Artists and Models (1937)

90 or 95 mins | Musical comedy | 6 August 1937

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HISTORY

The title of Sig Herzig and Gene Thackrey's original story was "Venus in Velvet." Artists and Models was the name of a series of revues produced in New York by Lee and Jacob J. Shubert from 1923-1930 that featured nude models in frozen poses and scores of chorus girls performing lavish dance numbers. As reported in HR on 24 Jan 1936, Paramount purchased the rights to the title "Artists and Models" from the Shuberts. According to a modern source, the Shubert revues were devised as competition to the "scantily clad lovelies" of the Earl Carroll Vanities . The sequel to this film is called Artists and Models Abroad (see below). Eastern Service Studios, formerly known as Astoria Studios, were originally owned by Paramount. In Mar 1932, Paramount suspended all feature production at Astoria and sold the lot to Eastern Service Studios, Inc. A handful of Paramount films were made at Astoria after Mar 1932, including a series of Ben Hecht-Charles MacArthur films in 1934 (see entry for Crime Without Passion below). According to a news item in HR on 2 Mar 1937, A. Edward Sutherland turned down the directorial assignment for this film in order to take a vacation. Copyright records credit Ellsworth Hoagland as editor, although he is not listed on the film. Billed in onscreen credits as "America's leading artists and illustrators," Arno, Barclay, William, Goldberg, LaGatta and Patterson, actually painted pictures of models for the stageshow scene within this film. Sandra Storme is billed as "England's most famous model." FD credits "59 models" as appearing in the film. Russell ... More Less

The title of Sig Herzig and Gene Thackrey's original story was "Venus in Velvet." Artists and Models was the name of a series of revues produced in New York by Lee and Jacob J. Shubert from 1923-1930 that featured nude models in frozen poses and scores of chorus girls performing lavish dance numbers. As reported in HR on 24 Jan 1936, Paramount purchased the rights to the title "Artists and Models" from the Shuberts. According to a modern source, the Shubert revues were devised as competition to the "scantily clad lovelies" of the Earl Carroll Vanities . The sequel to this film is called Artists and Models Abroad (see below). Eastern Service Studios, formerly known as Astoria Studios, were originally owned by Paramount. In Mar 1932, Paramount suspended all feature production at Astoria and sold the lot to Eastern Service Studios, Inc. A handful of Paramount films were made at Astoria after Mar 1932, including a series of Ben Hecht-Charles MacArthur films in 1934 (see entry for Crime Without Passion below). According to a news item in HR on 2 Mar 1937, A. Edward Sutherland turned down the directorial assignment for this film in order to take a vacation. Copyright records credit Ellsworth Hoagland as editor, although he is not listed on the film. Billed in onscreen credits as "America's leading artists and illustrators," Arno, Barclay, William, Goldberg, LaGatta and Patterson, actually painted pictures of models for the stageshow scene within this film. Sandra Storme is billed as "England's most famous model." FD credits "59 models" as appearing in the film. Russell Patterson's "Personettes," marionettes, appear in a number called "Mr. Esquire" in the Miami hotel floorshow scene. The floorshow "orchestra" consisted entirely of these puppets. According to the pressbook, the puppets were made to resemble George Burns and Gracie Allen, W. C. Fields, Bob Burns, Carole Lombard, Claudette Colbert, Martha Raye, George Raft, Edward Everett Horton, and the Yacht Club Boys. The pressbook includes the "Cycling Starys" among the film's specialties, although only Jack Stary is credited in the pressbook cast list and in the Call Bureau Cast Service. The pressbook also credits a tumbler named Fawcett in addition to Pat Moran. In addition to Judy Canova's single billing, the Canova family is billed as "Judy, Anne and Zeke." The Yacht Club Boys are: Charlie Adler, Jimmy Kern, George Kelly, and Billy Mann.
       During the Artists and Models Ball scene, Martha Raye sings "Public Melody No. 1" with Louis Armstrong and his orchestra in a mock Harlem gangster setting. The film's pressbook called the scene "the largest, and hottest, Negro number ever filmed in Hollywood." In response to the scene, Var remarked: "This intermingling of the races isn't wise, especially as [Raye] lets herself go into the extremest manifestations of Harlemania torso-twisting and gyrations. It may hurt her personally." According to files in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, local censors were outraged at Raye's interaction with blacks on the screen. On 25 Aug 1937, Dolph Frantz, Managing Editor of the Shreveport Journal , wrote to Adolph Zukor, head of Paramount, the following: "Without wishing to appear in the role of an unkind or unfriendly critic, I will appreciate you granting me the privilege of expressing my protest against the social equality tone in the picture Artists and Models , which I understand was produced under your direction. I was dreadfully disappointed and displeased at the mixture of negroes with white persons in the specialty by Martha Raye that I could not get much enjoyment from it....For negroes and whites to be shown in social equality roles is offensive in this part of the country, where the races have nothing socially in common. It never fails to offend the white citizens of this section, and I have an idea that many negroes have the same feeling because my lifetime observation has been that representative negroes in the Southland wish none of the social equality ideas. Please do not get the impression that I am antagonistic to negroes. Rather, I am their friend. I feel certain representative negro citizens here will say that I am a genuine friend of the negroes, but, of course, they must stay in their place and not try any social equality plans. Our Newspaper, which has the same policy as most others throughout the South, will not publish negroes as Mr. and Mrs., nor will it publish negroes' pictures, but unfailingly it publishes worthwhile things they do. I hope you will understand my position in writing on this subject. I confidently believe that if the practice of mixing the races in pictures continues much longer, the reaction will be very hurtful to the picture industry in this part of the country."
       On 31 Aug 1937, Mrs. Alonzo Richardson, the chairperson of the Atlanta Board of Review wrote to Joseph I. Breen, director of the PCA, the following: "I have one large squawk, for there is always one, you know, in Artists and Models . I am conferring with the manager and I believe we will cut Martha Raye's cabaret scene out entirely. This would be a matter of friendly consideration for Miss Raye as well as expedient for the theatre. For a white woman to act with negroes is a most certain offense to the south. For ANYONE to act in as obscene a manner as Miss Raye does, in this scene, would offend good taste anywhere, but, in the south, and with negroes, it will certainly be her finish. A very disgusted previewer remarked, 'She out-niggers the niggers.' Her postures, her dancing, her whole presentation of this scene is altogether disgusting and so it was agreed at the preview. In the south, white women can't act with negroes themselves on the same plane. There is a place for both in the pictures, and each in his proper place makes for real art; but such as Miss Raye's performance is nothing but disgusting. I am simply telling you the reaction to the picture as we previewed it and I believe the kind and wise thing will be to cut this scene out altogether. Maybe we are provincial, but a lady must be a lady and no one has a keener contempt for a white woman who descends to their level than the negro himself. One wiggle of Miss Raye's stomach condemned her." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Aug 37
p. 3.
Film Daily
5 Aug 37
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 37
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
4 Aug 37
p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald
7 Aug 37
pp. 41-44, p. 45.
New York Times
5 Aug 37
p. 19.
Variety
4 Aug 37
p. 18.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
and specialty by
Dell Henderson
Alexander Pollard
Alphonse Martel
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
Adpt
Contr to scr const and dial
Contr to scr const and dial
Contr to dial
Contr to dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus adv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Mus numbers staged by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Whispers in the Dark," words and music by Leo Robin and Frederick Hollander
"Public Melody No. 1," words by Ted Koehler, music by Harold Arlen, conceived by Vincente Minnelli
"Mister Esquire," words by Ted Koehler, music by Victor Young
+
SONGS
"Whispers in the Dark," words and music by Leo Robin and Frederick Hollander
"Public Melody No. 1," words by Ted Koehler, music by Harold Arlen, conceived by Vincente Minnelli
"Mister Esquire," words by Ted Koehler, music by Victor Young
"Pop Goes the Bubble," "Soap Gets in My Eyes" and "Stop! You're Breaking My Heart," words by Ted Koehler, music by Ralph Rainger
"Sasha, Pasha Opening," words and music by The Yacht Club Boys and Ted Koehler.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 August 1937
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 4 August 1937
Production Date:
at Eastern Service Studios, Inc.
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
12 August 1937
Copyright Number:
LP7346
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90 or 95
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3530
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Mac Brewster of Brewster Advertising Agency has been named chairman of the Artists and Models Ball and must choose a queen for the event. In exchange for a million dollar ad campaign, Mac promises Alan Townsend of Townsend Silver that he will make the yet-to-be-found "Townsend Silver Girl" queen of the ball. Mac then promises his girl friend, Paula Sewell, a working class model, that she will be the queen. Alan, however, wants to use a girl who has stepped out of the social register, not an actress. Consequently, when Cynthia Wentworth of Park Avenue visits him at his office selling tickets to a charity, he offers her the Townsend Girl title. Mac, meanwhile, proposes to Paula, and they become engaged. Deciding she has the "clothes and the nerve" to pose for Alan, Paula goes to Miami under the name Paula Monterey and hob-nobs with the rich. Paula charms Alan, and after they dance, they end up taking a midnight dip in the pool together, at which point Alan calls Paula "Cinderella." Meanwhile, Mac meets Cynthia and assumes she is a model. When she reveals that she is one of the Park Avenue Wentworths, he names her the Townsend Girl. In Miami, Paula upholds her façade as a society girl, and Alan names her the Townsend Girl. The two couples then reunite in Miami, and Mac learns that Alan has already promised the job to Paula, with whom he has fallen in love. Later, Paula breaks her engagement with Mac, admitting her love for Alan. Alan's mother then discovers Paula is a professional model, causing Alan to think Paula ... +


Mac Brewster of Brewster Advertising Agency has been named chairman of the Artists and Models Ball and must choose a queen for the event. In exchange for a million dollar ad campaign, Mac promises Alan Townsend of Townsend Silver that he will make the yet-to-be-found "Townsend Silver Girl" queen of the ball. Mac then promises his girl friend, Paula Sewell, a working class model, that she will be the queen. Alan, however, wants to use a girl who has stepped out of the social register, not an actress. Consequently, when Cynthia Wentworth of Park Avenue visits him at his office selling tickets to a charity, he offers her the Townsend Girl title. Mac, meanwhile, proposes to Paula, and they become engaged. Deciding she has the "clothes and the nerve" to pose for Alan, Paula goes to Miami under the name Paula Monterey and hob-nobs with the rich. Paula charms Alan, and after they dance, they end up taking a midnight dip in the pool together, at which point Alan calls Paula "Cinderella." Meanwhile, Mac meets Cynthia and assumes she is a model. When she reveals that she is one of the Park Avenue Wentworths, he names her the Townsend Girl. In Miami, Paula upholds her façade as a society girl, and Alan names her the Townsend Girl. The two couples then reunite in Miami, and Mac learns that Alan has already promised the job to Paula, with whom he has fallen in love. Later, Paula breaks her engagement with Mac, admitting her love for Alan. Alan's mother then discovers Paula is a professional model, causing Alan to think Paula has used him; but he allows her to remain the Townsend Girl. Two months later, on the night of the ball, both Cynthia and Paula propose to Mac, planning to announce his answer at the ball. At the ball, Paula's roommate, Toots, tells Alan that Paula is in love with him, and Paula and Cynthia each choose the man they will announce that evening. At the stroke of midnight, Paula, as the queen, loses her shoe, and Alan appears in costume to replace it, telling her she is the Townsend Girl. Both happy couples then march off stage. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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