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Four Frightened People (1934) Poster

Trivia

According to "Cecil B. DeMille's Hollywood" by Robert S. Birchard, the 96-minute version of the film was only screened once, at a test screening in Huntington Park, California, on December 15, 1933. The test audience, apparently mostly composed of kids (who were there waiting to see the war aviation movie Ace of Aces (1933)), felt that the movie was too long by ten minutes, and that further character set-up was necessary. To accommodate this DeMille added in the opening blurb that the movie was filmed on real locations and he included brief bios for each of the four frightened people. DeMille then screened the movie and decided that the test audience was correct, and cut a "thousand feet" from the film, resulting in the 17 minutes cut from the test version. So then the 96-minute "longer" cut was never actually shown to a mass audience; the only certain thing about it was that it included sequences with Ethel Griffies, who played the mother of Arnold Ainger (Herbert Marshall).
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During Claudette Colbert's bath sequence, a stand-in was used for the long shots; according to Cecil B. DeMille and quoted in "Cecil B. DeMille's Hollywood": "Girl under waterfall wears Annette Kellerman bathing suit, and all parts of body are covered." This was a form-fitting bodysuit which simulates nudity; however, Claudette Colbert did indeed appear topless in her closeups during the scene.
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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 MCA ever since. It was released on DVD 23 May 2006 as one of five titles in Universal's Cecil B. De Mille Collection, and again as a single 15 November 2011 as part of the Universal Vault Series.
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When Claudette Colbert was hospitalized for appendicitis just before she was due to leave Los Angeles for location filming in Hawaii, Cecil B. DeMille considered recasting her role with Gloria Swanson; the two had worked together on Male and Female (1919), another comedy about rich people shipwrecked on a tropical island.
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Filming delays while on location in Hawaii, recorded by production secretary 'Emily Barrye' qv), included a noisy camera, a broken mechanical cobra, 'Claudette Colbert' becoming ill, and temperamental behavior on the part of Mary Boland.
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Cecil B. DeMille considered Preston Foster and Gordon Westcott during casting for the role that went to William Gargan.
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Claudette Colbert was still filming Torch Singer (1933) when pre-production began on this film, and the shooting schedule was tailored accordingly so as not to interfere.
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Babe London, who was living in Hawaii in 1933, wrote to Cecil B. DeMille in hopes of getting a part in the film when the crew arrived on the island.
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Lois Weber, who was living in Hawaii at the time of filming, wrote to Cecil B. DeMille to suggest a screenwriter, also in residence on the island, in hopes of getting him some work.
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