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The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend

The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend(1949)


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The working titles of this film were Teacher's Pet and The Blonde from Bashful Bend. The title of Earl Felton's original screen story was "The Lady from Laredo." Preston Sturges' onscreen credit reads: "Written, Directed and Produced by Preston Sturges." According to Hollywood Reporter news items, the film originally was scheduled to begin filming in September 1947, but was "temporarily shelved" in October 1947. According to modern sources, the delay was necessitated by financial concerns, as studio production chief Darryl F. Zanuck was reluctant to make a high-budget Technicolor film at the time. During the interim, Sturges wrote and directed Unfaithfully Yours as his first production for Twentieth Century-Fox (see below). On a December 29, 1947 screenplay draft for The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend, contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Library, Sturges wrote the following note: "It is my habit, when writing a play, to cast the parts as, in my mind, each character makes his first appearance. Occasionally a stranger walks in and I am uneasy about his looks and the sound of his voice, but usually as he pauses in the doorway I recognize an old friend whose talents I admire and about whose fitness for the part I have no doubts." Although Betty Grable had already been announced as the film's star, Sturges' note reveals that he envisioned June Haver in the part of "Freddie."
       The file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals that the PCA judged the December 29, 1947 draft to contain "a number of unacceptable elements which could not be approved in the finished picture." PCA head Joseph I. Breen cautioned the studio to take especial care with the women's costumes and noted: "This screenplay contains entirely too much dialogue and action which concerns itself-in a quite blunt and pointed way-with sex." Breen advised eliminating suggestions that "Judge Alfalfa J. O'Toole" was in the saloon's hotel room in order to have an affair, or that he was in an illicit relationship with "Conchita." The September 23, 1948 draft was approved, although Breen again advised the studio to be mindful of the camera angles when photographing the actresses.
       According to modern sources, the film's ending, in which Judge O'Toole was shot for the third time, was filmed by another director at the insistence of Zanuck, who did not like Sturges' original ending. A Hollywood Reporter news item, however, stated that Sturges "had slated shooting on an added scene," for which Marie Windsor had been added to the cast. The film, which was Sturges' first Technicolor production, was his last American film. Sturges directed only one more picture, the 1955 French film Les carnets du Major Thompson, although he did receive story credits on the 1956 film The Birds and the Bees and the 1958 picture Rock-a-Bye Baby, both of which were remakes of earlier Sturges productions.