Hollywood Motion Picture Review (1937-1940)

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May 29, f937 HOLLYWOOD MOTION PICTURE REVIEW Page / Frances Dee By JOE PEARSON Frances Dee, one of the most popular young actresses in Hollywood, encountered none of the difficulties that usually beset a newcomer to pictures. Unknown and unheralded, there were no screaming headlines or usual newspaper and publicity stuff on her arrival. She came quietly, unobtrusively—a school girl on a lark, and rather thrilled with it all. Since then she has risen from sweet, unsophisticated, obscure college girl to a charming, scintillating actress. A very rare beauty that measures up to the exacting standards pf Hollywood pulchritude. Yet in spite of the feminine charm and quiet sophistication, she still has the same daintiness and wholesomeness that she cannot successfully conceal. Frances was born in Los Angeles, daughter of Frank M. Dee, a civil service expert. When she was 7, she and her family moved to Cincinnati; they remained there until she was 10; moved to Washington, D. C., and went to Chicago a few months later. There Frances entered the Shakespeare Grammar School on the South Side. She was graduated Into the Hyde Park High School, rose to vice-presidency of the senior class there, and played the feminine lead in the senior play. Then she entered the University of Chicago as a liberal arts student. Two years later she came to Hollywood on the vacation that was to start her screen career. A friend told her that Fox was about to do a campus picture and would need co-eds. So Frances, with no film experience whatsoever, naively applied. The hard-boiled casting director took one look at her and her sweet untouched beauty, her look of innocence and unworldliness won him over. And instead of a gruff, "You gotta be registered at Central," he gave her a job. Soon she was getting bits. She won a screen test and a stock contract at Paramount; was elected Wampus Baby Star, and one day attracted the attention of Maurice Chevalier in the Studio Commissary. He took one look at her and decided she was just the girl to play opposite him in "Playboy of Paris." Since then, Frances has been a top ranking feature actress. Among her pictures, have been "Follow Thru," "The Man from Wyoming," "Monte Carlo," "Along Came Youth," "An American Tragedy," "The Night of June 13," "Finishing School," "Little Women,' "Silver Chord" and her current assignment "Souls At Sea," In which she plays oppo- site Gary Cooper and George Raft in one of her best roles to date. It was while making the "Silver Chord" that Frances met handsome, six foot Joel McCrea, and without hardly waiting for an Introduction, he asked her how soon she could arrange to become Mrs. McCrea. Frances saw in Joel her ideal, and was willing, but the studio publicity department wasn't. However, it takes more than a little thing like a studio publicity depart- ment to thwart real love, so, when Frances went to Connecticut on location, Joel followed and they were married. ' When they are not working they live on their ranch 40 miles out In the San Fernando val- ley _^surrounded by high mountains, as peaceful, picturesque and tranquil a spot as can be found in California, or any place else under the canopy of Heaven. The low rambling ranch house, early American furniture, flower gardens, patios, stables, and everything about the ranch fits their quiet personalities and bespeaks their good taste. When Frances isn't playing tennis with Joel, swimming, or riding horseback over cool shady mountain trails, she is busy about the house, looking after the gardens or playing with her two husky sons, David Thomas and Joel Dee. When they are both working they live In a quiet modest apartment in town. And whether working or not, Frances always rises early. On the days she is working she Is always on the set at the appointed time, where she Is gay, vivacious, humorous and has a smile tor every one. She can be serious without being too serious. Intelligent without being intellectual, and laughs at trifles as easily as a high-school girl. There is no grease paint In either Frances' or Joel's fam- ilies. And, unlike some movie people, they do not have a suppressed desire to do, or be, other than what they are. There is no double-career jealousy among them. Instead, they take more of an interest in each other's careers than they do In their own. When Frances talks about her home, children, career, what she really wants and hopes, she becomes very serious, fixing one with an earnest look. On being interviewed Frances Is a little self-conscious, doesn't like to talk about herself or gush as so many young things of the screen do, and she abhors people who persist in dishing out the small town scandal that Is so prevalent in Hollywood. To the McCreas their home and children come first, then their careers. They have few friends, but like their intimate friends a lot. Both have large families and they have as many friends outside the Industry as they have in the Industry. For years, Joel has been one of the ace-players on the Santa Monica Beach Club Volley Ball team. And on sunny Sunday mornings while most of Hollywood is sleeping fitfully, you can usually find both Frances and Joel basking In the sunshine at the Beach Club. In closing, let us add that they are our choice of the veritable personification of All-time AlUAmerican couple. Editor's Note: FIctionized biographies is a new feature for Hollywood Review. Exhibitor-subscribers are granted permission to use these articles in house organs and In their local newspapers in connection with picture showings. Short Subjects PREVIEWS DEEP SOUTH RKO 17 minutes. Picturesque. Cast: ‘(Colored Players). Hall Johnson Choir, Clarence Muse, Willie Best, Daisy Bufford and Law pence Stewart. Negroes are singing as they work in the cotton fields. They all take the day off to attend the wed- ding of a young couple, after which they help build their log cabin. During a barbecue, they sing and dance until evening. Good as a novelty and excellent for colored trade, and where negro stories are accepted. Choral Arrangements and Direction by Hall John- son. Directed by Leslie Goodwins. Story by George Randol. SINGING IN THE AIR RKO 19 minutes. Good. Cast: Diana Lewis, Edward J. Flanagan, Donald Kerr, Kitty McHugh, Robert Keane, Harry Bowen and others. A commercial airline company, in developing an advertising scheme, broadcast from the air. Diana Lewis is the singing hostess, who obtains the op- portunity to display her fine voice, when recom- mended to the officials by the pilot. The girl makes good and rewards the pitot with her kisses. A well written story is nicely directed and has some good singing and music. The air- plane sequences should prove a draw. Some comedy. Best for adult trade. Directed by Jean W. Yarbrough. Story by Eddie Moran. Screen Play by Jean W. Yarbrough and Charles Roberts. Musical Director Roy Webb. THE WRONG ROMANCE RKO 18 minutes. Very Funny. Cast: Leon Errol, Vivian Oakland, Barbara Pepper, Maxine Jennings, Diana Gibson, Harry Bowen and others. A wife, in trying to solve the solution of a story for which a prize is offered, writes a letter to the "Hearts" column of her husband's newspaper. He thinks she is writing about him so he decides to make her jealous. He hires a chorus girl to stage an act before his wife and the act proves too real- istic. And it all ends up with the wife throwing the girl out, to the great relief of her husband. A fast moving comedy, with Leon Errol In leading role, is good for any program. Directed by Leslie Goodwins. Story by Leslie Good- wins and Charles Roberts. RHYTHM ON THE RAMPAGE RKO 19 minutes. Comedy with Music. Cast: Ted FioRito and his Orchestra, Barbara Pepper, Tom Kennedy, Paul McLarend and others. When FioRito refuses to see Barbara Pepper, who has a crush on him, one of the musicians imper- sonates FioRito and meets her. He gets into a lot of trouble with Kennedy, her boy friend just escaped from prison. When the orchestra is about to depart to play at a benefit, Kennedy jumps into the bus and lands back In prison, where the boys play for the inmates. A slap stick comedy, with excellent music by Ted FioRito and his orchestra. Directed by Jean W. Yarbrough. Story by Harold Tarshis. BAD HOUSEKEEPING RKO 18 minutes. Riotous Comedy. Cast: Edgar Kennedy, Franklyn Pangborn, Vivian Oakland, Harrison Greene, Nellroy, Al Herman and others. Kennedy and his wife decide that the other's job Is the easier, so they trade places for the day and Kennedy stays home to keep house. He practi- cally ruins the house, besides beating up the piano tuner, Pangborn. In the meantime, his wife bun- gles things at the office and brings home a process server whom Kennedy is trying to dodge. After that, the two decide to stick to their own jobs. This is an exceedingly funny comedy with some very laughable sequences. Will please greatly. Good story and cast. Edgar Ken- nedy a wow in his usual portrayals. Directed by Leslie Goodwins. Story by Leslie Goodwins and Monty Collins. SWING FEVER RKO 18 minutes. Musical Novelty. Cast: Billy Gilbert, Jack Norton, Christine Mc- Intyre, Bud Jameson and Eloise Rawitzer. A fellow who has lost his health because his sweet- heart broke their engagement all on account of his dislike for music, is taken to the doctor who has a new method of curing ills. The doctors. nurses and internes use music, all kinds and types, to cure ailments. Nothing helps this patient until his sweetheart, a nurse, appears in the musical number. His cure is swift and complete. This is an exaggerated comedy, laid amid expensive looking settings. Billy Gilbert is effective as the slightly nutty doctor. Directed by Jean W. Yarbrough. Story by Benee Russell. Screen Play by Charles Roberts and Gay Stevens. READ HOLLYWOOD REVIEW SUBSCRIBE TO THE TRADE PAPER OTHER EXHIBITORS BELIEVE IN—IT IS FAST PROVING ITS IM- PORTANCE TO THE INDUSTRY.