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The First Year

The First Year(1932)

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According to a New York Times article from May 1932, the set for this film, which is described as "one of the most ambitious attempted during the reign of sound, covers two stages on the Fox lot and is the result of six months work by Gordon Wiles, art director," took three days to light by cameraman James Wong Howe and his crew. As Hal Mohr, not Howe, is credited with photography, it is unclear whether Mohr took over from Howe or the article was mistaken about Howe's participation. The Variety review comments about Leila Bennett, a white actress who played the black servant girl in the film: "the not so convincing make-up makes it tougher for her than anyone else in the cast." Fox produced a film based on the same source in 1926, which was directed by Frank Borzage and starred Matt Moore and Kathryn Perry (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.1782). In 1945, Twentieth Century-Fox announced that they were going to remake the film, but these plans were never consummated.