erik lundegaard

Wednesday September 02, 2020

‘Young Film Comer to Have Lead Role in Public Enemy’

No, the other one. The clip is from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 8, 1930.

A few corrections to Louella Parsons' scoop:

  • It's not Kubic Glass but Kubec Glasmon, nee J.J. Glassman, a former Chicago druggist and bootlegger
  • He didn't write “His Honor, Bill Thompson”; that was Bright alone
  • Bright's title is actually “Hizzoner Big Bill Thompson”; it was an attack on the Chicago politician; apparently Thompson sued
  • I don't know how smart these boys were but they were certainly going for their chance
  • Archie Mayo may have been Zanuck's choice to direct but it went to William Wellman

The biggest change, of course, is that after initial filming, the lead role and the secondary role switched actors, and a star was born.

Who gets credit for the switch? Everyone's certainly taken it: Zanuck, Bright, Jack Warner. Dismiss Warner out of hand. My best guess is Wellman. I just wish they'd switched the kid actors, too, so the short kid who looks like Cagney, Frankie Darro, wouldn't grow up to be Woods. I guess that stuff was already in the can? Wonder when they began filming and when the switch was made. The movie was released May 15, 1931. Bright and Glasmon got an Oscar nom for best story.

I guess I'll have to see “Mother's Cry” one of these days, to see what they saw in Woods; to see if it was more than what we saw in “Public Enemy.” He only made a total of 12 pictures, the last in 1938. From IMDb:

Eventually [Woods] went into producing, directing and stage management, working with the Schubert Organization and 20th Century Fox. During WWII, he worked with Ronald Reagan making training films for the U.S Army. He retired in 1975, and moved to Salt Lake City.

For more on Parsons, see Peter Bogdanovich's “The Cat's Meow.”

ADDENDUM: I did wind up seeing “Mothers Cry.” I didn't see what they saw in Woods.

Posted at 03:18 PM on Wednesday September 02, 2020 in category Movies  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard