Showing posts with label Jack Oakie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jack Oakie. Show all posts

Friday, December 22, 2023

Alice in Wonderland (1933)

   "...mild fun... trying to identify the Big Names hidden behind turtle shells and teddy-bear skins."

With The Mock Turtle costume.

Alice in Wonderland - Review is taken from 'The Films of Cary Grant' by Donald Deschner (1973):

"Why mince matters? Alice in Wonderland is, to my sober (despite repeal) judgment, one of the worst flops of the cinema.  Paramount's first mistake was in attempting it.  The only person in Movieland to have done it is Walt Disney.  Mary Pickford, who once contemplated doing it, was right when she said that "Alice" should be made only in cartoons.  

So - with a fine script (Joe Mankiewicz and William Cameron Menzies), delightful music (Dmitri Tiomkin), a splendid director (Norman McLeod), and about fifty of our best actors and actresses, the picture, when it isn't dull, is still utterly uninspired. 

English children who still read Alice in Wonderland may get a mild kick out of it.  I doubt if our young sophisticates will.  It's a cinch that all the grown ups will get is the mild fun of trying to identify the Big Names hidden behind turtle shells and teddy-bear skins.  Even when they do occasionally recognize a voice they will still wonder why all these high salaries were hidden beneath bushels of props.  Extras, or even children, would have been adequate to most of the parts.  No acting was required.  Indeed production costs could have been cut tremendously by letting cheap actors play the parts and then hiring Big Names to register five minutes of dialogue easily dubbed in.  

The second mistake was in choosing a young lady to play the five or six-year-old part of Alice.  Charlotte Henry is a comely youngster with an intelligent face, who looks as though she would be more interested in Vance Hoyt's nature studies in Script than in Fairyland.  She tries hard to look wonder-eyed but can't quite make it.  And with all our wonderful kid actors!  

Even so there was still a chance to make a picture of fairylike charm.  In all the arts there is no medium that lends itself to fantasy like the movie camera.  By soft focus, shooting through silk, and other technical tricks, scenes can be given an elusive dreamlike quality that eloquently visualizes the subjective mind.  Alice goes to sleep and dreams her trip to Wonderland, but we see both her and her dream in hard reality, with the flat lighting and sharp focus of the objective world.  Never for a moment are we in dreamland; we are on Stage Four, witnessing the technical staff and prop boys doing their stuff.  Even much of this is bad.  When Alice flies through the air, she is obviously hanging by a wire (remember how well that was done in Peter Pan - also by Paramount?) and when she is falling down the well, she is still hanging by a wire.  Nor are her skirts blown while falling.  It's hard to write a review like this, for practically everybody who had anything to do with the picture is a Scripter, but when a picture is a flop, it's a flop, and it's silly to alibi.  The biggest mistake was in undertaking it at all."

- Bob Wagner, Script

New Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36 -
Number 13 - Alice in Wonderland (Lobby Card Style)

Part Of

For more, see also:

Quote From Today - December 22nd 2022

On This Day - December 22nd 2021

On This Day - December 22nd 2020

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Quote From Today... The Toast of New York (1937)

   "Even the right horse can't win if he's carrying too heavy a load"

With Jack Oakie and Edward Arnold

The Toast of New York was Cary Grant's 28th full length feature film.

Nick Boyd: Even the right horse can't win if he's carrying too heavy a load.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

On This Day...The Toast of New York (1937)

In the week that marks 100 years since Archie Leach landed in New York, and then went on to make a name for himself, it's fitting that on this day in 1937, we see the release of Cary Grant's 28th full length feature film, appropriately titled "The Toast of New York"!

Set at the outbreak of the American Civil War, it follows the dealings of medicine-show impresario come financial wizard, Jim Fisk (Edward Arnold). 

It is a romanticized biography of the real Jim Fisk whose actual life, if filmed accurately, would never pass the Hays Code guidelines.

Cary Grant plays Nick Boyd, one of Fisk's business partners.

With Frances Farmer and Edward Arnold

"The production is faultless and the morality of great wealth is a timely subject for a discussion..." 
- America 

With Edward Arnold and Jack Oakie.

"Frances Farmer...sings the new hit, "The First Time I Saw You." The scenarists have given Fisk two fictitious partners, Cary Grant for love-interest and Jack Oakie for comedy." - Literary Digest


Jim Fisk                                Edward Arnold
Nick Boyd                            Cary Grant
Josie Mansfield                     Frances Farmer
Luke                                     Jack Oakie
Daniel Drew                         Donald Meek
Fleurigue                              Thelma Leeds
Vanderbilt                             Clarence Kolb
Photographer                        Billy Gilbert
Broker                                  George Irving
Lawyers                               Frank M. Thomas, Russell Hicks
Wallack                                Oscar Apfel
President of the Board          Lionel Belmore
Bellhop                                 Robert McClung
Janitor                                   Robert Dudley
Beef Dooley                         Dewey Robinson
Top Sergeant                        Stanley Fields
Major                                    Gavin Gordon
Mary Lou                              Joyce Compton
Virginia Lee                          Virginia Carroll

Lobby Cards:

Directed by Rowland V. Lee
Distributed and Produced by RKO Radio.
Running time: 109 minutes 

With Edward Arnold, Jack Oakie and Donald Meek.