows an 8 month old baby Franchot living with his father Frank J., mother Gertrude, and brother Jerry at 613 Buffalo Avenue in Niagara Falls, New York. Franchot would later describe his street as the "main residential street of Niagara Falls" running from "the Falls and passes the Shredded Wheat factory. This is one of the points of interests for visiting tourists, so this particular street carried a lot of traffic". Also in the house are Lizzie Spooker, a German maid, and Lizzie Oates, a Canadian cook. The state census also shows a Tusch family and does not give them a separate street number. Herman Tusch is a special agent (am I reading that right?), so I'm not sure if or how he is connected to the Tones. There are other Tuschs at residences near the Tones, so I don't know if this is a census error or if the Tuschs indeed lived in the Tone residence.
1905 New York Census,
The 1915 New York Census shows the Tone family on the same street, but with a different street number. Frank J. Tone is still the head of the Carborundum Company, with wife Gertrude, 13-year-old Frank J. "Jerry", and 9-year-old Franchot. In their household at this time is an English maid named Georgiana Pittman and an Irish cook named Anna H. Ryan. In this census, there are many Franchot households around the Tone residence (Franchot being Gertrude Tone's maiden name).
1915 New York Census,
In the article, "I've Always Been a Show-Off" attributed to Franchot and published in Hollywood Magazine in 1935, Franchot shared the following childhood memories:

I can remember when I was only four years old. I was taken to a summer resort in the Canadian woods. Some boys were trying to spear fish and I was watching them. Suddenly I looked up, and there was a beautiful little girl standing a few feet away. Immediately I grabbed a spear and tried to show how good I was. Instead, I went in head first. Of course, I was too young to know how to swim and actually I was going down for the third time when my nurse came along and jumped in after me. She couldn't swim either but she managed to hold me up until help came...
 Another time I remember when some new people moved in next door to us. They had a boy just about my age and, of course, I was curious to know what he was like. He played in his yard and I played in mine. I kept watching him out of the corner of my eye, but whenever he looked over, I would assume the most innocent air of indifference. One day a truckload of coal arrived. The boy next door completely ignored me by concentrating on the man emptying the coal into the basement. I had a new bicycle, so I ran and jumped on it. I pedaled furiously and tried to do all sorts of fancy tricks. Then something happened. The wheel gave a sudden twist and I found myself sitting in the middle of the coal-chute.

  • Tone, Franchot. "I've Always Been a Show-Off". Hollywood Magazine. June 1935. Page 23, 55.
  • New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 01; Assembly District: 02; City: Niagara Falls Ward 02; County: Niagara; Page: 21
  • New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: E.D. 02; City: Niagara Falls Ward 01; County: Niagara; Page: 11

Monday, February 22, 2016

Nobody Runs Forever (1968)

In honor of the anniversary of Franchot's birth on February 27th, I'm posting daily this week instead of my usual twice-a-week posts. Today, I want to highlight Franchot's final film, Nobody Runs Forever.

Nobody Runs Forever (also known as The High Commissioner) is a late Sixties political thriller starring Christopher Plummer and Rod Taylor (an example of perfect casting, in my opinion).  Rod Taylor is Scobie Malone, a police sergeant asked to take into custody the High Commissioner of Australia, James Quentin (Christopher Plummer), who is being investigated for the murder of his first wife. Quentin requests that Malone keep the matter private and give him until after an important peace summit. Malone agrees to give the commissioner a few days, but keeps a close eye on him. During that time, Malone grows close to Quentin as he protects him against multiple assassination attempts, uncovers secrets from Quentin's current wife, and identifies a threatening spy ring. Franchot is American Ambassador Townsend, an ailing political mentor of Quentin's.

Franchot's role is very brief (under a minute). For that reason, I chose to share his actual scene instead of my usual screen caps. Knowing it is his last scene in a major motion picture and that Franchot himself was battling lung cancer as he played this gravely ill character in a hospital makes this clip bittersweet for me. (If the embedded clip doesn't play here, use the direct Youtube link.)

Although he plays this scene from a hospital bed, Franchot performs with the fortitude that I so enjoy in the charactors of his final decade. He's no feeble old man in that room. He's alive and biting and wise and in control.

Nobody Runs Forever is a stylish spy film, full of political intrigue, great dialogue, and gorgeous mod fashion on both the men and the women. Christopher Plummer and Rod Taylor, two of my favorite actors of that decade, are both fantastic in their roles and Franchot ends his career on a high note in a sophisticated tale of espionage.

Under the title The High Commissioner, this film is available on DVD.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

On Publicity Leaps and the Crawford-Tone Theatre

Even though Katharine Hepburn had apparently ordered that all reporters be kept off the set of Quality Street, Franchot smuggled Ben Maddox of Screenland into his dressing room. Maddox reported that Franchot was "secretly amused at such temperament".  With Maddox, Franchot shared:

This mold I've had to pour myself into is a fierce one to take.  What can I do? When I got my contract with Metro, before I'd even stepped onto the train, a leading columnist announced me as a society playboy whose chief objective was backing shows! Well, I had more surprises. I arrived here to be nearly typed as a stuffed shirt hero. Next I learned that all that interviewers really wanted from me was data on Joan. There's no one I'd rather discuss, but not publicly. It's presumptuous of me; anyway, I've no desire to cash in on her success! Out here they're so anxious for fancy scoops that they leap to amazing conclusions. They leap so fast and frequently that after a bit I figured, "Oh, what's the use of denying that dizzy tale? Another whopper will be circulating in its place next week!"
Franchot then illustrated his point by talking about the theatre at the Crawford-Tone residence:

For instance, that myth about the little theatre we have in our garden should be exploded. It is not for Joan to learn stage acting in, and never was so intended! I've read that it was built so I could teach her the technique of the footlights. That's a sample of the incredible situations I've been in since I've been here. Joan doesn't require any special coaching from me or anyone else to be able to act on the stage. She is an actress. And she couldn't do much emoting in that theatre of ours, despite the touching tale that was printed of horrible stage-fright when she made her debut the other evening — before our customary 'gathering of intellectuals.' They're another joke, incidentally. We have interesting friends, but none of us claim to be "intellectuals"! To get this matter of the theatre straightened out once and for all, when the swimming pool was put in Joan designed a bathhouse for one side and a small, matching theatre for the other. Just a theatre where movies could be run. The widely touted stage is nothing more than a raised platform, elevated so that our sound machine will go underneath it!
Joan & Franchot's Brentwood Home. Source:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

On Pizza and Grape Juice

In 1966, Franchot starred in a production of The Bird, the Bear, and the Actress at the Eugene O'Neill Memorial Theatre Center in Waterford, Connecticut. Janet Roach, a local reporter for the New Day newspaper, interviewed Franchot. In the first part of the article, Franchot talks about the play and how happy he is to be performing in it. The last half of the article takes an odd, but delightful turn. It focuses on Franchot's frustration for vending machines and his dedicated supply of grape juice. Here's an excerpt from the article:

Tone deems "one New London pizza house well worth visiting more than once.
'Just give me plain mozzarella,' says Tone, banishing with the flip of a hand any suggestion of more exotic variations.
The pizza place is just one of Tone's answers to the camping-out atmosphere pervading the three-week work session at the former Palmer Mansion.
'I'm an old hand at this. I could talk for hours about the tricks, but nobody asks me.' The actor reached for a chilled container of grape juice as he spoke. 'For instance, most people would carry a bottle opener for this sort of thing. But after a while I discovered a room key will do just as well.'
The grape juice itself is the product of many frustrated trips to theatre soft drink machines.
'There's nothing more frustrating,' Tone said, 'You run all the way down the stairs with a dime clutched between your fingers. You put it in the slot and it goes all the way to the bottom and lands in the coin return.'
That experience prompted the resourceful actor to invest in a small cooler and some plastic glasses which he carries in his car.
'I have to phone down for the ice and go shopping for the juice,' Tone says, but the effort answers the challenge of camping out."
I love how serious Franchot is about his grape juice. It's an amusing little exchange, but it also illustrates the everyday, regular guy in Franchot. His life was not all champagne and tuxedo tails as some commentators would have you believe. He was a working actor on the road, learning lines and fighting soda machines, and eating a slice of pizza at a local joint.  Franchot says he could talk for hours about his tricks as an "old hand" in the theater business, but mentions that no one ever asks him. How I wish they would have asked him! At this stage in his life, he seemed willing to share his opinions on a variety of subjects and I would love to be able to hear them.

Source: Roach, Janet. "Perfectionist Franchot Tone 'Sacrifices' Own Shirt for Play." The Day. New London, Connecticut. August 5, 1966. Page 12.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Franchot Tone and Deanna Durbin: Underrated Onscreen Couple

"If all young ladies of nineteen were as naturally lovely, unaffected, talented, and intelligent as Deanna Durbin, America would indeed be the land of the Pilgrim's Pride."
                              -Franchot Tone, Modern Screen, Dec 1940 - Nov 1941
Shared with me by James de Menna

As a part of Second Sight Cinema's You Must Remember This…A Kiss Is Just a Kiss blogathon, I'm covering the onscreen kisses and romance between Franchot and Deanna Durbin. To see all of the great posts on classic film kisses, make sure to check out the roster of blogs participating in the blogathon.

Franchot and Deanna Durbin starred in three romantic films together between 1941 and 1946. Each film includes music, mix-ups, laughs, and passion! I want to warn those that have not watched these films that this post includes spoilers.

Nice Girl? (1941)

Shared with me by James de Menna.

Shared with me by James de Menna.

Nice Girl? (1941). source:

Nice Girl?, 1941. Source:

Nice Girl? (1941) marks the first pairing of Franchot and Deanna. In the film, Deanna plays Jane,  a sweet teenager who doesn't appreciate being labeled a "nice girl". Jane is going steady with Don (Robert Stack), but is frustrated by his distraction and lack of passion. When the older, suave Richard Calvert (Franchot Tone) comes to meet Jane's father, Oliver, a scientist and candidate for a fellowship, Jane develops an instant crush. Richard is flattered by Jane's attempt at romance, but views her as a nice, young girl. When Jane is stuck at Richard's house overnight, he gently rebuffs her advances. Eager to shed her good girl image, Jane tells her family and classmates that she and Richard are in love and that they will be married.

The kiss happens at a dance. Not knowing of Jane's boasting, Richard is congratulated on his engagement.

Jane begs him to play along to help her gain a bit of notoriety. A nice guy himself, Richard obliges, kissing Jane in front of everyone, and then allowing her to publicly jilt him.

The plan works! Don finally notices Jane and they rekindle their relationship. Although Franchot and Deanna's characters are not a couple in the end, the confrontation and kissing scene at the dance is still a really funny, romantic moment. It's clear that if Deanna's character were a bit older, she and Franchot's character would make a great couple...which is exactly what happens in their next film together.

His Butler's Sister (1943)

His Butler's Sister, 1943. Source:

Photo shared by James de Menna

Photo shared by James de Menna

Photo shared by James de Menna

Photo shared by James de Menna

His Butler's Sister (1943) is unquestionably one of my favorite film romances of all time. If you watched Nice Girl? and wished that somehow Franchot and Deanna could have fallen in love at the end, you will not be disappointed with their second film. It is perfectly romantic in every way. Ann Carter (Durbin) is on a train to visit her brother when she hears that the famous composer Charles Gerard (Tone) is in a nearby compartment. Unaware that he has already exited the train, Ann mistakenly sings to the man she thinks is Gerard. When she arrives in the city, Ann realizes that her brother Martin is actually the composer's butler and Charles believes her to be the new maid. Ann takes every opportunity to sing for and be discovered by Charles, but brother Martin interferes each time.

Soon, Ann and Charles become attracted to each other and after a long conversational walk home, they share a most romantic kiss. The kiss begins off-camera. We see Charles take off his hat and lean toward Ann as the elevator doors close. Then, we see the elevator moving slowly up 22 floors and then opening at the penthouse level. Ann and Charles are in full embrace as the doors open and they walk slowly with their arms around each other into the penthouse.

At Ann's room, they kiss goodnight. It is such a romantic scene! The walk home, the elevator kiss, the slow walk from the elevator to Ann's's all pure magic. Their romance is so beautifully conveyed by Franchot and Deanna and the way these moments are shot create this lovely, dreamy scene.

Equally romantic to the kisses is the hug at the very end of the film. The way Ann runs off the stage and straight into Charles' arms at the end of her song provides a flawless final shot. You see, after they fall in love earlier in the film, they are quickly torn apart by Ann's brother. Concerned about his job and his sister, Martin sabotages their relationship. Because he is not aware that Martin and Ann are siblings, Charles believes that Martin has designs on Ann himself. In the final scene, Charles sees Ann perform for the first time. Drawn to her, Charles begins to move closer and closer to the stage. When she sees him, Ann's entire face lights up and then the running embrace happens. You must watch it! There's nothing better.

Because of Him (1946)

Because of Him, 1946. Source:

Because of Him, 1946. Source:

Because of Him, 1946. Source:

Because of Him, 1946. Source:

In their final pairing Because of Him, Franchot and Deanna's characters have a love-hate-then love relationship. Well, Franchot's character does, at least! Deanna's character is pretty indifferent to Franchot's character in the beginning. Kim Walker will stop at nothing to land an acting role opposite her idol John Sheridan (brilliantly played by Charles Laughton). It's a bit similar to His Butler's Sister in that, at the beginning of each film, Deanna's character is ambitious and constantly seeking ways to break into the business, but Kim Walker's game plan is much more obvious, which is what irks playwright Paul Taylor (Franchot). On first sight, Paul is attracted to Kim and uses lots of pick-up lines on her. Fully knowing what Paul's up to, Kim keeps her eye on the prize: a part in a John Sheridan play, which happens to be written by Paul. Paul wants an experienced actress for the part and is frustrated that the inexperienced Kim schemes her way into Sheridan's circle.

When newspapers carry a story that Kim attempted suicide, Paul feels bad over his treatment of her and rushes to her with his play script in hand. When Paul sees Kim's sincerity, he kisses her tenderly out on the patio. Paul says that he never realized how young, beautiful, and full of fire Kim is and that she is perfect for his play.

Similar to His Butler's Sister, things go awry after their kiss. Paul discovers that the suicide headline was a publicity stunt to get Sheridan's attention. He blames Kim and storms out of her apartment (what Paul doesn't know is that Kim was not responsible for the story.) An outraged Paul refuses to have his name attached to the play after Kim is cast. But curiosity and his enduring feelings for Kim get the better of him and Paul sneaks into the theater. When he sees Paul watching from backstage, John Sheridan changes the ending of the play sending Kim straight into Paul's arms.

And opens the curtains so that the audience can see the kiss for themselves!

If you've not seen these three films and you don't mind that I've described their plots here, I recommend watching them. Franchot and Deanna are a highly underrated onscreen couple and their three collaborations are not as celebrated today as I feel they should be. Nice Girl?, His Butler's Sister, and Because of Him are delightful comedies, full of tenderness, great chemistry,  and, of course, lovely musical scenes from Deanna.

Thanks to Second Sight Cinema for hosting a blogathon perfect for Valentine's Day and for letting me be a part of it! Also, thanks to James de Menna for kindly sharing many photos of Franchot and Deanna with me over this past week.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Franchot's Leading Ladies

Throughout his career, Franchot starred with some of the most talented and beautiful actresses in Hollywood (and even married a few!). Today, I thought it would be fun to highlight and share some stats on the ladies who shared the screen with Franchot.

Joan costarred with Franchot in 7 films
Joan Crawford (b. 1905 d. 1977)
Between 1933 and 1937, Joan Crawford and Franchot made 7 films together. Franchot and Joan were married from 1935 to 1939. Although their divorce was somewhat bitter, the two rekindled a close friendship that would last until Franchot's death in 1968.
Notable Films: Our Dancing Daughters,  Dancing Lady, Grand Hotel, The Women, Humoresque, Mildred Pierce, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
Films with Franchot: Today We Live, Dancing Lady, Sadie McKee, No More Ladies, The Gorgeous Hussy, Love on the Run, The Bride Wore Red
My personal favorite FT-JC film: The Bride Wore Red

Jean costarred with Franchot in 4 films
Jean Harlow (b. 1911 d. 1937)
Jean Harlow and Franchot Tone costarred together in 4 films between 1933 and 1936. The platinum blonde and amazing comedienne tragically died of uremic poisoning in 1937.
Notable Films: Hell's Angels, Platinum Blonde, Bombshell, Red Dust, Dinner at Eight, The Public Enemy, Libeled Lady
Films with Franchot: Bombshell, The Girl from Missouri, Reckless, Suzy
My personal favorite FT-JH film: The Girl from Missouri

Deanna and Franchot costarred in 3 films.
Deanna Durbin (b. 1921 d. 2013)
Noted for her skills as a lyric soprano who could deliver both hit ballads and complicated arias, Deanna Durbin was paired with Franchot in three romantic comedies in the 1940s. Deanna retired from the screen while still in her late 20s in 1949.
Notable Films: One Hundred Men and a Girl, Three Smart Girls, Mad About Music, It's a Date, It Started with Eve
Films with Franchot: Nice Girl?, His Butler's Sister, Because of Him
My personal favorite FT-DD film: His Butler's Sister
Gladys played Franchot's love interest in 3 films.
Gladys George (b. 1904 d. 1954)
An Oscar-nominated actress yet often overlooked today, Gladys George costarred with Franchot in 3 films between 1934 and 1938. Before pursuing a career in Hollywood, Gladys performed across the country with her parents' stage act.
Notable Films:Valiant is the Word for Carrie, Madame X, The Best Years of Our Lives, The Maltese Falcon, Marie Antoinette
Films with Franchot: They Gave Him a Gun, Love is a Headache, Straight is the Way
My personal favorite FT-GG film: They Gave Him a Gun

Loretta and Franchot made two films together.
Loretta Young (b. 1913 d. 2000)
20-year-old Loretta Young was already a film veteran when she costarred with Franchot in the 1933 film Midnight Mary. The two would costar again in 1936, were spotted out on the town in the late 1930s, and starred in several radio productions in the 1940s.
Notable Films: Laugh Clown Laugh, Midnight Mary, Taxi!, The Call of the Wild, The Farmer's Daughter, The Bishop's Wife
Films with Franchot: Midnight Mary, The Unguarded Hour
My personal favorite FT-LY film: Midnight Mary

Karen Morley was Franchot's leading lady twice in the 1930s.
Karen Morley (b. 1909 d. 2003)
Another classic film actress whose contributions are often neglected, Karen Morley acted with Franchot in two films in the early 30s and was married to director Charles Vidor. In the the late 1940s, she refused to answer questions for the House Un-American Activities Committee and was blacklisted.
Notable Films:Mata Hari, Scarface, Dinner at Eight, The Littlest Rebel, Arsene Lupin, Pride and Prejudice
Films with Franchot: Gabriel Over the White House, Straight is the Way
My personal favorite FT-KM film: Straight is the Way

Maureen O'Sullivan was a 2-time costar of Franchot's.
Maureen O'Sullivan (b. 1911 d. 1998)
Awarded the George Eastman Award for her film contributions, Maureen O'Sullivan was Jane to Johnny Weismuller's Tarzan, but made time to play Franchot's leading lady in 1933 and 1937. With writer-director John Farrow, Maureen had seven children, including actress Mia Farrow.
Notable Films: Tarzan the Ape Man, The Thin Man, Anna Karenina, A Day at the Races, Maisie Was a Lady, Pride and Prejudice
Films with Franchot: Stage Mother, Between Two Women
My personal favorite FT-MO film: Between Two Women

Joan Bennett played Franchot's other half in 2 early 1940s films.
Joan Bennett (b. 1910 d. 1990)
Best remembered as a mid-to-late 1940s femme fatale, Joan Bennett performed on stage before seeking work in films. Sister of Constance Bennett, Joan appeared as a blonde in her 1930s films, before switching to the dark hair and sultry look that became her trademark in film noirs.
Notable Films: Bulldog Drummond, Little Women, The House Across the Bay, The Man I Married, Man Hunt, The Woman in the Window, Father of the Bride
Films with Franchot: The Wife Takes a Flyer, She Knew All the Answers
My personal favorite FT-JB film: Unfortunately, I've not seen either of their films! I'll update this after I have watched them.

Jean Wallace married and costarred with Franchot in the 1940s.
Jean Wallace (b. 1923 d. 1990)
Married to him for the majority of the 1940s, Jean Wallace starred in two films with Franchot, but found greater success in her films with third husband Cornel Wilde. Before she entered films, Jean worked as an Earl Carroll showgirl. Jean and Franchot had two sons during their union.
Notable Films: Jigsaw, The Man on the Eiffel Tower, The Good Humor Man, The Big Combo, Lancelot and Guinevere
Films with Franchot: Jigsaw, The Man on the Eiffel Tower
My personal favorite FT-JW film: Jigsaw

Actresses who were one-film costars of Franchot include:
Miriam Hopkins | Constance Bennett | Madeleine Carroll
Margaret Lindsay | Bette Davis | Madge Evans |Grace Moore
Katharine Hepburn | Virginia Bruce | Myrna Loy |Margaret Sullavan
Franciska Gaal | Janet Gaynor | Ann Sothern | Carol Bruce
Peggy Moran | Anne Baxter | Marsha Hunt | Mary Martin
Ella Raines | Veronica Lake | Merle Oberon | Susanna Foster
Ann Richards | Shirley Temple | Lucille Ball | Janet Blair
Betsy Drake | Laraine Day | Jane Wyman | Dolores Dorn
Una Merkel (Una costarred in two films, but only one as a leading lady.)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Publicity Photo Déjà vu

I was browsing Deanna Durbin photos online when my eye was drawn to a small thumbnail. Just based on the pose and not looking at the faces at all, I thought it was a close-up version of a Because of Him publicity photo I'd seen before. Then, I realized, "Wait, that man has a mustache!" and "Deanna wasn't a blonde in that film!" The publicity photo I was seeing was actually for Lady on a Train, a 1945 film starring Deanna Durbin and David Bruce. It looks so much like the Because of Him publicity photo Deanna would pose for just one year later.
In both photos, Deanna is wearing a short-sleeve black dress with a sheerness at the top. Below her to the left in both photographs is her male costar in a nice suit looking "captured" by Deanna. Deanna has a fistful of his hair in her hands ("his" being David Bruce in 1945 and Franchot in 1946). I know that many costumes, poses, and filmed footage were recycled and reused in Hollywood, but I was still surprised that they would take such a similar publicity photo within one year of the first one.
Deanna and David Bruce in a Lady on a Train publicity photo, 1945

The pose reused with Deanna and Franchot in a Because of Him publicity photo, 1946
Lady on a Train is a 1945 crime-based comedy starring Deanna, David, and Ralph Bellamy. Deanna's character witnesses a murder from her train window and seeks the help of a mystery author.

Because of Him is a 1946 romantic comedy starring Deanna, Franchot, and Charles Laughton. In this film, Deanna's character is a waitress who schemes her way into an acting role opposite her thespian idol.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

February Announcements

  • February is Franchot's birthday month! Franchot was born on February 27, 1905.
  • Special Screenings:
    • Midnight Mary is being screened tonight (February 2) at University of California, Riverside, Palm Desert Campus. The screening is sold out at this time.
  • On Television:
    • Mutiny on the Bounty, Monday, February 15 @ 08:15 AM (ET), Turner Classic Movies
    • Dangerous, Wednesday, February 24 @ 11:30 AM (ET), Turner Classic Movies
  • In addition to my regular posts, I'm participating in the A Kiss is Just a Kiss Blogathon hosted by Second Sight Cinema on February 13th. I'll be covering the online kisses and romance between my favorite romantic comedy duo Franchot Tone and Deanna Durbin!