Six `lost' RKO films to be shown on TCM

April 03, 2007|By Susan King | Susan King,LOS ANGELES TIMES

HOLLYWOOD -- Turner Classic Movies is unveiling six "lost" films from the RKO library. Caught up in a legal tangle that involved King Kong creator Merian C. Cooper and then largely forgotten, the films haven't been seen in some 50 years.

TCM will air the vintage collection, which includes the 1933 William Powell melodrama Double Harness as well as Rafter Romance, One Man's Journey, Stingaree, Living on Love and A Man to Remember, tomorrow and April 11.

The search for the films began last April, when a viewer wanted to know why TCM had never shown Double Harness.

It was learned that Double Harness -- a sexy soap opera -- was one of six RKO titles whose rights were sold to Cooper in 1946 and, therefore, were never part of the inventory sold to Ted Turner in 1987.

Double Harness, directed by John Cromwell, casts Powell as a lazy lothario, a San Francisco shipping heir pursued by and forced into marriage to a beautiful woman (Ann Harding).

Also from 1933 is Rafter Romance, a saucy comedy starring Ginger Rogers as a struggling young career woman who shares an attic apartment with an equally destitute night watchman (Norman Foster).

Living on Love, from 1937, is the low-budget, pedestrian remake of Romance starring James Dunn.

One Man's Journey (1933) is a potboiler chronicling the life of a brilliant country doctor (Lionel Barrymore). Joel McCrea plays his young son, who also goes into the medical profession.

Far superior to One Man's Journey, though, is its 1938 remake, A Man to Remember, starring Edward Ellis as the doctor. The film marked Garson Kanin's feature directorial debut.

Rounding out the six is the offbeat 1934 musical adventure Stingaree. Directed by William Wellman, the film stars Irene Dunne and Richard Dix in a tale of a dashing Australian bandit and a maid who aspires to become an opera singer.

Susan King writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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