More Lawson Art Deco clocks on the big screen:
Shadow Of Doubt (1935). Ricardo Cortez was one of the great Latin lovers who, it was hoped would fill the void left by the death of Rudolph Valentino. (Cortez was actually Jakob Krantz from New York City but close enough.)
Early in the story, Cortez’ character Sim, gets into a fight with movie producer and cad, Len Haworth. Soon after, Haworth is murdered, making Sim a prime suspect. A friendly crime reporter played by Regis Toomey wakes Sim in the middle of the night, warning that the police are on the way. Once again, Lawson Time moves things along.
I won’t spoil the story, which is a pretty good one. But here’s some interesting trivia about Shadow Of Doubt. The source of the Art Deco sets was the great Cecil Gibbons, designer of the Oscar statue, art director for The Wizard Of Oz and husband of Delores del Rio. (Gibbons also worked with Hugo Ballin, whose Art Deco murals are near and dear to Deco enthusiasts in L.A.)
Although her role was small, the real knockout beauty (IMO) in Shadow Of Doubt was Betty Furness, who people of a certain age will remember for her live TV commercials for Westinghouse. Like Jakob Krantz/Ricardo Cortez, Furness was from NYC and returned to New York as a TV personality and director of the New York State Consumer Protection Board under Governor Nelson Rockefeller.
Ricardo Cortez’ career took an unusual turn as well. Only modestly successful in Hollywood, he gave up acting, returned to Manhattan and began a highly successful career as a broker at Solomon Brothers.
Witch Hunt (1994). A TV movie that has something to do with H. Philip Lovecraft, the McCarthy hearings and voodoo. Witch Hunt brings together Dennis Hopper, Julian Sands, Eric Bogosian and an unusual Art Deco + 1950s look. Actually, the streamlined 1930s and 1950s Philco Predicta TV sets go together nicely. It’s the prefect setting for a Lawson clock and sure enough, there’s a quick glance at a Lawson 460 in the reception room of a movie studio.
The Artist (2011). A modern day silent movie, The Artist tells the story of star George Valentin whose career disappears overnight with the arrival of sound. He’s forced to sell his belongings. One item is a Lawson model 208. Lawson Clocks Ltd. did not yet exist at the time portrayed but the clock obviously fits in this setting.
The Artist is charming and really doesn’t suffer from it’s lack of sound. The leads are not well-known in the U.S. but the movie also stars John Goodman, James Cromwell and Malcolm McDowell.
And here’s a real piece of trivia–Penelope Ann Miller appears in both The Artist and Witch Hunt. What are the chances?
My thanks to Henry Fenenbock, Judy Kirk and Dana Slawson for calling my attention to these Lawson movie cameos.
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