PHOTOS, Sunday Pic
Comments 65

Sunday Pic #5: Romeo & Juliet 1934

Sent in by Petronella. The Baz and Katharine Cornell in Romeo & Juliet, 1934

R&J1

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65 Comments

  1. Hally says

    They look dreamy together – sigh, why can’t I be in a play with Basil and not stuck in school doing math?

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  2. roesbette says

    Have you read his autobiography? He admits to having affairs while still being married to Marion. Nowhere in his book does he say he wanted to become a priest.

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    • Alyssia says

      I don’t think he says anything about having affairs. The women who are mentioned are named as lovers. He dated, but he didn’t indulge in physical intimacy outside marriage.

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      • roesbette says

        What about Kitten, who after they have spent a long evening together, and they reach her flat, “made no motion to denote that I was not to follow her….” Do you think they spent the night playing Scrable? He also describes her as someone who sleeps all day and stays up all night. How would he know that unless they were living together?

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  3. Alyssia says

    This photo shows the spiritual beauty of Basil. He wanted to have been a priest and was very ascetic by nature. He disapproved of intimacy without a marriage vow which is why it’s so ridiculous to think he is that revolting character St. John. Basil wouldn’t hit policemen or be in a dirty jail. He was a beautiful enlightened human being. His brother died for his country and Basil would never have betrayed that by associating with drunk and down and outs and people like Nancy Cunard. It’s just ridiculous.

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    • Alyssia. It’s just a story it’s a made up peice of fiction.Just as anyone here could wright a story and make Basil The Lone Ranger, It cant hurt him. You and I can say he had great morals. Claude R. can say Basil was gay. But it cant hurt Basil either way. By the way I’mm on your side here. I see nothing in what I read of that story to indcate to me it was Basil. But Basil DID get arested once. When they arested the cast of The Captive. No he wasnt tossed into the drunk tank, The held the cast a bit then had them post bail and sent them home. Oh and it wasnt JUST the cast of the captive. May West got picked up that night to.There might have been others too. NY police seems to have “raided” plays they considered “Risque”. Every once in a while to show people there tax dollars at work.Is it in his book about him wanting to be a priest? Would it be around where he is talking about Judas. You have to forgive my memory of it, I havent read it sence 2008. When I moved and i cant find my copy John did ied for his country.You are quite right there.And I also find Basil to be a beautiful Human beining.And sometimes they makes mistakes too As far as Nancy Cunard goes..I hope he didnt associte with her.She realy dosent seem his type…

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  4. Roberta says

    Oh what a lovely lovely picture. I could almost cry.I know so little as yet about Basil’s stage career, but I am reading about it on his website!

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  5. Jerome says

    People have been asking why on earth wasn’t Basil cast as Romeo on the 1936 film? I’m not an especial Basil fan, but I have to admit, he was far better suited, and Howard is only a tad less embarrassing to watch than Barrymore. Even Shearer is out of her depth. I believe Thalberg originally wanted Cornell for the film and possibly Rathbone too, to both reprise their stage roles, but he was overridden by Mayer and Selznick. I like your blog by the way.

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    • roesbette says

      Actually, Howard was a much bigger star than Rathbone in 1936. Remember, he had been in Of Human Bondage in 1934 with Bette Davis, and I think may have been nominated for an Oscar. Thalberg wanted Shearer as Juliet; she was his wife, and they both saw it as a “dream role.”

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      • Jerome says

        Thanks, I’m aware Howard was a bigger star, but so was Edward G. Robinson, and he would have made a pretty terrible Romeo!

        Thalberg wanted to make a pair of movies starring Cornell – The Barretts of Wimpole Street and Romeo and Juliet. Cornell refused to be in either because she loathed movies and so Thalberg fell back on Shearer (so to speak!). This is just a fact which you can verify. I am ot sure he also wanted Rathbone to reprise Romeo, but I think it would be an insult to Thalberg’s genius not to imagine he probably appreciated BR was better casting. By the time he made R &J his star was waning as was his health, and many of his decisions were overruled by LB Mayer and Selznick, both of whom were ruthless psychopathic bastards

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    • Yes,agree.Also agree Leslie had more film star power. Got an oscar for i think Pygmalion 1938 but,Baz was more well trained classical stage-wise.Tho,Leslie was big on broadway.had 1 big Shake-Speare roll,Hamlet.I read he did not fair so well.But,unfortunately 1936 saw Geilgud’s acclaimed Hamlet come to Broadway too.So that would have been tough act to follow.I also read that Norma would have been a little uncomfortable with Baz as Romeo with his background.Her husband Thalburg was very protective of her .He would have liked Olivier but, after he Filmed As You Like It ,he felt as Gielgud and othersSkake-Speare could not be transferred on film successfully.That is til he did Henry V in 1941,.I am not saying she did not have talent.Some people felt she only had a career because of her husband .I do not feel that.
      Sorry to go on but,i luv those old British stage actors.

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      • AnnaPindurka says

        Mick LaSalle writes in his book Complicated Women that posterity has been unfair to Shearer, who was a star before she married Thalberg and did create something unique in her pre-code roles. He mentions the Divorcee as a good example. I’m not sure he explains why Shearer was later neglected in histories of the period, but I think he implies that this was because of her early retirement from film and just the lazy assumption that Thalberg would have been pushing her beyond her merits. And, reading between the lines, you imagine that an ambitious woman would always have her detractors.

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        • roesbette says

          I really enjoy Norma in the pre-codes, but actually don’t find her that interesting in her mid-to-late 30s roles, except perhaps Idiot’s Delight. In The Women, she is the complete opposite of the part in The Divorcee, willing to accept anything from her husband (including chronic infidelity) in order to get him back. Like Loretta Young, I find her much more interesting before she became a “good girl.” I find her performance in “Marie Antoinette” and “Romeo and Juliet” affected and cloying. For 30s Shakespeare adaptations, I much prefer Warner’s “Midsummer’s Night’s Dream.” ( A young Olivia deHavilland would have made a lovely Juliet.) Joe E. Brown, James Cagney, etc. as “the rustics” are a hoot and the music and black and white cinematography are gorgeous.

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          • Well I’ll probly get shoes thrown at me here..but I far prefer the 1968 Olivia Hussey Len Whiting’s version…now THAT is the Romeo I want to see Basil play. I love Leslie Howard,but I found him and Norma to be about as passionet as a pair of old sweatsocks. Basil was about the only passionet person in the show..He seamed passinot about killing every one in town.He managed to even chew up more scenery then John Barrymore..thats saying somethin.Had the gauze they filmed Leslie and Norma through been alythicker you couldnt have seen them at all,whos bright idea was that? Jezze louise we ALL could tell she’s not 16,why make it stupid and try to hide it in the love sceens. The should have just let it go for what it was.I think that nonesence did her a great diservice,shes pretty.Why hide it?

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          • AnnaPindurka says

            Ooh, so many films still to see, thanks for the suggestions, Rosebette! There is a reason why I normally just quote from books, I am really new to classic Hollywood and I know how immensely much I don`t know.
            On a side note: the BBC has just shown a selection of short interviews with Bette Davis from the fifties through the seventies, and in one of these she says that being a Warner’s player has been very useful for her career, Warner’s was one of the first studios to put out their movies on television, which solidified her fame over the decades. (It is still on the BBC iplayer for those in the UK and is called Talking Pictures.) I`m just saying this here because I have often thought about how some of Basil`s career choices may have looked good at the time but less so in retrospect.

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            • roesbette says

              Yeah, ask me about a movie made in 1935, and I could tell you anything down to the last extra…. Just don’t ask me where I put my keys, glasses, or my new bank ATM card that came in the mail last week.

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            • Did she say anything NICE about anyone? I dont think I ever heard he say anything nice about anyone,except her self.and I totaly hate her chacter in Of Human Bondage, she’s so mean tho Leslie Howard. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Human_Bondage But I totaly love her as Charlotte http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hush%E2%80%A6_Hush,_Sweet_Charlotte I’m inclueding links so you can check them out Anna, Shes also good in Elizabeth and Essex. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Private_Lives_of_Elizabeth_and_Essex But her lack of period correct undergarments[or any undergarments at all in some shots] makes the totaly beautiful coustumes look frumppy on her.

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              • roesbette says

                I’m a big bette fan (thus my screen name!), and she did have nice things to say about certain co-stars, such as Olivia deHavilland and Claude Raines, and certain directors. You’re supposed to hate her character in Of Human Bondage; Mildred is totally despicable. What about Bette and Basil in a movie together? There wouldn’t be a stick of furniture left standing!

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                • Oh dear the idea od Basil vrs Bette is interesting.Mabey,”tameing of the shrew”,theres a realy good he vrs she play..All I can say about that idea is sometimes a good ham can be verrrry chewey. Oh and I’m glad i was right about the chacter of Mildered.I’ve only seen it once and the person i was with kept trying to defend Milderd did.And oddly enough that girl was one of Leslies bigest fans.

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                • Yes,i read she got along with Claude well/They were in 4 or 5 movies together i think .I loved them in Now Voyager.He even allowed her to take his only lead in a movie from him.

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                  • roesbette says

                    Bette and Claude are in a great movie called “Deception” in which he plays an egomaniacal composer/impressario who was once her lover. It would also be a great role for Basil, although Claude is delicious in it.

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            • Ulrika says

              Anyone heard her and Baz in the Radio Play (I think it’s called Can WE Forget?) or something?

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  6. Leila Travers says

    Bit OT but is it true Cornell was gay and in a lavender marriage? There’s nothing about it on her Wiki page.

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    • Can only believe Baz helped Norma with her lines the same as in TLOMC in 1929,he was friends,approved by OR,with Irving and Norma,and could only have helped all the more if Baz was Romeo and Leslie in Ralph Forbes role.

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  7. Edmund Goulding's BB says

    The colorisation is lovely, or is it actually a color print? Very beautiful either way. But I still mourn the fact BR didn’t play Romeo opposite Le Gallienne. That would have been a bit of theatre history.

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  8. roesbette says

    My father had a beautiful coffee table book with “Vanity Fair” photos. This was one of them, full page and gorgeous!

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    • Madge's Cat says

      I remember that book and that photo! It made me fall in love with Basil Rathbone and with Shakespeare. I was too late to see him act Romeo on stage and bitterly regret it.

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