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Sep 27, 2019

In the first MGM episode of our Studios Year by Year series, the year is 1930, and Elise and Dave watch as the straggler studio struggles with the challenges of early sound in THE BISHOP MURDER CASE, starring Basil Rathbone as Philo Vance, with two credited directors (Elise posits a third, unknown genius). Then we switch over to a Marion Davies comedy, NOT SO DUMB, directed by King Vidor, Dave's favourite director for many reasons that he enumerates in the episode, none of them relevant to this movie. We conclude that Lynn Fontanne stage vehicles are not the forte of either Vidor or Davies; however, Donald Ogden Stewart is on hand to provide handsy amusement. “Guess who!” “It was you!” Too bad that's not the movie's most problematic moment (trigger warning—our first—included in segment). Also: some reflections on the sadism of comedy and the role of the “other man” in film comedy.


Time Codes:

0h 1m 00s:       The Bishop Murder Case (dirs. Nick Grindé & David Burton)

0h 52m 59s:     Not So Dumb (dir. King Vidor)

1h 38m 28s:     Listener Mail with Todd Murry


* Find Elise’s latest published film piece – “Elaine May’s Male Gaze” – in the Elaine May issue of Bright Wall/Dark Room*

*And Read Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

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Theme Music:

“What’s Yr Take on Cassavetes?” – Le Tigre