Friday, May 29, 2015

Franchot on Pinterest

I pin photos related to Franchot on Pinterest. I have created boards on his family, love affairs, career, and other good stuff.  I will be regularly adding new items, so if you are a Pinterest aficionado,  please do check me out!

Visit Franchot's profile on Pinterest.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Every Girl Should Be Married (1948)

Every Girl Should Be Married is a 1948 comedy starring Cary Grant. Although Franchot Tone gets billing above Betsy Drake, the star's true lead, Franchot's role is secondary. The film revolves around Anabel (Betsy Drake), the over-eager and a bit stalker-ish protagonist who sets her sights on Dr. Madison Brown (Cary Grant). Obsessed with marriage and babies, Anabel learns everything she can about Dr. Brown and puts herself in places she knows he will be.

Franchot Tone is Roger Sanford, the wealthy, twice-divorced owner of the department store in which Anabel works. Anabel tries to throw a suspicious Dr. Brown off the trail by telling him that she is actually after another man and using Dr. Brown to make the mystery man jealous. Dr. Brown assumes the man is his old schoolmate Roger Sanford. Roger walks into the conversation and plays along. A ladies' man, Roger tries to put the moves on Anabel, but she only uses him to attract the attention of Dr. Brown.

In one bustling street scene, Dr. Brown sees Anabel, who happens to be walking behind Roger. Anabel grabs her boss Roger and kisses him, making frontpage headlines!

Roger is frustrated by Anabel being hot and cold, but enjoys playing the game. He doesn't seem to buy that Anabel is only after Dr. Brown and continues to think he is a contender for her affection. Franchot laughs a lot in this film and makes me laugh a lot when I watch it. He was such an underrated comedian, in my opinion.

Anabel continues to one-up Dr. Brown and Roger Sanford and has one final trick up her sleeve to get the man of her dreams in the end. The scene between the enthusiastic, but perplexed suitors (Franchot and Cary) is really a joy to watch. Franchot and Cary play well off each other and it's fun to see them in a comedy. (They previously costarred in the 1936 romantic drama Suzy).

You can purchase Every Girl Should Be Married on DVD on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Franchot Tone on his image

"If I ever had an image, it was the playboy, the white tie and tails, the elegant fellow with the good tailor. That was my image for the mass movie audience. But not for the theater audience. They saw me as an actor. Now my television image is the character actor. And then they see my old movies on the late show and I'm the rich playboy again."
-Franchot Tone 

Source: "Who Has Ever Had a Better Time?" T.V. Guide, 1966: 13. Print.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Three Comrades (1938)

Based on a novel by Erich Maria Remarque and with the screenwriting credit of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the 1939 film Three Comrades won a National Board of Review award. Although there are light moments, the story is often somber and at times, downright melodramatic. I've noticed that many viewers call this a love story, and with the devotion between Margaret Sullavan and Robert Taylor the reason they do is clear. However, I view it as a friendship story, because the bond among the three men is the integral thread of the story (it is called Three Comrades for a reason). There is so much love and respect among the three friends that it spills over into all of their actions and into each of their lives. Robert Taylor, Robert Young, and Franchot Tone play three German soldiers who fought in World War I together and have been together ever since. Although they are German and in Germany, there are no German accents whatsoever! This is a very common issue with early Hollywood films (and even many filmed today) and although it did bother me a bit, the lack of accent accuracy does not hurt the film's impact.

Learning mechanic work during the war, the three comrades open up a car repair shop. Erich (Robert Taylor) is the gentle soul looking for love, Gottfriend (Robert Young) is a liberal idealist eager to help the cause, and Otto (Franchot Tone) is the wise, world-weary one who tends to see both sides of the coin. Some automobile road fun leads to a chance meeting with Patricia (Margaret Sullavan). All three are attracted to her, but Erich falls head over heels. 

Patricia confides to Otto that she is very weak and has tuberculosis. Otto keeps her secret and encourages Patricia to embrace love and marry Erich. Patricia and Erich do marry and have a few very happy months together before her lungs begin to weaken. Meanwhile, Otto and Gottfried get caught up in political violence.

*Spoiler Alert* There are a lot of sad moments in the drama. To be honest, I was not a fan of Sullavan's fatalistic, morose character. I liked her very much in the beginning, but I was frustrated by her character as time went on. As more sacrifices were made by her friends and more opportunities presented by her doctors, Patricia just becomes more and more determined that she is not meant to live.  I understand that living with a cure-less chronic illness can be spirit-breaking and that often you feel like your mere existence is a burden to your loved ones. That being said, it broke my heart to see how loved Patricia was and how the guys were willing to sacrifice everything they had to help her live in comfort, and then to watch her just give up. *End of Spoiler*

Franchot gives a quiet, understated performance as Otto, the steady, dependable car mechanic who will stop at nothing to protect his friends. Franchot is given the chance to really shine as the working class war veteran. This is a rare 30s vehicle for Franchot, as he has no love interest and only briefly wears a tuxedo. 

You can purchase Three Comrades on Amazon. You may need a box of tissues to go with it! :)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Your daily Franchot has been interrupted by...

Memorial Day weekend! I am working on upcoming posts, but have not finished them yet. I have a busy schedule this weekend, but will return on Monday. Enjoy your weekend and try to squeeze in a little Franchot film if you can!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Franchot's Parents: The Love Letters

Franchot was born to Frank Jerome Tone and Gertrude Franchot Tone. Some research has been compiled on Frank Tone, a prominent Niagara Falls resident and president of the Carborundum Company. One article that I came across references a collection of sweet and meaningful love letters sent from Frank to Gertrude and dating back to 1890. You can read Bob Kostoff's article "The Unabashedly Romantic Frank Jerome Tone" and view a photo of Franchot's father on NiagaraHub.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Unguarded Hour (1936)

Three years after Midnight Mary, Franchot Tone teamed up again with Loretta Young for The Unguarded Hour. As I mentioned in my Midnight Mary post, I love these two actors together and wish they'd collaborated on more projects in the 30s. Franchot and Loretta play blissfully happy married couple Sir Alan and Lady Helen Dearden in this romantic drama.

Alan is a respected prosecutor rising up to a likely attorney general position in the future. At a party, his wife Helen is threatened by a blackmailer who wants to expose an early affair Alan had before he was married. The blackmailer has steamy letters from Alan to Diana Roggers that could ruin Alan's reputation. Helen will protect her husband at all costs and agrees to leave money on a hiking trail in exchange for the letters.

Unaware of the blackmail scheme, Alan begins prosecuting a man who is accused of murdering his wife on the same trail where Helen deposited the money. Helen believes she's the witness who can save the man's life, but is afraid to come forward. She knows that testifying could be the end of Alan's career. 

The Unguarded Hour is a highly underrated film. The onscreen relationship between the two main stars is tender and convincing. The dialogue and plot are clever and sophisticated. Two character actors who tend to pop up in a lot of films I watch, Lewis Stone and Roland Young provide supporting roles.

You can purchase the DVD of The Unguarded Hour on Amazon or WBShop.