Worst of the Worst

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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Donald Binks
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by Donald Binks » Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:59 pm

Now, Sir Donald, you ...
Are your communications with the Palace better than mine? Has she? Oh, my goodness! :D
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she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

jcp7701
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by jcp7701 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 11:19 am

One might want to walk around with a clothes-pin upon one's nose as well, if visiting the past. After-shave and "rose water" only go so far as opposed to regular bathing and showering. I'm sure that a trip to the butcher-shop would have been fun too: lots of flies and other nasties coming into contact with raw meat--

Answering the question for the thread, I found Lester Cuneo's "Blazing Arrows," from 1922, to be very disappointing. Great presentation on Grapevine Video, but very mediocre production values for a silent western: overly florid and non-sensical title cards, and a performance by Cuneo (who committed suicide in 1925) that was quite perfunctory. Even an interesting sub-plot about Cuneo being a white child adopted by an Indian couple and raised as an Indian was unfortunately dropped near the end, and certainly not used enough to contribute as much emotional connection to the film as it could have been.

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Jim Roots
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by Jim Roots » Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:44 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:This is why one should never embark upon time travel without all your vaccinations being up to date.
Oh, damn! Hold the door for me!

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wich2
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by wich2 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:37 pm

Done, Jim!

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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by wich2 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:39 pm

Donald Binks wrote:
Now, Sir Donald, you ...
Are your communications with the Palace better than mine? Has she? Oh, my goodness! :D
She - er - doesn't have a great deal of time left to accomplish such doings, so things are rushed a bit! (I'm sure the notice is in the mail...)

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JLNeibaur
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by JLNeibaur » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:08 pm

Tommie Hicks wrote:THE DIXIE MAD-CAPS (1918) with the Lee Sisters has to be seen to be not believed.
I have this on one of those Televista DVDs of silent comedies. There is some historical importance to the fact that such a film was produced at all, but yeah it does have to be seen to be "not believed"

earlytalkiebuffRob
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:07 pm

Big Silent Fan wrote:
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:Two off the top of my head were the Frank Benson RICHARD III (1911) and FROM THE MANGER TO THE CROSS (1912), both of which were a struggle to sit through...
Years ago I bought one of those VHS copies of "From the Manger to the Cross." It was only partially there and the image was quite poor as was the music (if there was any, I cannot remember). So much for the cheap VHS videos that were for sale on Ebay.
Fast forward to the 21st Century and the 100 anniversary.

The film was restored and released on DVD by David Shepard. It's actually two early Sacred Films. The 1905, hand tinted Pathe' film, "The Life and Passion of Jesus Christ" has also been carefully restored and each are accompanied with a carefully made organ score. The multicolored stenciled images are quite thrilling to see.
"From the Manger to the Cross" is mastered from a print of the original negative. It was made on location in Egypt and Palestine for the Kalem Company.

For quality religious films, these are right up there with "King of Kings" now that they have been presented properly.
The Pathe film, though mainly a series of tableaux, was certainly more watchable than the copy of MANGER which I sat through, as well as being a lot better presented...
Last edited by earlytalkiebuffRob on Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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EdibleCamphor
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by EdibleCamphor » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:58 pm

I recently saw "THE DEVIL" (1915) based on a somewhat populat play of the same name and directed by Thomas Ince. I''m not sure what the other people thought, but me and the friend who was with me both thought it was dreadfully boring. The devil, instead of acting demonic, acts more like a mean girl from high school who is at a reunion 20 years later and tries to start fights. And thats the plot of the film. It is six painful reels and it was in the days where on the bottom of the title cards it says "PART 1, PART 2, ETC" I was counting until it was over. It also probably didnt help that the only surviving copy is a paper print that looks like a postage stamp blown up to a fifty foot screen.
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Saint-Just
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by Saint-Just » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:54 pm

Along with Oz '25:

Topsy and Eva (1927) - THE worst silent I've ever seen.
One Exciting Night (1922) - one deadly dull movie.
Camille (1921) - Nazimova emotes all over the whole gaudy place and everyone else has to stand around looking bored.

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Darren Nemeth
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by Darren Nemeth » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:34 pm

I have a religious film from the mid 1920s about The Good Samatatin.

The worst planned and executed silent film I've ever seen.
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telical
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by telical » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:03 am

Darren Nemeth wrote:I have a religious film from the mid 1920s about The Good Samatatin.

The worst planned and executed silent film I've ever seen.


Works fine as a silent short if you increase the speed to double.
Last edited by silentfilm on Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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2 Reel
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by 2 Reel » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:26 pm

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) the only movie I ever walked out of. Not only boring and banal but a story of ugly people doing ugly things in ugly settings as vile as the underside of a rock at the edge of a waste treatment plant cesspool.
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by wich2 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:33 am

telical wrote:
Darren Nemeth wrote:I have a religious film from the mid 1920s about The Good Samatatin.

The worst planned and executed silent film I've ever seen.
Works fine as a silent short if you increase the speed to double.
Boy, I'd have to agree.

But for being light on close-ups, it sure compares favorably with similar Indie Silent Shorts I've seen.

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Darren Nemeth
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by Darren Nemeth » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:08 pm

wich2 wrote:
telical wrote:
Darren Nemeth wrote:I have a religious film from the mid 1920s about The Good Samatatin.

The worst planned and executed silent film I've ever seen.
Works fine as a silent short if you increase the speed to double.
Boy, I'd have to agree.

But for being light on close-ups, it sure compares favorably with similar Indie Silent Shorts I've seen.
Thats the one. lol

I think my print is fully tinted also, IIRC.
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FrankFay
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by FrankFay » Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:40 pm

wich2 wrote:
telical wrote:
Darren Nemeth wrote:I have a religious film from the mid 1920s about The Good Samatatin.

The worst planned and executed silent film I've ever seen.
Works fine as a silent short if you increase the speed to double.
Boy, I'd have to agree.

But for being light on close-ups, it sure compares favorably with similar Indie Silent Shorts I've seen.
Shot on location (so to speak) probably cast with locals who had never acted on camera in their lives. Considering that, it could be worse.
Eric Stott

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Red Bartlett
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by Red Bartlett » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:37 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:This is why one should never embark upon time travel without all your vaccinations being up to date.
...and don't forget your Gray's Sports Almanac!

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earlytalkiebuffRob
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:45 am

Was a bit surprised to see NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET (1931) on the list. Daft, perhaps, but most enjoyable. And regarding this thread being under 'silents', I had read that there was a silent version of THE COCK-EYED WORLD (1929), but have no idea if that's around anywhere...

wingate
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by wingate » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:25 am

All titles with a*are British
Nothing Venture 1947*
The Lady Craved Excitement 1950*
Scream And Die1973*
Bobbikins1959*
The Man Who Finally Died1962*
Die Screaming Marianne1971*
The Girl On The Boat 1962*
How I Won The War1967*
Gypsy Blood1931*
Stick Em Up1950*
Sands Of The Desert1969*
As you can see quite a few stinkers have been made here in the UK

Dave Pitts
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by Dave Pitts » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:44 am

First, I'm a connoisseur of Le Bad Cinema. Have seen my share of grade-Z productions. But they have to be cheesy and dopey to satisfy the itch -- the really insufferable films are the dull ones. In the silents, Larry Semon's Wizard of Oz is often cited as a totally inept, unwatchable mess. But it's watchable because it's dumb, and because Larry seems to think he's being hilarious when the bees are after him, etc., etc. (Also, it has some interesting production design.)
I recently sat through what I think is the worst (dullest) silent film ever, and I've seen 1085 silent features. It's the Dutch film Alexandra (1922), an interminably long soap opera starring I-don't-care and directed by I-don't-care. It's in the collectors market. I bought it on a whim, since I'd never heard of it & never seen a Dutch silent. It was so boring (and about 100 min. long, I think) that I had to pause it about 15 times over several days to get to the finish. Besides having a dull story, most of which I've blanked out, and an uncharismatic lead as Alexandra, who nonetheless bewitches the male lead -- it had primitive technique, with long takes and group shots of the characters, which meant whole scenes done in medium takes, much like the features of 1912-1916. I don't know how much of a film making scene there was in the Netherlands in '22, but, by the evidence of Alexandra, they were just starting, and there wasn't enough activity to spur collaboration and technical advance (even though they must have had German and Italian masterworks to study. Sheesh.)
Alexandra (1922), a film for the ages. (If one is describing the time it seems to take in unreeling.)

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telical
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by telical » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:39 am

Who is the Ed Woods of silent film?
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earlytalkiebuffRob
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Tue Apr 03, 2018 12:58 pm

Dave Pitts wrote:First, I'm a connoisseur of Le Bad Cinema. Have seen my share of grade-Z productions. But they have to be cheesy and dopey to satisfy the itch -- the really insufferable films are the dull ones. In the silents, Larry Semon's Wizard of Oz is often cited as a totally inept, unwatchable mess. But it's watchable because it's dumb, and because Larry seems to think he's being hilarious when the bees are after him, etc., etc. (Also, it has some interesting production design.)
I recently sat through what I think is the worst (dullest) silent film ever, and I've seen 1085 silent features. It's the Dutch film Alexandra (1922), an interminably long soap opera starring I-don't-care and directed by I-don't-care. It's in the collectors market. I bought it on a whim, since I'd never heard of it & never seen a Dutch silent. It was so boring (and about 100 min. long, I think) that I had to pause it about 15 times over several days to get to the finish. Besides having a dull story, most of which I've blanked out, and an uncharismatic lead as Alexandra, who nonetheless bewitches the male lead -- it had primitive technique, with long takes and group shots of the characters, which meant whole scenes done in medium takes, much like the features of 1912-1916. I don't know how much of a film making scene there was in the Netherlands in '22, but, by the evidence of Alexandra, they were just starting, and there wasn't enough activity to spur collaboration and technical advance (even though they must have had German and Italian masterworks to study. Sheesh.)
Alexandra (1922), a film for the ages. (If one is describing the time it seems to take in unreeling.)
Reminds me of an NFT screening I attended of WE ARE BUILDING, a rather flatulent 1930 documentary about the Dutch building trade made by Joris Ivens. At the end of this two-hour-plus epic (there were about six of us scattered in the auditorium), I recall a young lady declare "That was the most boring film ever made!" I was not inclined to argue too much on that one...

This film was not the main purpose of my visit - think it was REDSKIN (1928), which was certainly worth seeing!
Last edited by earlytalkiebuffRob on Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

earlytalkiebuffRob
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Tue Apr 03, 2018 12:59 pm

wingate wrote:All titles with a*are British
Nothing Venture 1947*
The Lady Craved Excitement 1950*
Scream And Die1973*
Bobbikins1959*
The Man Who Finally Died1962*
Die Screaming Marianne1971*
The Girl On The Boat 1962*
How I Won The War1967*
Gypsy Blood1931*
Stick Em Up1950*
Sands Of The Desert1969*
As you can see quite a few stinkers have been made here in the UK
Nice to see a raspberry for THE MAN WHO FINALLY DIED, which sounded much more interesting than it actually was....

linquist
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by linquist » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:19 pm

I think anyone who enjoys silents has a bit of a vested pleasure in its style so that, unless the film was down right horrible, you could find something to respect about it. That makes finding the real stinkers harder. That and the fact that so many of them are not around.
Having spent a lot of time going through the 1910s film magazines, there were a few that were magnificent clunkers on a large scale. The first that comes to mind is Chaplin's SUNNYSIDE. While the film was very successful, many, many people complained about it. To me, its an odd film but nothing terrible. But for the public of that time, it followed his much beloved SHOULDER ARMS and the public seemed to hold it against him that SUNNYSIDE wasn't as good. There are many complaints in the magazines. "Another film like that and its goodbye, Charlie!" Worse, he followed it up with A DAY"S PLEASURE, which I believe he churned out to provide some fodder while he was making THE KID. The public hated PLEASURE also, but it seemed to disappear rather fast.
Still, the biggest clinker I read was Marguerite Clark's PRUNELLA. Boy, did the exhibitors and the public hate that film. As a play, I believe it got her the job at Paramount but people were getting sick of her fairy tale films and wanted her to stick to comedies. She didn't care what they thought. But, I don't believe she made another fairy tale afterwards.

Dave Pitts
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by Dave Pitts » Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:51 am

I never turn down an opportunity to see a silent. As part of that obsession, I've seen at least 100 silent 5-reel westerns, most of which seem interchangeable to me. But there's this to note about all the silents: they're now at least 89 years old (using '29 as the terminal point), and like all films, they're artifacts. So many levels of interest -- the cars, the fashions, the slang, the story-telling conventions. Even a dullish indie production geared for state's rights distribution to small town theaters gives you an insight into what sold tickets in our grand- or great-grandparents' day.

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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by boblipton » Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:18 am

linquist wrote:I think anyone who enjoys silents has a bit of a vested pleasure in its style so that, unless the film was down right horrible, you could find something to respect about it. That makes finding the real stinkers harder. That and the fact that so many of them are not around.
Having spent a lot of time going through the 1910s film magazines, there were a few that were magnificent clunkers on a large scale. The first that comes to mind is Chaplin's SUNNYSIDE. While the film was very successful, many, many people complained about it. To me, its an odd film but nothing terrible. But for the public of that time, it followed his much beloved SHOULDER ARMS and the public seemed to hold it against him that SUNNYSIDE wasn't as good. There are many complaints in the magazines. "Another film like that and its goodbye, Charlie!" Worse, he followed it up with A DAY"S PLEASURE, which I believe he churned out to provide some fodder while he was making THE KID. The public hated PLEASURE also, but it seemed to disappear rather fast.
Still, the biggest clinker I read was Marguerite Clark's PRUNELLA. Boy, did the exhibitors and the public hate that film. As a play, I believe it got her the job at Paramount but people were getting sick of her fairy tale films and wanted her to stick to comedies. She didn't care what they thought. But, I don't believe she made another fairy tale afterwards.
For me, it means I am sufficiently conversant with the techniques of silent film making not to be put off by those which have not survived to the current day. It does not mean that I am going to be enthralled by any piece of s**t.

Bob
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wich2
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by wich2 » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:13 am

boblipton wrote:For me, it means I am sufficiently conversant with the techniques of silent film making not to be put off by those which have not survived to the current day. It does not mean that I am going to be enthralled by any piece of s**t.

Bob
Well-writ, Bob.

That latter condition is common in advanced cases of any fandom!

I well recall folks at the Friends of Old Time Radio conventions rhapsodizing to the effect that ALL examples of that medium were sterling.

To which I responded (usually, to myself), "Have you actually LISTENED to much of it?!"

-Craig

earlytalkiebuffRob
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:36 pm

silentfilm wrote:For me, it is CHINATOWN NIGHTS (1929), shown at Cinecon a few years ago. This part-talkie was a curiosity, and a frustrating film. Completed as a silent, sound shots were inserted later. Unlike other part-talkies where the story stops for a few sound scenes, the sound was either post-dubbed, or it is integrated between silent shots. This really throws the pacing of the film off, since a shot that is a little fast because it was shot at 20 or 22 fps is followed by a natural-looking 24 fps sound shot. This film must be one of the most politically incorrect movies ever made (this side of GOLDEN DAWN). Besides featuring a stereotypical Tong war between Chinese gangs, one gang has a white leader, the really mean Wallace Beery. Beery slaps Florence Vidor and she likes it! The film makes fun of reporter Jack Oakie's stutter. The first five minutes is actually quite good, as tourists slumming in Chinatown are treated to fake scenes of Chinese life. (*)
What was the print quality? The upload I watched in 2016 was not too clever...

earlytalkiebuffRob
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:47 pm

A recent 'find', THE WOMAN IN THE SUITCASE (1920) surely deserves a place...

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FrankFay
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by FrankFay » Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:32 pm

wich2 wrote:
I well recall folks at the Friends of Old Time Radio conventions rhapsodizing to the effect that ALL examples of that medium were sterling.

To which I responded (usually, to myself), "Have you actually LISTENED to much of it?!"

-Craig
I've recently been listening to episodes of old radio horror shows. They're often entertaining, but often terribly creaky and melodramatic.
Eric Stott

earlytalkiebuffRob
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Re: Worst of the Worst

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:45 pm

N_Phay wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2016 2:16 pm
I'd pick out "The First Auto" for this category, such an unbelievably draggy film, it was a real struggle to get through it. During the struggle of getting to the end, one was continually beaten about the head with the film's "progress is good!" message, heavy handed to say the least. Rare that I see a film I can't ever imagine wanting to watch again, but that's one for sure. Sorry if anyone liked that one!
Must admit to finding THE FIRST AUTO a pleasing bit of fluff, especially as it was a film which was new to me. I'm also a Russell Simpson fan, in any case... So if anyone has a copy they don't want...

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