The Bespoke Red-Baiter

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2021 at 9:53 pm

It’s his birthday today and although he took part in some of Hollywood’s most memorable films, but, because Adolphe Menjou was a notorious right wing Commie baiter and huge asshole during the McCarthy era, I am not wishing him a happy one.

the best thing this “horror”, as both George Cukor and Katharine Hepburn (who made three films with him) called him, ever did was marry the talented, aristocratic actress, Veree Teasdale, and stayed with her until his death. He was a noted clothes horse – Bob Hope once jokingly referred to himself as “the Adolphe Menjou of Toluca Lake” – but he always seemed too oily to be enviable. He was named Best Dressed Man in America nine times – never even knew there was such a title -and called his memoir It took nine Tailors.

Born in Pittsburgh, in 1890, he went to Cornell and got an engineering degree but the call of showbiz was too strong. He played vaudeville and made his silent film debut in 1916, and, afterwards, was a near inextricable part of movie history, appearing in such noteworthy films as The heik, Three Musketeers, A Wonan of Paris directed by Chaplin in which his debonair bespoke persona became defined, Morocco, The Front Page (replacing Louis Wolheim as Walter Burns when that actor died), A Farewell to Arms with Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes, Morning Glory, Convention city (dirtiest movie Warner ever made and no one seems to know where it is now), Little Miss Marker, The Milky Way, Golddiggers of 1935 ( fitfully amusing as a mad Russian choreographer), 100 men and a girl, in the same year of 1937 Stage Door and A star is born, Golden Boy, Father takes a wife, You were never lovelier, Roxie Hart, The Hucksters, of the union (keeping socially distant from Katharine hepburn whom he called a pinko), Kazan’s man on a rightrope, kubrick’s Paths of Glory, and his final film Pollyanna.

He died of hepatitis in Beverly Hills in 1963, age 73.

Menjou’s politics from Wiki:

Menjou was a staunch Republican who equated the Democratic Partywith socialism. He supported the Hoover administration‘s policies during the Great Depression. Menjou told a friend that he feared that if a Democrat won the White House, they “would raise taxes [and] destroy the value of the dollar,” depriving Menjou of a good portion of his wealth. He took precautions against this threat: “I’ve got gold stashed in safety deposit boxes all over town… They’ll never get an ounce from me.” In the 1944 presidential election, he joined other celebrity Republicans at a rally in the Los Angeles Coliseum, organized by studio executive David O. Selznick, to support the DeweyBrickerticket and Governor Earl Warren of California, who would be Dewey’s running mate in 1948. The gathering drew 93,000, with Cecil B. DeMille as the master of ceremonies and short speeches by Hedda Hopper and Walt Disney. Despite the rally’s large turnout, most Hollywood celebrities who took public positions supported the RooseveltTrumanticket.In 1947, Menjou cooperated with the House Committee on Un-American Activitiessaying that Hollywood“is one of the main centers of Communist activity in America”. He added: “it is the desire and wish of the masters of Moscow to use this medium for their purposes” which is “the overthrow of the American government”. Menjou was a leading member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, a group formed to oppose communist influence in Hollywood, whose other members included John WayneBarbara Stanwyck (with whom Menjou costarred in Forbidden in 1932 and Golden Boy in 1939) and her husband, actor Robert Taylor.Because of his political leanings, Menjou came into conflict with actress Katharine Hepburn, with whom he appeared in Morning GloryStage Door, and State of the Union (also starring Spencer Tracy). Hepburn was strongly opposed to the HUAC hearings, and their clashes were reportedly instant and mutually cutting. During a government deposition, Menjou said, “Scratch a do-gooder, like Hepburn, and they’ll yell, ‘Pravda’.” To this, Hepburn called Menjou “wisecracking, witty—a flag-waving super-patriot who invested his American dollars in Canadian bonds and had a thing about Communists.” In his book Kate, Hepburn biographer William Mann said that during the filming of State of the Union, she and Menjou spoke to each other only while acting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: