May 2, 2019
By Cindy Justice, Image from ROWHS Archive
TITLE: MOUNTAIN MOVIES: TRUE CONFESSION (1937): This week’s image is of Fred MacMurray and Carole Lombard between takes while filming the 1937 film True Confession on the shores of Lake Arrowhead. The photo is from the Mountain History Museum archives. Much to the delight of local residents Paramount Studios sent three of its most popular stars, Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray and John Barrymore, to Lake Arrowhead to film True Confession, an aptly named “screwball” comedy about a wife who can’t seem to ever tell the truth. But what the locals did not know was that Clark Gable, who was secretly dating Lombard, told others that he needed a vacation and rented a cabin in Lake Arrowhead during the shoot. Although the movie was shot in August, the lake was very cold. In one scene Lombard was directed to run into the lake and swim to a float. She was to pretend to drown so that MacMurray would rescue her. However, the water was so cold that Lombard developed hypothermia and MacMurray ultimately did have to save her. Lombard would eventually become the third Mrs. Gable. They were inseparable until Lombard, who participated in a war bond drive during early WWII, died in a plane crash at the end of the tour. She was 34. MacMurray was a popular star in the Thirties and was known primarily for light comedies. MacMurray had the lead in another movie filmed at Lake Arrowhead in 1936, The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. MacMurray’s prolific acting career spanned half a century. Once considered one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Barrymore’s years of drinking and carousing were catching up to him by 1937. His character role as a drink-mooching scoundrel in this movie seemed to mirror his life. Considered one of the greatest tragedies in Hollywood, Barrymore died six years later of acute alcoholism. Watch True Confession on YouTube or Amazon Prime.