What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSat Jul 08, 2017 3:12 pm

FrankFay wrote:
boblipton wrote:The disc of Hall Room boys comedies just showed up, and I will start going through those shortly --I've enjoyed the comedies Sid Smith made with Jimmy Parrott and expect to find these amusing.



I wonder if anyone in the present generation would know what a Hall Room was? It was a cheap bedroom apartment that had no window or any outside light or ventilation except the door and the transom over it. That was the joke of the source comic strip- the boys have no money and are trying to keep that fact hidden. https://newspapercomicstripsblog.files. ... allr01.jpg" target="_blank


...but room for a Murphy Bed...
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSun Jul 09, 2017 12:11 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:I think it's all sets and local exteriors because I don't think it's about going anywhere specifically. But I saw it several years ago, so who knows.

It's kind of too bad they didn't do much American location work back then. A movie about crossing the US back then, which actually filmed in places along the way, would be cool now. It would have been easier to film it in silent days, too-- but it was even easier to film it all in California.

It's always disappointing to me to see Little Caesar, transparently about Chicago, with palm trees around his mansion. See also: Wayne's World, in which the streets of Aurora, IL also have them.


But isn't it intended as a joke in Wayne's World? The same way Wayne is supposed to be a Chicago boy but talks with a Toronto accent?

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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Jul 11, 2017 2:33 pm

A Russian silent new to me, THE CASE OF THE THREE MILLION (1926) was known as THREE THIEVES in the U.S. Based on an Italian play, the three thieves are 1) a lower class fellow, perhaps too cute who lives with his cat. 2) His pal, who has become a 'gentleman thief'and 3) a banker who is concocting a swindle in collaboration with a group of equally crooked clergy!

Throw in the banker's fed-up mistress, a man-eating ogress, played superbly over-the-top by Olga Zhiznyeva, and you have a fast-paced piece of satire which clearly has a few things to say about class and morality. A good example of a Russian silent not made by one of the usual crowd, and presented here in a very nice print indeed.

Despite not having an English translation, CATHERINE / UNE VIE SANS JOIE (1924) is not too difficult to follow for most of its running time. Jean Renoir was responsible for producing this movie, as well as having a hand in the writing and direction, not forgetting a supporting role in which he is more subdued than when directing himself. Written around Renoir's wife Catherine Hessling, UNE VIE is a sharp study in class relations, which prefigures RULES OF THE GAME by some fifteen years and is merciless in its characterisations of the Upper / Middle / Petit Bourgeouis characters here presented.

Hessling (very effective) plays the downtrodden maid of all work, whose fortunes turn from bad to worse after she is fired. Even her misfortunes (a seedy fellow intends to put her to prostitution) are seen by the hypocrites of the film as nothing more than the poor girl deserves. After several downward turns, Catherine may finally have a chance, or does she? This grim (but never dull) film then turns into a chase movie when...

UNE VIE SANS JOIE may give the impression that it is a depressing experience. Far from it. Grim, yes, but attention is held throughout and the race-to-the-rescue provides a remarkable change of tone. Much more than just a footnote for Renoir fans.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostWed Jul 12, 2017 1:21 pm

EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE (1923) tells of a couple of poor girls living in the seedier part of New York (the third has high-tailed it to the West Side despite floods of tears) who become involved with a pretentious hypochondriac from a wealthy family. Eileen Percy plays the good girl who is taking care of her consumptive friend Kit (Maxine Elliott Hicks, who was still acting seventy years later!) and gets a job as secretary to the spoilt Kenneth Harlan. A mysterious rich uncle (whose main purpose here is to snuff it) hovers in the background of this rather tepid romantic effort which isn't helped by a colourless music track. Directed by Irving Cummings, who certainly went on to better and more interesting things.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSat Jul 15, 2017 12:50 pm

Last night I watched Grapevine's recent Blu-ray of Gregory LaCava's THE NEW SCHOOL TEACHER (1924), a C. C. Burr production starring Chic Sale. I'd bought it because it's a relatively rare silent that I didn't think I'd ever seen before, but the more I watched it the more familiar it was. I can't find any records of this playing at a Cinefest, Cinesation, or Cinecon, but I must have seen it at one of those events sometime in the fairly recent past. Does anyone else recall seeing this at a festival (rather than on tape, DVD, or online)? And does anyone else have any firm production information?

The Kodascope print (according to the Kodascope catalog) seems to be abridged by roughly five minutes compared to the AFI database footage length, but the story flows well with a couple of very minor continuity gaps (which might just well have been pre-release deletions as Kodascope abridgement decisions). The female lead is listed as Doris Kenyon in the AFI catalog and imdb, but in the film's titles is credited as Polly Archer (who is listed simply as a "pupil" in the imdb), and doesn't quite look like Doris Kenyon. Robert Bentley is also credited as a "pupil" by AFI, but clearly listed as Diana's fiancé in both the imdb and the film's credit title. Also the AFI and imdb call the rich family who approves the schoolteacher the "Pope" family, whereas in the film it's the "Buck" family. Perhaps the other names were in the original stories and changed for the film.

It's a pleasant rural comedy-romance running about an hour from the Irwin S. Cobb stories "Lover's Leap" and "The Young Nuts of America," spotlighting Vaudeville comedian Charles "Chic" Sale in an early film role, nicely directed by Gregory La Cava (who 12 years later, of course, did the classic MY MAN GODFREY). Sale plays a well-meaning but bumbling professor starting at a one-room schoolhouse and bedeviled by his mischievous students while the older sister of the ringleader finds him an amusing way to make her really uptight and rather cowardly fiancé jealous. The climax is a fire scene in the schoolhouse with a child in danger (of course it's the nasty little brat caught in his own trap set for the teacher) where he gets a chance to prove himself for the ridiculing village people. The film would make a nice lighter-hearted second feature about teachers after Lois Weber's more sobering THE BLOT.

Grapevine's Blu-ray (BD-R) has a very good HD transfer of what appears to be a nice original color tinted 16mm print (mostly amber, some blue night scenes) that is often very sharp (drastically sharper and less compressed than various online DVD screencaps) but also often a bit soft at times and occasionally well-worn at spots with minor scratches and splices, as typical Kodascope prints tend to be. Projected on a screen it looks pretty much like you'd expect a 16mm Kodascope print to look projected from film, including occasional minor but never distracting gate weave and very slight jitter. It's vastly superior than DVD, tape, or streaming options. There's quite a nice stereo organ score by David Knudtson that fits the action very well.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSun Jul 16, 2017 3:31 am

One of at least five* Austrian Michael Curtiz movies to become available, CAB NO. 13 (1926) is most enjoyable, despite a copy which is decidedly iffy in places. The film starts with a young woman dying in childbirth, and the landlady dumping the infant in the nearest taxicab. Moving on eighteen years and the infant has transformed into Lily Damita, who seems poor, but happy, and has an admirer in the musician who lives nearby (Walter Rilla).

The plot thickens when a crook (Jack Trevor) working for an even more crooked antiques dealer comes across the girl's birth certificate and a letter, and sees this as a way of making a few hundred thousand francs. Conflict erupts between the real father (wealthy but miserable) and the poor cabdriver (Paul Biensfeldt) as well as between the musician and the opportunist. Some nicely staged set-pieces (the dancers' ball, etc) and amusing scenes at the ballet school which Damita attends liven the film up nicely and keep the plot ticking over steadily. Would I have recognised it at a Curtiz film without knowing? I suspect not, as his style was tied up with the house set-up at Warners. And despite the rather grim opening, it is good fun for the greater part of its running time even though the ending will come as no surprise.

* the others are SODOM UND GOMORRAH (1922), THE AVALANCHE (1923), MOON OF ISRAEL (1924) and YOUNG MEDARUS (1925).
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSun Jul 16, 2017 2:15 pm

I've watched several over the last couple of weeks, but have failed to review them.

Last night, though, I put in the Kino Lorber release of "Zaza" (1923) with Gloria Swanson. Also in the film are H. B. Warner, Ferdinand Gottschalk, Lucille La Verne, Mary Thurman, Yvonne Rogers, Riley Hatch, and others. I certainly appreciate the reviews on the IMDb by Ed Larusso and Bob Lipton, but I have to admit up front that I found the film just not my kind of film, and I was tired of it half way through. I watched all of it, though, but it wasn't the most satisfying experience I ever had with Swanson. I much prefer her in things like "Sadie Thompson" or "Queen Kelly", and, of course, "Sunset Boulevard". Just found this too much of a feminine show of immaturity and privilege. When she gets her comeuppance she puts on a great show of acting - that is, Swanson as the character - and I certainly appreciate that... Just didn't care as much for the show as I thought I would. Thought Mary Thurman was pretty, but she's bored me in other things before. She at least had some umph here. I think others would appreciate this more than I did. Nice release, though. Glad it's out there.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSun Jul 16, 2017 2:36 pm

But isn't it intended as a joke in Wayne's World? The same way Wayne is supposed to be a Chicago boy but talks with a Toronto accent?


I think it's more like the product placement for Big Boy in Austin Powers, which is passed off as a joke about product placement.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSun Jul 16, 2017 6:54 pm

I would have to say that Harry Langdon is an acquired taste. I sat stone-faced through nearly all of "The Chaser" (1928). I felt all the gags were too elaborately set up and as such took too long to put over by which time the audience had tired of it all. The story line where roles are reversed in the household with the husband becoming the housewife has been done a number of times and probably because it has, I found that a lot of this I had seen before, but, I have to remember that this may have been the first time round.

Langdon's character as the childlike adult seems to me to get in the way of fluidity as he plays scenes with too much emphasis on minuscule nuances and thus delays the action. This hampers the comedy.

Although nicely photographed and the supporting players - Gladys McConnell (the wife) and Helen Hayward (the mother-in-law) doing their best, it all fell flat for me.

A very nice score though by Lee Irwin - probably on the Beacon Theatre, New York Wurlitzer organ.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Jul 17, 2017 9:01 am

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
greta de groat wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:It would be very interesting to find out whether Jack London ever saw the 1914 film of his MARTIN EDEN, as it is a rewarding experience despite missing the middle two reels and having some severe decomposition in parts.

Clearly autobiographical it tells of a young drifter, often broke, seldom satisfied, and forever going to sea, who eventually gets involved with socialist ideas (a bit vague in this print) as well as getting an itch to write great works. Occasionally confusing and hazy, presumably due to the incompleteness, the film is strikingly shot (by future director George W Hill) and staged, and never loses interest value. Eden (Lawrence Peyton, who was killed in the Great War) is dogged by bad luck and a sense of dissatisfaction when he achieves success following his poet friend's death. One does wonder, however, why he repeatedly turns down the affection of a charming lady friend after the girl he feels for is deterred from seeing him. The ending seems unsatisfactory, but should the missing footage ever turn up we might see how it made sense. With all the faults arising from the film's condition, this is still well worth a look.


Is this available somewhere? I have read the book--and as for the ending, up until the last couple of pages i refused to believe where it was leading, so perhaps the film had the same effect. The upload is mute, by the way, but that wasn't a problem at all.

greta


I found this on YT a couple of weeks ago, and put it on my 'to watch' list immediately. The incomplete version runs about 40m, so was able to fit it in quite easily...


Thanks, i finally got a chance to see this. And the kitten was hilarious.

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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Jul 17, 2017 3:06 pm

TCM's Silent Sunday last night was a couple of short Harold Lloyd features: A Sailor-Made Man (1921) and Hot Water (1924). I don't expect to say anything new about the movies themselves, so I won't try, except to note two things about their presentation. First, an admiring word about Robert Israel's music for both: it's just grand. The circus-like music complements the gag structure of Lloyd's comedies. Also, the transfer of Hot Water is so sharp, I could see the difference between his hands, the natural look of his left-hand and the prosthetic glove he wore on his right.

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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Jul 17, 2017 4:25 pm

Donald Binks wrote:I would have to say that Harry Langdon is an acquired taste. I sat stone-faced through nearly all of "The Chaser" (1928). I felt all the gags were too elaborately set up and as such took too long to put over by which time the audience had tired of it all. The story line where roles are reversed in the household with the husband becoming the housewife has been done a number of times and probably because it has, I found that a lot of this I had seen before, but, I have to remember that this may have been the first time round.

Langdon's character as the childlike adult seems to me to get in the way of fluidity as he plays scenes with too much emphasis on minuscule nuances and thus delays the action. This hampers the comedy.
.


Langdon is generally a love him or hate him character, and even with lovers THE CHASER is often seen as a misfire.

I won't try to forcibly convert you, but Langdon was better served by shorts than features:
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Jul 17, 2017 9:56 pm

"When a Man Loves" (1927) - In one word - "Wow!" The print I watched of this picture has been lovingly restored to the point where it positively glows. The sound too has been improved and the original recording of the Vitaphone Orchestra of some 60 musicians under the baton of the composer and conductor - Henry Hadley (who, with the orchestra gets to take a bow after the end credits) sounds wonderful.

The story is based on the 1731 novel "L'histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut" by the Abbé Prévost which also gave rise to the opera "Manon Lescaut" by Puccini. The film differs here and there from the opera which it is able to do as it is not bound by the limitations of the stage.

The film is the third and last John Barrymore did for the Warner Brothers and the second in which he was paired with Dolores Costello (who was later to become his wife). It is a period drama set in the time of King Louis XV of France. It is a sweeping tale. Barrymore is studying for the priesthood but he espies the attractive wench (Dolores Costello) and falls instantly in love. She though is under the dominance of her brother (Warner Oland) who virtually sells her to an old roue (Sam De Grasse). Barrymore gives up all idea of taking the cloth, and pursues his love to try and win her back. All sorts of adventures ensue, such as an intriguing card game with the King himself (Stuart Holmes). Moving right along, Dolores eventually finds herself under arrest and is to be transported to Louisiana in the Americas. Barrymore sneaks aboard her ship in order to rescue her...

The settings in this picture are lavish, the costumary accurate and the photography detailed and artful. It is directed by Alan Crosland with finesse and is also masterly in its execution. Scenes that are meant to be exciting are genuinely exciting - helped along no doubt by the exhilarating score which matches every movement perfectly.

Barrymore is probably a little over made-up but he acts out the role splendidly even throwing in a bit of Fairbanksian acrobatics now and then. Dolores Costello shows us why Barrymore chased after her both on-screen and off. Her face is very capable of showing every nuance required for acting on the silent screen. Marcelle Corday as a servant girl at an Inn gives a very good character representation - the landlady of the Inn incidentally is Eugenie Besserer who went on to become Al Jolson's mother in "The Jazz Singer". Warner Oland as the brother masters the sneer and has one loathing him instantly. Sam De Grasse as the old roue whilst not leering to excess nevertheless carries his part with subtlety. Bertram Grassby as the Le Duc de Richelieu positively reeks of a perfumed popinjay, characteristic of the era. Tom Santschi deserves special mention as the ship's captain in the final reels of the film. The male convicts he is transporting must have been the ugliest extras Warners could have found in Hollywood. As one of the female prisoners, if one looks closely, Myrna Loy can be spotted.

This is a film at the high point of the silent drama. It is excellent and carries with it scenes that will remain in the memory.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Jul 18, 2017 11:11 am

There's craft there...

But it's also the kind of deeply purpled ham that actually started to embarrass Jack himself...

Heavily made-up as he approached an alcohol-ravaged 50, he carped of the, "asinine heroic activity," in these pics, as he, "heaved like a firehorse... like the king sap of the universe!"
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Jul 18, 2017 1:02 pm

Christopher Jacobs's review of THE NEW SCHOOL TEACHER (1924) led me to a copy on YT, though perhaps not as good, as it seems to have come from Alpha Video. Admittedly the plotting is predictable in spots, since one suspects Doris Kenyon's attempts to make her obnoxious fiance jealous will result in true love winning through in the end, despite a certain cruel streak which is quite strong in the first half of the picture. Quite effective is the scout camping trip, where one sees Robert Bentley show his true colours when he lets Kenyon go to Chic Sale's rescue. And the scene of Waldo (Russell Griffin) mischievously planting a kiss on the poor fellow's cheek is amusingly done and helps the plot along. Quite a pleasant film and interesting to find another unknown item...

Watched The Little Rascals in THE OL' GRAY HOSS (1928) in which an elderly driver of a horse-drawn taxi (Richard Cummings) is under threat from motorized competition and a debt due that day. The poor fellow's breakfast (prepared by Mary Ann) of popcorn pancakes made with a boot (you need to see it) are of necessity stashed away in the old boy's waistcoat for later disposal. The film gets going nicely when the horrid rival turns up, not realising who he has to deal with and what dreadful misfortunes he has to face at the hands of Joe Cobb, Jean, Wheezer, Mary Ann and the rest. Uneven to begin with, but a solidly amusing second reel...
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Jul 18, 2017 6:15 pm

boblipton wrote:The disc of Hall Room boys comedies just showed up, and I will start going through those shortly --I've enjoyed the comedies Sid Smith made with Jimmy Parrott and expect to find these amusing. Tguinan generously included a separate dvd of Boobley's Baby. That's a Mr. & Mrs. Sidney Drew comedy I first saw in July of '06 -- I think it may have been the first Slapsticon I attended. As I wrote at the time, it's about how Mr. Sidney Drew is tired of not getting a seat on the trolley, so he passes off a doll as a baby. This lets him to his wonderful stage business, alternately treating it as a baby and then as an disregarded object. Mrs. Sidney Drew is a fellow passenger/stenographer whom he tries to court. There were a couple of minutes bubbled out of the print.

Well, I've just seen the transfer of the print recovered from Britain, and it contains a number of bright gags, including the ending, in a nicely tinted version. It's a trifle softer-looking than I'd like -- we're never satisfied, are we? -- but it's wonderful to see a complete copy. My thanks, tguinan, and let's hope it becomes more generally available.

Bob


You're welcome. I just finished adding David Drazin's score to both Boobley's Baby and The Lost Appetite and have finished a booklet to go into Lost Appetite. Should have it ready later this week. Then I'll work on something for the insert for Boobley's Baby and will release it in about a week or so.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Jul 18, 2017 6:20 pm

boblipton wrote:Nitratevillain tguinan has issued a dvd of fifteen Pathe cutdowns of the Hall Room Boys comedies in a nicely produced set with a handsome booklet which discusses the series origins as a comic strip, moving into a stage act and finally a movie series. The cutdowns are listed under the names they were offered to the public for home viewing. I would like to know the titles under which they were originally released. I have attempted to identify them by the expedient of watching them and guessing which of the titles listed on the IMDb best fits. Perhaps some one more capable than I can do better.

Cowboy Comedy appears to be a version of Taming the West (1919), cut down for the Pathe show-at-home market. Percy (Edward Flanagan) and Ferdie (Neely Edwards) buy themselves a couple of cowboy suits, then head out west. They flirt with the pretty bar maids, knock out the local banditos with golf balls and play some poker. It's slight, low-key and amusing.

Flanagan's movie career would peter out in a couple of year; he would die in 1925. Edwards' career would prove more more vigorous. He would leave the series, star at Universal as "Nervy Ned" in a series of short comedies, then move up to features, eventually playing the comic dancer in the 1929 version of Showboat. He would sink into bit parts in the talkies, but keep on working through 1956's The Solid Gold Cadillac. He died in 1965.

Bob


Hi Bob,
Thanks for your kind words. You can find more info on the original titles here http://www.pathefilm.uk/95flmcat/95flmcatpsila.htm . It's a wonderful site for 9.5mm films.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Jul 18, 2017 9:34 pm

Donald Binks wrote:"When a Man Loves" (1927) - In one word - "Wow!" The print I watched of this picture...


The Warner Archive DVD? Or what?
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostFri Jul 21, 2017 11:36 am

I finally got around to watching the Olive Films release of "Wagon Tracks" (1919) starring William S. Hart. Also in the film are Jane Novak, Robert McKim, Lloyd Bacon, Leo Pierson, Bert Sprotte, and Charles Arling. Hart is my favorite silent Western actor by far, and this film (especially this version!) is the reason why. When it was finished, all I could think was, "That was a really well-told tale." The writing and the direction (C. Gardner Sullivan and Lambert Hillyer respectively) are both nearly flawless. For a film now nearly 100 years old it just doesn't get much better. The tinting and photography in general are superb, many set-up shots reminding one of the later John Ford. The plot may start out as an ol' same-old, but the last half of the film is not only very modern, but, frankly, quite genuinely-possible plot that could easily be written and filmed today. The scenes of Indian bargaining based on a life for a life are very compelling; but, overall, the scenes where Hart leads the two who were complicit in the death of Hart's brother into the desert to have the one who did the actual deed admit it is gripping, and, at times nearly nail-biting. Of course, modern audiences used to gratuitous violence on an everyday basis won't find the scenes "nail-biting", but I think even they'll appreciate the tension built by the fine writing, acting, and overall direction. Well worth a look, even if you've seen it before. The print is glorious, and it's been preserved by the Library of Congress.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostFri Jul 21, 2017 3:25 pm

R Michael Pyle wrote:I finally got around to watching the Olive Films release of "Wagon Tracks" (1919) starring William S. Hart.


Coincidentally I just watched this last night - I agree on every point, it's amazing how much difference a crisp, sharp print and well-suited, sympathetic music can make. I hope The Covered Wagon looks this good on Blu.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostFri Jul 21, 2017 3:59 pm

Paul Penna wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:"When a Man Loves" (1927) - In one word - "Wow!" The print I watched of this picture...


The Warner Archive DVD? Or what?


Yes it is released by the Warner Bros. It was a joint restoration project between themselves and the UCLA.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostFri Jul 21, 2017 4:01 pm

wich2 wrote:There's craft there...

But it's also the kind of deeply purpled ham that actually started to embarrass Jack himself...

Heavily made-up as he approached an alcohol-ravaged 50, he carped of the, "asinine heroic activity," in these pics, as he, "heaved like a firehorse... like the king sap of the universe!"


I wonder what he would have made of "Superman", "Spiderman" and all the other "man" franchises? Seems to me that all these years later Hollywood is still indulging in the heroic man type action fillums.
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"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSat Jul 22, 2017 1:57 pm

I finished watching the Hall Room Boys set. It's a bit of a misnomer in this case, as only two of the films have notable scenes taking place inside their hallroom. I understand more of the earliest films in the series dealt with their residence, and I don't doubt they needed to take the series outside to keep it running for as long as it did, so no quibbling there.

I think there are a couple of errors in the booklet's attempts to match up these cutdowns with their full-scale antecendents. The booklet matches James and George Kidnappers with Nobody's Baby; however, the same booklet has an excerpt from Wid's Film Daily that seems to describe the Kidnappers storyline taking place in The High Flyers. Likewise, the excerpt from Wid's appears to place Who's Next? inside A Close Shave. Tguinan may wish to check these out if he hasn't already done so.

I appreciate the "free" additional DVD which in my case contains Desperate Scoundrel, Love and Rubbish, Ten of Spades, and Be My King; however, from other postings in this thread, I was led to expect the Drews in Boobly's Baby which I am dying to see. I wonder if each order for the Hall Room Boys set was given a different extra DVD and I lost out on the best one?

Interesting set, anyway. No great shakes amongst the silent comedy genre, but anything that adds to the store of that genre is welcomed by me (even the terrible Ten of Spades).

Jim
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Jul 24, 2017 1:41 am

SOULS FOR SALE (1923) offers particularly good value in giving one about three hours worth of plot in half that time, although is occasionally slightly confusing with its enormous cast of characters, players and guest spots.

Eleanor Boardman plays a (Hollywood obsessed) parson's daughter on honeymoon (with Lew Cody) and already having doubts. A good job, too, as he is a serial wife-murderer with an eye for the money. While their train stops for water she hops off, and braving the desert, comes across a gentleman on a camel who turns out to be a movie actor, being directed by Richard Dix. After many false starts, and the encouragement of fellow player Mae Busch, she becomes a star, much to the annoyance of Pop and the keen interest of Cody (who has recently fleeced and nearly killed spinster Dale Fuller, but is down on his luck after having a similar stunt pulled on himself) who sees a chance for some more ill-earned cash.

Together with the plot, there are plenty of guest appearances by players, directors and technical crew (including von Stroheim directing GREED!) to maintain the interest when the plot is not busy thickening.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Jul 24, 2017 9:46 am

Donald Binks wrote:
wich2 wrote:There's craft there...

But it's also the kind of deeply purpled ham that actually started to embarrass Jack himself...

Heavily made-up as he approached an alcohol-ravaged 50, he carped of the, "asinine heroic activity," in these pics, as he, "heaved like a firehorse... like the king sap of the universe!"


I wonder what he would have made of "Superman", "Spiderman" and all the other "man" franchises? Seems to me that all these years later Hollywood is still indulging in the heroic man type action fillums.


I've read a lot by and about Jack; and his trouble was not "heroic man type action films." It was the periwig-pated, padded-tights, powdered-face loverboy films he got tired of.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Jul 24, 2017 11:54 am

wich2 wrote:I've read a lot by and about Jack; and his trouble was not "heroic man type action films." It was the periwig-pated, padded-tights, powdered-face loverboy films he got tired of.


I can't imagine why!

Jim
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Jul 24, 2017 12:03 pm

Hi Jim,
Thanks for the constructive comments. I will revisit the Hallroom Boys Booklet and correct things if needed. Fortunately I do small printing batches.

As for the extra DVD, I do not send an extra DVD with every order, and if I do it's just a random one from my various collections so consider yourself lucky(you might have ended up with Twin Dukes and a Duchess and that inane soundtrack) :D. I had only printed up a small quantity of the Boobley's Baby when I got David Drazin's email and they have been given out. I just finished the insert for Boobley's Baby this weekend and will be packaging them tonight. I should have them listed on Ebay by Wednsday.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Jul 25, 2017 7:00 pm

In the aftermath of the Great War, the idea that the dead would try to communicate with the living spiked in popularity, and Whispering Shadows (1921) concerns itself with this belief. Someone has stolen $100,000 from Charles A. Stevenson's company. Suspicion and his signature indicate that Robert Barrat has taken the money. Because his daughter, Lucy Cotton, loves the man, Stevenson tells him to leave the country -- he has already gotten his commission in the army. After Barrat has left, Stevenson satisfies himself that Philip Merrivale has forged Barrat's name in the records and taken the money. He forces the malefactor to write a written confession, then sticks it in a book .... and dies of a heart attack; his sister sticks the book back on the shelves. However, Miss Cotton becomes convinced that her father wants her to lock up the library. A year later, she gives Merrivale permission to search the library for Barrat's confession; he actually intends to find and destroy his own. However, when in a moment of absent-mindedness, Miss Cotton writes "Blind! Blind! Blind!" on a note to her aunt, she follows Merivale to the house to find.... she knows not what.

Miss Cotton is strikingly beautiful, but she would soon give up the movies to marry a succession of wealthy husbands, including a Romanof prince. Otherwise, the movie offers its story in a style reminiscent of classical silent French cinema. While in the hands of a master like Feuillade, the series of still camera placement frequently offered a startlingly subjective viewpoint, under the direction of Emile Chautard, there is no such effect. Instead, the story is driven by frequent title cards, without which most of the action would be meaningless.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostWed Jul 26, 2017 1:50 am

It turns out that Robert Barrat had a long and substantial career: https://nowvoyaging.wordpress.com/2015/ ... rt-barrat/
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostWed Jul 26, 2017 1:49 pm

An early Vitaphone, OLD SAN FRANCISCO (1927) is a rather splendidly over-ripe melodrama, once it gets past a slightly slow prologue. The film follows the fortunes of the remnants of a Spanish family who settled in what became San Francisco in 1769 and fell on hard times after the 1848 Gold Rush. By 1906, the last male member (Josef Swickard) is hanging in there with granddaughter Dolores Costello when they are being bullied into parting with their property by local crooks Anders Randolph and his boss, played in best oily manner by Warner Oland. Olland here is Chinese, but pretending to be white in order to force the local Chinese to accede to his foul and foetid schemes. However, Randolph has a nephew, (Charles Emmett Mack) who is understandably smitten by Miss Costello, which adds a bit moe to the rich mix.

Written (as was NOAH'S ARK) by Darryl F Zanuck, one suspects that the history side of OLD SAN FRANCISCO contains a fair deal of tosh. However, one must judge it as entertainment, and on that criteria, it passes with flying colours, being well paced (Alan Crosland in the chair), designed and scored by Hugo Reisenfeld. Despite one or two over speeded-up moments, there is little to fault in the film which seems to get better as it unreels. To compound his villainy, Oland also keeps his vertically-challenged brother in a cage, and there is an effective bit from Anna May Wong as an initially sympathetic lady who then helps Oland in his filthy schemes. Of course the Earthquake turn up in the nick of time, seemingly spurred on by Costello's desperate recital of 'The Lord's Prayer', and is tinted to boot. Thoroughly entertaining and a nicely restored print.

The first of Frank Capra's 'Navy Trilogy' SUBMARINE (1928) was originally issued with sound effects, missing here in this British print, presumably due to the lack of cinemas in Blighty which were equipped for sound. That would also explain the music, which is a little peculiar at times, perhaps not original, or at least not all original. As with FLIGHT (1929) and DIRIGIBLE (1929) we follow the fortunes of pals Jack Holt (a deep-sea diver) and Ralph Graves, who appears to be rather more expert with the ladies, although in this film it is mainly ladies of the night!

After Graves is transferred to the Submarine Service, Holt falls for, and marries, attractive, but unsuitable Dorothy Reiver, who becomes bored with the poor fellow after a while. Out on the hunt for female company on leave (while Holt is on duty), Graves unsurprisingly meets and falls for Reiver, ignorant of her marriage to his best pal. Needless to say a rift occurs after a few complications.

The meat of SUBMARINE occurs when Graves's sub is sunk by a surface ship (I wondered why it surfaced at such a hazardous moment*), and the crew are in danger of dying on the seabed. After several attempts to rescue them the Navy try to locate Holt, who is still in a huff. This aspect of the film seemed a little odd, as one would have thought he would have cared for the other crew members' fate. Reiver then reveals the truth of the situation, and so the rescue begins.

SUBMARINE is an excellent early example of this type of film, with very good attention to detail and the sort of work the Navy had to do. The second half is very tense indeed (although a comparison with John Ford and Dudley Nichols's MEN WITHOUT WOMEN would be unfair owing to the condition of available material on that film) and makes for a particularly thrilling piece of drama. In the original prints, there were sound effects when Holt was tapping on the sub's hull to signal to the crew, but despite these being absent here, the film is engrossing, stirring entertainment. And of course the two pals are reunited, with the trollopy wife finding another sucker to call'Big Boy'...

*Also, Holt reads about the sinking in the newspaper, where he would have surely heard from his officers.
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