Friday, December 23, 2011

A Glimmer of Hope for Letty Lynton (1932)

When Warner Archive recently released the wonderful Robert Montgomery Collection, I couldn't resist writing, "Now if we could only have Montgomery and Crawford's LETTY LYNTON (1932) untangled from its legal nightmare at last...well, we'll hope that happens before too long."

As I have described in previous posts, LETTY LYNTON, starring Robert Montgomery and Joan Crawford, has been unavailable for authorized screenings since a court case in the mid '30s. Any classic film fans lucky enough to have seen this film have had to settle for extremely poor copies; a couple years ago it was briefly on YouTube.

Lou Lumenick of the New York Post recently noticed an interesting exchange on the Archive Facebook page. (Via Classic Montgomery.)

Lumenick quotes a representative of the Archive as saying of LETTY LYNTON, "We're trying and ready to write a check to make it happen."

Lumenick speculates that if the legal issues are resolved, LETTY could possibly be shown at next April's TCM Classic Film Festival. Two other films which recently had their rights untangled, NIGHT FLIGHT (1932) and THE CONSTANT NYMPH (1943), were also showcased at the TCM Festival. If this did come to pass, I think TCM would need to schedule multiple screenings to accommodate all those who are anxious to see it!

LETTY LYNTON is an extremely significant film, one of the finest examples of the pre-Code era, including a story and (pretty amazing) plot resolution which could only have been in a film released before enforcement of the Production Code. The movie contains some of the best work of both Joan Crawford and Robert Montgomery, and it's also notable for the fashion impact of Joan Crawford's wardrobe, designed by Adrian.

As I wrote three years ago, "It's criminal that a film like this is still out of general circulation after over seven decades. The artistry of those who made it should not be lost for all time. Hopefully at some point the legalities will be cleared up so that the film can be widely seen, as it deserves."

I'm very happy to hear that the Warner Archive is working on making access to LETTY LYNTON a reality at long last, and I'm sure all classic film fans hope that perhaps next Christmas LETTY will finally be sitting on our DVD shelves.


Blogger Evangeline Holland said...

Wonderful news! I have a really grainy, but still watchable copy of Letty Lynton and consider it one of those "lost" films that more than live up to the hype.

Happy Christmas!

4:15 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Let's hope this happens!

Happy New Year, Evangeline!

Best wishes,

9:32 PM  
Blogger PrinceofWhales said...

Almost all the other Crawford films have made it to DVD. I'm still hoping to see this one soon.

11:44 PM  

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