CineSavant Column

Saturday December 14, 2019


A trio of fun, or kinda fun, or, not entirely depressing special links today!

↑ First up, U.K. correspondent Dave Carnegie sends along this rather good encoding of a 1955 MGM cartoon, in CinemaScope no less, entitled Good Will to Men. I’m sure I’ve talked about it before; it’s a second go at a much earlier cartoon with the theme that war will make humans extinct, with only cute talking animals left behind to inherit the Earth. The old, isolationist-themed cartoon (Peace on Earth, 1939) ended with conventional warfare doing the trick; this 1955 remake does the job right, with a fully-animated Atomic Cafe– like nuclear exchange. Faux-pacifist stuff like this just feels defeatist, as our reaction is that the planet is lost anyway, so who cares?   I just feel like commiserating with Dave over there in G.B., in the middle of Brexit.


← Our other slightly more research-minded links arrive via advisor/unofficial column editor Gary Teetzel (who else?). Gary comes across with the vintage magazine finds that illuminate favorite ancient pictures. The first item up is from the December 14, 1931 issue of The Film Daily: Carl Laemmle takes out a full-page institutional advert to congratulate his salesmen (and himself) for the socko-boffo, pretty darn terrific performance of a certain horror classic starring a reanimated corpse. It’s called I Thank the Publicity and Advertising Men of the Theaters — open it in a new window to see it full-sized. The same works for the other two graphics below.

I like some of the phrasing here — I didn’t know that the term ‘cut loose,’ with the meaning ‘go for it without restraint,’ went as far back as far as 1931.


→ Then Gary sends us to a fancy magazine layout that makes us think that the term pre-Code applies to fan mags as well. Don’t worry, the title is a come-on, and the article is SFW. It’s a silly Photoplay piece with star Maureen O’Sullivan, or an imaginative studio publicty hack pretending to be Ms. O’Sullivan, talking about the star’s wardrobe, or lack thereof, in MGM’s Tarzan and His Mate. The come-on title is The Miseries of Nudism.


↓ Gary’s links seem to come in threes, like wise men, or parking tickets. He next advises us to check out a February 27, 1933 Hollywood Reporter story titled Writers’ War on Filth. It mentions the upcoming William Faulkner film adaption then- titled The Shame of Temple Drake. Now here’s a come-on line nobody could resist: “The story is so dirty, George Raft refused to play the lead!”  And more great copy: “If you want to get a job today in pictures at good money, all you have to do is write a dirty book.”  In the immortal words of Scott Glenn, ‘Sounds dangerous, count me in.’

The ‘perversion’ the article harps about is homosexuality, of which The Story of Temple Drake has none, if I recall. The piece waxes incensed about a Lesbian dance in Sign of the Cross, and a movie called Sailor’s Luck, with ‘pansies all through it.’ A ‘nance’ cook is mentioned in Hell’s Highway. Not that I’d know the real thing when I saw it, but the most eye-opening pre-Code swishy gay stuff I recall seeing is in the trashy Clara Bow talkie Call Her Savage. It records part of what looks like a real ‘pansy’ act, by two prancing, mincing waiters in a Greenwich Village club frequented by ‘artists and radicals.’

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson