A late Thirties article by Teet Carle (the old publicist for MGM) on how the brothers Marx figured out which gag created the biggest laughs; a few words about how the movies were tested in various cities prior to each release and how assorted jokes were recited to all manner of passersby for their effect.
Click here to read a 1951 article that Harpo Marx wrote about Groucho.
Attached is an article by "One Take Woody" (Woodbridge Strong Van Dyke, Jr. 1889 – 1943) on the topic of the two Thin Man films he had directed:
"Looking back into the infinite past, I seem to recall that a certain motion picture was made and that I had something to do with it. It stirs restlessly in my memory, for it was immediately seized by the theater public as a new cycle in screen entertainment. In Hollywood, things are often done in cycles - gangster cycles, G-man cycles, historical romances, sea stuff,even Shakespeare. Somebody starts it and others fall in line to catch the shekels that bounce to the floor after the first jack pot."
Click here to read an article about Dashiell Hammett.
Shortly before this article went to press, that particular member of the Hollywood film crew called "the director of photography" (DP) was treated a wee-bit better than other crew members were likely to be treated (but not that much better). Granted, the director and producer knew his name and his body of work - but his screen credit was still mixed among all the other names of the crew (if listed at all) - and this article points out that much of that changed in the Thirties.
A 1938 magazine article pertains to a brawl that once existed between movie exhibitors and movie producers involving the Hollywood practice known as "block-booking", which required theater owners to commit to movies they have never seen. The article refers to how Hollywood employed their biggest stars to fight legislation in Washington designed to overturn this scheme.
The bill was defeated.
Click here to read about Marilyn Monroe and watch a terrific documentary about her life.
More about the American film business in the 1940s can be read here...
Why should a director risk it all with some anonymous film critic when a he is given the chance to review his own movie? With this thought in mind, Cecil B. DeMille (1883 - 1959) typed up his own thoughts concerning all his hard work on the 1937 film, The Plainsman, which starred Gary Cooper:
"I think 'The Plainsman' differs from any Western we have ever seen for many reasons"
- it is at this point in the article that DeMille rattles-off an extended laundry list
of reasons that illustrate the unique qualities of his Western. One of the unique aspects of the film mentioned only by publicists concerned the leading man Garry Cooper, who, being a skilled horseman from his Montana youth, chose to do most of his own riding stunts in the film, including the shot where he rode "hanging" between two horses.
Click here to read a 1927 review of Cecil B. De Mille's silent film, "King of Kings".
Yardley, a cartoonist from KEN MAGAZINE, made this four panel yuk-yuk about Depression era screenwriters and the shoe being on the other foot. Truth be told, the story it tells is as fitting in our own time as it was in the Thirties. Nicely rendered, too.
Click here to read about feminine conversations overheard in the best New York ladies rooms of 1937.