Shake Hands With The Chiseler


Celebrate and cerebrate! A new cyber-gin-joint opens its virtual doors on the internet today, devoted to all things pre-code and pre-sumptuous. It’s called The Chiseler, and I have contributed, here, and here.

17 Responses to “Shake Hands With The Chiseler”

  1. And lo, it was swell!

  2. Didn’t Alice White wind up playing Jon Voight’s floozie grandmother in MIDNIGHT COWBOY? Or have I got that totally wrong?

  3. Couldn’t have been her, according to the IMDb she was out of the biz by then.

    Ah-hah: it’s Ruth White you’re thinking of.

    Alice would make a great floozy grandma though.

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by dcairns, The Daily Notebook. The Daily Notebook said: RT @dcairns THE CHISELER, the new e-zine of pre-code follies: […]

  5. Farrell really won me over in an early small role in the 1932 film Life Begins. where she’s a pregnant showgirl stuck in a maternity ward who’s none too pleased about her impending motherhood, and she steals a couple of scenes. My favorite may be her golddigging chorus girl in the B-picture Girl Missing; she deservedly gets first billing there.

  6. Maybe I’ll watch that once tonight, I’ve been meaning to for a while. I got interested in her after Man’s Castle, where her seduction scenes with Spencer Tracy are unusually repulsive.

  7. Whenever I see her in the same film with Loretta Young, she’s 180 degrees opposite of Loretta’s characters.

  8. Christopher Says:

    I watched Farrell for years and never would have pegged her for someone from my home state of Oklahoma with that Warner Bros. new york accent..
    …the Studios have a way of MAKING you talk..

  9. Watched Loretta in Midnight Mary this morning. Man was she ever hot. Especially in the climactic scene where she plugs Ricardo Cortez.

  10. That’s a stunner, isn’t it? It’s probably the finest hour for both of them. Cortez was generally amusingly vile when he tried to be charming, but he’s genuinely nasty here. Loretta’s reactions when his body is being shaken by the door — amazing!

    I wondered to what extent Warners drilled their players in a way of speaking, because, allowing for the marvelous variety, there’s also a certain consistent style of playing at that studio. Maybe Glenda just picked it up from her fellow players, or maybe it was drummed into her by directors. I wonder.

  11. Robert Regan Says:

    About a mile and a half from where I live in Brewster NY is the Glenda Farrell and Henry Ross Nature Preserve. It’s nice to be reminded of her, even when not watching movies.

  12. Christopher Says:

    THose “Breakdowns”bloopers(Breakdowns of 1937…of 1938 etc)..are interesting to watch to see everyone tripping over their rapid fire dialog,especially Pat O’Brien,the king of the machine gun tongue.

  13. Totally agree on how ‘hot’ Loretta is in MIDNIGHT MARY! For me, that’s what makes her such a fascinating screen personality. She’s obviously a very sexy woman, but it’s normally veiled by her cool, prim demeanour. (She was, in fact, known in Hollywood as ‘Attila the Nun’)

    Another fascinating film from that angle is William Dieterle’s THE ACCUSED – where Loretta plays a repressed university professor who falls in love with a psychopath. She starts off in schoolmarm mode, but gets sexier and sexier as the film goes on.

  14. Seems Glenda obeyed a law of nature: blonde actresses are kind to animals. Good for her! She really ought to have a city named after her, with a minimum speed limit of 100 words a minute, and compulsory smoking throughout.

    The bloopers are indeed fascinating — it’d be really interesting to know how often they occurred with which actors. We need an office of blooper statistics!

    Oh, The Accused is another one I have to watch.

  15. One source for Cairns and Keeler! At Keeler Twitter Headquarters in Los Angeles, we tweet our appreciation.

  16. Loretta for me is something of an enigma. A lot of the Warner features use her the same way, as a wan victim of such as Norman Foster. Given the chance she really was capable of better, even in something as early as The Devil To Pay! she’s a lot less wilting than in something like Life Begins (where she’s a wan, pregnant killer). TDTP also doesn’t use Myrna Loy as (pardon me for being un-PC and blunt) That Bitch!, a role she played often before getting to MGM. She even does that in the Alice White film noted at The Chiseler, The Naughty Flirt.

    I think Glenda would have made a great gun moll in noir if she was just born a decade later, but somehow sharp-witted dames weren’t as desirable soon after the Code came into force.

  17. The worst effect of the code was the moronic sin-must-be-punished ethos, which meant that ladies with a past seldom lived to the fade-out. Under such a regime, a dame like Glenda was unlikely to thrive. Whereas Loretta could keep her head down and carry on.

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