Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hey There, Big Boy...

First off, I must admit that this is an amalgam of a post. My adoration of silent film star George O'Brien has been well documented here, but until just recently I had never seen his 1928 epic Noah's Ark. Noah's Ark began life as a mammoth silent extravaganza with a storyline/script by Darryl F. Zaunck (during his early days at Warner Brothers) and direction by Michael Curtiz. Once The Jazz Singer (1927) took audiences by storm with its synchronized sound sequences, the studio determined that Ark would have to have some sound scenes of its own added in (which they were, though directed by another person besides Curtiz.)

The result is a fascinating conglo- meration caused not only by the fact that a silent film suddenly bursts forth every now and again with audible dialogue, but also because the movie is really two films in one. The bulk of the film is a WWI buddy flick/romance which contains an extended "flashback" sequence to the time of The Great Flood, in which most of the principle actors from the primary story portray roles in the Biblical one. And there is the fact that the movie was once screened at 135 minutes, then shorn to 75 minutes, but later restored to 108 minutes! So it's really all over the place.

This post will throw some light on Noah's Ark, but the reason it's an amalgam is that it is also focused on one particular costar of O'Brien's, a lesser-known character actor with a startlingly considerable career, though he remains virtually unknown to many film fans. We'll be taking a gander at him and then later bringing to light a latter day footnote that saw him gaining a scintilla of notoriety for reasons he could never have imagined in his lifetime. His name? Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, hence the title of this post.

Noah's Ark, after a prologue featuring Biblical scenes as well as contem- porary depiction of man's inhumanity to man and love of money, begins on The Orient Express. Gorgeous George O'Brien is traveling through Europe and witnesses a snarling younger man deny his seat to an old gentleman. He picks the jerk up and tosses him aside, but he soon sits right back down.

O'Brien's close pal, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, is right behind and escorts the passenger back out of his seat, informing the older man, a minister, that if his buddy misses something, he's right there to take care of it the second time.

Also on board the train are members of an acting troupe, including Dolores Costello. She can't help but take notice of the dashing O'Brien, but unfortunately she attracts the attention of the loathsome Noah Beery, a Russian Secret Service officer, who tries to seduce her.

In an early disaster sequence, a washed out bridge causes the train to derail and the cars go tumbling off the side of the track. O'Brien has barely regained his senses when Williams comes tumbling down the hill and lands on his shoulders! O'Brien spots the legs of a trapped woman who, of course, turns out to be Costello. They, along with a few other survivors, repair to a nearby lodge where O'Brien and Costello begin to express their burgeoning feelings for one another.

Williams is left with the innkeeper's rather homely daughter and, while she is definitely interested in him, he is really more excited about the available beverages in their wine cellar!
Costello, refreshed from her harrowing and muddy experience during the train crash, is shown in one of many deliriously gauzy and shimmering close-ups. Today's film actresses (who in truth must simply abhor the term "high-def!") can only dream of being photographed on silver nitrate film in the sort of lighting afforded to these dames of early cinema.

Despite the oppor- tunities for romance, O'Brien and Williams spend the night in a room together with twin beds. They bicker around like an old married couple the next morning. Get a load of the head of hair on Williams.
Later, Williams has made a decision. He's tired of toddling around Europe when there is a war on and he's decided to sign up. O'Brien implores him not to, reminding him that they were always going to stick together. Williams is stunned that O'Brien is reluctant to sign up as well and tells him, "The only way that we can stick together is for you to go my way."

O'Brien has his reasons, though. It turns out that he has married Costello, a German girl, and doesn't feel that he can leave her during all the tumult. Without knowing the story, these pictures look almost like a break-up scene between the two men!

One day Costello and O'Brien are in town as a parade of troops goes by and, sure enough, there is Williams among them. O'Brien breaks down in tears and finally decides he absolutely has to join up, regardless of what it might mean for Costello.

Williams is out at the front and has made a new pal, a scampy little dog to whom he confides his thoughts on life and war. (If you know my love of dogs, then you know I was happy to see this scene!)

Not long after, however, Williams' true number one shows up, having signed up and trained for combat. Lantern-jawed Williams is thrilled to see his best pal again.

O'Brien is just as happy, with tears in his eyes. If it weren't for the fact that he is every bit as passionate and flamboyant in his affection for Costello, I'd say that he seems in love with Williams, though on some level he is, nonetheless. The two slip into one of many tight set-ups, accented by adoring expressions on their faces.
Then Williams says it all:
Ha ha ha!  Just kidding... The actual title card reads:
O'Brien does give his buddy a loving embrace and a kiss on the neck, though! Look... I'm stupid, but I'm not ignorant. I know that this whole situation (much like 1927's Wings, which featured devoted soldiers kissing and crying in the face of death) is strictly platonic and just an example of the affectionate camaraderie between two close male friends of that time and that's it's too easy for some asshole like me to read more into it...

But one can't help raising an eyebrow when they are shown out in the field and O'Brien is waxing rhapsodic about Costello, who's awaiting his return when Williams suddenly announces that there is a lady waiting for him to come home, too:
Things take a terrible, ironic turn and O'Brien is forced to say goodbye to his longtime pal Williams.
Costello isn't exactly enjoying herself either. She's had to become a nightclub dancer in order to make ends meet and has attracted the attention of the horrid Beery again, who has come into the club for some after-hours entertainment. (Note that the fellow dancer speaking to Costello in this brief sound sequence is none other than marvelous Myrna Loy, very early in her career.)
Beery demands that Costello give in to his sexual demands, so she attempts to run away, but is captured. Beery lies that she is actually a German spy and should be shot by firing squad as a result. Guess who has been commissioned from all the soldiers available to take part in the assassination... Her husband, O'Brien!

Just then a bombing sends everything into disarray and before it's all over, O'Brien, Costello and several others are buried alive along with - get this - the minister from the initial train trip! He stands up and begins pontificating about how the flow of blood during The Great War is similar to that of the flow of water during The Great Flood.

Thus we soon are transported back to the days of Noah. This section of the film includes, without exag- geration, a cast of thousands, and all sorts of dazzling sets and costumes. Screenwriter Zanuck was attempting to "out-DeMille" epic director Cecil B. DeMille and equal or exceed D.W. Griffith's massive 1916 epic Intolerance.

Here, O'Brien and Williams are clad in slinky caveman get-ups and are rapturously filmed tugging a massive log through the forest. They play two of Noah's three sons. Williams' hair is fluffed out to near full-throttle and he's sporting a spunky li'l goatee for the occasion.

Again, without knowing the subtext, this could be the story of Adam & Steve in the Garden of Eden! They're located on a slope here, with O'Brien on the lower end, but Williams was 3-1/4" taller than his leading man. O'Brien clearly didn't suffer any egoistic qualms about appearing shorter than his pal.
Here we go again with Costello. This time she's Noah's virginal handmaiden and has haplessly been selected by the evil king Beery to be used as a human sacrifice to his god Jaghuth. She is captured and taken before the throngs of people prior to the big event.

This, naturally, doesn't sit well with the leopard skin-clad O'Brien, who charges the entire army demanding that she be released.

For his trouble, after a heated scuffle, he is carted off by soldiers to a hideous prison cavern in which inmates must spend the rest of their lives pushing a heavy wheel around in a circle until they drop dead!

Even worse, before he is permitted to be hooked up to this contraption, the guards take a searing poker, aflame with molten heat, and blind him with it!

His resistance to the guards as they are threatening to do this deed is vigorous enough that his loincloth flies up, revealing the black briefs he's sporting underneath. Now you know that even in a serious moment such as this that I wasn't about to miss an "up the kilt" sort of moment!

The swarthy, soot-encrusted guards really seem to be enjoying their work!

O'Brien, it must be said, has quite a face going before his beautiful eyes are rendered useless to him.

Back at Noah's, God has given him instructions to build the famous ark and so Williams and his brother Malcolm Waite are in full swing, putting the whole thing together while their wives gather up enough food to last forty days and forty nights.

King Beery is really throwing a shindig in preparation for Costello's sacrifice! Thousands of folks are in attendance as dancers dance and soldiers cheer. The lady in the center with the wings is allegedly Loy again. In her youth, she possessed quite the lithe body and reportedly posed nude for a 1921 statue in her school's fountain.

Here's a look at the villainous Beery in his King Nephilim garb. This is just the sort of garish, evil character I like to play, though oppor- tunities do tend to be scarce! I came close a few years ago as Caiaphas in "Jesus Christ Superstar."

I wonder if the makers of King Kong (1933) took any inspiration from the chained Costello, scantily-clad and waiting for her sacrifice as a crowd of onlookers chant and cheer frenetically? A archer sets his sights on her lovely chest, but the Lord creates a mighty wind that blows the arrow off its course. (In fact, it blows quite a few people down, including Costello!)

Anyway, God has really had it now. He rustles up a huge storm and the rains come pouring in. Back at the Wheel of Misfortune, O'Brien with his eyes still blackened, can feel the torrent coming.

And what a torrent it is! When the cameraman of this film discovered what director Curtiz had in mind for the extras (anywhere from 600,000 to 1,000,000 gallons of water to be dumped on them unsuspectingly!) and Curtiz's reply was, "Let them take their chances," he walked off the picture and was soon replaced!

O'Brien is freed when the wheel is broken apart in the melee and he goes off in (blind) search of his beloved. (O'Brien also reportedly took some licks in this film, claiming that the force of the water - often filled with debris - tore off a few of his toenails!)

He makes his way to the temple, desperate to find Costello before she is either sacrificed or drowned.

He stumbles into her, as the endless deluge continues, and is able to pick her up. He cannot see what we do, though, which is that the torrent of water has made hash out of her costume and her left breast is exposed!

Costello was in real life stricken with pneumonia from the constant deluge over the course of filming the flood scenes. (In a sad, ironic twist, Miss Costello was the victim of a real-life flash flood close to fifty years after this, which decimated a considerable amount of her property and career memorabilia. She was miserable during a great part of Noah's Ark and referred to it as "mud, blood & flood.")

Reports vary on what happened when Curtiz unleashed the waters of his great flood. Some say that three extras died. Some say one. Some even say none. There were unquestionably injuries. An alleged 35 ambulances were enlisted to take the assaulted extras to the hospital after the punishing scenes in the temple and surrounding areas. Among the extras/survivors are (indecipherably) Andy Devine, Ward Bond and John Wayne during their early years in Hollywood.

When O'Brien has stumbled over hill and dale, debris and damsel, and struggled to the ark, God (finally! Thanks a bunch!) restores his vision to him in a dramatic scene. He's able to look upon his beloved again (and his perfect face is rid of the black circles that had previously marked it.) Noah and his family can ride the storm out, with all the animals two-by-two, and repopulate the earth once more.
Back in the (then) present-day, the bedraggled survivors of the bombing are at last freed and are elated to discover that the war is now over. The armistice has been signed! The grateful couple can now live their lives in peace.
The movie ends with a hopeful quote from the minister, though in the end it was deemed an awfully naive one. The minister considers the armistice to be the rainbow in terms of the present day conflagration they've just endured. He says, "I mean that war is now an outlaw, and will be hunted from the face of the earth. Those ten million men have not died in vain." But they did. We've still never learned to get along in the one hundred years since "The war to end all wars."

Curtiz, the man behind countless wonders such as Captain Blood (1935), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Casablanca (1942) and Mildred Pierce (1945) to name only a few, was so busy that he directed 44 feature-length movies from 1930 to 1939 alone!  In all, he made well over 150 films. He died in 1962 from cancer at age seventy-five.

Costello had just married the legendary John Barrymore in 1928 and would have two children with him, Dolores ("DeDe") and John Drew, the latter of who would go on to sire that leading lady of today's cinema Drew Barrymore. Costello and Barrymore divorced in 1935 and by 1939 she had wed again, giving up her career by 1943. The second marriage ended in 1951 and she lived a pretty reclusive life until her 1979 death at age seventy-five of emphysema. Probably her most lasting film is The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) by Orson Welles, though it was severely cut prior to release by RKO and the excised footage destroyed.
Now, on to lovable lug Guinn "Big Boy" Williams for just a bit more. Born on April 26th, 1899 to a U.S. Representative from Texas (Guinn Williams), he was eighteen in 1917 and saw service in the war which was depicted in this movie. Afterwards, his father wanted him to attend West Point and proceed with a military career, but instead he went to college and also pursued baseball.

By 1919, he'd segued into rodeo riding, stunt work and film extra roles. During the movies Almost a Husband (1919), Jubilo (1919) and Cupid the Cowpuncher (1920), which all starred Will Rogers, the beloved humorist took one look at Williams and dubbed him "Big Boy." The name stuck and he was Big Boy Williams in most of his roles from then on. And he had a LOT of roles.

During his career from 1919 to 1962, Williams was in roughly 200 movies and a healthy number of TV shows as well. All through the 1920s he was a successful western leading man. In the 1930s, he alternated leads in B movie westerns with colorful supporting roles in A pictures. He's seen here (looking completely adorable as a wrestler called Strangler Stratton) in Catch as Catch Can (1931) with Reed Howes, Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts.

This card is from 1933's The Mystery Squadron, a twelve-part serial that starred Bob Steele.

Here, he's seen with Shirley Temple in The Littlest Rebel (1935.) He appeared as the sidekick to many big name stars from Roy Rogers to Errol Flynn to Randolph Scott to John Wayne.
His big frame and strong physique lent him success at playing boxers such as Slug Cassidy in Flying Fists (1937) or Samson Smith in Pardon Our Nerve (1939.)

Sometimes, either due to language barriers or that fact that he was so associated with the west, foreign press misspelled his name Guinn as "Gunn!"

Williams appeared on many western TV shows from Cheyenne to Gunsmoke to Wagon Train, but was a regular on only one, Circus Boy (1956- 1957) which starred a very young (and blond) Mickey Dolenz. Also in the cast was Noah Beery Jr., the grown son of Williams' costar in Noah's Ark! Beery later went on to success on The Rockford Files in the 1970s as James Garner's father.

Williams became very close friends with Errol Flynn, working in four of his films, and was in fact a pallbearer at Flynn's 1959 funeral (when he was but fifty years of age.)

Williams was wed to 1920s actress (and seven-time costar) Kathleen Collins and briefly to 1930s actress Barbara Weeks before becoming involved with and engaged to Mexican Spitfire Lupe Velez. "Big Boy" and the "Spitfire" had a very public relationship though, like all of hers, it was fiery. According to Flynn's fanciful biography, Velez broke off her engagement to Williams by smashing a framed photo of him over his head at Flynn's house, tearing the picture in two and then urinating on it! In 1943, he wed busy actress Dorothy Peterson who remained with him until his death (and who retired from movie-making after his demise.)

Williams died suddenly in 1962 of uremic poisoning. He'd just filmed a small role in The Coman- cheros (1961), directed appro- priately enough by Michael Curtiz - also his final film - as well as an unsold TV pilot (with Dallas' Jim Davis and Dynasty's Linda Evans!) called Buttons and Her Beaus (1962) not long before. He was sixty-three.

Nearly forty years after his death, he'd been remembered principally by western movie and TV fans, but remained an obscure figure to most others. Then in a rather bizarre twist of fate, it was noted that the newly-elected President of the United States (in late 2000) bore a pretty striking resemblance to him!

George W. Bush, a fellow Texan (albeit born in Connecticut), possessed a similarly shaped face, a pair of comparable slim eyes and a nearly identical mouth and set of teeth! Vintage film fans began pointing out the sometimes eye-popping similarity between the men.
Even more surprising was that in his youth, Bush possessed a head of similarly tousled brunette curls! They had an undeniable resemblance to one another, though I don't think I have to point out which one is my favorite...
We enjoyed finally getting to view the rarely-seen epic Noah's Ark, but it was a particular treat to see our longtime fave gorgeous George O'Brien paired up with brawny Big Boy Williams. We needed to take this moment to pay tribute to the hard-working, hard-living actor who put in more than forty years on camera and amassed a staggering set of credits in that time.

13 comments:

Gingerguy said...

Wow, I have to hand it to you, I am never interested in silents or even near silents, but this was fascinating. The whole cast was gorgeous. Ditto about the hi-def on the small screen which is where most people watch now. Brutal to the ageing process. Soft focus just doesn't exist anymore.
Myrna Loy looked like a 70's fashion model.
Turner Classics had a Michael Curtiz day yesterday. He really churned out some classics, but wouldn't have wanted to work for him
Lol on "I could lick you"

Scooter said...

Excellent post! Good eye spotting Myrna Loy.

hsc said...

I saw this back in the 90s on TCM (when I still had cable), as part of a series of silents they used to run.

The part-modern with ancient/biblical flashbacks was pretty commonplace back then (de Mille's silent version of "The Ten Commandments", for example), so that wouldn't have been as WTF? to its original audience as it is now.

The sudden burst of sound are pretty disorienting, especially since they seem so random and such obvious attempts to say, "Hey, listen to this!"

One of the weirdest moments is when Williams and "the homely innkeeper's daughter" (I think that was then-popular comic actress Louise Fazenda) suddenly whip out a guitar and sing "Du, du liegst mir im Herzen". In the TCM print, it seemed literally edited in from another source.

The "buddy" angle now really seems homoerotic, but have you seen "Flesh and the Devil" from around the same time? Two "lifelong friends" are about to have a duel over Garbo, she suddenly drowns in a convenient puddle (in crosscut scenes), and the men embrace and go off arm in arm!

IIRC, "Noah's Ark" was reissued decades later on the exploitation circuit while big-budget spectacles were big. I believe that poster above might've been for the reissue.

Glad to see you covering it here, with all the framecaps. Thanks for another great post!

Skippy Devereaux said...

I first saw Guinn "Big Boy" Williams in an Edna May Oliver movie called "Ladies Of The Jury". He was hilarious in that thing and I became a fan of his ever since. The "I could lick you" was FUNNY!! I will admit it was an eye opener for me until I read the real card. Sorta hoping that he did say that!!!

Forever1267 said...

https://www.facebook.com/rankerweirdhistory/videos/1066228846866823/?hc_ref=ARQtGxU891JBzc_OdC2bYzCbpqnCDLAD0XnawJu6WHMBh3x6Et37I5uwjzLVlYJUwkI&fref=nf

(not sure if you can see this but Weird History posted it at 10 AM on 4/18) this is going around the internet, and I'm pretty sure it's true (I hope it's true, but I shared the video on my page) of stunt work done in Silent Movies. Really impressive stuff.

I really need to watch more silent films. Outside Chaplin and "Sunrise" I haven't seen many. And O'Brien does seem to be worth discovering.

joel65913 said...

I remember when I started watching this on TCM I thought "How is this about Noah's Ark?" but then read the description and saw that it was set up to have parallel stories. It was an impressive achievement though I wouldn't say I loved it.

I did love all the scenes with O'Brien and Williams in loincloths and the like however and Dolores Costello certainly was photographed to maximum advantage. I don't see a great deal of her in Drew Barrymore except around the eyes. Interesting about the lisp I didn't realize that was an inheritable trait.

As far as Guinn "Big Boy" Williams I'm a fan. Not in the Thelma Ritter/Frank Morgan make a point to see their films sort of way but in the Allen Jenkins/Lloyd Corrigan "Oh he's in this! That's a big plus." sense. He played a lot of doofuses but he was always entertaining and did occasionally get cast in a role of more substance.

Along with everyone else loved the title card!

Poseidon3 said...

Gingerguy, I've always been rather silents-resistant, too! It certainly never helped that after technology changed, they were always shown in herky-jerky sped up fashion and in deplorable condition. When they've been restored and lovingly worked on a bit, it's better, though I confess that sometimes I scan through parts if I think they're dwelling too long on something I already "get" (I did this with "The Iron Horse," which contained that great fight scene with George in which his shirt was torn off him! That, I slowed down for.... LOL) "Sunrise" helped me become a bit more interested, though I'm still not on board 100% with all of them (just like I'm not on board with 100% of all sorts of sound films!) Thanks!

Scooter, glad you liked this!

hsc, I haven't seen "Flesh and the Devil" but I will have to... I can imagine watching Garbo in a silent film because her face is so captivating that the words are hardly necessary! I believe your right about my choice of poster for this post. I just liked the artwork better than some of the originals which were either somewhat hard to discern or were done in a very abstract fashion. Thank you!

Hi Skippy!! I must keep an eye out for "Ladies of the Jury." I adore Edna Mae! I'm also glad that you got a hoot out of my refashioned title card. ha ha!

Forever1267, I was able to watch that video and it was indeed eye-popping. People were crazy going for broke in those stunt scenes. And we mustn't forget Miss Lillian Gish crossing a river on some crumbling ice floes during "Uncle Tom's Cabin!" Even though I know there are still some daring people making action movies these days, I hate modern stunts for the most part. But since I hate CGI, I don't stand a chance of enjoying them in any case. I find all the over the top moves and twirls and so on in fight scenes to be impossibly boring and utterly unbelievable....

Joel, I guess if tendencies for depression and addiction can be passed on genetically, then lisps can too?? Drew was only about four when her grandma passed away, so I don't know how close they ever were (though I think Dolores mostly got rid of hers with therapy?) I don't know if you'll agree, but as to your Allen Jenkins/Lloyd Corrigan thing, I'm that way with Warren Hymer. After seeing him in an Eddie Cantor movie, I was very enamored of him, though many people aren't, and started to take note when he appeared in other movies I was watching. Again, glad you got a kick out of the title card. I'm glad I can still provide a bit of unexpected humor around here! ;-)

Stefano said...

Thanks Poseidon for this review; I was fortunate to see "Noah's Ark" in a theatre, screened in 35mm. The flood segment remains jaw-dropping; if the dialogue scenes are weak, there is the fun of George O'Brien blowing one of the first audible raspberries on film.

As you are fond of disaster flicks, you might want to check out the same period's lurid, over-the-top "Old San Francisco", with Dolores Costello again beautifully photographed (as is the whole film). It climaxes with the 1906 earthquake; not as spectacular as the 1936 "San Francisco" but still some gusto. There is also "The Winning of Barbara Worth" with Ronald Colman and Gary Cooper at their dreamiest, plus an impressive flood sequence in which a man who had been in a tub leaps outdoors and dashes bare-assed across the plains.

D ODay said...

Fun, informative, and impressively researched - just what we've come to expect. I recall reading in a history of movies that one reason these modern/biblical morality play mashups were so popular is it gave the producers a legitimate reason to show scantily clad stars misbehaving; after all, you can't condemn sin without showing a bit of it on screen! Oh, and the movie with Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess on the icy river is "Way Down East".

joel65913 said...

I do like Warren Hymer! He has a goofy charm, too bad he died so young.

It's great to discover a supporting performer who as you watch older films keeps popping up over and over and you develop or discover an affinity for them. I have dozens and dozens! Off the top of my head-Isobel Elsom, George Tobias, Nella Walker, Helen Broderick (Broderick Crawford's mother), Binnie Barnes, Ward Bond, Gene Lockhart, Hans Conreid, Henry Stephenson, Henry Kolker, Charles Winninger, Hank Worden, Norma Varden, Jeff Donnell, C. Aubrey Smith and Nat Pendleton. I could go on but I'm sure you get the idea.

Oh and also Larry Keating. I LOVE Larry Keating! There's just something so warm and suave about him, actually he's probably in the Thelma Ritter group (I discovered him in her "The Mating Season") since I've set out to see all his films. Only one left, the sensationalistly named "I Was a Shoplifter" that also has just starting out Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis in it. It's maddeningly elusive.

Poseidon3 said...

Stefano, thanks! I'm sure I would enjoy seeing the earlier San Francisco Earthquake movie and definitely will keep an eye out for "Barbara Worth" as well. TCM has been running silents for a while now late at night and hopefully some of the ones mentioned in the comments here will pop up.

D ODay, oh God.... The post might have been impressively researched, but not my comment about Lillian Gish! LOL I know exactly what happened. Right before I came here to comment, there was a Facebook debate going on about a touring production of "The King and I" and Uncle Tom's Cabin seeped into my psyche just then. Of COURSE, "Way Down East!" I even went to Northern Kentucky University where there was a tribute to D.W. Griffith and a piece of art with Lillian in her misery...! Sorry. And, yes, Cecil B. DeMille in particular loved to cloak his Biblical epics with plenty of sin and skin. ;-)

Joel, isn't it aggravating when there's a movie you want to see and it seems to have evaporated into thin air?! Don't give up hope. As I've mentioned here before, every so often I'll be stunned to find something that I figured I'd never ever see...! By the way, having forgotten about Hymer's premature demise, I went to look it up and found this! --> "He was known to have a bad drinking problem, and one day he apparently showed up for work drunk at a picture he was making for Columbia. When this was reported to Columbia chief Harry Cohn, he ordered Hymer thrown off the lot. Enraged, Hymer burst into Cohn's office. Finding him gone, Hymer took out his frustrations by urinating on Cohn's desk. While many who hated Cohn--which was most everyone in Hollywood--applauded Hymer's action, the powerful studio chief had him blackballed in the business, and consequently he found work in only two films for the next year."

Johnny C said...

Yesterday I was lucky to see a 35MM screening of this film at our Music Box Theater in Chicago. I wanted to thank you for bringing it to my attention. It is amazing. O'Brien is stunning.

There was a cute moment where an elderly man behind clapped when Dolores Costello first came on the screen. So she still has one fan that's hanging on. He also was sniffling during the O'Brien/Williams reunion scene. It was cute.

And O'Brien at times reminded me of Nicolas Cage, although much more handsome.

But what a film. I wish it were more well known because there are some stunning moments in it.

Poseidon3 said...

Johnny, how wonderful! Thank you so much for coming back to the post to share your experience with us. I bet those flood sequences were really something on the big screen. I love the part about the man behind you. How sweet... I think Cage has some similar facial structure, especially around the mouth, but, as you say, Georgie is better looking! I agree that this should be better known, but if it's warranting a cinema showing then at least it's coming along somewhat! If my own site does anything to help, then that's awesome.