Columbia's late 30s Canadian productions

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Harold Aherne
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Columbia's late 30s Canadian productions

Unread post by Harold Aherne » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:52 pm

Does anyone know about the handful (maybe a dozen or so) films that Columbia Pictures made in Canada between 1936 and 1939? Most of them were filmed in Victoria, BC, per the AFI catalogue. Generally there was at least one notable player in each of them (like Charles Starrett in Secret Patrol from 1936), but the supporting casts don't look very familiar so I'm guessing they were composed of local actors. One of them, Woman Against the World from 1937, features the only leading role of Alice Moore, daughter of Tom Moore and Alice Joyce. Does Sony (or anyone else) have copies of these pictures? Have they been screened anywhere since their original release?

-Harold

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silentfilm
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Unread post by silentfilm » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:57 pm

I've never heard of these before, but Michael Schlesinger would be the person to ask to see if Columbia still has prints of these films.

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precode
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Unread post by precode » Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:26 am

silentfilm wrote:I've never heard of these before, but Michael Schlesinger would be the person to ask to see if Columbia still has prints of these films.
If you can give me specific titles, I can ask Grover about them.

Mike S.

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Harold Aherne
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Unread post by Harold Aherne » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:56 am

The title I know of are

Lucky Fugitives (36)
Fury and the Woman (36)
Secret Patrol (36)
Stampede (36)
Tugboat Princess (36)
Manhattan Shakedown (37)
Murder is News (37)
What Price Vengeance (37)
Woman Against the World (37)
Convicted (38)
Special Inspector (38)
Death Goes North (39)

Release dates vary a bit depending on the source you consult--Manhattan Shakedown and Murder is News apparently weren't released in the States until 1939. I see now that the AFI did screen most of these, so they must exist. The only exception is Lucky Fugitives, which the 1931-40 catalogue doesn't include at all and was probably not released stateside.

Most of them are 55-65 minute programmers. The AFI doesn't list all of them as Columbia productions, but the Internet Movie Database implies a connection between Columbia and Central Films as well as Kenneth J. Bishop Productions. I don't know anything about the latter two companies, but I've read a suggestion that Columbia may have opted to film these in Canada to avoid restrictions on Hollywood product in many European countries, the same reason that many studios had British subsidiaries to produce quota quickies.

-Harold

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Unread post by Ian Elliot » Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:21 pm

Columbia was taking advantage of Canada's Commonwealth status. British Parliament, finding the Central/Columbia films rather too "American", revised the legislation in March 1938 to exclude Canadian product from the quota, bringing an end to this series. Peter Morris' terrific Embattled Shadows: A History of Canadian Cinema, 1895-1939 (McGill Queen's University Press, 1992), gives a pretty detailed chronicle of this period and the production of the Kenneth Bishop films, noting that "Bishop was always frank about the fact that Commonwealth Productions and Central Films existed expressly for the purpose of producing British Quota films."

I saw one some years ago, CONVICTED, pretty weak tea and bordering on amateurish as I remember, though Rita Hayworth turns in a competent performance. The elements for most of these films were turned over to the National Archive in Ottawa. If you type "Kenneth Bishop" into this search engine, you'll see their holdings.

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Unread post by silentfilm » Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:26 pm

Harold Aherne wrote:The title I know of are

Lucky Fugitives (36)
Fury and the Woman (36)
Secret Patrol (36)
Stampede (36)
Tugboat Princess (36)
Manhattan Shakedown (37)
Murder is News (37)
What Price Vengeance (37)
Woman Against the World (37)
Convicted (38 )
Special Inspector (38 )
Death Goes North (39)
Ottawa seems to have all but Lucky Fugitives.

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precode
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Unread post by precode » Sun Nov 09, 2008 3:27 pm

Harold Aherne wrote:The title I know of are

Lucky Fugitives (36)
Fury and the Woman (36)
Secret Patrol (36)
Stampede (36)
Tugboat Princess (36)
Manhattan Shakedown (37)
Murder is News (37)
What Price Vengeance (37)
Woman Against the World (37)
Convicted (38)
Special Inspector (38)
Death Goes North (39)

Release dates vary a bit depending on the source you consult--Manhattan Shakedown and Murder is News apparently weren't released in the States until 1939. I see now that the AFI did screen most of these, so they must exist. The only exception is Lucky Fugitives, which the 1931-40 catalogue doesn't include at all and was probably not released stateside.

Most of them are 55-65 minute programmers. The AFI doesn't list all of them as Columbia productions, but the Internet Movie Database implies a connection between Columbia and Central Films as well as Kenneth J. Bishop Productions. I don't know anything about the latter two companies, but I've read a suggestion that Columbia may have opted to film these in Canada to avoid restrictions on Hollywood product in many European countries, the same reason that many studios had British subsidiaries to produce quota quickies.

-Harold
Okay, I'll get on it.

Mike S.

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Unread post by marlowe » Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:48 pm

If Special Inspector features Rita Hayworth, I have a very good copy of that film.

Marlowe

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