clark gable carole lombard

74 years ago this month, lovebirds Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were among the throngs of celebrities attending the world premiere of MGM’s Marie Antoinette at the  Carthay Circle Theater  in Hollywood (no longer standing, sadly.)
marie antoinette premiere program

Premiere Program

The film has been on MGM’s drawing table for years; a pet project of producer Irving Thalberg, who died in 1936 before a camera ever rolled on the project. His wife, Norma Shearer, was set to be the star of the picture. After her husband’s death, the project was shelved while Norma grieved and was ill with pneumonia. The film finally started production in December 1937 and was a lavish affair, with a $1.8 million budget–practically unheard of at that time, most of it spent on the elaborate costumes, wigs and sets. The budget was so bloated that originally the film was to be shot in Technicolor but that idea had to be scrapped to save money. Norma has her critics as an actress, but Marie Antoinette really is her finest work. It was her personal favorite of all of her films and would often be the only one she would be willing to discuss with people when she was in failing mental health late in her life.
MGM made sure the premiere of this prestige picture was a grand event, with a virtual who’s who of Hollywood attending. Such as:
Earl of Warwick, Simone Simon, Jinx Falkenberg, Merle Oberon and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Earl of Warwick, Simone Simon, Jinx Falkenberg, Merle Oberon and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
hedy lamarr

Hedy Lamarr

 

jean bello jean harlow mother

Jean Harlow's mother attended...looking eerily like Jean, eyebrows and all and even wearing Jean's white fur wrap!

judy garland freddie bartholomew

Judy Garland and Freddie Bartholomew came together...with their mothers!

Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck
Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck
Louis B. Mayer, Helen Hayes, Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power
Louis B. Mayer, Helen Hayes, Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power
Norma was truly the queen of the night and, having recently ended a short fling with Jimmy Stewart, her co-star Tyrone Power was her escort.
norma shearer tyrone powernorma shearer tyrone power
Clark and Carole looked fabulous. I love Carole’s tightly curled ‘do and massive corsage!
clark gable carole lombard
clark gable carole lombard
clark gable carole lombard tyrone power

signing the guest book with Tyrone Power

clark gable carole lombard
clark gable carole lombard
TCM has the newsreel of the premiere (which is also on the film’s DVD):

Afterwards, everyone went over the infamous Hollywood nightspot the Trocadero for the after party. Spotted:
Producer Joe Mankiewicz, Viennese star Rose Stradner, Spencer Tracy and his wife

Producer Joe Mankiewicz, Viennese star Rose Stradner, Spencer Tracy and his wife

Pat Paterson (Mrs. Boyer), Basil Rathbone and Charles Boyer
Pat Paterson (Mrs. Boyer), Basil Rathbone and Charles Boyer
It is at this after party at “the Troc” that this picture of Clark and Carole was taken, one of my favorites. Think they are having a good time?
clark gable carole lombard
Looks like their table was the fun one!
clark gable carole lombard
I have a feeling that party went well into the night…

2 Responses to 1938: Clark Gable and Carole Lombard Attend the Marie Antoinette Premiere

  1. Robin says:

    What a great post. Love the old footage. Awesome!

  2. [...] dear mr gable : a gallery of pics from the 1938 premiere of MARIE ANTOINETTE [...]

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