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

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

Unread post by Brooksie » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:15 am

Having re-watched The Far Paradise (1928) I find myself once again filled with admiration for what its producers were able to achieve. It's wrong to call the McDonagh sisters amateurs - this was their second of four features, and they were well-resourced - but it's still worth pointing out that they were essentially self-taught filmmakers who achieved an astonishing level of finish without the resources of a major studio behind them.

Isobel McDonagh (aka Marie Lorraine), will put you in mind of Corinne Griffith or Dolores Costello, and if her father's sleazy offsider reminds you of someone - he's Arthur McLaghlen, brother of Vic. A number of the locations still exist much unchanged today, including the train station and university - coincidentally, the same one in which I first saw The Far Paradise all those years ago.

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

Unread post by oldposterho » Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:25 pm

Was finally able to drop my major award into the Blu Ray player and The Covered Wagon (1923) made quite an impression, particularly given the garbage print I'd seen before. While it's not breaking any new ground plot-wise (and probably wasn't even in '23) it's well told and the epic-ness of the telling is still jaw-dropping even today. It looks like it might be a composite of several prints as some of the scenes and titles are of lesser quality than the rest - which are magnificent in BD when the originals are in prime condition. One thing that was sort of interesting, having just watched How the West Was Won it was good to see the buffalo population had boomed in the passing years. The herd sacrificed for the silent was considerably less impressive than the Cinerama bunch.

I was worried about the Gaylord Carter score. I know I'm in the minority but I attended a live screening with Carter for some Lloyd films in the late '70s and was profoundly disappointed by his lackluster and utterly uninspired performance, and that has rather put me off him ever since. Happily, it is on point here, although I do wonder how it was resurrected to match the new transfer. Haven't listened to the commentary track, perhaps that info is within.

Definitely worth having if you have any interest at all in westerns or early epics and Kino can take pride in this release. Couldn't make it through the Shirley Temple short that's included though.

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

Unread post by Big Silent Fan » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:28 am

oldposterho wrote:Was finally able to drop my major award into the Blu Ray player and The Covered Wagon (1923) made quite an impression, particularly given the garbage print I'd seen before.
Did they have the banjo playing in the Blu Ray as they did in the older version? That was a silly part, but having the proper instrument supporting what is on the screen was important.

You might have seen the same plot before, but likely it was in films newer films than The Covered Wagon (1923). Ford's The Iron Horse (1924) has a similar story of the hero being disgraced by the villain as they compete for the attention of the female lead. Ford's film is simply a wagon train story of a different sort.

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

Unread post by oldposterho » Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:14 am

They did have the "banjo" tune but I think Gaylord did it on the mighty organ. I'm no expert but if I'm not mistaken there are settings on the old theater organs that simulate other instruments. Whatever did it, it was integrated quite seamlessly, particularly since they superimposed the sheet music over the scene and everybody in the audience would have been mightily confused if a different tune was playing.

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:00 pm

oldposterho wrote:Was finally able to drop my major award into the Blu Ray player and The Covered Wagon (1923) made quite an impression, particularly given the garbage print I'd seen before. While it's not breaking any new ground plot-wise (and probably wasn't even in '23) it's well told and the epic-ness of the telling is still jaw-dropping even today. It looks like it might be a composite of several prints as some of the scenes and titles are of lesser quality than the rest - which are magnificent in BD when the originals are in prime condition. One thing that was sort of interesting, having just watched How the West Was Won it was good to see the buffalo population had boomed in the passing years. The herd sacrificed for the silent was considerably less impressive than the Cinerama bunch.

I was worried about the Gaylord Carter score. I know I'm in the minority but I attended a live screening with Carter for some Lloyd films in the late '70s and was profoundly disappointed by his lackluster and utterly uninspired performance, and that has rather put me off him ever since. Happily, it is on point here, although I do wonder how it was resurrected to match the new transfer. Haven't listened to the commentary track, perhaps that info is within.

Definitely worth having if you have any interest at all in westerns or early epics and Kino can take pride in this release. Couldn't make it through the Shirley Temple short that's included though.
Wonder if it was as bad as the copy of THE COVERED WAGON a friend did for me a while ago. It was so atrocious I felt it wasn't worth the effort, and luckily another pal provided me with an excellent one a couple of years back. And yes, those Temples take a lot of sitting through. Talk about weird...

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

Unread post by boblipton » Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:44 pm

Two discharged sailors rent a car so they can take some girls on a date in a 1928 short comedy. It's not Laurel & Hardy's Two Tars, but is Here Comes a Sailor (1928) a rip-off? Stan & Ollie's movie was released on November 3, and the release date of this is unknown, but eight weeks seems abrupt, and it might have come out first. Neither were Stan & Ollie the first successful Fat-and-Skinny comedy pairing; Pat & Patachon had been going for half a decade in Europe. If Snub Pollard and Marvin Loback lacked the camaraderie of Laurel & Hardy, so too did just about everyone else, and director Leslie Goodwins, whose second comedy short this was, would prove himself to be a capable director of such fare. So let's set aside the question of whether this is as good as Leo McCarey directing the Boys, because it isn't, and look at it on its own merits, as a slapstick comedy, impure and simple-minded.

On that basis it's pretty good. Loback was a second-tier fat comic at Sennett at best, but that was no disgrace, and Pollard was a fine white-faced clown and gag technician. The gags average a bit cruder than I prefer, but anyone who's seen Anita Garvin slip on a cream pie, or everyone on the Roach lot tearing everyone else's trousers off has seen almost all before. There's little character here. The leads are two sailors who stick together because that's what they do, but that's good enough, and the gags come fast. Pretty good.

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:19 am

Aside from a slightly confusing few minutes and an unconvincing ending* LINDA (1929, with synchronised score and few sound effects) is an absorbing and touching drama of backwoods American life. Linda is the teenage daughter of a poor forest family who feels obliged to marry timber merchant Noah Beery to help her family, in particular her abused mother. Although the marriage is loveless (oddly enough she continues to call him 'Mister Decker' despite the fact that he must have contributed to her pregnancy) they get on well enough, and Beery comes over as rather more than the coarse fellow he seems at the start. At the same time, she meets the handsome and well-dressed neighbour, a doctor, played by Warner Baxter, who seems much more of a catch.

Baxter and her teacher (Bess Flowers) unfortunately both move away (Flowers has come into 'some money' - an awful lot of it by the look of her mansion!) and things come to a head when an unpleasant woman turns up with a boy claiming to be Beery's wife as well. Linda leaves, having her child at her friend Nan's place, then goes to join her teacher-friend in order to get educated. A sick child bring her and the doctor together again, but Beery is badly hurt in an accident and her better feelings come to the fore...

A busy narrative and excellent visuals (although there is some damage later on) make Mrs Wallace Reid's film one which is well worth watching despite a plot which might seem novelettish and hoary in places. The child-bride theme is interestingly done and takes a rather unexpected turn when Beery turns out not to be quite the brute he appears at first. Although Baxter is given top billing, he disappears for quite a bit of the film, although one is confident he will save the day. A very good late silent, and possibly neglected in the talkie changeover.

*Linda sets fire to Decker's log cabin despite the obvious danger to the forest.

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

Unread post by Rick Lanham » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:33 am

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:Aside from a slightly confusing few minutes and an unconvincing ending* LINDA (1929, with synchronised score and few sound effects) is an absorbing and touching drama of backwoods American life. Linda is the teenage daughter of a poor forest family who feels obliged to marry timber merchant Noah Beery to help her family, in particular her abused mother. Although the marriage is loveless (oddly enough she continues to call him 'Mister Decker' despite the fact that he must have contributed to her pregnancy) they get on well enough, and Beery comes over as rather more than the coarse fellow he seems at the start. At the same time, she meets the handsome and well-dressed neighbour, a doctor, played by Warner Baxter, who seems much more of a catch.

Baxter and her teacher (Bess Flowers) unfortunately both move away (Flowers has come into 'some money' - an awful lot of it by the look of her mansion!) and things come to a head when an unpleasant woman turns up with a boy claiming to be Beery's wife as well. Linda leaves, having her child at her friend Nan's place, then goes to join her teacher-friend in order to get educated. A sick child bring her and the doctor together again, but Beery is badly hurt in an accident and her better feelings come to the fore...

A busy narrative and excellent visuals (although there is some damage later on) make Mrs Wallace Reid's film one which is well worth watching despite a plot which might seem novelettish and hoary in places. The child-bride theme is interestingly done and takes a rather unexpected turn when Beery turns out not to be quite the brute he appears at first. Although Baxter is given top billing, he disappears for quite a bit of the film, although one is confident he will save the day. A very good late silent, and possibly neglected in the talkie changeover.

*Linda sets fire to Decker's log cabin despite the obvious danger to the forest.
A very good review. Just to mention that the actress playing Linda, Helen Foster, is rather short, adding to her apparent youth compared to the other actors/actresses towering over her.

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

Unread post by boblipton » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:43 pm

What wold have happened to Yevgeni Bauer had he not died in a Yalta hospital in June of 1917, soon after completing his last picture, Korol Parizha (aka King of Paris) (1917)? Would he have fled to the West, like his star Muzzhekin? Adapted and make his way in and out of favor, like his assistant Kuleshov? Backed the wrong political horse and been shot? Well, we can blame a lot of things on the Bolsheviks that they may have had little to do with, just as they did for the previous regime.

The story is one of those Evil Mastermind Sets Out to Control the World -- or at least fashionable Paris -- that was fashionable back in the day. Vjacheslav Svoboda is a cardsharp; Nikolai Radin bankrolls him and tells him that he can make money, women, even nobility. As their success grows, so does their ambition, until they run into real aristocrats, whose lives and ambitions they begin to interfere with.

The set-ups and camera-work look like variations on Pre-War French efforts. That's not surprising; Russian film-making had begun when French companies like Pathe Freres had started shooting there a dozen years earlier. Therefore, the camera doesn't move from one shot to the next. There are a lot of titles to explain the interesting story, but the overall effect is interesting, if not among Bauer's best.

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

Unread post by oldposterho » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:50 pm

Got to see my first 'chick flick' from the early '20s with our Mary's The Love Light (1921).

A variation on the girl-in-the-lighthouse pictures of the era, it is an interesting take with a post-war framing of the Great War as seen from the home front. Written and directed by Pickford's bestie, Frances Marion, the intertitles are quite florid and the whole film is unabashedly sentimental and includes everything from Mary falling in love with an AWOL sailor and then jumping to a stolen baby plot line. If you can put up with all of that it's not too bad a way to spend an hour and a half.

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

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:27 am

Watched Ed's restoration of "On Dangerous Ground" (1917) with Carlyle Blackwell, Gail Kane, William Bailey, Stanhope Wheatcroft (what a name!), and Frank Leigh. Very enjoyable fluff, if not totally predictable. Blackwell and Kane both are over-the-top with the histrionics at moments, but for a 1917 audience at the entrance of America into the Great War, this must have been quite the thing to see. Innocents, spies, and the evil Hun and those not so evil, too. For the record, Ed's score is pleasant and fitting. Ed, thanks a million! Really worth the effort!

Also watched the extra on the disc, "Sweedie, the Laundress" (1914) with Wallace Beery, Robert Bolder, Charlotte Mineau, Leo White, Ben Turpin, and "another". Found it ever so hard to follow, but figured it all out in the end. Was a better "Sweedie" than most. Not a fan of these. In this one there's so much arm and hand flapping, unnecessary movements that seem ridiculous to me - hey, Ma, look at me, I'm acting for the pictures! Good lord, Beery as a woman: yuck...

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

Unread post by Big Silent Fan » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:47 am

oldposterho wrote:Got to see my first 'chick flick' from the early '20s with our Mary's The Love Light (1921).
Written and directed by Pickford's bestie, Frances Marion, the intertitles are quite florid and the whole film is unabashedly sentimental and includes everything from Mary falling in love with an AWOL sailor and then jumping to a stolen baby plot line. If you can put up with all of that it's not too bad a way to spend an hour and a half.
If you can put up with the excessive comic relief in the opening minutes, you'd find this is quite a good romantic drama. Like many Silent dramas, and even the earlier sound pictures ("Battleground" for example), they usually try to get the audience's attention with excessive silliness before the 'real' story begins. The inspiration for the film came when Mary and Frances were both traveling together in Europe after the War (according to a recorded intro by Robert Osborne).
According to Frances Marion (in her bio.), filming the rescue at sea was all done with full size props (other directors had thought she had used miniatures).

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:06 pm

An interesting example of a silent 'backstager', BROKEN HEARTS OF BROADWAY (1923), is also told in flashback by cab driver Tully Marshall to down-and-out Creighton Hale. Colleen Moore (sans bob) comes to NY to try her luck and is thrown in with aspiring songwriter Johnnie Walker, his artist pal and cynical showgirl Alice Lake. Fortune comes and goes for the pair, although Lake supplements it by her association with a couple of middle-aged producers, who use jewelry as their bait and the threat of the sack as 'punishment' for not complying with their rotten desires. Colleen scorns this until poverty raises its ugly head.

A sort of 'Gold-Diggers' movie, BROKEN HEARTS OF BROADWAY anticipates the backstage films director Irving Cummings would make for Fox a couple of decades later, and though the plotting may seem rather threadbare and moth-eaten, the detail is nicely done and the film moves at a fair pace, despite an accompaniment which could have done with a bit more zip in it.

Warning for the sensitive: At one point Walker is 'reduced' (although $30 a week sound ok) to playing piano in a Chinese nightclub (which looks quite a smart establishment) but seems more aggrieved that he will be working for a 'Chink'...

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

Unread post by Big Silent Fan » Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:41 am

Thanks to a YouTube suggestion, I watched The Shakedown (1929), an action/comedy/romantic drama directed by William Wyler and starring James Murray, Barbara Kent and Jack Hanlon.
James Murray starred in King Vidor's "The Crowd" a year earlier. Child actor Jack Hanlon had many small parts including an uncredited one in the "Our Gang" comedies, but his is a starring role along with Murray and Barbara Kent. Nice to see her in the film too.

Dave Roberts (James Murray) is a professional boxer better at losing in fixed matches than in knocking out his opponents. He turns up in towns ahead of the carnival boxer and gets himself known as the favorite 'local boy' before the rest of the gang sets up corrupt boxing matches.

A fun film with very familiar actors throughout.

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:42 pm

Was delighted to find a nice upload of THE RED DANCE (1928), which may seem like untypical of Raoul Walsh's output, but bears a few resemblances to his THE YELLOW PASSPORT, three years later.

The story concerns a Russian Grand Duke (Charles Farrell) being sent on a mission to find out who is up to some dirty work as well as a peasant woman (Dolores Del Rio) who hates the Tsar's men for what they have done to her people and family. Further complications arise when Del Rio is promised to officer Ivan Linow* (particularly good here) by her family in exchange for a horse.

Although (as with YELLOW TICKET) the films sympathies are with the oppressed, the revolutionaries are seen as misguided, or worse, so this is not exactly left-wing propaganda. It is, however, a vigorous and highly watchable melodrama, unafraid of brutality (the murder of Farrell's bride is particularly horrible) and does not flag at all in its rather long (nearly two hours) running time.

Looking up a few detail, I notice that THE RED DANCE came in for some heavy flak in some quarters, partly on the charge of not being particularly believable. I can see the point, but the film was clearly not intended as a serious historical piece (despite the presence of the Russian Royal Family and Rasputin), and it is a rousing piece of entertainment, handsomely mounted and with some very fluid camerawork.

*Checking his credits, I have seen several of Linow's films, but he is given a very meaty role in this one, and is admittedly better cast than Farrell here.

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

Unread post by oldposterho » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:00 pm

Lois Weber is new to me so hats off to ARTE for the opportunity to see Shoes and Suspense.

I think I've seen Shoes at one point but the new 2k scan of a comboprints from EYE and the LoC have created, in spite of some severe damage, a totally different experience and one I will likely remember this time. The story of an impoverished shop girl and her beat up shoes is unrelentingly grim, although star Mary MacLaren definitely has a Jennifer Lawrence thing going on. Was also nice to see Lina Basquette in a very early role (sans dancing).

The real revelation though was Suspense. For 1913 it was incredibly forward looking. Top drawer cinematography and editing made it a treat to watch. Weber handles the actual suspense like a master, if somebody had told me it was Hitchcock I wouldn't have batted an eye. Really worth seeing.

I definitely need to add more Lois Weber films to the queue.

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:07 pm

A film I had never heard of, THE BUSHER* (1919) turned out to be rather pleasant, and in a quite splendid copy. Charles Ray plays a country lad with dreams of baseball who is almost accidentally thrust into the big league when a crack team are holed up in his town for a day. As usual with this sort of film, he becomes rather spoilt as well as involved with a no-good city girl, much to sweetheart Colleen Moore's annoyance. An early appearance from Jack / John Gilbert as the obnoxious swellhead who has designs on Moore adds to the interest of this modest, by entertaining little movie.

Small-town details such as the 'box social' (where fellows bid for girls only seen in silhouette) are unusual enough to add a little extra flavour to this genial and gently amusing programmer.

*Had to look this up - a 'busher' is an amateur or 'little leaguer' who finds himself in a major league team.

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

Unread post by Big Silent Fan » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:15 pm

Winds of Chance (1925) is another epic film that seems much, much longer than the it's 2 hour play time. A story of the gold rush in the Klondike, the film felt as if I was spending hours reading Rex Beach's novel, which the story is taken from. I never could have viewed this silent, as there is no sound available on YouTube, so I used the audio from two of DeMille's older Silents which worked well. The second reel is missing, but following the story would be a challenge with or without it. Hobart Bosworth appears as a one-handed gambler (a hook for a left hand). Surprisingly, his role was a minor one (he's killed in a bar fight, leaving his daughter penniless and stranded in the Yukon).
The entire film relates to the trials and hardships of going to the Klondike in search of gold.

There's a nice trailer available to view a somewhat better print. It says the restored film (still missing reel two) has a piano score and is available to rent.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3khevUh19U" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

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

Unread post by greta de groat » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:14 pm

Big Silent Fan wrote:Winds of Chance (1925) is another epic film that seems much, much longer than the it's 2 hour play time. A story of the gold rush in the Klondike, the film felt as if I was spending hours reading Rex Beach's novel, which the story is taken from. I never could have viewed this silent, as there is no sound available on YouTube, so I used the audio from two of DeMille's older Silents which worked well. The second reel is missing, but following the story would be a challenge with or without it. Hobart Bosworth appears as a one-handed gambler (a hook for a left hand). Surprisingly, his role was a minor one (he's killed in a bar fight, leaving his daughter penniless and stranded in the Yukon).
The entire film relates to the trials and hardships of going to the Klondike in search of gold.

There's a nice trailer available to view a somewhat better print. It says the restored film (still missing reel two) has a piano score and is available to rent.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3khevUh19U" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank
I thought that film sounded familiar. I found the notes i took on it:

Winds of chance (1925), Hobart Bosworth, Anna Q Nilsson, Viola Dana, Ben
Lyon, Dorothy Sebastian, Victor MacLaughlin, directed by Frank Lloyd.

Routine northwest saga, too many characters, takes a while to get going
and the final fight is staged in the dark so i had no idea what was
going on. Missing reel 2 doesn't help (and it's still 2 hours long!)
But it's ok once it gets going. Strong cast, especially the women, all
of whom are in love with Ben Lyon who is an unsuccessful miner.
Unfortunately Bosworth is killed off halfway through. The ladies are
fine--i thought Sebasian was petite but she's a lot bigger than Dana,
and of course Nilsson towers over her. MacLaughlin plays a
french-canadian--why are they supposed to always be happy-go-lucky and
dress in weird patterns? And that's the most interesting
costume--everyone is all bundled up in sweaters and furs so no cool
dresses at all.

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

Unread post by drednm » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:14 am

Big Silent Fan wrote:Winds of Chance (1925) is another epic film that seems much, much longer than the it's 2 hour play time. A story of the gold rush in the Klondike, the film felt as if I was spending hours reading Rex Beach's novel, which the story is taken from. I never could have viewed this silent, as there is no sound available on YouTube, so I used the audio from two of DeMille's older Silents which worked well. The second reel is missing, but following the story would be a challenge with or without it. Hobart Bosworth appears as a one-handed gambler (a hook for a left hand). Surprisingly, his role was a minor one (he's killed in a bar fight, leaving his daughter penniless and stranded in the Yukon).
The entire film relates to the trials and hardships of going to the Klondike in search of gold.

There's a nice trailer available to view a somewhat better print. It says the restored film (still missing reel two) has a piano score and is available to rent.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3khevUh19U" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank
I bet the speed is too slow on the existing print (minus one reel).
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Unread post by Big Silent Fan » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:46 am

drednm wrote: I bet the speed is too slow on the existing print (minus one reel).
Not at all. Film speed is something I always notice and it's very life-like throughout the picture. It's only missing ten minutes of the story. Nothing's really lost in understanding what's going on. The film clearly demonstrates the hardships of trekking to such a remote and cold wilderness. The filming of the boats traversing the rapids was breathtaking to watch.

There's supposed to be a piano score for the restoration available to rent. I'm sure it was difficult to support this film with music because the story's direction keeps changing.
Greta's correct, there's a huge cast in this film.

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

Unread post by greta de groat » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:43 am

What really got my attention in this film was the French-Canadian thing. I guess i'd never noticed that there was a French-Canadian stereotype in movies i'd seen over the years. I realize the blanket coat is a Northwest thing, but this was the first time i realized that there was a common thread of living in the woods/frontier, an exuberant manner (to go with the exuberant accent) and a tendency to dress in loud prints, and have thick heads of hair. This is mostly silents that i'm thinking of, i don't think i've seen that many French Canadian characters in talkies, aside from Laurence Olivier's bizarre performance in 49th Parallel.

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

Unread post by Battra92 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:55 am

Helen of Four Gates (1920 C. Hepworth)

You know how British films from the silent era get a bad rep of being a bit dated and behind their contemporaries. Well, I wish this film was an exception but sadly it was not. The story itself is pure mellerdrammer and would've felt right at home in 1910 but this is a decade later. 1920 had far, far more advanced films than this and sadly it's clear that after the Great War, Britain was left behind until much later.

One strange oddity about the film was the linking of every shot (even intertitles) with a fade. I'm not sure what this was intended to prove but it became a little distracting.

One thing the film does have going for it is a lot of beautiful scenery and expertly shot takes. Unfortunately as Star Wars can tell you, movies ain't just about nice vistas.

The copy I saw (on YouTube) had no music so I synced it up with some piano music via the Bluetooth adapter on my amp and my phone. It's a far cry from when my brother and I would use records or tapes to accompany completely silent films.

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

Unread post by drednm » Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:01 am

Hadn't watched it in years, so I watched Our Dancing Daughters (1928, which offers terrific performances by Joan Crawford as the wild Diana and Anita Page as the snarky Ann. The plot is pure soap opera but it's jazzed up by the Art Deco sets and the jazz baby outfits. Synchronized music score features several songs that back up the plot. Crawford certainly had some zip in those dance numbers. Johnny Mack Brown, Dorothy Sebastian, Nils Asther, Edward Nuget round out the "younger set," and Kathlyn Williams scores as Ann' grasping mother. Film was made for about $175,000 and earned about $1.1M.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Unread post by Big Silent Fan » Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:15 am

greta de groat wrote:What really got my attention in this film was the French-Canadian thing. I guess i'd never noticed that there was a French-Canadian stereotype in movies i'd seen over the years. I realize the blanket coat is a Northwest thing, but this was the first time i realized that there was a common thread of living in the woods/frontier, an exuberant manner (to go with the exuberant accent) and a tendency to dress in loud prints, and have thick heads of hair. This is mostly silents that i'm thinking of, i don't think i've seen that many French Canadian characters in talkies, aside from Laurence Olivier's bizarre performance in 49th Parallel.

greta
My wife and I recently watched Centinnial (1978), an old mini-series that featured trapper Pasquinel (Robert Conrad), a French Canadian fur trader (as the main character). I thought about this series watching the Silent since Conrad could be seen singing, dancing with other men (whether they wanted to or not) and doing all sorts of similar things I saw in this. I think there was even a scene where he traveled down rapids in a canoe.
Robert Conrad really got into character and mastered the accent nicely.

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

Unread post by drednm » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:04 pm

Battra92 wrote:Helen of Four Gates (1920 C. Hepworth)

You know how British films from the silent era get a bad rep of being a bit dated and behind their contemporaries. Well, I wish this film was an exception but sadly it was not. The story itself is pure mellerdrammer and would've felt right at home in 1910 but this is a decade later. 1920 had far, far more advanced films than this and sadly it's clear that after the Great War, Britain was left behind until much later.

One strange oddity about the film was the linking of every shot (even intertitles) with a fade. I'm not sure what this was intended to prove but it became a little distracting.

One thing the film does have going for it is a lot of beautiful scenery and expertly shot takes. Unfortunately as Star Wars can tell you, movies ain't just about nice vistas.

The copy I saw (on YouTube) had no music so I synced it up with some piano music via the Bluetooth adapter on my amp and my phone. It's a far cry from when my brother and I would use records or tapes to accompany completely silent films.
The fades are a Cecil Hepworth thing. They are also used in Hepworth features like Tansy, Mist in the Valley, and Comin' Thro' the Rye. I've never seen anything that explains it. I always suspected it was a "this is a movie" kind of thing, like Hitchcock's miniatures and obvious real projections. I never found it annoying. Hepworth's use of location is excellent, as is Alma Taylor in all four of these silents.
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Jim Roots
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Unread post by Jim Roots » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:35 pm

Big Silent Fan wrote:
greta de groat wrote:What really got my attention in this film was the French-Canadian thing. I guess i'd never noticed that there was a French-Canadian stereotype in movies i'd seen over the years. I realize the blanket coat is a Northwest thing, but this was the first time i realized that there was a common thread of living in the woods/frontier, an exuberant manner (to go with the exuberant accent) and a tendency to dress in loud prints, and have thick heads of hair. This is mostly silents that i'm thinking of, i don't think i've seen that many French Canadian characters in talkies, aside from Laurence Olivier's bizarre performance in 49th Parallel.

greta
My wife and I recently watched Centinnial (1978), an old mini-series that featured trapper Pasquinel (Robert Conrad), a French Canadian fur trader (as the main character). I thought about this series watching the Silent since Conrad could be seen singing, dancing with other men (whether they wanted to or not) and doing all sorts of similar things I saw in this. I think there was even a scene where he traveled down rapids in a canoe.
Robert Conrad really got into character and mastered the accent nicely.
Well, we Canadians always notice this right off the bat, and get steamed plenty about it.

All Canadians, of course, are French who speak English with an accent that would shame Chevalier, always wear plaid lumberjack shirts and woolen toques, have very heavy black beards (even some of the ladies do!), live a carefree existence in the outdoors, are never without our trusty axe (so many trees in this country, don't you know), and love nothing better than to jump around, yell, drink, flirt, weep with sentimentality over children and beautiful girls, drink some more, and kiss American ass. And then go out and play hockey in front of our igloo homes.

Now kindly excuse me while I go out and buy poutine and a double-double at Tim's. Thanks.

Jim

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:31 pm

Alec B Francis has a leading role in TRANSCONTINENTAL LIMITED (1926) where he plays a railroad engineer whose sight is going so feels he is in danger of losing his pension. His 'mate' is a creepy so-and-so who is 'helping' him so he can win his attractive daughter by trading on her sympathy. In addition to these woes, Francis's wife needs an operation, then finds that the grasping doctor is demanding $300 extra for 'travelling expenses', which seems rather odd when if he refuses to do the op he will get nothing.

To the rescue come old flame Johnnie Walker, just back from the War, as well as his crooked buddies who decide to do something about this situation. The other would-be suitor has also stolen the $300 from the railroad office, which will not only get the daughter into hot water (she runs the telegraph office) but may put Walker in the frame as well. Add a hair-raising (although a trifle unconvincing) business with a runaway carriage and you have familiar material woven into a reasonably entertaining whole. It won't be giving much away to say that both the horrid 'suitor' and the grasping surgeon both get what's due to them and all works out for the best.

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

Unread post by drednm » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:57 pm

Big Silent Fan wrote:
greta de groat wrote:What really got my attention in this film was the French-Canadian thing. I guess i'd never noticed that there was a French-Canadian stereotype in movies i'd seen over the years. I realize the blanket coat is a Northwest thing, but this was the first time i realized that there was a common thread of living in the woods/frontier, an exuberant manner (to go with the exuberant accent) and a tendency to dress in loud prints, and have thick heads of hair. This is mostly silents that i'm thinking of, i don't think i've seen that many French Canadian characters in talkies, aside from Laurence Olivier's bizarre performance in 49th Parallel.

greta
My wife and I recently watched Centinnial (1978), an old mini-series that featured trapper Pasquinel (Robert Conrad), a French Canadian fur trader (as the main character). I thought about this series watching the Silent since Conrad could be seen singing, dancing with other men (whether they wanted to or not) and doing all sorts of similar things I saw in this. I think there was even a scene where he traveled down rapids in a canoe.
Robert Conrad really got into character and mastered the accent nicely.
I always thought that Franco-American stereotype was mostly in Maine/northern New England/upstate NY because of proximity to Quebec and New Brunswick.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2018]

Unread post by Jim Roots » Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:19 am

drednm wrote:
Big Silent Fan wrote:
greta de groat wrote:What really got my attention in this film was the French-Canadian thing. I guess i'd never noticed that there was a French-Canadian stereotype in movies i'd seen over the years. I realize the blanket coat is a Northwest thing, but this was the first time i realized that there was a common thread of living in the woods/frontier, an exuberant manner (to go with the exuberant accent) and a tendency to dress in loud prints, and have thick heads of hair. This is mostly silents that i'm thinking of, i don't think i've seen that many French Canadian characters in talkies, aside from Laurence Olivier's bizarre performance in 49th Parallel.

greta
My wife and I recently watched Centinnial (1978), an old mini-series that featured trapper Pasquinel (Robert Conrad), a French Canadian fur trader (as the main character). I thought about this series watching the Silent since Conrad could be seen singing, dancing with other men (whether they wanted to or not) and doing all sorts of similar things I saw in this. I think there was even a scene where he traveled down rapids in a canoe.
Robert Conrad really got into character and mastered the accent nicely.
I always thought that Franco-American stereotype was mostly in Maine/northern New England/upstate NY because of proximity to Quebec and New Brunswick.
These films were made by people in California, mostly.

Sorry, eh.

Jim

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