It Happened in Hollywood, 1937, Harry Lachman

Double Feature

It Happened in Hollywood (1937)

Studio: Columbia; Regie: Harry Lachman; Drehbuch: Ethel Hill, Harvey Fergusson, Samuel Fuller, Myles Connolly; Kamera: Joseph Walker; Darsteller: Richard Dix, Fay Wray, Victor Kilian, Charles Arnt, Granville Bates, William B. Davidson, Arthur Loft. 35mm, sw, 67 min

The Fargo Kid (1940)

Studio: RKO; Regie: Edward Killy; Drehbuch: Morton Grant, Arthur V. Jones, W. C. Tuttle; Kamera: Harry Y. Wild; Musik: John Leipold; Darsteller: Tim Holt, Ray Whitley, Emmett Lynn, Jane Drummond, Cy Kendall, Ernie Adams, Paul Fix. 16mm (von 35mm), sw, 63 min*
 
It Happened in Hollywood brilliert mit Auftritten von James Cagney, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Mae West und Ginger Rogers – die allerdings nur von Doppelgänger/innen gespielt werden. Harry Lachmann versuchte sich am Beginn seiner Karriere als postimpressionistischer Maler und Set-Designer, erfolgreicher wurden seine Romane und Regiearbeiten. Hier arbeitete auch der junge Sam Fuller am Skript mit: Nur er konnte die exzentrischen Handlungswendungen erfinden, die mit Witz und Scharfsinn fragile Schauspielkarrieren im ständigen Gezeitenwandel Hollywoods porträtieren. The Fargo Kid ist ein Vehikel für Tim Holt (bekannt für The Magnificent Ambersons und The Treasure of the Sierra Madre), den beliebten Star von mehr als 40 RKO-B-Western. Holts jungenhafte und sympathische Leinwandpräsenz erlaubte die Verschmelzung von gewalttätigem Action-Abenteuer, leichter Komödie und Gesang. Hier wird er fälschlicherweise für einen berüchtigten Revolvermann gehalten, ohne dies zu bemerken, bis es fast zu spät ist. In der Rolle von Holts Freund agiert Country-Singer-Songwriter Ray Whitley, dessen "Back in the Saddle Again" zum festen Bestandteil der Cowboy-Musikfilme wurde. (H. G.)
 
*Print courtesy of Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research – UW-Madison


Aus dem Katalog zur Retrospektive:

An affectionate valentine to Tinseltown that nevertheless remains clear-eyed about the perils and strange paradoxes of stardom, It Happened in Hollywood was directed by the little known post-Impressionist painter turned Hollywood director Harry Lachman but is better recognized as a striking expression of Samuel Fuller's first Hollywood career as a successful and always brilliantly imaginative screenwriter. Perennial tough guy Richard Dix is wonderfully cast as a silent cowboy star whose oversized heart gives him trouble when his career plummets with the arrival of sound and he can no longer keep his pledge to a sickly young fan who he had once invited to his now lost cattle ranch. A stand-out climatic scene of a picnic staged with actual stand in extras for the stars casts an ersatz W.C. Fields and Greta Garbo, among others, for a remarkable, almost Surrealist, gag that also gives touching homage to the Dream Factory's unsung workers. Only Fuller could have invented the film's eccentrically twisting plot that speaks with unexpected wit and poignancy about the fragile lives of actors washed-up by the ever-shifting tides of Hollywood caprice. (Haden Guest)

Remembered today for his prominent roles in The Magnificent Ambersons and The Treasure of Sierra Madre, Tim Holt was better known during his career as the popular star of more than forty B-Westerns made at RKO, cast by Welles and Huston precisely because of his upstanding cowboy persona. Holt's boyish and likeable screen presence made him an ideal replacement for RKO's earlier Western star, the chivalrous George O'Brien, and allowed him to glide across the melding of violent action-adventure, light comedy and song that remained a standard formula of Holt's often compelling oaters. Only the second of Holt's RKO Westerns, The Fargo Kid mines a more comedic vein than other entries, following Holt as a wandering cowpoke mistaken for a notorious gunslinger without even noticing, until it is almost too late. In the role of Holt's friend is country songwriter and singer Ray Whitley who wrote the famous Western Ballard made immortal by Gene Autry, "Back in the Saddle Again" and remained a staple of the singing cowboy films. (Haden Guest)

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