Cast & Crew
William A. Seiter
At Arlington National Military Cemetery, children ask a nun why Lieutenant Richard L. Perry, whose grave they pass, is not listed in the guidebook. She replies that no doubt he did some unusual service for his country. Perry's story then begins. On the night of April 22, 1901, at a White House reception, President William McKinley meets with Perry, who had an amazing record for getting out of scrapes when he served under Admiral Dewey in the Battle of Manila. McKinley sends Perry on a secret mission to investigate an epidemic of bank robberies in the Midwest, which the Secret Service has been unable to stop. At the Capitol Cafe in St. Paul, Perry, using the name Joe Patrick, romances singer Lil Duryea. Lil's stepbrother Batiste, the owner of the cafe, has committed the robberies with his partner Jock Ramsay, a childish practical joker who loves Lil. To gain their confidence so that he can find the man higher up who has supplied the inside information, Perry robs a jewelry store. When Lil confesses her love for Perry to Batiste, he offers Perry the chance to join them. After Vice President Theodore Roosevelt advises McKinley to put police around every Midwest bank, Batiste plans to rob a bank in Baltimore. Perry almost resigns his commission because he loves Lil, who demands that he stay, but after a confrontation with Jock, Perry convinces Lil that he must go. During the robbery, two officers and Batiste are killed, and afterward, Perry and Jock are sentenced to hang. As they wait in adjacent cells, Perry convinces Jock that the man higher up has betrayed them. Jock then blurts out his identity: United States Bank Examiner Henry Maxwell, one of McKinley's advisers. Perry writes to McKinley, but before the letter arrives, the president is assassinated. When Lil visits Perry in prison, he confesses his ruse, and she angrily refuses to help because she thinks that he just used her, but after thinking about him, she talks to Admiral Dewey, who takes her to President Roosevelt. After ascertaining the truth of her story, Roosevelt calls the warden just after Jock's execution and stays Perry's. He returns to Lil in St. Paul and she accepts him.
William A. Seiter
J. C. Nugent
De Witt Jennings
W. S. Mcdunnough
Edward Peil Sr.
George H. Reed
Rice And Cady
John Lester Johnson
Arthur Von Kirbach
Darryl F. Zanuck
This Is My Affair - This is My Affair
Fox had been having trouble casting the film, which had the working titles of Private Enemy and then The McKinley Case . In a July 3, 1936 memo to producer Kenneth Macgowan, Zanuck admitted that the company was making "one of the most stupid mistakes that a producing company can make. We are running around in circles frantically endeavoring to get somebody with a name to play the part of 'Lily' in The McKinley Case and we have right here on the lot a girl who is climbing to stardom so rapidly that we are unable to keep up with the demands of exhibitors in connection with her. I am speaking about Alice Faye." While Faye may have been one of Fox's most popular leading ladies, it was Stanwyck the public wanted to see with Taylor. The film went into production on the 20th Century-Fox lot on February 8, 1937 and wrapped up on March 27th. Also in the cast were Victor McLaglen, Brian Donlevy and John Carradine under the direction of former Keystone Kop William A. Seiter, who had previously directed Fox's child star, Shirley Temple.
According to the Motion Picture Herald , This is My Affair was supposedly based on a short story written by Zanuck under the pseudonym Melville Crossman. However, the official credits go to Allen Rivkin and Lamar Trotti, with Kubec Glasmon, Wallace Sullivan and Zanuck uncredited. The plot involves President William McKinley (Frank Conroy) sending Lt. Perry (Taylor) undercover to investigate a gang of bank robbers who seem to have insider information about passkeys and alarms systems. The Secret Service has not been able to stop the gang and Perry - who changes his name to Joe Patrick - goes to St. Paul to infiltrate and shut them down. The gang is led by Jock Ramsay (McLaglen) and Batiste Duryea (Donlevy). Perry falls for Duryea's sister, Lil (Stanwyck), a saloon singer who wants to stop Perry from being a bank robber.
This is My Affair contained musical numbers, with Stanwyck singing "I Hum a Waltz," by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel. Stanwyck, who was not a trained singer was so nervous about shooting the scene that she refused to allow Taylor to be on the set. This bit of information was only one of the many press releases by Harry Brand, designed to play up the love affair to keep the public interested. When the film was released, the press book given by the studio to exhibitors made several references to Stanwyck and Taylor's status as "real-life sweethearts." However, between the time it was printed and when it was distributed, a directive came down from Fox ordering exhibitors to "[d]elete the phrase "real-life sweethearts" and any similar phase, or any stunts or copy along the same line from all advertising or publicity on This Is My Affair . In utilizing any of the press book materials you will please correct the copy, eliminating the words "real-life sweethearts." Please note that this applies to everything in the press book, publicity copy, ads, exploitation, stunts, etc." Two years later, an article by Sheila Graham entitled "Hollywood's Unmarried Husbands and Wives" lambasted Taylor and Stanwyck (along with Clark Gable and Carole Lombard and other unmarried couples) for essentially "living in sin," and Taylor and Stanwyck were married soon after Graham's article appeared.
Director: William A. Seiter
Screenplay: Allen Rivkin, Lamar Trotti (both story and screenplay), Kubec Glasmon (contributor to screenplay construction, uncredited), Wallace Sullivan (contributor to treatment, uncredited), Darryl F. Zanuck (story, uncredited)
Cinematography: Robert Planck
Art Direction: Rudolph Sternad
Music: Arthur Lange, Charles Maxwell (both uncredited)
Film Editing: Allan McNeil
Cast: Robert Taylor (Lt. Richard L. Perry), Barbara Stanwyck (Lil Duryea), Victor McLaglen (Jock Ramsay), Brian Donlevy (Batiste Duryea), John Carradine (Ed), Douglas Fowley (Alec), Alan Dinehart (Doc Keller), Sig Rumann (Gus), Robert McWade (Admiral Dewey), Sidney Blackmer (President Theodore Roosevelt.
by Lorraine LoBianco
Callahan, Dan. Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman
Behlmer, Rudy. Memo from Darryl F. Zanuck: The Golden Years at Twentieth Century Fox
Madsen, Axel. Stanwyck
This Is My Affair - This is My Affair
This film was made and released before Barbara Stanwyck and 'Taylor, Robert' were married. In the over-sized, 22-page press book that the studio had prepared for the exhibitors, there were constant references to and blurb lines describing Stanwyck and Taylor as "real-life sweethearts" or "real-life heart interests" et al, stills captions particularly. Typical 1930s selling points to be used in the advertising. But somewhere between the planning and the execution, something went amiss, and the pb had an 8x10 snipe pasted on page three with specific instructions: Dated May 26,1937 and addressed to Exhibitors as IMPORTANT NOTICE. It read: "Delete the phrase "real-life sweethearts" and any similar phase, or any stunts or copy along the same line from all advertising or publicity on THIS IS MY AFFAIR. In utilizing any of the press book materials you will please correct the copy, eliminating the words "real-life sweethearts." Please note that this applies to everything in the press book, publicity copy, ads, exploitation, stunts, etc. Your cooperation will be appreciated." (signed) Charles E. McCarthy-Advertising Manager
Working titles for this film were The McKinley Case, Living Dangerously, The Turn of the Century and Private Enemy. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item in September 1936, the film was originally envisioned by Twentieth Century-Fox to "dwell on the detective angle" of the investigation into the assassination of President William McKinley. The news item states that the subject of the film was changed when the studio decided to make a film about the career of detective Allan Pinkerton. That film was never made. According to the news item, in September 1936, when the film was to be called Living Dangerously, the emphasis was to be on "events of the Spanish-American war period, including the sinking of the Maine." Motion Picture Herald speculates that the title May have been changed to This Is My Affair because of the interest in the romance between Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor, who was borrowed from M-G-M for this film. Stanwyck and Taylor were married in 1939. The Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library contains notes dated November 5, 1936 from a conference with Darryl Zanuck, which seem to indicate that the title was selected with little regard for its applicability to the story. In the notes, Zanuck instructed his writers, "For the time being, the new title This Is My Affair is to be kept confidential. However, we want to work this title into the dialogue somewhere." Reviews state that the film was purported to be based on a true incident and that Lieutenant Richard L. Perry was an actual person. According to information in the Produced Scripts Collection, a story entitled "Arm of the Law" by cameraman Bert Glennon was purchased in 1936 in connection with this film. A story entitled "A Pinkerton Man" by John W. Considine, Jr. is also included in the file for the film in the Produced Scripts Collection, but it is not known whether any material from either story was used in the final film. The Motion Picture Herald "In the Cutting Room" column states that the film was based on a story written by Melville Crossman (Darryl Zanuck's pseudonym), which appeared in Liberty Magazine. No other source mentions that story.
According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, at various times, George Marshall and John Cromwell, were scheduled to direct. According to New York Times, the team of Rice and Cady performed a forty-year-old vaudeville routine in the film. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, June Terry was engaged to perform a specialty dance, but her participation in the final film has not been confirmed. The film was previewed in Hollywood on May 13, 1937 at which time it was 90 minutes, according to Motion Picture Herald.