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

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Unread post by oldposterho » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:38 pm

I've definitely been neglecting silents lately so spent some time with Douglas Fairbanks and the outstanding Kino BD for The Half Breed and The Good Bad Man. I knew nothing about The Half Breed but, based on the obvious title, thought the whole race thing was just going to be a starting conceit for the rest of the story, but color me surprised at just how serious and thought provoking it actually was. There was a complex racial dynamic at play that makes me wonder about the film's position in time. Were audiences shocked or angry at the sympathetic half breed and the way the ladies found him so attractive? Could be why Alan Dwan started the film with ol' Doug's bikini bottom to throw them a curve right off the bat so they didn't have to think of some of the more subtle implications of the rest of the story. Not to mention a quality Elmo Lincoln sighting and a heavy dose of poor Alma Reubens is always welcome.

The Good Bad Man was an entertaining 50 minutes of pretty standard western fare. Bessie Love is terrific and there's some fancy - and very ahead of their time - edits, which, if they were intentional and not just an artifact of an incomplete print, are pretty astonishing for the day.

Fairbanks seemed particularly concerned with fatherless characters in 1916. Something Freudian or just the start of a good tale?
Last edited by oldposterho on Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:19 am

Le Révolver Matrimonial (1912) Jean Durand directed a lot of comedy shorts for Gaumont. He also directed quite a few western shorts for them, so here's one in which he did both. Berthe Dagmar (who dresses in evening dress and is attended by a cohort men in formal wear) out visiting her uncle's ranch (he dresses like a banker on his way to the office in the morning), where she encounter Arizona Bill, played by Joe Hamman -- he dresses like a movie cowboy. Uncle disapproves. Will the plot play out as expected?

I found that everyone acted in a manner that I can only describe as very French, even though they are supposed to be Americans. Was this a deliberate comic choice? Did Durand shrug his shoulders (a la Francais, naturellement!) and decide no one would notice? I thought it very funny either way.

Onésime et l'étudiante (1912): Meanwhile, back in the brutal world of French slapstick, Ernest Bourbon loves a beautiful young schoolgirl -- this is France in 1912, so we can assume that it's all right, and even if it isn't, it was thought funny back then. She refuses to give in to his blandishments and his heart is broken. Clearly a case for the surgeons to deal with, right after cocktail hour at school.

This lacks the more elaborate camera trickery of the better-known Onésime shorts, although there is one pratfall beautifully augmented by running the camera in reverse -- see if you can spot it. What it does possess is a brutality that would make most American slapstick fans blanch -- and fans of the Italian variety yawn in boredom. Tastes vary from country to country and era to era.

Calino et ses Pensionnaires aka Calino and His Boarders (1911) Before and after his other shorts series, Jean Durand had directed some standard works, like a shortened version of Cyrano, before settling in as Gaumont's house director for short comedy series. By 1909 he was directing Clément Mégé as Calino.

In this one, Mégé decided he can use some extra income, so he takes on Gaston Modor as a boarder. Modor is a bit of an eccentric, by human if not slapstick standards. He breaks plates over Mégé's heads and wears a a helmet like a street cleaner or lion tamer... and when a bill is presented to him, he replies that his billfold is in the trunk; help yourself.

The money may be in the trunk, but so is something else, and it isn't old cigar butts.

European slapstick was just making its way into the United States, and while Griffith and Sennett were adapting it for American audiences in movies like The Curtain Pole (1909), the original stuff was considered much funnier. It would not be until Sennett struck out on his own that American production would begin to catch up.

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:07 pm

Despite being incomplete, the Chinese movie THE GODDESS (1934) is a remarkable piece of film-making, although tragic in that its star, Lingyu Ruan, killed herself the following year at he age of twenty-four.

Ruan plays a prostitute who is also supporting a baby - whether the child of a client or from an earlier affair, we are not told. We also do not know how she became a prostitute, although this may have been explained in the missing footage. Hiding from the police, she is sheltered by an unpleasant-looking crook (Zhizhi Zhang, who was in WILD ROSE a couple of years earlier), who demands that she show her gratitude...

This horrid creature soon begins to leech on her, taking any spare cash, and tracking her down when she tries to escape. Her plight is worsened when she attempts to help her son get an education, and is ill-treated by her fellow mothers, who look down on her, and succeed in getting the poor chap expelled, despite the attempts of the principled headmaster to keep him there. When things get progressively worse, she gives her pimp the crack over the head with a bottle which he so richly deserves, and is unjustly convicted for murder. The headmaster, whom she thinks has betrayed her says he will adopt the boy, the film ending on an open note.

THE GODDESS was the first film directed by Yonggang Wu, whose career extended to 1981. He also worked on the script and the set designs, the latter of which seem oddly artificial to begin with, then become very grim and realistic. An absorbing and heartfelt drama, with a fiery centre and a truly repulsive villain, and a sort of predecessor of the realist films which were to come out of Europe in the 1940s and 1950s. Well worth one's time, and with an effective musical accompaniment.

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

Unread post by Brooksie » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:54 pm

oldposterho wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:38 pm
Fairbanks seemed particularly concerned with fatherless characters in 1916. Something Freudian or just the start of a good tale?
If you read Tracey Goessel's biography on Fairbanks, she's definitely of the view that it's the former. Fairbanks was always very self-conscious about his parentage, and attempted to paint a rosier picture of his past in publicity.

(Spoiler alert - it appears that his father was a bigamist, and possibly even a trigamist.)

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

Unread post by drednm » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:02 pm

The Rogues of London (1915) is directed by Bert Haldane and has some striking location shooting and situations but is defeated by ponderous acting of the worst kind. Plot has a bad man (Fred Paul) trick a house maid (Blanche Forsythe) into stealing some jewelry so they can get married. Of course he takes the jewels and dumps her. She 's about to leap into the Thames (great views of Parliament). She's stopped by a kind man (Roy Travers). Story meanders and the bad man picks up a bad woman (Maud Yates) who gets involved with the good man who is eventually charged with murder until Blanche rushes in to save him, paying him back. Lots of staggering, arm waving, and held poses. What IS interesting are the scenes of London, a rat-pit (don't ask), and a nightclub called The Mephisto decorated with devils. There also a restaurant called The Empire advertised as a "Mixed Grill," whatever that is. Blanche Forsythe was an early star of British silents. Sources state her birth year as 1873 but that doesn't seem right.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:22 am

Cent Dollars Mort ou Vif (1911): Joe Hamman thinks he's been cheated at dice. To gain his revenge, he let's loose his employer's horses and, with the sheriff's men in hot pursuit, steals a train. When a reward for his capture, dead or alive, is posted, he is trailed into the desert.

Jean Durand's unit at Gaumont, as I've remarked before, did a lot of short comedies, but they also turned out westerns, and this is an exciting one, with Hamman clambering around a train in motion and breaking into cars. Some of it is shot in too extreme close-up to be very effective, but there is some good long-range photography and the print I saw was nicely tinted, lending a great deal of charm to the movie.

Calino courtier en paratonnerres (1912): Clément Mégé is back as Calino, Jean Durand's first slapstick star, and this time his not-so-brilliant idea is to invent and sell a fabulous new lightning rod -- just the sort of thing you want to see a clumsy comic carrying around: a long lance in a world where, apparently, neither wooden pegging nor the nail has been invented: everything is made of lumber that is simply piled together, waiting for someone to come along and dislodge the pieces!

But wait, there's more, as Durand begins to play with camera tricks for the capper joke. It's clearly meant to bring this up to a half a reel of comedy. Calino would remain, largely, a physical comic. The camera gags would be the byword for the Onésime series.

and, taking a break from the travails of Jean Durand's actors, serious and comic, I found

Dix Femmes Pour Un Mari aka Ten Wives for One Husband (1905): Max Linder's second screen appearance casts him as the victim in the latest remake of the comedy hit of 1904, How a French Nobleman Got a Wife Through the 'New York Herald' Personal Columns. Yes, it's the only screen comic who Chaplin ever admitted to learning anything from -- although he did confess to admiring Lloyd Hamilton's short subjects in the 1920s. The ever-dapper Max leafs through the papers, twirls his mustache, then goes to his assignation, only to find a superfluity of women; I must admit that I only counted nine.

For some reason, this movie required three of Pathe's directors: Georges Hatot, Ferdinand Zecca and Lucien Nonguet. Also André Heuzé was needed to write it.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:43 pm

Max Dans Sa Famille aka Max is Convelescent (1911): A tired-looking Max Linder is glad to get home; it must be a strenuous life, being a boulevardier in Paris. The family is glad to see him, and so is the dog, but the pony isn't. The darned beast keeps attacking him.

Max Linder was the first major international comedy star and this is a pleasant change of pace for his character. As with all family, no one takes him very seriously, particularly the trick pony who is his nemesis in this short, a clever little animal. Marcelle Leuvielle, whose only known screen appearance this is, is a fetching young woman who spends much of her time laughing at Max' discomfiture.

Le Pain des Petits Oiseaux aka Bread for Little Birds (1911): We first see Lucien Callamand at a bistro, loading his pockets with bread. The other patrons, even the servers, are glad to give their leavings to the old man. He sits in the park and breaks up the bread to feed to the little birds. Stacia Napierokowska enters the scene hesitantly and steals some of the bread and tries to run away, but Callamand offers some to the poor creature and takes her home, where she falls asleep while he works on his music. Later, when he is helping one of his students practice her dancing, Napierkowska enters hesitantly and dances herself. Musician and pupil are entranced and insist that she try out for a dancing competition. Later, a star in Monaco, she receives word that her benefactor is ill.

Albert Cappelani's late short -- he would soon begin directing features -- is a sentimental affair that takes full advantage of Mlle Napierkowska's youthful beauty and training as a dancer. Even more, he focuses on her hands, which possess a graceful beauty which I had never noticed before in her later movies.


Jobard a Tué sa Belle-Mère aka Jobard Has Killed His Mother-in-Law: Lucien Cazalis wrangles constantly with his mother-in-law. He decides to give her a fright by pretending to be a ghost and she seems to die. As he goes out to celebrate and buy a funeral wreath, it turns out she's all right. Cazalis has no such luck. The wreath gets swapped for a number of items, landing him in trouble with the police.

We're so used to thinking of Émile Cohl as one of the pioneers of animation, we forget that he sometimes directed live-action sequences in his movies, and one or two completely live-action films. This predictable comedy is enlivened a bit by Cazalis' mugging, but it's nothing special. Still, he was popular enough to abandon the character name and star in a series as "Caza".

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Unread post by Jim Roots » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:01 am

drednm wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:02 pm
The Rogues of London (1915) is directed by Bert Haldane and has some striking location shooting and situations but is defeated by ponderous acting of the worst kind. Plot has a bad man (Fred Paul) trick a house maid (Blanche Forsythe) into stealing some jewelry so they can get married. Of course he takes the jewels and dumps her. She 's about to leap into the Thames (great views of Parliament). She's stopped by a kind man (Roy Travers). Story meanders and the bad man picks up a bad woman (Maud Yates) who gets involved with the good man who is eventually charged with murder until Blanche rushes in to save him, paying him back. Lots of staggering, arm waving, and held poses. What IS interesting are the scenes of London, a rat-pit (don't ask), and a nightclub called The Mephisto decorated with devils. There also a restaurant called The Empire advertised as a "Mixed Grill," whatever that is. Blanche Forsythe was an early star of British silents. Sources state her birth year as 1873 but that doesn't seem right.
Sometimes listed on menus as "English mixed grill", it's a variety of meats (at least three) grilled together with vegetables. The last time I had it, funnily enough, was in a French restaurant in Montreal many years ago: an absolutely enormous plate of beef, sausages, chicken, potatoes, and some veggies that I probably ignored. Americans would have little trouble knocking it all back, but anybody else would find it impossible to eat in one sitting.

In today's nutritionally/politically correct atmosphere, the mixed grill is basically dead, at least in Canada. Too much food, too much fat, too many calories.

Jim

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

Unread post by Donald Binks » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:13 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:01 am

Sometimes listed on menus as "English mixed grill", it's a variety of meats (at least three) grilled together with vegetables. The last time I had it, funnily enough, was in a French restaurant in Montreal many years ago: an absolutely enormous plate of beef, sausages, chicken, potatoes, and some veggies that I probably ignored. Americans would have little trouble knocking it all back, but anybody else would find it impossible to eat in one sitting.

In today's nutritionally/politically correct atmosphere, the mixed grill is basically dead, at least in Canada. Too much food, too much fat, too many calories.

Jim
The Mixed Grill is alive and well in my part of the Empire - Oz :D - although it is not on every menu due to the very reasons given in Jim's last sentence. Here it is sausages, lambs fry, chops, perhaps a scoop of baked beans and something else meaty I forget quite what as it is some time since I have had it. The Greeks also seem to go in for it as I have seen it on the menu at some Greek restaurants in Melbourne. Then there is the "proper breakfast" which is also a big "fry up" - sausages, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, baked beans, tomatoes etc.,

(I have put on about two stone just reading this back!)
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:02 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:13 am
Jim Roots wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:01 am

Sometimes listed on menus as "English mixed grill", it's a variety of meats (at least three) grilled together with vegetables. The last time I had it, funnily enough, was in a French restaurant in Montreal many years ago: an absolutely enormous plate of beef, sausages, chicken, potatoes, and some veggies that I probably ignored. Americans would have little trouble knocking it all back, but anybody else would find it impossible to eat in one sitting.

In today's nutritionally/politically correct atmosphere, the mixed grill is basically dead, at least in Canada. Too much food, too much fat, too many calories.

Jim
The Mixed Grill is alive and well in my part of the Empire - Oz :D - although it is not on every menu due to the very reasons given in Jim's last sentence. Here it is sausages, lambs fry, chops, perhaps a scoop of baked beans and something else meaty I forget quite what as it is some time since I have had it. The Greeks also seem to go in for it as I have seen it on the menu at some Greek restaurants in Melbourne. Then there is the "proper breakfast" which is also a big "fry up" - sausages, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, baked beans, tomatoes etc.,

(I have put on about two stone just reading this back!)
Thought I had had the 'mixed grill' before but think I was confusing it with something called a 'London grill' which I have not had for decades. Over here the 'proper breakfast' is the 'Full English' or even 'The Full Monty'. One problem with such stuff is that is is the frequency with which people indulge, rather than having one as an occasional treat. Years ago, on holiday with my late partner, it astonished me that people on board cruise liners would pack away such meals rather than eat some of the fruit, cold meats and cheeses on offer, and of this would extend also to where folk were dining ashore or in their hotels. To me, it is a must to try* what is eaten in those particular countries.

*I did pass on the 'testicles du porc' I had the chance to try once (was this in Crete?), and I regretted the oysters I had, I think, in Vigo which stayed with me the rest of the day...

Perhaps this could be the basis of a PhD on 'Food in Film'... [just recalled reading an article on Claude Chabrol which had a food / meals related theme]

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

Unread post by boblipton » Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:15 pm

L'épouvante aka Terror-Stricken (1911): Albert Capellani directs Mistinguett as a star of the music hall -- not a terrible stretch -- who comes home while Émile Mylo is burglarizing her boudoir. He heads under the bed and she doesn't notice until she lights a final cigarette, then it's off for les flics, who chase Mylo over the rooftops.

It's a star vehicle and Capellani does her proud, with an overhead shot, but it's the in the medium shots that the audience gets to see Mistinguett's vivacity; the lively way she kicks her shoes off as she prepares for bed is a stagey treat, as is her big reaction when she realizes there's an evil-doer under her bed. Neither does Mylo lack his opportunities, clambering hither and yon, and dangling from a gutter. While it's not a particularly advanced or distinguished bit of film-making, it does what it's supposed to, and that's pretty good.

L'intrigante aka The Schemer (1911): Catherine Fonteney writes her employer, Georges Coquet, that she will marry him, but he must send his daughter by his first wife to school; she does not wish to be reminded constantly she had been her governess. In reality they don't get along, and when the girl discovers a note from Miss Fonteney's lover, she hatches a bratty scheme.

Albert Capellai's short, not long before he moved into feature production,is well acted, if rather old-fashioned even by the cinematic techniques of the era.Time is linear, the camera is fixed, and does not even offer a subjective viewpoint as does the camerawork of his better-remembered contemporary, Louis Feuillade. He does make suitable use of masking, but the simplicity of character renders this one merely watchable.

And speaking of Feuillade, there's Bébé tire à la cible aka Jimmie Pulls the Trigger (1912). Feuillade didn't just direct thrillers and serials like Fantomas. He also directed short pictures starring René Dary as a lovable scamp, who gets into all sorts of amusing mischief, like this one, where he's firing a shotgun inside the house and papa tells him he can only aim at targets after he knocks down a chandelier. What's a boy to do when a target gets on the back of the maid-of-all-work's dress?

What hilarity! Still, I feel better about a six-year-old with a shotgun than Ben Turpin, and this was a popular series, as was another one about Bout-de-Zan, after Dary got old and grizzled and sevenish. He returned to the screen twenty years later and had quite a career, so there were second acts in France at any rate.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Unread post by FrankFay » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:51 pm

boblipton wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:22 am
Jean Durand's unit at Gaumont, as I've remarked before, did a lot of short comedies, but they also turned out westerns, and this is an exciting one, with Hamman clambering around a train in motion and breaking into cars. Some of it is shot in too extreme close-up to be very effective, but there is some good long-range photography and the print I saw was nicely tinted, lending a great deal of charm to the movie.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Unread post by Jim Roots » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:13 am

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:02 pm
Donald Binks wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:13 am
Jim Roots wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:01 am

Sometimes listed on menus as "English mixed grill", it's a variety of meats (at least three) grilled together with vegetables. The last time I had it, funnily enough, was in a French restaurant in Montreal many years ago: an absolutely enormous plate of beef, sausages, chicken, potatoes, and some veggies that I probably ignored. Americans would have little trouble knocking it all back, but anybody else would find it impossible to eat in one sitting.

In today's nutritionally/politically correct atmosphere, the mixed grill is basically dead, at least in Canada. Too much food, too much fat, too many calories.

Jim
The Mixed Grill is alive and well in my part of the Empire - Oz :D - although it is not on every menu due to the very reasons given in Jim's last sentence. Here it is sausages, lambs fry, chops, perhaps a scoop of baked beans and something else meaty I forget quite what as it is some time since I have had it. The Greeks also seem to go in for it as I have seen it on the menu at some Greek restaurants in Melbourne. Then there is the "proper breakfast" which is also a big "fry up" - sausages, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, baked beans, tomatoes etc.,

(I have put on about two stone just reading this back!)
Thought I had had the 'mixed grill' before but think I was confusing it with something called a 'London grill' which I have not had for decades. Over here the 'proper breakfast' is the 'Full English' or even 'The Full Monty'. One problem with such stuff is that is is the frequency with which people indulge, rather than having one as an occasional treat. Years ago, on holiday with my late partner, it astonished me that people on board cruise liners would pack away such meals rather than eat some of the fruit, cold meats and cheeses on offer, and of this would extend also to where folk were dining ashore or in their hotels. To me, it is a must to try* what is eaten in those particular countries.

*I did pass on the 'testicles du porc' I had the chance to try once (was this in Crete?), and I regretted the oysters I had, I think, in Vigo which stayed with me the rest of the day...

Perhaps this could be the basis of a PhD on 'Food in Film'... [just recalled reading an article on Claude Chabrol which had a food / meals related theme]
There was a Full Monty breakfast at a hotel I stayed in two weeks ago in Regina, Saskatchewan, of all places. I passed it up, going instead for "the Canadian breakfast": eggs, sausages or bacon, hash browns, either French toast or pancakes (with maple syrup, of course), juice and coffee. Do any other countries have a "Canadian breakfast" by that name?

Jim

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

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:56 am

La mort du duc d'Enghien en 1804 aka The Death of the Duke D'Enghien (1909): In brief, the Duke D'Enghien was an officer in the Austrian forces when he was seized by Bonapartist spies, transported to France and, after some time, condemned to death and shot by orders signed by Napoleon under charges that there was a conspiracy to restore the Bourbons with the Duke as King.

Napoleon's enemies denied this and offered this as proof of his tyranny. Napoleon's supporters accepted the claim, and said this was a wise policy to discourage enemies of France.

What have I got to say about what happened in another country two centuries ago? I have no opinion except to note that clearly this was still a hot topic more than a century after the fact. I also think it's a clear indicator of how far films had come in less than a decade and a half. Had this movie been made in the late 1890s, it would probably have been less than a minute in length, directed by Georges Hatot, and have been a tableau vivante affair, possibly based on Conde's painting. A decade later, Albert Capellani made it a narrative.

Molière (1910):This was a major production for Gaumont -- 20 minutes at the currently accepted speed of the surviving print. However, Abel Gance, who had only been in the movie business for a year, was an ambitious revolutionary, intent on making film its own art form. He would do so over the next couple of decade, pushing the technical limits for special effects.... and then, over the following thirty years, come to be seen as an old stick-in-the-mud, someone for the New Wave of French Cinema to mock.... because they wanted to make their own movies, and he stood in their way.

Gance was too new to be let direct his own work at this stage -- he would not direct his first short until 1911 -- so the job was handed over to two of Gaumont's older hands (Perret and Feuillade) and Gance was given the minor but key role of Moliere as a youngster, just as he would cast himself as Saint-Just in Napoleon. I like to imagine he stayed around the production, arguing with the directors, or just thinking of how the movie should be shot. These old men with their outdated ideas! They should make way for younger men with better ones! Just as the writers in LES CAHIERS CINEMA wrote about him almost half a century later.

Pendaison à Jefferson City aka HAnging at Jefferson City (1910): Joe Hamman is asked to deliver the miner's pay. He asks his buddies to go along, but they betray him. Back in town, he is going to be hanged for stealing the money, so he asks Berthe Dagmar to find Gaston Mdot and save him from the noose. Can she ride hard enough? And will Modot?

This movie is all about the riding and, of course, the shocking sight of a hanging in a France where they did things the civilized way - with a guillotine. It may seem surprising that Jean Durand's company of farceurs could ride so well, and that the French would be so enamored of les cow-boys that they would make their own movies on he subject, but there were plenty of westerns produced on the Continent into the 1930s.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:25 pm

Luckily there were no mixed grills featured in WALKING BACK (1928), although there are automobile grilles a-plenty. This entertaining and very briskly paced film starts off in semi-serious vein where we see two cars filled with bright young things behaving irresponsibly, and at one point stealing a farm wagon with no respect for its owner.

We are then introduced to young 'Smoke' Thatcher (Richard Walling) who is in love with flapper Sue Carol. Father Robert Edeson refuses to lend him his car as he is not too pleased with his college work. In a huff, he 'borrows' the neighbours' motor, but within the next few hours it is a wreck. Taking it to a garage, the couple then becomes involved with a gang of crooks intent on robbing the bank where Edeson works....

The copy of WALKING BACK I watched clocked in at under an hour, but there was so much going on that I wondered how it would all fit in, especially as the robbery scene includes some hair-raising thrills as the youngsters try to turn the tables on the crooks. An original soundtrack helps this one buzz along very nicely, even though the plotting is hardly original. Directed by Rupert Julian, of all people, for Pathe, and with art direction by Anton Grot.

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

Unread post by Donald Binks » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:38 pm

Jim Roots wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:13 am

There was a Full Monty breakfast at a hotel I stayed in two weeks ago in Regina, Saskatchewan, of all places. I passed it up, going instead for "the Canadian breakfast": eggs, sausages or bacon, hash browns, either French toast or pancakes (with maple syrup, of course), juice and coffee. Do any other countries have a "Canadian breakfast" by that name?

Jim
Canadians are rather stingy - sausages ORbacon? I ask you? Here we get both, no questions asked. :D Also, here "hash" means something that is broken or messed up, so I have never been too sure what has been done to the potato as in "hash browns"? Pancakes with maple syrup is only for those with a sweet tooth - here we don't usually eat sweet things for breakfast - unless you count croissants in this category. There are some though who I believe who will eat doughnuts (ugh).
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:03 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:38 pm
Jim Roots wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:13 am

There was a Full Monty breakfast at a hotel I stayed in two weeks ago in Regina, Saskatchewan, of all places. I passed it up, going instead for "the Canadian breakfast": eggs, sausages or bacon, hash browns, either French toast or pancakes (with maple syrup, of course), juice and coffee. Do any other countries have a "Canadian breakfast" by that name?

Jim
Canadians are rather stingy - sausages ORbacon? I ask you? Here we get both, no questions asked. :D Also, here "hash" means something that is broken or messed up, so I have never been too sure what has been done to the potato as in "hash browns"? Pancakes with maple syrup is only for those with a sweet tooth - here we don't usually eat sweet things for breakfast - unless you count croissants in this category. There are some though who I believe who will eat doughnuts (ugh).
Over here in Dear Old Blighty, the hash brown is closer to a yellow colour, being a triangular / square / rectangular piece of formed potato, fried until crisp on the outside, and semi-soft on the inside. What this has to do with the Art of the Film* is anybody's guess, but no doubt we shall be educated further by that distinguished gentleman, Lord Daft of Sodoffington, whom I understand is preparing a monograph on the subject (£19.95) to be sold at his next talk at the Wigmore Hall**...

* Completely disregarded by Ernest Lindgren in his seminal work...
** The date of this lecture will depend upon when his doctor deems it suitable for him to be released...

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

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:21 pm

L'homme aux gants blancs aka A Pair of White Gloves (1908): Henri Desfontaines checks into a hotel and looks forward to a night on the town but hasn't a decent pair of gloves. The concierge phones a shop and a girl comes and sells him a pair and tailors it to his hands. That evening, he encounters a demi-mondaine and goes to her apartment with her. On a whim, he steals a necklace. When he leaves, he drops the gloves, which a man on the street picks up, puts on and breaks into the woman's apartment as she discovers her missing jewels. He kills her, steals a few items and drops the gloves. When the police arrive, they find the easily traceable gloves.

Albert Capellani's ironic movie in sixteen scenes is from a play by Georges Docquois. It's an ambitious piece, with some nice camera work, including a nice double-exposure shot for the shop. However, the acting is still very stagey. Subtler movie pantomime would not begin to penetrate French cinema for a couple of years.

La loi du pardon aka The Law of Pardon (1906): Father comes home to discover mother writing a letter to her lover. Despite the entreaties of their daughter, he obtains a separation and custody. When their girl falls deathly ill, however, the mother sneaks back to tend her stricken child.

This early Albert Capellani short is a typically sentimental piece, with simple camera set-ups and mostly shotn obvious sets -- although there are two scenes shot outside. The acting is extravagantly broad and the best that can be said of it is that it is an actual story and that Capellani's handling of story, camera and actors would improve.

Der Graf von Luxemburg: Mädel klein, Mädel fein (1910): Here's a treat for lovers of light opera: Louise Kartousch and Bernhard Botel sing and dance to the song from the operetta, with Franz Lehar conducting the orchestra!. It's one of the later of the sound films produced in Germany from 1906 through about 1910. There was a theater dedicated to showing them in Berlin, French production of similar shorts --initially under the direction of Alice Guy -- was undertaken by Gaumont. Not many are known to survive, and this is one of the few that is not available on the dedicated internet site, but on Youtube.

Like all of the sound films from the era, it is short -- the length of the song -- and cinematically primitive, with a still camera, to which the performers occasionally play. Even with those limitations, it's a pleasure to see these pieces in their own era.

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

Unread post by Jim Roots » Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:36 am

Donald Binks wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:38 pm
Jim Roots wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:13 am

There was a Full Monty breakfast at a hotel I stayed in two weeks ago in Regina, Saskatchewan, of all places. I passed it up, going instead for "the Canadian breakfast": eggs, sausages or bacon, hash browns, either French toast or pancakes (with maple syrup, of course), juice and coffee. Do any other countries have a "Canadian breakfast" by that name?

Jim
Canadians are rather stingy - sausages ORbacon? I ask you? Here we get both, no questions asked. :D Also, here "hash" means something that is broken or messed up, so I have never been too sure what has been done to the potato as in "hash browns"? Pancakes with maple syrup is only for those with a sweet tooth - here we don't usually eat sweet things for breakfast - unless you count croissants in this category. There are some though who I believe who will eat doughnuts (ugh).
It used to be both bacon and sausages, but just last week I noticed the hotels have been alternating the meats.

You can make a hash of things over here, too, and everybody will know what you mean. Hash browns are little squares of fried potato with spices and sometimes chopped onions. And doughnuts are great anytime. Don't you have a Tim Horton's* over there?

* I refuse to drop the apostrophe. The man's name was Tim Horton, not Tim Hortons, and as a child I revered him as the best defenceman on my idolized Toronto Maple Leafs.

Jim

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

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:03 am

Un Mariage en Auverge aka A Marriage in Auvergne (1909): This is a half-reel documentary that shows everything but the marriage itself.... the people going from one location to another, even though the camera stop outside what appears to be the city office where, presumably, the happy couple -- they seem pretty grim about it -- get the license, and also the Church.

Everyone walks around a lot, and the only thing that seems to distinguish the couple and what might be called the official party is that some of them have white ribbons wrapped around their hats. Otherwise people seem rather dour.

I suspect that when the people from Pathe Freres said they'd pay for the party if they could film it, everyone thought Oh boy! the movie people will pay for everything! Then the Pathe people began to interfere, and tell them to wait, and argue with the priest about coming into Church. By the end, it didn't seem like a good idea and this movie seems a lifeless, glum affair.

Les tribulations d'un charcutier (1909): A couple of young men park their runabout on the sidewalk in front of a pork butcher's just as two boys are trying to steal some sausage. When they take of,f the sausage iis looped around the car, dragging the butcher and eventually, the entire village to the ends of the earth and back.

This is, perhaps the logical conclusion of the slapstick chase: everything and everyone gets dragged along, no one has the will or strength to stop and people are helpless to resist. Whether people are chasing cheeses or driving along in cars, they are unaware of their surroundings.

Clearly the initial impulse of the slapstick chase had more than run its course by the time this Lux comedy came out.

Le roman d'une bottine et d'un escarpin aka The Romance of a Boot and a Slipper: A man and a woman meet in a shoe store. Their shod feet touch... shyly at first. A year later, they are living in wedded bliss and go to a park to celebrate their anniversary, where another man's foot touches milady's. The couple go home to fight and throw shoes out the window.

Director Georges Monca, whose directorial career would extend until shortly before his death in 1939, is not only doing some racy stuff with sexuality here, he's doing some interesting stuff with close-ups of feet. It's a long walk from shorts like The Gay Shoe Clerk to this one, but it's clear that he's on to something. Others would make use of similar shots, particularly Marcel Perez, who would build an entire short using only below-the-waist shots of his actors.

The man in this short is Georges Treville, whose career would likewise extend into sound films. In this one, he is credited as a member of the Rejane theater.

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

Unread post by FrankFay » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:52 am

boblipton wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:03 am



Le roman d'une bottine et d'un escarpin aka The Romance of a Boot and a Slipper: A man and a woman meet in a shoe store. Their shod feet touch... shyly at first. A year later, they are living in wedded bliss and go to a park to celebrate their anniversary, where another man's foot touches milady's. The couple go home to fight and throw shoes out the window.

I was surprised to see a bold advertisement for Walk-Over shoes - it was (and is) an American brand and the trade name dated from only 1899. I wasn't aware they expanded into the international market so quickly.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Unread post by Donald Binks » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:04 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:36 am
And doughnuts are great anytime. Don't you have a Tim Horton's* over there?

* I refuse to drop the apostrophe. The man's name was Tim Horton, not Tim Hortons, and as a child I revered him as the best defenceman on my idolized Toronto Maple Leafs.

Jim
Glad to see someone who insists on proper English! :D No, the Canadians haven't infiltrated our shores foodwise. We leave that to the Americans who have given us MacDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King (which is called something else here) and a chain of coffee shops that serve awful coffee. Most of these places seem to only be popular with children. By the same token I would expect you to be eating Vegemite and Meat Pies. :D
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

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

Unread post by Jim Roots » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:59 am

Donald Binks wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:04 am
Jim Roots wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:36 am
And doughnuts are great anytime. Don't you have a Tim Horton's* over there?

* I refuse to drop the apostrophe. The man's name was Tim Horton, not Tim Hortons, and as a child I revered him as the best defenceman on my idolized Toronto Maple Leafs.

Jim
Glad to see someone who insists on proper English! :D No, the Canadians haven't infiltrated our shores foodwise. We leave that to the Americans who have given us MacDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King (which is called something else here) and a chain of coffee shops that serve awful coffee. Most of these places seem to only be popular with children. By the same token I would expect you to be eating Vegemite and Meat Pies. :D
I know we've really taken this thread off-topic and that I'm the main guilty party for doing so, but I can't resist commenting that Australia has the absolutely worst coffee in the world. Something in the water over there, no doubt. I spent ten days there in 1999, mostly in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and I never once found a drinkable coffee. Australian coffee makes British coffee taste like Colombian coffee.

Jim

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

Unread post by greta de groat » Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:37 am

boblipton wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:03 am
The man in this short is Georges Treville, whose career would likewise extend into sound films. In this one, he is credited as a member of the Rejane theater.

Bob
I guess that's the Georges Treville who played Sherlock Holmes for Eclair. The Copper Beeches is pretty readily available, and The Musgrave Ritual was online at one point, not sure if it's still there.

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

Unread post by Donald Binks » Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:33 pm

Jim Roots wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:59 am

I know we've really taken this thread off-topic and that I'm the main guilty party for doing so, but I can't resist commenting that Australia has the absolutely worst coffee in the world. Something in the water over there, no doubt. I spent ten days there in 1999, mostly in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and I never once found a drinkable coffee. Australian coffee makes British coffee taste like Colombian coffee.

Jim
Que? Don't know where you were getting yours from, but we have been voted as one of the nations serving the best coffee in the world! Aussies like proper coffee and we make it Italian style. Perhaps you were visiting Starbucks? I am shocked :D (normal service talking about films will commence shortly)
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

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

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:58 pm

While there's no doubt there's nothing as important as a proper cup of coffee,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XrAkPyStGg

I hope no one will take it too far amiss if I look at and report on silent movies in this thread, to wit:

La Femme Doit Suivre Son Mari (1909) All I've got is the title, the production/distribution company (Gaumont) and the evidence of the film for this five-minute short. It's a pity, because it's a funny one. A police officer is ordered on night duty, and his butterball wife doesn't like it. Since a wife must always follow her husband, she goes on night patrol with him. When he tells a costermonger * to get his cart off the street and gets lip in return, she tosses it away. When he and another flic are assaulted by a gang of apaches, she beats them all up. And so forth.

It's a nicely put-together short comedy with an ascending scale of incidents.


Chien jaloux (1909) Here's another one from Gaumont with no credits.... and the print was not very good. It was so dark and dupy that I am hesitant to identify the dog here, although it looks like a poodle without the show-dog haircut. I won't even make an attempt on the humans.

The story is that an old lady has a dog and her daughter and grandson come to visit. Her daughter does not like the dog, whom the old lady and her boy like to feed at the table, so out it goes into the garden. Then when everyone is out of the house except the youngster, a fire starts.

If the moral of the story is that dogs are better people than humans, I don't really need to see a sentimental movie like this. However, there are many cat people out there.... and I don't mean Simone Signoret. By the standards of 1909 it was sentimental, old-fashioned and mediocre.

The copy of Calino Bureaucrate had a note saying it was incomplete. Clément Mégé has a new job, and is in a rush to get there, but every means of transportation he tries fails: horses, taxicab.... they're no good. Need I go into details that the film lacks for such an astute and learned bunch of afficiandos? Have we not all seen Harold Lloyd do this time and again? Well, imagine an oddly-dressed Harold who fails.

Mégé was the first of the slapstick stars for Gaumont, and he started out under the direction of Romeo Bosetti. Eventually, both moved on. After 1916, Bosetti fought in the First World War and was wounded and never seems to have worked in the movies again. He died in 1948.

Bob








* The spellchecker around here doesn't seem to think that 'costermonger' is a word. We live in parlous times.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Unread post by Donald Binks » Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:10 pm

boblipton wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:58 pm
I hope no one will take it too far amiss if I look at and report on silent movies in this thread, to wit:

Bob
That would be quite novel! Actually, I have found a silent film on a subject that Jim and I have been discussing, so I am part the way to being back on track. :D

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

Unread post by Darren Nemeth » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:03 pm

The Painted Lady (1912) directed by D.W.Griffith.

Ehhh. Not the best, IMHO.

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

Unread post by Jim Roots » Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:13 am

Let me put it on the record that I loathe the burnt swillage served by S....ucks.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:34 am

Blériot traverse la Manche en 31 minutes aka Bleriot Crosses the Channel (1909) Given the sort of movie that was made in 1909 and the sort that gets a review, you might think this was a slapstick short in which a shabbily-dressed maniac flew some bird-headed combination dirigible balloon and autogyro to fly across the English Channel or perhaps milady's sleeve. Instead, it's a newsreel -- and we can estimate the impact of the event, because in an era when Pathe issued one newsreel a week, they spent half of one concerning the French aviator who was the first man to fly a plane across the English Channel. To put that in context, that's bigger than the current news coverage devoted to the US government and the baseball pennant (it's late August as I write), although if you add in the Kardashians, you've exceeded that slightly.

If you reading this a decade or so after I wrote this and don't know who the Kardashians are, good for you. Bleriot, however, is interesting.

L'Oiseau Bleu aka The Blue Bird (1908): In 17th and 18th Century France, fairy tales were not puerile stories for the kiddies, but well-paying literature with an aristocratic audience. We still know the name Charles Perrault. who wrote tales like "Cinderella" from old folk tales. Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Baroness d'Aulnoy is not so well remembered -- possibly because her name is harder. She wrote "The Blue Bird", the charming fairy tale that once upon a time every child knew and that this elaborately produced, stencil-colored Pathe two-reeler in the Chapter Heading style of movie making is based on.

It's quite beautiful to look at. The copy I saw had almost all of its color intact and the print was, with the exception of perhaps half a minute, quite viewable. The sets were elaborate and the costumes looked impeccable. Unfortunately, like anyone who goes to his first performance of Grand Opera with no Italian or ballet wiithout research or this movie, if you don't know the story in detail already, all you know is well, one thing has happened, and now everyone is running around. It's very pretty. And three minutes later, you know another thing has happened and people run around some more and that's pretty too.

It's a style of movie-making that works with deep cultural roots, on subjects everyone shares. That's why it vanished so quickly when Griffith and others began to regularize the film grammar than George A. Smith had begun around the turn of the century, with occasional backsliding for Biblical epics. For today, though, let's start with the original source material, which is quite lovely. In French, if you know the language or a good translation if you don't. May I suggest Andrew Lang's 19th-century series of fairy books?

La Grève des Apaches aka The Working Stiffs Strike(1908): The lower classes strike, and their signs are in the languages of every nation this Gaumont short might be seen in. The judges are too busy playing guitars to do anything. The legislature's plan to make one cole-porter rich doesn't work, and neither does the plan of the fat wives of the aristos to seduce the working man back to the social norm.

This radical and comedy by Étienne Arnaud and Romeo Bosetti shows that the film makers knew who went to see their shows, and that the staid and conservative people running France had no idea of what was going on in the minds of the lower classes.

Bob
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