Arliss Alert! Friday, November 20, 2020 TCM is showing A SUCCESSFUL CALAMITY (1932) at 3:15 PM Eastern Time

Tomorrow afternoon, Friday, Nov. 20, TCM is showing A SUCCESSFUL CALAMITY (1932) at 3:15 PM (ET). This delightful “Father Knows Best” type of family comedy stars George Arliss and Mary Astor, and a pre-star Randolph Scott. Long before Mary teamed up with Humphrey Bogart, she was “married” to Mr. A in this film. Their May-December marriage may surprise you.

Published in: on November 19, 2020 at 1:39 PM  Comments (2)  

A 152nd Birthday Greeting to George Arliss!


Today, April 10, is Good Friday. It was also Good Friday back in 1868 on that day when Mr. A was born in London. He came from a family of publishers going back to the 18th century and founded by his grandfather, John Arliss. His family lived and worked in the Bloomsbury district, which, of course, has long been celebrated as the literary center of the city.

As we all know too well, no matter where you live today this is a tense time in our lives with conditions not seen since the Second World War. Celebrities have been stepping up to boost our morale so I think it’s fitting on this particular Arliss birthday observance to recall his own efforts in speaking to the British people during WWII while he and Florence remained in London throughout the long war.

Mr. A talks to the crowd at Market House in 1942:

We know in letters that Mr. A wrote to friends during the war that he spoke to the public on several occasions. It was typical of him to question his effectiveness and he hoped he was not too boring. But even in his 70s, he apparently answered the call every time he was asked to give a morale-boosting talk.

Mr. A seems to attract some attention at Waterloo Station:

We are fortunate to have preserved an address he gave over the BBC at some point between the fall 1939 and the spring 1940. I believe his words are just as meaningful in dealing with today’s crisis as they were back then. His message is simple and direct: do something. Everybody can contribute in some way or other to the gigantic effort that is required of all of us to get through this crisis, whether a war or a pandemic. Here he is:

Happy Birthday, Mr. A. Your words continue to inspire!

Published in: on April 10, 2020 at 2:05 PM  Leave a Comment  

Arliss Alert! Double Feature Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 Beginning at 12:30 PM EDT

Turner Classic Movies US (TCM) is showing TWO George Arliss films this Thursday, Sept. 19, beginning at 12:30 PM eastern daylight time with A SUCCESSFUL CALAMITY (1932). This is the second time TCM is running this film in less than a month!

Then also on Thursday at 3:15 PM is my vote for the best of the Arliss comedies – and the best film to recommend to a first-time Arliss viewer. The film is THE WORKING MAN (1933) that also co-stars a very young Bette Davis.

Published in: on September 17, 2019 at 6:20 PM  Comments (2)  

Arliss Alert! A SUCCESSFUL CALAMITY (1932) is being aired in the US on Monday, August 26, 2019, at 12:30 PM EDT on TCM (Turner Classic Movies)


Mr. A’s family comedy, I call it a proto-type of “Father Knows Best,” is being broadcast tomorrow as part of TCM’s salute to Mary Astor. Long before Mary co-starred with Humphrey Bogart or Walter Huston, she played Mr. A’s wife in this May-September relationship. The age difference was not glossed over and, indeed, becomes an important story point as the plot develops.

Mr. A wondered in his autobiography, MY TEN YEARS IN THE STUDIOS, whether A SUCCESSFUL CALAMITY made any money for Warner Bros. but he needn’t have worried. Studio records show that this little film made a tidy profit during the depths of the Great Depression. Get your DVRs ready for this one although your blogmeister is happy to report that Warner Archive has offered this film on DVD for several years now!

Published in: on August 25, 2019 at 11:41 AM  Comments (2)  
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Happy 151st Birthday, Mr. A!

Last year on April 10 was the 150th anniversary of George Arliss’s Birth. I created a video to mark the occasion so in case you missed it, here it is!

Published in: on April 9, 2019 at 10:31 PM  Comments (2)  

Get Your 2019 George Arliss Calendar!

As we close out another year it’s time to unveil our new GA calendar to carry us through the New Year. I’m frequently asked, “How can I get one?” That’s easy enough – simply print it out for a nice 8.5 x 11-inch image. If you prefer something larger, just take the file to your nearest copying store and they can handle that. Enjoy and may you have good health and many blessings in 2019!

Published in: on December 31, 2018 at 2:15 PM  Leave a Comment  

Arliss Alert! THE KING’S VACATION (1933) on TCM Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 @ 5:15 PM ET

The people of a country rise up to oust their leader and he goes into exile. This may sound a little like today’s news but actually it’s the plot of THE KING’S VACATION, which is being shown by Turner Classic Movies (US) this Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 5:15 PM eastern time.


One of the most charming films that Mr. A ever made, the story has the distinction of being the only one that Warner Bros. specifically commissioned for George Arliss. His nine other Warners films were either based on his stage successes or were remakes of his silent films.

GA with Dudley Digges, who was once Mr. A’s stage manager:

Ernest Pascal provided the story and spent time with Mr. A at St. Margaret’s Bay near Dover working on it. Later, Mr. A wrote that he was happy to find that much of the charm of St. Margaret’s was reflected in the film. A humorous and poignant story, Mr. A plays a reluctant king who years earlier was forced into a marriage of state and whose marriage at the time was annulled.

GA with O.P. Heggie. Notice the microphone above Mr. A’s head:
The jacket today:

Abdicating in the face of revolution, the king tries to pick up where he left off 20 years earlier with his former wife and his now-grown daughter. An adult story in the true sense of the term, THE KING’S VACATION deserves to be much better known so please grab this opportunity to see it or record it. You won’t be disappointed!

Published in: on December 2, 2018 at 2:39 PM  Comments (2)  

ARLISS Alert! THE MILLIONAIRE (1931) on TCM Monday, October 15, 2018 at 6:30 PM ET

ARLISS Alert! TCM is showing THE MILLIONAIRE (1931) on Monday, October 15 at 6:30 PM ET. This comedy stars George and Florence Arliss, Ivan Simpson, Evalyn Knapp, and a very young James Cagney in a scene-stealing appearance!

Published in: on October 12, 2018 at 11:40 AM  Comments (2)  

The King’s Speech: An Immediate Look at the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935

With all the attention given to the Royal Wedding just a couple of weeks ago, I happened to find a 78 rpm record (12-inch) of King George V’s Silver Jubilee celebration on May 6, 1935 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. HRM was being celebrated for his 25 years as the British monarch and I like to think that George Arliss was present somewhere in the cathedral. We know that Mr. A was present at the coronation of George VI in 1937.

His majesty’s wife was Queen Mary and they were the grandparents of the current Queen Elizabeth II. Alas, George V died the following January 1936 at the age of 70. The record is in mint condition and the label states that the proceeds from its sale go to charity. The King makes a speech on side B of the record and seems to hint at the coming second world war, which was only four years away.

 

Published in: on June 5, 2018 at 9:40 PM  Leave a Comment  

A Video Celebration of the 150th Birthday Celebration for George Arliss: April 10, 1868 – April 10, 2018

Published in: on May 10, 2018 at 7:40 PM  Comments (2)  
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