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

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
  • Author
  • Message
Offline
User avatar

Brooksie

  • Posts: 2633
  • Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:41 pm
  • Location: Portland, Oregon via Sydney, Australia

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

PostMon Sep 18, 2017 11:10 am

Jim Roots wrote:
R Michael Pyle wrote:Last night watched three silent shorts with Anita Garvin and Marion Byron. Two of the shorts had Max Davidson in them and all three had Edgar Kennedy in them. They were "Feed 'Em and Weep" (1928), "Going Ga-Ga" (1929), and "A Pair of Tights" (1929). All of them were off-the-wall, filled with much slinging of food into people's faces, etc., which sounds so common and no longer funny. WRONG!!!!!!! Both Margaret and I laughed our heads off at all the nonsense. It was all incredibly well-timed and so, so funny. Garvin and Byron were amazing. These are all on DVDs in a set "Female Comedy Teams" put out in Germany by Filmmuseum München. These three had missing parts that have been lovingly restored by stills and cards from experts all over the world. Most of the films are composites of 35mm and 16mm - the best parts of both - and put together so well. Have really loved re-discovering this part of our film heritage that has almost disappeared, but is being rediscovered and somewhat saved again. The accompaniments for these are also wonderful, beautifully performed and very apt.


Have you got a link? The set sounds intriguing.

Jim


The DVD is well worth your time. A Pair of Tights has been a favourite of mine since I saw it on Robert Youngson's When Comedy Was King compilation. Anita Garvin and Marion Byron made a fantastic comic team, I only wish they'd extended their partnership further.
Offline
User avatar

Jim Roots

  • Posts: 2478
  • Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:45 pm
  • Location: Ottawa, ON

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

PostMon Sep 18, 2017 11:18 am

R Michael Pyle wrote:Jim,
The site itself is
https://www.muenchner-stadtmuseum.de/sa ... useum.html" target="_blank" target="_blank
but it's all in German...

The shopping part where you'll find this set for sale is - I hope -
https://www.edition-filmmuseum.com/inde ... ollections" target="_blank" target="_blank

Good luck. I've bought two sets there so far, and both have been extraordinary. I've bought the "Hal Roach Female Comedy Teams" and the "Max Davidson short films directed by Leo McCarey". Expensive to buy and to ship, but they do it with the most professional pizazz of anyone I deal with! And the quality is also extraordinary.


Oh, that one! I didn't recognize the name in your original post. Yes, they do good work -- I got the Davidson set a couple of years ago.

The catch is that their discs don't play on some players in North America. I recall several people complaining that they had to go buy all-region players in order to play Davidson. I had no problem with my standard player at the time, but I have a different one now and I don't think it will play these discs. It wouldn't even play Dennis Doros' edition of Evangeline despite that one being the right region code. Neither Dennis nor I could figure out why, so I ended up watching that disc on my laptop instead of the TV.

Jim
Offline

R Michael Pyle

  • Posts: 1503
  • Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 1:10 pm

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

PostMon Sep 18, 2017 11:19 am

"A Pair of Tights" is absolutely wonderful, my second favorite of the three; but "Going Ga-Ga" will make you guffaw out loud. Some of the most imaginative comedy I've ever seen. It's not subtle like Chaplin is later, but it has that kind of sense of humor, and it has some of the physical comedy of Keaton. The girls are a hoot!
Offline

Battra92

  • Posts: 335
  • Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:02 pm
  • Location: Capital Region of NY

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

PostMon Sep 18, 2017 11:50 am

My daughter and I watched The First Auto (1927) the other night. Well, she watched the first half before going to sleep. If there's one word I could use to describe this picture it would be "Hollywood." It's a fun picture although nothing truly special. It's just neat to see how the romance of the past is nothing new.

It's a shame that the leading man of the picture, Charles Emmett Mack, died of an automobile accident during filming which seems to explain his absence from most of the picture. Still, what was salvaged is definitely entertaining if nothing really all that memorable.
Offline
User avatar

Roscoe

  • Posts: 209
  • Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:28 am

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

PostWed Sep 20, 2017 8:11 am

BIRTH OF A NATION -- the BFI release of the Photoplay version of the Griffith. A fascinating and repellent film that I haven't really watched since I caught it on TCM a few years back. A few new details announced themselves (Lillian Gish's character's "oh how pretty" response to what she doesn't realize is a Klan outfit, and her reaction to finding out that her intended is in fact the leader of the Klan was most startling -- she gives him a look that would make Dick Cheney step back a pace) and a few old details still pack a punch -- whatever else can be said of the film, the scene of the Little Colonel's return to his devastated home is still beautifully done. My take on it is still that it should be seen by anyone with a serious interest in movies, and that they should be prepared to be repulsed by a lot of what they see.
"If you lose this war, don't blame me."

www.roscoewrites.blogspot.com
Offline
User avatar

Jim Roots

  • Posts: 2478
  • Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:45 pm
  • Location: Ottawa, ON

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

PostWed Sep 20, 2017 11:47 am

Roscoe wrote:BIRTH OF A NATION -- the BFI release of the Photoplay version of the Griffith. A fascinating and repellent film that I haven't really watched since I caught it on TCM a few years back. A few new details announced themselves (Lillian Gish's character's "oh how pretty" response to what she doesn't realize is a Klan outfit, and her reaction to finding out that her intended is in fact the leader of the Klan was most startling -- she gives him a look that would make Dick Cheney step back a pace) and a few old details still pack a punch -- whatever else can be said of the film, the scene of the Little Colonel's return to his devastated home is still beautifully done. My take on it is still that it should be seen by anyone with a serious interest in movies, and that they should be prepared to be repulsed by a lot of what they see.


In other words, it's just like mother!, eh?

Jim
Offline
User avatar

Roscoe

  • Posts: 209
  • Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:28 am

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

PostWed Sep 20, 2017 1:44 pm

Jim Roots wrote:
Roscoe wrote:BIRTH OF A NATION -- the BFI release of the Photoplay version of the Griffith. A fascinating and repellent film that I haven't really watched since I caught it on TCM a few years back. A few new details announced themselves (Lillian Gish's character's "oh how pretty" response to what she doesn't realize is a Klan outfit, and her reaction to finding out that her intended is in fact the leader of the Klan was most startling -- she gives him a look that would make Dick Cheney step back a pace) and a few old details still pack a punch -- whatever else can be said of the film, the scene of the Little Colonel's return to his devastated home is still beautifully done. My take on it is still that it should be seen by anyone with a serious interest in movies, and that they should be prepared to be repulsed by a lot of what they see.


In other words, it's just like mother!, eh?

Jim


I'd say that few things are less essential viewing than Aronofsky's special brand of pretentious derivative shite, but mileage will vary.
"If you lose this war, don't blame me."

www.roscoewrites.blogspot.com
Offline
User avatar

Mike Gebert

Site Admin

  • Posts: 5647
  • Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
  • Location: Chicago

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

PostWed Sep 20, 2017 2:27 pm

I'd say that few things are less essential viewing than Aronofsky's special brand of pretentious derivative shite, but mileage will vary.


Ah, now that's where we differ.

I would say that Hollywood is in a time of particularly strong competition for what will be least essential viewing. I mean, right now you have your choice of a Kingsman sequel, an Annabelle sequel, an IT remake, The Emoji Movie... your choices of inessential viewing are endless!

By that standard, something that might be bad, but in a new and half-crazed way, seems like prime steak next to assembly line hamburger. But to judge by the bitching about how dare he even make such a film... more hamburger, coming right up.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
Online
User avatar

boblipton

  • Posts: 5190
  • Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
  • Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

PostWed Sep 20, 2017 2:31 pm

It doesn't make it essential to see someone's assemblage of tricks from other people's movies. Not when the director and star explain it all for you in the Times!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/movi ... ottom-well" target="_blank

When the Times tells me a movie is great... well, I want to be on the other side of that bet.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The matter is complicated, and I shall proceed to complicate it still more.

-- Avram Davidson
Offline
User avatar

Mike Gebert

Site Admin

  • Posts: 5647
  • Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
  • Location: Chicago

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

PostWed Sep 20, 2017 3:01 pm

I'm prepared to agree with pretentious twaddle in this case, but I'm still a bit bugged by audiences who complain about oceans of crap hitting theaters, then are determined, crab in a bucket style, not to give something different a chance at all. Bringing it back to the subject, you know what's really pretentious twaddle? A movie with four completely different stories, supposedly united by allegorical shots of a...

Image

mother!
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
Online
User avatar

boblipton

  • Posts: 5190
  • Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
  • Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

PostWed Sep 20, 2017 3:11 pm

I'm afraid that great movies are like pornography: we can only hope we know them when we see them.

Bob
The matter is complicated, and I shall proceed to complicate it still more.

-- Avram Davidson
Offline
User avatar

Donald Binks

  • Posts: 2824
  • Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
  • Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

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

PostWed Sep 20, 2017 3:22 pm

I look at it this way. Probably back in the silent era, audiences were faced with as many choices as to what picture to look at as we are today - if not more. What we are looking at today in regard to silent films is generally the pick of the bunch.

I try not to be too judgemental about today's pictures - before I see 'em. Of course I will sort out the weeds from the chaff - by my own elimination method. I would say though that most of the films I look at I don't particularly like, some I think are out and out rubbish, some could be better - but, occasionally, just every so often, I might find one that is really good. Finally, critics' choices are rarely the same as mine as to what is a good picture - but then we all have different opinions.

We all just have to keep looking at pictures then don't we? :D
Regards from
Donald Binks

"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:..."
Offline
User avatar

Mike Gebert

Site Admin

  • Posts: 5647
  • Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
  • Location: Chicago

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

PostWed Sep 20, 2017 3:42 pm

Well, that's my point. There's a real current out there that this movie must be pretentious crap to be avoided. (I want it to be clear that I'm aiming at that, not specifically at any commenter in this thread.) Well, it may well be in this case, but I don't think a great deal of the person who given a choice between the thing that holds out some prospect of being new and different and making you think a little, or the thing that offers precisely predetermined entertainment (Kingsman 2, this week), invariably goes for the latter every time.

And that's even though often, you're right to go for the latter (though I'm pretty sure not in the case of Kingsman). I'm all for termite art over white elephant art, the virtues of B movies over galumphing A's and whatnot. As Woody Allen said, "more great art has been made by people who thought they were making entertainment than by people who thought they were making art," and Aronofsky could well be Exhibit A-for-Artiste for that.

But still. If you're never gonna stretch, if you're that person who wants to see every beat of the plot in the trailer so you can walk in guaranteed it will end just the way you want it to, well, you're just not an interesting moviegoer or supporter of the art to me. Again, taking it back to the silent era, you're the person who didn't want four stories in Intolerance, didn't get why Caligari takes place in front of painted backdrops, thought Napoleon needed to be cut down to 77 minutes. The characters in mother! are "Mother" and "Him," which is about as pretentious as you can get, or at least right behind a movie in which they're The Man, The Wife and The Woman From the City. Honestly, as much as it's a throwback to the 60s and 70s (Polanski, Kubrick and others), it's also iconic filmmaking, non-realistic and highly visual, in a way that has more to do with silent movies than with the talking theater that most dramas have represented for 80 years.

Anyway, you don't have to like it. But I see this kind of thing, a comment at Slate:

An allegorical movie about the environment with heavy religious symbolism, and scattered in autobiography? Gee where do I sign up?

I hate myself, and I need to prove how smart I am, so I'd definitely rather watch this than a Spiderman movie.


That's why we have nothing but Spiderman movies.

I look forward to the discussion of this post at another site later tonight.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
Offline

Wm. Charles Morrow

  • Posts: 1114
  • Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:10 pm
  • Location: Westchester County, NY

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

PostWed Sep 20, 2017 7:40 pm

There are still a few Garbo films I’ve never seen as yet, so last night I turned my attention to one of them: The Mysterious Lady, from 1928. It’s one of those lushly photographed late silents; aside from the leading lady, the star of the show is the top flight cinematography of William Daniels. The story, set in Europe in the period just prior to the First World War, starts out as an idyllic romance, then turns into a rather loosely plotted spy melodrama. There are some major credibility stretchers along the way, but it doesn’t matter. Garbo is luminous, Conrad Nagel is surprisingly okay as her leading man, and great glowering villainy is provided by Gustav von Seyffertitz. And although the happy ending is not believable, it comes as a relief after so many Garbo tragedies.

Aside from a rough stretch at the beginning, and some occasional scratchy sections at reel changes, the print looks pretty good. (We watched the TCM version, which came out as a DVD package along with two other Garbo silents.) The score by Vivek Maddala is rather modern sounding, but I felt it worked: that is, it supported and bolstered the material, and never competed with it. An enjoyable experience over all.
-- Charlie Morrow
Online
User avatar

boblipton

  • Posts: 5190
  • Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
  • Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

PostThu Sep 21, 2017 8:05 am

Mike Gebert wrote:Well, that's my point. There's a real current out there that this movie must be pretentious crap to be avoided. (I want it to be clear that I'm aiming at that, not specifically at any commenter in this thread.) Well, it may well be in this case, but I don't think a great deal of the person who given a choice between the thing that holds out some prospect of being new and different and making you think a little, or the thing that offers precisely predetermined entertainment (Kingsman 2, this week), invariably goes for the latter every time.

And that's even though often, you're right to go for the latter (though I'm pretty sure not in the case of Kingsman). I'm all for termite art over white elephant art, the virtues of B movies over galumphing A's and whatnot. As Woody Allen said, "more great art has been made by people who thought they were making entertainment than by people who thought they were making art," and Aronofsky could well be Exhibit A-for-Artiste for that.

But still. If you're never gonna stretch, if you're that person who wants to see every beat of the plot in the trailer so you can walk in guaranteed it will end just the way you want it to, well, you're just not an interesting moviegoer or supporter of the art to me. Again, taking it back to the silent era, you're the person who didn't want four stories in Intolerance, didn't get why Caligari takes place in front of painted backdrops, thought Napoleon needed to be cut down to 77 minutes. The characters in mother! are "Mother" and "Him," which is about as pretentious as you can get, or at least right behind a movie in which they're The Man, The Wife and The Woman From the City. Honestly, as much as it's a throwback to the 60s and 70s (Polanski, Kubrick and others), it's also iconic filmmaking, non-realistic and highly visual, in a way that has more to do with silent movies than with the talking theater that most dramas have represented for 80 years.

Anyway, you don't have to like it. But I see this kind of thing, a comment at Slate:

An allegorical movie about the environment with heavy religious symbolism, and scattered in autobiography? Gee where do I sign up?

I hate myself, and I need to prove how smart I am, so I'd definitely rather watch this than a Spiderman movie.


That's why we have nothing but Spiderman movies.

I look forward to the discussion of this post at another site later tonight.


I've made a couple of false starts to a reply, because I don't totally disagree with your position, Mike, but something about it slants wrong, even if I can't tell what. I still watch movies primarily for my enjoyment and I rarely enjoy horror movies. In addition, I have seen a lot of movies, just as you have, and my mind dissects them as they go along -- ah, yes, that shot's from this movie, that shot's from that movie. Does this movie put them together in a new and interesting way? Am I having fun yet? Having finally figured out a couple of years ago while watching Joy that Jennifer Lawrence is not a great actress, but a great blank slate for the Kuleshov Effect, and that Javier Braden is great at playing monsters, I need more than the assurance of The New York Times that this movie is worth my ignoring my distaste for horror. Certainly, nothing you've said except a strangely inverted anti-snobbery indicates so. So, I'll ask you directly: is it worth nine bucks and two hours of my life?

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The matter is complicated, and I shall proceed to complicate it still more.

-- Avram Davidson
Offline
User avatar

Mike Gebert

Site Admin

  • Posts: 5647
  • Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
  • Location: Chicago

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

PostThu Sep 21, 2017 8:24 am

Well, I'm drawing a distinction between this film, and Film.

It's perfectly all right to decide mother! is not for you. I'm not sure it's for many people. Much of anybody.

At some point, if you've not seen any of those arty, sometimes divisive things that come out in the fall, but by God you're on top of Deadpool 2 and when it's coming out... well, I'm sure you have other nice qualities but I don't find your taste in film very interesting. ("You" is the hypothetical you, not you Bob.)

It's a general principle of being open to things, which you plainly are... not, you gotta like this or you're a Philistine. Along with the note that the culture did seem more willing to buy into this kind of allegorical thing once, back in silent days, but we're mostly too hip for that now. What I don't like is the gleeful aspect to it sometimes— "All it is is boring shots of spaceships moving to classic music, and the only interesting character is the computer! I'm not seeing that crap, give me Marooned any day!"
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
Offline

Battra92

  • Posts: 335
  • Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:02 pm
  • Location: Capital Region of NY

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

PostThu Sep 21, 2017 11:31 am

Donald Binks wrote:I look at it this way. Probably back in the silent era, audiences were faced with as many choices as to what picture to look at as we are today - if not more. What we are looking at today in regard to silent films is generally the pick of the bunch.


That's something we often forget. Still, while I may not care for a lot of the mediocre silents, especially American films before 1915 or so, I'd still bet that knowing my tastes, I'd take more of what they had then than now.

I try not to be too judgemental about today's pictures - before I see 'em. Of course I will sort out the weeds from the chaff - by my own elimination method. I would say though that most of the films I look at I don't particularly like, some I think are out and out rubbish, some could be better - but, occasionally, just every so often, I might find one that is really good. Finally, critics' choices are rarely the same as mine as to what is a good picture - but then we all have different opinions.

We all just have to keep looking at pictures then don't we? :D


What's strange is I will spend more time watching a bunch of (by their own definition) hack frauds on YouTube critique a lot of modern films than I do watching newer movies. I think the last time I paid money to see a film in the theaters that wasn't a rerelease was probably Shin Godzilla, which is a Japanese film (and it was excellent!) I'm open to Hollywood giving me something to watch but it just seems like a better bet to order a DVD of a silent movie from Europe and watch it at home or catch a movie on Netflix long after its theatrical run. I just can't be bothered.
Offline
User avatar

Mike Gebert

Site Admin

  • Posts: 5647
  • Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
  • Location: Chicago

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

PostThu Sep 21, 2017 12:04 pm

My own is very seasonal, especially now that my kids could care less about superhero movies (they think they're all the same, I do not disagree by and large). We're about to enter the period where I see more things, but I think the last new release I went to before mother! may well have been Dunkirk.

That said, look at the movie ads from any era and you'll see a lot of stuff to not see.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
Offline
User avatar

Jim Roots

  • Posts: 2478
  • Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:45 pm
  • Location: Ottawa, ON

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

PostThu Sep 21, 2017 2:28 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:That said, look at the movie ads from any era and you'll see a lot of stuff to not see.


And, once seen, to unsee.

Jim
Offline
User avatar

Donald Binks

  • Posts: 2824
  • Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
  • Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

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

PostFri Sep 22, 2017 6:11 am

When I first saw "The Lost World" (1925) it would have been over 40 years ago - it was played cold at a film society film night. Then, when DVD's started to come out with silent pictures on them - I saw it again. That would have been about ten or more years back. Now I have looked at it again, because last year it had been restored and Robert Israel has done a wonderful score on an accompaniment featuring the full orchestra on the sound track.

This edition has found more of the film and put it together from eleven different sources. A lot of it looks much better than it has ever looked and it also features tinting.

The clarity greatly embellishes the scenes with all the prehistoric monsters. They are clearer and one gets to see all the detail in them and thus appreciate just how clever this stop motion modelling was. Audiences back in 1925 would not have been spoiled by CGI as we are now and therefore they would have been thrilled to the edge of their seats by what they were looking at in disbelief.

I still think that the plateau and the little bit of rock stuck next to it, from which one conveniently chops down a tree to act as a bridge to get to it was a bit far-fetched and seems funny these days. I also think that Bessie Love's frequent close-ups "emoting" were like silent screams a la Fay Wray in a way and also a bit over the top. Apart from these minor considerations, it's still a good adventure and a bearded Wallace Beery and the usual dour Lewis Stone give good accounts of themselves. Lloyd Hughes is also effective as the hero.

The modelling reaches its high point towards the end of the picture when a Brontosaurus escapes and finds itself loose in London's streets. These scenes were particularly well done - especially when the big creature ambles across Tower Bridge.

Having watched some silents lately with woeful accompaniments it was great to be back in the company of Mr. Israel who always manages to do films proper justice.
Regards from
Donald Binks

"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:..."
Offline
User avatar

Donald Binks

  • Posts: 2824
  • Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
  • Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

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

PostFri Sep 22, 2017 6:34 am

"Le brasier ardent" (1923) ("The Burning Brasier") is an "art film". As such, it doesn't have to make sense as it will have other qualities those people who know all about pictures will wax lyrical about. I go against the grain as I found it a load of old rubbish. The story is rather stupid, there is nothing much to it at all, and the staging at times goes on with a lot of ridiculousness that I just couldn't get to grips with.

What drew me to the picture was the fact that not only was Ivan Mozzhukhin in it, but he had also written the scenario and directed. As I had admired his work as an actor in a couple of silents I have seen, I thought that as he had scored the trifecta on this picture - it would be a world-beater. Perhaps he just took on too much and it got beyond him?

From what I can gather of the story, it is basically that of a husband who hires a detective to try and get his wife to love him again. She seems to have gone off him a bit. He gets the detective from a strange secret society in scenes verging on lunacy. Anyway, the detective ends up falling in love with the woman himself and he is helped along the way by his grandmother.

Whilst we all make allowances in pictures for a little bit of fantasy here and there and a little bit of the unbelievable - I think that what was being tried here was a mix-up of some avant-garde approaches which lead the audience so far astray they lose all track of what is supposed to be happening.

The picture opens with a dream sequence and one feels that is where the experimentation could be got away with - and then left there - as the rest of the story should have been told in a relatively normal fashion.

As a compensation the piano accompaniment was nicely played by Mr. Brand.

(I shall await the opinions of others who will tell me they liked the film and I hope they might then explain to me what it is all supposed to be about!)
Regards from
Donald Binks

"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:..."
Offline

earlytalkiebuffRob

  • Posts: 2751
  • Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:53 am

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

PostFri Sep 22, 2017 2:26 pm

Despite its heavy-handed propaganda content, SHATTERED DREAMS* / BOLSHEVISM ON TRIAL (1919) was a very vivid hour or so's worth of entertainment. Based (according to Kevin Brownlow in 'Behind the Mask of Innocence') on a genuine (and successful) social experiment by Upton Sinclair, the film is taken from a play, 'Comrades' (a much better title imho**) by the Reverend Thomas Dixon.

It tells of an industrialist (credited vaguely with benefiting and employing thousands - played by Howard Truesdake) who is shocked to read of a radical meeting where a young female socialist (Inez*** Nesbit) is due to give a speech. His son, (a friend of the lady - Robert Frazer) has sympathies with the cause, much to Pop's disgust, and his subsequent enthusiasm causes his ejection from the family home, with Father suggesting that he has a few tricks up his sleeve.

Behind the scenes is a manipulative organiser, Wolff (Leslie Stowe), who has sinister plans once the money is raised to buy the island where their Utopia is to be established and the young couple are in fact his catspaws to total control. A good degree of satire is present in these scenes as none of the new community is prepared to do the essential but dirty and menial jobs and all are seen to be self-centred and interested only in their own comfort. Despite his best efforts, our poor hero is rejected as Wolff shows his true colours as a corrupt and loathsome bully and brute, actually working towards the collapse of this 'ideal society'. However, help is on the way...

As a satire on socialism, SHATTERED DREAMS is not terribly convincing, as it comes over more as a cynical essay on human nature. This aside, it is a very lively piece of melodrama, well paced, and with a score that supports the film admirably. Aside from Dixon, none of the names seemed familiar to me, but they all seem perfectly suited to what are basically stock characters. A most interesting bit of work.

* SHATTERED DREAMS appears to be a re-edited version, and with some character names changed.
** seems to have been an alternate title for the film.
*** IMDb states her given name as Pinna.
Online
User avatar

boblipton

  • Posts: 5190
  • Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
  • Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

PostFri Sep 22, 2017 6:35 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:Well, I'm drawing a distinction between this film, and Film.

It's perfectly all right to decide mother! is not for you. I'm not sure it's for many people. Much of anybody.

At some point, if you've not seen any of those arty, sometimes divisive things that come out in the fall, but by God you're on top of Deadpool 2 and when it's coming out... well, I'm sure you have other nice qualities but I don't find your taste in film very interesting. ("You" is the hypothetical you, not you Bob.)

It's a general principle of being open to things, which you plainly are... not, you gotta like this or you're a Philistine. Along with the note that the culture did seem more willing to buy into this kind of allegorical thing once, back in silent days, but we're mostly too hip for that now. What I don't like is the gleeful aspect to it sometimes— "All it is is boring shots of spaceships moving to classic music, and the only interesting character is the computer! I'm not seeing that crap, give me Marooned any day!"



I'm still coming at this slow because I keep wanting to say ""yeah but...." fourteen times, so please be patient. There are the films we see because we like those films. There are the films we see because we like those kind of films. There are the films we see because we hope we'll like those kind of films. There are the films we' see because we haven't liked those kinds of films in the past, but we're older now and our tastes have changed and maybe.... and there are those films we see because we like to think we know a lot about films and that means seeing films which which we don't like, but will show us something that has never been done before -- in the talkie sibling of this thread, I recently said that Fitzcarraldo may be one of those films. If you like it, great, but it's like looking at Picasso's Guernica and talking about pleasure. I'm going to edge away from you. Even if I agree with W.S. Gilbert that the essence of great comedy is melted lead and boiling oil.

So I think what I'm having trouble with here is the word "like". And the inherent snobbery of someone dictating what is good in the arts to me. I know that for a century, the Times has been doing it and their taste runs about 170 degrees contrary to mine. Not yours, Mike. Not my fellow Nitratevillains. Even the ones whose assessments I disagree with, I can understand why we come to different conclusion. I think we all see movies because we enjoy them, not because we are attempting to raise the consciousness of the masses (if you think I stick it to the TImes it's because I still look at them online for the mostly well-written obituaries; you should hear my comments about the business press to my friends with whom I discuss such things).

Given that I am willing to watch an Old Mother Riley movie, I can go through a lot of dirt for a little gold. So: mother!?

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
The matter is complicated, and I shall proceed to complicate it still more.

-- Avram Davidson
Offline
User avatar

Donald Binks

  • Posts: 2824
  • Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
  • Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

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

PostFri Sep 22, 2017 6:53 pm

I must get this "mother!" picture when it comes to DVD and see what all the fuss is about.

As you will see on this page and its talkie counterpart, I have sat through a number of pictures in the last few days which I think suffer from foot rot - but, this is only one man's opinion. No doubt there will be others who will find these pictures the greatest thing since sliced bread.

My brother recommended two sliced bread pictures to me that he thought were the bees knees. They were "Birdman" and "The Lobster" - both of which I loathed. No doubt he thinks all the pictures I recommend to him are absolute stinkers.

I try, within reason, to look at a wide variety of pictures. Most I never want to see again - but there are some such as Jacques Tati's "M. Hulot's Holiday" which I will trot out every so often. Somethings one never tires of.

As to reviews - well it's good to listen to other's opinions, but one should not be swayed by them. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who bow under peer group pressure and say they like something in order not to go against the grain. - I was the only one at work who hated "Seinfeld". I was looked at with contempt.
Regards from
Donald Binks

"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:..."
Offline
User avatar

Mike Gebert

Site Admin

  • Posts: 5647
  • Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
  • Location: Chicago

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

PostFri Sep 22, 2017 8:38 pm

I take no responsibility for anyone who has already seen an Aronofsky film and disliked it, seeing mother! As I said, there's an Aronofsky film I have repeat-watched... and this isn't it.

But I do have a certain taste for "stretch" movies. Ones which try to blow my mind, man, take me into the infinite and the ineffable. Movies are pretend dreams and I like people trying to push that as far as it can go, sometimes, into the ecstasy-dreams that used to get you sainted like St. Theresa. 30 years ago I saw Stalker, found it interminable and ludicrous; it came to the Music Box this summer, went to it with my older son, and we loved it. Russians trying to get right in God's face to ask him questions, and possibly being poisoned by the regime in the process in real life— now that's a movie! At least the audience this time was as enraptured as we were. So yes, I do "enjoy" that.

mother!-wise, I just watched the '39 Cat and the Canary, which is about a woman who has an old house in the middle of nowhere, into which lots of strangers and a certain amount of terror come. Close enough!
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
Offline

Battra92

  • Posts: 335
  • Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:02 pm
  • Location: Capital Region of NY

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

PostFri Sep 22, 2017 9:07 pm

Donald Binks wrote:I still think that the plateau and the little bit of rock stuck next to it, from which one conveniently chops down a tree to act as a bridge to get to it was a bit far-fetched and seems funny these days.


I'm pretty sure that was in the book but I could be wrong as it's been a few years since I read it. Can't wait until my kid will sit through novels as I plan on reading it to her.
Offline

Battra92

  • Posts: 335
  • Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:02 pm
  • Location: Capital Region of NY

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

PostFri Sep 22, 2017 9:13 pm

Recently my wife expressed an interest in seeing Sunrise again. I mentioned that she'd never seen City Girl which was the same director and in some ways is an interesting opposite look at human nature from the same guy. She read the box art and said she'd like to see it sometime. So tonight we finally had an evening to watch it.

There's a lot to like in City Girl. The story is simple but effective and you really get a sense for the characters without a lot of explaining. You just know them by their actions and mannerisms: just how film should be.

If I had a complaint it would be that the ending doesn't feel quite realistic enough but then, it's a movie.

After watching that, I decided we needed a companion piece to go along with the film and put on A Corner in Wheat (1909.) It's amazing at how far film had come from the days of Griffith at Biograph (which itself was a far leap ahead of Melies, Edison and the Lumieres before him.) Yet despite it's primitive storytelling, A Corner in Wheat is still an effective little film today.
Online
User avatar

boblipton

  • Posts: 5190
  • Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
  • Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

PostSat Sep 23, 2017 4:17 am

Mike Gebert wrote:I take no responsibility for anyone who has already seen an Aronofsky film and disliked it, seeing mother! As I said, there's an Aronofsky film I have repeat-watched... and this isn't it.

But I do have a certain taste for "stretch" movies. Ones which try to blow my mind, man, take me into the infinite and the ineffable. Movies are pretend dreams and I like people trying to push that as far as it can go, sometimes, into the ecstasy-dreams that used to get you sainted like St. Theresa. 30 years ago I saw Stalker, found it interminable and ludicrous; it came to the Music Box this summer, went to it with my older son, and we loved it. Russians trying to get right in God's face to ask him questions, and possibly being poisoned by the regime in the process in real life— now that's a movie! At least the audience this time was as enraptured as we were. So yes, I do "enjoy" that.

mother!-wise, I just watched the '39 Cat and the Canary, which is about a woman who has an old house in the middle of nowhere, into which lots of strangers and a certain amount of terror come. Close enough!




That's the answer I was looking for. I like to stretch my mind occasionally. I'll see how the week goes and what my mood is.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:28 am, edited 3 times in total.
The matter is complicated, and I shall proceed to complicate it still more.

-- Avram Davidson
Online
User avatar

boblipton

  • Posts: 5190
  • Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
  • Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

PostSat Sep 23, 2017 4:23 am

Donald Binks wrote:I must get this "mother!" picture when it comes to DVD and see what all the fuss is about.

As you will see on this page and its talkie counterpart, I have sat through a number of pictures in the last few days which I think suffer from foot rot - but, this is only one man's opinion. No doubt there will be others who will find these pictures the greatest thing since sliced bread.

My brother recommended two sliced bread pictures to me that he thought were the bees knees. They were "Birdman" and "The Lobster" - both of which I loathed. No doubt he thinks all the pictures I recommend to him are absolute stinkers.

I try, within reason, to look at a wide variety of pictures. Most I never want to see again - but there are some such as Jacques Tati's "M. Hulot's Holiday" which I will trot out every so often. Somethings one never tires of.

As to reviews - well it's good to listen to other's opinions, but one should not be swayed by them. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who bow under peer group pressure and say they like something in order not to go against the grain. - I was the only one at work who hated "Seinfeld". I was looked at with contempt.




There's a difference between a review and a critical review, nevvy. A review says "If you like A, you'll like this." A critical review tells you what you're supposed to like if you have good taste, id est the taste of the critic. I try to tell you what I like, why I like it, how it compares with other stuff in its genre and why I am insane on the subject as a warning, which should cover all bases.

Bob
The matter is complicated, and I shall proceed to complicate it still more.

-- Avram Davidson
Offline
User avatar

Donald Binks

  • Posts: 2824
  • Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
  • Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

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

PostSat Sep 23, 2017 4:45 am

boblipton wrote:
There's a difference between a review and a critical review, nevvy. A review says "If you like A, you'll like this." A critical review tells you what you're supposed to like if you have good taste, id est the taste of the critic. I try to tell you what I like, why I like it, how it compares with other stuff in its genre and why I am insane on the subject as a warning, which should cover all bases.

Bob


I think it all goes back to when someone once declared to me rather acerbically that the clothes that I was wearing were not in fashion. I could only reply that I did not follow fashions, I set them. I think we all have to think as arrogantly as this sometimes otherwise we tend to lose our individuality.

In reference to your esteemed reviews of pictures you have seen, I could well quote Voltaire - but wouldn't quite go to the extent he did when he declared, "I disagree Sir with what you have said, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

I think the only way to go about it all is to say 'Well, that's my opinion - like it or lump it."

(I like the round about way you have expressed your domicile which I presume to be in the Chelsea area of New York. That sorts out the literary weeds from the chaff don't it!)
Regards from
Donald Binks

"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:..."
PreviousNext

Return to Talking About Silents

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bentond and 9 guests