Silent comedy veterans in Pre-Code features

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gjohnson

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Re: Silent comedy veterans in Pre-Code features

PostMon Jan 30, 2012 11:28 am

Why, he looks nothing like Charlie Chaplin....
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Re: Silent comedy veterans in Pre-Code features

PostTue Feb 21, 2012 9:24 pm

Film Forum's William Wellman festival brought forth Stingaree this evening, a very odd film featuring Richard Dix as sort of an Australian Robin Hood, who, when he isn't busy robbing people, vigorously promotes Irene Dunne's operatic career. (In one scene he forces an audience to listen to her sing at gunpoint.) And there, in the movie's very first shot, is actual Aussie Snub Pollard, playing a ranch hand on a sheep farm. He pops up occasionally throughout the film, but isn't allowed much comic business. The one exception comes when he participates in the running gag shared by almost all the members of the cast: a look of nausea at the sound of Mary Boland's singing voice. Billy Bevan is also on hand, but only briefly, and he's rather lost in the shuffle.

Strange indeed, coming from Wild Bill. But he earns points for attempting something so off-the-wall, and for casting Pollard and Bevan to provide local color.

P.S. Oops, sorry: local colour.
-- Charlie Morrow
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greta de groat

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Re: Silent comedy veterans in Pre-Code features

PostWed Feb 22, 2012 12:24 am

And of course not only silent comedy veterans, but dramatic actors as well--besides Dix there's Conway Tearle in what must be one of his most prominent talkie roles.

It is a really strange film, though.

greta
Greta de Groat
Unsung Divas of the Silent Screen
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Re: Silent comedy veterans in Pre-Code features

PostMon Feb 27, 2012 8:41 pm

Another week, another Wellman. This time, however, instead of an oddity about an Australian opera-loving Robin Hood, the material was perfectly suited to the man who made Wings. Tonight at Film Forum we saw Young Eagles (1930), a World War I flying ace saga starring Buddy Rogers and Jean Arthur. There were two impressive aerial sequences, and no rear-screen projection nonsense. The flying was real, and very nicely filmed.

I post about it here because the supporting cast features the one and only Jimmy Finlayson, as a Scottish officer in a kilt. He's identified in the credits as "Scotty," of all names.

Watching this movie tonight was something of a recovered memory experience, because I realized part-way through that I saw it on TV long ago, when I was maybe 10 or 11, and had forgotten it. But I was already a hardcore Laurel & Hardy fan at the time, and recognized Finn right away. (How could you not?) He pops up during a party sequence, clean-shaven, dancing with Virginia Bruce. He also has a mildly amusing scene with Stu Erwin, but his best moment comes at the end of the dance, when Virginia gives him a quick kiss on his bald pate, and he exclaims: "Hoot mon!"
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Richard M Roberts

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Re: Silent comedy veterans in Pre-Code features

PostMon Feb 27, 2012 8:52 pm

Wm. Charles Morrow wrote:Another week, another Wellman. This time, however, instead of an oddity about an Australian opera-loving Robin Hood, the material was perfectly suited to the man who made Wings. Tonight at Film Forum we saw Young Eagles (1930), a World War I flying ace saga starring Buddy Rogers and Jean Arthur. There were two impressive aerial sequences, and no rear-screen projection nonsense. The flying was real, and very nicely filmed.

I post about it here because the supporting cast features the one and only Jimmy Finlayson, as a Scottish officer in a kilt. He's identified in the credits as "Scotty," of all names.

Watching this movie tonight was something of a recovered memory experience, because I realized part-way through that I saw it on TV long ago, when I was maybe 10 or 11, and had forgotten it. But I was already a hardcore Laurel & Hardy fan at the time, and recognized Finn right away. (How could you not?) He pops up during a party sequence, clean-shaven, dancing with Virginia Bruce. He also has a mildly amusing scene with Stu Erwin, but his best moment comes at the end of the dance, when Virginia gives him a quick kiss on his bald pate, and he exclaims: "Hoot mon!"



Fin's in the 1930 DAWN PATROL as well, also sans the hair-lip, and he's good in it too.


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Ed Watz

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Re: Silent comedy veterans in Pre-Code features

PostMon Feb 27, 2012 10:20 pm

Richard M Roberts wrote:
Fin's in the 1930 DAWN PATROL as well, also sans the hair-lip, and he's good in it too.

RICHARD M ROBERTS


Actually Fin wears his 'stache in the 1930 DAWN PATROL...I wish they'd have let him wear it more often in his non-Roach appearances. In DAWN PATROL it's nice to see him doing light comic business with the likes of Clyde Cook and Jack Akroyd - at one point Fin apparently adlibs, "Come along now, Akroyd!"
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Re: Silent comedy veterans in Pre-Code features

PostMon Feb 27, 2012 11:08 pm

Ed Watz wrote:
Richard M Roberts wrote:
Fin's in the 1930 DAWN PATROL as well, also sans the hair-lip, and he's good in it too.

RICHARD M ROBERTS


Actually Fin wears his 'stache in the 1930 DAWN PATROL...I wish they'd have let him wear it more often in his non-Roach appearances. In DAWN PATROL it's nice to see him doing light comic business with the likes of Clyde Cook and Jack Akroyd - at one point Fin apparently adlibs, "Come along now, Akroyd!"



I pulled it an looked, and, dang, you're right. My memory morphed Billy Bevan in JOURNEYS END onto Fin in that. But he indeed is terrific in it. I think Bevan, Finlayson, Clyde Cook, and Jimmy Aubrey all elongated their careers by becoming the boot-shiners of the British Raj in 30's and 40's American pictures. Our Movie Night group has the regular game to see which one of them pops up first if its an American film with a British, Scottish, or Irish locale (or India for that matter).

It was also fun spotting Fin in a late Technicolor part as a magistrate in THUNDER IN THE VALLEY (1947) last year.


RICHARD M ROBERTS
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Re: Silent comedy veterans in Pre-Code features

PostSat Feb 16, 2013 8:11 am

Thanks to Film Forum (yet again!) I can revive this thread. Their current series is devoted to films made during the year 1933, and last night I revisited the one and only Baby Face, starring Barbara Stanwyck. It’s a longtime favorite but I hadn’t seen it in a while, and was reminded on this viewing that several silent comedy veterans turn up in small roles: Heinie Conklin is a waiter in a sleazy beer joint, Spec O’Donnell is an office boy at the bank where Stanwyck works, and Harry Gribbon has a nice recurring bit as a doorman who flirts with our leading lady.

One other silent film veteran appears in a memorable scene: James Murray of The Crowd turns up as a railroad man who encounters Stanwyck and her friend Theresa Harris riding the rails. Initially he orders the women off the train, but they manage to negotiate a mutually satisfying compromise. This scene was cut from the film prior to its release, but was found intact in the uncut print discovered at the Library of Congress in 2004.
-- Charlie Morrow
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Re: Silent comedy veterans in Pre-Code features

PostSun May 27, 2018 4:26 pm

Currently MoMA is hosting a series of recent Fox Studio restorations, dating from the late silent era into early talkie days. Yesterday I went to a screening of Raoul Walsh’s Women of All Nations (1931), the second of three sequels to What Price Glory, made five years earlier. Victor MacLaglen and Edmund Lowe repeat their roles as Captain Flagg and Sergeant Quirt of the U.S. Marines, those battling buddies who spend most of their time arguing over dames.

Seeing this movie strikes me as a good excuse to revive this old thread (quite an interesting one, I believe), because it offers Max Davidson and Jesse De Vorska as father and son, just as they were in the 1927 Roach comedy short Jewish Prudence. As it happens De Vorska has a prominent part in the proceedings, easily the biggest role I’ve seen him play in a feature. He portrays Izzie Kaplan, who decides to enlist in the Marines when he hears Flagg’s recruitment pitch. Davidson—who received a smattering of applause at yesterday’s screening—has a brief scene in which he says farewell to his son. It’s played straight, and is genuinely moving. After that, De Vorska’s scenes are comic in tone, so [*SPOILER ALERT!*] it comes as a surprise when Izzie gets killed as a result of an earthquake, during a sequence set in Nicaragua.

Generally speaking I’d have to say this movie is a dud, however. It’s so episodic as to be plotless, and the comedy content is thin indeed. Towards the end, Bela Lugosi makes an appearance as the Egyptian Prince Hassan, who has a harem. He’s insanely jealous of Elsa, his wife #1 (played by Greta Nissen), and there are farcical complications when he catches Flagg, Quirt, and Private Olsen (El Brendel) in his wife’s boudoir. Lugosi earned the biggest laughs at the screening yesterday. I wouldn’t claim his material was much better than anyone else’s, but after an hour of El Brendel we desperately required relief from the comedy relief.

By the way, Humphrey Bogart originally appeared in one sequence of this film, but it was cut prior to release. I kept a sharp eye out, but didn’t catch even a glimpse of him. However, missing out on Women of All Nations didn’t do his career any harm.
-- Charlie Morrow
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: Silent comedy veterans in Pre-Code features

PostTue May 29, 2018 3:11 pm

Wm. Charles Morrow wrote:Currently MoMA is hosting a series of recent Fox Studio restorations, dating from the late silent era into early talkie days. Yesterday I went to a screening of Raoul Walsh’s Women of All Nations (1931), the second of three sequels to What Price Glory, made five years earlier. Victor MacLaglen and Edmund Lowe repeat their roles as Captain Flagg and Sergeant Quirt of the U.S. Marines, those battling buddies who spend most of their time arguing over dames.

Seeing this movie strikes me as a good excuse to revive this old thread (quite an interesting one, I believe), because it offers Max Davidson and Jesse De Vorska as father and son, just as they were in the 1927 Roach comedy short Jewish Prudence. As it happens De Vorska has a prominent part in the proceedings, easily the biggest role I’ve seen him play in a feature. He portrays Izzie Kaplan, who decides to enlist in the Marines when he hears Flagg’s recruitment pitch. Davidson—who received a smattering of applause at yesterday’s screening—has a brief scene in which he says farewell to his son. It’s played straight, and is genuinely moving. After that, De Vorska’s scenes are comic in tone, so [*SPOILER ALERT!*] it comes as a surprise when Izzie gets killed as a result of an earthquake, during a sequence set in Nicaragua.

Generally speaking I’d have to say this movie is a dud, however. It’s so episodic as to be plotless, and the comedy content is thin indeed. Towards the end, Bela Lugosi makes an appearance as the Egyptian Prince Hassan, who has a harem. He’s insanely jealous of Elsa, his wife #1 (played by Greta Nissen), and there are farcical complications when he catches Flagg, Quirt, and Private Olsen (El Brendel) in his wife’s boudoir. Lugosi earned the biggest laughs at the screening yesterday. I wouldn’t claim his material was much better than anyone else’s, but after an hour of El Brendel we desperately required relief from the comedy relief.

By the way, Humphrey Bogart originally appeared in one sequence of this film, but it was cut prior to release. I kept a sharp eye out, but didn’t catch even a glimpse of him. However, missing out on Women of All Nations didn’t do his career any harm.


Is there any chance a decent print of this will turn up to be seen in England - perhaps on DVD. I manages to miss this back in 1974 and have only seen an atrocious download of it which was all but ruined by the quality...
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Re: Silent comedy veterans in Pre-Code features

PostWed May 30, 2018 7:35 am

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:Is there any chance a decent print of this will turn up to be seen in England - perhaps on DVD. I manages to miss this back in 1974 and have only seen an atrocious download of it which was all but ruined by the quality...


I don't know about England, or any DVD releases, but MoMA's Dave Kehr will be presenting a lot of these new Fox restorations at the Il Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna this summer. Exactly which films is unclear, but their website says: "This programme presents recent restorations from the Fox Film collection by the Museum of Modern Art and the UCLA Film and Television Archive, including exceedingly rare films by Ford, King and Walsh; a pair of unseen early Spencer Tracy gangster films, and a new digital transfer of Frank Borzage’s 1927 masterpiece 7th Heaven." Since Walsh directed Women of All Nations I'm assuming this film will be shown.
-- Charlie Morrow
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Re: Silent comedy veterans in Pre-Code features

PostSun Jun 10, 2018 5:13 pm

Last week I made it back to MoMA once more for a newly restored Fox feature, and it’s one that suits the theme of this thread. William K. Howard’s Transatlantic (1931) is set on a ship during an ocean voyage, and features Billy Bevan—whose name, we now know, rhythms with “seven” despite what Robert Youngson said—as a steward named Hodgkins. He has a fairly prominent role, and a running gag all his own: he doggedly recites the same windy platitudes repeatedly, to everyone he meets. This didn’t strike me as the funniest turn of Billy’s career, but he comes off nicely even so.

It’s a terrific movie, by the way, a first rate popcorn flick. All the hype it’s been getting lately is well deserved. When this film made the NitrateVille masthead last month the general consensus on Edmund Lowe was that he was perfectly okay, a decent enough actor, but not especially distinctive. And I would agree, but he’s ideal for his role in this movie, precisely what the part demands. It may be his finest hour.
-- Charlie Morrow
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