American producer/director/cinematographer George Stevens made his professional acting debut at age five in the company of his actor parents. Developing an interest in photography as a hobby, Stevens became an assistant movie cameraman at the age of 17. From 1927 through 1930, he was principal cameraman at Hal Roach Studios, shooting such classic two-reelers as Laurel and Hardy’s Two Tars (1928) and Below Zero (1930), as well as a handful of feature films, including the 1927 Western No Man’s Law. Stevens was elevated to director in 1930 for Roach’s Boy Friends series. Dismissed from Roach during an economy drive in 1931, Stevens moved to Universal and then to RKO to direct comedy shorts (he later professed to hate two-reel comedies, though he enjoyed the company of the comedians with whom he worked, especially Laurel and Hardy). RKO promoted Stevens to features in 1934; after several medium-budget projects, he was assigned the “A” feature Alice Adams (1935) over the protests of the… read more
George Stevens's VIVACIOUS LADY (1938) is a standard-issue RKO rom com elevated to sublimity by the one-and-only film pairing of Ginger Rogers & Jimmy Stewart. The two classic film icons were dating at the time of production, and their IRL chemistry permeates every frame. W/ delightful support from Charles Coburn, Beulah Bondi, Franklin Pangborn & Hattie McDaniel. A lesser-known title worth looking for. (10/1/11 TCM)
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