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Don't Bet on Blondes – Warren William

22 Oct

— David DeWitt

 

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  1. Anonymous

    October 22, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    If not mistaken, I recall a bit-part actor in this film who may be of some small interest around here.
    R

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  2. Anonymous

    October 22, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Yes, Errol is in that one – his first American speaking part. The star, of course, is Warren William – one of the great actors of the thirties – a true movie star in every sense of the word. Few other actors have ever come close to William's mix of suave charm, a great speaking voice, and extraordinary range as an actor. If you've never seen him, check him out in The Case of the Curious Bride, Satan Met a Lady, The Match King (with Lili Damita), Skyscraper Souls, and The Mouthpiece. Or The Wolf Man, for that matter. I've collected over thirty films now starring William, and it still amazes me that someone of this greatness has now been totally forgotten by filmgoers. Ah, how fleeting is fame . . .
    Arno

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  3. Anonymous

    October 22, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    Could be that others, like me, have always found him a bit weasely looking for a leading man. Great character actor, though.
    R

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  4. Anonymous

    October 22, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Weasely is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. I thought he was a great leading man in the films mentioned, among others. Don't recall that many films in which he was a character actor.
    A

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  5. Anonymous

    October 23, 2008 at 1:01 am

    Thanks, Arno, for the list of movies I want to get my hands on! William was also in Gold Diggers of 1933, as J. Lawrence Bradford – a film young Errol might have appeared in but apparently didn't. In one way or another, Warren William (no “s” as I have mistakenly written it!) was to figure in Flynn's first American film work (Case of the Curious Bride) in the movies… And with Michael Curiz directing, the cards were about to stack up in Errol's favor…

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  6. Anonymous

    October 23, 2008 at 2:01 am

    David, I discovered William about fifteen years ago, and began collecting his films furiously. There was something aristocratic about him, yet without being aloof. He was at his best in comedy, I think, and “Case of the Curious Bride,” a Perry Mason mystery, is a great example. It's a hilarious movie – check out the scene where he and Allen Jenkins are crying together – and it's so fast-paced you can hardly keep up with it. And of course it has that cameo of Errol at the end when he gets the shard of broken mirror in the back – not exactly an auspicious start to his career. I've often felt bad about the evident short schrift I gave William (regarding his role in the film “Satan Met a Lady”) in that documentary I did for Warner Home Video a few years ago (“The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird).” I think I referred to him as “that now forgotten actor, Warren William.” In fact I said some things AFTER that which were very complimentary, but sadly they were left on the proverbial cutting room floor . . . I said, for instance, how unjust that is, insofar as he was one of the great stars, and most attractive personalities, of the 30s. Ah well, that's Hollywood, as they say. Thanks for posting this great clip, Chum!
    Arno

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  7. Anonymous

    October 23, 2008 at 3:00 am

    Sir Arno! I thought the Case of the Curious Bride was indeed a wonderful film. I was surprised at how good it was, in fact – when I first saw it. The San Francisco setting was a plus for my daughter, Erin, who loves the city so much and I have thought of trying to find the address of the home where Errol meets his unfortunate end but I, A, don't know the address, and B, all the homes look the same down there of that vintage. Would be a nice thing to run down for next time I am down that way…
    I'm reminded of how David Niven in an interview about Errol said, “You always knew where you stood with Flynn. He always let you down…” and this is what is remembered instead of what followed in which Niv continued, “You sort of worked with this, it was great fun!” when you wrote about what got cut out of your comments – this is the way it so often works, innit?

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  8. Anonymous

    October 23, 2008 at 3:39 am

    David,
    I totally agree, “Curious Bride” is a crackling great 30s film – one of my personal favorites, with Warner's top-notch talents presaging the great films to come. I haven't watched it in about five years, and seeing the “Don't Bet on Blondes” clip may start me off on a new, private Warren William festival in the Arno house!
    William, I thought, was as good as Gable – he had that wonderfully infectious smile, among so many other things. And, like Erin, I'm partial to films shot in San Francisco – not only because it's so close to where I am, but also because of the special ambiance the city has in the history of film. “Fog over Frisco” is another great favorite of mine (early Bette Davis). And then, of course, there's the more recent films, such as Peter Yates' Bullett and the first two Dirty Harry films – they're among the ones I like the best (probably because of those pulsating Lalo Shiffrin scores, which I always somehow associate with “the City,” as SF is often called by the inhabitants here).
    Thanks again for posting the clip ~ great idea!
    Arno

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  9. Anonymous

    October 23, 2008 at 4:09 am

    Dear Crew: I don't “bet on blondes” — I just keep marrying them! Sir Ivanhoe.

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  10. Anonymous

    October 23, 2008 at 4:13 am

    HA! Good one Sir Knight !!!
    Arno

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  11. Anonymous

    October 23, 2008 at 4:38 am

     
  12. Anonymous

    October 23, 2008 at 4:49 am

    I am getting my hands on a copy of DON'T BET ON BLONDES in the near future (DVD-r). Who wants one?

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  13. Anonymous

    October 23, 2008 at 4:51 am

    A good vintage poster, David, but let's face it, that's not a very accurate image of him – he does look a bit weasely there, doesn't he?
    You can see from the clip that he was much better looking than that. ~
    A.

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  14. Anonymous

    October 25, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Me me me me me! Even though this beholder's faulty set of eyes still sees the lead as a mite weasely, as the poster seems to support.
    R

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  15. Anonymous

    October 25, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Two other outstanding early William efforts I neglected to mention are “Employee's Entrance” and “Upperworld.” Last night I happened to watch “Upperworld” – a fascinating pre-code with William and a very young Ginger Rogers. And once again, he was superb. A female friend of mind said that his smile was one of the sexiest she'd ever seen. And Lord, that voice! People often call his screen image “patrician,” yet without being aloof. Anyone interested in him should head over to John McElwee's awesome site The Greenbrian Picture Shows – greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com…
    In real life William was a true gentleman – married to the same woman almost his whole life, and quite an inventor, with a number of patents after his name. He was the man, for instance, who invented the lawn vacuum! To me the image on the “Don't Bet on Blondes” poster reminds me more of Jack Cassidy, or even Zachary Scott, than William. And if William was weasely-looking, then I wish I had some of that weasel blood in my ancestry!

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  16. Anonymous

    October 25, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    When I hear that someone is a true gentleman and devoted to his spouse, my estimation of him increases. Warren William is far less weasely to me now!
    Thanks,
    R

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  17. Anonymous

    October 25, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Will send off a copy to you as soon as it arrives here, Chum! Just waiting on the mails… will let you know when it gets to me!

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  18. Anonymous

    October 25, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Arno! Thanks for the Greenbrian Picture Shows link! I am headed there now! And I agree the poster doesn't do William justice. It seems to be a nudge toward Barrymore (“The Great Profile”) in style but I suppose it could be argued that William had a passing similarity in that regard to John Barrymore. Thanks for the detail on William. I recall that Alan Hale was an inventor, as well – with a few patents, including the movie seat that flips up when you stand in every movie theatre in America!

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  19. Anonymous

    October 26, 2008 at 3:57 am

    Robert,
    I'm sure he would say the same to you !!!
    A.

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  20. Anonymous

    October 26, 2008 at 6:15 am

    A gentleman and a scholar you are, my dear sir!
    R

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