Subject: Gertrude Lawrence and Charles Ruggles on sale for limited time




TODAY'S SPECIAL

The Battle of Paris (1929)
Starring Gertrude Lawrence and Charles Ruggles

Beautiful print and will play in all DVD players.
The great British stage star Gertrude Lawrence was seldom seen to her best advantage in films. In Paramount's Battle of Paris, Lawrence stars as Georgie, a British singer stranded in not-so-gay Paree during WWI. To keep food on the table, Georgie teams up with amiable pickpocket Zizi (Charlie Ruggles). Among the pockets picked are those of handsome artist Tony (Walter Petrie), with whom Georgie falls in love. Hired as Tony's model, our heroine soon becomes the "poster girl" for the French and British armies, which somehow leads to a barrage of musical numbers by Cole Porter (his first direct-to-screen score).
Director: Robert Florey
Writer: Gene Markey (story & dialogue)

Stars: Gertrude Lawrence, Charles Ruggles, Walter Petrie, Gladys DuBois, Arthur Treacher, Joe King, Luis Alberni
Songs include:

When I Am Housekeeping For You
Words by Howard Dietz
Music by Jay Gorney

Here Comes The Bandwagon
Words and Music by Cole Porter

What Makes My Baby Blue
Words by Howard Dietz
Music by Jay Gorney

They All Fall In Love
Words and Music by Cole Porter
Sung by Gertrude Lawrence

Gertrude Lawrence's first talkie.
Film debut of Arthur Treacher. A WW I veteran of the British army, Treacher came to the US as part of a musical comedy revue called "The Great Temptations" in 1926.
This is a remarkable film in many ways. Made in the first full year of sound, its sound quality is surprisingly good. It is a semi-musical comedy drama, with all of the songs written by Cole Porter. His song 'They All Fall in Love' has extremely amusing lyrics. And the film stars Gertrude Lawrence, famous on stage but much less often seen on screen, and here appearing in her first feature film, aged 30. She was a wacky, charming, devil-may-care personality who somehow reminds one of Josephine Baker. Lawrence was not a beauty, but she had a beautiful personality, was cheerful, laughing, joyous, and refreshingly spontaneous. She sings well and with gusto.
Another impressive aspect of the film is its fidelity to what Paris was really like between 1914 and 1918, the time in which the action is set. The director, Robert Florey, was a genuine Parisian, and he made certain that when the characters went to the cavern bar The Green Rat (probably based upon Florey's own visits to the famous la Bolée at 25 Rue de l'Hirondelle, Francis Carco's favourite haunt, which still exists, though it no longer has sawdust on the floor and an apparently dead dog lying in the corner), it was authentic.
The Paris gangsters known as 'les apaches', named after the American Indian tribe because of their capacity for being ferocious, are dressed correctly, and above all, they and their gals are dancing in the genuine style of the apaches of the period. Hollywood's phony notions of Paris are kept at bay to every extent possible. So what if Charlie Ruggles as Zuzu somewhat over-clowns his French accent? This film is all in good fun anyway. The pompous American named Tony Trent (played by Walter Petrie, who never appeared in another feature film and of whom nothing seems to be known) in his weird frock coat and his overly comfortable atelier lacking all austerity, who has come to Paris for two years of 'trying to paint' (but doing very little, and what he does is not very good) is also authentic. Paris was full of such dilletantes at the time.
Robert Florey is to be congratulated (and I wish he were alive to hear it) for making such a worthwhile and authentic film, considering how easily it could have sunk into the mud of mediocrity in the hands of someone who was not really from Paris and simply had to imagine it all. Florey was only 29 at the time he made this film, having come to Hollywood aged 24 as a film journalist. He had been an assistant in Paris to the legendary silent director Louis Feuillade.
Lawrence wears clothes marvelously, bats her enormous eyes, oozes energy and idiosyncrasy, and is the center of attention every moment she's on screen, and knows it. She also gets to deliver a whole bouquet of early Cole Porter songs, including the saucy "They All Fall in Love." It's neither great acting nor great singing (nor is she a great beauty), but it's an instantly accessible and engaging personality, and you get to see why she was a star.
Order this rarely-seen and hard-to-find classic today for the low price of $5.99.
New Additions At Zeus:
Infinitely Polar Bear (2014)

Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky

Maya Forbes autobiographically inflected Infinitely Polar Bear stars Mark Ruffalo as Cameron, a man who suffers from bipolar disorder. After a breakdown forces him to leave his family and move into a halfway house, he attempts to rebuild a relationship with his two daughters, and win back the trust of his wife Maggie (Zoe Saldana). When Maggie opts to go to business school in New York, they decide that he will move back in and take care of the day-to-day needs for the kids. Due to his mercurial nature, this leads to a series of quirky, funny, and sometimes frightening episodes. Infinitely Polar Bear screened at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
 
Big Boy (1930)

Stars: Al Jolson, Claudia Dell, Louise Closser Hale

Big Boy may well be the closest a modern audience will ever come to seeing what a genuine Al Jolson Broadway musical looked like. Based on his 1925 stage hit, the film casts Jolson in the blackface role of Gus, a stableboy at a moss-covered Southern plantation. Gus' favorite horse is the magnificent Big Boy, whom he hopes to ride to victory at the Kentucky Derby. Through a misunderstanding, Gus is fired from his job, but he manages to make his way to Louisville during Derby week by working as a singing waiter. Against all odds, our hero manages to win the Big Race -- at which point the scene fades to a "curtain call" on a Warner Bros. soundstage, with Jolson, minus makeup and out of character, cheerfully introducing the supporting cast and offering to sing few encores for the benefit of the spectators. To say the least, Big Boy is a bizarre experience, but the film is not without its charms. The best moments include a lengthy Civil War flashback in which Gus's grandfather (Jolson again) outwits an outrageously bigoted Simon Legree type (Noah Beery Sr.), and the closing musical number in which Jolson waxes nostalgic over Sunday dinner with his family: "And I see on the kitchen table a ham -- a beautiful ham --.Ha! That ain't my house!"

Any Friend Of Julie's (1959)

Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Vanessa Brown, Regis Toomey

After the death of playwright Julian Webb, Ray Stuart tries to prove he has ghost-written all of Webb's plays.

Daybreak (1931)

Stars: Ramon Novarro, Helen Chandler, Jean Hersholt

A man who unthinkingly sullied the honor of a virtuous girl now must deal with his own ethical downfall in this drama. Willi Kasder (Ramon Novarro) is a lieutenant in the Austrian Army who one night picks up an innocent young woman named Laura Taub (Helen Chandler). Willi shares several drinks with the naive Laura and takes advantage of her; the next morning, she discovers to her horror that he left money for her and has no intention of seeing her again. Emotionally shattered, Laura soon becomes the mistress of Herr Schnabel (Jean Hersholt), a wealthy but corrupt gentleman with a taste for gambling. Willi begins gaming with Schnabel and soon falls deeply in debt; eventually Schabel gives Willi two options: pay the money you owe or kill yourself. Willi tries to find a way out of his dilemma while also hoping to free Laura from the corrupt lifestyle into which he led her.

Kitty Foyle (1940)

Stars: Ginger Rogers, Dennis Morgan, James Craig

Though Ginger Rogers' starring vehicles always turned a profit for RKO Radio, many filmgoers thought of Rogers only in terms of "Fred Astaire's partner." Others considered her a delightful comedienne, but no great shakes as a dramatic actress. Thus it was both a personal and professional triumph when Ms. Rogers walked home with an Oscar for her performance in Kitty Foyle. Based on Christopher Morley's Story of an American Girl, the film, told in flashback, relates the progress of working-girl Kitty Foyle (Ginger Rogers) as she pursues her Cinderella dreams. While employed at a department store, Kitty is wooed by Dennis Morgan, scion of a wealthy Philadelphia family. She flirts with the notion of marrying Morgan for his money, but decides that he's a bit too weak-willed for her tastes. Kitty enters into a romance with poor-but-dedicated doctor James Craig, then does an about-face by accepting Morgan's proposal. She quickly runs afoul of Morgan's snobbish family, who are so tightly bound by centuries-old tradition that Kitty is moved to exclaim "You mean to say you let all those dead people tell you what do?" She walks out on Morgan, then discovers that she's pregnant. Even after the trauma of delivering a stillborn child, Kitty is too proud to go back to Morgan. When true-blue Craig comes back into her life, Kitty, repeating her favorite phrase "By Judas Priest!", decides to forego money for love. Though successful to the tune of an $860,000 profit in 1940, Kitty Foyle seems stilted and over-rehearsed when seen today, save for the refreshing spontaneity of Ginger Rogers' performance. The film's best scene is the opening montage of the American Woman's "progress" once she enters the workplace (an uncredited Heather Angel is the central character in this delightful pantomimic vignette). Featured in the cast of Kitty Foyle is director Sam Wood's daughter Katherine Stevens, better known as K.T. Stevens.
Black Sabbath (1963)

Stars: Michèle Mercier, Lidia Alfonsi, Boris Karloff

This anthology features three chilling horror stories. "Il Telefono" is credited to Guy de Maupassant, although he never wrote such a story, and concerns a woman (Michele Mercier) receiving telephone calls from beyond the grave. "Wurdulak", by Alexei Tolstoi, stars Boris Karloff as an aging vampire who can only feed on those he loves. Co-starring Mark Damon and Susy Andersen, it is clearly the best story of the three. The final tale, "La Goccia d'Acqua," is falsely credited to Anton Chekhov. It features Jacqueline Pierreux stealing a ring from a corpse she is preparing for burial, only to be murdered by the old woman's ghost.

James Garner

Humphrey Bogart

Billy De Wolfe

Burt Lancaster

Alan Ladd

Arlene Dahl

Marlon Brando

Zsa Zsa Gabor

BEEFCAKE!

Anthony Perkins

CHEESECAKE!
Maria Montez

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