THE TERROR (1928)

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drednm

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THE TERROR (1928)

PostSun Aug 02, 2015 12:47 pm

Interesting bit from Wikipedia:

Two versions of the film were released as many theatres had yet to fully convert to sound; the version featuring a Vitaphone soundtrack was released on September 6, 1928. A silent version was released on October 20. Both prints are now considered lost though the Vitaphone sound disc still exists and is preserved at the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Warner Bros. records of the film's negative have a notation, "Junked 12/27/48" (i.e., December 27, 1948). Warner Bros. destroyed many of its negatives in the late 1940s and 1950s due to nitrate film pre-1933 decomposition. No prints of the film are known to currently exist, though rumors that private collectors who own foreign prints have continued to surface as late as 1999.

When in February 1956, Jack Warner sold the rights to all of his pre-December 1949 films; inclusing (The Terror) to Associated Artists Productions (which merged with United Artists Television in 1958, and later was subsequently acquired by Turner Broadcasting System in early 1986 as part of a failed takeover of MGM/UA by Ted Turner).

Only 5 reel survives at Cinémathèque française in France.

But in October 2002, in IMDb user F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre says: I saw this movie in difficult circumstances. In the 1980s, I tracked down a copy of the Vitaphone disc (the sound without the images) in a film archive, and I was able to play back the disc with no expectation of ever seeing the> movie itself. About twenty years later, I located an incomplete nitrate print of the film (the images without the sound) in the possession of a private collector, who permitted me to screen it on a hand-cranked Movieola.
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Re: THE TERROR (1928)

PostSun Aug 02, 2015 1:03 pm

Someone apparently got very excitable about that movie, they added his discovery of The Terror to his bio (which after a fair amount of dueling behind the scenes on my part, is reasonably accurate about the likelihood of his BS being BS). I deleted it from the bio, but readers of the entry on The Terror will have to learn the hard way.
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Re: THE TERROR (1928)

PostThu Aug 06, 2015 9:38 am

There seem to be a lot of misses for May McAvoy's 1928-29 work. From what I've gathered, The Lion and the Mouse and her Vitaphone short Sunny California, exist, but are lacking the discs; The Terror's discs exist, but not the film itself; and that Gwynplaine personage has an IMDB review for Caught in the Fog, as though both the picture and the discs exist. Thus, I suppose that isn't extant, either (?).
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Re: THE TERROR (1928)

PostThu Aug 06, 2015 10:00 am

That's what I was looking into after glimpsing McAvoy in Two Girls on Broadway. But it doesn't seem her late silents with disks or 1929 talkies exist. LOC database lists some elements of Caught in the Fog at BFI but is not specific other than saying "incomplete."
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Re: THE TERROR (1928)

PostThu Aug 06, 2015 11:01 am

Image

McAvoy's The Bedroom Window (1924) exists, and is quite a fun movie. However, Ethel Wales (right) steals the picture from Malcolm McGregor and May (left).
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Re: THE TERROR (1928)

PostWed Apr 04, 2018 4:53 am

Are the Vitaphone disks for The Terror available anywhere? I know UCLA has them, but many others are available on Archive.org.

May be the only only talkie or part talkie from the late 20s with May McAvoy's voice.
Last edited by drednm on Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: THE TERROR (1928)

PostWed Apr 04, 2018 1:55 pm

John MacCormac, reporting from London for The New York Times upon the film's UK premiere wrote:"The universal opinion of London critics is that The Terror is so bad that it is almost suicidal. They claim that it is monotonous, slow, dragging, fatiguing and boring, and I am not sure that I do not in large measure agree with them. What is more important, Edgar Wallace, who wrote the film, seems to agree with them also. 'Well,' was his comment, 'I have never thought the talkies would be a serious rival to the stage.' "
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Re: THE TERROR (1928)

PostThu Apr 05, 2018 6:15 am

s.w.a.c. wrote:
John MacCormac, reporting from London for The New York Times upon the film's UK premiere wrote:"The universal opinion of London critics is that The Terror is so bad that it is almost suicidal. They claim that it is monotonous, slow, dragging, fatiguing and boring, and I am not sure that I do not in large measure agree with them. What is more important, Edgar Wallace, who wrote the film, seems to agree with them also. 'Well,' was his comment, 'I have never thought the talkies would be a serious rival to the stage.' "


I didn't realize until Stephen's post that this is the film of the Edgar Wallace novel. The book has been recently reprinted in the wonderful, addictive, "Detective Club" hardback series by Collins, although I'm not sure if these are available in the USA other than through Amazon. (The Agatha Christie entries in the series have to be ordered from the UK because copyright prevents this edition from being sold in North America.) I've got every book in the series and feverishly await each month's new release, even though some of them turn out to be absolute dogs. The one released just last week, Mr. Bowling Buys A Newspaper by Donald Henderson, is one of the best and highly recommended: a black comedy about murder, as only British crime writers can do it, with a wonderful narrative voice.

I generally like Wallace's books, despite their being formulaic and not all that great at sketching characters. The Terror was about par for his course. It was a novelization of the stage play, as I recall.

Jim
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Re: THE TERROR (1928)

PostThu Apr 05, 2018 6:18 am

Jim Roots wrote:
s.w.a.c. wrote:
John MacCormac, reporting from London for The New York Times upon the film's UK premiere wrote:"The universal opinion of London critics is that The Terror is so bad that it is almost suicidal. They claim that it is monotonous, slow, dragging, fatiguing and boring, and I am not sure that I do not in large measure agree with them. What is more important, Edgar Wallace, who wrote the film, seems to agree with them also. 'Well,' was his comment, 'I have never thought the talkies would be a serious rival to the stage.' "


I didn't realize until Stephen's post that this is the film of the Edgar Wallace novel. The book has been recently reprinted in the wonderful, addictive, "Detective Club" hardback series by Collins, although I'm not sure if these are available in the USA other than through Amazon. (The Agatha Christie entries in the series have to be ordered from the UK because copyright prevents this edition from being sold in North America.) I've got every book in the series and feverishly await each month's new release, even though some of them turn out to be absolute dogs. The one released just last week, Mr. Bowling Buys A Newspaper by Donald Henderson, is one of the best and highly recommended: a black comedy about murder, as only British crime writers can do it, with a wonderful narrative voice.

I generally like Wallace's books, despite their being formulaic and not all that great at sketching characters. The Terror was about par for his course. It was a novelization of the stage play, as I recall.

Jim


The film was the second all-talkie from Warners and was a solid hit at the box office. How it compares to the source material is anyone's guess.
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Re: THE TERROR (1928)

PostThu Apr 05, 2018 6:52 am

Well, it contains the words that always indicate subpar material: "Based on a story by Edgar Wallace."

At least a couple of Stephen King movies are really good, but Wallace... phooey.
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Re: THE TERROR (1928)

PostThu Apr 05, 2018 12:08 pm

Jim Roots wrote:
s.w.a.c. wrote:
John MacCormac, reporting from London for The New York Times upon the film's UK premiere wrote:"The universal opinion of London critics is that The Terror is so bad that it is almost suicidal. They claim that it is monotonous, slow, dragging, fatiguing and boring, and I am not sure that I do not in large measure agree with them. What is more important, Edgar Wallace, who wrote the film, seems to agree with them also. 'Well,' was his comment, 'I have never thought the talkies would be a serious rival to the stage.' "


I didn't realize until Stephen's post that this is the film of the Edgar Wallace novel.

I'd still love to see it, I enjoyed the 1938 version, which has a great cast at least (Arthur Wontner, Alistair Sim, Bernard Lee, Wilfrid Lawson...).
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Re: THE TERROR (1928)

PostThu Apr 05, 2018 12:37 pm

Thanks for the tip about MR BOWLING BUYS A NEWSPAPER. In thirty years plus in the secondhand book trade I've never seen a copy...
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Re: THE TERROR (1928)

PostThu Apr 05, 2018 12:41 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:Well, it contains the words that always indicate subpar material: "Based on a story by Edgar Wallace."


KING KONG, anyone?

A bit unfair, that...
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Re: THE TERROR (1928)

PostThu Apr 05, 2018 2:08 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:Thanks for the tip about MR BOWLING BUYS A NEWSPAPER. In thirty years plus in the secondhand book trade I've never seen a copy...


The introduction notes that it has been out of print for 60 years. Although Raymond Chandler mentioned it as one of his favourite novels ("I have read it half a dozen times"), it apparently never really had any impact on this side of the pond.

Jim

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