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Sunny Side Up

Here’s a movie ad from the December 1 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that caught my attention:

Naturally, I was curious: did Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell actually make another picture together after December 1933? Technically, yes: Change of Heart, the last film in which they co-starred, was released in May 1934. But it could have finished filming by the time this ad came out, and they might have decided never to work together again.

Sunny Side Up was originally released in 1929. It was produced before the adoption of the Motion Picture Production Code censorship guidelines of 1934, so it was able to include “scantily clad and gyrating island women enticing bananas on trees to abruptly grow and stiffen, with the graphic metaphor lost on no one”. Cowabunga! Critical reviews described the film as tolerable or engaging despite its sugary sentimentality. The complete movie is available on YouTube here (called Sunnyside Up in this edition); the dance sequence with the gyrating island women is at about the 1 hour and 18 minute mark.

Janet Gaynor (1906-1984) had a secret relationship with her co-star Farrell while they were filming together, and was married three times. In later life, she was an acclaimed painter of still-life portraits of vegetables and flowers. She was seriously injured in 1982 when the taxicab she was riding in was hit by a drunk driver who ran a red light; she eventually passed away from the injuries she sustained in the accident.

Charles Farrell (1900-1988) eventually settled in Palm Springs, California, and became its mayor from 1947 to 1955. While serving as mayor, he revived his acting career by starring in the TV series My Little Margie from 1952 to 1955. He married former actress Virginia Valli in 1931, and they stayed married until she passed away in 1968.

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