Monday, October 8, 2007

Red-headed woman with reporter's notebook

[Lil Andrews (Jean Harlow) takes dictation.]

Red-Headed Woman (dir. Jack Conway, 1932) is another pre-Code film. The plot is similar to that of Baby Face: an enterprising woman (here without guidance from a Nietzsche-espousing cobbler) sleeps her way to the top in Renwood, Ohio, and then advances to points east. The screenplay is by Anita Loos, and it is said to tone down the serious elements of an earlier draft (by F. Scott Fitzgerald, from a novel by Katherine Brush). The result is engaging and odd, with Jean Harlow's Lil (Lillian Andrews, aka "Red") pursuing Chester Morris's William "Bill" Legendre, Jr., in a light sex comedy that nonetheless prefigures the stalking of Fatal Attraction.

In the above still, Lil has just begun the chase, having brought her ailing boss's mail to his house, hoping that she'll be asked to stay and "take dictation." That's one enormous stationery item Lil has brought with her. The words REPORTER'S NOTE BOOK are readable on the cover. I've flipped a cropped image from another still to make the words easier to see. Could someone stop thinking about Jean Harlow and try to read the rest?

Like Baby Face, Red-Headed Woman is available (no pun intended) on a DVD compilation, Forbidden Hollywood, Volume 1.

All "dowdy world" posts (via Pinboard)

Other notebook sightings
Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne
Moleskine sighting (in Extras)
Notebook sighting in Pickpocket
Pocket notebook sighting (in Diary of a Country Priest)
Pocket notebook sightings in Rififi
(Welcome, Moleskinerie readers!)

comments: 3

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,
could it by any chance be
stationary ltd.
Reporter's note book"?
Ryman is an old stationary company established in 1893, UK based - they still make shorthand pads.

kind regards from Denmark

Michael Leddy said...

Hi Henrik,

The last two letters of the word at the top look like AL to me, so I don't think it's Ryman.

But I will add Ryman to my store of venerable stationery names -- thanks!

Gennie Netz said...

The third letter from the end of the top line looks like a T to me (or possibly an F, with a very faint cross line.) In grade school, we were taught a cursive T that had that shape.