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The Perfect Snob

The Perfect Snob(1941)

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Eleanor Mercein's short story first appeared in the July 3, 1926 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Although Mercein is not listed on the SAB, nor in the film's file in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, other contemporary sources indicate that the picture is loosely based on her story. A September 16, 1941 studio press release and a August 12, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item note that the film was initially changed from its original setting in the Basque country of Spain to a Cuban sugar plantation so that "audiences [would not] start thinking of the war while viewing the light comedy." Problems also arose due to the Cuban locale, according to the film's file in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library. The PCA noted that there were "objectionable Cuban elements" in the August 30, 1941 version of the script, and a September 17, 1941 memo stated that the studio had "decided to solve all Latin American problems presented by the script by changing the locale to some unidentified island, instead of its former Cuban locale." In the film, however, the location of the sugar plantation is Hawaii.
       Although Charlie Ruggles and Charlotte Greenwood receive top billing in the film's opening credits, they are listed after Lynn Bari and Cornel Wilde in the end credits. According to a August 14, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item, Malcolm St. Clair was originally set to direct the picture. Studio publicity and the Daily Variety review asserted that The Perfect Snob marked Cornel Wilde's screen debut, but he had appeared in films previously. Wilde replaced John Shelton (Shepperd Strudwick) in the role of "Mike Lord" when Shelton became sick on the first day of shooting. Anthony Quinn was borrowed from Warner Bros. for the production, and when the filming was completed, Twentieth Century-Fox bought his contract from Warners. According to studio publicity, the swampy plantation scenes were shot at the same man-made swamp created on the studio lot that was used in the film Swamp Water (see below). Twentieth Century-Fox first filmed Mercein's story in 1931 as Their Mad Moment. The picture was directed by Chandler Sprague and starred Dorothy Mackaill and Warner Baxter. Also released in 1931 was Mi ltimo amor, a Spanish-language version directed by Louis Seiler and starring Jos Mojica and Ana Mara Custodio (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4546).