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(1931)

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One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since.
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This was Ivor Novello's only appearance in a Hollywood feature film. Hugely successful in the UK as a film and theatre performer, dramatist and songwriter and lionized as the epitome of modern male beauty, he was signed up by MGM and installed in a house in Malibu. The money was good, but frustratingly the opportunities to work turned out to be few and far between. Producers and directors felt he was too effete for American audiences - they preferred the more rugged masculinity of Gary Cooper - so instead of appearing in front of the camera, he was relegated to back-room work, such as contributing the dialogue for the first Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movie, Tarzan the Ape Man (1932). He is supposed to have come up with the dialogue for the immortal "You Tarzan, Me Jane" scene. There was plenty of time to party and he spent a great deal of it with his Hollywood best friends, Joan Crawford and 'Douglas Fairbanks Jr'. He also mixed with the gay set that included William Haines and Lilyan Tashman. He struck up an enduring friendship with Greta Garbo (he could speak a few words of Swedish after a propaganda visit to Stockholm during WWI) and he may have had a romance with Ramon Navarro among others. Knowing he was keen to appear as an actor in a motion picture, his close friend Ruth Chatterton suggested that Paramount hire him for Once a Lady (1931), in which she was to star. Not long afterwards Novello talked Irving Thalberg into suspending his contract, and he headed back to the UK. In his luggage he had the manuscripts of at least two new plays, written during his spare-time in Hollywood, and soon they would be big hits in London's West End. Once reestablished back in Britain, he embarked on a brand new phase of his career, as the writer, composer and star of spectacular musicals for the Theatre Royal Drury Lane which would make him one of the British Stage's greatest box-office draws of the 30s, 40s and early 50s.
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