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A big fan of Mr. Cortez here, and I look forward to reading this book. I also find the 1931 version of "The Maltese Falcon" much more to my liking than the Bogart re-do. As for "Wonder Bar", he was so villainously enjoyable in it, but he was appealing enough that it was easy to see why Dolores Del Rio found him irresistible. And yes, the long and justifiably maligned "Mule" number. In most cases I have no trouble with blackface numbers because I view them through the eyes of the time in which they were made, but this one is really hard to swallow. A pity, because the song itself, stripped of the lyrics, is a glorious piece of music. What a shame it's been banished to oblivion, because I believe with different lyrics it would have lasted.
Hi, Great comments! Glad you’re a Cortez fan! My number one reason for writing this book was to inspire a rediscovery of the work of this unsung, talented actor. You’re not alone in your preference for the original MALTESE FALCON. Every time TCM screens the film, more people become fans of the Cortez/Daniels pre-Code original with its combination of mystery, intrigue, humor, sex and romance. As I believe I mentioned in a previous comment, I'm also a fan of WONDER BAR and Cortez’s performance in it. What a shame it was marred by the “Mule” number! Otherwise, I believe it would be recognized as one of the decade's best musicals. I do hope you will check out the book!
Thank you very much! I'm delighted you picked up the book. The project was quite the challenge. Cortez did not leave diaries, so we, (myself and two great research assistants) were forced to piece his story together over a long period of time, scouring studio and newspaper archives and libraries across the U.S. It took four years, but I'm glad I persevered. It's a great story that had never been told. Hope you enjoy the book. When you've had a chance to read it, drop me a line (here or on my website: http://www.danvanneste.com/" target="_blank" target="_blank) and tell me what you thought.