The Famous Ferguson Case (Warner Bros.) (1932)

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Review “Famous Ferguson Case’”’ Thrilled Audience At __. _... Yesterday, Recalling Actual Murder Mysteries That “Famous Ferguson Case”— well, it takes your breath away. It is so real, so absorbing, so packed with living, breathing actuality, that this reviewer finds himself perplexed as to just how to begin to write about it. A murder mystery — clues here, there and yonder, and a swarm of newspaper reporters and cameramen following them up like bloodhounds —girl reporters, men reporters, a boy reporter who shows up his seniors like nobody’s business — a love story that sends a lump into your throat but sets your heart singing — these are just a few of the ingredients of “The Famous Ferguson Case,”* which opened yesterday at the .......... Theatre. One thing must be set down definitely. This picture is one of the best; it’s a lulu; it’s a wow! A perfectly satisfactory talking film doesn’t come down the high road every week in the year; but this First National production is one of the fit but few. Joan Blondell, in her role of a newspaper “sob sister,”? does the most admirable and moving acting job that she has yet turned out; which means a lot. Young Tom Brown, the charming Adrienne Dore, Leslie Fenton, Walter Miller and the rest of them work together so smoothly and with such an utter illusion of reality that you will leave the theatre rubbing your eyes and wondering whether the everyday life to which you are returning is the real thing or whether you have left actuality behind you in the playhouse. It’s as convincing as that! As to the murder mystery of “The Famous Ferguson Case,” we are not going to spoil your pleasure in the film by telling you much about that. The wealthy Mr. Ferguson, a banker, is slain. His wife, Marcia, (played by Vivienne Osborne with power and keen appeal) comes under suspicion. Another man is involved, Judd Brooks, whom Leon Waycoff makes very real indeed. Were Marcia and Judd guilty lovers? Did they plan the killing of Ferguson? It makes a wonderful mystery, and we'd’ like to give you just the faintest peep at the solution. But go and see it for yourself! La dav of run Climax Of ‘‘Famous Ferguson Case’”’ Grips Even Hard-Boiled Director When a hard-boiled picture direc tor, veteran of many years in the legitimate theatre also, gets a lump in his throat and his nerves go taut during the rehearsal of a _ picture scene, that scene must be big. Lloyd Bacon, who directed “The Ferguson Case,” the First National feature production now showing at THLE arian SO aaa i Theatre with an allstar cast headed by Joan Blondell, has this to say of one of the big moments in the picture. “In all my theatrical experience I never had a scene ‘get’? me the way the climax of this story did. It comes at the moment when the newspaper reporters, holding high revel at the conclusion of a double murder trial, are suddenly confronted by the man who has just been exonerated after being in the shadow of the hangman’s noose. “The character raps on the door. Everyone within the room becomes still. The man enters, glassy-eyed, grim and burning with a desire for vengeance against one of the reporters. By sheer force of will he compels his quarry to accompany him outside the building. What is he going to do with him there? It’s a moment of sheer drama. “We rehearsed this scene half a dozen times to get it perfect in its effect, then we shot it three times. Each time we went. through it, the action took hold of me with such force that I felt the lump in my throat and sat tense, even gripped my chair. Never in my life have I had a stage scene or a picture moment take hold of my emotions in that way.” ui day of run Director Tells Joan Blondell How to Look “Poor But Pretty” In “Famous Ferguson Case’”’ “Poor but pretty” — is that a tough assignment for a motion picture actress? For some, perhaps, wo rely on diamonds and ermine for their personal appeal; but not for Joan Blondell. In “The Famous Ferguson Case,” the new First National feature picLUTE VOM Eb eCHeL hae eee ha Theatre, Miss Blondell plays the part of Maizie Dickson, a journalistic “sob sister.” Now Maizie was just geting a fair salary, and Director Lloyd Bacon told Joan to keep the wardrobe department at the studio under control in the matter of her raiment. i “Don’t let ’em give you a fur coat to wear,” said Bacon. “Not even a coat with a fur collar. You never can tell about fur; sometimes a piece of rabbit skin turns up in a picture looking like real ermine. Don’t let the hairdresser have your hair too perfect. Perfect waves and things cost money to keep them that way. Don’t let them make you dresses of silk or satin, even cheap satin or imitation silk. Sometimes studio lights do funny things to cheap silks and they come out of the projector looking better than a Parisian model. “Don’t be afraid to have a wrinkle or two in that first outfit. Remember you have just ridden a long way in an open automobile when we first see you. You can’t look as though you were ready for a presidential reception. Wear clothes that are smart, that are tight and like those you see in the windows for $4.98.” “Okay,” said Joan Blondell. But in “The Famous Ferguson Case” she still looks like a million dollars. Lots of girls can do that who are poor but pretty. Prd day of run “Famous Ferguson Case’”’ First Film To Show Actors As Authentic Newspaper Men Do actors and newspaper men understand each other? Is it possible for them ever to do so? For a long time it seemed that there would never be a play or a motion picture that would be aec cepted as an authentic reproduction of genuine newspaper life and of the manners and characteristics of newspaper men. Now comes “The Famous Ferguson Case,” however, the sensational First National picture showing at the Ui ge et Theatre, which has been accepted by many journalists as being the real thing at last. It was written by Courtenay Terrett, one of the best known reporters in the United States, which perhaps explains why realism has, after many vain trials, been attained. And Joan Blondell, who plays the > central role of Maizie Dickson, a “sob sister,” in the picture, says she doesn’t see any reason why show folk and newspaper folk should live in separate worlds. “We’re all human,” says Joan. “We all share the same _ fundamentals. The rest is just trimming. I’ve known dozens of newspaper men, and have liked most of them very much. They have their own traditions and their own lingo, but underneath it all they are just human beings like the rest of us. And, for the benefit of my friends of the press, I’d like to rise up and say that actors and actresses are human too. If we were not, we wouldn’t be able to imitate and interpret other human beings as we do. To me, Maizie Dickson in ‘The Famous Ferguson Case’ is a very real individual, and if I have succeeded in making her real to other people—well, that’s my job.” Ain day of cun Adrienne Do » Waited For Solution Of Famous Ferguson Ca »” Till Picture Was completed Adrienne Dor who plays a prominent part in The Famous Ferguson Case,” the w First National thriller atthe ea. Theatre, is such a lover »t mysteries that she refused to be old what the solution of the pu! ‘ing crime really was, until the 7 ture was finished and she could 4 the whole story unfolded on the ‘reen for herself. Adrienne, blo 3 and beautiful and still in her, detective storie we her favorite reading and that .ystery plays and pictures will dra| aer to the theatre more quickly th any other form of entertainment, Years ago, when she was only tw, ve, she wrote to Sir Arthur Conan’ )oyle in England telling him how! nuch she had en joyed his tales 0 Sherlock Holmes, and in return he sent her an auto graphed copy of “The Sign of the Four,” which is 3ne of her ~-most cherished treasur 3. | “So you can in gine how thrilled I was when they told me I was to play in ‘The Famous Ferguson Case’,” says Adrienne. “A wealthy man killed; his heautiful wife suspected; all sorts f motives and possibilities — well it was just too good to be true!’ But it was true, and I enjoyed ev y day on the set while we were n <ing the picture. But I made Joe SBlondell and Director Lloyd Ba and the rest of them who knew solution of the mystery keep it : p, dark secret; and when I saw completed picture on the sere rot a kick out of it that really ‘a kick! And the solution foo use, though I’m pretty good at tective work by this time.” t Besides Joan ondell and Adrienne Dore, the ge east of “The Famous Ferguson se” includes Tom Brown, Leslie Fe n, Walter Miller, Grant Mitchell, inell Pratt and other well know players. Joan Blond | Likes Smart Newsp: paper Men f “Actors think they are pretty wise guys,” says Joan) Blondell, “but when it comes to gen¢ral information and knowing what’s what, give me a smart newspaper man every time.” In “The Famous Ferguson Case,” the new First National picture at the BS .| ™heatre, Joan appears as Maizie ‘kson, a newspaper “sob sister.” ~~ le ens, admits that — Different Names Used In Film Based On Actual Murder Mystery If you are planning a movie murder. you have to be careful of the names you use. “The Famous Ferguson Case,” the First National feature film coming to the ......... Theatre next Bare Ces with a baffling crime which bears a strong resemblance to certain notorious murder mysteries of actual life; but it is not based upon any of them, and great care had to be exercised in order to see that no name was used which would be the same as that of a person involved in any of the real crimes. Joan Blondell heads the east of “The Famous Ferguson Case,” playing the role of a newspaper “sob sister.” Joan Blondell Uses Typing | Knowledge In “The Famous Ferguson Case”’ Most of the bright young actresses of Hollywood have learned to operate typewriters in the past two seasons, since films dealing with secretaries and stenographers have become so popular. In “The Famous Ferguson Case,” the First National thriller DO Werte ac aeEy cern ene Amn manne Theatre, Joan Blondell plays the part of a girl reporter, and she types very convineingly, having learned the “touch system” some time ago. Lloyd Bacon directed “The Famous Fer Features Director, 2 Writers And 9 Players With Newspaper Experience Create Actual News Atmosphere For “Famous Ferguson Case” By C. F. Chandler Twelve persons who have had real newspaper experience actually participate in the production of “The Famous Ferguson Case,” a newspaper story which First National is preSOMO ea tub Mein a0, iawn so Theatre with vivacious Joan Blondell at the head of an all-star cast. There are twenty-one important newspaper characters in the picture, which include fourteen reporters, one publisher, two city editors, two photographers, a copy boy and a telegraph operator. Of this number, nine actors, including the leads and most important roles are players who have had practical newspaper experience and are thoroughly familiar with the characters they represent and the gen Saumiaet| j eral atmosphere and traditions of a newspaper office. Besides this number, one of the authors, Courtenay Terrett, is a famous New York newspaper man himself, and actually covered the famous murder mysteries, for the New York World and the HeraldTribune, a composite of which form the basis of his story. One of the characters of the story is a pen picture of himself. The writer who adapted the story for the screen, Harvey Thew, also is a well known New York newspaper man, long on the staffs of the New York Herald and American, while Lloyd Bacon, the director, is a writer for both newspapers and magazines. In the selection of the east for the picture, Director Bacon insisted on players who were somewhat familiar with the atmosphere of a newspaper office, and knew something of the characters which they were to portray. This proved to be a difficult problem. It was easy enough to find good screen players and also to locate plenty of newspaper men. But to find a combination of players with newspaper experience was something else again. Mr. Bacon, with the casting director, Rufus Lemaire, finally obtained the characters he wanted. A sob sister for a New York daily is one of the most important roles in the picture, so the history of all the women on the First National lot was looked into. It was found that Joan Blondell had worked on the New York Morning Telegraph long enough to get the atmosphere of a newspaper office. But none of the other First National feature players was discovered to have had newspaper experience, so Hollywood had to be searched for them. Finally eight other screen actors were found who had ‘had the required experience, and were competent screen players at the same time. The first selection was Tom Brown, who recently has popped up as one of the young sensations in pictures, to play the part of a likeable, small town reporter and editor. Brown spent much of his time with his uncle, Ed. Dunn, who is the city editor of the Boston Post. He was entranced with the activity of a newspaper office and his unele put him to work as a copy boy. As he grew older he was given assignments and became a leg man and reportorial writer, before the eall of the stage got into his blood. Kenneth Thomson, who portrays Parks, a part which represents Terrett, the author, was formerly a re ‘porter on the Pittsburgh Leader and the Post, breaking in via the job of copy earrier, as did Brown. He is a well known stage player, and on the screen was seen in “The f Bellamy Trial,” “Broadway Melody” and “White Gold.” Leslie Fenton, who has another important reportorial part, was on the staff of the London Mail. Mr. Fenton played the lead on the stage in “The American Tragedy” when staged in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and is well known for his roles in pictures, such as “What Price Glory,” “Broadway,” and more recently with Edward G. Robinson in “The Hatchet Man.” Walter Miller who has had leading roles in scores of picture productions was formerly connected with the staff of the Brooklyn Eagle. J. Carroll Naish was a writer on the staffs of the New York Dramatic Mirror and the Telegraph. Grant Mitchell, son of General Grant Mitchell, after graduating from Yale and Harvard Law School, worked for a time on the Ohio State Journal, at Columbus, Ohio, before taking up the stage. Russell Hopton was formerly on the staff of the New York Mail, while Mike Donlin, onetime champion hitter of the big leagues, worked on the Peoria, Il. Star. Hopton represents a New York reporter in the picture, while Donlin is a newspaper photographer. Little Actual Rest Possible For Movie Players Motion-picture stars, you have always heard, arise at noon, bathe languidly and get down to the studio about four in the afternoon, after a slow lunch at one of the most conspicuous restaurants—working through a couple of hours of camera grinding, until it is time to make whoopee at night. Adrienne Dore, First National featured player who appears with Joan Blondell in “The Famous Ferguson Case” coming to the ........ BN Net Madge! Theatre cnexta 70h ae ie isn’t finding it like that at all. She had just finished working in two pictures, “Alias The Doctor,” with Richard Barthelmess and “The Expert” with Chie Sale, and figured that she would be free to spend the next day, at least, doing her Christmas shopping — it being the day before Christmas. That morning at five, however, She received a eall from the studio asking her to please report not later than seven to make tests for her newest production, “The Famous Ferguson Case,” in which she has the ingenue lead. After a day filled to the brim with tests and interviews, breakfastless and lunchless, she was allowed to return home in time for dinner. Movie stars, like the weary, get little rest. Page Nine