Jump to content

Loving Lucy -- a look at Lucy's RKO films


Recommended Posts

The New York Post today has an interesting write up on Lucy's RKO films, which are part of the new DVD set "The Lucille Ball Comedy Collection Pt. 1."

 

I wish the authors went into greater detail about the source problems for Five Came Back holding it back from a DVD release...

 

One of Hollywood's enduring mysteries is why Lucille Ball failed to become a major movie star despite dogged efforts by the two studios where she was under long-term exclusive contract. The first was RKO, where in dozens of films Lucy rose from unbilled bits in Astaire-Rogers musicals like "Top Hat'' to featured roles in likes of "Stage Door'' (with Rogers and Hepburn) to leads in A pictures like "The Big Street'' and "Dance Girl, Dance,'' neither of which was particularly successfully.

 

All of those films, and practically all of her subsequent output at MGM, have long been available on DVD from Warner Home Video. Recently WHV's manufacturing-on-demand arm, the Warner Archive Collection, began delving into Lucy's lesser-known career as RKO's "Queen of the Bs'' to coincide with the centennial of her birth. While her best B, John Farrow's eponymous adventure film "Five Came Back'' remains unavailable because of problematic source material, nice-looking transfers of three more light-hearted programmers with Lucy were packaged as "The Lucille Ball RKO Comedy Collection.''

 

RKO Radio, as it was formally known, was part owned by RCA until the mid-1940s and devoted a lot of energy trying to turn radio personalities into big-screen attractions. The studio was particularly successful with bandleader Kay Kyser, an unlikely screen star who was supported by Lucy in his maiden effort, the delightful and not-yet-on-DVD "That's Right, You're Wrong'' (1939). RKO had less luck with baby-faced Joe Penner, whose childish persona was a big draw on radio until his premature death (at age 36) in 1941, but failed to translate to commensurate big-screen success in RKO's five attempts.

 

Penner vehicles like "Mr. Doodle Kicks Off'' and "The Day the Bookies Wept'' have seldom left the vaults in the last half century or so, but "Go Chase Yourself'' (1938) used to turn up regularly on TV because of Lucy's presence in what was her very first lead role on the big screen. She's cast as Penner's much-brighter girlfriend, who is left to sort things out when robbers steal the trailer he's won in a robbery to escape with money they've stolen from the bank where he works. Even with a cast that includes such pros as Fritz Feld and Jack Carson, Lucy and veteran comedy director Eddie Cline ("The Bank Dick'') have to work hard for laughs and finally delivers them in the wild chase finale.

 

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/movies/dvd_extra_loving_lucy_part_KxMcSDHdz4QyiMK93BTaZN#ixzz1aUXUKRiK

 

There is a lot more at the source link above.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately I don't have time to read the article in its entirety right now, but what you've shared is fantastic! I, too, would like to know what source problems (what does that even mean?) are preventing a DVD release of Five Came Back, as it is one of Lucy's best early roles, IMO. Also, I'm not often a fan of picture remakes but Five Came Back COULD be remade as a really terrific drama/thriller. Of course, a remake could also go the way of cheap, waste-your-money-on-3D flimsy horror flick, which wouldn't be too surprising. :lucyblah:

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hopefully, if they are remaking it, they're holding out on a DVD release to coincide with the remakes theatrical or home video release. I can't imagine what sort of source problems would prevent a DVD release as the print TCM uses looks perfect.

 

Mags, I assume "source problem" (in this context) to mean some of the film is in need of restoration or maybe they're missing bits and pieces.

 

 

Also? Re-make: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1325741/ And I note its categorized as "horror" whereas the '39 version is "drama/adventure." UGH.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hopefully, if they are remaking it, they're holding out on a DVD release to coincide with the remakes theatrical or home video release. I can't imagine what sort of source problems would prevent a DVD release as the print TCM uses looks perfect.

 

Mags, I assume "source problem" (in this context) to mean some of the film is in need of restoration or maybe they're missing bits and pieces.

 

 

Also? Re-make: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1325741/ And I note its categorized as "horror" whereas the '39 version is "drama/adventure." UGH.

I just read my news page on the net and it says there are ten movies that should never have been remade, guess they could include this one and list it as eleven.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...