“It’s Love I’m After” – aren’t we all? (Note: Miss de Havilland will turn 99 on July 1st – Olivia de Havilland – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

Bette Davis and Leslie Howard on set with director, Archie Mayo:

Annex - Davis, Bette (It's Love I'm After)_01

Leslie Howard originally envisioned either Gertrude Lawrence or Ina Claire, both noted for their comedic stage performances, as his leading lady, although they had limited experience in films. Producer Hal B. Wallis had director Archie Mayo meet with Lawrence, who was interested in playing the role, but when Wallis and Howard screened the 1936 British film Men Are Not Gods, they agreed she did not photograph well.

The film began production without a leading lady. Then Wallis decided the screwball comedy would be a refreshing change-of-pace for Bette Davis, who had just completed the melodrama That Certain Woman. She initially declined the role of Joyce Arden, feeling the better female role was that of socialite Marcia West. She also resented being asked to accept second billing to Howard. Suffering from exhaustion, Davis went to Palm Springs to recuperate and finally agreed to appear in the film if Wallis would allow her some time for rest and relaxation. He insisted she report to work on March 28, 1937, and she replied, “Give me a week more . . . I must have a brief chance of being something more than a jittery old woman.” She also asked Wallis to replace cinematographer James Van Trees with Tony Gaudio, one of the few cameramen she trusted, and the producer agreed, although Van Tress received sole screen credit.

via It’s Love I’m After – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

it's love i'm after on set

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  1. George Kaplan
    April 20, 2013

    “”It’s Love I’m After” Aren’t we all?” The very words that sprung to my mind! Simply profound, Ms Lester 🙂
    Everyone loves Bette; so strong, witty, principled, “difficult” yet, under it all, vulnerable.
    Poor short-lived Mr Howard.
    Ms De Havilland, part of one of Hollywood’s saddest tales, the decades-long rift with her sister, Ms Fontaine. Oy.

    • April 20, 2013

      I think our friend Edward mentioned that Mr. Howard died during WWII – and that he may have been on a mission for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI — don’t know).

  2. April 20, 2013

    Gosh, is Ms Davis nursing a glass of water or gin? Perhaps vodka? Hm, I have a sudden hankering for some freshly pressed orange juice…and a trip to the liquor cabinet. xoxo

    • April 20, 2013

      On set — that would have been an icy glass of water, along with her cigarettes, matches, and of course face powder — those lights get mighty hot! Mwah! V

  3. April 20, 2013

    Love that Other Line – “i studied Psychology”

    Ah yes.

    Education trumps all. Eventually.

    • April 20, 2013

      Sister, and how!
      And a big hug to you this morning, V

  4. April 20, 2013

    Love this post Vickie… Ms de Havilland shares my birthday. I loved the chemistry with her and Bette (my fav) in Aldrich’s Hush… Hush Sweet Charlotte. I’ll have to see this film. Thanks for the wonderful snap shot in time. Too delicious “I studied psychology’

    • April 20, 2013

      It’s funny and acerbic – I think you’ll like it. By the way, I have found the dullest recipes, baked beans from Bette, and some kind of cheese cracker from Lilian. I’m still working on it 😉

      • April 21, 2013

        Vickie I’ll have to catch it soon, I love the cast and trust your taste. I’m not surprised Bette’s recipe was baked beans, having lived in Maine for several years, I learned that a staple of the New England diet was baked beans and brown bread. Thanks so much for hunting down these little treasures….Joey

  5. George Kaplan
    April 20, 2013

    Yes, Howard died when his plane was shot down by Nazi fighters while returning from doing espionage work in Portugal for… um…SOE? Eh, I dunno. Mr Edward likely does…or I could look on Wikipedia!

  6. April 20, 2013

    Who’s Clark Gable?

    • April 20, 2013

      “His ears are too big and he looks like an ape.” So said Darryl F. Zanuck after viewing Mr. Gable’s screen test for “Little Caesar”, and the rest is history.

      Dear Mr. Gable, / I am writing this to you / and I hope that you will read it so you’ll know / My heart beats like a hammer / and I stutter and I stammer… 😉

  7. April 20, 2013

    ….every time I see you at the picture show….I guess I’m just another fan of yours so I wrote to tell you sooo oh oh oh…..

  8. April 22, 2013

    Dear V
    I look at that photograph of the young Bette and for some reason I can’t help but think “what is that she’s drinking?”
    My total confidence in your powers means I am sure that we will have answers to this and all other mysteries from your fair hand!
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • April 22, 2013

      Unless an accommodating assistant slipped some vodka into her glass I would guess that, especially on set, and this early in her career – it was water.

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