Identification Help (And Storage) Circa 1939 Actress Screen Test - Potentially Bette Davis?

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jaredhagemann
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Identification Help (And Storage) Circa 1939 Actress Screen Test - Potentially Bette Davis?

Unread post by jaredhagemann » Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:46 pm

Hey Everyone-

Today I visited an estate sale of a relative of Oliver Hardy (it's confusing, but the items I sifted through were from Oliver's mother) and purchased a strip of Kodak 35mm black and white reversal nitrate of an unknown actress in what seems to be a screen test. Judging by the Kodak dating code system, the film was either produced in 1919 or 1939. Judging by context clues, this footage is most likely from at least 1939 (But I could very well be wrong). As some astute friends of mine pointed out, the actress in question could be Bette Davis.

What I'd like to know is

For the film buffs: Is the actress Bette Davis or someone else?
For the archivists: What's the best way to store this in my home until I figure out if I should donate it or keep it?

Image

Footage in motion: https://www.instagram.com/p/BtHYZ4zHr5d/

Thanks Everyone!

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Brooksie
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Re: Identification Help (And Storage) Circa 1939 Actress Screen Test - Potentially Bette Davis?

Unread post by Brooksie » Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:38 am

It is definitely not Bette Davis. This is purely a guess, but the clothing and set dressing makes me think this might be a Continental (i.e. European) production.

jaredhagemann
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Re: Identification Help (And Storage) Circa 1939 Actress Screen Test - Potentially Bette Davis?

Unread post by jaredhagemann » Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:40 am

Brooksie wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:38 am
It is definitely not Bette Davis. This is purely a guess, but the clothing and set dressing makes me think this might be a Continental (i.e. European) production.
By that do you mean filmed in Europe? The date code on the Kodak film says that it was produced in the United States, if that makes any difference.

I should also add that the estate sale was in Sherman Oaks, CA, only a few miles from the major motion picture studios.

Also, regardless of who the actress is, the clothing and set dressing wouldn't make a difference if it's a screen test as it's Hollywood.

martinola
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Re: Identification Help (And Storage) Circa 1939 Actress Screen Test - Potentially Bette Davis?

Unread post by martinola » Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:32 am

Could this have been for Zenobia? I agree that the set dressing is more like an English house than what would have been used in Zenobia.

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Hamilton's Grandson
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Re: Identification Help (And Storage) Circa 1939 Actress Screen Test - Potentially Bette Davis?

Unread post by Hamilton's Grandson » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:36 pm

Looks similar to June Lang (forehead and ear structure) if screen test is from Zenobia 1939.

Doesn't look like Jean Parker to me.

Storage: Tough to store 35 mm film material for a few years above 60 degrees and 60% humidity and expect nitrate to survive intact.
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Brooksie
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Re: Identification Help (And Storage) Circa 1939 Actress Screen Test - Potentially Bette Davis?

Unread post by Brooksie » Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:35 pm

She looks a little bit like Lucille Jones (aka Virginia Lucille Jones), the studio script girl who met Hardy on the set of Flying Deuces (1939) and married him in 1940. It's possible she was screen tested at some point, or that she was caught on camera during some production and Hardy kept the footage for sentimental reasons.

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s.w.a.c.
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Re: Identification Help (And Storage) Circa 1939 Actress Screen Test - Potentially Bette Davis?

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:26 pm

Brooksie wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:35 pm
She looks a little bit like Lucille Jones (aka Virginia Lucille Jones), the studio script girl who met Hardy on the set of Flying Deuces (1939) and married him in 1940. It's possible she was screen tested at some point, or that she was caught on camera during some production and Hardy kept the footage for sentimental reasons.
And there is an ID card with Ms. Jones' picture on it in the auction items shown in the thread titled "Hardy of the MPA", and I can see a bit of resemblance. It would make sense if this was also her in the footage.
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Marr&Colton
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Re: Identification Help (And Storage) Circa 1939 Actress Screen Test - Potentially Bette Davis?

Unread post by Marr&Colton » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:19 am

It is very likely a screen test since the shot is head to toe....I'm sure there were thousands of bits of footage
of screen tests or edits from takes that made it into film industry employees hands as well as the general public through them.

And as in most screen tests, the men or women subjects were never hired and disappeared into obscurity.

As far as storage, remember this is HIGHLY FLAMMABLE film and should be in a metal container in a cool and dry place. You didn't say how much footage you are dealing with---if it is of any length over 100 feet, it would be good to donate it to an archive out in California such as UCLA.

jaredhagemann
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Re: Identification Help (And Storage) Circa 1939 Actress Screen Test - Potentially Bette Davis?

Unread post by jaredhagemann » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:25 am

Sorry for the late updates and thanks for the great suggestions. I'm going to make another effort with UCLA to see if it is anything they're interested in. If not, anyone interested in taking it? I had thought about burning it in high speed for stock footage reasons, but if it is Lucille Jones and was something kept for sentimental reasons, I don't know that I could bear that guilt.

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