Isabel Jewell — Love comes to Isabel Jewell (1936) 🇺🇸

Isabel Jewell — Love comes to Isabel Jewell (1936) |

February 27, 2023

In the space of one year Isabel Jewell has come from defeat to glory; from disillusion to love! Twelve months of dynamic happenings; twelve months which have made her forget all past despairs!

by Sonia Lee

I watch her eyes as she tells her story spanning two Septembers. They brim with happiness, with contentment, with a healthy, sweet excitement. And I remember her eyes of two, three years ago. Hurt eyes, bewildered, baffled eyes — belonging to a girl who was making a desperate fight for recognition, for some chance for her great and individual talent.

She has the two things now she wants most out of life. LOVE. And OPPORTUNITY. And her words are simple — with inspired simplicity, as she tells the saga of a year.

"Often, very late at night, I wonder if all that's happened to me recently is true," she says. "So much has happened. So many unbelievable things. You couldn't think them real if you read about them in a book.

"It was early spring of last year — and I was through, completely through. My personal life was in a mess. My option hadn't been taken up. I had no money at all. I didn't have an idea what would happen to me. No job was in sight. My father was ill — desperately ill.

"My only hope was that my test for the little seamstress in 'A Tale of Two Cities' would get me the job. If it didn't — I didn't dare to look ahead. I had fought for that test — pleaded for it. Now my whole future depended on it.

"The break came when I was signed to make A Tale of Two Cities. I didn't know it then — but it proved itself so.

"When that was finished, I sort of sized up the situation. I had a tiny bit of money. I got on a train for New York. Either this is the absolute beginning of a new era in pictures for me, I thought to myself, or the ending of a very bad one.

"Two excellent roles were offered me in stage productions while I was in the East. One was in Dead End, which turned out to be a sensation. But I couldn't take it — the studio wired for me to come back for retakes.

"In September A Tale of Two Cities was finally finished. And instantly I went into 'Ceiling Zero.' I had totally different characterizations in the two pictures — and I knew that if now producers didn't notice me, I never would get anywhere on the screen.

"Both pictures were released simultaneously — and my luck changed overnight. For the first time since my coming to Hollywood I had more offers of roles than I could possibly do.

"I didn't have time for romance. Love was behind me. In any event, the man with whom I would fall in love, didn't exist — he had to have too many qualifications to exist. At this particular time I was immersed in preparations for Lost HorizonRonald Colman had told me about his commitment to play the lead in it when we were still working on the Dickens novel. Strangely enough, right then I had the curious feeling that in some way I, too, would be in it with him. And here I was — playing the bitter, tubercular, beaten, little guttersnipe. A remarkable role — a splendid role.

"It was the middle of February. The only thought in my mind was wardrobe, makeup, hairdress. I ate with Lost Horizon — slept with it, dreamed with it, lived with it. And so an invitation to a Sunday morning breakfast was pretty much of a social nuisance. I tried to beg off — gave every excuse on the calendar.

"'You must come,' my friend insisted. 'I want you to meet Owen Crump; he's a perfectly elegant guy, and I've told him you would be here!'

"It developed later that Owen was just as indifferent about coming as I was. But when he telephoned his regrets that morning, the hostess told him that he was picking me up. There was no out for him.

"'What a striking looking boy,' I thought to myself as I came down to the lobby of my apartment hotel, where he was waiting for me. He was tall and dark, with an arresting manner.

"Later that morning I discovered other things about him — that he was a brilliant conversationalist; that he was a portrait painter of sufficient note to have New York exhibitions; that he was writing, producing and directing two important radio programs — Curtain Calls and Armchair Play-House — both hour shows; that he was thirty-two years old.

"His voice, particularly, impressed me. It had a quality of breeding, an engaging charm. He was a completely delightful and interesting person. He didn't know who I was. He didn't connect me with the little seamstress in A Tale of Two Cities — although he had seen it twice, and we discussed it that morning at length. He praised the performance of that anonymous girl.

"He telephoned me several times after that first meeting. But I was too rushed — much too concerned with the job in hand. But about the middle of June — when Lost Horizon was within a week of completion, I accepted his dinner invitation.

"He didn't ask me where I would like to go — but that evening when he called for me — he said 'I'm taking you to a place you might enjoy.' It was a funny little place in Chinatown.

"I looked at him curiously. I was thrilled that he could sense the sort of thing I'd want to do. That I would prefer this to the usual dining and dancing spots.

"Ever since I had come to Hollywood I had wanted to explore this unusual section of Los Angeles — had been promising myself to do this. But not until this night had anyone ever taken me. We explored Olvera Street — that quaint remnant of old Mexico—near the center of town. We saw the Puppet show; we watched the street dancing; we laughed like children at the bizarre collections of pottery and weaving and art.

"We spent from seven-thirty until three in the morning getting acquainted. But that wasn't really necessary — I felt as if I had known him all my life.

I must have fallen in love with him the first time I saw him. How else could I be so content with him — so happy in his constant companionship from that evening on?

"He was so many fine and splendid things. I never dreamed that any man could possess all the admirable qualities he possessed.

The man I didn't think existed — did exist — and I loved him.

"In three weeks he asked me to marry him. He had always been self-sufficient, independent, he had plans for his future which did not include marriage. Many men in his mental state would have resented the reality of love. He did not. Love must have an element of greatness. Of selflessness, of understanding. And in the weeks since our engagement I have found it in him.

"He is the sort of person who stands back and cheers. Who gives you encouragement when you need it most — and self-confidence. He is probably the most unselfish man I have ever known and the most considerate.

"In the first three weeks of my friendship with him, three great crises developed in my life. I had a shocking professional disappointment. A very dear friend of mine failed in her loyalty to me. And the death of a person dear to me occurred. Owen's first instinct was to relieve me — to make things easier to bear, to comfort me. No one ever before had worried about me. I was always the one to do the worrying and the sacrificing. It was a new and a very sweet experience.

"In many ways Owen and I are alike. His background is similar to mine. My mother's family comes from the South. His father is a Judge in a Southern State. Our education, our interests almost parallel. He is an accomplished musician — and I play a bit, too. We both have the same tastes in literature — and it's a source of constant amazement to me, when I mention a little-known book, to discover that Owen is familiar with it also.

"We both love to dance — love to browse in strange, out-of-the-way places. And we both love to laugh!

"And that is love — to find kinship of spirit with another person.

"We plan to be married soon. We'll both take a holiday. I have made eight pictures in rapid succession. Owen, too, has worked very hard in the past year. And so we plan to go away — if nothing interferes. For a little while anyway.

"At the moment I'm supremely happy. I have everything I want."

And Isabel Jewell's face is serene and calm — as she finishes the tale of her new and great and rare love!

It was love at first sight with Isabel and Owen Crump.

These chorines from "Gold Diggers of 1937" are about to step into a military routine — with bugles calling you into the front lines of movie theatres to see them dance.

CollectionMotion Picture MagazineDecember 1936