Wednesday, January 1, 2014

LETTATHON 2013!!!!!!


Well, 2013 has sure turned out to be the year I became officially obsessed with Loretta Young!

A vintage 11"x 14"double weight, Elmer Fryer stamped publicity photo from 1929 signed by Loretta that I acquired a few months ago

Granted, I have always liked her, all the way back since I first saw "The Stranger" at around age 18! And then a few years later when AMC came about and they were showing some of her Paramount films from the 1940’s, and then several years later when, thanks to TCM, I got to see "Heroes for Sale", "Midnight Mary", "The Life of Jimmy Dolan", and some others. I have always thought her to be a lovely and talented actress. But the TCM Centennial celebration for her this past January was such an overload of great Loretta Young films that it seemed to take on a life of its own in this house and became a bonafide marathon!


So for the past year,  other than a few detours here and there, it has been ALL Loretta, ALL the time. And in the spirit of that obsession a blog post was in order! And it had to be BIG! As big as Loretta’s luminous green/gray eyes! And it had to be SAUCY! As saucy as one of those silly hats she wore in the late 30’s! And it had to be SLEEK! As sleek as her figure in one of those flimsy Orry-Kelly satin gown thingies precariously draped over her shoulders in those pre-code WB films!


But most of all it had to be sincere, because “Letta” as I have come to call her, brought that quality to every one of her characters and performances.

Loretta photographed by the great George Hurrell

Reviews are in chronological order of release, not in the order of my viewing them.
An *asterisk indicates a “first time viewing”

"Laugh Clown Laugh" 1928 MGM *
Loretta was only 15 years old when she got to play opposite the great Lon Chaney in her first starring-role! The film has some fine moments, especially with the two stars together. Loretta was already showing the beauty, poise and emotional sincerity that would become her hallmarks. Chaney, as always, is simply fantastic.


Chaney stood up for Loretta who was constantly being verbally abused by the director. Because of his kindness she actually changing her mind about quitting the picture business all together! Thank you Mr Chaney!

"The Squall" 1929 WB *
Stiff, slow and cheap-looking early talkie is a curio at best. Alice Joyce comes the closest to giving a believable performance. Loretta was sabotaged by lame dialogue and a completely two-dimensional character to play. Myrna Loy stole the show as the metaphorical “Squall” that came into their lives like a storm, leaving a path of destruction in her wake! Her performance is hilariously campy! Director Alexander Korda was obviously not comfortable directing a talking picture at that point. This was easily the least of all the films of Lettathon 2013.

Late 1920's publicity photo

"Show of Shows" 1929 WB*
Loretta is but one of dozens of WB stars appearing in this interesting but tiresome “vaudeville” type of variety show. Host Frank Fay is almost completely unfunny and looks like the love child of Liberace and Bill Murray. Loretta appears in a number called “Meet My Sister” with, oddly enough, her sister Sally Blane. They had about 15 seconds screen time and that was all she wrote. It was nice to see so many great stars in one film but ultimately it was a chore to get through.

Loretta and her equally beautiful, slightly older sister, Sally Blane

Publicity for "Fast Life" 1929, which, sadly,  I think might be a lost film.

"Loose Ankles" 1930 WB*
Ultra wacky early talkie has Loretta teamed up with Douglas Fairbanks jr, in the 4th of 6 films they made together. Well-to-do Loretta and family are set to get an inheritance if she can remain scandal free but she cant stand the vultures waiting to snag it, so she decides to hire a gigolo and get caught in a “compromising position” and get them off her back, or something like that! Enter Doug jr. who is probably the worst gigolo in history but really needs the money. And it goes from there! Objectively this is not a good film, but the story is so whacked and the acting so off-the-wall I know I’d watch it again in a heartbeat! It’s hilarious! I was expecting Zippy the Pinhead to show up at any moment! Of particular note is Eddie Nugent as one of Doug jr’s gigolo friends and Louise Fazenda as one of Loretta’s Aunts who gets plastered with him at a speakeasy!

The opening scene of "Loose Ankles"!


Loretta made 6 films with the great Douglas Fairbanks Jr. but to the best of my knowledge only 3 are readily available for viewing. The other 3 might be lost films.


"Showgirl in Hollywood" 1930 WB
Loretta has an unbilled cameo appearance during the “premiere sequence” of this tailor made early talkie Alice White vehicle. It’s always interesting to see films about making films and Alice is cute as a button as always!

Vintage publicity photo for "Big Business Girl" 1931, from my collection

"The Road to Paradise" 1930 WB *
Loretta is pretty as a peach playing two different characters in this otherwise absurd and poorly conceived story.


"The Truth About Youth" 1930 WB *
Loretta plays a sweet young girl. Myrna Loy plays a man-eating singer/dancer. David Manners plays the guy who’s supposed to marry Loretta but wants to marry Myrna. Conway Tearle, guardian of Manners, wants him to regain his senses and marry Loretta (his housekeeper’s daughter) but Loretta is actually in love with Tearle anyway. What’s not to like about a film where Loretta Young is in love with a middle-aged man?


Loretta and Myrna Loy appeared in 3 films together


"The Devil to Pay!” 1930 Goldwyn *
Ronald Colman gives a very energetic and boisterous performance in this highly enjoyable and entertaining film! He plays the black sheep of a well-to-do British family just returning home after a couple of years of fun, fun, fun in Africa (all at his father’s expense of course!) whereupon he meets his sister’s friend, played by a dazzlingly pretty Loretta and they…yeah you know the rest! No surprises, but a fun picture, excellent supporting cast (headed by Myrna Loy) and the two leads really play off each other well! This was the first of three films Young and Colman would make together. Greg Toland was one of the cameramen so as you can imagine it is a nice looking film as well!

In the "Devil to Pay" 1930

"Beau Ideal" 1931 RKO *
Interesting follow up to “Beau Geste” has some pretty intense scenes and moves right along. Loretta doesn't have much screen time in this one but that’s to be expected, this is MANLY stuff!


Early publicity photo *sigh*

Loretta in an early advertisement for a bathing suit  

"The Right of Way" 1931WB
Completely ridiculous melodrama with Conrad Nagel giving out with one of the most outrageously overripe performances I have ever seen in a film! I was actually laughing out loud at his overblown gestures and hilariously exaggerated diction…it is worth seeing just for that! Loretta is really the only one who acts with conviction but she cant save the film. I’m still trying to figure out if the filmmakers wanted this to be taken seriously or were they joking? An absolute oddity for sure!

I don't even see how Loretta could keep a straight face acting opposite Conrad Nagel in "Right of Way"! It might have been the most difficult performance of her entire career!

"The Stolen Jools" 1931 short subject *
Loretta is part of an all-star cast culled from several of the major studios as part of a relief film for the N.V.A. Tuberculosis Sanitarium in New York. Oddly enough Chesterfield cigarettes sponsored the cost of production! Other cast members include Wallace Beery, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Douglas Fairbanks jr, Barbara Stanwyck, Bebe Daniels, Victor MacLaughlin, Irene Dunne, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Our Gang, Polly Moran, William Haines, Warner Baxter, Wheeler and Woolsey, Richard
Dix, Gary Cooper, Stuart Erwin, Richard Bathelmess, Fay Wray, Jack Oakie, and many others.

A vintage publicity photo for "Big Business Girl" 1931 that I recently acquired.

"Big Business Girl" 1931 WB
This is the Loretta I like best! Playing a depression-era working gal in the big city trying to make her way in life. Nice fast moving little pre-code with Ricardo Cortez playing a rather slippery ad agency boss who takes a fancy to Loretta and hires her to work for him. Little does he know she’s married to bandleader Frank Albertson! Joan Blondell shows up in the last 10 minutes but believe me it’s worth the wait, oh brother what a floozy she plays, but always with a heart! Loretta is absolutely gorgeous from start to finish and rather scantily attired at times!


A Deco doll!

Lobby card for "Big Business Girl"...I WISH I owned this one!

Frank Albertson getting smoochy with Loretta in "Big Business Girl"

The great Joan Blondell giving Loretta some advice in "Big Business Girl" 1931

"I Like Your Nerve" 1931 WB *
Another teaming with Doug jr., I wont even try to explain the plot but its fun, fast moving, has a small role for Boris Karloff and Loretta is simply beyond beautiful to look at! Doug jr. was all smiles and energy and seemed so much like his dad in this one!

One look at her and Doug was a goner!




"Platinum Blonde" 1931 Columbia
Hilarious Frank Capra picture with a great performance by Robert Williams (who, sadly, died not long after it was made) I first saw this was many years ago and even then I was far more taken with Loretta Young as an actress and beauty than I was with Harlow. Seeing it now I felt the same way. Harlow is miscast and seems about as much Long Island upper crust as Leo Gorcey would. She’s quite amusing though and looks great, but I kept wishing Loretta was in it more * sigh*!

The film was originally intended to be called "Gallagher" after Loretta's character and she was to be featured much more prominently in the picture, but Harlow's career was taking off like a rocket and so it was reworked and re-titled to focus more on her.

*sigh*

Another Lobby Card I WISH I owned!

"The Ruling Voice" 1931 WB
Tough, fast moving melodrama with the always great Walter Huston as a big crime kingpin pulling the strings of an entire corrupt organization, now having second thoughts about his “career” when his daughter, played by Young, returns home after being away at school. Once again David Manners is her love interest. Look sharp for “The Desk”! in Huston’s home office! It appears in 4 other WB pictures from around this time period.

Shuffleboard anyone?

Only 18 years old and she had already starred opposite Lon Chaney, John Barrymore, Ronald Colman and Walter Huston! Her next film would pair her with the greatest actor of all time!


"Taxi!" 1932 WB
Loretta’s one and only time teaming up with the great James Cagney! Directed with vigor by Roy Del Ruth, its very fast moving and a lot of fun! Cagney is actually a bit tough to take sometimes, his character is SO cocky and, at times, downright dumb, but as always he gets you on his side sooner or later. At this point in her career Loretta was just stunningly beautiful (never more so than in this film) but she was also totally up to task of holding her own with Cagney. Its interesting to note that she was not the first choice for the part! Dorothy Mackail, Joan Blondell and Nancy Caroll were all considered before her.

Loretta and Jimmy "sparred" beautifully in Taxi! 1932

Yet another Lobby card I would LOVE to own!

You'd be hard pressed to find a more beautiful actress onscreen in 1932 than Loretta in this film!

Max Factor himself (seen here working his magic!) designed a line of makeup for brunettes and Loretta was the first to use them.

"The Hatchet Man" 1932 WB
Bizarre, utterly fascinating melodrama starring Edward G Robinson as a Chinese Hatchet Man who is ordered by his Tong brothers to kill his best friend, but who promises to care for the man’s daughter, played by Loretta. When she grows up they fall in love and get married. While he’s away on Tong War business she is wooed by flashy low life sweet-talker Leslie Fenton and Eddie gives her up for her happiness. I refuse to reveal any more than that but I will say that the finale is unforgettable!! Its interesting to me that WB would choose the woman with the biggest eyes on the lot to play an Asian woman, but she’s surprisingly effective, as is Eddie G, Leslie Fenton (Nails Nathan!) Dudley Diggs, and many other familiar faces. This is the first of 4 films Loretta made with director William “Wild Bill” Wellman. Def worth a look!

Loretta made 2 films with the great Edward G. Robinson

In the make-up chair for "Hatchet Man"... looks like fun!

Being romanced by Leslie Fenton

"Play-Girl" 1932 WB *
Loretta co-stars with Norman Foster (who would later direct her in Rachel and the Stranger as well as some of her tv shows and also become her brother-in-law!) in a fairly typical story of the ups and downs of being married to a gambling junkie, made less typical by Young’s earnest performance. Gregg Tolland’s lovingly lit close ups of her luminous face didn’t hurt either!

Lobby Card for "Playgirl"

Winnie Lightner has the best line in the film - when exclaiming that her last pair of panties just blew off the clothesline outside their window Loretta asks "What are you going to do now?" and Winnie replies "STAY OFF OF LADDERS!"

*Sigh*

"Weekend Marriage" 1932 WB
Loretta is teamed once again with Norman Foster in this rather racy little pre-code that also stars Aline MacMahon, George Brent, Grant Mitchell and Vivienne Osborne. Even shows Young and Foster in bed together! The story has been done before but it’s well-made and moves right along. The ending isn’t going to make any feminists happy though, that’s for sure! Once again Loretta is just stunning to look at throughout the entire 65 minutes!



With workhorse character actress Aline MacMahon in "Weekend Marriage" 1932

With Norman Foster who would soon marry Loretta's sister Sally Blane.

Deco goddess!

"Life Begins" 1932 WB
A hard-hitting tale of the goings on at a maternity ward. Certainly the most unglamorous role for Loretta during her time at WB but she gives a very moving performance as a young pregnant woman recently sentenced to life in prison for a crime she may not have even committed. Has an all star supporting cast with head nurse Aline MacMahon, boozy showgirl Glenda Farrell, Eric Linden as Loretta’s loving husband and Frank McHugh as a very nervous father-to-be. Of course certain aspects of the film are quite dated now but the candor and impact of the story and excellent performances certainly aren’t. Highly recommended!

In "Life Begins" 1932


Early Publicity Photo


"They Call It Sin" 1932 WB
Loretta plays a small town girl with musical talent who ends up lured to the big city by David Manners. Unbeknownst to her he is already engaged to Helen Vinson but she stays in the city and tries to make a career in music. Along the way she meets George Brent, Louis Calhern and Una Merkel, among others. Enjoyable pre-code, great cast and yes, once again, Loretta is a feast for the eyes.

With George Brent in "They Call It Sin" 1932

A stunning image of Loretta taken by the incredible Edward Steichen


"Employee’s Entrance" 1933 WB
Loretta plays a sweet young girl trying very hard to find work in a huge department store run by tyrannical workaholic maniac Warren William (at his outrageous best!) He seduces her, gives her a job, she meets up and coming employee Wallace Ford, they get married on the sly while William is grooming Ford to take his place someday and that’s just some of what happens in this riotous and outrageous lightning paced gem! One of the best films of the pre-code era, my all-time fave Warren William film and also one of Loretta’s best during her stay at WB! Features a fine supporting cast headed by delightfully ditzy sexpot Alice White, Ruth Donnelly, Allen Jenkins and several other familiar faces. Directed with zest by Roy Del Ruth! Gets my highest recommendation! And see, I didn’t even mention how mind-numbingly gorgeous Loretta looks!

"You dont have to go you know..."

With Wallace Ford

With Alice White

With the outrageous Warren William

A rather suggestive image on a vintage still I picked up a few months ago.

"Grand Slam" 1933 WB
Loretta and Paul Lukas play “America’s Bridge Sweethearts” in this hilarious satire of what must have been a bridge “craze” at the time! Amusing that Lukas’ last name was “Stanislovsky” and his manner of playing bridge was dubbed “The Stanislovsky Method”, no doubt a dig at the “method” style of acting influenced by Constantin Stanislovsky and popularized by the group theater in New York during the early 1930’s. This is a fun picture with a fine cast including Helen Vinson, Frank McHugh and Glenda Farrell as a hilariously forgetful ditz with dough. All the ladies are decked out to the nines in fantastic Orry-Kelly creations but Loretta out-dazzles them all!

With Paul Lukas in "Grand Slam" 1933

A magnificent early 1930's Elmer Fryer portrait

"Zoo in Budapest" 1933 Fox *
Loretta plays a just-turned-18 years old Orphan who escapes into a huge zoo while on a day trip with her fellow orphan “inmates”. Gene Raymond plays a guy who basically grew up living at the zoo, helping the doctor take care of the animals, entertaining the kids and also stealing fur stoles from society ladies! What transpires from there is sweet and entertaining, with a pretty intense finale! Never being much of a Gene Raymond fan I was highly impressed with his performance! He was bounding all over the zoo like Douglas Fairbanks and not once did I detect a stunt double! Loretta was sweet and beautiful and of course totally believable in this off-beat and unusual film.

And still another Lobby Card I would LOVE to own!

From "Zoo on Budapest" 1933

"The Life of Jimmy Dolan" 1933 WB
Douglas Fairbanks jr gives a fine performance in this very enjoyable tale of a boxer wrongly accused of killing a man. He takes it on the lam and ends up at a ranch for disabled kids out in the middle of nowhere run by Aline MacMahon (always excellent!) and Loretta Young. Hot on his trail though is detective Guy Kibbee (also always excellent!) and the story that unfolds from there is sweet and a lot of fun!  This was one of my earliest Loretta Young WB film experiences years ago and I defy anyone not to be totally smitten with her by films end. Was remade years later as “They Made Me a Criminal” with John Garfield and the Dead End Kids, which is also very good, but I prefer this one.

Publicity photo circa early 1930's


Early 1930's


"Heroes for Sale" 1933 WB
Fascinating, hard-hitting melodrama as only Wild Bill Wellman can make them! Richard Barthelmess gives one of his finest performances as a captured World War I soldier who is given up for dead, spends time in a German hospital with shrapnel still in his back, returns home in constant pain, gets hooked on morphine while trying to work a job as a bank teller and…nope not gonna reveal anymore because that describes only about the first 15 minutes or so. An absolute must-see pre-code gem that fires on all cylinders with a fantastic cast of players including Aline MacMahon, Charley Grapewin, Gordon Westcott, Mr. Robert Barrat, Grant Mitchell and of course, darling Loretta. Pulls no punches!

A vintage publicity still I recently acquired

A vintage 10" x 14" premium from my collection 

"Midnight Mary" 1933 MGM
William Wellman and Loretta Young team up again for what might be my favorite of all her films that I’ve  seen to date. She was given a role she could really sink her teeth into and rose to the occasion beautifully! An Original story by Anitas Loos, told almost entirely with flashbacks. While Mary waits in court to be sentenced for murder, we see the ups and downs of her life from adolescent to the present and what  transpired to get her into her current predicament. Along the way we meet oily racketeer Ricardo Cortez in what I feel is his best ever performance. He often tends to lapse into caricature but here he’s smooth but with an underlying malevolence that is palpable and convincing. This is a dangerous guy to be around! We also meet Franchot Tone, Una Merkel, Andy Devine, Harold Huber and several familiar character players. Loaded with Wellman flourishes (no other director capitalized on Loretta’s startlingly expressive, soulful eyes  like he did!), beautifully photographed by James Van Trees and with stunning fashions by Adrian, all guided by the sure hand of one of Hollywood’s finest directors! But its Loretta’s film from start to finish and she is utterly compelling and, to quote Leonard Maltin: “mezmerizingly beautiful!” Gets my highest recommendation!

Publicity photo for "Midnight Mary" 1933, fashions by Adrian

With Una Merkel

Ricardo Cortez, Loretta and Franchot Tone

With character actor Robert Emmet O'Connor

Mary getting grilled by the coppers

An iconic Loretta Young portrait taken by the great Clarence Bull. The dress is by Adrian

"She Had to Say Yes" 1933 WB *
Loretta shines in one of the most aggressively “Pre-code” films of them all! At a big time department store women are imported from the stenographers pool to “entertain” out of town buyers and businessmen! Loretta reluctantly gets involved when coerced by her sleazeball boyfriend Regis Toomey because it will “help his career”… enter client Lyle Talbot (literally, if he gets his way!). I wouldn’t dream of  revealing any more but suffice it to say there are scenes in this film that are pretty shocking as far as the portrayals and treatment of men and women and the double standards! Co-directed by Busby Berkeley and George Amy, this film is just as tawdry and outrageous as the more famous “Baby Face” or “Female” and  sleazier than both combined!

With Lyle Talbot in "She Had to Say Yes" 1933


"She Had to Say Yes" 1933


Early 1930's portrait


“The Devil’s in Love” 1933 Fox *
Interesting and off beat film with a rare starring role for Victor Jory as a French Foreign Legion doctor wrongly accused of poisoning his sadistic commanding officer, played with zest by the unbilled Mr. Robert Barrat! Before he is executed he is aided by his friend, played by David Manners, and escapes for parts unknown. There he meets the niece of a missionary played by Loretta and they of course fall in love. There are few surprises in the story but it’s a visually striking film, beautifully photographed by Hal Mohr and stylishly directed by William (billed Willhelm) Dieterle. Another nice surprise was the excellent unbilled appearance of Bela Lugosi as the prosecutor at Jory’s trial! Jory was a very stiff actor, rarely ever changing his facial expressions or tone of his voice but he comes off well and I like the fact that the ending was not the usual kiss and fade out type thing. It’s a pretty downbeat film overall but one that is definitely worth a look!

With Victor Jory in "The Devil's In Love" 1933

"Man’s Castle" 1933 Fox*
A wonderful Frank Borzage depression era fairy tale with fine performances and great chemistry between Loretta and Spencer Tracy. I’ve read some reviewers complaining the squatter’s village and  people populating it were too “clean” but they’re missing the point. This film is seen entirely through the eyes of these two people in love. We see their world as they see it and because of how they feel about each other it seems far less harsh than it is in reality. Young walks away with this picture in my opinion, she is just so utterly convincing and, despite rag tag clothes and no glamour, absolutely luminous! I’m really looking forward to viewing this off-beat film again soon, it is a true cinematic gem! Highly recommended!

Loretta was in love with Spencer Tracy while filming "Man's Castle" and it showed!

Publicity photo for "Man's Castle" 1933

Early 1930's publicity photo

"The House of Rothschild" 1934 Fox *
Loretta plays a rather minor, mostly decorative role in this tailor made George Arliss vehicle. Well made and expertly acted by a fine cast. As far as being historically accurate, I haven’t a clue! Here’s an interesting quote from Loretta’s 1961 autobiography about working on this picture: 
“At that particular time, while I was not impressed by George Arliss, I was completely impressed by my conviction that acting was pure emotion.  I couldn’t have cared less about that thing called technique. And here I was, envied by everyone because I  was working with you, the great maestro of technique! Which only meant to me, that I had to submit to every whim of your highly technical perfectionism. The whole assignment left me just plain cold.”
The last few minutes of this film are in Technicolor and to say Loretta looked lovely in color is of course putting it mildly indeed!

Loretta as a blonde in "House of Rothschild" 1934

Early 1930's Publicity Photo

"Born to Be Bad" 1934 Fox *
Loretta plays totally against type as a hard-bitten, cynical, single mom living off sugar daddies who sees HUGE dollar signs when her son is hit by a truck! A lot happens in a mere 62 minutes and its fun to see Cary Grant in such an early role, but this is Loretta’s film and she gives out with yet another performance of  conviction and looks insanely gorgeous to boot. The finale is a real heartbreaker!

Loretta and Cary Grant in "Born to Be Bad" 1934, a film that had much trouble with the censorship office.

Clarence (Henry Travers) is trying a new method to earn his wings!

Publicity photo for "Born to Be Bad" 1934

With Russell Hopton in "Born to Be Bad" 1934

"Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back" 1934 Fox *
Ronald Colman is practically bouncing off the walls in this highly enjoyable murder mystery/comedy. Loretta didn’t have much to do but look pretty (and of course she DID!), its really a showcase for Colman, but there’s some hilarious bits by E.E. Clive and Halliwell Hobbs as two dim-witted Bobbies, and Charles Butterworth and Una Merkel as newlyweds just trying to get it on! The story is totally beside the point, it’s the presentation that counts here! Energetically directed by the great Roy Del Ruth and has a fine supporting cast with Warner Oland, C Aubrey Smith and Arthur Hohl. Catch this one if you can!

Loretta made 3 films with the great Ronald Colman

A really nice Lobby Card for "Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back" 1934... sadly I do not own this.

"Caravan" 1934 Fox *
Very odd musical with luminous Loretta marrying gypsy Charles Boyer in order to keep her family estate. An outstanding supporting cast including C Aubrey Smith, Eugene Pallette, Jean Parker, Noah Beery, Louise Fazenda, Charley Grapewin, Phillips Holmes and Dudley Diggs. Jean comes off best, but the film is disjointed, weak and severely overlong. A curiosity at best.

Loretta with Phillips Holmes in the disjointed curiosity "Caravan" 1934

Publicity photo, circa mid 1930's

"Clive of India" 1935 Fox *
Big lavish production and strong performances from Ronald Colman and Loretta make the amazing story of  Robert Clive into a first rate entertainment! A fine supporting cast and nice steady pace hold ones interest right to the end. Surprisingly violent at times!

Loretta and Ronald Colman have an excellent onscreen rapport in all 3 films they made together.

"Shanghai 1935" Paramount *
Oddball and offbeat love story set in the title city features a great cast but is disjointed and never really seems  to know what direction to go in. Loretta, Charles Boyer and Warner Oland do their best with the material but the results are middling at best. Loretta was once again beautifully photographed by James Van Trees, who shot seven of her films in total! 

"Shanghai" 1935

Charles Boyer and an absolutely radiant Loretta Young in "Shanghai" 1935

"Shanghai" 1935

"The Call of The Wild" 1935 Fox
Loretta’s last film under the direction of William Wellman is a thoroughly enjoyable adventure/romance story based on the famous book by Jack London. Having never read the book I can only judge it as a film and in that department it ranks high. This was the first of Loretta’s work from the 1930’s that I ever saw way back in the old AMC days and I recall very vividly being totally taken with her in this picture, she’s wonderful! Clark Gable, Jack Oakie and Reginald Owen are all excellent as well. Very entertaining!

A vintage Lobby Card from my collection

*sigh*

"The Crusades" 1935 Paramount *
Huge overblown epic as only Cecil B. DeMille can make them! Highly entertaining hokum is lavish,  beautifully photographed, well-acted and moves along like an out of control freight train! This was one that for many years I just never found the interest in seeing, which was stupid, because its great fun!

According to this film Loretta was the sole cause of the Crusades!

"The Unguarded Hour" 1936 MGM *
We start to see the more elegant and refined Loretta of the mid to late 30’s blossoming in this engaging, albeit far-fetched suspense thriller. Franchot Tone and the rest of the cast do a fine job as well. Interestingly though the entire story takes place in England none of the three leads even bothered with a British accent!  Moves along well and keeps you on the edge but the ending is somewhat of a letdown and not up to par with the rest of the picture.


"Private Number" 1936 Fox *
Loretta is first rate in this drama about a housemaid who falls in love with the son of her upper-crust  employers played by Robert Taylor. Has a fine supporting cast with a standout performance from Basil Rathbone as the vile, heartless head butler with designs of his own on Loretta. Their scenes together are the best in the film! Definitely falls flat in the last 10 minutes with a ridiculous courtroom finale. Even in dowdy maids clothes, Loretta is stunning throughout. This was one of 4 films that she made with director Roy Del Ruth.

Loretta with an exceedingly vile Basil Rathbone in "Private Number" 1936

Polly Ann Young, Sally Blane, Momma Young and Loretta, looks like early to mid 1930's to me.

"Ramona" 1936 Fox *
Fox studio’s first Technicolor feature and they spared no expense in bringing this heart-breaking but ultimately triumphant story vividly to life. Well-directed by the great Henry King with a first-rate cast including Loretta, Don Ameche, Katherine DeMille, Jane Darwell and John Carradine. Unusual in its depiction of Indians as loving and peaceful while most of the whites are shown as brutal savages! Loretta and  her magnificent green/gray eyes are a marvel in blazing Technicolor…the final shot of her at the end of the picture has to be one of the most beautiful images I’ve ever seen of any actress on film, ever!

A screenshot from the final frames of "Ramona" 1936

"Ladies In Love" 1936 Fox*
Well-made comedy-drama with Loretta, Constance Bennett and Janet Gaynor all giving out with fine performances. The three ladies get an apartment together in Budapest and proceed to learn much about love and life in general. Tyrone Power, Don Ameche, Paul Lukas, and Alan Mowbray make up the male half of  the cast and are all first-rate as well. I like the way the film didn’t cop out at the end and give everyone a  happy Hollywood finish. It was an unexpected surprise and the film is much the better for it! This is the first of five films Loretta made with Tyrone Power and it’s definitely one of the best of them!


Loretta with Janet Gaynor and Constance Bennett in "Ladies in Love" 1936

"Love is News" 1937 Fox *
Loud, fast-moving silliness with Loretta stealing the show as an heiress turning the tide on news-hungry reporter Tyrone Power by announcing to the press they are engaged! Power and co-star Don Ameche REALLY try hard, too hard in fact, and their performances seem a bit forced while Loretta kept a little reserve in check. There are some hilarious scenes, most notably when Loretta fakes a car crash and is trying to decide how to best dramatically position her “injured” body in the car, then just before Power drives up, she grabs her compact and powders her nose while laying there with her head half hanging out the car door! Has a great supporting cast with Jane Darwell, Elisha Cook jr, Slim Summerville, Walter Catlett, George Sanders, Stepin Fetchit and Dudley Diggs, playing a nice guy for once! Loretta was dressed to the tee in fashions by Royer!


One of Loretta's most iconic images taken, of course, by the great George Hurrell

"CafĂ© Metropole" 1937 Fox *
Silly but pretty tripe with Loretta, Tyrone Power and Adolph Menjou rising far above the tired con-man- trying-to-bilk-a-rich-guys-beautiful-daughter story. It is interesting to see how “green” Tyrone Power seemed in comparison to long time acting veterans Young and Menjou. In a few more years Power would improve his acting chops by leaps and bounds. Loretta is decked out to the absolute nines in this film from start to finish! So is Menjou for that matter!

Publicity Photo for "Cafe' Metropole" 1937

"Love Under Fire" 1937 Fox *
An off beat mix of comedy and drama with good performances by Loretta, Don Ameche, and Harold Huber, but the story never seems to pick up steam and there are some really inappropriate musical interludes with Borrah Minevitch and his bizarre troupe. A curiosity.

A vintage Lobby Card for "Love Under Fire" from my collection

Loretta in "Love Under Fire" 1937

"Wife, Doctor, and Nurse" 1937 Fox *
Very enjoyable, fast-moving fluffy comedy with Loretta having a whirlwind wedding to Dr Warner Baxter only to find out his extremely able bodied nurse, Virginia Bruce, is in love with him…yes same old love triangle stuff but the cast and snappy pace makes this a delight! Great support from Jane Darwell and Eliza Cook jr. Baxter and Loretta have a  really flirty, sexy onscreen rapport, much more so, in my opinion, than her and Tyrone Power ever had.

Warner Baxter is my favorite of her leading men during her Fox period. They had a nice snappy chemistry together!

Loretta looking pretty as a peach while putting her hands in cement in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater in 1937

Loretta and Tyrone Power had their handprints immortalized in cement in 1937

"Second Honeymoon" 1937 Fox *
A snappy and very pretty little comedy with Loretta and Tyrone Power, in their 4th film together, really playing well off of each other. An excellent supporting cast includes Claire Trevor, Lyle Talbot, Stuart Erwin and the delightful Marjorie Weaver. Loretta is positively dazzling in one amazing ensemble after another! I  noticed Lon Chaney jr. in a bit as a reporter. Well-directed by Walter Lang who also helmed the film previous to this.

Loretta at the height of her Fox period glamour!

Looks more like a still from MGM but its for Fox's "Second Honeymoon"!

"Four Men and a Prayer" 1938 Fox *
Off Beat John Ford adventure film swings wildly from light screwball type comedy to heavy wartime violence and back again. A fine cast with David Niven, George Sanders, Richard Greene, and C Aubrey Smith all doing their best but they are sabotaged by the script and Ford’s admitted lack of interest. Loretta is totally charming as a kind of ditzy globetrotter and looks amazing in all kinds of fantastic fashions but sometimes she seems like the one at a party dancing with a lampshade on her head, very out of place! It never seems to be able to make up its mind what kind of film it wants to be yet its still pretty damn entertaining!

  Loretta is delightful and beautiful in "Four Men and a Prayer" but seems a bit out of place!

A constant in so many of Loretta's portraits is her beautifully expressive hands

"Three Blind Mice" 1938 Fox *
Loretta, Pauline Moore and Marjorie Weaver play three sisters on a chicken ranch in Kansas dreaming of finding rich husbands so they hatch (haha!) a scheme, take a small inheritance to California and start wooing David Niven and Joel McCrea. Snappy comedy has plenty of gloss and rat-a-tat-tat dialogue,  especially from the hilarious Binnie Barnes! Loretta looks great in fashions by Gwen Wakeling. I recognized Eliza Cooke jr. in a bit role.

Publicity photo for "Three Blind Mice" 1938

Publicity photo for "Three Blind Mice" 1938

"Suez" 1938 Fox *
Huge, lavish, epic telling of the building of the Suez canal offered Loretta very little to do but act as a  decoration and in that she excelled in incredibly ornate gowns that apparently she had a hand in designing! The hoop skirts she wore were so large they had to widen doorways and redesign sets to accommodate them! Tyrone Power gives a fine performance but the film really belongs to Annabella and also to the eye-popping special effects! Well-directed by the amazingly prolific Allan Dwan (nearly 500 directing credits to his name!)

Loretta wore enormous hoop skirts throughout the film to piss off her bosses at Fox for giving her such a light part

Loretta completely "at home" in period costume.

"Kentucky" 1938 Fox *
A fine cast and beautiful Technicolor cinematography add much to the ‘Romeo and Juliet of horse racing’ story, but its Walter Brennan’s over-the-top Oscar-winning performance that makes this a must-see! Loretta looked ravishing in Technicolor!

Publicity photo for "Kentucky" 1938

Check the color of those eyes!

"Wife, Husband, and Friend" 1939 Fox *
Loretta, Warner Baxter and Binnie Barnes star as the title characters in this fun little comedy/drama. I don’t  want to give away the plot because its got a funny twist to it and I wouldn’t dream of spoiling it, but I will say its fast moving, entertaining, and has a great supporting cast. Loretta has a knockout dramatic scene with Baxter that is the high point of the picture!

Once again Warner Baxter and Loretta prove to be a dynamic screen pairing!

Loretta was one of Fox's biggest stars in the mid to late 1930's

"The Story of Alexander Graham Bell" 1939 Fox*
Extremely well-made and entertaining film with Don Ameche taking center stage in his career-defining  performance! The trials and tribulations of the genius whom invented the telephone are brought vividly (if not all together accurately) to life with an amazing cast and beautiful production values. Henry Fonda, Gene Lockhart, Charles Coburn, Spring Byington and all three of Loretta’s sister: Sally Blane, Polly Ann Young and Georgina Young make up the fine supporting cast. There is a scene with Lockhart and his young deaf son that is unbelievably moving. And then there is Loretta, absolutely luminous beyond belief and giving a beautifully understated, sincere performance as the deaf Mrs. Bell to be. I definitely recommend this one!

The Young sisters - from left to right: Loretta, Georgina (the future Mrs Ricardo Montalban) Polly Ann and Sally Blane (AKA Mrs Norman Foster)

"Eternally Yours" 1939 United Artists *
Loretta teams up once again with David Niven in a rather odd and off beat film about a husband and wife magic act and the pitfalls of living on the road. An excellent cast with Broderick Crawford, Eve Arden, Hugh Herbert (hoo-hoooo!), C. Aubrey Smith, Billie Burke, and Zazu Pitts all adding bits of fun to the proceedings. Equal parts comedy and drama, it somehow manages to hold together thanks to the cast and director Tay Garnett.

Publicity photo for "Eternally Yours" 1939

With Broderick Crawford in "Eternally Yours" 1939

Loretta looking almost like Cleopatra in "Eternally Yours" 1939

"The Doctor Takes a Wife" 1940 Columbia *
Loretta and Ray Milland are both aces in this funny, often hilarious comedy of many errors! Loretta plays a  spinster (!!!!) who has written a best selling book about the subject of being a spinster and Milland a struggling college professor, who end up mistaken for newlyweds! And it goes from there! Fast paced and funny, definitely check this out when you’re in the mood for screwball type comedy!

A vintage Lobby Card from my collection

With Ray Milland in a publicity photo for "The Doctor Takes a Wife" 1940

Loretta was actually high in the running for the lead in Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca" but it was finally decided they simply could not "de-glamourize" her enough for the part. Apparently she was very disappointed at first but after she saw the film she changed her mind and realized they made the right choice after all. Still, her screen test is very interesting, she was excellent!

"He Stayed for Breakfast" 1940 Columbia *
Highly entertaining comedy with Loretta and Melvyn Douglas in a sort “Reverse Ninotchka” type story with Douglas a staunch foul-mannered communist taking refuge in the apartment of a VERY well-to-do capitalist’s estranged wife. What ensues is fast-moving and quite funny! Eugene Pallette, Alan Marshall,  Grady Sutton (Cuthbert!) and Una O’Connor make up a great supporting cast. Loretta is seen in some of  the most jaw-dropping fashions imaginable! Oh how the designers must have LOVED her!

In Loretta's first scene in the film she enters the room wearing this dress!

Then a bit later she wears THIS dress!

Loretta lets her hair down in "He Stayed for Breakfast" 1940

"The Lady from Cheyenne" 1941 Columbia *
Loretta’s first western is fun, silly and entertaining. She plays a very prim schoolteacher who ends up getting  into politics in order to try to make it so women can have the right to vote so they can sit on a jury. All this is  simply so they can arrest and convict crooked Edward Arnold and end his stronghold on their town. Robert  Preston plays Arnold’s lawyer who, of course, falls for Loretta and sees the errors of his ways. Nice looking film with a great cast, nothing earth shattering but a fun picture! My copy is terrible though and I must find an upgrade! 

With Robert Preston in a publicity photo for "The Lady from Cheyenne" 1941

Stanley Fields, Loretta and Robert Preston in "The Lady from Cheyenne" 1941

Publicity Photo

"The Men in Her Life" 1941 Columbia *
Loretta, Conrad Veidt, Dean Jagger, Otto Kruger and a fine supporting cast bolster this interesting story of a  ballet dancer and the different loves of her life. I have read criticism’s of Loretta’s performance as a dancer,  but perhaps these are dancers, or people knowledgeable about dancing that are doing the criticizing. Granted she’s no Cyd Charisse but I thought she was quite good and was also surprised how much of the dancing was done by her! Some actresses seem totally at home in period costume and Loretta is certainly one of them, but then again I have come to the inescapable conclusion that Loretta could wear ANYTHING and make it look completely right for her.

Publicity photo for "The Men in Her Life" 1941

Loretta rehearsing for "The Men in Her Life" 1941

Candid of Loretta at home...she loved sewing and apparently was quite good at it.

"Bedtime Story" 1941 Columbia *
Hilarious screwball comedy with fantastic performances by Loretta and, the always awesome, Fredric March! They play a married couple, he a playwright and she the toast of Broadway, giving her last performance so they can finally retire to a farm and take it easy…only March has just written his best play and has NO intentions of either one of them retiring! What transpires after that is all manner of hilarity as March uses every trick he can come up with to get his wife to do his play! Robert Benchley, Eve Arden and the delightful Joyce Compton add plenty of zip to the very fast paced proceedings! The finale is  outrageous! Loretta is decked out in fashions by (uncredited) Irene and is simply dazzling from first frame to last! Don’t miss this one!

Loretta and Fredric March make classic sparring partners in "Bedtime Story"

Loretta's "look" during her Columbia period was different but still elegant, classy, and beautiful.

Like I just said...Elegant, classy, and beautiful!

"A Night to Remember" 1942 Columbia *
Loretta and Brian Aherne are a delight in this light comedy/mystery about the odd goings on in an apartment house. Fast paced and quite funny and Loretta is once again a dazzling fashion plate!

A vintage Lobby Card from my collection

Beautiful!

I'm not sure what she's doing here but I'm sure I don't care!

"China" 1943 Paramount
Heavy-duty war propaganda well played by Loretta, Alan Ladd and the great William Bendix. No glamour this time and a really hard-boiled ending to boot! First saw this one many years ago on AMC when they used to play movies!

Loretta and a very young co-star in "China" 1943

Publicity photo

"Ladies Courageous" 1944 Universal *
Loretta tries her best and is certainly the most beautiful WAF ever pictured onscreen but the horrendous script seems quite at odds with the supposed purpose of the film! One of the main recurring themes is that women are just as capable as pilots as men are yet one woman is depicted as a superstitious neurotic, another is a suicidal neurotic, another is a grandstanding publicity hunting neurotic and…you get the picture right? If I were in command I wouldn’t let these women anywhere NEAR one of my planes!!! A waste of a good cast and some nice footage of heavy-duty American warplanes.

From "Ladies Courageous" 1944

Loretta at the height of her 1940's style glamour!

"And Now Tomorrow" 1944 Paramount
Loretta scores another acting triumph playing a well-to-do deaf woman who agrees to some experimental  treatments from a not-so-well-to-do doctor played by Alan Ladd. Having grown up around deaf people I have to say her performance is most convincing. An amazing supporting cast includes Susan Hayward, Barry Sullivan, Beulah Bondi, Helen Mack, Grant Mitchell and Cecil Kellaway. Co-written by Raymond Chandler and directed by Irving Pichel, it may tend to be far-fetched at times but it all works. Loretta is at the height of her 1940’s beauty here- lovingly photographed by Daniel L. Fapp and dressed in some remarkable Edith Head fashions. She is truly dazzling to look at in this picture! A better than average soaper which, once again, I first saw back in the old AMC days!

With Alan Ladd in "And Now Tomorrow" 1944

Letta could "Vogue" with the best of them!

Anyone care for a dip?

"Along Came Jones" 1945 RKO *
Very enjoyable and entertaining western “Spoof” with the always great Gary Cooper playing a wandering  cowboy that cant shoot to save his life, who ends up mistaken for big bad killer Dan Duryea! Loretta plays  Duryea’s woman who starts to realize “he’s just plain MEAN!” William Demarest is a hoot as Coop’s sidekick. Has some serious moments, some action, some comedy, it’s all over the place but it works and is a lot of fun!


With the one and only Gary Cooper in "Along Came Jones" 1945


"The Stranger" 1946 RKO
This was the first Loretta Young film I ever saw back in my late teens and, incredulously, I had never sat down to watch the entire film again until now! A remarkably taut, off beat suspense thriller that may well represent Loretta’s finest hour as an actress on screen! The great Edward G. Robinson is a government man hot on the trail of an escaped Nazi war criminal. That trail leads him to a small New England town on the day his number one suspect is getting married to judge’s daughter Loretta! What transpires afterwards is visually  stunning, tense, jarring and fascinating in use of light, shadow and symbolism. Loretta’s interpretation of her  characters initial rejection of truth, followed by doubt after torturous doubt, then finally the acceptance of it is simply amazing and totally convincing! Like Wellman did in “Midnight Mary”, Welles used his leading lady’s huge expressive eyes to great advantage! Eddie G. and Welles himself both give commanding performances as well. This is simply a must-see for any lover of great films!

Vintage lobby Card from my collection

Vintage publicity still for "The Stranger" 1946, from my collection


Vintage 10" x 14" publicity still for "The Stranger" 1946, from my collection

Loretta and Orson Welle's in "The Stranger" 1946. In later years Welle's dismissed this picture as standard Hollywood product, but it is anything but that!

"The Perfect Marriage" 1947 Paramount *
Fluffy marital comedy with Loretta and David Niven deciding to call it quits on the eve of their tenth wedding anniversary! Not as funny as her earlier comedies but has some good scenes and a great supporting cast. Edith Head once again dressed Loretta in one unreal ensemble after another!

With David Niven and Eddie Albert in "The Perfect Marriage" 1947

Publicity photo for "The perfect Marriage" 1947

Pretty!

"The Farmer’s Daughter" 1947 RKO
Loretta won an Oscar for best actress for her wonderful performance as a Swedish farm girl turned house servant turned congresswoman in this very sweet and enjoyable comedy. A standout cast includes Joseph Cotten, Ethel Barrymore and the great Charles Bickford. Some serious overtones blended with the comedy but it’s all handled perfectly by cast and crew. A delightful film of a type that just isn’t made anymore.

With Joseph Cotten in "The Farmer's Daughter" 1947

Giving her old pal Ronald Colman a kiss on Oscar night. He won a best actor Oscar for "A Double Life". Incidentally Loretta's sister Sally Blane thought her dress that night was awful and dubbed it "The Lettuce Dress", haha!


Relaxing at home

"The Bishop’s Wife" 1947 Sam Goldwyn
A fine holiday fantasy film. Perfectly cast with David Niven as the crabby preacher who’s lost his way, Cary Grant as an angel who helps him find it again and Loretta as the neglected lady in the title. Monty Wooley,  James Gleason, Gladys Cooper and Elsa Lanchester make up a great supporting cast. A charming and entertaining film and good lorden does Loretta look good in black!

With Cary Grant and David Niven in "The Bishop's Wife" 1947

In "The Bishop's Wife" 1947

Publicity Photo

"Rachel and the Stranger" 1948 RKO
Off beat frontier story of widower William Holden buying bond servant Loretta to look after his boy and  take care of his house. Enter wandering cowboy Robert Mitchum to stir things up a bit and a nicely staged  Indian battle towards the end and we end up with a fine picture, well directed by Loretta’s old friend and  brother-in-law Norman Foster. Another rare non-glamorous role for Loretta that she played with depth and  sincerity and still looked radiant regardless!

"Rachel and The Stranger" 1948

Letting her hair down again *sigh*

Publicity Photo

"The Accused" 1949 Paramount
Tense and taught psychological thriller with a fantastic performance by Loretta as a spinsterish psychology professor who, by a set of unforeseen circumstances, accidentally kills an extremely over-amorous student! She then tries to make his death look like an accident! Enter lawyer Bob Cummings and Detective Wendell  Corey and that’s when things really get interesting! While Corey is pursuing his prey, Cummings and Young  begin a romance and we see her heart slowly heating up in the same manner that the tight bun in her hair is  loosening up! There aren’t really any surprises along the way and so it’s really a tribute to the cast (including a scene stealing Sam Jaffe!) and crew that one gets totally caught up in the proceedings anyway! Well-directed by William Dieterle.

With Douglas Dick in "The Accused" 1949

"Mother is a Freshman" 1949 Fox *
Delightful comedy with financially-strapped widow Loretta having to go to college via special scholarship in order to keep her daughter there as well. Of course they both fall for the same Professor (Van Johnson) and trouble ensues. Nothing spectacular here, but a fun and very colorful picture that moves right along thanks to one of the great unsung comedy directors, Lloyd Bacon.

Publicity photo

"Come to the Stable" 1949 Fox *
Sweet, funny and touching tale of two nuns from a French convent, played by Loretta and the always delightful Celeste Holm, who arrive in a small New England town determined to build a new hospital there. Along the way they meet Elsa Lanchester, Hugh Marlowe, Thomas Gomez, Dooley Wilson and several other fine character players. Well-directed by Henry Koster. Loretta received her only other Oscar nomination for best actress for her sweet understated performance. A funny aside in this film is that Loretta’s character drives like a maniac, which from what I have learned, is pretty much how she drove in real life as well!


Celeste Holm, Loretta, and Else Lanchester in "Come to the Stable" 1949

Candid at home

“Key to the City” 1950 MGM
Loretta teams up once again with Clark Gable in this fast moving and often hilarious romantic comedy! He’s a former longshoreman turned mayor and she’s a very straight-laced mayor from a small town in Maine who meet at a mayor’s convention in California! All manner of silliness ensues as they fall for each other! Excellent  support from Frank Morgan, Marilyn Maxwell, Raymond Burr and James Gleason. Gable and Burr have a really vicious brawl during the finale!

Publicity for "Key to the City" 1950

Gable, Frank Morgan and Loretta in "Key to the City" 1950

"Cause for Alarm" 1951 MGM *
This tense, gripping and, at times, manic thriller is a tour-de-force for Loretta as a devoted housewife caring  for her increasingly paranoid husband, well-played by the underrated Barry Sullivan. I wouldn’t dream of giving away plot details, just watch it and see a great actress in full command of her ability!

Publicity photo for "Cause for Alarm" 1951


Publicity Photo

"Half Angel" 1951 Fox *
Loretta is pure delight and pure visual razzle-dazzle in this light hearted and fun comedy fantasy! She plays a straight-laced nurse by day but after she goes to sleep, reawakens as a slinky, sexy man chaser! Joseph Cotton is a riot as the bewildered object of her late night affections and the rest of the cast- Cecil  Kellaway, John Ridgeley, Jim Backus and Irene Ryan are first rate as well! Beautifully photographed in  VERY vivid Technicolor (Loretta wears the greenest dress you ever saw!) this is just pure escapist fun!

Vintage Lobby Card for "Half Angel" 1951, from my collection

The contrast between Loretta's highly uptight daytime nurse and slinky night time sexpot is hilarious! She's terrific!

A rather dazed Loretta in "Half Angel" 1951

"Paula" 1952 Columbia *
Heavy-Duty melodrama with a highly effective performance by Loretta as a woman riddled with guilt after accidentally hitting a small boy with her car. Unable to have any children of her own she offers to take the boy in, tutor him (he lost the ability to speak from the accident) and of course things get much more complicated from there. Kent Smith, as her husband, does a swell job playing a Kent Smith role and  Alexander Knox is excellent as her doctor. Lays it on really heavy and the ending pulls out all the stops but Loretta’s sincerity and conviction sell it all the way. I defy anyone not to be moved by her in this picture!


"Because of You 1952" Universal *
Another heavy-duty soaper held together by the grace of Loretta’s heartfelt performance. She plays a nurse who falls for wounded soldier Jeff Chandler. They eventually marry, have a daughter and things seem great…except that Loretta never told him she was once in prison! Things get really complicated when her former lover (the guy who caused her unknowing part in a robbery and hence her prison sentence) returns with a few ideas of his own. I’m not a big fan of Jeff Chandler but he is competent here. Frances Dee does well in a small role. Alex Nicol is excellent as her slime ball old flame. The story moves in some interesting directions, at one point Loretta becomes “Miss Marvel”, the assistant to a magician! Loretta was 39 years old and still every bit a sleek dazzling Hollywood beauty as she ever was! I had this on tape for years but had never watched it until now!

Loretta as magician's assistant "Miss Marvel" in "Because of You" 1952

Loretta is a blonde in the opening scenes of "Because of You" 1952

“It Happens Every Thursday” 1953 Universal
Snappy, fast moving, likable tale of a New York City newspaperman, his expecting wife, and young son who buy an old broken down newspaper business in a small California town. John Forsythe and Loretta were totally convincing and the supporting cast including Frank McHugh, Jane Darwell, and Regis Toomey are first rate as well.
Loretta called it quits with the movie-biz for good after this one…television was calling and by all accounts she answered the call brilliantly! Speaking of Television, this (And the previous film) was directed by Joseph Pevney who would later direct some of the all time best original Star Trek episodes!


Loretta and John Forsythe in "It Happens Every Thursday" 1953

So that’s it for “Lettathon 2013”, all told I watched 79 films! Overall its safe to say I prefer her WB period  the best and her Fox period the least. At Fox she was in much bigger budget films and played opposite some major male stars but seemed to end up playing a silly heiress or just a decorative role. She had much more opportunity to flex her acting chops in her films at WB and then again later when she freelanced in the 1940’s. Regardless, the overall quality of her body of work is really impressive and it was a lovely experience seeing all these films and "getting to know" her. She was A remarkable actress, an intelligent, hard working lady and a dazzling beauty with a keen business sense and a fashion savvy that kept her star shining for over 70 years!

I would like to give special thanks to Loretta’s Daughter-in-law, Linda Lewis. Because of her generosity and kindness I was able to view, for the first time, almost 20 Loretta Young films that I might not have been able to see otherwise. Thank you Linda! And of course I must now plug your page here! 

The official Loretta Young facebook page



Early 1930's, apparently this was one of Loretta's own favorite pictures of her.
(thank you Robert McKay for the scan!)

Now... on to her TV series!!!!

4 comments:

VP81955 said...

I concur with your comments on Loretta Young (BTW, I am also a Facebook friend of Linda Lewis, a terrific lady). With the possible exception of Norma Shearer, no actress had her career positively re-evaluated by the pre-Code revival than Loretta, since many of these movies were unavailable for decades (not part of TV packages because of their oft-racy nature). I recently purchased all seven volumes of Warners' "Forbidden Hollywood" set, which includes five of her films, and am looking forward to seeing them.

One thing to note: You mention some of the other candidates to co-star with James Cagney in "Taxi!" (a fun film, especially when Cagney speaks Yiddish -- a dialect he knew from his youth in Manhattan!), but omitted Warners' first choice -- Carole Lombard, who at the time deemed a loanout from Paramount a demotion of sorts and declined the assignment. (It was a move she regretted for years.) More on this can be found at http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/65901.html. Oh, and since you apparently haven't written anything on Carole, perhaps 2014 should be reserved for a Lombardthon.

Artman2112 said...

hello! thanks for your comments! i actually did learn about Carole declining her role in Taxi! but not until after I had written that review, so I let it stand as it was. Perhaps it was you who mentioned it on the LY FB page???Loretta's pre-codes are her best films imo and I'm sure you will enjoy seeing them! funny what you said about a Lombard-a-thon because i recently acquired a 4-volume set of her films, none of which i have seen before!

Patti said...

Wpw, Paul! This is an absolutely terrific and highly informational post. It is going to take me several viewings to go through the whole thing, so I will end up leaving several comments along the way.

I agree with you that Loretta was a stunning beauty. Some of the photos/posters you have of her are simply to die for! What a thrill it must be every time you acquire something new.

So far, I have only read up through "Zoo at Budapest." The majority of those pre-code films I haven't seen. I am especially intrigued to catch "Life Begins" and "Zoo at Budapest."

Artman2112 said...

thanks Patti! take your time, its not going anywhere :D

yes i enjoy my collecting and even the post office guy asks when he hands me a package "more fun stuff?"