Monday, February 10, 2014

Minor Triad, Dept.
So, I was listening to an album of songs by Binnie Hale, a British stage and screen star most popular in the '20s and '30s, and I recalled that there was a British stage named Sonnie Hale, who, upon investigation, turns out to have been her brother (theatrical family, don'tcha know).

Well, Sonnie Hale was involved in one of the more lurid divorces of that entre-deux-guerres period, as steamy love letters penned by his co-respondent and This Year of Grace co-star Jessie Matthews were found by Hale's wife, theater star Evelyn "Boo" Laye.

The letters, read at the June 1930 divorce proceedings, cause the somewhat-priggish judge to fulminate, "It is quite clear that the husband admits himself to be a cad, and nobody will quarrel with that, and the woman Matthews writes letters which show her to be a person of an odious mind."

One excerpt, cited here, follows:
"My Darling, I want you and need you badly, all of you, and for a very long time. I am lying here, waiting for you to possess me. The dear little boobs, which you love so much, are waiting for you also."
The small world of the West End must have seemed just that much smaller for this trio.

To provide some sense of their respective styles, here is Binnie Hale singing "You Don't Know The Half Of It" from 1935's Hyde Park Corner, here is Jessie Matthews in a sparkly body stocking singing "It's Love Again" from the 1936 film of the same name (read the comments for discussion of Fred Astaire's interest in co-starring with her) and here is Evelyn Laye singing "Love Is A Song" from 1934's Princess Charming.

And here is the play that brought Miss Matthews and Mr. Hale in close proximity, which, quoting Dante (Inf., V., 137-8), I share with you:
Galeotto fu 'l libro e chi lo scrisse:
quel giorno più non vi leggemmo avante.

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