The Private Life of Don Juan (United Artists) (1934)

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Publicity Section DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS One of Don Juan's Many Loves Douglas Fairbanks and the striking Merle Oberon in “The Private Life of Don Juan,” his new London Films romantic comedy, released through United Artists and showing-at the-Theatre. 2 —Two Col. Scene (Mat .10; Cut .40) Winsome Joan’s Nineteen and Lucky WasDonJuanHero or Villian? 6 'Just A n Idealist. ’’Says Doug! Fairbanks Thinks Heart-Wrecker He Plays In New Film Was Simply Seeking The Perfect Woman (ADVANCE FEATURE) by KARL K. KITCHEN Who really was Don Juan? A hero or a villain? A romanticist longing for perfection or a vulgar libertine? I put these questions to Douglas Fairbanks one afternoon in Seville after spending hours explor¬ ing the narrow streets of the ancient FILM WHETS DOUG'S LOVE OF BULLRING Fairbanks Plays One Matador And, Through Trick Of Fate, Meets Another (CURRENT STORY) Douglas Fairbanks’ interest in bull¬ fighting was quickened by the fact that the original Don Juan, whose amorous exploits he brings to the screen in London Films’ “The Private Life of Don Juan” at the. Theatre, was a famous matador and, according to one Andalusian legend, met his death in the bullring. The agile star, who on more than one occasion has flown from London to Barcelona or Seville to witness a bullfight and has many friends among the leading matadors, revealed during the filming of this Alexander Korda production for release through United Artists, that he has long harbored the belief that he might himself have be¬ come a matador if he had applied him¬ self to it seriously. This opinion was shared by no less an authority than Juan Belmonte, famous bullfighter, after he had witnessed Doug’s expert cape play with some of the young bulls on the Belmonte farm. It was several years ago, when Doug was making “The Gaucho,” that, solely for his own amusement, he practised with the cape and learned to bandillear like a professional. Asks To Meet Author Speaking of bullfighting, an amus¬ ing story is told of Fairbanks’ meeting with the great matador, Rafael Gomez Ortega. It seems that an American friend, hearing that Doug was bound for Spain to make exteriors for “Don Juan,” sent him a copy of “The Revolt of the Masses,” written by a dis¬ tinguished Madrid professor named Ortega. The book made such a deep impres¬ sion on Doug that when upon his ar¬ rival, a Spanish newspaper reporter asked him what one man in Spain he was most anxious to meet, he in¬ stantly replied “Ortega.” Promptly at eleven o’clock the fol¬ lowing morning the telephone rang and Doug was informed that Senor Ortega was in the lobby. The star hurried down to find an impressive looking olive-skinned Spaniard stand¬ ing beside the reporter. One On Doug “This is a great honor, Professor,” Doug began. “Your book is marvelous —I was thrilled by it.” The olive-skinned man looked be¬ wildered. “Book?—I write no book,” he pro¬ tested. “Aren’t you Professor Ortega, the author of ‘The Revolt of the Masses?” asked Fairbanks. “No, no. He is Ortega, the most famous matador in Spain,” interposed the reporter, who had made a very natural mistake. Fairbanks admitted the joke was on him, but before his distinguished guest departed he had Matador Or¬ tega autograph Professor Ortega’s book. So Near and Yet So Far Lovely Merle Oberon had already packed four trunks preparatory to sailing for Hollywood, when Douglas Fairbanks persuaded her to remain in London and play the feminine lead opposite him under the direction of Alexander Korda in “The Private Life of Don Juan,” his new London Films production, which comes to the. . . . .Theatre. When she learned that she was to play a Spanish dancer in this romantic comedy for release through United Artists, she at once placed herself under the tutelage of Nicholas Legat, who was ballet master to the Imperial School at St. Petersburg and has been called the maker of Ballerinas. In record time, Merle was dancing like a professional. Upon the completion of this pic¬ ture Merle was immediately starred opposite Leslie Howard in Korda’s production of “The Scarlet Pimper¬ nel,” which Howard had been sent abroad to make for London Films. (BIOGRAPHICAL FEATURE) The day she signed up for a tiny part in the London Hippodrome Revue, “Bow Bells” was the luckiest day in the brief life of winsome Joan Gard¬ ner, who is seen in an important role in Douglas Fairbanks’ “The Private Joan Gardner 9 —One Col. Player Head (Mat .05; Cut .20) Life of Don Juan,” the Alexander Korda romantic comedy showing .at the. Theatre. For when the second night of the show found one of the leading players with a sprained ankle and unable to go on, Joan, who had taken the trouble to learn all the principal songs, was rushed into the role. But this was just a hint of the good fortune fate had in store for her. When Alexander Korda, the dis¬ tinguished Hungarian film producer, came to London to direct films, Mur¬ ray Anderson, the producer of “Bow Bells” strongly recommended that he see his show. Korda saw it and the result was a five year film contract for the lovely Joan. Joan, who is nineteen, has previ¬ ously been seen by American film audiences in Korda’s triumphant pro¬ duction of “Catherine the Great.” After “Don Juan,” she will be seen in support of Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon in the same director’s “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” which Howard was sent abroad to make, and which, like the two previous films, was pro¬ duced by London Films for release through United Artists. Joan is superstitjous about white horses, and loves to!swim and wander about the seaside. She studies her film parts while striding through the London streets, hatless, with a script book in her hand, j city. For we were in Don Juan’s home town, and we naturally fell to discus¬ sing the character Doug had chosen to play in his new picture for London Films “The Private Life of Don Juan,” directed by Alexander Korda, for re¬ lease through United Artists and com¬ ing to the. Theatre . “Don Juan was an idealist who spent his life searching for the per¬ fect woman,” began Mr. Fairbanks. “That his name was Miguel de Manara and that he lived a consider¬ able part of his life here in Seville is not particularly important. His quest for his ideal—the perfect crea¬ ture with matchless beauty and su¬ perlative charm—was unsuccessful. For such a woman did not and never has existed. The counterpart of the image created in his mind by poets, musicians and artists could not be found in real life. What he found, of course, were women of flesh and blood—many of them beautiful, but none of them the faultless creature he had hoped to find. “Because he was handsome, virile and romantic, many of the women he met tried to attach themselves to him —and he was forced to fly in self- defense. In fact, he became famous for his repeated flights. But because he did not find a single woman in the entire world who was the counterpart of the image he had created in his mind, he was not a libertine. And be¬ cause he ran away on so many occa¬ sions he was not a villain. “I think about the worst thing one can say about Don Juan is that he Doug’s First Film In 2 Years Due Here (ADVANCE READER) “The Private Life of Don Juan,” Douglas Fairbanks’ first film in two years, comes to the . Theatre . Produced by Alexander Korda for London Films, the combination which gave us “The Private Life of Henry VIII” and “Catherine the Great,” “The Private Life of Don Juan” tells in vivid and amusing fash¬ ion the story of how the incurable romanticist, deprived by a trick of fate of his name and reputation, wan¬ ders from one lovely creature to an¬ other, determined to prove to him¬ self and the world that he’s still the world’s greatest lover. The film offers Doug one of his typical swashbuckling, daredevil roles and is replete with vigorous swordplay and breath-taking stunts. Merle Oberon, as the glamorous Spanish dancer, Pepilla, heads the large cast of supporting beauties which includes Benita Hume, Joan Gardner, Binnie Barnes, Patricia Hil¬ liard, Princess Paley, Betty Hamilton, Diana Napier and others. Frederick Lonsdale and Lajos Biro are responsible for the story from which this most spectacular effort of the English film company to date was produced for release through United Artists. An attractive feature of Doug¬ las Fairbanks’ “The Private Life of Don Juan” is the singing of lovely Binnie Barnes who displayed a charming voice as Rather yn Howard in “The Private L/ife of Henry VIII.” The new song, en¬ titled “The Sun Came Up In The Morning,” was written specially for her by Arthur Wimperis and Arthur Benjamin. loved women too much,” Fairbanks continued. “He was never cruel. And he was never unfaithful while he was in love. This continuous quest for his ideal gave him a reputation for unfaithfulness that he never de¬ served. “I am sure that if you examine his life you will find that his chief fault was that he hoped for too much in the women he loved—-an idealism we all must admire in these cynical times. “To get at the real man it is nec¬ essary to discard the countless legends that have come down to us and get the real facts about him. This is not as difficult as it sounds for in the archives of the City of Seville there are many works about him written by his contemporaries. The poets, dra¬ matists and novelists who have since written about him have magnified his faults and minimized his virtues. Like everybody else, he was a mixture of good and bad, and I would not like to be the one to say that the women he loved and fled from were more at fault than he. But at least I feel that I have portrayed Don Juan as he really was—a romanticist searching for per¬ fection rather than the dubious hero of a thousand love affairs.” LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS about A WELL-KNOWN LOVER Don Juan was a real person who lived in Seville. His name was Miguel de Ma¬ nara. A statue to his amatory prowess stands in Seville today. On the night of November 2nd, “Don Juan Tenorio,” one of the forty-two plays based on his ex¬ ploits as a heart-wrecker, is played in nearly every important city in the Iberian peninsula. The convent where he found and eloped with his bride is one of the show places of Seville. Doug¬ las Fairbanks visited it while in Spain seeking locations for his film, “The Private Life of Don Juan.” directed by Alexander Korda and showing at the .Theatre. The correct pronunciation is “Don Wahn.” The rose bush he planted in Seville is still in bloom. A rose from this bush promises success with the lady to whom a hopeful swain presents it. He hated to see women eat. There are over a hundred vol¬ umes dealing with the exploits of the great lover in the library of the British Museum. Douglas Fair¬ banks spent several hours here reading up on the man whom he was bringing to life on the screen. He was a great matador as well as a great swordsman. Douglas Fairbanks spent a year in research before he started to make London Films’ “The Private Life of Don Juan” for release through United Artists. All the exteriors were actually shot in Spain. DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS “The Private Life of DON JUAN” with MERLE OBERON Benita Hume, Joan Gardner and Binnie Barnes Story by FREDERICK LONSDALE and LAJOS BIRO An ALEXANDER KORDA Production Presented by LONDON FILMS Released thru UNITED ARTISTS THE CAST Dolores’ duenna-j._Annie Esmond One of Don Juan’s loves_:_•______Patricia Hilliard Also Diana Napier, Natalie Lelong (Princess Paley), Betty Hamilton, Toto Koopman, Spencer Trevor, Nancy Jones and Florence Wood. Photography by Georges Perinal Costumes by Oliver Messel Art Director, Vincent Korda