Menu JTA Search

Critical Moments

Download PDF for this date

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which annually chooses the best picture, best actor and best-about-everything, announced its 1933 awards. Fittingly enough, the prize for the best actor was given to Charles Laughton, the Englishman, for his work in “The Private Life of Henry VIII.” The runner-up was Paul Muni, cited for his fine portrayal of the victim in “I Am A Fugitive.” Another Jewish gentleman who was honored was Walter Disney, whose animated cartoon “Three Little Pigs” was first choice.

For the sake of the record you should know that Katharine Hepburn was picked as the outstanding actress. “Cavalcade” won the palm for the best directed film and Sarah Mason and Victor Heerman received the prize for having done the best adaptation in making “Little Women” into a moving picture.


Jake Wilks, head of the scenario department at Warner Brothers says that a violent argument is raging in his studio over the forthcoming production of “Anthony Adverse.” Confronted with this 1,200 page tome, one of the people at a conference jokingly suggested that the film version be made into two distinct pictures. The idea was taken seriously and now efforts are underway to adapt the {SPAN}##{/SPAN} so that the result will be two pictures instead of one.


If you are an avid reader of the publicity material sent out by the various moving pictures companies you certainly receive a lot of strange and extraneous information. From Paramount Pictures came the following;

“Americans,” according to Lanny Ross, a radio singer and actor, “are the only people who are saps enough to tolerate or encourage opera in a foreign language.” He adds that we should demand that all opera singers learn and use English when performing in the United States.

This is a very happy thought and worthy of a candidate for village dog-catcher. Such a strong nationalistic sentiment should not go unrewarded. Of course the fact that the lyrics of an opera must fit the music is of no importance to Mr. Ross, whose all consuming ambition is to “give a concert.” That is, as soon as he considers himself sufficiently trained!


Some of the following examples will give you a rough idea of what the press departments of film companies send out for your edification and enjoyment. Not much of this stuff is printed in metropolitan papers but out in the sticks, I am told, our country cousins go for it in a big and hearty way.

“Bing Crosby chews two sticks of gum while singing.” Which certainly explains a great deal.

“More than six months were spent on research and preparation by Cecil B. DeMille before he started actual production on ‘Clcopatra’.” Yes, and she’ll probably turn up in the picture with a head of blond hair.

“Baby LeRoy, infant movie star, receives 500 fan letters a month.” Fortunately the lad cannot read.

“Learning that she was to be shipwrecked on an island without benefit of shoes in scenes of ‘We’re Not Dressing,’ Carole Lombard went and had her toes manicured.” That should add realism to the film.

“Ida Lupino always sleeps with the covers pulled up off her feet.” Leaving her in a ticklish situation.

“While dancing the “Tequila’ in ‘Come On Marines,’ Grace Bradley will wear a pair of black satin trousers laced down four inches apart on each side, a tiny black brassiere, and black gloves and sandals.” What, no hat?

“One of the most difficult props to locate for ‘Melody in Spring’ was a herd of twenty-five cows which would permit themselves to be milked by an equal number of singing actors.” Undoubtedly the cows had heard the actors sing.


When you are in the Theatrical Belt and you have an hour to spare what do you do? My advice is to amble into the Embassy Theatre where the entire program is devote to newsreels. If you want to get a real idea of what the people in this country believe in, think about and care for, watch these news reels.

The news reels have improved. They are no longer devoted exclusively to showing warships, airplanes and motorcycle races. If the producers ever get over the idea that all audiences have a mental age of six years, newsreels will be nearly perfect.

Keep up with Jewish news by reading the Jewish Daily Bulletin, only English-language Jewish daily newspaper.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund