INTIMATE INTERVIEWS–WALTER HUSTON

Today I’m posting the last of the three short interview films made in 1931 under the series title ‘Intimate Interviews’ (see previous two posts to catch up on what little history I’ve been able to figure out about the how and why of the existence of these fascinating little oddities). In this one, our intrepid ‘reporter’ Dorothy West (I think by now we know she wasn’t really a journalist) gate-crashes Walter Huston’s handsome Spanish pile and corners the newly popular actor (he’d just been seen in a clutch of popular movies including ‘The Criminal Code’, ‘Abraham Lincoln’ etc.) poolside for an interview. Huston is wearing what was then considered normal mens bathing attire–a tank top, shorts and a belt. He conducts most of the interview from the pool in which he happily splashes about. Like the other ‘Intimate Interviews’ the personal space between the fetching young Ms. West and the older actors is limited and it isn’t long before Huston climbs out of the pool and has Ms. West sitting by his side as he makes infelicitous comments about his ‘love life’. Perhaps the most distracting thing about this, though, isn’t what we would now deem as inappropriate behavior as is the fact that Huston never bothers to dry himself off. He sits, apparently comfortably, in a dripping three-piece swimsuit making goo-goo eyes at the visiting journalist and finally proposing that she join him for an evening of dining and dancing. The tag line–involving the city of Reno, Nevada–will be meaningless to those who don’t know that Reno was where one obtained quickie non-contested divorces back in the day. Given that Walter’s son John was 25 years old when this was shot–much closer to Ms. Wests age then Walter–adds a pleasant bit of awkward family drama; perhaps John was on his way into the house to visit his famous father just as Ms. West was leaving. Assuming the two ran into each other one might fully expect Ms. West of having had to dodge the advances of two lascivious Huston’s in one short afternoon of work

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