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It's Great to Be Alive

It's Great to Be Alive(1933)

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The plot and onscreen credits were based on a screen continuity and credit sheets in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection and Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library. Fox produced a Spanish-language version of this film, El ltimo varn sobre la Tierra, before they made the English-language version. According to New York Times, It's Great to Be Alive included a scene at a "symposium attended by screen duplicates of Professors [Albert] Einstein and [Auguste] Piccard." New York Mirror and Chicago News noted that Ral Roulien's voice and his manner of singing was in the style of Maurice Chevalier. Philadelphia Inquirer remarked that Fox "is pinning [upon Roulien] the badge of stardom and high hopes for the 'discovery' of a new screen personality....In all kindness, one would suggest that the Fox Company... let Mr. Roulien go back to his roles in pictures made wholly for Spanish-speaking audiences." According to information in the Fox legal files, some scenes were shot at the Grand Central Airport in Glendale, CA. The legal files also reveal that the title of the English-language version was taken from a song title written by Lew Brown and Ray Henderson. After an agreement was reached concerning the use of the title, Brown sent a telegram to Fox producer Sol Wurtzel which read, in part, "Accepting your offer of two hundred thousand dollars for title 'It's Great to Be Alive.' Hope this low figure will not establish a precedent for my future titles. Kindly send three dollars to cover this telegram and then you can disregard first part of this wire." According to a Film Daily news item, this was the first film on which the prominent fashion designer Royer worked. A Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Wurtzel tried to get actress Constance Cummings for this film.
       According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection in the AMPAS Library, the Hays Office objected to aspects of the screenplay of this film. Dr. James Wingate, director of the Studio Relations Committee of the AMPP, wrote to producer John Stone that the most serious problem with the film was the "overemphasis on sex as brought out through a situation wherein a world of sex starved females suddenly find one lone male whose presence brings about a series of humorous but nevertheless, rather baldly suggestive events." Stone thanked Wingate for his "constructive criticism" and replied that they "have since given the scenario a most careful overhauling, and eliminated the indicated-and other-objectionable points." After Wingate viewed a print of the film, he objected to a number of lines and bits of business, and the studio adhered to all the objections except a shot of "Toots" dropping a key into the bodice of her dress. Wurtzel noted that Wingate had not stated "definitely" that that should be eliminated. The shot remained in the film, and Wingate, in a letter to MPPDA secretary, Governor Carl E. Milliken, stated that "In the future I shall have to be more positive in my statements."
       Fox also produced a film in 1924 based on the same source entitled The Last Man on Earth, directed by J. G. Blystone and starring Earle Foxe.