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Cortez Part IV: Leading Ladies and Marriage to Tragic Drug-Addicted Wife

Cortez Part IV: Leading Ladies and Marriage to Tragic Drug-Addicted Wife
Ricardo Cortez in 'Ten Cents a Dance,' with Barbara Stanwyck. No matter how unthankful the role, whether hero or heel – or, not infrequently, a combination of both – Cortez left his bedroom-eyed, mellifluous-voiced imprint in his pre-Production Code talkies. Besides Barbara Stanwyck, during the 1920s and 1930s Cortez made love to and/or life difficult for, a whole array of leading ladies of that era, including Bebe Daniels, Gloria Swanson, Betty Compson, Betty Bronson, Greta Garbo, Florence Vidor, Claudette Colbert, Mary Astor, Kay Francis, Joan Crawford, Irene Dunne, Joan Blondell, and Loretta Young*. (See previous post: “Ricardo Cortez Q&A: From Latin Lover to Multiethnic Heel.”) Not long after the coming of sound, Ricardo Cortez was mostly relegated to playing subordinate roles to his leading ladies – e.g., Kay Francis, Irene Dunne, Claudette Colbert – or leads in “bottom half of the double bill” programmers at Warner Bros. or on loan to other studios. Would
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering Cortez: Biographer Van Neste Discusses Paramount's 'Valentino Threat'

Remembering Cortez: Biographer Van Neste Discusses Paramount's 'Valentino Threat'
Ricardo Cortez: Although never as big a star as fellow 1920s screen heartthrobs Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro, and John Gilbert, Cortez had a long – and, to some extent, prestigious – film career, appearing in nearly 100 movies between 1923 and 1950. Among his directors: Allan Dwan, Cecil B. DeMille, D.W. Griffith, James Cruze, Alexander Korda, Herbert Brenon, Roy Del Ruth, Frank Lloyd, Gregory La Cava, William A. Wellman, Alexander Hall, Lloyd Bacon, Tay Garnett, Archie Mayo, Raoul Walsh, Frank Capra, Walter Lang, Michael Curtiz, and John Ford. See previous post: “Remembering Ricardo Cortez: Hollywood's Silent “Latin Lover” & Star of Original 'The Maltese Falcon'.” First of all, why Ricardo Cortez? Since I began writing about classic movies and vintage filmmakers roughly 30 years ago, people have always been curious why I choose particular subjects. It sounds kind of corny, but I have always wanted to do original work and perhaps make a minor contribution to film history at the
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

After Valentino and Before Bogart There Was Cortez: 'The Magnificent Heel' and the Movies' Original Sam Spade

After Valentino and Before Bogart There Was Cortez: 'The Magnificent Heel' and the Movies' Original Sam Spade
Ricardo Cortez biography 'The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez' – Paramount's 'Latin Lover' threat to a recalcitrant Rudolph Valentino, and a sly, seductive Sam Spade in the original film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's 'The Maltese Falcon.' 'The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez': Author Dan Van Neste remembers the silent era's 'Latin Lover' & the star of the original 'The Maltese Falcon' At odds with Famous Players-Lasky after the release of the 1922 critical and box office misfire The Young Rajah, Rudolph Valentino demands a fatter weekly paycheck and more control over his movie projects. The studio – a few years later to be reorganized under the name of its distribution arm, Paramount – balks. Valentino goes on a “one-man strike.” In 42nd Street-style, unknown 22-year-old Valentino look-alike contest winner Jacob Krantz of Manhattan steps in, shortly afterwards to become known worldwide as Latin Lover Ricardo Cortez of
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Gay Rumors Dismissed, Troubled Relationship with Wilder: Brackett Diaries Interview with Editor Slide

'Sunset Blvd.': Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond. The Charles Brackett Diaries: Gay Rumors quashed, troubled Billy Wilder partnership discussed in Q&A with Anthony Slide See previous post: “Charles Brackett Diaries: Politics and Gossip During the Studio Era.” First of all, how did you become involved in this Charles Brackett project? And what did your editorial job entail? I discovered the diaries about six years ago when I was asked by Brackett's grandson, Jim Moore, to place a financial value on them during the process of his donating them to the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It was clear to me that these diaries had not only considerable financial worth, but also, and perhaps more importantly, they were primary resources in the study of Hollywood history. Happily, Charles Brackett's family (who own the copyright) gave permission for me to edit the diaries,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Acteurism: Joel McCrea in "Business and Pleasure"

  • MUBI
The earliest Joel McCrea appearance in the “Acteurism” series features roughly fifteen minutes of screen time for the up-and-coming actor. It would be released the same year as his pivotal appearance in The Most Dangerous Game, but McCrea’s physical hesitancy and manner of speech make him appear a good ten years younger. He’d been underbilled by the enormously popular Will Rogers, appearing as a mere “with” in the poster and opening credits (though appearing above the equally huge character actor Boris Karloff, just one year after his role as Frankenstein’s monster). His role in Business and Pleasure (1932) accordingly consists of reacting to Fox Studio’s head comedic talent, a kind of “working actor” job that he’d keep accepting even at the height of his fame. Rko had experimented with McCrea as a leading man with a seven-reel Lloyd Bacon romantic drama Kept Husbands (1931), but he seemed more comfortable playing his handsome,
See full article at MUBI »

Film Review: Rare (Mistitled) Indie Produced by Star-Director DeMille

Midnight Madness’ movie lacks both ‘midnight’ and ‘madness’ (photo: Clive Brook and Jacqueline Logan in ‘Midnight Madness’) Screened at the 2014 San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Midnight Madness has a very curious title: there is no "midnight" or "madness" to be found in the film. The story’s original name, The Lion Trap, from a play by Daniel Nathan Rubin, would have been a much more appropriate title. Norma (Jacqueline Logan, best known as Mary Magdalene in Cecil B. DeMille’s The King of Kings) lives in a squalid apartment behind a shooting gallery, with her good-for-nothing father (James Bradbury). She goes to work each day as a secretary at a Diamond Broker Company, looking forward to romantic trysts with her boss, Childers (Walter McGrail). Norma takes the relationship seriously, but Childers is a schemer. When wealthy client Richard Bream (Clive Brook, best known for the Best Picture Academy Award winner
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Towards A Pure Fiction: Cecil B. DeMille

  • MUBI
Like Night of the Hunter, Tod Browning’s Freaks or Leonard Kastle’s The Honeymoon Killers, The Road to Yesterday can be ranked among the UFOs of cinema. It’s place in the heart of Cecil B. DeMille’s work proves to be in itself very distinctive. We know that, during his entire life, DeMille had virtually only one producer—Paramount (the former Famous Players Lasky)—just like Minnelli was MGM’s man and Corman American International’s. Sixty-three of his films (out of seventy) were produced at Paramount. And, oddly enough, it is among the seven outsiders, situated within a brief period from 1925 to 1931, that his best activity is to be found (I’m thinking of Madam Satan, The Godless Girl, and The Road to Yesterday)–his most audacious undertakings. To top it off, for this uncontested king of the box office, his best films were his biggest commercial failures.
See full article at MUBI »

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