If you watch TCM (and who doesn’t?) keep your eye out for a film you’ll probably see no where else — Grand Slam.
It’s a real oldie from First National Pictures and stars Paul Lukas, Loretta Young, Helen Vinson, Frank McHugh and Glenda Farrell. And it’s the only film we know about which highlights the card game that captivates millions around the globe.
A few weeks ago we ran a picture of a foursome, several famous men we knew, Salvadore Dali, Jackie Gleason and Johnny Ray sitting with a man we couldn’t identify. One of our readers, Scott, wrote and said the fourth man was El Morocco nightclub owner John Perona. We should have guessed that ourselves since Perona often took photos with his celebrity guests.
We had jokingly titled the blog Anyone for Bridge and that started us thinking about movies where bridge played an integral part of the script. We could only think of one. It’s by no means a classic, but it is fun to watch.
In the 1920s and 30s bridge had swept the nation. Upper class people dressed in formal clothes at bridge parties. There were tournaments which were attended just as if one were going to a tennis match or ball game. Hard to believe, we know, but see this film and you’ll get a sense of what this bridge mania was like at the time.
Which brings us to this point: old films are history. Yes silents, and even some early talkies, may be difficult to watch and slow by today’s standards, but they provide stunning visuals of what the culture was like, what the fashions were, how the language has evolved.
In short they are like reading a history book. Only more fun.