What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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greta de groat

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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostMon May 28, 2018 9:00 pm

Big Silent Fan wrote:YouTube has just posted One Exciting Night (1922), a two hour, 25 minute film from D. W. Griffith. It is watchable, but contains no score. The opening title declares, this is "A Comedy - Drama - Mystery." Another title (after suggesting we pay close attention to the beginning because it will be used in the ending), pleads with the audience not to reveal the ending to others so they can enjoy it for themselves.

I watched this morning using my own favorite music to make it watchable. In some ways, I was reminded of another Silent, The Cat and the Canary, but there's a bit of every film I've ever seen in this as well.
The reward for watching the somewhat tedious story, was the final 20 minutes of the story when all hell breaks out. It's frankly a complete surprise.


When i read this message and noted to myself to check out this film, i failed to notice that you said it was nearly 2 and a half hours! Did they run it at 10 fps or something? Or did Griffith get a slight haunted house story mixed up with America and Janice Meredith? I only got as far as the credits before noting the run time and bailing--i'll either fast forward to the last 20 minutes or wait until i'm sick or something. Instead, i decided to have a more exciting night and turned to my DVR and found Flamingo Road with Joan Crawford and Sidney Greenstreet. Now that's entertainment.

greta
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue May 29, 2018 2:03 am

Despite watching a couple of his films I failed to enjoy, (THE CRUISE OF THE JASPER B [1926] and STAND AND DELIVER [1928]) I watched Rod la Rocque in THE FIGHTING EAGLE (1927) last night. With what sounded to me like a synchronised music accompaniment*, this lightweight yarn set in Napoleonic times has la Rocque working in the family inn when Countess Phyllis Haver asks for assistance as she is one of Boney's agents and is in danger from the wicked Talleyrand and his cronies who are out to upset the apple-cart.

Rescuing the fair lady successfully, our hero is later recruited to the Eagle regiment where he is suspected of being a braggart. He challenges the lot of them to a duel but in the meantime is recruited again by the Countess to retrieve a document which will prove that Talleyrand is a traitor. Accepting cheerfully, he is now in danger of being suspected of being a coward and a deserter, and further complications arise when the incriminating letter keeps getting lost and mislaid. Despite fetching the Emperor back (on the Countess's command), la Rocque is soon in dire danger from the firing squad...

As with STAND AND DELIVER, this was directed by Donald Crisp, but works a good deal better, being very lively and tongue-in-cheek. Helped also by some pleasing tinting and a brisk accompaniment (not really a 'score', but an assemblage of familiar tunes and melodies) THE FIGHTING EAGLE is an enjoyable piece of nonsense which barely flags at all and is a worthwhile discovery.

*Could this have been added later? And the film was quite brief, so may have been cut for re-issue or substandard release.

Note: la Rocque's character is called Etienne Gerard, and I wondered if it was based on Arthur (later Sir Arthur) Conan Doyle's 'Brigadier Gerard' stories. There is no credit for this on the film, but IMDb indicates this as well...
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue May 29, 2018 4:31 am

Her Bridal Night-Mare (1920) got posted on YT. It stars Colleen Moore in a slowly paced 35-minute comedy for the Christie Brothers. She plays a bride who gets left at the altar after her "groom" is arrested, thanks to the conniving "gloom" whom she rejected. Then there's a thief who makes off with a sack full of her wedding presents. The story culminates in an extended chase sequence that sees Colleen ditch her bridal gown for a man's suit and the thief disguised with a beard (amid a city-full of bearded men), There's an excellent scene where Colleen is filmed from a stationary camera mounted on a revolving stage. Eddie Barry pays the thief, Earle Rodney the groom, and Gino Corrado (as Eugene Corey) the gloom.

This was one of Moore's final films for the Christie Brothers, as 1920 saw her transition into a leading lady with a wider range of characters.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue May 29, 2018 7:18 am

greta de groat wrote:
Big Silent Fan wrote:YouTube has just posted One Exciting Night (1922), a two hour, 25 minute film from D. W. Griffith. It is watchable, but contains no score. The opening title declares, this is "A Comedy - Drama - Mystery."
The reward for watching the somewhat tedious story, was the final 20 minutes of the story when all hell breaks out. It's frankly a complete surprise.

When i read this message and noted to myself to check out this film, i failed to notice that you said it was nearly 2 and a half hours! Did they run it at 10 fps or something?

greta


No, the running speed is correct.
I certainly understand your unwillingness Greta, to watch this 'epic length' film, since it's no epic, but simply a haunted house comedy, filled with secret passageways and shadows of creepy hands reaching out as if to grab someone and pull them inside. There's even Scotland Yard and other detectives seen (although I don't remember why). So unlike D. W. Griffith's normal 'morality' plays.
I encourage you to at least, fast forward into the final part of the story when the storm first begins. Unlike the first two hours of the film, it's filled with humor, excitement and thrilling storm effects, perhaps created to wake up the audience who might have become bored with such a long picture. You might even be reminded of 'The Wizard of Oz' with the vaudeville-like scenes and some blackface humor. Hopefully, you'll have something appropriate to listen to.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue May 29, 2018 2:21 pm

greta de groat wrote:
Big Silent Fan wrote:YouTube has just posted One Exciting Night (1922), a two hour, 25 minute film from D. W. Griffith. It is watchable, but contains no score. The opening title declares, this is "A Comedy - Drama - Mystery." Another title (after suggesting we pay close attention to the beginning because it will be used in the ending), pleads with the audience not to reveal the ending to others so they can enjoy it for themselves.

I watched this morning using my own favorite music to make it watchable. In some ways, I was reminded of another Silent, The Cat and the Canary, but there's a bit of every film I've ever seen in this as well.
The reward for watching the somewhat tedious story, was the final 20 minutes of the story when all hell breaks out. It's frankly a complete surprise.


When i read this message and noted to myself to check out this film, i failed to notice that you said it was nearly 2 and a half hours! Did they run it at 10 fps or something? Or did Griffith get a slight haunted house story mixed up with America and Janice Meredith? I only got as far as the credits before noting the run time and bailing--i'll either fast forward to the last 20 minutes or wait until i'm sick or something. Instead, i decided to have a more exciting night and turned to my DVR and found Flamingo Road with Joan Crawford and Sidney Greenstreet. Now that's entertainment.

greta


Can understand Greta's reluctance as was astonished at the running time - would have expected 80-100 minutes. Perhaps this is the 'director's cut' as it seems odd that such a subject would be so lengthy. There are several films on my 'to watch' list for which I need a decent time-slot before watching. And not all of us have time-slots of that length once the cat has been fed and dinner cooked (I give these in order of their importance) and after a day's work...
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue May 29, 2018 4:51 pm

Out of curiosity, I just checked the LOC site and it says that ONE EXCITING NIGHT is 11,500 feet. At 90 ft/minute, that would be 127 minutes, and since an early '20s film may ideally be projected a little slower than 90 ft/minute, it sounds pretty close at 2 hours and 25 minutes. That surprises me too.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue May 29, 2018 5:24 pm

Danny Burk wrote:Out of curiosity, I just checked the LOC site and it says that ONE EXCITING NIGHT is 11,500 feet. At 90 ft/minute, that would be 127 minutes, and since an early '20s film may ideally be projected a little slower than 90 ft/minute, it sounds pretty close at 2 hours and 25 minutes. That surprises me too.

IMDB shows this film running just 127 minutes.
The film on YouTube does run nearly 127 minutes before the storm sequence begins. Nothing seems slow when watching the film even if it seemed a bit tedious for my tastes.
Even more interesting; reading the reviews I learned (and verified afterwards), that the story was written by Irene Sinclair.
Surprisingly, Irene Sinclair was D. W. Griffith's pen name when he didn't want to be recognized. This certainly is a different look at someone I thought I knew most everything about. That's amazing to learn.
In addition, I've just read this at Wikipedia:
One Exciting Night
Directed by
D. W. Griffith

Produced by
D. W. Griffith

Written by
D. W. Griffith
(as Irene Sinclair)

Starring
Carol Dempster
Henry Hull
Morgan Wallace
Margaret Dale
Porter Strong

Production
company
D.W. Griffith Productions

Distributed by
United Artists

Release date
October 2, 1922

Running time
128 minutes

One Exciting Night is a 1922 American Gothic silent Mystery film directed by D. W. Griffith.

The plot revolves around the murder of a bootlegger and the attempts of the cast to uncover the true murderer. The film, inspired by the Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood play The Bat (1920), led to the production of similar "murder mystery/old dark house" films such as The Ghost Breaker (1922), previously filmed by C. B. DeMille in 1914, The Bat (1926) based on the play, Midnight Faces (1926), The Cat and the Canary (1927), The Old Dark House (1932) and even the fabled London After Midnight (1927) with Lon Chaney.

At the time of this film, Henry Hull was starring on Broadway in the stage version of John Willard's The Cat and the Canary.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue May 29, 2018 10:02 pm

The AFI Catalog entry provides further details - to summarise, this was Griffith's attempt to churn out a quickie comedy murder mystery that would be reliably commercial and keep his Mamaroneck studio afloat. Originally he planned to adapt The Bat, but wasn't willing to pay the steep licensing fee, so substituted a very similar story of his own creation. Griffith being Griffith, it instead ended up at epic length and going way overbudget.

It seems to have been very well received, but clearly wasn't sufficient to save the studio. You have to wonder why it isn't as well remembered as Orphans of the Storm, which came out only a year earlier.

I used to live not far from the site of Griffith's studio, and honestly, even had it not been financially mismanaged, it could not have been a more improbable location for a studio. It was built on a long, narrow spit that seemed custom designed to be washed away in a storm.

Griffith's former estate was for sale at the time I lived nearby. By coincidence, it appears to be changing hands again. All yours for a cool $8 million - https://www.williampitt.com/a-star-worthy-mamaroneck-estate/
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue May 29, 2018 10:36 pm

Sounds like the backstory is more interesting than the film! I'll skip to the end, then go back and check out the rest when i have some time on my hands. Lack of music usually doesn't bother me much, but it sounds like this one needs all the help it can get so i'll find some accompaniment. It doesn't help that i'm not particularly fond of old dark house mysteries, except for the Whale film (i seem to be the only one who disliked The Silent House).

By the way, is there any simple way to increase the speed on youTube videos? I do i quite often on the VLC player (gotta get through those Swahili videos quickly) but i haven't seen a way to do it on youTube. It might help on something like this.

thanks
greta
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostWed May 30, 2018 3:37 am

greta de groat wrote:Sounds like the backstory is more interesting than the film! I'll skip to the end, then go back and check out the rest when i have some time on my hands. Lack of music usually doesn't bother me much, but it sounds like this one needs all the help it can get so i'll find some accompaniment. It doesn't help that i'm not particularly fond of old dark house mysteries, except for the Whale film (i seem to be the only one who disliked The Silent House).

By the way, is there any simple way to increase the speed on youTube videos? I do i quite often on the VLC player (gotta get through those Swahili videos quickly) but i haven't seen a way to do it on youTube. It might help on something like this.

thanks
greta



If you look on the bottom right of the Youtube screen you'll see four or five icons. Mouse over them and one will read "settings" That one will allow you to vary the frame rate.

Bob
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostWed May 30, 2018 5:19 am

Brooksie wrote:Originally he planned to adapt The Bat, but wasn't willing to pay the steep licensing fee, so substituted a very similar story of his own creation. Griffith being Griffith, it instead ended up at epic length and going way overbudget.

It seems to have been very well received, but clearly wasn't sufficient to save the studio. You have to wonder why it isn't as well remembered as Orphans of the Storm, which came out only a year earlier.


I've got a copy of The Bat and this film is more interesting, even if much longer.

Orphans of the Storm is more like Griffith's style. In addition, Abel Gance visited Griffith Studios while this 'French Revolution' story was being filmed. According to the late Robert Osborne (in his comments concerning the long delay in editing "La Roue"), during the visit, Griffith introduced Gance to the latest filming techniques. Perhaps one film innovation was the use of wide screen images seen several times in Orphans of the Storm to show a larger viewing area. Gance's next major film after visiting the U. S. was "Napoleon" (1923).
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostWed May 30, 2018 9:28 am

boblipton wrote:
greta de groat wrote:Sounds like the backstory is more interesting than the film! I'll skip to the end, then go back and check out the rest when i have some time on my hands. Lack of music usually doesn't bother me much, but it sounds like this one needs all the help it can get so i'll find some accompaniment. It doesn't help that i'm not particularly fond of old dark house mysteries, except for the Whale film (i seem to be the only one who disliked The Silent House).

By the way, is there any simple way to increase the speed on youTube videos? I do i quite often on the VLC player (gotta get through those Swahili videos quickly) but i haven't seen a way to do it on youTube. It might help on something like this.

thanks
greta



If you look on the bottom right of the Youtube screen you'll see four or five icons. Mouse over them and one will read "settings" That one will allow you to vary the frame rate.

Bob


Awesome, just what i wanted--thanks!

cheers
greta
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostWed May 30, 2018 12:01 pm

BELOW THE SURFACE (1920), directed by Irvin Willat, is an absorbing drama set amongst a maritime community in New England. When deep-sea diver Hobart Bosworth saves the men trapped in a submarine (details of the rescue are a trifle unconvincing), a scoundrel and his lady friend (George Webb and Grace Diamond) are inspired to commit a fraud relating to another wreck which sank with a cargo of gold.

Although Bosworth is reluctant to do this, his weaker son is seduced by the 'lady' into agreeing to do the dangerous dive by agreeing to marry the poor sap. Once the dive is completed (on the wedding-day) and a few coins are found, the pair shake the dust of the village from their feet, and the son realises he has been made a chump of when he finds an empty cottage and a torn marriage certificate.

Worse is to come: after he has found his 'wife' gone, he collapses from the effects of the dive and his life and sanity are in the balance, so long as the woman is missing... And, of course, there is a young lady (Gladys George) who does love him despite his deserting her for the admittedly glamorous scarlet woman.

There seems to be a degree of symbolism in that the wreck is of a ship called 'The Golden Rule' (at least one real ship of that name was wrecked, but presumably this one is fictitious.), which is echoed in the fate of the two villains. A simple-hearted drama, with a dramatic shipwreck near the end, and which holds the attention very well and is not marred by the moral / religious content.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostWed May 30, 2018 1:53 pm

greta de groat wrote:

If you look on the bottom right of the Youtube screen you'll see four or five icons. Mouse over them and one will read "settings" That one will allow you to vary the frame rate.

Bob

Awesome, just what i wanted--thanks!

cheers
greta


Yes, good news!
Haven't any control with speed using my Blu-ray player. I'll need to use my laptop to change the speed, but that's okay.
First film I'm going to watch is The Cheaters (1929). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzVqdTHTikA" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

Run at 150% speed, the film seems to be running nearly correct. I'm sure 150% isn't quite accurate since the music still sounds okay. This seems like a bit less than 1.3.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostWed May 30, 2018 7:51 pm

Big Silent Fan wrote:Run at 150% speed, the film seems to be running nearly correct. I'm sure 150% isn't quite accurate since the music still sounds okay. This seems like a bit less than 1.3.


I watched the first ten minutes or so, and 150% seems much better. Reading the opening crawl, I see they transferred it at 16 fps - way too slow for a 1929 film.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostWed May 30, 2018 7:59 pm

Brooksie wrote:
Big Silent Fan wrote:Run at 150% speed, the film seems to be running nearly correct. I'm sure 150% isn't quite accurate since the music still sounds okay. This seems like a bit less than 1.3.


I watched the first ten minutes or so, and 150% seems much better. Reading the opening crawl, I see they transferred it at 16 fps - way too slow for a 1929 film.

Watched it entirely. Thanks Bob for the tip on changing speed.
Wonderful film and very good print. It was hard to tell that something was missing?
I briefly tried running @ twice the speed and it was too fast, so 150% made the film enjoyable to watch.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostThu May 31, 2018 2:29 pm

There is nothing missing of The Cheaters, though the opening crawl is confusing - I think what they're trying to say is that a second, inferior print was used in certain sequences. I'm not sure if this is dud mathematics, but presumably 16 fps played at 1.5 times the speed amounts to 24 fps (16 + 1/2 of 16), which would be just about right.

It has just been announced that the new restoration of The Cheaters is playing at the Melbourne International Film Festival with a live accompaniment, which is great news. I only hope that the National Film and Sound Archive gets this restoration out to some of the international festivals. The McDonaghs made some quality films which deserve greater recognition.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostFri Jun 01, 2018 1:19 pm

THE NOTORIOUS LADY (1927) is a late outing from director King Baggot, featuring Barbara Bedford and Lewis Stone. Stone plays a husband who believes Bedford has been cheating on him and kills the other fellow (more of a slimy rat) in the ensuing struggle. At Stone's trial things are looking very bad until Bedford falsely confesses to adultery to save his life.

Unfortunately the silly ass thinks her confession is a true one and leaves her for good. Some time later, Stone is suffering from fever in some dreadful spot out in Africa, and at the same time Bedford is trying to find out what has happened to him as he is thought to be dead. On board ship, the girl is naturally the subject of attention, by 1) a nice fellow (Earl Metcalfe) with honourable intentions, and 2) an oily foreigner (Francis McDonald) with dishonourable intentions and who is clearly in need of a thorough horsewhipping.

Further complications muddy the waters, including an attractive native girl who worships Stone despite his being old enough to be her dad, and that Stone and the oily foreigner are both involved in searching for diamonds...

Admittedly, the plot of THE NOTORIOUS LADY is somewhat wobbly in spots, and there is the odd confusing moment,, but on the whole, it is a very enjoyable affair of the old school and is worth seeing provided you don't take the plot too seriously.
Last edited by earlytalkiebuffRob on Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostFri Jun 01, 2018 1:42 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naoJxBjf2eM&t=605x" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

Is this a contemporary music track or a later one? It's not so much a score, more a collection of tunes and suitable pieces, and as such, does quite nicely.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yw14hgjz7I" target="_blank" target="_blank

And this one?...
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostFri Jun 01, 2018 2:00 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:THE MYSTERIOUS LADY (1927) is a late outing from director King Baggot, featuring Barbara Bedford and Lewis Stone. Stone plays a husband who believes Bedford has been cheating on him and kills the other fellow (more of a slimy rat) in the ensuing struggle. At Stone's trial things are looking very bad until Bedford falsely confesses to adultery to save his life.

Unfortunately the silly ass thinks her confession is a true one and leaves her for good. Some time later, Stone is suffering from fever in some dreadful spot out in Africa, and at the same time Bedford is trying to find out what has happened to him as he is thought to be dead. On board ship, the girl is naturally the subject of attention, by 1) a nice fellow (Earl Metcalfe) with honourable intentions, and 2) an oily foreigner (Francis McDonald) with dishonourable intentions and who is clearly in need of a thorough horsewhipping.

Further complications muddy the waters, including an attractive native girl who worships Stone despite his being old enough to be her dad, and that Stone and the oily foreigner are both involved in searching for diamonds...

Admittedly, the plot of THE MYSTERIOUS LADY is somewhat wobbly in spots, and there is the odd confusing moment,, but on the whole, it is a very enjoyable affair of the old school and is worth seeing provided you don't take the plot too seriously.


Did you mean to say The Notorious Lady (1927)?
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostFri Jun 01, 2018 2:06 pm

Big Silent Fan wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:THE MYSTERIOUS LADY (1927) is a late outing from director King Baggot, featuring Barbara Bedford and Lewis Stone. Stone plays a husband who believes Bedford has been cheating on him and kills the other fellow (more of a slimy rat) in the ensuing struggle. At Stone's trial things are looking very bad until Bedford falsely confesses to adultery to save his life.

Unfortunately the silly ass thinks her confession is a true one and leaves her for good. Some time later, Stone is suffering from fever in some dreadful spot out in Africa, and at the same time Bedford is trying to find out what has happened to him as he is thought to be dead. On board ship, the girl is naturally the subject of attention, by 1) a nice fellow (Earl Metcalfe) with honourable intentions, and 2) an oily foreigner (Francis McDonald) with dishonourable intentions and who is clearly in need of a thorough horsewhipping.

Further complications muddy the waters, including an attractive native girl who worships Stone despite his being old enough to be her dad, and that Stone and the oily foreigner are both involved in searching for diamonds...

Admittedly, the plot of THE MYSTERIOUS LADY is somewhat wobbly in spots, and there is the odd confusing moment,, but on the whole, it is a very enjoyable affair of the old school and is worth seeing provided you don't take the plot too seriously.


Did you mean to say The Notorious Lady (1927)?


Yes, of course. Was just checking a couple of facts when realised my Malapropism... Thanks!
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostFri Jun 01, 2018 9:32 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
Big Silent Fan wrote:
Did you mean to say The Notorious Lady (1927)?


Yes, of course. Was just checking a couple of facts when realised my Malapropism... Thanks!

It took some searching at YouTube but tonight, I managed to see a good quality copy with a good score.
In so many Lewis Stone films, Chaney's Nomads of the North and The Lost World, to mention just two, Lewis Stone always seems to be chasing after women much younger than he is.
Sort of sad that the younger man didn't get Mary, with the native girl getting the old man whom she worshipped.
Very impressive camera work too.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostSat Jun 02, 2018 3:27 am

Big Silent Fan wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
Big Silent Fan wrote:
Did you mean to say The Notorious Lady (1927)?


Yes, of course. Was just checking a couple of facts when realised my Malapropism... Thanks!

It took some searching at YouTube but tonight, I managed to see a good quality copy with a good score.
In so many Lewis Stone films, Chaney's Nomads of the North and The Lost World, to mention just two, Lewis Stone always seems to be chasing after women much younger than he is.
Sort of sad that the younger man didn't get Mary, with the native girl getting the old man whom she worshipped.
Very impressive camera work too.


Stone's problem was that because of his prematurely grey hair you always assume he's at least a decade older than his real age.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostSun Jun 03, 2018 3:22 pm

The Gusher (1913): Keystone had been in California for almost a year before Sennett shot a one-reeler set in the oil fields. Mabel and Ford Sterling will get married as soon as he is an oil king, so when Charles Inslee dumps some crude oil on the mud he owns, he quickly gets Ford to borrow money to buy the dud well. When Inslee goes after Mabel, Ford hits him with a pipe, which falls to the ground, and triggers the titular gusher. But even as the lovers are wed, Inslee will have his revenge!

This is one of those Keystone shorts shot on location to take advantage of local conditions, including lots of mud for Sterling and the Keystone Kops (including Sennett, Mack Swain, and Edgar Kennedy) to fall down in, and an oil well fire. Like most of the early "stolen shot" shorts, like A Muddy Romance and Cohen Saves the Flag, it's improvised and rough, the stereotype of what most people think of as Keystone comedies.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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boblipton

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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostSun Jun 03, 2018 3:54 pm

Tragedy of the Dress Suit (1912): Down-at-the-heels Dell Henderson is sitting on a park bench when buddy William Beaudine tells him about a swell party. The problem is that Dell doesn't have a dress suit, but his boarding-house landlord, Ford Sterling does, so Dell "borrows" it. He's a big hit, too, with Mabel Normand and the others, at least until Sterling catches up with him.

This is one of the last short comedies that Mack Sennett directed for Biograph, the month before he became head of his own production company, Keystone, and he's already busting loose from the polite standards imposed on him by his bosses at Biograph and Griffith. Although people still act normally -- mostly -- there's a fairly shocking and funny ending. It's unfortunate the only easily available print is the old one drawn several decades ago from the Library of Congress paper print collection, before they established new transfer mechanisms. Perhaps they'll make a new transfer of this one soon.

Bob
If no one listens, then it’s just as well. At least I won’t get caught in any lies I tell.
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue Jun 05, 2018 1:39 am

Another Australian silent, THE MAN FROM KANGAROO (1920) has ex-athlete 'Snowy' Baker playing a boisterous locum parson, who is yet to receive holy orders and is courting local lovely Agnes Vernon, heir to a fortune. Vernon's guardian (Charles Villiers) has designs on her - or rather her money - and forbids her to see Baker. A row leads to a temporary split, as well Baker clearing off after getting into bad odour with his parishioners, and in the meantime Vernon has discovered that Villiers has been swindling her, and is oddly still fancying his chances of matrimony which would seem slim to the point of non-existence. When Vernon realises that Baker has left without telling her (he is too ashamed) she decides enough is enough and seeks him out. By some coincidence, (after coming to the aid of a fellow who has been foolish enough to be wandering the streets with £1,000* in his wallet) our fighting parson finds himself in the community where the swindle has occurred and is facing opposition from the rougher element who (another familiar theme) don't want any preaching in their community...

A reasonably interesting film which makes good use of locations (the robbery, etc) which balance out a rather familiar (though entertaining) plot which involves a bundle of misunderstandings and dirty doings and a hero who seems to get on better with the local youngsters than his beloved...

*perhaps £60,000 in today's money.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue Jun 05, 2018 6:35 am

Last night I watched the new Blu-Ray release from Kino Lorber of "The Covered Wagon" (1923), directed by James Cruze, with J. M. Kerrigan, Lois Wilson, Alan Hale, Sr., Ernest Torrence, Tully Marshall, and many more. I really like this old Western epic of the first Oregon trail crossing by covered wagon trains. It has a bit of everything that Westerns came to have over the years, so many may find the film clichéd in some parts, but this was pretty much the seminal film for many of these so-called clichés. Of course there's a love interest, too, and it occurs between Kerrigan and Wilson, although she's already "promised" to Hale, Sr. He's so nasty as to be unloveable by the audience nearly from frame one, but Hale's great at being so! We can't wait for his demise: will it ever come? The many extreme hardships experienced in the crossing are shown very well, and they never seem to end, but the photography of the enormous line of wagons in the Western land crossings is supreme! The filmography as a whole is superlative in all respects. All this thanks to famous silent cameraman Karl Brown. He was assisted here by director/photographer Irwin Willat and his brother Edwin. For the record, the editor on this film was Dorothy Arzner and the props person was Delmer Daves. Lots of future major talent involved in this production. They did an admirable job. The print is fine. It obviously comes from more than one copy of the film. It's what it is, and there's no major deterioration showing.

Last week I also watched the second film on a recently released Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Blu-Ray. The main attraction was "The Half-Breed" (1916), but also on the disc is the Western "The Good Bad Man" (1916) with Fairbanks, Sr., Sam de Grasse, Pomeroy Cannon, Bessie Love, Joseph Singleton, Mary Alden, and others. Sam de Grasse is particularly memorable as the baddie, but Fairbanks matches him every single step of the way with his typical swagger and athletic chutzpah. Really enjoyed this outing. One can easily see why it led just four years later to the swashbucklers. Fairbanks, Sr. could do it all, as they say.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue Jun 05, 2018 1:08 pm

R Michael Pyle wrote:Last night I watched the new Blu-Ray release from Kino Lorber of "The Covered Wagon" (1923), directed by James Cruze, with J. M. Kerrigan, Lois Wilson, Alan Hale, Sr., Ernest Torrence, Tully Marshall, and many more. I really like this old Western epic of the first Oregon trail crossing by covered wagon trains. It has a bit of everything that Westerns came to have over the years, so many may find the film clichéd in some parts, but this was pretty much the seminal film for many of these so-called clichés. Of course there's a love interest, too, and it occurs between Kerrigan and Wilson, although she's already "promised" to Hale, Sr. He's so nasty as to be unloveable by the audience nearly from frame one, but Hale's great at being so! We can't wait for his demise: will it ever come? The many extreme hardships experienced in the crossing are shown very well, and they never seem to end, but the photography of the enormous line of wagons in the Western land crossings is supreme! The filmography as a whole is superlative in all respects. All this thanks to famous silent cameraman Karl Brown. He was assisted here by director/photographer Irwin Willat and his brother Edwin. For the record, the editor on this film was Dorothy Arzner and the props person was Delmer Daves. Lots of future major talent involved in this production. They did an admirable job. The print is fine. It obviously comes from more than one copy of the film. It's what it is, and there's no major deterioration showing.

Last week I also watched the second film on a recently released Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Blu-Ray. The main attraction was "The Half-Breed" (1916), but also on the disc is the Western "The Good Bad Man" (1916) with Fairbanks, Sr., Sam de Grasse, Pomeroy Cannon, Bessie Love, Joseph Singleton, Mary Alden, and others. Sam de Grasse is particularly memorable as the baddie, but Fairbanks matches him every single step of the way with his typical swagger and athletic chutzpah. Really enjoyed this outing. One can easily see why it led just four years later to the swashbucklers. Fairbanks, Sr. could do it all, as they say.


I, too, was very impressed with THE COVERED WAGON when I saw it a couple of years back. One problem with this film was that it was only available in a severely truncated version for so long that it was regarded as 'disappointing' and a 'letdown'. I don't know if the current print is any longer than the one I watched, as I was led to understand it originally ran about two hours, although some of the cuts administered were done quite early on.
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IA

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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue Jun 05, 2018 3:06 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:After a forty-year+ wait I finally watched BLUE JEANS (1917) last night...it is often beautifully observed, with an excellent pictorial sense as well as a very good feel for place and period...


That was my reaction too. I'd been looking for this for a while (albeit less than 40 years), and then last week discovered it was on Youtube. I'd previously seen an earlier film by Collins (Children of Eve), but Blue Jeans really shows that Collins was on a path to greatness cruelly cut short by the 1918 flu epidemic. The camera angles, compositions, and cutting could be from a film from 1927 rather than 1917. His assurance and skill are palpable and remarkable for this period.

Even being saddled with a corny, 20 year old melodrama doesn't hamper the film. It doesn't feel even slightly stagey and Collins opens out the play with compositions that beautifully integrate the characters into a bucolic small town and nature. Collins beat D.W. Griffith’s Way Down East to the punch, and his style feels more modern too. Viola Dana and her liquid eyes are magnificent (so is the film's poster!), and she plays an almost proto-feminist heroine. It's certainly a pro-Matriarchy, anti-Puritan film whose patriarchs are in dire need of re-education (and get it).
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

PostTue Jun 05, 2018 3:22 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
I, too, was very impressed with THE COVERED WAGON when I saw it a couple of years back. One problem with this film was that it was only available in a severely truncated version for so long that it was regarded as 'disappointing' and a 'letdown'. I don't know if the current print is any longer than the one I watched, as I was led to understand it originally ran about two hours, although some of the cuts administered were done quite early on.


My VHS copy I bought back in the early 1990s is 98 minutes, just as long as the current restoration, and the same running time as what's available to watch today on YouTube. It also has the Gaylord Carter organ score. It's long been a favorite of mine in spite the fact it was originally a VHS tape before I dubbed it to DVD. Back in the 1990s, we were glad just to be able to see old Silents in any condition and never dreamed they would be restored as so many have been today.
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