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Arliss Alert! DISRAELI (1929) and ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1931)

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:00 am
by bobfells
Turner Classic Films gets 2018 off to a good start by showing two of George Arliss' best films on Tuesday, January 2nd. First at 8 AM eastern time is Mr.A's Academy Award-winning performance in DISRAELI (1929) with Joan Bennett, Florence Arliss, David Torrence, Ivan Simpson, Doris Lloyd, and Anthony Bushell. The plot: British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli wants to buy the strategic Suez Canal but his government won't fund it. Since he had no Trump to ask for help he asks the Rothschilds.

Next at Noon on 1/2/18 is ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1931) which uses the same story as the recent Broadway musical. The film has Doris Kenyon, June Collier, Montagu Love (as Jefferson) and Alan Mowbray (as Washington). The plot: Hamilton as the first U.S.Treasury Secretary seeks to establish a uniform national currency and a central banking system. When his adversaries see him nearing success they destroy his reputation by a sex scandal.

Re: Arliss Alert! DISRAELI (1929) and ALEXANDER HAMILTON (19

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:43 pm
by ChrisStockslager
So.... can someone explain to me why Mr. Arliss is the cat’s pajamas? Besides being adored by Bette Davis and looking like a slightly less gay Ernest Thesiger, I know little about this fine fella. :P

Re: Arliss Alert! DISRAELI (1929) and ALEXANDER HAMILTON (19

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:57 pm
by R Michael Pyle
ChrisStockslager wrote:So.... can someone explain to me why Mr. Arliss is the cat’s pajamas? Besides being adored by Bette Davis and looking like a slightly less gay Ernest Thesiger, I know little about this fine fella. :P

Read Bob Fells' book George Arliss: The Man Who Played God. It's the definitive biography of Arliss, and it's an exquisitely written, thoroughly researched book that will definitely explain things about this unique man. His acting style; his films; almost all associated with Arliss is unique. There's not another like him. Never has been. He's also distinctly English (British) (read Arliss' autobiography Up the Years from Bloomsbury), and he represents on film what probably was the common look of the early twentieth century stage in England as far as biography and drama are concerned. Just for the record, Robert Fells is the world's expert on the subject.

Re: Arliss Alert! DISRAELI (1929) and ALEXANDER HAMILTON (19

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:57 pm
by bobfells
Thanks Michael.The easiest way to decide if you may be an Arliss fan or not is simply to watch one (or two or three) of his films. He was truly a unique personality who largely played himself on the screen. On a personal level, Arliss obviously enjoyed behaving like a grown-up, and an elderly grown up at that. I first discovered him when I was a teenager (alas, I am now 67) and I recall thinking way back then that George Arliss made it look like being an adult was fun.

Re: Arliss Alert! DISRAELI (1929) and ALEXANDER HAMILTON (19

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:15 pm
by greta de groat
ChrisStockslager wrote:So.... can someone explain to me why Mr. Arliss is the cat’s pajamas? Besides being adored by Bette Davis and looking like a slightly less gay Ernest Thesiger, I know little about this fine fella. :P


I remember when i first started watching old films, i went to the library and read a lot of books about them. Most were written in the 60s and 70s and as has become obvious, many hadn't seen the films in years, if ever. Among the conventional wisdom that i learned from them was that Kay Francis was a brainless clotheshorse who couldn't act, John Gilbert had a squeaky voice, and George Arliss was a stuffy old fart who appeared in boring biopics.

It took me a few years to be able to clear the opinions of the "experts" from my head, but having easy access to these films has shown me how wrong they were. Arliss was a particularly delightful surprise. The biopics are fine, but particularly fun are his comedies. It's just great to see a real master at work.

greta

Re: Arliss Alert! DISRAELI (1929) and ALEXANDER HAMILTON (19

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:17 pm
by Donald Binks
I think that Mr. Arliss does what a lot of actors just can't do, and that is act. He is a polished performer with years of treading the boards before he came to pictures. Because of all of this, he is a joy to behold. One also gets every inkling that he is enjoying every moment.

Re: Arliss Alert! DISRAELI (1929) and ALEXANDER HAMILTON (19

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:21 pm
by boblipton
Take a look for yourself, Chris. If you enjoy him, he's great. If you don't, move on and maybe give him a try later on.

Bob