Sunday, February 28, 2016

Caftan Woman's Choice: One for March on TCM


"One gets lost fighting a lie."

William Wyler directed both film versions of Lillian Hellman's first Broadway success The Children's Hour, first in 1936 as These Three and then in 1961 under the original title with the original lie intact.  Hellman wrote the screenplay in 1936 and the adaption for the 1961 film.  These Three and its story of the impact of lies made quite an impression on me as a teenager.  My overwhelming memories from that first viewing are of the beauty of Gregg Toland's cinematography, the emotion in Alfred Newman's score and Martha Dobie's loneliness.



Joel McCrea, Merle Oberon, Miriam Hopkins

"Two well-educated young women, also neat and clean, wish position."

Friends Karen Wright and Martha Dobie have their University Degrees in hand and the future looming before them.  Martha's only family is her self-absorbed Aunt Lily, a refugee from the theatre.  Karen's last relation, a deceased grandmother has left her a farmhouse in Massachusetts and the two young women put their energies into creating a girl's school.  Their neighbour, Dr. Joseph Cardin helps with friendship and handyman skills.  The socially prominent Mrs. Amelia Tilford supports their efforts among her set and provides their first student in her granddaughter Mary.

Karen and Martha create a warm and inviting atmosphere at their school which is appreciated by most of the students.  This is despite the oppressive presence of Martha's aunt, Mrs. Mortar, who insinuates herself into the school as an elocution teacher.  Among the students, the spoiled Mary Tilford proves to be a bully and a trouble-maker.  Joe and Karen have fallen in love and makes plans to be married.  Martha has also fallen in love with Joe, but she stoically keeps her feelings to herself.



Bonita Granville, Alma Kruger

Mary Tilford is not a long range thinker and says of herself that she works better at making it up as she goes along.  Mary makes a lot of things up, sometimes out of whole cloth and sometimes out of bits of fabric she picks up from observation.  She knows how to flatter and cajole Mrs. Mortar.  She knows how to bully her classmates to use to her advantage.  Both Karen and Martha have been patient and kind in their treatment of Mary, but the fairness or not of her most recent punishment leads to a major meltdown.  She starts with feigning illness and follows it up by running back home to her grandmother.  The family maid, Agatha, has no illusions where Mary is concerned, but Mrs. Tilford is a softie where her granddaughter is concerned.  Mary has to come up with a good story to be allowed to leave this most recent school placement.

Mary's story is that something untoward has been happening at the school between Martha and Karen's fiancee, Joe.  Classmate Rosalie Wells can back up every twisted lie Mary comes up with because Rosalie is being hideously blackmailed over a "borrowed" bracelet.  Mrs. Tilford is shocked that inappropriate behavior is being exhibited by those caring for children and she spreads the news which results in the wholesale withdrawal of students from the school.



Alma Kruger, Bonita Granville, Merle Oberon, Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea

"When three people come to you with their lives spread out on a table for you to cut to pieces, then the only honest thing for you to do is to give them a chance to come out whole."

Joe, Karen and Martha bring a slander suit against Mrs. Tilford and the jury decides in her favour.  Mrs. Mortar, whose testimony ought to have helped, avoided the court.  Karen and Martha are left with nothing.  Joe is dismissed from the hospital.  Lost in the fight Karen allows doubts about Joe and Martha to cloud her judgment.  Joe return to Vienna where he studied medicine.  Martha admits to her feelings for Joe to Karen, truthfully affirming that those feelings remained hers alone.  Nonetheless, the world of three innocent people is completely shattered.

The drama is exquisitely played out by the cast led by Miriam Hopkins (The Stranger's Return, Design for Living) as Martha Dobie.  Martha is at heart a kind person and with her slapdash and isolated upbringing she would have every right to have turned out differently.  Martha is devoted to her friends and to wanting to make a pleasant existence for her charges.  Her love for Joe is not returned and even that she accepts as another of life's inevitable blows.  Karen is played by Merle Oberon (Wuthering Heights, 'Til We Meet Again) at this point in her career at the height of her loveliness.  She is a heroine worthy of the audience's care.  Joel McCrea is especially appealing as Joe, whose humour and strength is put to the ultimate test.


Catherine Doucet
(1875-1958)

Catherine Doucet (Poppy, It Started With Eve), whose Broadway career began in 1906 and began in films in 1915, is an everlasting irritation and annoyance as Lily Mortar - as she should be.  Miriam Hopkins, in the last of the five films she made with William Wyler, would play this role in the 1961 film.  Alma Kruger (Dr. Kildare series, Saboteur) made her film debut as Amelia Tilford.  She is a grand dame to the world, yet easily manipulated by her affection for her orphaned granddaughter.  She is heartbreaking.



Marcia Mae Jones, Carmencinta Johnson

Bonita Granville (Nancy Drew series, The Glass Key) was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the role of Mary Tilford in the first year of that category.  Mary is horrid and despite the best intentions of those around her, you get a sense that there is no hope for the character.  Marcia Mae Jones (Baby Face, Heidi) is the conscience stricken Rosalie, constantly under threat from Mary and her performance is every bit the equal of Miss Granville's.  Wyler's handling of a crucial scene among three students including Carmencita Johnson (The Wind, Frankenstein) is excellent as all three young actresses behave naturally and true to their characters.



Bonita Granville, Margaret Hamilton

Spoiler alert:

The audience is not disappointed when Mary's lies finally become known and we get a touch of he comeuppance.  The maid Agatha, played by Margaret Hamilton (My Little Chickadee, The Wizard of Oz) dispenses a slap heard around the world.  I recall Ms. Hamilton telling a tale on The Mike Douglas Show that Bonita, who was a good kid, was frightened about the slap and kept pulling away and ruining the shot.  In the shot we see in the film, listen closely and you will hear Agatha/Margaret whisper under he breath "Bonita, come here." before giving her the genuine deal Wyler requested.

These Three has lost none of its power through the years as an emotional and cautionary piece of drama.  Watch and compare versions and I think you will agree.

TCM is screening These Three on Friday, March 4th at 8:00 pm as part of the tribute to Star of the Month, Merle Oberon.


    








Saturday, February 20, 2016

MOVIE SCIENTIST BLOGATHON (The Mad): The Invisible Ray (1936)


"He's one lab accident away from being a super-villain."

- The Big Bang Theory


Ruth of Silver Screenings and Christine Wehner are our hosts for the Movie Scientist blogathon running February 19, 20 and 21.  The subjects can be the good, the mad or the lonely.  I would say my "hero" is "good and mad!".



Be it ever so humble...

Dr. Janos Rukh (Boris Karloff) lives in a castle/compound high in the Carpathian Mountains.  On the surface of it, Rukh's life is pretty sweet.  He has a state of the art laboratory, a staff of servants, a loving mother and devoted young wife, Diana.  This is balanced by the accident during one of his experiments that left his mother mother (Violet Kemble Cooper) blind.  Perhaps his marriage to the orphaned daughter (Francis Drake) of a late assistant occurred without much foresight.  Rukh's stubborn pride has cut him off from his fellows in the scientific community leaving him feeling slighted with an overwhelming need for vindication.



Janos shows off his discovery.

On an appropriately dark and stormy night wealthy researcher Sir Francis Stevens (Walter Kingsford), who had once scoffed at Rukh's theories, has been invited to see Rukh's latest success.  In the party is his novelist wife Lady Arabella Stevens (Beulah Bondi) and her cartographer nephew Ronald Drake (Frank Lawton).  On hand to verify Rukh's work is his scientific rival Dr. Felix Benet (Bela Lugosi).  Through Rukh's long distance/time traveling telescope the group observes the crashing of a meteor in Africa thousands of years ago.  An expedition to the continent is planned and Dr. Rukh joins them in searching for a power source he refers to as Radium X.  Mother Rukh does not approve of this plan as she knows that her son does not know how to play nice with others.  No matter how old a boy gets, he should always listen to his mother!



Joining the expedition is not one of Janos' better ideas.

Violet Kemble Cooper, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi
Walter Kingsford, Beulah Bondi, Frances Drake, Frank Lawton

In Africa Janos Rukh splits from the main group in his pursuit of Radium X.  Back at the main camp Dr. Benet furthers his research into his field of astro-chemistry, Lady Arabella works on her latest tome, Sir Francis complains about the heat, and Diana and Ronald fall in love.  However, they are the noble sort who will not act on their feelings.  As Janos as left her for weeks with no word, Diana attempts to join him at his camp.  Janos has discovered his Radium X, but it has poisoned his system.  Not only does he glow in the dark, but his very touch brings death.  He orders Diana away without even seeing her or offering an explanation.  How Janos doesn't see this as the end of his marriage is a quirk of his strangely focused thinking.

Janos seeks help from Dr. Benet who comes up with a counteractive which will allay some of the symptoms, but is not a cure.  Janos must take this counteractive regularly to sustain his life.  Back in his mountain compound Radium X is used to cure Mother Rukh's blindness.  In Paris Dr. Benet is using Radium X to do much good for as many patients as possible.  Radium X is the discovery of the age and the all in the expedition, including Janos Rukh, as given credit.  Rukh only sees that he has been cheated of everything, especially in the loss of his wife to another man.  The poison has not only affected his body, but his brain.  Let's face it, Janos had issues to begin with and this is not a turn for the good.


"It poisoned me."

Boris Karloff as Janos Rukh

Faking his own death, Janos Rukh now a glowing monster of death seeks revenge on all involved in the expedition.  Dr. Benet and newlywed Ronald are quick to lay the proper blame when Sir Francis is murdered, followed by Lady Arabella.  The mad man let's them in on his game by terrorizing the city with acts of destruction.  Working together, the survivors of the African enterprise and the police lay a trap for the wily and mad Janos Rukh.  Will it work?  Will love conquer all?  What role will Mother Rukh play in the resolution of the horror?



The third of their eight film collaborations.

Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi

One of the great joys of movies is watching Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi onscreen together.  The Invisible Ray provides plenty of opportunity for them to create interesting, terrifying and admirable characters in a story of scientists going too far (always a favourite) and revenge.  The actors do not disappoint; it was not their way.



The second of two 1936 joint appearances.

Walter Kingsford, Beulah Bondi

Beulah Bondi is particularly fun to watch as the sophisticated lady Arabella whether dressed in hiking shorts and a pith helmet or an elegant dinner gown, she gives wry comments on circumstances and characters, and looks like she's having a grand time.  Walter Kingsford is a consistently watchable actor and here he gets to put just the right touch of humour into his role.



Why not get married?  Janos was dead.  It was in all the papers.

Frank Lawton, Frances Drake

Francis Drake as Diana has to spend most of her time worrying, but she also has the opportunity to show grit and guts.  Frank Lawton's Ronald starts out as just your average cardboard young lover, but toward the end of the movie when things start heating up against Dr. Rukh, he becomes more interesting.

1936s The Invisible Ray is as entertaining a movie of its type as you could wish.  Director Lambert Hillyer was an old pro who knew how pace his adventures having made dozens of films, mostly westerns, by this point in his career.  That career behind the camera which began in the teens, would continue into the era of 1950s television.  The dramatic goings-on are supported by a lovely score from Franz Waxman.  The glowing effect is the result of painstaking matte work lead by special cinematographer John Fulton who would go on to receive five Oscar nominations for special effects work, winning for 1945s Wonder Man and 1956s The Ten Commandments.


"Science is not good or bad, Victor, but it can always be used both ways.  That is why you must always be careful."

- Frankenweenie



Movie Scientist Blogathon
Day 1 recap:  The Good
Day 2 recap:  The Mad
Day 3 recap:  The Lonely






Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Movie Music for a Winter's Day



The record-breaking frigid temperatures are behind us, but the freezing and drizzling precipitation is here.  Music helps to bring the sunshine to the grey days and I find lots of sunshine in movie music.  Here are three indelible movie themes that never fail to make me feel the warm sun on my face and see blue skies everywhere.



First up is Larry Adler's theme to the charming 1953 comedy Genevieve.  A young married couple, their friend and his date complicate the straight-forward London to Brighton run in antique cars into a comic misadventure.  American born harmonica virtuoso Adler was Oscar nominated for the score for this British production, residing in England at the time due to the blacklist, which also kept his name off the Oscar roll.  Listening to the lilting waltz with my eyes closed I can believe that when I open them the world will be in Technicolor.



Miss Marple's theme first heard in 1961s Murder She Said by Ron Goodwin always makes me smile and remember sunny days in my childhood.  True, Margaret Rutherford's Jane is not like our Jane in Christie's books, but there is no one else like Miss Rutherford.  Her droll humour and blunt faith in her detecting abilities as she drags poor Mr. Stringer into another adventure is infectious.  Look, there she is riding down the street on her bicycle.




And look who else is riding down the street on his bicycle!




Ah, the original score by Frank Barcellini for Jacque Tati's Mon Oncle from 1958.  It is a sturdy support and a playful partner to Tati in a film that freely gives away its smiles, laughter and even a sentimental tear.  Its wistful whimsy dances in my heart.

   

These are three of my sunshine songs.  What are yours?









Saturday, February 13, 2016

A KISS IS JUST A KISS blogathon: Rio Grande (1950)


Lesley Gaspar of Second Sight Cinema is hosting a Valentine's Day treat for us all, the A Kiss is Just a Kiss blogathon devoted to our favourite film kisses.  Click HERE for the contributions.

John Ford's Rio Grande, released by Republic Pictures in 1950 was the first onscreen teaming of Maureen O'Hara (Miracle on 34th Street) and John Wayne (Red River).  It is almost unfathomable that it took so long.  For a decade, since her appearance in The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1939 Maureen was one of Hollywood's best and versatile leading ladies appearing in comedies, dramas and action films.  John Wayne had been in Hollywood longer, but it was in 1939 as well, in Ford's Stagecoach that he became a superstar.  Both actors possessed a great charisma, dignity and attractiveness.  Personally, they shared a deep and loyal friendship.  Onscreen they were a match of equals made in cinematic heaven and would appear in five films together; three of them directed by John Ford.

Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne had committed to John Ford years earlier to appear in his pet project The Quiet Man should it ever get the green light.  That time had come, but first Ford had to get the pesky business of a western for Herbert Yates' studio out of the way before he could take his heart and his crew to Ireland.

Lt. Col. Kirby Yorke and his estranged wife Kathleen are the characters played by our stars.  They have been separated since the American Civil War during which Kirby had burned to the ground his wife's family plantation.  She raised their baby son on her own as Kirby pursued his military career.  Many years later that son has grown and is played by Claude Jarmin, Jr. (Intruder in the Dust).  The teenager has failed a course at West Point and enlisted as a cavalryman assigned to his father's far western outpost.  Young Jefferson Yorke's arrival is closely followed by that of his mother.  Kathleen, following military guidelines, has come to buy Jeff's release from his oath.  His father's permission is required as well and that Kirby will not give.  He is proud of his son and jealous of the time that he now has to get to know Jeff.

Kathleen's presence on the post brings up old and unresolved feelings between the couple.  As the country had to struggle to come together after the conflict, will the Yorkes find their way beyond their stubborn pride and back to each other?



Kathleen arrives at the outpost.

"I am not unauthorized.  I am Trooper Jefferson Yorke's mother."




Kirby relinquishes his quarters to his son's mother.
Is anyone else sensing an attraction here?



These are two very strong-minded individuals.

Kathleen:  "Ramrod, wreckage and ruin.  Still the same Kirby."
Kirby:  "Special privilege to special born.  Still the same Kathleen."



The regimental singers perform "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen"
in Mrs. Yorke's honour. 

Kirby:  "This song is not of my choosing."
Kathleen:  "I'm sorry, Kirby.  I wish it had been."




The Yorkes are slowly finding their way back to each other.
Circumstances force another separation.

Kathleen:  "Aren't you going to kiss me goodbye, Kirby?"
Kirby:  "I never want to kiss you goodbye, Kathleen."




Since Lesley announced this blogathon and I selected this scene, I have wracked my brain for an appropriate closing sentence.  This is the point in the movie where I just sit and sigh with a silly grin on my face.  Like Pavlov's dogs I can only say, from the bottom of my toes, "sigh".


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

O Canada blogathon: "Jalna" and its star, David Manners



The second annual O Canada blogathon is underway hosted by Ruth of Silver Screenings and Kristina of Speakeasy.  The blogathon runs February 1 - 5.  Visit the great white north without leaving home!  Day 1 recap.  Day 2 recap.  Day 3 recap.  Day 4 recap.  Day 5 recap.

It wasn't until a screening on TCM a few years ago that I became aware of this 1935 film based on Mazo de la Roche's immortal Whiteoaks of Jalna series.  This seems strange to me as both a classic movie fan and a Canadian.  While not a touchstone for Canadian youngsters like Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, nor forced to read in school like Farley Mowat or Margaret Atwood, de la Roche's 16 novels in the Chronicles of Whiteoaks were an immensely popular and successful worldwide phenomenon beginning in 1927.

One hundred years and generations of Whiteoaks came to life in Mazo de la Roche's stories.  It seemed as if the library copies I borrowed lorded it over the other novels in the section.  Ms. de la Roche became something of a celebrity with newspapers and magazines chronicling her life.  I recommend the 2012 film The Mystery of Mazo de la Roche which goes into detail on the author.

The success of the BBCs The Forsyte Saga inspired the CBC to adapt Whiteoaks into a miniseries.  I recall watching it out of a sense of loyalty, but it did not stay with me the way The Forsyte Saga has managed to do.  The story and characters from the novels were just as intriguing, but at that time the CBC was not up to the job or didn't hire the right people.  Perhaps they should have turned to RKO's release of a few decades earlier for their approach.



Eden Whiteoaks has a "slight, but pretty" talent in the writing line, according to his Uncle Ernest.  It is something that sets him apart from his farming family, firmly ensconced at their Ontario estate for generations.  Alayne Archer, the reader at the NYC firm that publishes Eden's book of poetry, falls for the sensitivity in his writing and his good looks.  Alayne has no idea what she has signed on for when she marries Eden and moves with him to Jalna.  Fairly soon, she does realize that the man she married is not the man she made of him in her imagination.  Eden is somewhat of the spoiled wastral.  If Alayne has married the wrong man, the right man is her brother-in-law and de facto head of the family, Renny.

Renny and all of the Whiteoaks have a queen in the nearly one hundred year old Gran, who assumes all of her wishes and pronouncements are honoured.  The elderly uncles Ernest and Nicholas must have their say.  It is common that the Whiteoaks all have their say at once!  Renny's older sister Meg was disappointed in love by their neighbour Maurice Vaughn and has perfected her role as the scorned sweetheart over twenty years.  Maurice's daughter, Pheasant (love that name!) is romantically involved with Meg and Renny's younger half-brother Piers, who is a bit of a hothead.  Youngsters Finch and Wakefield round out the group.  When Piers marries Pheasant and brings her home at the same time Eden brings Alayne, life will never be the same for the Whiteoaks of Jalna.

Anthony Veiller, Oscar nominated for The Killers and Stage Door, wrote the screenplay.  Jalna was directed with his usual display of charm and style by John Cromwell (Anna and the King of Siam, The Prisoner of Zenda, Caged).  Leading lady Kay Johnson (American Madness, White Banners) plays Alayne.  She is a woman of strong character and a nurturing nature.  Ms. Johnson was at the time (1928-1946) married to John Cromwell.  David Manners (Beauty and the Boss, The Miracle Woman) plays Eden Whiteoaks.  Is he a young man of thwarted potential or merely a spoiled brat?  Ian Hunter (The Church Mouse, The Long Voyage Home) is appealingly stalwart as Renny, who never planned on being the third side in a triangle.

Jessie Ralph (David Copperfield, After the Thin Man) steals every scene as Gran.  She's almost a hundred, you know!  Her granddaughter Meg, the spinster, is played by Peggy Wood (The Sound of Music).  Nigel Bruce (Suspicion) is a surprising Casanova.  Theodore Newton (Two Years Before the Mast) played Piers and charming Molly Lamont (The Awful Truth) is Pheasant.  The older Whiteoaks are played by C. Aubrey Smith (Five Came Back) and Halliwell Hobbes (Gaslight) and the younger by George Offerman, Jr. (A Walk in the Sun) and Clifford Severn (Forever and a Day).

The discovery of Jalna was an unexpected treat for me and I am sure would be the same for anyone coming across it, whether they have heard of Mazo de la Roche's novels previously or not.  The cast is comprised of a mix of Americans and British ex-pats to make up the Canadian family.  Three of the cast, Ian Hunter, Clifford Severn and Molly Lamont hail from South Africa.  We find among the troupe one Haligonian, that is, a person born in Halifax.  In this case, Halifax, Nova Scotia being the birthplace of David Manners.



David Manners
(1901-1998)

Surely Rauff de Ryther Duan Acklom is the most interesting birth name of a future Hollywood star since Spangler Arlington Brugh.  David Manners is a little easier to recall, for audiences and producers.  An excellent scholar from a wealthy family, David was studying Forestry at the University of Toronto, but his heart was with the school's Hart House Theatre Company.  He left school in his final year of 1923 to join a touring company out of New York run by Basil Sydney.  He gained experience and a solid reputation and in 1924 appeared with Helen Hayes in Dancing Mothers and they became lifelong friends.  James Whale wanted Manners for the role of Lieutenant Raleigh in a New York production of Journey's End, but the timing did not work out.  Fortunately, things worked out for the 1930 film version of this always timely anti-war play written by R.C. Sherriff and directed by Whale.  It was an auspicious Hollywood beginning for David Manners.  By 1936 David Manners would have 39 motion pictures to his credit.  Let's look at a few of my favourites.



David Manners
The Black Cat publicity still

Horror film fans are among the most loyal of our breed.  David Manners is forever immortal to horror fans for three films in particular.  1931s Dracula set the tone for classic horror with Bela Lugosi's archetypal performance in the title role and Dwight Frye's scene-stealing as Renfield.  Davis is John Harker, out-of-his-depth hero.  1932s The Mummy gave the great Boris Karloff one of his best remembered roles.  Zita Johann is torn between her dead-for-centuries lover Karloff or contemporary sweetie Manners.  H'm.  1934s The Black Cat gives Manners a role with a bit more meat on its bones as his character, mystery writer Peter Allison has to deal with both Karloff and Lugosi and their tortured relationship.  It must be seen to be believed, and maybe not even then.



David Manners, Marian Marsh, Warren William
Beauty and the Boss

I find 1931s The Millionaire in which Manners co-stars with George Arliss to be totally charming.  Written by Erle Derr Biggers and Booth Tarkington the story features Arliss is a retired millionaire who goes into business with Manners incognito.  He wants to bring some meaning back into what had become a boring life.  The same year David Manners co-starred with Barbara Stanwyck in Frank Capra's The Miracle Woman.  On paper the character of a blind composer who shyly uses a ventriloquists dummy to speak for him sounds like an impossibly maudlin role.  David Manners gives us a character of moral depth and honest conflict.  He is as fascinating to watch as Stanwyck as a phony Evangelist.

The entire cast impressed me in 1931s The Last Flight, an emotional drama of the lost generation from John Monk Saunders.  1932s Beauty and the Boss from Ladislas Fodor's play The Church Mouse features one of my favourite David Manners performances.  As the callow younger brother of a successful banker Davis is strictly second lead to Warren William.  Both men are vying for an impossibly charming secretary played by Marian Marsh.  You know going in that she will win over her playboy boss, but David is so unselfconsciously besotted that I can't help rooting for him.



The best of David Manners work in 1930s films shows that he gave one hundred percent to his profession and received in return the trappings of fame and adoration.  Before the decade was over David would make a change in his lifestyle that few would imagine many with his success undertaking.  A combination of things led to a decision to abandon Hollywood.  Physically the Los Angeles smog was wrecking havoc on David's chronic asthma.  Creatively there were other worlds for him to explore.  He would publish four novels during the 1940s.  He would be a painter for the rest of his days.  Much of his time was spent on a ranch near the Mojave Desert.  "I did all the things I wanted to do.  I wrote three novels, rode my horses for miles, created more than one hundred paintings and every day milked the cows myself."

Broadway beckoned and in 1946 David replaced Henry Daniell as Lord Windermere in Lady Windermere's Fan.  Earlier that season he appeared in the brief run of Maxwell Anderson's Truckline Cafe.  Co-star in that production Marlon Brando was among those contacted by Charles Foster for his book Once Upon a Time in Paradise: Canadians in the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Marlon Brando:  "David Manners spent hour coaching me in my small role.  He allowed me to steal the one scene I played with him by telling me how to do it."

Lucille Ball:  "He took me to a swanky restaurant and we went dancing afterwards.  He was mobbed everywhere, but he always had time for his fans.  The reason why I spend so much time with my fans today is because David showed me on that special date it was the right thing to do."

Loretta Young:  "He hadn't an ounce of difficulty or obstinacy in him.  Every girl in town wanted to work with him.  He was a dream actor, handsome, charming and totally genuine.  He was very competent, never flustered, always knew his lines and was always ready to help newcomers to the film industry."

Helen Hayes and Edward G. Robinson provided anecdotes where David Manners, who dabbled in boxing in his youth, actually defended them from rowdy fans with separate displays of fisticuffs.

In his later years David devoted much of his time in spiritual and philosophical pursuits and publishing his journey in Look Through, An Evidence of Self Discovery, The Soundless Voice and Awakenings from the Dream of Me.

I think it would have been nice to know the man behind this quote:

"Perhaps to the young, old age looks pretty grim, but let me tell it.  For this ancient one, this is the happiest, most beautifultime of a long life.  How come?  The appearances are that I have less freedom, less motion, less of everything, including hair and shape, but these are the lesser blessings.  There are blessings today that were never dreamed of."



Sources:
davidmanners.com
Once Upon a Time in Paradise by Charles Foster




THE DUO DOUBLE FEATURE BLOGATHON: Susan Hayward and Tyrone Power in Rawhide (1951) and Untamed (1955)

The Flapper Dame and Phyllis Loves Classic Movies have come up with a fabulous idea. It is The Duo Double Feature Blogathon , and it ...