Friday, October 30, 2015

Interview - "Why Genevieve Tobin Has Never Married"

Tobin's love life is a fascination for me. Her One Hour with You and Pleasure Cruise are embodiments of free love that that seem to contradict Tobin's own experiences in the dating field. Though how far is still up for investigation.

This article, from Movie Classic, discusses the impossibly high standards Tobin has for a husband. This includes, "the virility of Clark Gable, the intelligence of Leslie Howard, the dignity of Clive Brook, and, if I may say so, the sheer nerve of James Cagney." I'm sure another few film bloggers I know would add an 'amen' to that.

But Tobin doesn't stop there. The man she wants should be 1. rich, 2. not a doctor, 3. not an actor less famous than her, 4. a church-goer (denomination unlisted), 5. be able to play golf, tennis, and polo, 6. read good books, 7. drink fine wine, 8. have traveled the world, 9. like kidneys, 10. hate eggplants, 11. drink champagne, 12. cook, 13. be a Garbo fan, 14. not eat before bed, 15. not read before bed, 16. not be a fortune hunter., 17. live in England, 18. tall, 19. dark, and 20. very strong. Not exactly aiming for lowest common denominator here.

There are nice little asides that reveal some stuff I didn't know. One is that Tobin plays the harp (!). Another is that she preferred pajamas over nightgowns-- more power to her, I suppose.

Another bit goes into the actress' appreciation for Garbo,

This part may be more revealing than the rest of it, since it speaks to a certain amount of standards and judiciousness. When Tobin admits later in the article that she's a snob, that should come as no surprise-- she has high taste and high expectations. It fits in perfectly. 

I also learned, besides George and Vivian, Tobin had another sibling, a brother whose name I have yet to discover. Interesting.

The last interesting bit is that she wanted two children. This never happened, so I wonder whether it was Keighley or something else that changed.

Speaking of whom, this article was published in mid-1932. Two years later and she'd meet her future husband.



Hall, Gladys. (August 1932). "Why Genevieve Tobin Has Never Married." Movie Classic. p. 56, 81, 82.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Review - Broadway Hostess (1935)

Broadway Hostess (1935)

Starring: Lyle Talbot, Wini Shaw, Genevieve Tobin, and Allen Jenkins
Director: Frank McDonald
Studio: Warner Bros./Vitaphone/First National
Release Date: December 1935
"All women are the same, especially where men are concerned." 
Broadway Hostess can be categorically summed up as a bad idea. As a film, I wouldn't be surprised if it were made up as it went along.

Lyle Talbot plays a small time talent man named Lucky who stumbles upon Winnie (Shaw) one day auditioning for a nightclub part. She's fresh off the bus and has the knack, so the two ride each other's coattails to success. The problem is that Winnie loves Lucky, but he's too preoccupied with success to even notice.

Part of that success involves him falling in love with Iris (Tobin), the daughter of a wealthy tycoon. She has a bum brother named Ronnie (Donald Moss) who drinks, gambles, and hates those damnable lower class people something fierce.

Iris could probably be considered a bit of a snob herself, because she turns down lucky when he proposes marriage. (Notably after she somehow gives him a black eye in a game of badminton.) However, considering she tells him that it's often like they don't speak the same language and he doesn't understand that, it's safe to say her fears are probably founded.

Lucky grows incensed and vengeful. OH, HE'LL MARRY HER ALRIGHT. So he opens a gambling parlor and tricks her brother into losing tens of thousands of dollars to him. (This is never explicitly stated, but considering we see Lucky's best pal, Fishcake (Jenkins), fooling around with loaded dice, it isn't a stretch.) Through a serious of improbable events, an improbable conclusion occurs where Iris and Lucky do end up marrying. The implication is that Iris marries him out of either guilt or to save her brother from being arrested, but, again, this isn't addressed and the marriage is instantly blissful.

Winnie, meanwhile, lost all of her money trying to help Lucky out from a short jail sentence. To help her make it back, Lucky puts on a Broadway show and casts her. Ronnie, cut off from his money, shoots Lucky during intermission of the play's opening night. He's rushed to the hospital, but the show must go on-- apparently. Winnie is too distraught to continue, much to the audience's surprise-- Why would this woman become upset after someone was shot?

For being called Broadway Hostess, not much of its runtime is devoted to Winnie's story. Shaw, whose biggest success came the same year singing "The Lullaby of Broadway" in The Gold Diggers of 1935, seems to be front and center to cash in. She gets a few numbers to sing throughout, and while some of the choreography is inventive, they're definitely cheap compared to Busby Berkeley's output. Surprisingly, this film is actually Oscar nominated for one of Shaw's songs, which I guess means there must not have been a lot of competition for that year.

Compared to Tobin's other films of 1935-- actually compared to most other films in general, Broadway Hostess is step down.


Movie Classic said, "it lacks vitality."

Not that this movie was unappreciated by everyone not entranced by Winnie Shaw, but here's a pull quote found in Film Bulletin:

Screenshot Gallery


This film is currently unavailable, but shows occasionally on Turner Classic Movies.

"And this is..." "Fishcake Carter!" "... yes."

Friday, October 23, 2015

Review - The Woman in Red (1935)

The Woman in Red (1935)

Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Gene Raymond, Genevieve Tobin, and John Eldridge
Director: Robert Florey
Studio: Warner Bros./Vitaphone/First National
Release Date: February 1935
"I like my blue ribbons."
Tobin is back in villain mode for The Woman in Red, a rather silly drama about the lower class and upper class mixing with rather unremarkable results. Despite the usually-fiery presence of the great Barbara Stanwyck, the plot is rote and emotions barely delve beneath surface level.

Niko (Tobin) is a wealthy widow whose habits include collecting ponies and polo players. One player in particular is Johnny (Raymond), who has a roving eye. He catches sight of Niko's winning horse wrangler Shelby (Stanwyck) and gives chase. Shelby likes Niko doesn't mind being pushed around so long as she gets to spend times with the horses, but the gleeful pursuit of Shelby by Johnny unravels everything.

Shelby and Johnny run off to elope, putting both in Niko's bad graces. Before they make it back to Johnny's old money relatives on Long Island, Niko's already sent them the news and the whole family unites against Shelby.

Shelby's more enterprising than that and suggests taking Johnny's old derelict stables and refurbishing them to start a business. They lack the funds, though, and Shelby must ask old friend and new money man Gene (Eldridge) to front the money. Things grow complicated as Niko spreads rumors that Shelby and Gene are an item. Then a fateful cruise sees Shelby tied up in a (ludicrous) murder trial.

I'm probably going to get some flack for this, but Tobin is easily the film's best part. Though shaky at first, the finale, where she's slowly turning the screws into Shelby's psychological morass, is a malicious delight. It's the only part of the movie that captures the emotional turmoil Shelby is constantly subjected to with any sort of texture.

Tobin herself plays her nastiness with a a curled lip and an almost permanent sinister smile. She doesn't portray Niko as dumb, but as charming and generous, making her villainous intentions towards our heroine even more domineering. Tobin is even the subject of one of Stanwyck's trademark fiery speeches as Shelby warns Niko against spreading rumors. Letting it slide off, Tobin smiles and makes it out alive.

The only thing besides Tobin worth noting is the costume design. Besides the unfortunate doily Tobin wears in the picture above, both she and Stanwyck are treated to a number of fabulous gowns and outfits. Tobin's fox hunt outfit on display at the end of the picture (and at the top of the review) is especially sexy, giving her a masculine edge over Shelby as she relentlessly hounds her.

The movie is pretty bunk, though, and blends all too readily in with a lot of other cheap dramas of the time. The courtroom finale is about as cheap and unbelievable as you'll get for a movie of this time, with Johnny's character having seemingly read the script and resigned himself to it. Stanwyck is fine (is Stanwyck ever not?), and Gene Raymond is alright for what he is. There's just not enough at work here to make it very memorable.


Rated for mature audiences in the National Board of Review.

Film Bulletin really hammers on the film, calling it "pretty dull stuff." Its capsule review summed it up as "stupid and uninteresting."

The Educational Screen rates it as, "Hardly wholesome."

Movie Classic dissents from the rest, praising Gene Raymond and calling the film, "a good piece of entertainment."

Screenshot Gallery



The Woman in Red is available on Warner Archive DVD. You can purchase it from Amazon here.

"Not that I'm apologizing, you understand." "Oh, I understand."