A NIGHT AT EARL CARROLL’S
1940, Universal, 62 min, USA, Dir: Kurt Neumann

Perhaps Hollywood's most glamorous club ever, the Earl Carroll Theatre stood on the southeast corner of Sunset and Vine - an Art Deco palace emblazoned with cement slab movie star autographs (much like Grauman's Chinese) and a huge neon sign of dancer Beryl Wallace surrounded by the incantation “Through These Portals Pass the Most Beautiful Girls in the World.” Released one week after FANTASIA, this musical stars Ken Murray with Rose Hobart, plus radio stars Brenda & Cobina (Blake Steward and Elvia Allman) and songs by Hobart, William Brady, Mary Lou Cook, Lillian Cornell and an old vaudeville dance by Lela Moore. The thin plot revolves around Earl Carroll (playing himself) being kidnapped by mobsters at a mayor's convention. A glorious artifact for those with an interest in the revival of burlesque!


DEAD RECKONING
1947, Sony Repertory, 100 min, Dir: John Cromwell

Colonel Humphrey Bogart knows something’s fishy when his best friend, Sergeant Johnny Drake (William Prince), jumps off his train rather than continue on his way to receive a much-publicized Medal of Honor. Bogart follows his trail to Gulf City, only to find his pal burnt to a crisp on a morgue slab. Things can only go downhill from there. Before long, other bodies pile up, and Bogart does some fancy footwork to keep out of a murder frame. The twisted clues lead to Johnny’s bewitching sweetheart Cora (Lizabeth Scott), smooth casino operator Martinelli (Morris Carnovsky) and sadistic thug Krause (Marvin Miller). A passel of contradictory stories point to a number of guilty parties, and Bogart has to think fast to figure out who he can trust - or he may end up like his dead buddy.


BLUEBEARD’S EIGHTH WIFE
1938, Universal, 85 min, USA, Dir: Ernst Lubitsch

Gary Cooper plays multimillionaire Michael Brandon, who changes wives as if they were underwear (or, in this case, pajama tops) until he marries the daughter (Claudette Colbert) of an impoverished marquis. As lucrative as divorce would be, the young woman is determined to be the final Mrs. Brandon. Director Ernst Lubitsch’s first pairing with the Charles Brackett-Billy Wilder writing team was a match made in heaven.


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