Marie Galante (1934)

88-90 mins | Mystery | 26 October 1934

Director:

Henry King

Cinematographer:

John F. Seitz

Editor:

Harold Schuster

Production Company:

Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, at least twelve writers worked at various times on the screenplay in addition to Reginald Berkeley, who received sole screenplay credit, and director Henry King. According to the legal records, Berkeley's continuity had no connection whatsoever with continuities written by Sonya Levien, Samuel Hoffenstein, Seymour Stern, Dudley Nichols or William A. Drake. Drake is listed as having written a new ending to Berkeley's screenplay in the legal records, and the other writers are listed in SAB as contributors to the treatment, to screenplay construction, to dialogue or on special sequences.
       News items noted that the studio had considerable trouble with the script and that production at one point was held up due to story difficulties. According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, after Fox purchased the rights to the highly popular novel, Colonel Jason Joy, the head of the AMPP's Studio Relations Committee, wrote a letter, dated 27 Jun 1932, to Fox production head Winfield Sheehan detailing a number of points in the novel that he saw as problematic. Although the main character of the novel is a prostitute, Joy wrote "I assume you want to keep her that" and cautioned that the studio "handle the identifying situations in good taste and...make the life of a prostitute neither glamorous nor condonable in itself." Joy also suggested that the studio invent a better reason for "Marie" to resort to prostitution than is in the novel, such as a child for whom she must return to France. Joy noted that the portrayal of the international spy ... More Less

According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, at least twelve writers worked at various times on the screenplay in addition to Reginald Berkeley, who received sole screenplay credit, and director Henry King. According to the legal records, Berkeley's continuity had no connection whatsoever with continuities written by Sonya Levien, Samuel Hoffenstein, Seymour Stern, Dudley Nichols or William A. Drake. Drake is listed as having written a new ending to Berkeley's screenplay in the legal records, and the other writers are listed in SAB as contributors to the treatment, to screenplay construction, to dialogue or on special sequences.
       News items noted that the studio had considerable trouble with the script and that production at one point was held up due to story difficulties. According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, after Fox purchased the rights to the highly popular novel, Colonel Jason Joy, the head of the AMPP's Studio Relations Committee, wrote a letter, dated 27 Jun 1932, to Fox production head Winfield Sheehan detailing a number of points in the novel that he saw as problematic. Although the main character of the novel is a prostitute, Joy wrote "I assume you want to keep her that" and cautioned that the studio "handle the identifying situations in good taste and...make the life of a prostitute neither glamorous nor condonable in itself." Joy also suggested that the studio invent a better reason for "Marie" to resort to prostitution than is in the novel, such as a child for whom she must return to France. Joy noted that the portrayal of the international spy system in the book might cause concern in some countries and suggested that the death of "Marie," for which the American intelligence department is responsible in the book, be changed so that her death accidentally occurs while she is spying. Finally, he expressed concern that in the book, "Marie" has a "negro pimp." He concluded, "At first glance, the story is questionable, but I believe it has a very fine story in it with a totally new and interesting background, that is the Canal."
       Subsequently, Clara Bow was scheduled for the lead role, but LAHE in Feb 1933 stated, "Clara Bow being so hard to figure, Fox has decided to forget about Marie Galante for the present" and noted that Spencer Tracy and William K. Howard, who was to direct, were then transferred to The Power and the Glory (see below). According to PCA records, an outline of a screenplay was sent to the PCA for approval in Apr 1934. NYT reported that "considerable difficulty [was] experienced in whipping it into shape." At the time, with the formation of the PCA, a stricter interpretation and enforcement of the Production Code was going into effect than existed before. Reviews noted that the prostitute of the novel had become in the film, to quote NYT , "a virtuous and extraordinarily naïve girl." According to correspondence in the legal records, in Nov 1934, following the American release of the film, Jacques Deval, author of the novel, served notice on Fox's Paris office that the studio must not use his name in connection with the film on the ground that the story has been "so thoroughly mutilated and changed that it is not his work." Deval threatened to institute an injunction if the studio insisted on using his name. Correspondence in the PCA records mentions a public "outburst against Fox and American motion pictures" by Deval. No further information concerning the dispute has been located.
       News items reported that delays also occurred due to Spencer Tracy going "AWOL" and that he agreed to reimburse the company for its losses. On 27 Aug 1934, DV stated that Edmund Lowe would replace Tracy, but two days later, DV reported Tracy's return to the set. According to the legal records, Tracy agreed to pay the studio $42,000 in installments to reimburse them for fourteen consecutive days that he missed, 13 Aug through 26 Aug 1934. When Tracy was loaned to Twentieth Century-Fox for Stanley and Livingstone in 1939, his lawyer wrote to the studio asking that Tracy be reimbursed for the money he paid to the studio in 1934. While admitting that Tracy's absence had been due to drinking, the lawyer stated that it was Tracy's contention that because of story difficulties, there was nothing to shoot during the days of his absence, and that when he returned, the production was closed down for rewriting after three days of shooting scenes that were not in the original script. Although only $27,000 of the $42,000 was paid by Tracy in 1934, due to these circumstances, Tracy, according to his lawyer, felt extremely bitter that he had to pay anything and wanted to be reimbursed for the whole amount. No further information regarding the dispute has been located. Other correspondence in the legal records indicates that the start of production may have been delayed because of Tracy's alcoholism, as he was hospitalized on 26 Jun 1934, the day before he was to report for his first day of shooting.
       This was French actress Ketti Gallian's first American film. According to a DV news item, background footage was shot in Panama. According to a FD news item, Fox story department head Julian Johnson took over supervision of this film in late Jul 1934 when producer Winfield Sheehan, who was also the studio's production chief, left town. According to the legal records, actor Nick Foran was replaced by Jay C. Flippen. Var commented that Flippen "must have been the face on the cutting room floor. He's heavily billed, but only bows in and out." NYT commented concerning the depiction of certain characters: "Although the leader of the plot is Teutonic both in appearance and accent, the film makers have cautiously neglected to reveal his nationality. There is a Japanese agent, an ominous participant in the general mystery, whose presence in the Canal Zone has been motivated with similar caution, apparently out of a healthy desire to avoid the displeasure of the Japanese Government." More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
17-Nov-34
---
Daily Variety
7 Jun 34
p. 4.
Daily Variety
13 Jul 34
p. 5.
Daily Variety
23 Aug 34
p. 1.
Daily Variety
27 Aug 34
p. 1.
Daily Variety
29 Aug 34
p. 1.
Daily Variety
11 Sep 34
p. 3.
Daily Variety
9 Nov 34
p. 3.
Film Daily
28 Jul 34
p. 4.
Film Daily
20 Nov 34
p. 7.
HF
15 Sep 34
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 34
p. 4.
Los Angeles Herald Express
6-Feb-33
---
Motion Picture Herald
24 Nov 34
p. 36.
New York Times
15-Jul-34
---
New York Times
28-Oct-34
---
New York Times
21 Nov 34
p. 23.
Variety
27 Nov 34
p. 15.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Siegfried Rumann
Robert Glecker
Harry Northrup
Ray De Ravenne
Pierre Couderc
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITERS
Contr to scr const
Contr to scr const
Contr to scr const
Contr to scr const
Contr to scr const
Contr to dial
Contr on spec seq
Contr on spec seq
Contr on spec seq
Contr on spec seq
Contr to trmt
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Settings
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Marie Galante by Jacques Deval (Paris, 1931) and the English-language translation, That Girl , by Lawrence S. Morris (New York, 1932).
SONGS
"Song of a Dreamer," music by Jay Gorney, lyrics by Don Hartman
"Un Peu Beaucoup," music by Arthur Lange, lyrics by Marcel G. Silver
"Shim Shammy," music and lyrics by Stepin Fetchit
+
SONGS
"Song of a Dreamer," music by Jay Gorney, lyrics by Don Hartman
"Un Peu Beaucoup," music by Arthur Lange, lyrics by Marcel G. Silver
"Shim Shammy," music and lyrics by Stepin Fetchit
"Serves Me Right for Treating Him Wrong," music and lyrics by Maurice Sigler, Al Goodhart and Al Hoffman
"It's Home," music by Jay Gorney, lyrics by Jack Yellen.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 October 1934
Production Date:
13 July--mid September 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
20 October 1934
Copyright Number:
LP5054
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
88-90
Length(in feet):
8,192
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
283
SYNOPSIS

In a seacoast town in France, Marie Galante, a telegram messenger, delivers a message to an American captain ordering him to pick up additional crew members and a special cargo before a rendezvous at the Panama Canal in six months. The telegram is signed "Ryner." The drunken captain invites the pretty Marie onto the ship to take down his reply, and when the ship leaves port, he reports her as a stowaway and locks her in a room. In a seacoast town in Central America, Marie, who has escaped, is told that the only place she can board a boat for France is at the Panama Canal. There, Ratcliff of British Intelligence meets with General Phillips, in charge of the Zone, concerning two suspicious men: General Saki Tenoki, a retired Japanese officer, now a dealer in curios; and Ryner, who plans to damage the canal as the U.S. fleet passes through it. The only thing they know about Ryner is that he always works through a woman and that the woman is always mysteriously killed. After Phillips introduces Ratcliff to Dr. Crawbett, an American studying tropical diseases, Ratcliff, suspicious of him, invites him to dinner, and they go to the Pacific Gardens, where Marie sings. Tenoki is at the club, and he shows interest in Marie, as does a man who gazes at her intently, named Brogard, who runs a Parisian bazaar near Tenoki's curio shop. Hoping to get help to return to France, Marie visits Brogard's ship, and he offers to get her a ticket if she finds out from American Navy officers when the fleet will leave. He says ... +


In a seacoast town in France, Marie Galante, a telegram messenger, delivers a message to an American captain ordering him to pick up additional crew members and a special cargo before a rendezvous at the Panama Canal in six months. The telegram is signed "Ryner." The drunken captain invites the pretty Marie onto the ship to take down his reply, and when the ship leaves port, he reports her as a stowaway and locks her in a room. In a seacoast town in Central America, Marie, who has escaped, is told that the only place she can board a boat for France is at the Panama Canal. There, Ratcliff of British Intelligence meets with General Phillips, in charge of the Zone, concerning two suspicious men: General Saki Tenoki, a retired Japanese officer, now a dealer in curios; and Ryner, who plans to damage the canal as the U.S. fleet passes through it. The only thing they know about Ryner is that he always works through a woman and that the woman is always mysteriously killed. After Phillips introduces Ratcliff to Dr. Crawbett, an American studying tropical diseases, Ratcliff, suspicious of him, invites him to dinner, and they go to the Pacific Gardens, where Marie sings. Tenoki is at the club, and he shows interest in Marie, as does a man who gazes at her intently, named Brogard, who runs a Parisian bazaar near Tenoki's curio shop. Hoping to get help to return to France, Marie visits Brogard's ship, and he offers to get her a ticket if she finds out from American Navy officers when the fleet will leave. He says he needs to know to be able to have a jump on his competitors in ordering merchandise for the officers, and Marie naïvely agrees. Crawbett, really an American secret service man, intercepts a message from Tenoki asking Marie to meet him at his shop at night. After Tenoki's clerk, who sent the message, is found murdered, Crawbett has Washington officials make inquiries about Ratcliff, Tenoki and Marie. Marie visits Tenoki's shop in the rain, and he insists that she change into a kimono. He then questions her about the old French dredges built sixty years ago where his servant was killed and offers to help get her home if she'll find out secret information concerning the dredges from Brogard. After Crawbett sees Maria leave wearing the kimono, he questions her and angrily calls her "anybody's woman." Upset, she goes to pray in a nearby church, and when Crawbett sees her kneeling angelically before the Virgin Mary, he apologizes and promises to get her home if she refuses to see Brogard or Tenoki again. However, when word comes from Washington that Marie is a stowaway, and the ship that she was on arrives at the canal, the governor-general tells Crawbett that she must remain. Brogard plans to have the foreman of the canal's powerhouse, who looks like him, kidnapped so that he can replace him when the fleet comes through. After Crawbett informs Marie that she must remain until the mystery is cleared up, she returns to Brogard, who offers her passage to France if she will deliver a message to Tenoki. At the French dredges, Crawbett, with Ratcliff, finds dynamite in a pit at the location where the body of Tenoki's clerk was found and surmises that the dynamite has been brought by the ship and will be used to put the powerhouse out of commission and thus stop the canal. Crawbett brings Tenoki to the pit, and they find Ratcliff murdered and the dynamite gone. Before the governor-general, Tenoki admits that he is an active officer of the Imperial Japanese Navy sent to find Ryner, who is paid to start wars by individuals who stand to profit. That night, Crawbett finds Brogard, who is really Ryner, at the powerhouse, and as they struggle, Brogard shoots Marie before Crawbett shoots Brogard. The ships pass unharmed, and both Crawbett and Tenoki visit Marie in the hospital and plan to go with her to Paris. +

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

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