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Maytime

Maytime(1937)

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According to contemporary news items, Warner Bros. owned the rights to the Rida Johnson Young, Sigmund Romberg operetta Maytime, but sold them to M-G-M in early 1935. At the time of M-G-M's acquisition of the property, opera singer Grace Moore was announced as the female star, and the picture was being considered for production as M-G-M's first three-strip Techicolor feature. A March 30, 1935 news item noted that M-G-M production chief Irving Thalberg had assigned Frances Marion to write the screenplay for Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, however, a June 20, 1935 news item again mentioned Moore as the female star, co-starring with Eddy in a James Kevin McGuinness and Richard Schayer story. When production began on August 21, 1936, MacDonald and Eddy were the stars. It was announed at that time that shooting had been moved forward three weeks to accomodate MacDonald, who was about to marry actor Gene Raymond. At that time, Edmund Goulding was the director. The wedding was postponed and did not take place until June 1937, however. Following Thalberg's death on September 13, 1936, filming on Maytime stopped, along with other all other pictures in production on the lot. Maytime resumed production within a few days, but filming again stopped in late Sep. Production did not resume again until 29 October when Robert Z. Leonard was named the new director. Although some of the footage shot in August and September May have been included in the released film, an entirely new script was written and several actors were replaced. Actors listed on the August 24, 1936 production chart who did not continue on the film when production resumed in November included Julie Haydon, Paul Lukas, Frank Morgan, Ted Healy, Stanley Morner and Mary Phillips. Although Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich were the only screenwriters mentioned on production charts just after the resumption of shooting in early Oct, the only writer credited onscreen and in reviews was Noel Langley. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter on March 3, 1937, the then twenty-five-year-old Langley wrote the screenplay for Maytime in three-and-a-half days. In addition to Langley, Claudine West was credited with contributions to the treatment by the Screen Achievements Bulletin. The extent of the work of writers Marion, McGuinness, Schayer, Hackett and Goodrich that is reflected in the completed film has not been determined. According to a news item on August 15, 1936, Dr. William Axt was to direct the operatic sequences of Il Trovatore and Tosca; however, Film Daily Year Book and modern sources credit the operatic sequences to William von Wymetal, and Tosca was not included in the completed film. It is possible that Wymetal replaced Axt when the production resumed after its interruption in late Sep. Although the appearance of child actor Bobs Watson in the film has been confirmed by visual identification in the viewed print, it has not been determined whether the actor "Bobby Watson," listed in the Call Bureau Cast Service as a "bit," is the adult character actor of that name or a misspelling of Bobs Watson's name. An ad in Hollywood Reporter on March 12, 1937, mentions a number of people who were connnected with the production. The following are the names of persons whose specific connection to the film has not been determined: Jack Mackenzie, Virgil Apgar, Howard Culver, Charles Ryan, Olga Collins, Ann Lawson, Janet Guenther, Melford Cline, Clarence Burdick, Fred Phillips, Otto Krotka, Kenneth Crane, James Harper, Margaret Hart, Dick Henrikson, Bert Haines, Al White, Murtel Gallagher, Mert Burdick, Harry Kurley, Garland Briden and John Scura. MacDonald and Eddy recreated their roles for a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on September 4, 1944.