Grand National Films Inc.
|Edward L. Alperson|
Grand National Films, Inc or Grand National Pictures was an American motion picture company in operation from 1936 to 1939. The company had no relation to the British Grand National Pictures.
History and releases
A film exchange manager by the name of Edward L. Alperson created Grand National in 1936. Grand National was originally meant to distribute films in the manner of United Artists or Monogram Pictures, but the studio soon began its own production to compete with the major movie studios when Grand National acquired the studio complex of the diminished Educational Pictures. Alperson dreamed up the studio's logo, a futuristic clock tower with an idea to advertise "it's time to see a Grand National release".
Grand National was able to acquire James Cagney as an independent producer for two films, bought the rights to one British Boris Karloff film, featured singing cowboy Tex Fletcher for what was to be a series starting with Six-Gun Rhythm, used singing cowboy Tex Ritter and singing cowgirl Dorothy Page for a series of westerns, and made a series of mysteries with the character of The Shadow. Apart from westerns, its most consistent talent may have been comedy director Charles Lamont. Grand National made a few features in Cinecolor that they called "Hirlicolor" after producer George Hirliman. The studio also had overseas distribution with Associated British Pictures Corporation.
After making Great Guy, Cagney was offered Angels With Dirty Faces, which Grand National had acquired, but Cagney, worried about being typecast as a gangster as he had been at Warner Bros., opted instead for a musical satire on Hollywood called Something to Sing About, directed by Victor Schertzinger. (Wags called it "Something to Cry About", as the film failed.)
The studio went into liquidation in 1939, with its completed but unreleased films sold to Universal Pictures for release under its name. The negatives of Grand National were acquired by Astor Pictures for rerelease. The studio complex was acquired by Producers Releasing Corporation.
Grand National released a total of one hundred films in its three-year run. Many of its titles have lapsed into the public domain and are legally accessible online. Grand National's output includes:
- Captain Calamity (1936)
- Something to Sing About (1937)
- Swing It, Sailor! (1938)
- Here's Flash Casey (1938)
- Mr. Boggs Steps Out (1938)
- Exile Express (1939)
- Isle of Destiny (1940) (bought by RKO Radio Pictures for release)
- Fernett, Gene Hollywood's Poverty row 1930-1950 Coral Reef Publications 1973
- p.41 Fernett, Gene L. Hollywood's Poverty Row 1930-1950 1973 Coral Reef Publications
- Edward L. Alperson Obituary 'Variety 9 July 1969