Have you seen this movie?

Reel librarian films I have not been able to track down

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I frequently reference my ever-expanding Master List of titles that I am sloooooowly working my way through. Some titles I just haven’t gotten around to yet, but copies of which are readily available via public libraries, Interlibrary Loan, or for purchase. But some of these films have been on this list a long time, movies that have major librarian characters and/or plotlines, movies I STILL have not been able to locate a copy of.

So I’m taking this list (14 titles arranged alphabetically) to the blogosphere. Does anyone have a copy of the following titles, or know how to obtain a copy? Thanks in advance for your help! ๐Ÿ™‚

Apartment for Peggy (1948):

This 1948 film, a Technicolor romantic comedy about veterans’ wives set during World War II, stars Jeanne Crain as Peggy. William Holden plays her husband, Jason, and Edmund Gwenn plays Professor Henry Barnes, who rents his attic space to the couple.

Prof. Barnes also lends his personal library — I so want to glimpse this personal library in Technicolor! — to the veterans’ wives so they can study up and converse more intelligently with their husbands. Jeanne volunteers to be the librarian — attagirl! — and apparently has a few scenes checking out books from the professor’s home.

This sounds like a fun movie, but its Amazon.com DVD record lists it as currently unavailable.

Beyond This Place (aka Web of Evidence, 1959):

Vera Miles stars as a librarian for the second time! The first time was also the same year, 1959, that she starred as the librarian wife, Lucy Ann Hardesty, of James Stewart in The FBI Story. In this film, she plays Lena Anderson. American Paul Mathry (Van Johnson) returns to Liverpool, England, to research his family’s history and his father’s supposed death as a war hero during World War I. Lena, as a librarian, is obviously the perfect person to help him!

Note:  Beyond This Place was the film’s original UK title, while it was released in the United States as Web of Evidence.

A Girl Named Tamiko (1962):

Tagline:  “He was half Oriental…but he used the women of two continents WITHOUT SHAME OR GUILT!”

And one of those women is a librarian, the title character of Tamiko (played by France Nuyen). Tamiko, who is from a wealthy Japanese family, works as a librarian for the Foreign Press Club in Tokyo. Apparently, her occupation is not that important to the film, but there are a couple of scenes set in the Foreign Press Club library. Interesting that the title character is about Tamiko, although the plot — and tagline — seem more focused on star Laurence Harvey (star of The Manchurian Candidate, also released in 1962), who plays a half-Chinese, half-Russian (!) man trying to get a visa to the U.S.

It’s based on a book of the same name by Ronald Kirkbride. A used copy of the book is available from Amazon.com, but not the out-of-print DVD.

The Girl Rush (1955):

This mid-’50s musical comedy stars Rosalind Russell (see left) as Kim Halliday, who’s been working at the Information Desk at the Providence Historical Museum, Early American Wing, for “three months, three days.” Her total lack of interest in this job is exemplified by turning up a radio hidden in a desk drawer to catch the results of a horse race. She speedily dumps the library gig after learning she has inherited a Las Vegas hotel.

I’m sure comedic mishaps and adventures are set to catchy tunes. Songs from the film include the title song, “Out of Doors,” “Take a Chance,” “Choose Your Partner,” and my personal favorite based on titles alone, “My Hillbilly Heart.”

Hot Spell (1958):

In this drama, Shirley Booth and Anthony Quinn star as the head of a Southern family that’s falling apart. Sounds like shades of Tennessee Williams. One of their sons, Billy (Clint Kimbrough), has started working at the local public library. His mom comes to visit one day and causes a scene, leading to her son to ask, “Do you want to get me fired, or something?” Interesting that the library seems to be a place to escape one’s family, to provide a way of becoming independent.

There are really expensive VHS copies on Amazon.com, with used copies starting at $36 and new copies starting at $89. Has anyone seen this movie around for a lower price?

I Was a Shoplifter (1950):

This is how the reel librarian is described in The Image of Librarians in Cinema 1917-1999:

Mona Freeman in the leading female role as shoplifter Faye Burton, an attractive 22-year-old librarian suffering from kleptomania.

So the title character — a shoplifter! — is also a reel librarian. Based on that alone, I HAVE to see this movie. Plus, there’s a shoplifting gang (!!!) and an undercover agent (!!!). Wow, what a plotline. I wonder if becoming a librarian is her redemption from a life of crime? Or does she meet other members of the shoplifting gang through the library? Oh, the possibilities…

Katie Did It (1951):

Katie did what? Become a librarian?

Ann Blyth stars as the title character, Katie, who works at the local public library in a rigidly Puritan New England town. In this kind of romantic comedy, she’s got to fall in love with someone, and in this case, she falls in love with Peter Van Arden (Mark Stevens), a “city slicker commercial artist.” (Is there any other kind?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Apparently, there’s a Meet Cute moment that involves a ladder — this time, outside the library — as well a funny scene that involves a ladder inside the library. Oh, those ladders, they’ll get ya every time.

Margie (1946):

This 1940s film set in the late 1920s stars Jeanne Crain as troubled teen Margie MacDuff. Lynn Bari, seen in the publicity still at left, plays a supporting role as school librarian Miss Isabelle Palmer.

Apparently, there are several bloomer elastic mishaps — not kidding — and the library is a popular place to fix one’s bloomers. Um, OK.

Miss Palmer, an attractive brunette, also garners the attention of the new French teacher, who all the female students are swooning over. Miss Palmer’s age gets a lot of snide comments from the jealous teens, including:

I don’t see what he sees in her. She’s old. She must be 25 at least.

She’s well-preserved for her age.

It would be nice to see this attractive, modern, and “well-preserved” reel librarian up close. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Navy Blues (1937):

This film sounds like an interesting one to watch, if only for the slew of derogatory remarks about librarians, including bow wow, pilgrim, museum piece, freak, crow, and bookworm. Plus the line: “Why, I scarcely know you without your glasses.”

This B-movie plot is a real charmer, too. It centers on 3 sailor pals, who bet that ladykiller Rusty (Dick Purcell) can’t get a woman of their choosing to go out on a date with him. The woman they choose? A librarian, of course. (Sigh.) Mary Brian plays Doris, the librarian in question, and recipient of those rude, stereotypical remarks.

Note:  This is not the 1929 fim of the same title, Navy Blues, available on Amazon.com, nor the James Stewart film, Navy Blue & Gold, which was also released in 1937. Nor the 4 other films listed in IMDb bearing this same title.

Update! After I finished this post — but before publishing it — I found a copy of it online via YouTube. So it’s on my list to watch, but I still would like a physical copy, as well. Do you know where one is available?

Peggy (1950):

Nothing more than a short paragraph about this film in The Image of Librarians in Cinema 1917-1999, except to note that it includes long-time comedic actress Ellen Corby in a supporting role as Mrs. Privet, a librarian, and that a review in Variety praised Corby’s comedic contributions.

Diana Lynne stars as the title character, and veteran actor Charles Coburn plays Peggy’s father, Professor Brookfield. I’m hoping that at least a couple of scenes are set in the college library. Interesting to note that the film’s cast also includes a young Rock Hudson.

Quiet Please, Murder (1942):

The major setting in this crime drama — with almost 50 minutes of screen time! — is a library. For that alone, I have to get my hands on a copy of this film! Also, it’s fun to say the title out loud in a dramatic way. Can’t you just hear it? Quiet, please [long pause], MURDER! And the title is a play on being quiet in a library. It all sounds so delightfully British and campy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, according to IMDb, the plot includes Nazis (!), book forgers and rare books (!), and five (!) reel librarians. Seriously, this film sounds AWESOME.

Alas, the only copy I’ve been able to located is a used copy from Amazon.com for $125, and there are only a few clips of the film on YouTube. Please help!

Sea Devils (1937):

The plot of this film sounds very familiar to other reel librarian films of the early 20th century, including The Blot (1921), No Man of Her Own (1932) and Adventure (1945). Preston Foster stars as Seaman Mike O’Shay, who sets his sights on young librarian Doris, played by Ida Lupino. Also like in those other films, there’s an older librarian colleague — in this case, actress Fern Emmett playing Miss McGonigle, and sporting a severe bun and pince nez — to contrast with the younger female librarian. And I’m just guessing there are also closeups of a large QUIET or SILENCE sign, as well as a funny moment or two involving a library ladder. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Trespasser (1947):

This late ’40s murder mystery stars Dale Evans in a rare non-Western film. And although Evans received top billing, she apparently has only a minor role. The real star of the film is Janet Martin, who plays Stephanie “Stevie” Carson, a recent college graduate who starts work at a newspaper’s research library. She teams up with her boss, Danny Butler (Warren Douglas), to investigate a rare book forgery and the frame-up of one of their newspaper editors.

According to The Image of Librarians in Cinema 1917-1999, the character of Stevie “is not only intelligent but also independent.” She certainly sounds scrappy! Also, apparently the library set is very large, a rarity, especially for a newspaper library. From the write-up, this sounds like an interesting title, but I haven’t been able to locate a copy yet.

Young Bride (1932):

There were 3 films featuring reel librarians released in 1932:  Forbidden, No Man of Her Own (both of which I’ve seen), and this film, Young Bride, based on a stage play entitled Love Starved. All 3 films sound pretty similar, each featuring a young, attractive actress in a starring role of a librarian dreaming of a future that doesn’t include being a librarian. (Sigh.)

In this film, Helen Twelvetrees stars as Allie Smith, a children’s librarian who marries young, believing in her own fairytale romance. But the plotline sounds like it quickly turns depressing, with an unhappy marriage, financial insecurity, and contemplations of suicide. And apparently, Allie blames books for her downfall:

What good does it do to bring those children up believing in all this bunk. Peter Pan. Goldilocks. Happy ending. Lies! Lies! Lies!

Don’t blame the books, Allie! If I ever get to watch this film, I’m pretty sure I’ll be shouting that at the screen.

Sources used:

  • Tevis, Ray, and Brenda Tevis. The Image of Librarians in Cinema 1917-1999. McFarland, 2005.

Author: Jennifer

Librarian, blogger, movie lover

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