Saturday, July 31, 2021

After Office Hours ( 1935 )

Clark Gable and Constance Bennett, two of the biggest stars in Hollywood in the early 1930s, teamed up only once for a fast-paced mystery/drama called After Office Hours ( 1935 ). 

This MGM release featured the King of Hollywood in a typical Gable-like role as Jim Branch, a hard-hitting New York news reporter who would do anything to scoop the headlines from his rival newspaper. The latest sensation is a rumor that Tommy Bannister ( Harvey Stephens ) is having an affair with the wife of millionaire Henry King Patterson ( Hale Hamilton ). Jim wants the dirt about the story but Henry King's circle of friends is strictly society grade. Luckily, he has Sharon Norwood ( Constance Bennett ) on his staff. She happens to be a socialite who is playing a working gal for a lark. She also happens to be good friends with Tommy Bannister. Jim decides to use her to get the inside story but falls in love with her in the process!

After Office Hours was clearly MGM's attempt to capitalize on the success of Columbia Studios' It Happened One Night ( 1934 ). Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had loaned Gable out to Columbia as punishment for his affair with Joan Crawford. Frank Capra cast him as the cocky reporter in that film and it turned out to be a box-office smash, raking in nearly $2.5 million. When MGM received their golden boy back they quickly cast him in a film with a similar story. He's not chomping on a carrot in this film but his Bugs Bunny mannerisms are on display just like they were in It Happened One Night

The only thing After Office Hours lacked was the presence of a comedienne like Claudette Colbert. Ms. Bennett resembled a porcelain doll and was just as fragile. Herman Mankiewicz wrote a script packed with clever verbal repartee but Bennett lacked the ability to give her dialogue a humorous touch hence there was no zest in their interchanges. An actress like Claudette Colbert or Loretta Young would have made the film much more entertaining. 

Nevertheless, if you want a fast-paced mystery with some top-notch talent, then it is well worth checking out After Office Hours. Robert Z. Leonard did a great job of directing the film and MGM would later recognize his talents and give him big-budget assignments such as The Great Ziegfeld, Pride and Prejudice, and the Nelson Eddy/Jeanette MacDonald films. 

Also in the cast is Billie Burke, Stuart Erwin, Henry Travers, and Katharine Alexander. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Boys and Girls Film Book ( 1952 )

For the latest post in our new series covering movie memorabilia, we are putting the spotlight on a wonderful issue of the Boys' and Girls' Film Book from 1952. 

Unlike most American magazines that released issues monthly, Great Britain had a number of publishing companies that issued "annuals". The Boys' and Girls' Film Book was one such publication. It was published by the Heirloom Library of London and features some really good articles on both American and British films and the stars of 1952. 

Since this was a book aimed for juvenile audiences most of the films are suitable for boys and girls of all ages. These include Where's Charley? ( Ray Bolger ), Ivanhoe ( Robert Taylor ), The Sound Barrier ( Nigel Patrick ), The Crimson Pirate ( Burt Lancaster ), Worm's Eye View ( Robert Shiner ), Scaramouche ( Stewart Granger ) and Twice Upon a Time ( an early UK version of The Parent Trap ). 

There are articles about stuntmen, animal actors, comedy teams, and stars' pets as well as features on Tarzan, Roy Rogers, Rex Allen, Janette Scott and Norman Wisdom. Also snuck in between the pages are full-color photos to pin on a wall and trivia pages. All in all, a great book for children ( and adults! ). 

The Boys' and Girls' Film Book is a hardcover book, clothbound with heavy boards. Issues like this sell at antique stores and auction sites for $6-20 each, depending on their condition. 

Friday, July 23, 2021

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game


This looks like a fun group of people. You don't have to guess who they are or what they are doing, just tell us which film this is a screenshot from and you can win a prize!

As always, if you are not familiar with the rules of the game or the prize, simply click here.


Congratulations to Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous for correctly identifying this screenshot from The Best of Everything ( 1959 ). The employees of Fabian Publishing Company were enjoying the shenanigans of the young woman with the red sweater while on their way to the company's annual summer picnic. 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Cone of Silence aka Trouble in the Sky ( 1960 )

Captain Gort ( Bernard Lee ) has just been on trial for crashing one of the new Pheonix jets on takeoff. The verdict was pilot's error. Gort is in disbelief, as is his daughter Charlotte ( Elizabeth Seal ) who knows that her father always flies "by the book" and would never endanger the passengers or crew. Both believe that there was a fault with the new aircraft but the scientists investigating the crash are not convinced. After several months, Gort is allowed to return to his regular flight schedule but his flying ability is once again called into question when he has another low take-off in a Pheonix jet. This time, Captain Dallas ( Michael Craig ) begins to question the safety of the aircraft and investigates the matter, hoping to uncover the cause before another crash takes place. 

Cone of Silence is one of a multitude of aircraft-disaster pictures that were filmed in the 1960s. It seems like a film that Jack Hawkins would have starred in but instead it featured Bernard Lee ( best known for playing M in the James Bond films ). He does a great job of playing the dishonored pilot.

The script was based on the 1959 book of the same name by author David Beaty, which was loosely based on the de Havilland Comet crashes, much like the superior No Highway in the Sky ( 1951 ). 

Cone of Silence has some moments of excitement but overall it is more dramatic than adventerous. Michael Craig himself commented that "it wasn't much of a film and did nothing for anyone's career". However, it is worth checking out just to see the cast which was composed of a bevy of famous Brit actors. George Sanders portrays the prosceuting attorney at the trial, Charles Tingwell ( Murder She Said ) is a fellow pilot, as is Peter Cushing and Gordon Jackson; Andre Morrell and Geoffrey Bayldon have brief parts, and there is a small part for the beautiful Delphi Lawrence as well. 

The film was issued as Trouble in the Sky in the United States, but both titles have little to do with the story because most of the trouble is on the landing field at takeoff! Quite frankly, a film about Get Smart's "Cone of Silence" would be much more entertaining to watch.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

British Pathe: Wimbledon Finals ( 1964 )

Since the Wimbledon tennis finals are taking place this weekend, what better time to share this fascinating clip from the 1964 Wimbledon tournament? In this 5:09 minute British Pathé newsreel we see highlights from the men's, doubles, and women's competitions.

Fred Stolle and Roy Emerson ( both from Australia ) were competing for the coveted trophy in the men's finals while Maria Bueno ( of Brazil ) and Margaret Smith ( of Australia ) were competing for the women's title. Interestingly, both Stolle and Emerson were also in the doubles' finals. Most of the players throughout the tournament that year were from Australia.

This was during a period when tennis was played close to the net ( today's players favor distance shots ) and when it was perfectly respectful to throw your racket up in the air - either victoriously or in anger!

In the Royal Box, you can see Princess Margaret of Great Britain, Princess Marina of Greece - who also presented the cup to Emerson - and Princess Alexandra of Great Britain.

Ready to watch some tennis? Just click on the link below! 

1964 Wimbledon Finals 

Similar British Pathé newsreels: 

Wimbledon Finals ( 1954 ) - 2:56 minutes

Wimbledon Finals ( 1968 ) - 3:27 minutes

Thursday, July 8, 2021

From the Archives: The Egg and I ( 1947 )

Betty MacDonald ( Claudette Colbert ) is looking surprised at the hen perched on Pa Kettle's shoulder in this photo from a deleted scene from The Egg and I. Pa ( Percy Kilbride ) explained that his pet hen took a fancy to him and "been followin' me ever since, can't figger it out". 

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store :