This Week's Revivals
By Richard von Busack
Lady for a Day/Ladies of Leisure
(1933/1930) An early Frank Capra comedy about an elderly apple seller (May Robson) who puts on a charade to convince her daughter she's actually a millionairess; some typical Damon Runyon gangsters (including Warren Williams) lend their talents to help. BILLED WITH Ladies of Leisure. Kay (Barbara Stanwyck) covers the waterfront, but not as a journalist; rich aspiring artist Jerry (Ralph Graves) takes her home, where he proposes to use her as his model for his painting of the figure of Hope. The result was the biggest hit in tiny Columbia Pictures then-history, and a huge boost in the prestige of Stanwyck, who was still a brunette at the time of this picture. Also starring the spectacularly ill-fated actress Marie Provost (see Nick Lowe or Hollywood Babylon) and Lowell Sherman as a wastrel—he was good at rotters, Sherman; S.J. Perelman commented that there must have been someone backstage spraying him with fungicide to keep the mushrooms from sprouting on him. (Plays Nov 3–6 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.) (RvB)
The Power of the Press/Hemo the Magnificent
(1928/1957) When a newspaper accuses a girl of murder, a cub reporter (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) has to use the newspapers to save her. The highlight of this Frank Capra film, according to Capra scholar Joseph McBride, is a procedural scene showing how a newspaper story goes from scratches on a reporter's pad to every newsboy in town. Released Oct. 31, 1927. BILLED WITH Hemo the Magnificent. What the more ambitious television looked like 50 years ago. Made for the Bell Telephone Hour by Capra, this is a kind of neoclassical bit about Hemo, the god of blood, defying puny mortals' comprehension of how the circulatory system works. Richard (Creature From the Black Lagoon) Carlson, and celebrity pedant Dr. Frank Baxter dispute the god's contention, using animation to illustrate our bloodstreams. Shamus Culhane's Talking Animals and Other People describes working on this with Capra, saying that Capra had more experience with animation than any director he knew about. Chris Elliot at the Stanford's Wurlitzer. (Plays Nov 2 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.) (RvB)
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