Lazy River (1934)

75 or 77 mins | Drama | 16 March 1934

Writer:

Lucien Hubbard

Producer:

Lucien Hubbard

Cinematographer:

Gregg Toland

Production Designer:

James Havens

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Ruby , Dance Hall Daisy , Bride of the Bayou , Louisiana Lou , In Old Louisiana and Louisiana . According to studio records, Lea David Freeman's play was also titled Dance Hall Daisy and is referred to in early news items by that title. Studio records note that the play was purchased in May 1933 and the following writers were assigned to work on the project between Mar and Oct 1933: Harry Hervey, Lucien Hubbard, Raymond Schrock , Chandler Sprague, Leon Gordon, Jules Furthman, John Colton, William Faulkner, Erskine Caldwell and Arthur Caesar.
       According to studio records, Faulkner arrived in Louisiana on 26 Apr 1933 to work on the script with Tod Browning, who was the film's original director. However, studio records state: "Faulkner did not do the Basic Material....None of his material on this [film] was ever in Script Dept. files. Perhaps no material was turned in." In a modern interview, Faulkner describes his experience on the production: "I arrived at Mr. Browning's hotel about six p.m. and reported to him. A party was going on. He told me to get a good night's sleep and be ready for an early start in the morning. I asked him about the story. He said, 'Oh, yes. Go to room so and so. That's the continuity writer. He'll tell you what the story is.' I went to the room as directed. The continuity writer was sitting in there alone. I told him who I was and asked him about the story. He ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Ruby , Dance Hall Daisy , Bride of the Bayou , Louisiana Lou , In Old Louisiana and Louisiana . According to studio records, Lea David Freeman's play was also titled Dance Hall Daisy and is referred to in early news items by that title. Studio records note that the play was purchased in May 1933 and the following writers were assigned to work on the project between Mar and Oct 1933: Harry Hervey, Lucien Hubbard, Raymond Schrock , Chandler Sprague, Leon Gordon, Jules Furthman, John Colton, William Faulkner, Erskine Caldwell and Arthur Caesar.
       According to studio records, Faulkner arrived in Louisiana on 26 Apr 1933 to work on the script with Tod Browning, who was the film's original director. However, studio records state: "Faulkner did not do the Basic Material....None of his material on this [film] was ever in Script Dept. files. Perhaps no material was turned in." In a modern interview, Faulkner describes his experience on the production: "I arrived at Mr. Browning's hotel about six p.m. and reported to him. A party was going on. He told me to get a good night's sleep and be ready for an early start in the morning. I asked him about the story. He said, 'Oh, yes. Go to room so and so. That's the continuity writer. He'll tell you what the story is.' I went to the room as directed. The continuity writer was sitting in there alone. I told him who I was and asked him about the story. He said, 'When you have written the dialogue I'll let you see the story.'" After viewing potential locations in Grand Isle sometime later, Browning informed Faulkner that he had been fired by the studio, but before Browning could do anything about it, he was also fired. Although studio records indicate that Faulkner left Louisiana on 9 May 1933, news items suggest that Browning was still directing the project as late as mid-Jun 1933. According to IP , cinematographer Clyde De Vinna was shooting backgrounds in Louisiana with Browning in Jun 1933. A mid-Jul 1933 news item in MPH noted that the film was being shot in the "shrimp camps of Lake Barataria and the land of the Louisiana Cajuns." Joan Crawford, Alice Brady, Lionel Barrymore and Madge Evans were all announced as stars of the picture in various mid-1933 news items.
       In Jan 1934, HR announced that M-G-M was taking Lazy River "off the shelf." DV notes that when the project was revived, director George Seitz and producer Hubbard rewrote the story from scratch. It is not known how much of Browning's background footage was used in the final film. HR news items from Jan 1934 state that Lupe Velez, Warner Oland and Isabel Jewell were assigned to play parts in the film. None of these actors, however, appears in the finished film. May Robson also was announced as a cast member, but according to HR , she withdrew from the picture because her part, presumbly that of "Miss Minnie," was too small. According to a Mar 1934 HR news item, the film was to have its premiere in New Orleans one week prior to the general release date, but a 3 Apr 1934 news item in FD suggests that the Louisiana opening may have taken place after the general release. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
12 Jan 34
p. 8.
Daily Variety
23 Jan 34
p. 2.
Daily Variety
10 Feb 34
p. 4.
Daily Variety
24 Feb 34
p. 3.
Film Daily
20 May 33
p. 4.
Film Daily
17 Jan 34
p. 8.
Film Daily
23 Jan 34
p. 5.
Film Daily
3 Apr 34
p. 1.
HF
27 Jan 34
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 33
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jan 34
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jan 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 34
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 34
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 34
p. 3.
International Photographer
Jun 33
p. 25.
Motion Picture Daily
2 Mar 34
p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald
15 Jul 33
p. 61.
Motion Picture Herald
24 Feb 34
p. 63.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Mar 34
p. 49, 52
New York Times
4 Apr 34
p. 26.
Variety
10 Apr 34
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dir of background photog
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Background photog
Background photog asst
Background photog asst
Background photog asst
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Ruby by Lea David Freeman (production undetermined).
SONGS
"Fifi from Fontenoy" and "Cajun Love Song," words and music by Dr. William Axt.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Bride of the Bayou
Dance Hall Daisy
In Old Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana Lou
Ruby
Release Date:
16 March 1934
Production Date:
23 January--10 February 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
7 March 1934
Copyright Number:
LP4549
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
75 or 77
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Because they refused to participate in a prison escape, in which a fellow convict, Armand Lescalie, was killed, William "Gabby" Stone and Alfred "Tiny" Smith receive commendations from the Alabama governor and are freed. A few weeks later, Bill Drexel, another reluctant escapee, also is released and tracks his ex-convict friends to a horse stable in New Orleans. Although Bill discourages Gabby and Tiny from pursuing a robbery and horse-betting scheme, he feels no compunction about looking up Miss Minnie, Armand's supposedly rich mother, in a Louisiana shrimping village. When Bill arrives in the small, impoverished Cajun village, he is dismayed to learn from Sarah, Miss Minnie's daughter, that not only is the widowed Miss Minnie not rich, but her shrimping business is on the verge of a hostile takeover by the shrewd half-Chinese smuggler and racketeer, Sam Kee. Before the disappointed Bill leaves the village, however, Tiny and Gabby show up, hungry and pursued, having failed at both their robbery and betting schemes. While Tiny and Gabby search for food, the village is stirred by the arrival of Ambrose, the Lescalies' old friend, whom Miss Minnie had contacted for financial help. After a night of festivities, Ambrose promises to return with the needed money, but is seen leaving by Kee and is killed. The next morning, as the village sheriff is about to auction off Miss Minnie's business to a cohort of Kee, Tiny spots a safe in Kee's boat and, with Gabby's help, steals enough cash for Bill to buy the business himself. Gabby then pickpockets more money from one of Kee's henchmen, and as her partner, Bill is able to ... +


Because they refused to participate in a prison escape, in which a fellow convict, Armand Lescalie, was killed, William "Gabby" Stone and Alfred "Tiny" Smith receive commendations from the Alabama governor and are freed. A few weeks later, Bill Drexel, another reluctant escapee, also is released and tracks his ex-convict friends to a horse stable in New Orleans. Although Bill discourages Gabby and Tiny from pursuing a robbery and horse-betting scheme, he feels no compunction about looking up Miss Minnie, Armand's supposedly rich mother, in a Louisiana shrimping village. When Bill arrives in the small, impoverished Cajun village, he is dismayed to learn from Sarah, Miss Minnie's daughter, that not only is the widowed Miss Minnie not rich, but her shrimping business is on the verge of a hostile takeover by the shrewd half-Chinese smuggler and racketeer, Sam Kee. Before the disappointed Bill leaves the village, however, Tiny and Gabby show up, hungry and pursued, having failed at both their robbery and betting schemes. While Tiny and Gabby search for food, the village is stirred by the arrival of Ambrose, the Lescalies' old friend, whom Miss Minnie had contacted for financial help. After a night of festivities, Ambrose promises to return with the needed money, but is seen leaving by Kee and is killed. The next morning, as the village sheriff is about to auction off Miss Minnie's business to a cohort of Kee, Tiny spots a safe in Kee's boat and, with Gabby's help, steals enough cash for Bill to buy the business himself. Gabby then pickpockets more money from one of Kee's henchmen, and as her partner, Bill is able to revitalize Miss Minnie's sabotaged shrimping operation. Four weeks later, Bill discovers that he has fallen in love with Sarah and tells her about his troubled life, which includes a disapproving father in Boston and an alcohol-induced marriage to a gold-digging waitress. Sarah is heartbroken by the news and is even more stunned when Ruby, Bill's wife, suddenly arrives in the village. Depressed that Ruby refuses to divorce him, Bill takes a late-night walk on the village pier and is kidnapped by Kee and his men. Gabby and Tiny, however, see Kee rowing Bill to his boat and pursue him in their own rowboat. At the same time, the Coast Guard, suspicious that Kee is using the village to smuggle Chinese refugees in from Mexico, confront Kee's ship with warning gun fire. Before the Coast Guard boards his ship, however, Kee disposes of his illegal cargo by throwing the bound-and-gagged Chinese refugees and Bill overboard. After Tiny executes an underwater rescue of Bill, the three men board Kee's ship and beat and tie up their foes. When Bill returns to shore, he is met by Lodge, his father's lawyer. As a joyful Sarah listens, Lodge informs Bill that his father is anxious for a reconciliation, and that, after he was sent to prison, Ruby had divorced him. Finally free of his past, Bill embraces Sarah. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.