THE IRON DUKE (1934) – Mr. A’s First UK Film


Britain regarded her native son as “an American actor” because all of his successes in the theater and films were based in America. But motion pictures made him an international star and Mr. A increasingly received offers from British film companies. He initially balked at such offers because he felt that the early English sound films were technologically inferior to their American counterparts. With the success Alexander Korda’s THE PRIVATE LIFE OF HENRY VIII in 1933, the British film industry assumed its rightful place next to Hollywood. Mr. A signed with the venerable Gaumont-British Pictures in Shepherds Bush, London. Since he somewhat specialized in portraying historical figures, it was mutually agreed that his first UK film would cast him as the Duke of Wellington.

Gladys Cooper and Mr. A in an IRON DUKE original color lobby card:
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The film did not ignore Wellington’s reputation with women:
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Mr. A takes a lunch break on an adjoining set with cast members:
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Mr. A and friends enjoy a private screening of THE IRON DUKE:
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Now you can enjoy a private screening of your own! I suspect that a pristine 35mm print exists at the British Film Institute so let’s hope that one day it receives a DVD/Blu-ray release.

Published in: on November 4, 2016 at 7:23 PM  Comments (2)  

Gala Hollywood Premiere for THE HOUSE OF ROTHSCHILD – March 14, 1934

Grauman’s Chinese Theater was the place to be on the night of March 14, 1934. The occasion was the Grand Premiere of THE HOUSE OF ROTHSCHILD and the Hollywood celebrities of the day turned out. Studios moguls Darryl Zanuck, Louis B. Mayer, Sam Goldwyn, and even old Carl Laemmele of Universal Pictures were among those attending. Lots of movie stars too, some of whom I can’t quite identify but maybe you can. They are treated like royalty regardless.

Of course, the center of attention was the film’s star – George Arliss. Here is Mr. A being flanked by Darryl Zanuck on the left and Sid Grauman on the right. The color is by Moi:

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The scenes you are about to see is “raw” footage and in some cases catch the same action from two different camera angles. There is no sound but you can clearly see attendees speaking into a microphone, strongly suggesting a live radio broadcast. The white-haired gentleman who seems to be the radio host is veteran actor Lawrence Grant, who was apparently “moonlighting” when he wasn’t making films. Mr. A gives him a big handshake. I have added captions to note various individuals that I could recognize. I added a music track starting with the opening music of the film itself.

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A conceit of your blogmeister: through the magic of Photoshop I am taking the place of Sid Grauman in the photo from above. A little bit of time travel:

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