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

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
User avatar
boblipton
Posts: 6366
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:49 am

Fred Evans (1889-1951) was an early British star of movie comedy. He was born into a family of circus acrobats and clowns. From 1910 through 1922, he starred in more than two hundred shorts and three features, mostly as Pimple, the idiotic star of deliberately idiotic comedies which based their humor on their deliberately awkward gags and props.

In Lieutenant Pimple and the Stolen Submarine (1915), he is offered a "non-submerging submarine", which is promptly stolen by foreign spies. To recover it, he dons the heavy diving gear of the era and goes to the bottom of the sea to search for it --pausing occasionally to doff the helmet to wipe his face with a handkerchief. The submarine is likewise laughable, having a door through which people can enter and exit to the bottom of the sea (which is clearly merely a painted backdrop), and an open window through which things can be passed.

The audience was clearly meant to laugh at the absurdity of these obvious flaws. Since the series ran for another seven years, they obviously did. More than a hundred years later, I find them amusing.

Pimple Has One (1915): This split reel comedy has been posted by the BFI to their YouTube site. Pimple is drunk and there is a pleasant of amount of both acrobatic hjinks and camerawork -- the camera is placed on rockers to indicate the character's inebriation, and the performer offers some nice staggering and rolling in counterpoint to the camera movement. There's also a lovely little gag with whitewash towards the end that I've never seen before.

Although certainly crude by the standard of the day, this one has its own charms and there's no reason to doubt its popularity, given the skill, invention, and the fact that Evans would produce so many more over the next seven years.

Bob
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
— Bob Fells

earlytalkiebuffRob
Posts: 3459
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:53 am

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:19 pm

For some reason I thought THE LOST BATTALION (1919) was a British production, having seen a handful of WWI silents of late. Not so. The film is a reconstruction, with some of the original American participants of the United States 77th Division, of an incident near the end of the War, with a fairly long prologue setting up some of the characters (a burglar who takes his brother's draft card, the son of a man with 'influence', etc) prior to their being called up for training and battle. I wasn't sure, also, whether some of the characters were fictional. In it's theme, it almost seemed like a predecessor to THE FIGHTING 69TH, but lacks the broad humour of the later film.

Despite the lack of music, and an excessive use of titles as well as a slightly confusing start where we are introduced to too many real soldiers at once, THE LOST BATTALION is a reasonably engrossing film, presented here is a very decent print, although there appears to be a missing segment, just before the unit leaves for France. The fighting scenes are pretty graphic and the training scenes are interestingly handled, with even a mention of the town of Yaphank, where the recruits congregate, explaining the title of Irving Berlin's show. A surprise find, and worth seeing...

User avatar
boblipton
Posts: 6366
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:07 am

Prelude (1927): Mickeymousing is a real technical term in movie-making. It refers to making the music match the action on the screen precisely and it derives from when Carl Stalling was musical director for Walt Disney and did enough of it to make the term stick. The well-regarded Max Steiner (many Oscar nominations, three wins) was known for his tendency to mickeymouse. Reportedly, while working on Dark Victory, Bette Davis had to go up a flight of stairs at the end, for the big dramatic finish. She paused and asked if Steiner was doing the music. "Either I'm going up these stairs, or Max Steiner is going up these stairs," she is reported as saying, "But we're not going up together."

Miss Davis went up those stairs and Max Steiner wrote the score.

In this six-and-a-half-minute short -- you knew I'd get around to it eventually, didn't you? -- Castleton Knight takes Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C Minor and imagines it as a score for a movie.... and then writes and directs and stars in a movie about a man who reads Poe's "The Premature Burial" and falls asleep, to have nightmarish dreams. With sound-on-film growing popular in the US and the swankiest London movie palaces,, it's a great experiment. You could have the house orchestra play the Rachmaninoff piece while this showed, or even record the Prelude on one of those discs or film tracks.

It was such an interesting experiment that within a couple of years, Walt Disney, would begin his series of Silly Symphonies. He could afford it, what with the success of Mickey Mouse and to keep his musical director, Carl Stalling happy... and ultimately, Fantasia.

Bob
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
— Bob Fells

earlytalkiebuffRob
Posts: 3459
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:53 am

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:29 pm

boblipton wrote:Prelude (1927): Mickeymousing is a real technical term in movie-making. It refers to making the music match the action on the screen precisely and it derives from when Carl Stalling was musical director for Walt Disney and did enough of it to make the term stick. The well-regarded Max Steiner (many Oscar nominations, three wins) was known for his tendency to mickeymouse. Reportedly, while working on Dark Victory, Bette Davis had to go up a flight of stairs at the end, for the big dramatic finish. She paused and asked if Steiner was doing the music. "Either I'm going up these stairs, or Max Steiner is going up these stairs," she is reported as saying, "But we're not going up together."

Miss Davis went up those stairs and Max Steiner wrote the score.

In this six-and-a-half-minute short -- you knew I'd get around to it eventually, didn't you? -- Castleton Knight takes Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C Minor and imagines it as a score for a movie.... and then writes and directs and stars in a movie about a man who reads Poe's "The Premature Burial" and falls asleep, to have nightmarish dreams. With sound-on-film growing popular in the US and the swankiest London movie palaces,, it's a great experiment. You could have the house orchestra play the Rachmaninoff piece while this showed, or even record the Prelude on one of those discs or film tracks.

It was such an interesting experiment that within a couple of years, Walt Disney, would begin his series of Silly Symphonies. He could afford it, what with the success of Mickey Mouse and to keep his musical director, Carl Stalling happy... and ultimately, Fantasia.

Bob
Sounds interesting as Mr Knight seemed to turn his hand to a variety of film subjects, from THE FLYING SCOTSMAN (1929/30) to A QUEEN IS CROWNED...

Watched this last night. An interesting oddity, (reminded me of some of the surrealist films from that period) and ice to see that it has survived for our entertainment.
Last edited by earlytalkiebuffRob on Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
boblipton
Posts: 6366
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

Unread post by boblipton » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:15 pm

A couple of comedy shorts showed up on the Eye Institute site.

A Rag Doll Romance: Little Doreen Turner lives with her grandmother and a dog. Granny takes in washing. Young Lawrence Licalzi lives rough with his uncle Jack Cooper and Jocko the monkey. The kids meet, the animals squabble and according to the notes, there's a happy ending, although it's missing on the print I saw.

It's one of the William Campbell comedies distributed by Educational. Campbel did mostly animal comedies. He's best known for directing the Snooky the Chimpanzee comedies, in which Snooky, usually dressed in overalls, held long conversations with his young co-stars and saved the day in some typical plot -- Master Lizalzi talks over a situation with the monkey in this one. Mr. Cooper has one good gag, but like the other Campbell comedies, I find this one to be rather poor and speculate that their apparent popularity (he made them from 1916-1922) lay in the fact that there were cute animals on the screen. Although Jocko had a 10-year career, largely with Fox comedies, neither animal seemed to do any particularly interesting tricks.

If you check the credits on the IMDb, you'll see that the dog is credited at Pal. Pal was a handsome collie. This dog is a brindle bulldog.

Here's the other from Eye; I await the Silent Comedy Mafia to identify the unlisted players. Park Your Car (1920) has Snub Pollard married to Marie Mosquini -- he's sans mustache, which she probably insisted on before the ceremony -- and living out in the suburbs. He and his neighbor are looking over their fence at the cars that pass on the road and finally decide to buy one together.

If there's one thing that Snub could do in his comedies was build perfect gags and string them together well enough to hold a reel or two together; if there's one thing that the staff at Roach's studio could do, (and they could do a lot) it was automobile gags, and so this is a fine one-reeler for Snub, as he does a lovely mixture of gags that begin small and end with increasing violence to anype who happens to be standing in the way of his mishandled vehicle -- and anyone who isn't.

For those of us who think that Ernie Morrison is often the best part of the Snub Pollard shorts, he's barely in this one, just a cameo in a broken-down touring car near the beginning.

Bob
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
— Bob Fells

User avatar
boblipton
Posts: 6366
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

Unread post by boblipton » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:23 pm

By October of 1908, D.W. Griffith had advanced far enough in his study of movie direction to try some experimentation without the guidance of Wallace McCutcheon Jr.; after all, he had been doing this for three months by now. So when he made Romance of a Jewess (1908) he was ready to do some things differently. In this one, it's the Jewish father who rejects the prospective gentile son-in-law; there are only a couple of titles in the entire movie, which is quite remarkable for 1908; and there are two sequences -- short, but definitely there -- in which Griffith and company venture outside the confines of the studio to take a look at a busy commercial street of the Lower East Side, and the composition is good and no one looks at the camera, although one person does look at one of the main characters as he hurries down the street.

That may not strike you as noteworthy. Of course people aren't going to look at the camera! Yet a week ago I looked at a feature from 1914, with a tracking shot set on the same street, and people looked at the camera. So either Griffith was able to get everyone on Hester Street to do what he said -- which I guarantee you, he could not -- or he had convinced his bosses to let him hire enough actors to fill up the street, everyone to do something that made sense. You do this and you do that, and you look at him when he rushes by. That's not cheap for ten seconds of screen time, but that is apparently what he did. However, it was only the beginning.

I'd like to write more about the story, about the sheer humanity of beginning it with the death of the Jewish family's mother and casting lovely Florence Lawrence as the Jewess, but you wouldn't believe me if I told you that. You're convinced D.W. Griffith was a racist by any standard, even for 1908. So I'll just mention that amazing, natural-looking crowd scene and let it go at that.

Bob
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
— Bob Fells

User avatar
boblipton
Posts: 6366
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:33 am

Well, TCM's star today is Harold Lloyd, so some comments on a few of his shorts:


When Harold -- and every other comic on the lot who doesn't look like a movie comic --wants to marry Marie Mosquini, they must first Ask Father (1919).

Lloyd's character was referred to by a various of titles, usually as "The Glasses" character, but Mr. Lloyd usually referred to him as "The Boy" and that's how the titles in this short refer to him. Here he's behaving as we expect him to: relatively normal at the beginning, rather self-involved, able to take the hard-knocks pratfall that slapstick demanded and when confronted with a problem, ready to come up with a solution, no matter how eccentric.

There's also a hint of thrill comedy as Harold scales a building. So, for a Harold Lloyd two-reeler, you've got the makings of everything you'd want in one of his pictures.

It's a hard life, so Never Weaken (1921). Harold and Mildred Davis are in love.... but Mildred's osteopath employer has no business, so Harold and an acrobat friend go out, fake some accidents and cause real ones to drum up business so he won't fire her.

It's one of Harold's best shorts, with a lovely series of gags in two parts. In the first half, watching Harold cause havoc in the streets of Los Angeles, and in the second, when Harold wants to kill himself -- Mr. Lloyd seems to have been the premiere comic when it comes to funny attempts to commit suicide. There's also one of his best thrill comedy sequences on a construction site (with liberal uncredited doubling by Harvey Parry) and what Lloyd later claimed was his most satisfying ending to any of his shorts.

Although perhaps the end was not yet. Miss Davis did not become Mrs. Lloyd until 1923.

High and Dizzy (1920) Mildred Davis sleepwalks. Her father, Wallace Howe, brings her in to Doctor Harold Lloyd for a consultation.

It's an ambitious comedy for Harold, timing in at almost half an hour.... which is, alas, a fawning way of saying that it's not as good as it might have been trimmed a bit shorter. Hut there's no doubt that Harold was getting popular, but so long as he stayed in short subjects, the money would remain short, renting for so much a reel. The twenty-six minutes this one takes might not seem much to the modern audience for a blockbuster, but it allowed everyone at Hal Roach's studio to stretch a bit and see what they could do at longer lengths.

Unfortunately, it sags in the middle. Harold gets drunk with friendly bootlegger Roy Brooks, and the gags when they are together are pretty good. However, eventually Harold is off on his own, and the jokes are not as good.... and then out of nowhere, it's time to wrap up the movie.

Harold and his writers hadn't learned how to pace a longer comedy. They soon would learn; they could write a straight drama and when it didn't work out in previews, turn it into a comedy by dropping in gags, but stories don't stop when you add in an extra gag sequence and commence without a bump ten minutes later.

Bob
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
— Bob Fells

earlytalkiebuffRob
Posts: 3459
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:53 am

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:34 pm

Another superb copy, SHOOTING STARS (1928) has the odd credit of 'by Anthony Asquith' below the title, but just lists A V Bramble as the director. It would be interesting to find out how many of Bramble's (born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, like me) films are available for viewing. In any case, the film is remarkably sophisticated, and at times has a three-dimensional feel to it.

We have here a love triangle, with actress Annette Benson rather bored with nice co-star Brian Aherne, and getting involved with comic Donald Calthrop, in an unusual role as a lady-killer. Both are prevented from going away with one another as the scandal would ruin their careers. Unfortunately for Miss Benson, trouble is at hand when Aherne returns unexpectedly when she is awaiting Calthrop. Aherne threatens divorce (scandal again), which leads to an idea of murder which goes horribly wrong...

Asquith's silents reveal a very fluid use of the camera as well as an ability to tell the story with as few titles as possible. A nice bit is where the radio announces (mistakenly*) that Calthrop has been badly injured, and where the words come out of the speaker. Inventive and visually playful, with a very powerful last scene, SHOOTING STARS has, for years been more or less restricted to archival showings, and is here revealed to be a most entertaining piece of work, presented here with a good accompaniment which complements the film rather than fights with it...

*A reporter has seen the accident from a distance, but is led to believe that it is Calthrop, not his double, who has been hurt.

User avatar
boblipton
Posts: 6366
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:43 am

TCM's Summer Under the Stars Harold Lloyd Day has certainly given me the chance to visit some old friends.

Hot Water (1924): Slapstick comedy certainly had its share of automobile comedies, with directors like Del Lord making a specialty of all the funny ways to wreck them. Neither was Harold Lloyd any stranger to the subject in his short subject days, with titles like Get Out and Get Under and Young Mr. Jazz. So it's no surprise that the centerpiece of this domestic comedy involves Harold taking wife Jobyna Ralston, mother-in-law Josephine Crowell and his two annoying brothers-in-law out in a new auto.

It's an episodic comedy, and could have been divided into four twenty-minute shorts. That's the way comedy had been written for the screen for a decade and a half, and Lloyd and his co-creators were comfortable building things that way. It also hangs together very well as an annoying day in the life of a young couple. That's the basic definition of comedy: something bad happening to some one else..... in a surprising way.

Bob
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
— Bob Fells

User avatar
boblipton
Posts: 6366
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:00 pm

The Runaway Match or Marriage by Motor (1903): Alf Collins was a London stage comic who transferred to the fledgling movie industry as a director, and became an expert in chases. Here's an early example as a young couple elopes in an automobile and her papa gives chase in his. I'm very hesitant to accept claims of cinematic firsts, but this came off the Library of Congress site, where it was claimed "it may be the first car chase in the movies." I can't think of any earlier off hand and await others to write in, challenging that modest claim, excluding races. Any earlier auto chases will be appended to the bottom of this review.

It's a beautifully shot film for 1903, with an extreme close-up, trucking shots and panning shots -- including a couple of pans that move so rapidly that they would qualify as whip pans. In the hands of a later, more subjective director like Louis Feuillade, they might offer a subjective, auctorial point of view. Here, it just seems like a fast way of getting from one plot point to another.

Bob
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
— Bob Fells

User avatar
boblipton
Posts: 6366
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:39 pm

There's no point in my synopsizing the plot of Harold Lloyd's last movie for Hal Roach. All of his silent features are lots of fun, so Why Worry (1923) over those details? It's my favorite of all his features, not because it's clearly better or others are worse, but probably because Harold is so American in this one. Really, it's how we see ourselves when we're honest: rich and self-obsessed and blowing every little problem out of size and ignoring the real issues, but basically kind to giants with toothaches, and when something threatens our real self-interest -- say, by having Jim Mason put his dirty hands on Jobyna Ralston -- then truly terrible in our wrath. Actually, I don't see any world power behaving any different, and the only reason the little guys resent it is because they can't do it themselves.

But enough of politics, modern and ancient and all times in between. I also think that this movie marks a high water for Lloyd. His next movie would be for distribution by Paramount, but it was all his own money and profit, and he would retreat a bit, with Girl Shy relying on the big chase sequence, and Hot Water seeming more like three shorts stitched together. Harold was giving the public what they wanted from Star Harold Lloyd.

In some ways, like the other greatest stars of the era (Pickford, Chaplin, Fairbanks) Lloyd was the victim of his own success. A star was not just the player; he was the character he always played in the sort of movie he played, and so long as he remained a star, he was stuck doing that, until his public grew tired. That wouldn't happen until the 1930s rolled around, so Lloyd didn't worry.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
— Bob Fells

Big Silent Fan
Posts: 1004
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:54 pm

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

Unread post by Big Silent Fan » Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:57 pm

I meant to say...

Never Weaken is my favorite because it both entertains and tells a funny story quickly. It's all there in just 19 minutes.
I don't have to sit through more than an hour of film, waiting to see the stunts.
Last edited by Big Silent Fan on Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Keatonesque
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed May 02, 2018 2:46 pm
Location: Joshua Tree

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

Unread post by Keatonesque » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:38 pm

boblipton wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:43 am
TCM's Summer Under the Stars Harold Lloyd Day has certainly given me the chance to visit some old friends.

Hot Water (1924): Slapstick comedy certainly had its share of automobile comedies, with directors like Del Lord making a specialty of all the funny ways to wreck them. Neither was Harold Lloyd any stranger to the subject in his short subject days, with titles like Get Out and Get Under and Young Mr. Jazz. So it's no surprise that the centerpiece of this domestic comedy involves Harold taking wife Jobyna Ralston, mother-in-law Josephine Crowell and his two annoying brothers-in-law out in a new auto.

It's an episodic comedy, and could have been divided into four twenty-minute shorts. That's the way comedy had been written for the screen for a decade and a half, and Lloyd and his co-creators were comfortable building things that way. It also hangs together very well as an annoying day in the life of a young couple. That's the basic definition of comedy: something bad happening to some one else..... in a surprising way.

Bob
Some of your remarks regarding Lloyd – being the victim of his own success and his later 20s films being indicative of this – strike me as unusual and highly disagreeable. He himself apparently thought most highly of GRANDMA'S BOY, which is one of two or three of his features that I don't love. I would consider WHY WORRY? to be in the second tier of Lloyd classics along with THE FRESHMAN, which I have always found slightly overrated. Then again, I am fond of sentimentality, and the length of HOT WATER never bothered me. In fact, I think it perhaps his most hilarious for the longest stretch of time, whereas WHY WORRY? does drag itself a bit toward the end. So I would have HOT WATER and FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE in the top tier just below SAFETY LAST, GIRL SHY, SPEEDY, and THE KID BROTHER, none of which I would rank above the other. Ultimately, he had more genuinely satisfying and consistent silents than both Chaplin and Keaton (in the latter's case, there are a few stinkers that don't hold up well). I also very much enjoy early talkie MOVIE CRAZY, even if the dialogue has its awkward moments. What comes after is best left as curiosities, but overall, he accomplished a lot and his legacy is cemented based on everything he did up to SPEEDY.

User avatar
drednm
Posts: 7639
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:41 pm
Location: Belgrade Lakes, ME

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

Unread post by drednm » Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:46 am

Caught the ultra-bizarre Oxonian "home movie" with Evelyn Waugh, The Scarlet Woman: An Ecclesiastical Melodrama (1925). A sort of radical satire about the pope's attempt to bring England back into the fold by assassinating a group of leading Protestants and the "scarlet woman" who gets involved. Waugh plays two roles, including the "perverted" (read Catholic) Dean of Balliol who is in league with the evil Cardinal Montefiasco and who tries to seduce the Prince of Wales. Much of the plot is apparently a broad swipe at Catholicism and Francis Urquhart, the Balliol dean who shut down "The Hypocrites" drinking club to which Waugh belonged. Anyway, the real interest here is Elsa Lanchester, who makes her film debut as the cocaine-sniffing cabaret star Beatrice de Carolle. Angular, gap-toothed, and frizzy headed, you cannot take your eyes off her as she preens before the mirror or races across Hampstead Heath in an effort to save the day. Lanchester was, in real life, a cabaret queen in London and reigned at a private club called The Cave of Harmony, which often staged radical plays and skits. Waugh eventually converted to Catholicism in 1930.
Last edited by drednm on Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ed Lorusso
Writer/Historian
-------------
https://wordpress.com/view/silentroomdo ... dpress.com" target="_blank

User avatar
greta de groat
Posts: 2149
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:06 am
Location: California
Contact:

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

Unread post by greta de groat » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:31 am

drednm wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:46 am
Caught the ultra-bizarre Oxonian "home movie" with Evelyn Waugh, The Scarlet Woman: An Ecclesiastical Melodrama (1925). A sort of radical satire about the pope's attempt to bring England back into the fold by assassinating a group of leading Protestants and the "scarlet woman" who gets involved. Waugh plays two roles, including the "perverted" (read Catholic) Dean of Balliol who is in league with the evil Cardinal Montefiasco and who tries to seduce the Prince of Wales. Much of the plot is apparently a broad swipe at Catholicism and Francis Urquhart, the Balliol dean who shut down "The Hypocrites" drinking club to which Waugh belonged. Anyway, the real interest here is Elsa Lanchester, who makes her film debut as the cocaine-sniffing cabaret star Beatrice de Carolle. Angular, gap-toothed, and frizzy headed, you cannot take your eyes off her as she preens before the mirror or races across Hampstead Heath in an effort to save the day. Lanchester was, in real life, a cabaret queen in London and reigned at a private club called The Harmony Club, which often staged radical plays and skits. Waugh eventually converted to Catholicism in 1930.
Wasn't Francis Urquhart the name of the lead character in the British version of House of Cards?

greta
Greta de Groat
Unsung Divas of the Silent Screen
http://www.stanford.edu/~gdegroat

User avatar
FrankFay
Posts: 3274
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:48 am
Location: Albany NY
Contact:

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

Unread post by FrankFay » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:11 am

greta de groat wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:31 am


Wasn't Francis Urquhart the name of the lead character in the British version of House of Cards?

greta
Oh yes - and the use of the initials "F.U." was entirely intended- I suppose "F... You" was well known in 1925.
Eric Stott

User avatar
drednm
Posts: 7639
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:41 pm
Location: Belgrade Lakes, ME

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

Unread post by drednm » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:20 am

greta de groat wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:31 am
drednm wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:46 am
Caught the ultra-bizarre Oxonian "home movie" with Evelyn Waugh, The Scarlet Woman: An Ecclesiastical Melodrama (1925). A sort of radical satire about the pope's attempt to bring England back into the fold by assassinating a group of leading Protestants and the "scarlet woman" who gets involved. Waugh plays two roles, including the "perverted" (read Catholic) Dean of Balliol who is in league with the evil Cardinal Montefiasco and who tries to seduce the Prince of Wales. Much of the plot is apparently a broad swipe at Catholicism and Francis Urquhart, the Balliol dean who shut down "The Hypocrites" drinking club to which Waugh belonged. Anyway, the real interest here is Elsa Lanchester, who makes her film debut as the cocaine-sniffing cabaret star Beatrice de Carolle. Angular, gap-toothed, and frizzy headed, you cannot take your eyes off her as she preens before the mirror or races across Hampstead Heath in an effort to save the day. Lanchester was, in real life, a cabaret queen in London and reigned at a private club called The Harmony Club, which often staged radical plays and skits. Waugh eventually converted to Catholicism in 1930.
Wasn't Francis Urquhart the name of the lead character in the British version of House of Cards?

greta
Never seen it. I wonder if it was intentional. Urquhart isn't that common a name.....
Ed Lorusso
Writer/Historian
-------------
https://wordpress.com/view/silentroomdo ... dpress.com" target="_blank

R Michael Pyle
Posts: 1748
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 1:10 pm

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

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:24 am

drednm wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:46 am
Caught the ultra-bizarre Oxonian "home movie" with Evelyn Waugh, The Scarlet Woman: An Ecclesiastical Melodrama (1925). A sort of radical satire about the pope's attempt to bring England back into the fold by assassinating a group of leading Protestants and the "scarlet woman" who gets involved. Waugh plays two roles, including the "perverted" (read Catholic) Dean of Balliol who is in league with the evil Cardinal Montefiasco and who tries to seduce the Prince of Wales. Much of the plot is apparently a broad swipe at Catholicism and Francis Urquhart, the Balliol dean who shut down "The Hypocrites" drinking club to which Waugh belonged. Anyway, the real interest here is Elsa Lanchester, who makes her film debut as the cocaine-sniffing cabaret star Beatrice de Carolle. Angular, gap-toothed, and frizzy headed, you cannot take your eyes off her as she preens before the mirror or races across Hampstead Heath in an effort to save the day. Lanchester was, in real life, a cabaret queen in London and reigned at a private club called The Harmony Club, which often staged radical plays and skits. Waugh eventually converted to Catholicism in 1930.
How did/where did you see/find this?

Reading about The Hypocrites Club is very interesting in itself. This line about it is in Wikipedia:
"The Scarlet Woman is Evelyn Waugh's only movie and was never shown in public; it had private screenings in London and Oxford. Christopher Sykes says it "became a legend rather than an experience" for most of Waugh’s friends. Father C.C. Martindale of Campion Hall, a Catholic house in the University of Oxford, saw it and "laughed till his tears flowed"".

User avatar
drednm
Posts: 7639
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:41 pm
Location: Belgrade Lakes, ME

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

Unread post by drednm » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:26 am

R Michael Pyle wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:24 am
drednm wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:46 am
Caught the ultra-bizarre Oxonian "home movie" with Evelyn Waugh, The Scarlet Woman: An Ecclesiastical Melodrama (1925). A sort of radical satire about the pope's attempt to bring England back into the fold by assassinating a group of leading Protestants and the "scarlet woman" who gets involved. Waugh plays two roles, including the "perverted" (read Catholic) Dean of Balliol who is in league with the evil Cardinal Montefiasco and who tries to seduce the Prince of Wales. Much of the plot is apparently a broad swipe at Catholicism and Francis Urquhart, the Balliol dean who shut down "The Hypocrites" drinking club to which Waugh belonged. Anyway, the real interest here is Elsa Lanchester, who makes her film debut as the cocaine-sniffing cabaret star Beatrice de Carolle. Angular, gap-toothed, and frizzy headed, you cannot take your eyes off her as she preens before the mirror or races across Hampstead Heath in an effort to save the day. Lanchester was, in real life, a cabaret queen in London and reigned at a private club called The Harmony Club, which often staged radical plays and skits. Waugh eventually converted to Catholicism in 1930.
How did/where did you see/find this?

Reading about The Hypocrites Club is very interesting in itself. This line about it is in Wikipedia:
"The Scarlet Woman is Evelyn Waugh's only movie and was never shown in public; it had private screenings in London and Oxford. Christopher Sykes says it "became a legend rather than an experience" for most of Waugh’s friends. Father C.C. Martindale of Campion Hall, a Catholic house in the University of Oxford, saw it and "laughed till his tears flowed"".
It's on BFI player. Here's my blog article abut it: https://silentroomdotblog.wordpress.com ... anchester/
Ed Lorusso
Writer/Historian
-------------
https://wordpress.com/view/silentroomdo ... dpress.com" target="_blank

R Michael Pyle
Posts: 1748
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 1:10 pm

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

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:47 am

drednm wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:20 am
greta de groat wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:31 am
drednm wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:46 am
Caught the ultra-bizarre Oxonian "home movie" with Evelyn Waugh, The Scarlet Woman: An Ecclesiastical Melodrama (1925). A sort of radical satire about the pope's attempt to bring England back into the fold by assassinating a group of leading Protestants and the "scarlet woman" who gets involved. Waugh plays two roles, including the "perverted" (read Catholic) Dean of Balliol who is in league with the evil Cardinal Montefiasco and who tries to seduce the Prince of Wales. Much of the plot is apparently a broad swipe at Catholicism and Francis Urquhart, the Balliol dean who shut down "The Hypocrites" drinking club to which Waugh belonged. Anyway, the real interest here is Elsa Lanchester, who makes her film debut as the cocaine-sniffing cabaret star Beatrice de Carolle. Angular, gap-toothed, and frizzy headed, you cannot take your eyes off her as she preens before the mirror or races across Hampstead Heath in an effort to save the day. Lanchester was, in real life, a cabaret queen in London and reigned at a private club called The Harmony Club, which often staged radical plays and skits. Waugh eventually converted to Catholicism in 1930.
Wasn't Francis Urquhart the name of the lead character in the British version of House of Cards?

greta
Never seen it. I wonder if it was intentional. Urquhart isn't that common a name.....
According to internet sources - are they reliable?? - the F. U. was indeed intentional. Let me recommend the British 4-part "House of Cards" to one and all. It's marvelous. The American version doesn't hold a candle to the wit in this one!

User avatar
greta de groat
Posts: 2149
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:06 am
Location: California
Contact:

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

Unread post by greta de groat » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:27 pm

R Michael Pyle wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:47 am


According to internet sources - are they reliable?? - the F. U. was indeed intentional. Let me recommend the British 4-part "House of Cards" to one and all. It's marvelous. The American version doesn't hold a candle to the wit in this one!
I assumed the F.U. was intentional (at least by the last mini-series, characters were referring to him as F.U.). And of course the replicated it for the American series with a different name, which is just about the only thing i know about the American series.

greta
Greta de Groat
Unsung Divas of the Silent Screen
http://www.stanford.edu/~gdegroat

User avatar
Donald Binks
Posts: 3166
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

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

Unread post by Donald Binks » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:07 pm

Keatonesque wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:38 pm
boblipton wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:43 am
TCM's Summer Under the Stars Harold Lloyd Day has certainly given me the chance to visit some old friends.
.....

Bob
Some of your remarks regarding Lloyd – being the victim of his own success and his later 20s films being indicative of this –
...
We screened "Safety Last" (1923) at my local film group this last Thursday. I had not seen the picture in quite a while so it was quite refreshing.

There was not an ounce of the superfluous in the picture and all audience members relished the way Lloyd set up the tricks he played on the audience's perception of what was happening in some scenes. This elaborate chicanery has disappeared completely now from pictures and it was therefore much appreciated.

Another comment was that it must have taken ages to work out all that occurs in the picture. A lot of thought went into the seamless succession of gags. The pantomime too was restrained and succinctly conveyed the narrative.

The general consensus was that the fact that this was a silent picture was hardly noticeable; the excellent score by Carl Davis managed as a substitute for dialogue effortlessly. In fact many thought that the lack of dialogue enhanced this particular kind of picture and heightened the comedic value.

In conclusion - "They don't make 'em like that any more!"
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

User avatar
Mike Gebert
Site Admin
Posts: 6157
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:23 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

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

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:50 pm

The American version doesn't hold a candle to the wit in this one!
You might think so. I could not possibly comment.
“I'm in favor of plagiarism. If we are to create a new Renaissance, the government should encourage plagiarism. When convinced that someone is a true plagiarist, we should immediately award them the Legion of Honor.” —Jean Renoir

User avatar
Donald Binks
Posts: 3166
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:08 am
Location: Somewhere, over the rainbow

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

Unread post by Donald Binks » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:57 pm

greta de groat wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:27 pm
R Michael Pyle wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:47 am


According to internet sources - are they reliable?? - the F. U. was indeed intentional. Let me recommend the British 4-part "House of Cards" to one and all. It's marvelous. The American version doesn't hold a candle to the wit in this one!
I assumed the F.U. was intentional (at least by the last mini-series, characters were referring to him as F.U.). And of course the replicated it for the American series with a different name, which is just about the only thing i know about the American series.

greta
The U.K. series featured the late Ian Richardson. C.B.E. as Urquhart. His mellifluous intonations added to his overall performance - but then Mr. Richardson could have read the 'phone book and made it sound wonderful.
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

Daniel Eagan
Posts: 800
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:14 am
Contact:

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

Unread post by Daniel Eagan » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:40 am

boblipton wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:23 pm
no one looks at the camera, although one person does look at one of the main characters as he hurries down the street.

Bob
Most likely the camera was hidden somehow, a blanket thrown over, on a cart behind some barrels or crates, maybe in a car, disguised so it wouldn't look like a camera and crew.

I don't have the Griffith bio in front of me, but hiding the camera was a pretty common trick in the teens.

I don't want to get into the racist/not racist argument, but I will say it's much easier to sympathize with Florence Lawrence when she looks like a typical Victorian heroine than if she looked more "ethnic."

User avatar
Jim Roots
Posts: 2944
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:45 pm
Location: Ottawa, ON

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

Unread post by Jim Roots » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:38 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:57 pm

The U.K. series featured the late Ian Richardson. C.B.E. as Urquhart. His mellifluous intonations added to his overall performance - but then Mr. Richardson could have read the 'phone book and made it sound wonderful.
Not in the captions, though.

Jim

earlytalkiebuffRob
Posts: 3459
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:53 am

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

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:54 pm

Pretty well impossible to assess THE GHOST OF ROSY TAYLOR (1918) from the YT upload I watched last night. I had heard of it some years ago, in Brownlow's 'The Parade's Gone By'..

The film starts with an expensively-dressed lady thanking another for recommending the girl who has been doing her housework, only to be told that the girl is dead. A ghostly sighting in the windows of the house leads them to investigate, and we hear the sad tale of a girl living in France with her elderly father, who refuses steadfastly to return to America due to a bitter family feud. The old chap promptly dies, leaving the girl in straitened circumstances until she gets the job of a temporary nanny for a family returning to the States. Arriving there, she is then dismissed, with only $17 to last her out. On her last few cents. she finds a discarded letter, offering said Rosy Taylor work, and finding that she has died, decides to take her place...

Starring Mary Miles Minter, THE GHOST OF ROSY TAYLOR gathers interest after a while, but is badly hampered by the print quality, which made some of the inserts of letters almost impossible to read. Some of it seems to have been shown at the wrong speed, although this may have been a misguided attempt at a comic effect. I have not found whether the copy (46m) is complete, as that may explain the erratic nature of some of the narrative. Not too many surprises in the denouement, but a film which needs a better copy should one be around... A memorable bit from Kate Price, who was Mrs Kelly in the 'The Cohens and the Kellys' movies.
Last edited by earlytalkiebuffRob on Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
boblipton
Posts: 6366
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

Unread post by boblipton » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:55 pm

Alsace (1916): Albert Dieudonné is the scion of a family of mill-owners in Alsace. When Mama Gabrielle Réjane annoys the authorities by singing "Le Marseillaise", she and her husband are kicked out of the country. Albert is left to manage the mill. He soon falls in love with German Francesca Flory, Mama shows up to forbid the marriage. However, when Albert falls ill, she changes her mind to save her boy. After that, the women fight: Flory for her husband and Réjane for France.

France had owned Alsace for about eighty years when they lost it in the Franco-Prussian War, and they didn't like it. Auguste Scheurer-Kestner, an Alsatian who was in the French legislature used to get up in debate and lead off his speeches with the pitiful cry that he was the last Alsatian in that body. This was an effective preamble to any speech, until he wound up opposing the Army during the Dreyfus Affair. So far as the French were concerned, Alsace had always been French and would always be French, no matter how many uniform-wearing, beer-drinking Germans stomped around the place acting like Erich von Stroheim in a foul mood.

In reality, most of the province spoke German.

Madame Réjane's presence in this propaganda piece was a coup, but a century later she seems like a bad piece of work. At the time, the French audience must have thought she was superb and righteous.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
— Bob Fells

User avatar
drednm
Posts: 7639
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:41 pm
Location: Belgrade Lakes, ME

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

Unread post by drednm » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:59 am

Blue Jeans (1917) is on YT (probably not for long) in a dark copy from a GEH print and with music by Donald Sosin. It stars Viola Dana and is directed by John H. Collins. I wrote a bit about it here: https://silentroomdotblog.wordpress.com ... eans-1917/

This must rank as one of the most melodramatic of melodramas I've seen. There's no Vivia Ogden snooping around as comic relief as in Way Down East, so the drama is only broken up by bits of pathos. The various "marriages" will make your head spin as will the outrageous coincidences that place Dana's Junie where and when among the residents of Rising Sun (great name). The sawmill sequence is justly famous and beautifully edited. Not sure what I thought os Robert D. Walker as the leading man. Sally Crute was fun as the nasty woman.
Ed Lorusso
Writer/Historian
-------------
https://wordpress.com/view/silentroomdo ... dpress.com" target="_blank

User avatar
boblipton
Posts: 6366
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

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

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:12 pm

Onésime Employé des Postes (1913) Among the short subject series that Jean Durand directed for Gaumont were the ones starring Ernest Bourbon as Onésime. Like the other, they were rough slapstick, but relied much more heavily on elaborate camera trickery and elaborately constructed sets that fell to pieces at inopportune moments.

In this one, Bourbon is a postal employee who has fallen in love with a young lady who drops by to pick up her mail. He writes her long love letters. Her husband objects and, as you might expect, chaos ensues: not only in in the offices, but pneumatic tubes.

Like other slapstick stars of the era, Onésime was not so much a character as an trademark who might find himself in any situation. It was the fact that obvious camera trickery was used for the gags that typified him more than anything else. He might find himself a clockmaker moving at variable speed because the cameraman changed the cranking rate of his camera in one movie, or married to himself in double exposure in another. It's not cinematic in the modern sense, but it harks back to the film grammar of Melies, still familiar to the audience.

La Disparition d'Onésime (1913): In this one, Bourbon is unhappily married -- the short commences with a pastry fight -- and in short order, Onésime disappears, which gives his hopeful widow a chance to wear black. The police can find no trace, so she hires a private detective.

The obvious camera trickery is kept to a minimum here -- mostly to people getting up and down balconies -- but there is an awful lot of cross-dressing, including Mme Onésime being played by a man and the police force wearing tutus -- don't worry, they maintain their dignity with the proper tunics and kepis. I'm not sure what the humorous point of that is, but doubtless it amused the audience.

Zigoto, Plombier d'Occasion (1911): Here we have Jean Durand directing a comedy short for Gaumont -- Quel supris! This time, it's Lucien Bataille starring as Zigoto, wearing the ill-assorted and badly fitting costume of of the slapstick comedian. He finds his friend the plumber crying because he can't handle all the work he has coming in, and here's a ritzy apartment where they have a gas leak. Bataille, who will do anything for a pal if it involves him swinging a pickaxe indoors, offers to do his best which, as it turns out, is not very good.

It's raw, destructive slapstick, not quite as bone-breaking as the Italian variety, but still destructive enough to make you think that Mack Sennett and his bunch at Keystone, who would be let loose the following year, were a bunch of pantywaists (comme un dit les poules mouillées), if not the wholesale carnage that you got in the Italian versions. Bataille was popular. He left for Pathe, where he was known as 'Casimir' and managed to keep the monicker when he moved again to Eclair.

Bob
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
— Bob Fells

Post Reply