Perfectly Frank

This is Frank Fay in GOD’S GIFT TO WOMEN — he’s been told to avoid excitement or he may drop dead. Fortunately, Louise Brooks, Joan Blondell and Yola d’Avril are here to make sure that he’s kept calm.

Fiona and I have become big FF fans — his extremely camp manner is a surprise at first, but his movies play with this in a variety of interesting ways, and he’s a brilliant comic. My appreciation is now up at The Chiseler.

Here’s Frank Fay and Mrs Frank Fay. If you don’t know him, you may know her.

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15 Responses to “Perfectly Frank”

  1. I’v always wanted to see this Louise talkie. She’s bang-less in this one. But lovely as always.

  2. Oh yes. And nothing wrong with her voice, although her delivery maybe needs practice. I’d recommend it: pretty stage-bound, but increasingly funny, finally hilarious.

  3. When I first saw GGTW, early on I thought a dud was going to unfold, but it got much funnier as it went on. Louise came to seem lazy to me after watching this and a short she made later. Nothing wrong with her voice as you said, just her delivery seemed like she never worked much training it for the camera. It suffers in GGTW when she has to compete with Joan Blondell.

  4. Everybody suffers next to Joan Blondell. The woman has the force nuclear fisson. Just appreciating her the other night in Three on a Match. Wow.

    As for Louise by this time she’d tired of acting, and longed to get back to being a full-time demi-mondaine.

  5. David Boxwell Says:

    The original trailer is also up on Youtube, and it omitted Brooks’s name–the execs must have really hated her when she came back from Germany. She was blackballed, through a conspiracy, everywhere but Warner Brothers, for this one appearance, and then even they ignored her in the ad campaign.

    The original trailer also promises FF as the screen’s most shameless p***yhound. I think that was part of the joke . . .

    (In real life, FF was an epic drunk).

  6. Yeah, I guess the demon drink is why we don’t have more Fay movies, or maybe he just didn’t click with movie audiences. I don’t remember noticing him in Nothing Sacred, which I haven’t seen in ages — wonder what he’s like in it?

    Brooks, by her own account, never cared much about her screen career and only appreciated Pabst after the fact. Her later Hollywood work she was pretty dismissive of — and I guess they bore her a grudge at Paramount because she skipped out before dubbing her lines for The Canary Murder Case when they decided to “sonorize” it.

  7. I remember running into a funny line in Axel Madsen’s bio of Mrs. Frank Fay. When asked to comment on FF’s success in the stage version of “Harvey,” she responded that she’d already had more than enough opportunity to watch Frank Fay pull rabbits out of hats — i.e. accomplish the seemingly unaccomplishable.

    (I’m remembering the sense of this line, but not the actual wording. Do offer the correct version, Dan Callahan, if you know it.)

  8. I should have mentioned he was in the original Harvey. That doesn’t make ANY sense when you see him in God’s Gift, but it makes complete sense when you see the last third of The Matrimonial Bed. The guy was versatile.

  9. Christopher Says:

    Looks like another variation on the WHY WORRY,FEEL MY PULSE type scenario..Frank Fay reminds me a bit of Eric Roberts…Ha..this film looks funny..and or fun.

  10. Just consulted with Dan C. Like so many anecdotes, it has variations, but this would seem to be the source:

    [Columnist] Earl Wilson asks Stanwyck if she has seen Fay in “Harvey.”
    She says no.
    Wilson asks her if she’s going to see him.
    Stanwyck’s response: “A long time ago I saw all the rabbits Frank Fay had to offer.”

    Finis. End of anecdote.

  11. Pretty good! Stanwyck was no dummy.

  12. Randy Cook Says:

    In NOTHING SCARED he’s the smarmy emcee of the “Heroines of History” nightclub review, which features Catherine the Great, Lady Godiva, and “Katinka, who saved Holland by putting her finger in the dike. Show ’em the finger, babe”. And does she ever.

    Somebody forgot to tell Wellman this was a post code picture.

    Anyhow, Fay is a great sleaze in this. He’s a bit like he was in Warner’s SHOW OF SHOWS review, also as an emcee.

    Don’t know much about him, except that fellow vaudevillian Fred Allen did nothing to disguise his loathing of Fay in one of his autobiographies.

    Oh, and that he was the original Elwood in the original HARVEY. Harvey was the name of Elwood’s pooka pal.

    Film’s here, not looking a lot worse than the other PD copies available.

  13. FF had a gift for sleaze alright!

  14. Louise sounds like Kay Francis without the speech impediment.

  15. Both prairie gals.

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