Rebecca Isabelle “Carla” Laemmle (born October 20, 1909 - Los Angeles, 12 juni 2014)
American actress and the niece of Universal Pictures founder Carl Laemmle. She was a movie actress in the 1920s and 1930s, and was, along with Lupita Tovar, one of the very few surviving actors of the silent film era.
A 1934 Universal photo of studio head Carl Laemmle cutting his birthday cake. Karloff can be seen in the very back behind Laemmle. Walter Lantz characters Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Pooch the Pup are present too.
Philbin had never met Lon Chaney before and was initially very shy and nervous around him. He, in return, was demanding to the extreme, determined at all cost to coax a good performance from her. During the filming of the crucial scene of the Phantom’s unmasking, he turned on her with a barrage of insults. Mary, deeply hurt but too proud to cry, was on the verge of reporting him to Carl Laemmle. Then Chaney raised his hand to strike her and Mary fell back screaming, remembering “the wild rage in his eyes”, putting her hand to her face and letting the tears flow. Once it had been caught on film Chaney began to comfort her, explaining that he had done it for the good of the film. After that she came to adore him and he, in his turn, made sure he was on set for her scenes, even those in which he did not feature.
-The Phantom of the Opera, 25th Anniversary Edition by Michael Heatley
A post wherein film writer Kimberly Luperi spotlights the career of beloved, although often overshadowed, acting great Claude Rains.
In my mind, Claude
Rains was sort of an “Invisible Man”: a marvelous performer who I’ve
felt was rather underrated and overshadowed by bigger stars, as character
actors often are. Rains even likened himself to one during a 1933 New York Times interview discussing THE
INVISIBLE MAN (’33): “I daresay it was the best thing they could do with
this face,” he quipped. “Now if they could keep it invisible, I might get by in
didn’t keep Rains concealed for long, but I’d say he got by pretty well in the
movies nonetheless. See: his string of compelling performances in classics like
THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (‘38), CASABLANCA ('42), NOTORIOUS ('46) and
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA ('62), to name but a few.
extensively on the stage in England and America, the London-born Rains made the
leap to film late in his career. Technology of the time kept his expressive
voice hushed in his first screen outing, BUILD THY HOUSE (’20), but Rains’
brogue played a crucial role in landing his next picture 13 years later across
the pond, THE INVISIBLE MAN (’33).
famous for contributing FRANKENSTEIN ('31) and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN ('35) to
Universal’s classic horror canon, took the reins on THE INVISIBLE MAN (’33). Though
one legend has it that Whale overheard Rains’ RKO screen test and exclaimed,
“I don’t care who that actor is, but I want that voice!” the fact is
that Whale was familiar with Rains’ tenure teaching at London’s Royal Academy
of Dramatic Art (where Laurence Olivier and Charles Laughton were among his
students) and lobbied for Rains from the beginning. Luckily for the director, Universal’s
first choice Boris Karloff dropped out after producer Carl Laemmle Jr. repeatedly
pushed Karloff to take a salary cut, and Whale slyly dissuaded second choice
Colin Clive so Rains could step in. Though Laemmle objected to the casting of
an unknown, Whale prevailed.
MAN (’33) may seem an odd Hollywood debut for a well-known stage star because the
lead receives mere seconds of screen time, but the picture made Rains
incredibly visible. The New York Times
praised Rains and noted that “no actor has ever made his first appearance
on the screen under quite as peculiar circumstance,” while other notices hailed
the movie as “one of the best yet produced” and a “remarkable achievement.”
Indeed, Rains’ menacingperformance,
Whale’s masterful direction, R.C. Sherriff’s meticulous adaptation of H. G.
Wells’ novel and John P. Fulton’s cunning special effects unanimously earned rave
reviews and helped the film smash a three-year attendance record at New York
City’s Roxy Theatre. Though visual wizardry has progressed leaps and bounds in
the 83 years since its original release, THE INVISIBLE MAN (’33) still retains the
ability to awe and delight viewers today, in part owing to the scrupulous
balance between its visual trickery, drama and a “generous quota” of comedy.
Following THE INVISIBLE
MAN (’33) success, Variety reported that Universal
"figures the curiosity aroused by the first pic…will act as an effective
buildup” for Rains’ next outing for the studio, which would provide audiences
their first full view of the actor. But Paramount actually beat them to the
punch by releasing Rains’ CRIME WITHOUT PASSION ('34) in between those two
Universal pictures. Had Paramount held off, the aforementioned Universal film, THE
MAN WHO RECLAIMED HIS HEAD ('34), would have been an ironic, apropos follow-up
for the formerly invisible man.
Released in 1930, THE CAT CREEPS is considered to be a “lost movie,” with only a few minutes of footage known to exist today. The film is actually a remake of 1927’s THE CAT AND THE CANARY, which was again remade for a third time by Universal in 1946.