Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Returning to the Scene of The Black Camel

There are two-timers and then there are two-timers!

We have three of the classic character actors in The Black Camel:

HOMANS, Robert:
Chief of Police in The Black Camel
Judge in Charlie Chan at the Race Track
Capt. Flynn in The Scarlet Clue

KIMMELL, Murray:
Smith in The Black CAMEL
Martin Thorne in Charlie Chan's Courage
Capt. Sexton (alias Phillips, the Butler in Charlie Chn in Loedon]
Henri Latouche in Charlie Chan in Paris

WHITE, Marjorie:
Sadie in Charlie Chan Carries On
Rita Ballou in The Black Camel

And then we have Hamilton MacFadden, who's in a class all by himself!

HAL ERIKSON (All Movie Guide): "American actor/director Hamilton Macdden attended Harvard Law School before entering the world of the theatre. At first, MacFadden decided that stage directing was his meat, and remained in this line of work until brought to Hollywood by Fox Studios in 1929. For the first few years of the '30's, it seemed as though every major Fox production was helmed by either MacFadden or his fellow contractee Daid Butler. It was Mac Fadden who launched the studio's Charlie Chan series with Charlie Chan Carries On and The Black Camel (both 1931); and it was he who was put in charge of Fox's "prestige" Depression-busting musical of 1934, Stand Up and Cheer, which wa an artistic fiasco save for the presence of Shirley Temple in her first important roll. Given the banality of much of MacFadden's work, one suspects he was kept on payroll at the behest of Fox exeutive Winfield Sheehan, who was famous for honoring friendships and favors at the expense of cinematic quality. Whatever the case, Hamilton MacFadden was eased out of Fox when the studio merged with Darryl F. Zanuck's 20th Centuary Productions in 1935. By the end of the '30's, Hamilton MacFadden had returned to acting in supporting and minor roles: ironically, he was cast as a suspect in Charlie Chan in Rio (1941), a remake of MacFadden's own Black Camel.


[After Hamilton MacFadden's film career was over in 1945, what did MacFadden do with the rest of his life? Did he remain married to wife Violet Dunn {Anna in The Black Camel}?]
"This is a very good very question. I had read somewhere that he went back East to direct stage productions. Yet a check of the IDBD shows his Broadway directing career only goes up to 1928 and nothing thereafter It's interesting to note that he directed 3 of the first 4 Oland Chans: another interesting item is that he directed the first week's shooting of Paris before being replaced for some reason. Remember also that for Black Camel the studio trusted him enough to let him go off to Hawaii with a 40 member cast and crew for a location shoot for that movie, so he must have been impressive.

"His work on the Chans received good reviews from critics so it's intriguing to speculate on his career. I get the impression that he was a somewhat eccentric character. "

Steve Rhodes; CCMB; Monday; May 12, 2003

From the Internet Movie

McFadden career as director lasted over 28 movies from 1931 to 1945 and included
1931 - Charlie Chen Carries On
1931 - The Black Camel (Director/First Job as Actor)
1933 - Charlie Chang's Greatest Case
1935 - Charlie Chen in Paris (First week's uncreated shooting only)

His acting career also lasted 28 years from 1930 to 1942 and covered Charlie Chen in Reno (1938) and Charlie Chen in Rio (1941).


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