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

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSat Jan 14, 2017 9:19 pm

I couldn't attend the first two CRUEL AND UNUSUAL COMEDY show at MOMA today -- I'll catch up with them later -- but I did make it to the third show of the day, titled "Westward Whoa!" and concerning itself with various western tropes. Although the prints averaged pretty rough -- lots of Czech flash titles -- I had only seen one before, Whoa, Emma. This time I recognized the name of the director: Robert Thornby, who was a regular in the western unit at Vitagraph, where Rolin Sturgeon was the director. The Eye Institute has posted several of them to their YouTube site.

I already have a review of that one on the IMDB, so I only had to write one each for the other five:

Big Noise Hank: A Nestor comedy directed by Al Christie in 1911, this one is so primitive that it's boring.

Pistols for Breakfast: Harold Lloyd and Snub get rolled by some tramps and wind up in rags out west. There are some really rough gags with a corpse, but it's all pretty funny.

Teaching the Teacher: Like most of the Chase-directed Pollards, fast, furious and funny. Ernest Morrison steals the show.

Riders of the Purple Cows: Do we really need anything more than that title? Vernon Dent plays a bad man and he is superb.

Honest Injun: Johnny Arthur gets sent out west to toughen him up. Not one of his better shorts.

-30-
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSat Jan 14, 2017 11:32 pm

The Smart Set (1928). Topliners: William Haines, Alice Day, Jack Holt, Hobart Bosworth. Tight and well-executed rom-com with the vivacious Haines falling for the charming Alice Day (and I did too), all of our players major and minor throwing themselves into their roles with skill and conviction. Add polo footage, a very little comparatively innocuous darky humor, snappy dialog, and some well-conceived comic scenes, and you've got an idea of the show. I believe I saw an uncredited John J. Richardson in a walk-on (or sit-in, to be precise). A quick and rewarding 80 minutes.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSun Jan 15, 2017 6:48 am

I can see why, in 1960, Private Property was denied an exhibitor's license, but while it remains highly watchable, the modern and cartoonish violence that has become a movie norm has rendered its barely veiled psycho-sexual threats and fears mildly bizarre; certainly I find Douglas Sirk's formal fantasies more telling, and I have nothing but contempt for the millieu they represent (and which has come, in the minds of current Americans, to be true of everyone in the 1950s).

Well, that's what happens when you take two roles in a movie and think it stands for every one of two hundred million people. This movie is about shock, shot well by Ted McCord (with Conrad Hall as his cameraman), and what shocks us has changed; Stevens was not a good enough director to make this last, so while we can still look at Psycho, this one lacks its punch nor offer the giggles of William Castle.

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

PostMon Jan 16, 2017 8:17 am

Yesterday's two Cruel and Unusual Comedy shows at the Museum of Modern Art were the best so far. As usual, I've posted a bunch of reviews to the Internet Movie Database.

What I haven't done is offer the appropriate amount of praise to Ben Model and Steve Massa for the great job they've done putting the shows together. I've already seen more than two dozen comedy shorts for the first time, some of them surprising (like a short comedy from Goldwyn based on a Booth Tarkington story), two Fox comedy shorts and an Our Gang so rare that even the published expert on the series hadn't seen it until last summer. Steve's introduction have continued to be short and about the movies (something that doesn't always happen at MOMA). Ben's comments have been gracious towards the other people who have helped with the series over the years, and his accompaniment has been tireless and spot on, even if he decided to take the second show yesterday off.

As before, the ones I have reviewed on the IMDB are marked with an asterisk.

Anyway, yesterday's shows included:

A Proposal Under DIfficulty*: a very funny Edison comedy, featuring Alice Washburn; there is a lot of amusing stage business.

Over the Back Fence*: I had already seen this shot about two young lovers and their quarreling relatives on the Eye Institute's YouTube upload.

He Loved the Ladies* This Keystone features Charles Murray in the plot about how Charley wants to sneak out for a night on the town, like Blotto. Cecile Arnold is very good as the pretty maid who flirts with him.

The Peacemaker*: understand with Joe Yrasky(sp?) loves the Talmadge sisters. When 19-year-old Norma dresses in clothes that aren't over-the-top, she's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. Add in kid sister Connie and Van Dyke Brooke directing and co-starring, this is a wonderful, gentle comedy.

Married a Year* Eddie Sedgwick is better remembered as a comedy director for MGM, but he is very funny in this Nestor comedy about people worrying about their marriages breaking up.

Matrimony Blues: Most Lige Conley comedies strike me as derivative and usually more interesting for Spencer Bell's work. This Fox short starts off great, but slides off into mechanical gags, and Bell is wasted.

The Ransom of Red Chief* This Edison short treads on its own toes with titles that give too much away before the actors show it.

Edgar's Feast Day* A rare short from the Goldwyn Company, its gentle humor is based on a Booth Tarkington juvenile.

Jungle Pals*: Jack Duffy and chimps at Fox. Apparently they made about twenty of these.

School Begins*: Our Gang. No more needs to be said to Nitratevillains to make them wish they had seen it.

Oh, Teacher: I like Jack White's productions, but this was a rare scheduling error. Its mechanical gags were a severe letdown after Our Gang. If they had shown it earlier, I probably would have liked it more.

Going Ga-Ga: Now I've seen the three movies that Roach teamed Anita Garvin and Marion Byron in. It is,alas, the least of them, as Miss Byron tries too hard to be Stan.

--30--
Last edited by boblipton on Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Jan 16, 2017 11:20 am

Re-watched Show People (1928), which remains one of my all-time favorite silent films. This was the TCM version with original music track and sound effects, not the Kevin Brownlow version with new score by Carl Davis. To date, this is the only Marion Davies film in the National Film Registry.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Jan 16, 2017 11:26 am

drednm wrote:Re-watched Show People (1928), which remains one of my all-time favorite silent films. This was the TCM version with original music track and sound effects, not the Kevin Brownlow version with new score by Carl Davis. To date, this is the only Marion Davies film in the National Film Registry.


Well, that and Citizen Kane.

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

PostMon Jan 16, 2017 11:43 am

boblipton wrote:
drednm wrote:Re-watched Show People (1928), which remains one of my all-time favorite silent films. This was the TCM version with original music track and sound effects, not the Kevin Brownlow version with new score by Carl Davis. To date, this is the only Marion Davies film in the National Film Registry.


Well, that and Citizen Kane.

Bob


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

PostMon Jan 16, 2017 1:07 pm

drednm wrote:Re-watched Show People (1928), which remains one of my all-time favorite silent films. This was the TCM version with original music track and sound effects, not the Kevin Brownlow version with new score by Carl Davis. To date, this is the only Marion Davies film in the National Film Registry.


First time I've heard SHOW PEOPLE had a music track. Only saw it once, in the Brownlow - Davis version, but grand fun.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Jan 16, 2017 1:17 pm

MOR VRAN (LA MER DES CORBEAUX / SEA OF CROWS) (1930) is Jean Epstein's semi-documentary about those who live by the sea and from the sea. We are introduced to a group of islands where the inhabitants are resigned to a harsh hard life, whose women work the land and whose men work the sea, unless they are in business or the armed forces. I have included it here, despite its music track, as the action is told in pictures and titles. There is a story (hence my use of the term ('semi-documentary') concerning one of the young fishermen and his girl, which is perhaps a little artificial in its inclusion, but doesn't detract from the general effect of this often grim film. Epstein would return to the sea and the Breton folk many times in his film career, and his admiration for their endurance shines through. This copy bears the British Censor's Certificate, and is, in the main, in very good shape. A worthwhile rarity.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Jan 16, 2017 1:36 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
drednm wrote:Re-watched Show People (1928), which remains one of my all-time favorite silent films. This was the TCM version with original music track and sound effects, not the Kevin Brownlow version with new score by Carl Davis. To date, this is the only Marion Davies film in the National Film Registry.


First time I've heard SHOW PEOPLE had a music track. Only saw it once, in the Brownlow - Davis version, but grand fun.


It's the version TCM has shown and I assume is the version on the Warners Archive DVD. Nice contemporary music track specific to the film. Especially effective in punching up the poignant moments.
Last edited by drednm on Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Jan 17, 2017 2:53 pm

THE LATE MATHIAS PASCAL - 6/10

The film from France, in DCP at Film Forum, directed by Marcel L'Herbier and starring Ivan Mosjoukine. I'm afraid I don't have much to say about the film, as apart from some lovely location cinematography, camera effects and Mosjoukine's lowkey performance which brought Gene Wilder to mind more than once, it didn't make much of an impression. Mosjoukine plays Mathias Pascal, who drifts rather accidentally into (what turns out to be an unfortunate) marriage, gets a dreadful job in a rat-infested library, and bails on the whole mess when he is mistakenly declared dead. The film felt unnecessarily prolonged just under three hours -- I can't be the first viewer to think that Ernst Lubitsch would have wrapped it up in about half the time, with twice the laughs.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Jan 17, 2017 8:37 pm

My apologies for not reporting on the Cruel & Unusual Comedy show from yesterday, but I got home late and, as I explained to a friend at the gym, it was "competently performed but uninspired slapstick." More of the same today. Oh, there were some technically interesting movies (Perez in his earliest known movie, The Short-Sighted Cyclist (1907); Anita Garvin in her first movie, already doing a perfect pratfall and glaring to terrify Bobby Vernon in Bright Lights (1924)). However, it wasn't until the evening that things varied from "That's all right, but nothing worth saying at length", when there were a couple of poor Biograph split-reel comedies (one of which indicated that they looked on Sennett's success at Keystone and didn't have a clue. Didn't he speak to anyone while he spent four years with Griffith, acting, writing and directing?), All for the Dough Bag (1920) was another decent but rote slapstick; Ralph Graves is actually funny for Eddie Cline in The Beloved Bozo; there are moments of lovely insanity in Uncle Sam and I now have something to put to the name of Sunshine Hart, one of those performers I have seen a hundred times without looking at.

However, as Ben Model noted, it's like the third day at Slapsticon. I can tell when he's getting tired: he sits down at the piano and vamps to a stage composer until the title rolls -- today it was to the verse of "All I Need Now is the Girl" from Gypsy. I know how he feels. After half a century of Victor Borge and PDQ Bach, I think Rossini sounds better played upside down and the national anthem of France is "Pop Goes the Weasel."

Ben will be taking the second show tomorrow and both shows on Thursday off, and he probably needs it. I'm going into overload. I can't miss a show; most of these movies haven't been seen since their original runs, and if I don't see them now, they may not be seen again until 2127. I guess I'll watch them and decide whether I enjoyed most of them this summer.

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

PostWed Jan 18, 2017 3:26 pm

The Wicked Darling (1919) is a good little film toplining Priscilla Dean and Lon Chaney, but the unlikely hero is actually Wellington Playter as the down-on-his-luck gentleman. A set of pearls plays a major part in this meller with Dean swiping them from a "red carpet" after socialite Gertrude Astor drops them. What ensues is a cat-and-mouse game as the pearls change hands and eventually create a surprise ending. Also notable is Kalla Pasha, apparently in his film debut, as the bartender.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostWed Jan 18, 2017 8:10 pm

I caught the tail end of the 1912 Cleopatra starring Helen Gardner on TCM early on Saturday morning. It had a contemporary score which I didn't mind. Interesting.... will have to try to catch it in its entirety.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostThu Jan 19, 2017 6:10 am

Yesterday's two shows lacked Ben Model; poor fellow is worn out. I can just imagine! I was feeling bilious myself, though whether that was due to weather, stomach virus or Ham & Bud, I'm not sure. I do know I have seen more Fox comedy shorts in the past week than I have before.

While there were a few yesterday I had seen before (the repetitious All on Account of a Transfer; Oh, Sammy and the always welcome The Iron Mule), the rest were the usual mixture of good and bad. Bad includes Ham the Explorer, in which Ham teaches cannibals the fine art of playing craps; Speed Boys, in which Edward Ludwig puts a very self-satisfied Arthur Trimble in a dress long before Charles Lamont; and The Newlyweds' Christmas Party in which an enormous Baby Snooks gives a Chinese child a miniature ironing board for the holidays. There's something about the way every film maker except Robert McGowan treated kids in the movies that makes me very suspicious.

It was good to see the Fox short starring Poodles Hanneford, Rough Sailing, even if any of twenty comedians could have done it; By Stork Delivery is a fine Keystone starring Mack Swain and the great editing of the studio; The Goofy Age showed that Roach's staff could make a good comedy with a tyro like Glenn Tryon; and the aforementioned Iron Mule closed out the program amidst laughter.

One more show this afternoon, with a theme of "Working Girls", then a couple next week to see the two I missed last Saturday and I can go into hibernation while TCM shows Oscar winners.

--30--
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostThu Jan 19, 2017 1:59 pm

Abel Gance's LE DIXIEME SYMPHONIE (1917-1918) starts off slightly confusingly (one imagines it is set in the early nineteenth century, then we see a telephone) until I got the hang of it after a few minutes. Emmy Lynn plays Eve, a woman who has been lured into a viscious relationship with rotter Jean Toulout. When the swine's sister is killed (I think in self-defence), he agrees to take money for his silence. Some while later, Lynn is married to a composer who knows nothing about this horrid episode. Enter Toulout again, who gets his claws into Lynn's new stepdaughter, played by Elizabeth Nizam, and things begin to get very nasty for all concerned.

The melodramatic plot is here enhanced by the use of music, which sometimes sees as if it was composed before the film was shot and edited. A scene at a musical soiree is interesting in the fact that a tension is created despite all we see being the guests listening and reacting to the music. Gance also uses a sort of widescreen to show the images formed by the music. An intense, flamboyant piece of film-making, which also features Andre Lefair as another suitor for the girl, who seems old enough to be her grandad. Turns out this fellow was a famous character actor in France, aged less than forty at the time.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostFri Jan 20, 2017 6:31 pm

After more than sixty silent comedy shorts in a week, I am exhausted; I missed two shows last Saturday, so I'll be going to the repeats, one this Sunday after I take in a movie with my cousin -- he's in Washington today; I told you he works in regime change. Then one other next week and I have done my duty.

Yesterday's show saw the Return of Ben Model, and he was much better for the day off. Unfortunately, the movies were mostly not topnotch -- there's a reason why some movies disappear and it isn't always because Louis Mayer needed to light his barbecue grill.

Thursday's show was SCARED SILENT, and...

That's the Spirit (1924) stars Neely Edwards, Alice Howell and Billy Bletcher, all running through the same gags as all of these scary comedies do. Someone always owns a skeleton and the skull always comes off and lands squarely on the head of some small animal, which is quite content to go around like that. It's good to see these performers, but director William Watson brings nothing extra to it.

Galloping Ghosts (1926) The Ton of Fun are forced to eat a salad. Driven mad, they devour Red Grange and then must take his place on the football field. No. Were you paying attention?

It's more of the same. These performers are game and Joe Rock knows how to arrange for the gags. Gale Henry offers a potentially interesting contrast, but like all of the Three Fatties movies, it's "Look at how fat we are!"

Creeps: Phil Dunham has inherited a house, so he takes Lou Archer with him. However, his cousin Anita Garvin wants the house, so she attempts to scare him off.

I always thought Lou Costello had some great reactions to these gags and while Dunham & Archer are competent and Jack White's staff manages the gag construction and timing well, looking at the two men, you're aware that it will be two years before everyone at Hal Roach's company will come up with the idea of teaming up Laurel & Hardy without consulting anyone else. That's the real problem with movies like this. Once you've seen it done perfectly, competence is never enough. Especially when you see a gag done exactly like you saw it done two days earlier in another mediocre offering.

Behind the Counter This is one of those very good shorts that Edward Everett Horton starred in for Harold Lloyd releasing through Paramount. Not so much ghosts and afraid of the dark -- Spencer Bell seems to have been in a third of the movies in the last week -- completely wasted.

Saturday's Lesson: Our Gang's last silent. They don't like eating cooked spinach and doing Saturday morning chores, so a salesman for Mephisto stoves, who looks and acts like a Melies devil, scares the ah, tar out of them. Typically wonderful. The rot would only set in with the appearance of Spanky.

--30--
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostFri Jan 20, 2017 7:19 pm

Bob - I daresay the soda siphon will be put under lock and key and you will have an aversion to custard tarts for a while? :D
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostFri Jan 20, 2017 7:28 pm

Donald Binks wrote:Bob - I daresay the soda siphon will be put under lock and key and you will have an aversion to custard tarts for a while? :D


So long as the thrower and the target are in the same frame, it will be done properly and quite watchable. The problem is with the thrower tossing the pie offscreen, cut, and the target being knocked off his feet by a pie coming in on a wire. Yes, Jules White, I know it's cheaper. Doesn't matter.

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

PostSun Jan 22, 2017 11:31 am

Frank Borzage's 1925 film of Somerset Maugham's THE CIRCLE, worked very well for me after a slightly hesitant start. The film begins in 1890s England with a husband's best friend running off with his wife, leaving the son in his care. Thirty years later, the son (Creighton Hale) is married to Eleanor Boardman, who is considering fleeing with Malcolm McGregor, partly because hubby is such a fusspot and an 'old woman'.

Nerves are on edge, because Mother is returning for a visit and bringing 'new' husband in tow. Eleanor is curious to what they are like to see if running off will be worth the risk.

I seem to recall seeing 'The Circle' on stage about forty years ago, but cannot remember much about it, and suspect it was not the sort of thing for a teenage boy to appreciate. This version (seen here in a sparkling print) is both lively and amusing, with Alec Francis putting in a good show as the one-time cuckold. The older couple are played by George Fawcett and Eugenie Besserer, both giving good value for money. Although the lack of sound may appear to be a disadvantage, the film is well paced and had a good many comic twists to add to the fun. Amusing, too that the potential betrayer should want to play safe rather than running away. Hale plays the weakling nicely, and if one doesn't know the play there are some nice turns in the plot.

I'd never heard of THE TIGER'S COAT (1920) which has Tina Modotti as they young girl who blunders in on businessman Lawson Butt, claiming to be the daughter of a friend, now dead. Not all is as it seems, however, and 'Jean' clearly has a secret, and Butt feels she has rather a dark skin for a Scottish lass. Butt is, at the beginning, a rather unpleasant fellow, eager to score points over on his rivals. One of these decides to investigate 'Jean's' past by sending an employee down to Tijuana...

Based on a contemporary novel, THE TIGER'S COAT has a fair amount of plot, with elements of racism and mixed-race relationships, as well as snobbery. Some of the other characters don't seem to have a lot to do, but this may be a result of missing footage as the film is not very long. Quite entertaining on this level, with Modetti showing a good deal of talent in the sort of role which would become familiar over the years.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSun Jan 22, 2017 11:42 am

The sound remake belongs to Ernest Torrence; otherwise it's pretty much a stiff.

I had the pleasure of seeing it with Rex Harrison. My mother asked me why I wanted t, and I said "I've never seen him on the stage and I don't think I'lol have another chance." He died weeks later.

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

PostSun Jan 22, 2017 11:55 am

The Last Performance (1929), with Conrad Veidt, Mary Philbin, Fred MacKaye, Leslie Fenton; directed by Paul Fejos. I didn’t realize at first that this splendid film was on the Criterion DVD set featuring Fejos’s Lonesome, with his Broadway included as well; but I eventually ran across it. These are all wonderful films; I liked The Last Performance best of all. It’s a good tale which kept me wondering just what was going to happen next, and I don’t want to spoil it for you by revealing too much. Veidt is a stage magician, Philbin and Fenton his assistants, and MacKaye enters into their lives in a way surprising to all concerned. Intense, dedicated performances by all, Veidt and Fenton being particularly focused. With the show’s wonderfully moody direction and camera work, the eye lingers on nuances of the acting, set, and framing. Those familiar with Broadway might recall Fenton’s short but vital role there as ‘Scar’ Edwards; and you could hardly conceive of two more different roles than that (tough gangster about to marry a showgirl) vs. this (sensitive creature of the stage; I think we are to understand that his character here is gay, which would provide some motivation which is otherwise lacking), strikingly handled in both cases. I believe I spotted veteran silent comedy policeman etc. S.D. Wilcox in a walk-on; and Anders Randolf is another familiar face making an appearance here. An unexpectedly fine cinematic experience. Highly recommended.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSun Jan 22, 2017 3:46 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:I'd never heard of THE TIGER'S COAT (1920) which has Tina Modotti as they young girl who blunders in on businessman Lawson Butt...


Egads! This one is very high on my list to watch. Where did you happen to find this one, etbRob?

Modotti is fascinating. Actress, major photographic talent and muse, and spy for Stalin.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSun Jan 22, 2017 3:52 pm

Re-watched "The Texas Tornado" (1928) and "Call of the Desert" (1930) after the talkie "A Rider of the Plains" (1931) kind of late last night and consequently, too wound up to fall asleep.

Anyways I came across this photo of Tom online, probably a repro but looks like it dates between 1928 - 1930:

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Petition: Turner Enter./Warner Bros: Please digitalize Tom Tyler's FBO silent film westerns

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

PostSun Jan 22, 2017 5:19 pm

Today I skipped a new movie with my cousin, who looked exhausted, because there was nothing new we wanted to see but had not, at least one of us, already seen. Anyway, I needed to get to MOMA for Sports Injuries: fits in fitness.

The first three movies were familiar to me, because they were all Keystones I had seen before: Mabel's New Hero; Bath House Beauties and The Surf Girl. Unhappily, the copies in MOMA's archives were preservation copies made from copies with extensive damage, missing frames and Czech flash titles. We have become happily spoiled in better copies, and so I shall pass over them.

The last three titles were new to me: Losing Weight, a Hughie Mack comedy directed by Larry Semon before he had become a legend in his own mind, and very funny for its cartoony values;Mickey's Battle, in which Mickey (Himself) Maguire, as played by Mickey Rooney, gets into the squared circle. Mr. Rooney used exactly the same expressions throughout his long career, although I think he got shorter in his ninth decade.

The highlight of the show, and of the series so far (because the other great unseen movie was an Our Gang, and I expect them to be great) was P.D.Q.. Lee Moran was a fine comic actor, but director William Watson has never impressed me as more than competent in anything. Yet in this one, in which Lee Moran takes time off from winning a bicycle race to rescue people from bandits and fires and to marry the leading lady in a baby buggy has a quality that I can only compare to Jacques Tati. It's casually funny, dreamlike and sad underneath, for no reason I can offer; all I know is that as the pack of mongrels race around the street without Tati in Mon Oncle, the same emotions overwhelm me, even though the print is missing a lot of frames. Keep an eye out for it at Mostly Lost and flea markets, folks. A complete copy is worth finding.

Longer reviews of these three at the IMDB. One more show tomorrow afternoon and it's over.

--30--
Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates.

-- Werner Herzog
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drednm

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

PostSun Jan 22, 2017 8:20 pm

Re-watched The Primitive Lover (1922), which I hadn't seen in years. It's a Blackhawk print that was put out on DVD by Unknown Video and is in good shape though the music track added nothing. A bit slow in places but Constance Talmadge and Harrison Ford are good. Kenneth Harlan was stuck with the fake hero part. Joe Roberts was funny as Roarin' Rivers. And Snitz Edwards plays the henpeck.
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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

PostMon Jan 23, 2017 1:51 pm

oldposterho wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:I'd never heard of THE TIGER'S COAT (1920) which has Tina Modotti as they young girl who blunders in on businessman Lawson Butt...


Egads! This one is very high on my list to watch. Where did you happen to find this one, etbRob?

Modotti is fascinating. Actress, major photographic talent and muse, and spy for Stalin.


It was on Dear Old YouTube. There is more than one upload, this one runs about an hour, including an intro.
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oldposterho

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

PostMon Jan 23, 2017 5:58 pm

Awesome, thanks! (Turns out I could also purchase it from the Silent Hall of Fame... :lol: )
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Jan 23, 2017 6:37 pm

I've now seen the last show of this round of Cruel & Unusual Comedy. Sad to say, I found it the weakest of them, because three of the four films involved themselves with music. No matter how the accompanist may play the tunes named in the titles, it doesn't work that well. Bernie Anderson was supposed to play on the piano, but he was trapped in New Jersey -- a horrible fate -- so Ben Model stepped in on his computerized organ. It was a great sound; there weren't chases, so there was lots of waltzes and a full rich, sound -- although, alas, there was no call for any of the toy sounds.

The oldest of the scheduled films was Mutt & Jeff at the Opera, which did not appear. There was confusion in the booth and they wound up substituting Big Noise Hank, which I saw earlier in this series and didn't like. The ones that were shown were

Serenade by Proxy: An Edison comedy in which the young lovers are separated by parental edict. She decides to help Alice Washburn and her young swain run away; when her boyfriend turns up, he thinks the ladder is for a robbery and he can get on daddy's good side....

There's one good gag and the rest is carried by Miss Washburn. One of the things this series has impressed on me is her comic ability, so I can add her to the list of actors I look out for -- and can recognize.

The Serenade Another of the primitive Plump & Runt comedies from Vim. This time Babe, Billy and Billy Bletcher are in an oompah band. Bletcher is fine. Ruge is.... replaceable. Babe has one brief moment where we see the sort of fussy, self-conscious movement which would make him so good. However, this is another one to check off the list and little more.

A Roaming Romeo: Hank Mann is courting his sweetie when suave actor Vernon Dent comes to town and scoops her up for a local production of Romeo & Juliet. Some good moments with a vicious dog and a colicky car.

Mickey's Little Eva: Mickey Rooney is Mickey Maguire, putting on a production of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Given it's of the "Kids put on a rotten show" sort of thing that stank up Our Gang whenever Alfalfa sang, plus the idiotic racism of the way they present the show, this one has aged very badly

Although the movies in this series were more miss than hit, I'm pleased to have seen them and look forward to the next iteration, after Steve & Ben get out of therapy. Thanks to David Kehr for backing them in this and to Bernie Anderson for playing at a bunch of the shows.

--no 30--

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates.

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

PostMon Jan 23, 2017 10:06 pm

boblipton wrote:The oldest of the scheduled films was Mutt & Jeff at the Opera, which did not appear. There was confusion in the booth and they wound up substituting Big Noise Hank, which I saw earlier in this series and didn't like.


I saw the Mutt & Jeff short the first time they showed it, on the 14th, and it was pleasant, but you didn't miss anything amazing. The actors were very heavily made-up, so as to resemble the comic strip characters, and the plot was rudimentary. But the most interesting thing about it was the titling. The dialog titles -- and there were lots of them for a short made in 1911 -- ran along the bottom of the frame, like foreign film subtitles. (Only the words were separated from the image in a black bar, not superimposed over the image.) I don't believe I've seen that device in any other silent film; but I could also see why it didn't catch on.

I've been to several of the shows, and hope to go back at least once more before it's over. My most interesting experience so far was to attend the program related to womens' issues on Saturday afternoon, right after experiencing the massive march up Fifth Avenue, right outside the museum. (Two blocks south of Trump Tower.) In his introductory remarks, Ben pointed out that this was a coincidence, as the program was planned weeks before anyone knew that the march would be taking place. He told me later that this kind of thing often happens with the Silent Clowns shows -- that is, a film programmed weeks or months in advance will sometimes have a weird topical quality when it's shown, related to something currently in the news.

I too want to extend kudos to Ben, Steve, Dave Kehr, and everyone involved. This has been a great series. (And it ain't over yet!)
-- Charlie Morrow
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