The Wizard of Oz (1939 film)
The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. Considered to be one of the greatest films in cinema history, it is the best-known and most commercially successful adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Directed by Victor Fleming, the film stars Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale alongside Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Billie Burke and Margaret Hamilton with Charley Grapewin, Pat Walshe, Clara Blandick and Singer's Midgets as the Munchkins. Characterized by its legendary use of Technicolor, fantasy storytelling, musical score and memorable characters, the film has become an icon of American popular culture, it was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but lost to Gone with the Wind directed by Victor Fleming. It did win in two other categories: Best Original Song for "Over the Rainbow" and Best Original Score by Herbert Stothart. While the film was considered a critical success upon release in August 1939, it failed to make a profit for MGM until the 1949 re-release, earning only $3,017,000 on a $2,777,000 budget, not including promotional costs, which made it MGM's most expensive production at that time.
The 1956 television broadcast premiere of the film on the CBS network reintroduced the film to the public. It was among the first 25 films that inaugurated the National Film Registry list in 1989, it is one of the few films on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register. The film is among the top ten in the BFI list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14; the Wizard of Oz is the source of many quotes referenced in contemporary popular culture. Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf received credit for the screenplay, but uncredited contributions were made by others; the songs were written by Harold Arlen. The musical score and the incidental music were composed by Stothart. Dorothy Gale lives with her dog Toto on the Kansas farm of her Aunt Uncle Henry. Toto bites Miss Almira Gulch on the leg, she obtains an order from the sheriff for Toto to be euthanized, she takes Toto away on her bicycle, but he escapes and returns to Dorothy, she decides to run away. She meets Professor Marvel, a kindly fortune teller who uses his crystal ball to make Dorothy believe that Aunt Em may be dying of a broken heart.
Dorothy races home, arriving just as a tornado strikes. Locked out of the farm's storm cellar, she seeks shelter in her bedroom. Wind-blown debris knocks her unconscious and the house is sent spinning in the air, she awakens to see various figures fly by, including Miss Gulch on her bicycle, who transforms into a witch on a broomstick. The house lands in Munchkinland in the Land of Oz. Glinda the Good Witch of the North and the Munchkins welcome her as a heroine, as the falling house has killed the Wicked Witch of the East, her sister, the Wicked Witch of the West, arrives to claim the slippers, but Glinda transports them onto Dorothy's feet first. The Wicked Witch of the West swears revenge on Dorothy vanishes. Glinda tells Dorothy to keep the slippers on and follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, where she can ask the Wizard of Oz to help her get back home. On her journey, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, who wants a brain, the Tin Woodman, who desires a heart, the Cowardly Lion, who needs courage.
Dorothy invites them to accompany her to the Emerald City, where they can ask the Wizard to help them too. Despite the Witch's attempts to foil their journey, they reach the Emerald City and are permitted to see the Wizard, who appears as a large ghostly head surrounded by fire and smoke, he agrees to grant their wishes. As the foursome and Toto make their way to the Witch's castle, the Witch captures Dorothy and plots her death in order to remove her slippers. Toto leads her three friends to the castle, they don the guards' uniforms, march inside and free Dorothy. The Witch and her guards surround them; the Witch sets fire to the Scarecrow, causing Dorothy to toss a bucket of water, inadvertently splashing the Witch, who melts away. The guards give Dorothy her broomstick; the Wizard stalls in fulfilling his promises, until Toto pulls back a curtain and exposes the "Wizard" as a middle-aged man operating machinery and speaking into a microphone. Admitting to being a humbug, he insists, he gives the Scarecrow a diploma, the Lion a medal and the Tin Man a ticking heart-shaped watch, helping them see that the attributes they sought were within them.
He offers to take Dorothy and Toto home in his hot air balloon. He reveals that he, too, is from Kansas, worked at a carnival when a tornado brought him to the Emerald City, he was accepted the job as Wizard due to hard times. As Dorothy and the Wizard prepare to depart, distracted by a cat, leaps from Dorothy's arms; as she pursues Toto, the balloon disembarks with the Wizard. Glinda appears and tells Dorothy the ruby slippers have the power to return her to Kansas if she taps her heels together three times repeating "There's no place like home." Dorothy wakes up in her bedroom surrounded by her family and friends, including Toto. Everyone dismisses her adventure as a dream, but Dorothy insists it was real and says she will never run away from home again, she declares: "There's no place like home!" Production on
Emma Dunn was an English character actress on the stage and in motion pictures. Emma Dunn appeared onstage in her early teens, graduating to the London stage for several years and became a noted Broadway actress, she appeared in the first American production of Ibsen's Peer Gynt with Richard Mansfield as Peer. She played Peer's mother, Ase though she was, in real life, 20 years younger than Mansfield, she appeared in three productions for theatre impresario David Belasco: The Warrens of Virginia, The Easiest Way and The Governor's Lady. In The Easiest Way, Dunn portrayed Annie, black, in blackface. In 1913 Dunn appeared in vaudeville. Dunn made her first film in 1914, a silent film of her 1910 stage success, directed by Maurice Tourneur; this was Tourneur's first American film. Dunn's second film was 1920's Old Lady 31, reprising the role she played in the 1916 Broadway play of the same name. One more silent film followed in 1924, Pied Piper Malone, before she made her talkie debut in Side Street, co-starring the Moore brothers, Matt and Tom as her sons.
Dunn wrote two books on elocution and speech: Thought Quality in the Voice and You Can Do It. Emma Dunn was born 26 February 1875, in Birkenhead, although she sometimes gave her year of birth as 1883. Dunn married Harry Beresford, an actor, known professionally as Harry J. Morgan, in Chicago on 4 October 1897, they divorced on 10 February 1909, in New York City. She was awarded sole custody of Dorothy. On 19 May 1909, Dunn married John W. Stokes, an actor and theatrical manager, they subsequently adopted Helen. The couple divorced sometime between 1923 and Stokes' death in 1931. After suffering a heart attack some months before, Dunn died 14 December 1966, in Los Angeles, aged 91. Emma Dunn on IMDb Emma Dunn at the Internet Broadway Database Emma Dunn
First National Pictures
First National Pictures was an American motion picture production and distribution company. It was founded in 1917 as First National Exhibitors' Circuit, Inc. an association of independent theater owners in the United States, became the country's largest theater chain. Expanding from exhibiting movies to distributing them, the company reincorporated in 1919 as Associated First National Theatres, Inc. and Associated First National Pictures, Inc. In 1924 it expanded to become a motion picture production company as First National Pictures, Inc. and became an important studio in the film industry. In September 1928, control of First National passed to Warner Bros. into which it was absorbed on November 4, 1929. A number of Warner Bros. films were thereafter branded First National Pictures until 1936, when First National Pictures, Inc. was dissolved. The First National Exhibitors' Circuit was founded in 1917 by the merger of 26 of the biggest first-run cinema chains in the United States, it controlled over 600 cinemas, more than 200 of them first-run houses.
First National was the brainchild of Thomas L. Tally, reacting to the overwhelming influence of Paramount Pictures, which dominated the market. In 1912, he thought that a conglomerate of theaters throughout the nation could buy or produce and distribute its own films. In 1917 Tally and J. D. Williams formed First National Exhibitors' Circuit; the first film released through First National was The Mother of Dartmoor. Between 1917 and 1918, the company made contracts with Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, the first million-dollar deals in the history of film. Chaplin's contract allowed him to produce his films without a set release schedule. However, the production of the feature film The Kid ran so long that the company started to complain. To address their concerns, Chaplin invited the exhibitors to the studio, they were so impressed by the project and charmed by the players co-star Jackie Coogan, that they agreed to be patient; that patience was rewarded when The Kid became a major critical and box office success.
First National's distribution of films by independent producers is credited with launching careers including that of Louis B. Mayer. Adolph Zukor of Paramount Pictures was threatened by First National's financial power and its control over the lucrative first-run theaters, decided to enter the cinema business as well. With a $10 million investment, Paramount built its own chain of first-run movie theaters after a secret plan to merge with First National failed. First National Exhibitors' Circuit was reincorporated in 1919 as Associated First National Pictures, Inc. and its subsidiary, Associated First National Theatres, Inc. with 5,000 independent theater owners as members. In the early 1920s, Paramount attempted a hostile takeover, buying several of First National's member firms. Associated First National Pictures expanded from only distributing films to producing them in 1924 and changed its corporate name to First National Pictures, Inc, it built its 62-acre studio lot in Burbank in 1926. The Motion Picture Theatre Owners of America and the Independent Producers' Association declared war in 1925 on what they termed a common enemy—the "film trust" of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and First National, which they claimed dominated the industry not only by producing and distributing motion pictures but by entering into exhibition as well.
The financial success of The Jazz Singer and The Singing Fool enabled Warner Bros. to purchase a majority interest in First National in September 1928. Warner Bros. held 42,000 shares of common stock out of 72,000 outstanding shares while Fox Pictures held 21,000 shares. Warner Bros. acquired access to First National's affiliated chain of theaters, while First National acquired access to Vitaphone sound equipment. Warner Bros. and First National continued to operate as separate entities. On November 4, 1929, Fox sold its interest in First National to Warner Bros. for $10 million. The First National studio in Burbank became the official home of Warner Bros.–First National Pictures. Thereafter, First National Pictures became a trade name for the distribution of a designated segment of Warner Bros. product. Forty-five of the 86 Warner Bros. feature films released in 1929 were branded as First National Pictures. Half of the 60 feature films Warner Bros. announced for release in 1933–34 were to be First National Pictures.
Although both studios produced "A" and "B" budget pictures the prestige productions, costume dramas, musicals were made by Warner Bros. while First National specialized in modern comedies and crime stories. Short subjects were made by The Vitaphone Corporation. In July 1936, stockholders of First National Pictures, Inc. voted to dissolve the corporation and distribute its assets among the stockholders in line with a new tax law which provided for tax-free consolidations between corporations. From 1929 to 1958, most Warner Bros. films and promotional posters bore the combined trademark and copyright credits in the opening and closing sequences "A Warner Bros.–First National Picture". In 2002, Time Warner sold the rights for the First National name to Ryan Kugler of Distribution Video & Audio, a company specializing in acquiring excess inventory and close-out properties. However, the pre-1936 First National library is owned by Turner Entertainment. United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. First National Pictures on IMDb Warner Bros.
Archives at the Uni
Gentleman's Fate is a 1931 American pre-Code drama film directed by Mervyn LeRoy and written by Leonard Praskins. The film stars John Gilbert, Louis Wolheim, Leila Hyams, Anita Page, Marie Prevost; the film was released on March 7, 1931, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, just seventeen days after Wolheim's untimely death. Jack Thomas has grown up in the belief, his guardian tells him that he has a dying father. They are both in the liquor business prohibition era. On his deathbed the father gives Jack an emerald necklace. Jack gives it to his fiancé, it turns out. Frank does not want his father's name to be put in the dirt, so he forces his kid brother to admit that he stole the necklace. So he does, his fiancée Marjorie Channing travels to England. Jack decides to join the family business, he kills the member of a rival mob, its leader wants revenge by killing Jack. John Gilbert as Giacomo Tomasulo / Jack Thomas Louis Wolheim as Frank Tomasulo Leila Hyams as Marjorie Channing Anita Page as Ruth Corrigan Marie Prevost as Mabel John Miljan as Florio George Cooper as Mike Ferike Boros as Angela Ralph Ince as Dante Frank Reicher as Papa Francesco Tomasulo Paul Porcasi as Papa Mario Giovanni Tenen Holtz as Tony Gentleman's Fate on IMDb
Ernö Rapée was an Estonian-born American symphonic conductor in the first half of the 20th Century whose prolific career spanned both classical and popular music. His most famous tenure was as the head conductor of the Radio City Symphony Orchestra, the resident orchestra of the Radio City Music Hall, whose music was heard by millions over the air. A virtuoso pianist, Rapée is remembered for popular songs that he wrote in the late 1920s as photoplay music for silent films; when not conducting live orchestras, he supervised film scores for sound pictures, compiling a substantial list of films on which he worked as composer, arranger or musical director. Rapée was born in Narva, Estonia and on moved to Budapest, Hungary where he studied as a pianist and conductor at the Royal National Hungarian Academy of Music, he was assistant conductor to Ernst von Schuch in Dresden. As a composer, his first piano concerto was played by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Vienna, after a tour of America as a guest conductor, began performing at the Rialto Theater in New York as assistant to Hugo Riesenfeld, where he began composing and conducting for silent films.
Following positions at the Rialto and Rivoli theaters, he was hired by Samuel "Roxy" Rothafel as the musical director of the Capitol Theatre's 77-member orchestra in New York. It was at the Capitol that Rapée made his most famous classical arrangement of Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody, No. 13. While at the Capitol, he pioneered orchestral radio broadcasts over station WEAF as part of the Roxy's Gang programs, he engaged Eugene Ormandy as the Capitol's concertmaster and assistant conductor. The Capitol orchestra made a number of commercial recordings under Rapée's direction in 1923-24 for the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company. Rapée's next move was to Philadelphia. Percy Grainger was one of his guest artists during this engagement. After his tenure at the Fox, Rapée went on to international success in Berlin with an orchestra of 85 at the Ufa-Palast am Zoo. While there he was invited to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert, he appeared as conductor of the Budapest Philharmonic and other European orchestras.
In 1926, he returned to America after notable European successes. He began an engagement at the Roxy Theatre in New York, opening the theater in March 1927, as music director of its 110-player Roxy Symphony Orchestra.. Millions of listeners heard his symphonic concerts over the air on Sunday afternoon during The Roxy Hour radio broadcasts, he conducted for the General Motors Concerts. In 1932, Rapée reached the apex of his career as the musical director and head conductor of the symphony orchestra at Roxy Rothafel's new Radio City Music Hall, a position Rapée held until his death in New York City, New York, from a heart attack on June 26, 1945. During his years conducting for silent films on Broadway, Rapée arranged and composed a bulk of his library. In 1923, Robbins-Engel Music began publishing the music of Rapée and his associates under the banner of the "Capitol Photoplay Series". Under their "Gold Seal" series, his song "When Love Comes Stealing" was published the same year. Five years it became the theme song of the Paul Leni film, The Man Who Laughs.
Collaborating with Dr. William Axt, Rapée co-wrote an eminent collection of photoplay music, which included a series of three Agitatos, Appassionato No. 1, Frozen North, Screening Preludes 1 and 2 and Tender Memories. Other pieces written solo included Pollywog's Frolic. In 1926, Rapée collaborated with composer Lew Pollack on "Charmaine" for the film, What Price Glory?, "Diane", for the Fox Film production, Seventh Heaven, "Marion" for the Fox production 4 Devils. Rapée and Pollack's songs were covered by Mantovani, Frank Sinatra, Jim Reeves and numerous other artists, including 1960s hits for the Irish M-O-R group The Bachelors. Rapée wrote several music books that were first published in the 1920s; the following are still in print: Encyclopedia of Music for Pictures, Belwin, NY, 1925. Reprinted in 1970 by the Arno Press. ISBN 0-405-01634-4 Motion Picture Moods for Pianists and Organists, G. Schirmer, NY, 1924. Reprinted in 1974 by the Arno Press. ISBN 0-405-01635-2 Nero The Iron Horse, uncredited A Waltz Dream The Brothers Schellenberg When She Starts, Look Out The Prince and the Dancer Whispering Winds The Dance Goes On The Right of Way Conquer by the Clock Works by or about Ernö Rapée at Internet Archive Erno Rapee on IMDb
Flying Romeos is a 1928 American comedy film directed by Mervyn LeRoy and written by John McDermott, Sidney Lazarus, Gene Towne and John W. Conway; the film stars Charles Murray, George Sidney, Fritzi Ridgeway, Lester Bernard, Duke Martin, James Bradbury Jr. and Belle Mitchell. The film was released on February 1928, by First National Pictures. Charles Murray as Cohan George Sidney as Cohen Fritzi Ridgeway as Minnie Lester Bernard as Goldberg Duke Martin as The Aviator James Bradbury Jr. as The Nut Belle Mitchell as Mrs. Goldberg Flying Romeos on IMDb
Two Seconds is a 1932 American pre-Code crime drama film directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Edward G. Robinson, Vivienne Osborne and Preston Foster, it was based on a successful Broadway play of the same name by Elliott Lester. The title refers to the two seconds it takes the condemned person to die in the electric chair after the executioner throws the switch. Preston Foster reprises the role; as John Allen, a condemned murderer, is led to the electric chair, a witness asks the prison warden how long it takes for the condemned person to die. "A built man like John Allen?" he is told, "It'll take two seconds". The witness remarks, "That'll be the longest two seconds of his life." As the executioner throws the switch, the events that led up to the execution appear in flashback. Allen works with his friend and flatmate Bud Clark, as a riveter, high up on the girders of a skyscraper under construction, getting paid $62.50 a week, "more than a college professor". Bud is engaged to be married, tries to set up a date for Allen that night, but Allen expresses some disinterest, as Bud keeps setting John Allen up with "firewagons", his term for fat girls.
Bud and John go out on the town after Bud winning $38 on the horses. John sees that the girl that Bud's girl has brought along for him to double date is the "firewagon", so he splits off on his own, going to a Taxi dance hall nearby, where he meets dancer Shirley Day. After dancing and talking to Shirley for some time, he indicates. "Can't. Gotta have a ticket". "Well OK", Allen dozily says. "Get a handful so we can dance a lot together". In the five minutes Allen is away buying tickets, Shirley has gone off with another customer; that customer gropes her, Shirley Day causes a scene, shouting at the customer. "He paid a dime and he thinks that entitles him to privileges". John Allen wades in. Tony, the dance hall owner, tells them both to get out, firing Shirley Day. Allen takes Shirley for a milk shake. Allen had earlier said to Shirley that he wanted a woman with an education, aspirations: "Ain't no use both of us being dumb", she feigns respectability, telling him that she only works in the dance hall to support her sick parents, who live on a farm in Idaho and that she is educated.
Shirley pretends to be interested in attending a lecture with him. Bud is remonstrating with John about him having hooked up with "a dance hall dame". "How much money has she had off you" Bud asks. "Not a red cent. "We're going to a lecture", John said. Bud: "if a dame tells a guy she's going to a lecture that means one thing, she's got designs on him". John indicates that he doesn't want to fall out with Bud, trying to get him to like Shirley: "She knows things". Bud: "That dame don't need to go to school, she knows everything"; as John leaves, Bud says more cheerily, "Come home sober and bring me a lollipop". Instead of taking John to "a lecture", Shirley takes him to a speakeasy where she gets him drunk on "tea", bootleg gin was served in teapots to disguise its true nature, as alcohol was illegal due to prohibition; when John Allen protests, she says stupidly. John Allen is drunk after the first floor show, drunk and belligerent, he says. She intones "I must, because of my problems". "What problems", John Allen responds.
Shirley starts crying: "Don't do that" John says, "not when I'm drunk, I hate that". He brightens up a bit smiling with realisation "I'm drunk". Liquor was illegal and managing to get "blind drunk". Shirley Day kisses him. "You know I like that" he says. Shirley responds, "Would you like more?". Shirley drags John to a justice of the peace. Allen thinks, he is yelling for a waiter to get more drink. The Justice of the Peace says Allen is too drunk, but Shirley bribes him with $10, indicates that she has a ring, which she has had for some weeks; when Shirley and a stupefied John Allen return to his apartment, Shirley has a blazing argument with Bud. Bud: "You dirty little ape, did you rope him in? Didn't take you long to find out he can't hold his liquor". Shirley shows him the ring. "We're married, right square and legal, there's nothing that you or anyone else can do about it". Shirley throws Bud out; as Bud is leaving, Shirley is getting undressed to consummate the marriage somehow, to a drunk John Allen.
Bud says to the comatose John. You did alright and a red one at that", he flicks a lit cigarette at Shirley's naked back. Three weeks Bud and John are doing their job riveting, 28 stories up. During a break, they argue about Shirley. Bud berates John for being taken in by a liar: "She told you that her parents were living on a farm in I-dee-ho, all the time they're living in a booze joint on Tenth Avenue". John admits that Shirley has had much of his money for clothes "which she needed". Bud: "where do you think she goes in the daytime?". John: "she goes to the movies!". Bud: "what about all the money she gets? There aint enough dimes in the day if she were on a merry-go-round!". John: "Don't talk that way about my wife!". John angrily lunges at Bud with a spanner and Bud falls to his death, shown spinning, screaming as John Allen flat on his stomach looks over, watching him fall, yelling "Bud! Bud!". John Allen is a hunched, nervous depressed wreck, wit