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Cinecon 46 in Pictures

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Cinecon 46 took place over Labor day weekend from Thursday September 2 to Monday September 6 2010. We showed some wonderful films, talked to some great guests and generally had a lot of fun. Here's a recap of the event with pictures.

Thursday Day 1

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After a busy morning of setting up their displays most of the dealers at the Renaissance hotel were ready for the 1:00 open of the memorabilia show. This gave film fans a chance to shop for movie memorabilia before registration tables opened at 5:00.

With several large rooms full of film collectibles like DVDs, books, vintage posters, lobby cards, and stacks of classic stills it's always easy to find something of interest.


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One of the sponsors of Cinecon 46 was the Warner Archive Collection. Besides their Saturday morning presentation they also had a table set up in the registration area for the entire weekend to meet our members, hand out their new DVD catalogs and answer questions about the archive.

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Our members also had the opportunity to add their names to a mailing list for the archive and anyone signing up was entered in a special sweepstakes to win free DVDs.

As the 5 o'clock hour approached more and more people gathered in the registration area.

They had the chance to visit with friends from across the country that they only see once a year at Cinecon.

Also on hand in the registration area was our first author of the weekend.

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Brent Walker brought his highly anticipated new tome, Mack Sennettís Fun Factory, A History and Filmography of His Studio and His Keystone and Mack Sennett Comedies, with Biographies of Players and Personnel.   The large hardcover book is considered by many to be the most comprehensive book ever written on Sennett and his studio with 671 pages and 280 pictures. To find out more about Brent's book go to his mack sennett blog site or to buy a copy visit www.mcfarlandpub.com.

Later in the evening Brent would be over at the Egyptian theater to introduce the Sennett comedy film DOWN ON THE FARM.

People finally formed a line as the volunteers brought out the registration packets. They were a little late in setting up but they made up for it as the crack staff worked through the line quickly.

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The pre-registration envelopes contained the film schedule, a registration badge and the 28-page program which was full of great information about each film. They also contained a flyer about special programs at the hotel on Friday and Saturday and, imageif you were wise enough to take advantage Cinecon 46 program  image of the full pre-registration discount, you also received your celebrity banquet ticket. As Cinecon regulars know these banquet tickets usually sell out early. This year people found something extra clipped to the flap of their envelopes. image      It was a small red ticket for a prize drawing to take place as part of our new Saturday at the Bijou program.

As soon as our members received their programs they began planning their weekend viewing.

 

As 7:00 approached a people began heading down Hollywood Blvd. to the historic Egyptian where the weekend's screenings were slated to take place in the 600 seat Lloyd E. Rigler theatre.



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In the theater lobby Cinecon officers Stan Taffel and Bob Birchard flank a reproduction of the Wednesday (September 1, 2010) Los Angeles Times article about Cinecon. Author Susan King gave our show a great write up and we wanted to make sure that everyone got a chance to see it.

Then inside the theater Stan and Bob are joined by fellow Cinecon officer Jim Harwood to open Cinecon

They also wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of all of the special programs that we had planned for the weekend.

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We opened the weekend with an early 3-strip Technicolor short DINNER FOR EIGHT (1934). The film was made for the Chicago World's Fair to display the wonders of the modern electric kitchen. The plot is simple, it's late afternoon and hubby calls to let his wife know that he's bringing 6 people home with him for dinner. His unflappable wife takes the news in stride and thanks to her modern all electric kitchen she's able to prepare a great meal with plenty of time to spare. This short was recently restored and this was the first time that it's been publicly screened in over 70 years


Our first feature was KING OF BURLESQUE (1936) a backstage musical staring Warner Baxter, Jack Oakie, and past Cinecon honoree Alice Faye. Baxter plays a producer of Burlesque shows who tries to make it as a Broadway producer leaving his past and his girlfriend Alice behind. He becomes successful for a while but when career takes a downturn Alice comes back and saves him. The film also includes a performance by jazz great Fats Waller.

To celebrate the recent publication of Brent Walker's new book on the Mack Sennett studios we decided to show a rarely-screened feature length Sennett film from 1921, DOWN ON THE FARM. It starred Louise Fazenda, Marie Prevost, Phyllis Haver, James Finlayson and Teddy the Wonder dog. It was light on plot but had plenty of laughs. Evil landlord Finlayson will foreclose on the farm unless farmer's daughter Fazenda agrees to marry him. Brent Walker introduced the film.

image David Stenn was on hand to introduce a trio of shorts from the VOICE OF HOLLYWOOD series. These star studded little films were structured more or less like a radio show. They always had a host, they answered questions sent in by the audience and there's always at least one musical number. Thirty-nine of these early sound shorts were produced from 1930 to 1932 and only 23 are known to have survived. These films have not been seen publically since their original release. The first one we saw showed President Coolidge, Mack Sennett, Mary Pickford and others. The 2nd was hosted by Marjorie White from an airborne blimp with a flyover of Hollywood in 1931. Jack Benny was featured in the 3rd film.

We rounded out the evening with the pre-code I LIKE IT THAT WAY (1934), starring Gloria Stuart and Roger Pryor. Stuart is a slightly risque nightclub entertainer but her boyfriend thinks she has a respectable day job. When his sister gets a job in the same nightclub (against his wishes) he finds out the truth about Gloria.



Cinecon 46 in Pictures

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Friday Day 2

A Technicolor George Pal Puppetoon, RHAPSODY IN WOOD (1947), opened the Friday morning session. In the short musician Woody Herman relates a fanciful story of how his clarinet came to be acted out by the puppetoon characters.

Every year we try to include a few better known titles among our rare and long unseen films. Something our members may have seen before but would love to see again and the MGM comedy BOMBSHELL (1933) falls into that category. The all-star cast is headed by Jean Harlow and Lee Tracy and includes a host of actors from the MGM stable: Frank Morgan, Franchot Tone, Una Merkel, Ted Healy, C. Aubrey Smith and many more. In this fast paced spoof of Hollywood stardom Harlow plays a big movie star with a hectic private life full of deadbeat family members, a dishonest staff and a conniving studio publicity man (Tracy) who won't give her a moment's peace.

Meanwhile over at the Renaissance hotel fans gathered for the first special program of the weekend:
THE LOST REMAKE OF BEAU GESTE.

image After Paramount Pictures completed their 1939 version of P.C.Wrenís classic tale of the Foreign Legion, Beau Geste they abandoned the Fort Zinderneuf set, built in the desert near Yuma, Arizona, rather than spend the money to dismantle it. When some enterprising students from San Diego State got wind of the abandoned fort they imagetrotted out to the desert to make their own parody of the film using the Paramount set! After it was finished Paramount found out about the unauthorized production and they ordered all copies of it destroyed.

Film historian Frank Thompson stumbled on the story of this student film while doing research on the Foreign Legion for a documentary. He found it so intriguing that he tracked down two of the students who made the film. They shared the whole story, along with photos and news clippings, with him. They also provided him with a copy of the "lost" film! Frank thought others might enjoy hearing this tale of student initiative as much as he did so he put this program together. The program also included an unprecedented screening of the long suppressed amateur film which has not been seen in public for nearly 70 years.

Meanwhile back at the theater we showed a silent Western TENNESSEE'S PARDNER (1916), based on Bret Harte's classic short story. and starring Fannie Ward and Jack Dean. The melodrama was about a young orphan girl named Tennessee and most of the story's action takes place when she goes to claim her share of the gold mine

Serious collectors of movie memorabilia had been shopping in the dealers' rooms all morning but with a lunch break in the film schedule the rooms got even busier

Besides a great selection of collectibles shoppers also had the chance to buy some personally autographed books.

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Throughout the weekend authors of film related books turned out for our Cinecon Book Fair to autograph and sell copies of their books. The Book Fair was set up in the entry area to the dealers' rooms at the Renaissance Hotel.

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Actor Robert Dix was on hand to sign copies of his autobiography Out of Hollywood. Robert is the son of famed silent and talkie star Richard Dix so people in the movie business were always part of his life. Robert began his own acting career when MGM signed him to a long-term contract when he was eighteen. He appeared in many TV shows and films including the MGM classic Forbidden Planet.

To find out more about Robert's career or to buy a copy of his book visit his website www.robertdix.com

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We were honored to have the well-respected film historian and prolific author Anthony Slide on hand to sign copies his latest book, Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A History of Star Makers, Fabricators, and Gossip Mongers. The well-researched book charts the development of the fan magazine from its start in 1911 through the golden years of the 1920s and 30s to its decline in the 1960s and afterward. Slide discusses how the fan magazines dealt with gossip and innuendo, and how they handled issues such as Hollywood scandals of the 1920s, World War II, the blacklist.

To order a copy of the book visit Amazon.com and to read more about Tony visit his website at www.anthonyslide.com.

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Annette D'Agostino Lloyd brought her latest book Harold Lloyd - Magic in a Pair of Horn-Rimmed Glasses. Annette is a long time Lloyd fan and has written several books and essays on her favorite subject. This new book focuses on the qualities of the man behind the glasses and is full of new facts and photos that have never been published before. Click here to buy a copy of the book. Annette also created the world's first website dedicated to Harold Lloyd and has maintained it for over 15 years. Follow this link www.haroldlloyd.us to take a look.

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Our dear friend Marsha Hunt has been in films since she made her debut in 1935 at the age of 17. Before becoming an actress the fashionable Ms. Hunt worked as a Powers model in New York. In her book The Way We Wore: Styles of the 1930s and '40s and Our World Since Then she chronicles fashion trends of the era. This coffee table book is loaded with over 500 beautiful pictures from her private collection. They feature Marsha wearing fashions of the day in studio publicity shots, wardrobe tests and from photo spreads for magazines. To find out how to get a copy of the book visit Amazon.com.

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image Another long time Cinecon friend author Diana Serra Cary started out life as a child star in silent films under the name Baby Peggy. Like most child stars her acting career ended when grew up. So as an adult she turned her talents to the book publishing business and then she started writing. She's written several books including Hollywood's Children, Jackie Coogan The World's Boy King and her own autobiography What Ever Happened to Baby Peggy?. You can read more about her books at the BearManor Media website or visit her Baby Peggy Facebook page.

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Author Donna Hill (left, with fellow Valentino fan Stella Grace) retells the story of Valentinoís life using a treasure trove of rare photos. Rudolph Valentino: The Silent Idol His Life in Photographs draws from the authorís extensive collection and those of generous fellow collectors and archives, most of the stunning images in this volume have not been seen since the 1920's; many have never been released publicly until now. To find out more about the book or order a copy go to www.blurb.com. Donna also maintains her own Valentino website www.rudolph-valentino.com.

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Manny Pacheco is a radio and television personality from Southern California whose career has spanned over three decades. Long time classic film fan Manny makes his first visit to Cinecon with his new book Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. The book focuses on the character actors and actresses that consistently delivered stellar performances, and it offers a bold fresh new take of our collective past. To find out more about Manny's book visit his website at www.forgottenhollywood.com

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If you missed your favorite author you could always check out the large selection of books at the Hollywood Heritage table. They carried a variety of titles, many autographed by the authors, and the money from the sale of those books goes back to the not-for-profit group Hollywood Heritage, an organization dedicated to the preservation of historic Hollywood.

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The afternoon session started with the comedy short THE PEPPERY SALT (Columbia, 1935). Andy Clyde thinks he's inheriting a ship called the Peppery Salt but it's actually a lunch counter.

Up next was the classic campus comedy THE FRESHMAN (1925) starring Harold Lloyd and Jobyna Ralston and directed by Fred Newmeyer and Sam Taylor. This is one of Harold Lloyd's best and even though it's available on DVD we still had a large turn out to see this great film in 35mm on the big screen.

A special guest at the screening was Lloyd's granddaughter Suzanne Lloyd. She heads Harold Lloyd Entertainment, Inc.

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Bob Birchard interviewed Ms. Lloyd before the film.

Suzanne grew up living with her grandparents on the family estate, Green Acres. Mr. Lloyd owned the rights to all of his film and was very protective of them and his on screen image. When he died he left his granddaughter in charge of this film legacy.

She talked briefly about how that legacy is maintained and shared through Harold Lloyd Entertainment. To learn more about Harold Lloyd and his films you can visit www.haroldlloyd.com.

After the film Suzanne posed for a picture with Stan and Bob.

We'd like to thank Suzanne Lloyd, Harold Lloyd Entertainment and the UCLA Film and Television Archive for providing us with a great print of this fun film.

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Meanwhile back at the hotel we had our next special program.

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We used the publication of cartoon historian Jerry Beck's new book, THE 100 GREATEST LOONEY TUNES CARTOONS, as an excuse to show a bunch of great cartoons.

Jerry talked about the selection process used to pick the cartoons for his book and hosted an interesting Q & A afterward.

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If you're an animation fan be sure to visit Jerry's comprehensive and informative website and blog on the subject www.cartoonresearch.com and www.cartoonbrew.com.image

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Next up over at the Egyptian was a celebrity screening.

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The warm and entertaining musical comedy THIS IS THE LIFE (1935) was introduced by Cinecon staffer Bryan Cooper.

It's a nice little story of orphan Jane Withers who has become a stage star but is being exploited by her adopted parents who want to cash in on her talent. She meets and befriends a man, John J. McGuire, who is on the run for a crime he didnít commit, When he goes out on the road she follows leaving her unhappy life behind her. During their travels join up with traveling showmen Sidney Toler and Francis Ford.

In attendance at the screening was the star of the film, and one of our favorite child actors, Jane Withers. Bryan briefly interviewed the irrepressible Ms. Withers before the start of the film.

After a cheerful "Howdy everybody" Jane's first comments were about the theater itself. She had great memories of coming to the Egyptian as a kid in the 1930s with all of her friends and sitting up in the balcony.

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She went on to say that she was a great fan of Cinecon and wanted to thank everyone, including the volunteers, who were connected with putting on our show. She said that she appreciated all of the great work that we do to make these vintage films accessible to the public.

Jane, as lively as ever, had fun with Bryan.

Bryan asked her if she had any special memories of making the film. She spoke about working with her co-star Johnny McGuire, what a joy he was to work with and how wonderful he was in the part. When she started talking about Francis Ford and Sidney Toler it reminded her of Toler's Charlie Chan films.

She admitted that she was on the set of the Chan films a lot and during one of those visits she saw a beautiful dancer in one of the scenes.

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Jane was very impressed with the women and decided that she would be great in a big part that was available in Jane's next film. She went to the casting director and persuaded the man to arrange a screen test for the woman. When the casting director saw the test he agreed that she was wonderful and gave her the part in Paddy O'Day. That woman was Rita Hayworth. During the film Rita and Jane became good friends and remained friends until Rita's death.

Then, even though the audience wanted to hear more from Jane it was time to start the film.

In an "only at Cinecon" moment, right after a scene in the film where Jane's character uses a sling shot we heard her voice ring out from the audience with, "I still have that sling shot." That comment got a bigger laugh than the scene in the film.

As we said before, she's one of our favorite people. We love Jane Withers!

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Leading into the dinner hour we showed two shorts featuring actress Louise Currie. Ms. Currie was in the audience with her daughter, Sharon Becket.

The comedy shorts were both from the 1940s and Louise enjoyed seeing her films back up on the big screen.

In the first short, His Wedding Scare, (1943), co-starring El Brendel, Louise marries El but he has a hard time being alone with her because she's so pretty that they are constantly being interrupted by her old boyfriends and ex-husbands

In Tireman, Spare My Tires (1942), starring silent comedy legend Harry Langdon, she's a runaway heiress who ends up hitching a ride with Harry while trying to get away from her father.

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After the screenings Louise was interviewed by Stan. He asked how she got into films.

While she was attending college in New York she was approached by a big modeling agency to be a model. She ended up doing some work for them but she didn't care much for it because she said while you're modeling you're not really expressing yourself, you're just sitting there looking pretty.

After college she moved to California and started taking acting classes. She was approached several times by casting directors who wanted to hire her but she turned them down because she didn't want to take any jobs until she felt she was ready for them.

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Early in her film career she was called into Columbia studio head Harry Cohen's office. In the meeting he said he liked her work and wanted to put her under contract. When she turned him down he got very angry at her.

But she had already decided that she didn't want to be controlled by a studio. So from that point on she just freelanced. She was in a total of 50 films, shorts and serials from her debut in 1940 until she retired in the early 50's to raise her family

Stan mentioned that she co-starred in the very popular serial, ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL. He asked her what it was like working on serials

She said it was great because you didn't have a lot of dialogue you just sort of did what they told you to do next. She also said that on a serial you were always busy unlike big films at major studios where you would do a scene and then sit and wait and wait until it was time to do another scene.

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Because Ms. Currie would be unable to attend the Sunday banquet Bob and Stan presented her with her Cinecon Career Achievement award after the interview.

A very pleased Ms. Currie and her daughter, Sharon, pose with the new award.

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After the photo session she continued to talk to fans...

... and signed lots of autographs

What a delight to share part of our afternoon with this charming lady.

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After dinner the evening session began with a beautifully restored print of the Larry Semon comedy short THE GROCERY CLERK (1919) which he also directed. He is assisted in his hijinks by Monty Banks, Lucille Carlisle, Frank Hayes and Frank Alexander. Although he was a popular star in his day Semon is little remembered today.

THE WAY OF THE STRONG (Columbia, 1928) is a little-seen Frank Capra crime melodrama about rivalry, honor and love in the underworld. Mitchell Lewis plays an ugly gangster (he hates his own appearance) who falls for a beautiful but blind street violinist (Alice Day). He moves her into a room above his speakeasy and begins to woo her. Complications occur when she wants to "see" what he looks like by touching his face and he substitutes his handsome piano player (Theodore Von Eltz) in order to hide his ugliness from her.

The witty fast-paced romantic comedy, EASY TO TAKE (Paramount, 1936) was another celebrity screening with its star, and former Cinecon honoree, Marsha Hunt in attendance. The film, co-starring John Howard and Eugene Pallette, was about the host of a kids radio show (Howard) who is unwittingly made the guardian of a bratty rich kid and executor of his estate. The cast also featured some talented child actors including our other guest for the evening, Marilyn Knowlden.

Stan opened the interview by saying that "this is the first time for many of us to have seen this film and it has probably been quite a while for you ladies."

They both admitted that they hadn't seen the film since its initial release over 70 years ago.

Then he continued by asking them what they remembered about making the film.

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Marsha admitted that she didn't remember much about the film because during the 1930s and 40's she was making 6 or 7 films a year and they started to run together. Because she didn't remember the story of the film she said that she couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next.

Of her co-star John Howard, Marsha said that she didn't remember how wonderful he was in the role. Then she remarked that he was delightful and very handsome and she did remember that they became good friends. She also praised Eugene Pallette saying that she always thought he was a great actor and was delighted that he was in the film but she wished that she had more scenes with him..

Marilyn said that she actually remembered going on the interview for the film with her father. When they asked her father if she could sing he said "no". At which point she quickly said yes she could and proved it by singing for them. They were very impressed and gave her the part.

She said that her father managed her career and in promoting her he dubbed her "The Little Girl in Big Pictures" because of the quality of films she was in. Six of her films were nominated for Best Picture Oscars.

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Marsha asked her the titles of the nominated films and she answered Little Women, Anthony Adverse, David Copperfield, Imitation of Life, Les Miserables and All This, And Heaven Too.

Stan asked Marilyn if she had any special memories of her acting career and she said not only did she have some great memories but as a matter of fact she had just finished writing her autobiography which will be titled "The Little Girl in Big Pictures."

Marilyn said that the film that she had the best memories of was Les Miserables. She was just crazy about the star Frederic March who she had many scenes with.

The other person that she loved working with on that film was the director Richard Boleslawski who was a student of method acting. He had a different style of directing than she had experienced before, he wanted her to really feel the emotion of the scene. Because of his direction she felt that she gave the best performance of her young career in that film.

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Stan asked Marsha if it was easier making films in the 1930s than the 1940s.

She said maybe it was, but she wasn't sure because it was different for her. She started at Paramount at age 17 in 1937 and had lead parts in some very enjoyable "B" pictures almost right away. They were good roles she didn't feel that they were very challenging. In 1939 she went to MGM where the types of roles changed. There were more supporting parts to begin with but in better pictures. She said that being at MGM was like opening a new door and it was a chance for her to really grow as an actress.

Stan asked several more questions to the ladies about their respective careers before he wrapped up the interview. He thanked Marsha and Marilyn for sharing their time with us.

After that it's big smiles all around for a group photo.

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Then fans gathered around to chat with the girls.

And of course there are always fans asking for autographs.

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When it's time for the next movie to start Marsha and Marilyn move out to the theater lobby where they continued to meet with fans and then they shared some one on one time chatting together.

What a delight to have two such lovely ladies to join us for the evening.

Both women would be with us at our Sunday banquet, Marsha to present a Cinecon Career Achievement award and Marilyn to receive it.

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YOU NEVER KNOW WOMEN (Paramount 1926), was a break out film for director William Wellman who received his first critical success with it. It's the story of a romantic triangle set in a Russian circus troupe with Florence Vidor torn between stoic Clive Brook and wealthy cad Lowell Sherman.

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