|Femmes Fatales||Oct 15 2023|
This one must be defective. It hasn't made me want to smile at all.
Coca Cola's advertising tagline—“Have a Coke and a smile”—is probably one of the most famous in corporate history, though it hadn't been thought of yet back when U.S. actress Ann Sothern posed with a Coke for this promo image made for her 1947 movie The Judge Steps Out. Back then the company's slogan was, “Coke knows no season.” Sothern knows no season either. She accumulated a hefty number of credits on radio, television, stage, and screen—more than one hundred, if we count correctly—including in The Blue Gardenia, Shadow on the Wall, and Super-Sleuth. We've shared a couple of promo images of her before, one of which was amusingly similar to today's. Have a look here. Sothern will be back.
|Vintage Pulp||Jul 16 2023|
Look, I've found something! I bet this advances the plot!
Here's another nice panel length poster for the 1937 mystery comedy Super-Sleuth. The term "door panel," which is a commonly used designation, is a bit deceptive. These are nowhere near the size of a door. The dimensions are twenty by sixty, or sometimes fourteen by thirty-six—in any case around three times taller than wide. The dimensions of this one aren't actually quite there. It's closer to two-point-five-to one. Close enough, as far as we're concerned. Anyway, we've been unearthing a lot of this style of promo lately, and we like them because the arrangement of visual elements and text are pleasing to our amateur eyes.
In the movie, an egotistical actor played by Jack Oakie, whose signature character is a sleuth, criticizes the LAPD and ends up in a press feud with them. He's been critical because he and other Hollywood stars have been receiving threatening letters from “the Poison Pen,” but the cops have no idea who's sending them. Oakie gets his chance to prove whether he can be a real life sleuth when there's a shooting on his movie set. While Super-Sleuth is billed as slapstick mystery, the mystery part is not delivered. There's only ever one true suspect. We suppose it's difficult to write in red herrings and twists when a film is 75 minutes long. Still, having the sinister and secretive weirdo be the murderer is a little too elementary.
Though many of the characters, including Oakie, are buffoons, there's also, it must be noted, a ridiculous black stereotype played by Willie Best, who sometimes acted under the moniker Sleep 'n' Eat. He's often reviled for his portrayals now, but in a 1934 interview he said, “What's an actor going to do? Either you do it or get out.” It's the dilemma of all actors—do your level best with what you're given or end up on the do-not-hire list. Super-Sleuth doesn't give its actors a lot to work with, but Oakie, Best, the beautiful Ann Sothern and the rest put their all into it and the result is a passable slapstick (non) mystery with a handful of genuine laughs. It premiered in the U.S. today in 1937.
Super-SleuthJack OakieAnn SothernEduardo CiannelliAlan BruceJoan WoodburyWillie Bestposter artcinemamovie review