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Bernard H. Hyman

Theater lobby card for the Hyman produced movie, After Office Hours
Theater lobby card for the Hyman produced movie, After Office Hours

Woodward's Diary Comments
Re: Contentment

"Painted 1933. The side porch of Mr. Howes of Swift River, Mass. When at one of the Corcoran Biennial Exhibitions, Cecelia Beaux made the assertion that she considered it the handsomest painting in the show---and that she would buy it herself if financial times were not so hard. Exhibited very largely about the country. Sold, March, 1942, by Harold Grieve of Hollywood for me, to a high executive of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures of Culver City, California, Mr. Bernard H. Hyman."

Virginia Dwyer (Gorman)
Virginia Dwyer (Gorman)

Bernard H. Hyman was a movie producer with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He purchased the painting Contentment through former Hollywood set designer turned interior decorator and close Woodward friend Harold Grieve in 1938. Grieve was a consistent pipeline of Woodward's work too many of the Hollywood elite, such as husband-and-wife comedy team George Burns and Gracie Allen as well as Jack Benny. There could possibly be as many as a dozen or more of these Hollywood types but the records have been either lost or destroyed.

Hyman (1894 - 1942) produced as many as 25 films from 1922 to 1938 and is credited working with a number of Hollywood greats such as Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy, Joan Crawford and Robert Montgomery. His relationship with Gable and Harlow must have been particularly strong given that he collaborated with the two stars over multiple projects. He worked with Gable at least four times and Harlow three times respectively and all three of them twice. There also appeared to be two directors that he shared a close relationship with having worked numerous films together and they are Sam would and W.S. Van Dyke. However, in what may be what he is most remembered for is his involvement in producing the first "talkie" version of famed literary character Tarzan. In the same year (1932) he would produce another movie, Rasputin and the Empress. An ambitious film that holds the unique distinction of having, in the main roles, all three Barrymore brothers in the only film that the three all shot together. Other films produced by Hyman (seen below). The middle image also has his name:

Forsaking All Others Poster

The Girl From Missouri
The Girl From Missouri Poster

I Live My Life
I Live My Life Poster

Weissmuller and O'Sullivan
"Pre-code" the scantily clad
Weissmuller and O'Sullivan (1932)

The 1932 release of Tarzan the Ape Man was not only the first Tarzan movie to feature sound but it was also the first film for which the world-renowned Olympic swimming sensation, Johnny Weissmuller appeared. Weissmuller is probably THE most famous and popular of all the Tarzans. Weissmuller did 12 Tarzan movies in total, 3 of which were produced by Hyman (Tarzan the Ape Man- 1932, Tarzan and His Mate- 1934 & Tarzan Escapes- 1936). Another distinction of the first Tarzan movie is that is pre-dates Hollywood "rating system" and code of content and the movie features a very scantily clad Jane played by the relative new-comer, Irish actress Maureen O'Sullivan who would play the iconic figure opposite Weissmuller six times. Her loin-cloth like costume held together by string would evolve later into a more 'appropriate' bathing-suit-like costume.The Tarzan movie would also be a force in the creation of serial movie making. Besides the iconic detective Charlie Chan movies (which predates Tarzan by 7 years) Tarzan would be one of the earliest and most successful "franchises" in Hollywood history.

Tarzan the Ape Man
Tarzan the Ape Man poster

Hyman would die relatively young, even for his day, at the age of 45 years old in 1942. We cannot find any information regarding his death but the fact that his last movie was in 1938 four years prior to his death would suggest an illness of some sort. We are still not clear as to how the painting, Contentment, would end up in the possession of soap opera actress Virginia Dwyer and her sister Jenny Lou Brinks. We could not find any reasonable connection between the two owners. (SEE ADDENDUM BELOW)

Bernard Hyman produced the Jean Harlow/Clark Gable comedy-romance "Saratoga" in 1937. He is interred next to Clark Gable at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.(Source:

For more information on Bernard Hyman and his filmography profile Click Here to view his IMDB page.


Saratoga movie poster, 1937
Saratoga movie poster, 1937

ADDENDUM: New information regarding the provenance of Contentment

In August of 2018, a Westport, CT man who watched an old movie (Saratoga) on Turner Movie Classics (TMC) and noted the producer (Hyman), believes that Hyman may be related to some childhood friends he once knew and turned to Google to search for information on Bernard H. Hyman. He finds our website and emails us to related what he knows about the Hymans. We, here at the website, take notice immediately to his location, Westport, CT, and our interest is piqued knowing that Dwyer's sister Jenny lived there as well. Needless to say, we have yet to find confirmation connecting the names of the Hymam Family members he knew (some of which worked as studio executives as well) to Bernard himself. The records are suprisingly sparce but we find that what we do know is compelling enough to speculate that that painting came east with Bernard's son after the death of his mother (Lula). Bernard's son had three sons of his own, two of which worked in the entertainment industry, and could very well have crossed paths with a famous soap actress or her sister who lived in the same town. Oddly enough and purely incidential to this story, not only was Saratoga one of Hyman's last films before getting sick, it starred Clark Gable whom Hyman would later be interred next to at the famous Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. (Source: