Mary Boland movies: Scene-stealing actress has her ‘Summer Under the Stars’ day
Turner Classic Movies will dedicate the next 24 hours, Sunday, Aug. 4, not to Lana Turner, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Esther Williams, or Bette Davis – TCM’s frequent Warner Bros., MGM, and/or RKO stars – but to the marvelous scene-stealer Mary Boland. A stage actress who was featured in a handful of movies in the 1910s, Boland came into her own as a stellar film supporting player in the early 1930s, initially at Paramount and later at most other Hollywood studios.
First, the bad news: TCM’s “Summer Under the Stars” Mary Boland Day will feature only two movies from Boland’s Paramount period: the 1935 Best Picture Academy Award nominee Ruggles of Red Gap, which TCM has shown before, and one TCM premiere. So, no rarities like Secrets of a Secretary, Mama Loves Papa, Melody in Spring, The Pursuit of Happiness, or Wives Never Know.
Now the good news: Mary Boland’s Paramount movie in question is the Elliott Nugent-directed family comedy Three Cornered Moon (1933), with Boland as ditzy matriarch Nellie Rimplegar, who loses the family savings in the stock market crash. Pretty Claudette Colbert, and handsome Tom Brown and William Bakewell are three Rimplegars who’d better start learning to make do with (way) less than before. But not to worry: Richard Arlen is a doctor ready, willing, and able to cure not only physical, but also financial (and romantic) illnesses.
Mary Boland at Fox and at MGM
TCM’s two other Mary Boland premieres are 20th Century Fox releases: He Married His Wife (1940), starring Joel McCrea and Nancy Kelly in roles that sound quite similar to those played by Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in Columbia’s The Awful Truth, and Danger: Love at Work (1937), a B comedy featuring Ann Sothern and The Wizard of Oz‘s Jack Haley, but chiefly notable as an early effort by future two-time Best Director Oscar-nominee and Production Code-busting filmmaker Otto Preminger.
The Solitaire Man (1933), an MGM production starring Herbert Marshall, is surprisingly effective. But in terms of quality, the highlights of Mary Boland Day are two other MGM releases – and TCM perennials: George Cukor’s The Women (1939), one of the funniest Hollywood comedies ever, and Robert Z. Leonard’s Pride and Prejudice (1940), which may not be exactly faithful to the Spirit of Jane Austen, but it’s a magical, flawlessly acted delight all the same. Boland is superb in both movies, stealing every scene she’s in. Curiously, this outstanding actress was never even nominated for an Academy Award.
The Women failed to be shortlisted for a single Academy Award. Particularly egregious was the bypassing of Mary Boland, whose oft-married, oft-divorced Countess De Lave may well be the most memorable role – and performance – of her Hollywood career.
Mary Boland movies: TCM schedule (PT) on August 4, 2013
3:00 AM STINGAREE (1934). Director: William A. Wellman. Cast: Irene Dunne, Richard Dix, Mary Boland. Black and white. 77 min.
4:30 AM THERE GOES THE GROOM (1937). Director: Joseph Santley. Cast: Ann Sothern, Burgess Meredith, Mary Boland. Black and white. 65 min.
6:00 AM HE MARRIED HIS WIFE (1940). Director: Roy Del Ruth. Cast: Joel McCrea, Nancy Kelly, Roland Young, Mary Boland. Black and white. 83 min.
7:30 AM MARRY THE GIRL (1937). Director: William McGann. Cast: Mary Boland, Frank McHugh, Hugh Herbert. Black and white. 68 min.
8:45 AM THE SOLITAIRE MAN (1933). Director: Jack Conway. Cast: Herbert Marshall, Mary Boland, Lionel Atwill. Black and white. 67 min.
10:00 AM NEW MOON (1940). Director: Robert Z. Leonard. Cast: Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Mary Boland. Black and white. 105 min.
12:00 PM IN OUR TIME (1944). Director: Vincent Sherman. Cast: Ida Lupino, Paul Henreid, Nancy Coleman, Mary Boland, Alla Nazimova, Victor Francen, Michael Chekhov, Frank Reicher. Black and white. 111 min.
3:30 PM DANGER: LOVE AT WORK (1937). Director: Otto Preminger. Cast: Ann Sothern, Jack Haley, Mary Boland, Edward Everett Horton, John Carradine, Walter Catlett, Benny Bartlett, Maurice Cass, Etienne Girardot, Alan Dinehart, E.E. Clive, Margaret Seddon, Margaret McWade, Elisha Cook Jr., Hilda Vaughn, Charles Coleman, George Chandler, Spencer Charters, Stanley Fields, Paul Hurst, Claud Allister, Jonathan Hale, Charles Lane. Black and white. 82 min.
7:00 PM THREE CORNERED MOON (1933). Director: Elliott Nugent. Cast: Claudette Colbert, Richard Arlen, Mary Boland, Wallace Ford, Lyda Roberti, Tom Brown, William Bakewell, Joan Marsh, Hardie Albright, Sam Hardy, Clara Blandick, Sam Godfrey, Joe Sawyer. Black and white. 78 min.
8:30 PM THE WOMEN (1939). Director: George Cukor. Cast: Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, Mary Boland, Joan Fontaine, Lucile Watson, Virginia Weidler, Phyllis Povah, Marjorie Main, Virginia Grey, Ruth Hussey, Muriel Hutchison, Florence Nash, Hedda Hopper, Cora Witherspoon, Mary Beth Hughes, Judith Allen, Mary Anderson, Gertrude Astor, Betty Blythe, Lilian Bond, Esther Dale, Mary Dees, Dot Farley, Flora Finch, Theresa Harris, Carol Hughes, Butterfly McQueen, Natalie Moorhead, Barbara Pepper, Aileen Pringle, Jo Ann Sayers, Dorothy Sebastian, Peggy Shannon. Black and white. 133 min.
11:00 PM PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940). Director: Robert Z. Leonard. Cast: Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Mary Boland, Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Sullivan, Edna May Oliver, Melville Cooper, Frieda Inescort, Marsha Hunt, Ann Rutherford, Heather Angel, Bruce Lester, E.E. Clive, Gia Kent, Karen Morley, Claud Allister, Elspeth Dudgeon, Wyndham Standing. Black and white. 118 min.
1:00 AM JULIA MISBEHAVES (1948). Director: Jack Conway. Cast: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Peter Lawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Cesar Romero, Lucile Watson, Nigel Bruce, Mary Boland, Reginald Owen, Henry Stephenson, Aubrey Mather, Ian Wolfe, Fritz Feld, Phyllis Morris, Veda Ann Borg, Lola Albright, Edmund Breon, Marcelle Corday, Gino Corrado, Jean Del Val, Elspeth Dudgeon, James Finlayson, Joi Lansing. Black and white. 99 min.
Mary Boland movie schedule via the Turner Classic Movies website.