Thursday, 21 June 2012
California Straight Ahead 1925
A film directed by Harry A. Pollard starring Reginald Day, Tom Hayden, Gertrude Olmstead and Tom Wilson.
Lowry refers to the film to emphasis a point he is making in the film script for Tender Is The Night about the creation of atmosphere in the film with the use of signs, words and advertisements of Paris in 1926; "Here the signs are not only historically accurate - your research department being at the moment the memory of one of your writers - Ca Qua Ca Gaze, for instance, was the French name given to Reginald Denny's California Straight Ahead, which was playing in Paris in 1926..." (The Cinema of Malcolm Lowry: a scholarly edition of Lowry's "Tender is the Night" Edited by Miguel Mota and Paul Tiessen Pg. 75). We can assume that Lowry must have recalled a poster of the film on his 1926 visit to the city with The Leys School.
Long after the death of Wallace Reid, writer Byron Morgan was still coming up with the type of road and racing stories he created for the late star. Reginald Denny has the lead in this especially hilarious comedy-thriller. Because he stays too long at his bachelor party, Tom Hayden (Denny) shows up late to his wedding to Betty Browne (Gertrude Olmstead). As a result, the ceremony is called off and Hayden's family disowns him. So he and his valet Sambo (Tom Wilson) decide to take the double-decker wedding car on a cross-country trip, paying their way by supplying tourists with chicken dinners and radio music. In the desert, Hayden runs into Betty and her angry parents (Fred Esmelton and Lucille Ward). When animals break loose from a nearby circus, Hayden saves the Brownes and when he arrives in Los Angeles, he drives Mr. Browne's car in a big race. He wins -- and wins Betty. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi