Rupert Pupkin Speaks: WAC'd Out Sets: Warren William Triple ""

Saturday, June 22, 2013

WAC'd Out Sets: Warren William Triple

I love me some Warren William and he's another underrated star I've discovered via many Warner Archive releases. Thought it would be timely to check out three more of his films I was unfamiliar with the recent release of WAC's Forbidden Hollywood Vol. 7(which features TWO of William's great efforts in EMPLOYEES ENTRANCE and SKYSCRAPER SOULS).

DON'T BET ON BLONDES(1935; Robert Florey)
When deciding which of the three featured films to watch first, I have to admit that Claire Dodd's presence in this one helped it win the day. Guy Kibbee being third billed certainly gave it a boost in my estimation as well(because he is awesome). here, Warren William plays a big time gambler known as "Odds" Owen. He is reputed to be the biggest bookmaker in New York, a man who basically sets the odds on almost any sporting event and has a bustling "investments" firm. "Odds" is a man who knows all the angles and prides himself on it. He even has lackeys with monikers like "Numbers" and "Brains" helping him stay on top. But after enough shady dealings and so forth, Odds decides gambling isn't his line anymore and that he'd prefer the more 'legitimate' insurance racket. He takes to offering outlandish policies along the lines of Lloyds of London. Enter the Dame(Claire Dodd) and her father, The Colonel(Guy Kibbee - sporting some facial hair a la KFC's The Colonel). The Colonel would do anything to see his daughter not married to a certain gentlemen and an old enemy of Odds' decides to capitalize on that. He sparks the idea in the Colonel that perhaps he should seek an Odds policy insuring against his daughter's marriage. Hijinks therein ensue.
A youthful Errol Flynn gets in on the festivities.

TIMES SQUARE PLAYBOY(1936; William McGann)
Film based on a play by George M. Cohan(who James Cagney notoriously played in YANKEE DOODLE DANDY), sees Warren William as Vic Arnold, a big deal New York stockbroker who invites an old friend(Gene Lockhart) from his home town of Big Ben to be the best man in his upcoming wedding. When his pal arrives and partakes of Vic's big-city lifestyle, he sees it more and more as unbecoming of the man he used to know. Vic's bride to be is a twenty-something nightclub songstress and his in-laws are leaching money off of him. Lockhart's character throws several hissy fits and becomes indignant with both Vic and his in-laws and it's unfortunately mostly rather tepid - lots and lots of bickering.

THE WOMAN FROM MONTE CARLO(1932; Michael Curtiz)
My Curtiz appreciated level has skyrocketed over the past few years. Sure I was aware of him and the most renowned of his classic film efforts, but it's been a true joy to dig into some of his lesser known/appreciated work. He also plays well with Mr. Warren William(see THE CASE OF THE CURIOUS BRIDE as an example) even though this is just as much a Walter Huston picture. Actress Lil Dagover is also in the mix here too. The plot revolves around two French Naval officers during WWI. The Commandant(Walter Huston) is about to take his ship off to war but allows once last farewell gala on board, inviting all the sailor's wives and so forth to join in. He sends his Lieutenant(Warren William) with a note, inviting his wife(Lil Dagover) to the festivities. When the Lieutenant arrives with the note, it's made clear right away that he and the Commandant's wife are having an affair of sorts. Thus, we have all the ingredients for an old school WB melodrama. Not Curtiz's best by any means, but watching Walter Huston and Warren William in almost anything is nonetheless darned engaging.

 This set is available as MOD DVDs via Warner Archive: HERE

1 comment:

Cliff Aliperti said...

This set was a huge disappointment for Warren fans at the time of its release, but since that time we've been semi-placated by the various Forbidden Hollywood sets and the Perry Mason set, so it's not as insulting as it once was. Still, while I'm so glad these movies are available (and DON'T BET ON BLONDES is a goodie!), I would hate for anyone who's just heard about Warren William to make the reasonable assumption that a 'Warren William Collection' must feature some of his best movies--these are are about as far from that as possible.