Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

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

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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 5:06 am

I suspect the notion of what is a "classic" changes greatly from a country to another...
When a writer's books are re-published regularly, and available everywhere in his own country, his novels can be considered as "classics" I suppose.
Well, "Fantômas" by Pierre Souvestre & Marcel Allain, a series of 32 volumes published from 1911 to 1914, was reprinted many times, and quite recently the complete series in its original form (totally unabridged) was reprinted by Robert Laffont and is a huge success.
Idem for Gaston Leroux. His novels were re-printed so many times that it would takes pages to mention the different editions. Not only "The Phantom of the Opera" or "The Mystery of the Yellow Room", but at least 35 other novels among them "Balaoo", "The Haunted Chair", "Chéri Bibi", etc.
Idem for Maurice Leblanc ("Arsène Lupin" and other novels & short stories), you can find them in any French bookshop.
Incidentally the silent movie "The Bells" with Lionel Barrymore & Boris Karloff was adapted from a play by Henry Irving as one of the previous posters said, but this play was itself an adaptation of "Le Juif polonais" by Erckmann-Chatrian (filmed many times, in France, Australia, UK, USA...) and not only they aren't "forgotten" but ALL of their books can be found anywhere in France.
And lastly, Cornell Woolrich (aka William Irish, aka George Hopley) is highly respected in this country, Jean Cocteau even considered him as "the Edgar Poe of the 20th Century). At least 150 films and TV-movies, in a lot of countries including Argentina, France, Japon, etc. were made from his works. He was the Master of Suspense and nobody was better than him. ALL of his novels and at least 95% of his 250 short stories are re-published practically every year in this country.
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 7:42 am

Even Woolrich's biographer and biggest champion, Frances Nevin, conceded that his plots were frequently preposterous, his climaxes were often other-worldly absurd and impossible, and his characters were, at best, two-dimensional. Yet his mastery of tension and his basic writing skill kept you absolutely riveted. You could not put the book down.

I'm a huge fan, got an entire shelf devoted to his books, and revere the power of his narrative. I wish his plotting had been more skilful and a bit more tied to reality, but on the other hand, its craziness was one of the qualities that make his books distinctive and unforgettable.

Jim
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 2:47 pm

Yes, they're pulp fictions. This is not a knock, any more than "opera" is a knock on Verdi for not being Arthur Miller.
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 4:42 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:Yes, they're pulp fictions. This is not a knock, any more than "opera" is a knock on Verdi for not being Arthur Miller.


and (going a bit off topic) we hold Opera in such esteem, but in the 19th C. - particularly in Italy - Opera was something everyone went to for entertainment- just like going to the movies in a later generation
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostSun Jun 25, 2017 8:11 pm

Exactly, FrankFay.

And so I think this thread demonstrates well that the debate over "What Is Literature (or, Art)?" is an a sense as finally irreducible as the value of pi.

And with total respect, FOR ME, it is not nearly so simple as Mike's prescription that writing that is by design "more erudite and interior-minded" is somehow intrinsically either more valuable, or more lasting, than, "genre (that) is often built for efficient adaptation to the performing arts."

There has been a great, great deal of writing that attempts the former, and is nothing but pretentious swill; and there is as much material that might look like the latter at the first glance, but that has proven itself over time, to be "classic," and even, yes, richer.

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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostMon Jun 26, 2017 11:40 am

FrankFay wrote:
Mike Gebert wrote:Yes, they're pulp fictions. This is not a knock, any more than "opera" is a knock on Verdi for not being Arthur Miller.


and (going a bit off topic) we hold Opera in such esteem, but in the 19th C. - particularly in Italy - Opera was something everyone went to for entertainment- just like going to the movies in a later generation


It's a participatory sport in Italy, too.
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostMon Jun 26, 2017 11:45 am

wich2 wrote:Exactly, FrankFay.

And so I think this thread demonstrates well that the debate over "What Is Literature (or, Art)?" is an a sense as finally irreducible as the value of pi.

And with total respect, FOR ME, it is not nearly so simple as Mike's prescription that writing that is by design "more erudite and interior-minded" is somehow intrinsically either more valuable, or more lasting, than, "genre (that) is often built for efficient adaptation to the performing arts."

There has been a great, great deal of writing that attempts the former, and is nothing but pretentious swill; and there is as much material that might look like the latter at the first glance, but that has proven itself over time, to be "classic," and even, yes, richer.

-Craig


I wouldn't refer to either Dickens or Wodehouse as erudite or interior-minded, but they both wrote classics.
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostMon Jun 26, 2017 11:48 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Frederica wrote:
Mike Gebert wrote:
JANE AUSTEN COMES FROM BEHIND AND TAKES THE LEAD!


The Bronte sisters are coming up on the rail and George Eliot has opened up on the backstretch.


Where's Thomas Hardy in this race? Not pulling up the rear: that's George Meredith.

Jim


Hardy came out of the gate depressed and then pulled a Thunder Snow.
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostMon Jun 26, 2017 1:06 pm

East Lynne has already been mentioned. It is probably one of the most staged theater plays and one of the most filmed silent with films in 1902, 1903,1908, 1910, 1912, 1913 (twice) 1915, 1916, 1921, 1922, 1923 and 1925. The 1916 had Theda Bara in it, the 1915 has Alan Hale. The 1915 version was re-released about 1929/30 with a dreadful commentary track much like the Texas Guinan films were. I have the transcripts for the Texas Guinan films where a man had his wife, or a man and his son, or two men sit there during the movie and literally talk nonsense. I have the East Lynne film on one of my collections on Ebay, but I stripped the soundtrack and just added music. On the same disc is Twin Dukes and a Duchess which also has the same type of inane commentary track. I put one version of it with silent music and one version with the stupid track incase anyone wants to hear it.
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostMon Jun 26, 2017 3:47 pm

Frederica wrote:I wouldn't refer to either Dickens or Wodehouse as erudite or interior-minded, but they both wrote classics.
Oh? Wodehouse was not an Oxbridge man but he had a pretty wide vocabulary. He references an awful lot of stuff scattered through space and time. OK maybe more through time than through space, but still.
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostTue Jun 27, 2017 7:53 am

I'm a big proponent of meritocracy - if it's good, it's good, and the background means less than nothing.

William Shakespeare was considered an up-country bumpkin, with what we would think of as a standard grade-school education; Abraham Lincoln was even more of a hick, and had even less formal education.

And those two are considered to have given us some of the most beautiful, and the most most rich, uses of the English language outside of the King James Bible.

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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostTue Jun 27, 2017 9:27 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
Frederica wrote:I wouldn't refer to either Dickens or Wodehouse as erudite or interior-minded, but they both wrote classics.
Oh? Wodehouse was not an Oxbridge man but he had a pretty wide vocabulary. He references an awful lot of stuff scattered through space and time. OK maybe more through time than through space, but still.


But I still wouldn't refer to what he wrote as erudite or interior-minded. He wrote comic novels, very good ones, very funny ones, but comic novels. I don't agree that classics must be erudite or interior-minded; there is excellent writing in any genre.

Suddenly, unbidden into my brain popped the title "Jeeves and Mrs. Dalloway." Someone please write this.
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostTue Jun 27, 2017 9:58 am

Frederica wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
Frederica wrote:I wouldn't refer to either Dickens or Wodehouse as erudite or interior-minded, but they both wrote classics.
Oh? Wodehouse was not an Oxbridge man but he had a pretty wide vocabulary. He references an awful lot of stuff scattered through space and time. OK maybe more through time than through space, but still.


But I still wouldn't refer to what he wrote as erudite or interior-minded. He wrote comic novels, very good ones, very funny ones, but comic novels. I don't agree that classics must be erudite or interior-minded; there is excellent writing in any genre.

Suddenly, unbidden into my brain popped the title "Jeeves and Mrs. Dalloway." Someone please write this.



"What ho!" said Bertie. "No need to wait to take the doors off the hinges. Jeeves is a bit of a genius when it comes to dealing with the unhinged."

Bob
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostTue Jun 27, 2017 12:20 pm

Frederica wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
Frederica wrote:I wouldn't refer to either Dickens or Wodehouse as erudite or interior-minded, but they both wrote classics.
Oh? Wodehouse was not an Oxbridge man but he had a pretty wide vocabulary. He references an awful lot of stuff scattered through space and time. OK maybe more through time than through space, but still.


But I still wouldn't refer to what he wrote as erudite or interior-minded. He wrote comic novels, very good ones, very funny ones, but comic novels. I don't agree that classics must be erudite or interior-minded; there is excellent writing in any genre.

Suddenly, unbidden into my brain popped the title "Jeeves and Mrs. Dalloway." Someone please write this.


Jeeves and Mrs. Dalloway and Zombies.

I've done my part.

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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostTue Jun 27, 2017 6:02 pm

Jim Roots wrote:Jeeves and Mrs. Dalloway and Zombies


JEEVES AND MRS. DALLOWAY AND ZOMBIES vs. ABRAHAM LINCOLN
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostWed Jun 28, 2017 2:36 am

wich2 wrote:
Jim Roots wrote:Jeeves and Mrs. Dalloway and Zombies


JEEVES AND MRS. DALLOWAY AND ZOMBIES vs. ABRAHAM LINCOLN
Young JEEVES AND MRS. DALLOWAY AND ZOMBIES vs. ABRAHAM LINCOLN - the musical - on ice.
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostWed Jun 28, 2017 5:58 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
wich2 wrote:
Jim Roots wrote:Jeeves and Mrs. Dalloway and Zombies


JEEVES AND MRS. DALLOWAY AND ZOMBIES vs. ABRAHAM LINCOLN
Young JEEVES AND MRS. DALLOWAY AND ZOMBIES vs. ABRAHAM LINCOLN - the musical - on ice.


Young JEEVES AND MRS. DALLOWAY AND ZOMBIES vs. ABRAHAM LINCOLN - the film of the musical - on ice.

Jim
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostWed Jun 28, 2017 6:25 am

Dammit Jim!

The ghost of the hand of Young JEEVES AND MRS. DALLOWAY AND ZOMBIES vs. ABRAHAM LINCOLN - the film of the musical - on ice, the remake of the TV series based on the film, special extended director's cut anniversary edition.
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostWed Jun 28, 2017 9:25 am

Spiny Norman wrote:The ghost of the hand of Young JEEVES AND MRS. DALLOWAY AND ZOMBIES vs. ABRAHAM LINCOLN - the film of the musical - on ice, the remake of the TV series based on the film, special extended director's cut anniversary edition.


"...in Real3D!!!"
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostWed Jun 28, 2017 9:27 am

wich2 wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:The ghost of the hand of Young JEEVES AND MRS. DALLOWAY AND ZOMBIES vs. ABRAHAM LINCOLN - the film of the musical - on ice, the remake of the TV series based on the film, special extended director's cut anniversary edition.


"...in Real3D!!!"


The Mandarin version is better than the Cantonese.

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Last edited by boblipton on Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostWed Jun 28, 2017 9:28 am

But then again -

- if we're playing the old, "Get off my lawn, kids!" game here, saying that this kind of stuff only happens today... let's not forget:

GONE WITH THE WIND
Now in 70mm Widescreen - Metrocolor - Full Stereophonic Sound!
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostWed Jun 28, 2017 10:30 am

wich2 wrote:But then again -

- if we're playing the old, "Get off my lawn, kids!" game here, saying that this kind of stuff only happens today... let's not forget:

GONE WITH THE WIND
Now in 70mm Widescreen - Metrocolor - Full Stereophonic Sound!
Or what about those universal horror films of the 1930s: The mummy got a reboot, and there were endless mummy/dracula/frankenstein sequels, combining them, to milk the last drop out of it.
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostWed Jun 28, 2017 10:57 am

Spiny Norman wrote:Dammit Jim!

The ghost of the hand of Young JEEVES AND MRS. DALLOWAY AND ZOMBIES vs. ABRAHAM LINCOLN - the film of the musical - on ice, the remake of the TV series based on the film, special extended director's cut anniversary edition.


The Son of the Bride of the Ghost of the Hand of ... etc.!

Might have a bit of trouble fitting it on a marquee, though...

Jim
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostWed Jun 28, 2017 12:28 pm

The horror version of this project:

Image
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostWed Jun 28, 2017 4:37 pm

wich2 wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:The ghost of the hand of Young JEEVES AND MRS. DALLOWAY AND ZOMBIES vs. ABRAHAM LINCOLN - the film of the musical - on ice, the remake of the TV series based on the film, special extended director's cut anniversary edition.


"...in Real3D!!!"


Duped
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostWed Jun 28, 2017 6:08 pm

FrankFay wrote:
wich2 wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:The ghost of the hand of Young JEEVES AND MRS. DALLOWAY AND ZOMBIES vs. ABRAHAM LINCOLN - the film of the musical - on ice, the remake of the TV series based on the film, special extended director's cut anniversary edition.


"...in Real3D!!!"


Duped


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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostSun Jul 02, 2017 5:51 am

There's a 1921 Swedish silent based on Heinrich Heine's (famous German poet) poem "The pilgrimage to Kevlaar".

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=24348
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostSun Jul 02, 2017 10:28 am

If we're including poems, that opens up a whole other front (and one which we've previously discussed - https://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10983). In addition to the examples in that thread, there's another Swedish film Terje Vigen (1917), which was shown at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival this year.
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Re: Silent Films that were made from obscure classics

PostSun Jul 02, 2017 12:07 pm

Molière is a classic and Murnau realised "Herr Tartüff" in 1925 based on the play "Le Tartuffe ou l'imposteur" written in 1669.

http://films-muets.blogspot.com/

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