All posts tagged: Hollywood

A Year in the Life of Basil Rathbone — 1930

1930 was a busy year for Basil Rathbone. Let’s take a closer look at where he was and what he was doing. Where did he live? What was he doing? What did he earn? Rathbone spent most of the 1920s performing in plays, and when he wasn’t touring with a play, he lived in New York City. In 1929 MGM signed Rathbone to make The Last of Mrs. Cheyney. His performance was so good that MGM offered Rathbone a contract to make more pictures. In his autobiography, Rathbone wrote: The original contract that my agent had presented to me Ouida had torn up, and herself had visited MGM’s top representative in New York, Mr. Robert Rubin. Before she had finished with him he had doubled my weekly salary! … Ouida had a very strong argument. She didn’t want to go to Hollywood–she could hardly be said to have been in love with her previous experiences out on the coast, and she threatened not to go with me if I accepted the contract as offered! … …

Hollywood Tours 1937

Marcia Jessen from BasilRathbone.net has very kindly sent The Baz these wonderful pdfs of articles advertising “Hollywood Tours.” Interesting to us mainly because amongst the delights offered the lucky tourists is a “cocktail party at Basil Rathbone’s home!” But almost as interesting is the glimpse of the culture of 1930s America. Fascinating to see the beginnings of present-day fear-marketing aimed at women. Warnings of the fire consequences of not being “dainty” enough, and post-Victorian coy recommendations for Kotex. And then, the culture shock of an ad aimed at “skinny girls”, promising they can “add five pounds!” Anyway, enjoy, and download the full pdfs from the link below. *** *** *** ***

Sunday Pic #16

Marcia has suggested I post this and see if any of the fans out there has suggestions and answers. So….. Is the person above Basil?….. I mean the guy on the right, not one of the people wearing hats. The photo is being sold HERE, and has this description: “8h824 STAGE DOOR candid 8×10 still ’37 visitor Basil Rathbone talking to showgirls on set by Miehle!” The seller also adds this: “….Note that this is an incredibly perplexing still! Why do I say that? Because it has the still code “SD”, and it is identified on the back as being an RKO still from 1937. Stage Door WAS made by RKO in 1937, but the front of the still shows Basil Rathbone, who had nothing to do with this movie! Plus the showgirls on the still are no one we recognize. So what movie is this from? Rathbone didn’t make any movies for RKO during this time, and the ones he did make don’t look right for this. Our guess is that he was a …

“Fight Your Husband & Win Success!” – 1922

This article first appeared in THE DANVILLE BEE, JULY 20 1922. Ouida Bergere was married to her second (or third) husband, George FitzMaurice. Click on pdf button to download a copy of the original article Well, those who have been following the eventful career of Basil’s second wife, the incomparable Ouida, will probably not be too surprised that this was a concept she stood by. But for the record, we now have it in writing. “Fight your husband and win success” says Ouida. Indeed. Click on the button above to download a pdf of the original article from 1922. She wouldn’t meet Basil for another year and wouldn’t marry him him for another four years, but we can guess her philosophy didn’t change too much over time. ***

Sunday Pic #14

Marcia has suggested this pic, partly because of its prettiness and partly on the off chance anyone can tell us anything about its origin. The dedication reads “to Sophie, thank you for your beautiful work. Basil Rathbone/Christmas 1929“. B is obviously in some kind of costume, but for what? The only movie he made that year was THE LAST OF MRS CHEYNEY, but he doesn’t wear anything like this Spanish-type deal in that. So…what is it? Any clues or suggestions welcome. Meantime, admire… (And apologies for comments having been turned off much of the time over Thanksgiving. They are back on properly now). And welcome to all the new followers who have been signing up lately!

Friends & Co-stars: Conrad Veidt

Conrad Veidt 1893-43 This is a re-style of an earlier post (hence the 45 already extant comments). It’s being re-issued and extended as the first of an occasional series I’ll be doing about the people in Basil’s life who weren’t family, lovers or wives. People he worked with, people he loved or was close to or who impacted his existence in some kind of meaningful way, good or bad. I’m doing this partly because it helps to throw light upon Ratbone to know how he interacted with those around him. Partly because as a lifelong movie buff I”m keen to include as many aspects of Vintage Hollywood as I an in this blog. Why I’m starting with Conrad Veidt I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because I am slightly haunted by him, or because he happens to be in some of the great old films I most enjoy. But for whatever reason, we are starting with Conrad Veidt. “Connie” as his friends called him. The Soundbite Life Story Born in Berlin, Germany in 1893 to a …

Cynthia…?

Judging from the search terms that hit this blog and the steady trickle of emails I get on the subject, there is a fair amount of curiosity and/or puzzlement amongst Rathbone fans regarding the life and tragically early death of his adopted daughter Cynthia. It’s true that what we know about Cynthia is surprisingly patchy, considering she was a movie star’s daughter…Here is what we do know…