Films of Emil Sitka: ROLLING DOWN TO RENO (1947)
by Saxon E. Sitka
ROLLING DOWN TO RENO was Emil's eighteenth acting job at Columbia, and he was becoming a "regular" member of the supporting cast at the studio. His diary entry provides a splendid description of his role in this film, a lucky break considering there are no images available.
Emil's diary entry for Friday, March 7, 1947:
Another movie role for me at Columbia. This time with Harry Von Zell again. This is my third time with him, and by now we are great pals. This is Production # 4089 and I play the part of a "Grouchy Man" who shouts for quiet and peace in a noisy pullman car.
And as I yell "I wanta sleep!" I get hit upon my head with a beer-bottle tossed nonchalantly by a drunk in the upper berth.
Actually at 10:30 I arrive at the studio, am made up, have my individual scenes shot, and at 11:30 A. M. I am through! And I go home before noon.
For reasons which I know, we had to make several takes of my newly-added lines and changed "business."
Jules White, the director, gave me different lines at the very last moment, and then also (as always with him) he wants me to imitate his way of doing it. And this causes me to be too literal and mindful of every split-hair detail of inflection and timing. I succeeded in this too, and every time I was struck with the tray and finally bump my head on the upper bunk I satisfied his demands by my version of comic knockouts.
Emil appears three times in ROLLING DOWN TO RENO during a passenger-train sleeping-car sequence. The train car is quite noisy with Von Zell's antics, and Emil is trying to sleep. So he sticks his head out from his berth and yells for peace and quiet, only to get whacked on the head by a bottle or tray and then fall back in apparent "slumber." This happens three times.
Emil has several good lines and adds some much-needed slapstick humor to the film, but his role has nothing to do with the plot.
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ROLLING DOWN TO RENO (1947)