Queen Kelly (1929)

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
Michael O'Regan
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Queen Kelly (1929)

Unread post by Michael O'Regan » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:40 am

I watched this (or whats left of it) for the first time last night. Wonderful film. Swanson looks gorgeous; Tully Marshall is deliciously disgusting. Seena Owen frothing at the mouth...yeh!!
Is the Kino the best available?
Is the alternative ending viewable anywhere online?
Is all of the footage of Swanson running the whorehouse lost?

allen john
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Re: Queen Kelly (1929)

Unread post by allen john » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:13 pm

Michael O'Regan wrote:I watched this (or whats left of it) for the first time last night. Wonderful film. Swanson looks gorgeous; Tully Marshall is deliciously disgusting. Seena Owen frothing at the mouth...yeh!!
Is the Kino the best available?
Is the alternative ending viewable anywhere online?
Is all of the footage of Swanson running the whorehouse lost?
Well, I'm not sure this part was ever shot... To my knowledge, the Kino version contains virtually everything that's available.

(By the way, i think this is my first post here. Hello everyone)

andybenz
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Re: Queen Kelly (1929)

Unread post by andybenz » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:16 pm

As far as I know the outtakes from "Queen Kelly" were bought by director Dudley Murphy who made two reels of edited footage available (in the 1960s?) which are in the Kino version. All the other reels were lost when his basement was flooded.
The footage in the Kino version stops very nearly at the point when Swanson decided to shut the production down.
The re-shot and re-edited ending from the 1932 version is on the Kino disc.

Dave Pitts
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Re: Queen Kelly (1929)

Unread post by Dave Pitts » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:36 am

Ditto to the second and third posts. About aborting the film: Swanson did a commentary for a TV showing (sometime in the 60s or early 70s, I think.) I think Kino has it as an extra -- at any rate, I watched it the last time I ran the film. Her remarks about the day she left the set and let her producers notify Von Stroheim that it was over dovetail with what you see in the restored cut -- it made sense. She realized that V.S. was about to film so much twisted whorehouse footage that the picture would be unreleasable. What a crazy, addictive film -- I love the scenes in the start where she ends up overnighting with the prince consort -- very lush, romantic fantasy. In retrospect, what doesn't work is the notion of Swanson, age about 30, playing a convent schoolgirl -- there was no attempt to tone down her makeup. When she goes nuts over losing her panties, she actually looks like a woman who would lose them on purpose.

R Michael Pyle
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Re: Queen Kelly (1929)

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:48 am

Had the privilege around 1980 of meeting Diva Swanson at a showing of "Queen Kelly" as she was going around showing how the film would have played out with "fill out" scenes. She said it was the first time she'd seen the film in many years, and she was SO-O-O sauve and elegant about all of it. What struck me most about her was how small she was! She couldn't have been more than 5', if that, but the older Swanson oozed the polish of old-fashioned Hollywood, as if at a premiere of a film. I have the Kino version, and, as far as I remember, this was all that was shown at that showing years ago. It was in Indianapolis at an old theater that used to run silent films and do other "older-venue-things" before the place became a porno theater. It's no longer there.

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Jim Roots
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Re: Queen Kelly (1929)

Unread post by Jim Roots » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:13 pm

R Michael Pyle wrote:Had the privilege around 1980 of meeting Diva Swanson at a showing of "Queen Kelly" as she was going around showing how the film would have played out with "fill out" scenes. She said it was the first time she'd seen the film in many years, and she was SO-O-O sauve and elegant about all of it. What struck me most about her was how small she was! She couldn't have been more than 5', if that, but the older Swanson oozed the polish of old-fashioned Hollywood, as if at a premiere of a film. I have the Kino version, and, as far as I remember, this was all that was shown at that showing years ago. It was in Indianapolis at an old theater that used to run silent films and do other "older-venue-things" before the place became a porno theater. It's no longer there.
Michael, as a long-time NitrateVillain, you will probably remember (when somebody else takes the trouble to jolt your memory) that we had a thread here a couple of years ago about the heights of silent film stars. The average for the women was somewhere around 5'1". The male comedians (Chaplin, Keaton, Vernon, etc.) was somewhere around 5'6". The male dramatic stars were taller by 2 or 3 inches. In short, they were all short.

But let's remember also that the average person was much smaller in the 1900-1930 period than today. Photos and movies of World War One soldiers constantly stun me with the narrowness of the men's shoulders and hips. And in Canada, there was actually a "Bantam Battalion" of soldiers whose average height was 5'0".

Jim

earlytalkiebuffRob
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Re: Queen Kelly (1929)

Unread post by earlytalkiebuffRob » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:23 pm

andybenz wrote:As far as I know the outtakes from "Queen Kelly" were bought by director Dudley Murphy who made two reels of edited footage available (in the 1960s?) which are in the Kino version. All the other reels were lost when his basement was flooded.
The footage in the Kino version stops very nearly at the point when Swanson decided to shut the production down.
The re-shot and re-edited ending from the 1932 version is on the Kino disc.
What else was known to be lost in this flooding?

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Changsham
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Re: Queen Kelly (1929)

Unread post by Changsham » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:13 pm

Jim Roots wrote:
R Michael Pyle wrote:Had the privilege around 1980 of meeting Diva Swanson at a showing of "Queen Kelly" as she was going around showing how the film would have played out with "fill out" scenes. She said it was the first time she'd seen the film in many years, and she was SO-O-O sauve and elegant about all of it. What struck me most about her was how small she was! She couldn't have been more than 5', if that, but the older Swanson oozed the polish of old-fashioned Hollywood, as if at a premiere of a film. I have the Kino version, and, as far as I remember, this was all that was shown at that showing years ago. It was in Indianapolis at an old theater that used to run silent films and do other "older-venue-things" before the place became a porno theater. It's no longer there.
Michael, as a long-time NitrateVillain, you will probably remember (when somebody else takes the trouble to jolt your memory) that we had a thread here a couple of years ago about the heights of silent film stars. The average for the women was somewhere around 5'1". The male comedians (Chaplin, Keaton, Vernon, etc.) was somewhere around 5'6". The male dramatic stars were taller by 2 or 3 inches. In short, they were all short.

But let's remember also that the average person was much smaller in the 1900-1930 period than today. Photos and movies of World War One soldiers constantly stun me with the narrowness of the men's shoulders and hips. And in Canada, there was actually a "Bantam Battalion" of soldiers whose average height was 5'0".

Jim
No steroids, hormones and whatever else they put into food these days especially in poultry, beef and pork. Future generations will be Frankenhumans.

Wm. Charles Morrow
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Re: Queen Kelly (1929)

Unread post by Wm. Charles Morrow » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:08 am

Jim Roots wrote:
R Michael Pyle wrote:Had the privilege around 1980 of meeting Diva Swanson at a showing of "Queen Kelly" as she was going around showing how the film would have played out with "fill out" scenes. She said it was the first time she'd seen the film in many years, and she was SO-O-O sauve and elegant about all of it. What struck me most about her was how small she was! She couldn't have been more than 5', if that . . . [edit]
Michael, as a long-time NitrateVillain, you will probably remember (when somebody else takes the trouble to jolt your memory) that we had a thread here a couple of years ago about the heights of silent film stars. The average for the women was somewhere around 5'1". The male comedians (Chaplin, Keaton, Vernon, etc.) was somewhere around 5'6". The male dramatic stars were taller by 2 or 3 inches. In short, they were all short.

But let's remember also that the average person was much smaller in the 1900-1930 period than today. Photos and movies of World War One soldiers constantly stun me with the narrowness of the men's shoulders and hips. And in Canada, there was actually a "Bantam Battalion" of soldiers whose average height was 5'0".

Jim
I met Miss Swanson in 1976. I was a teenager at the time, but had already reached my full height of 5'11" (or close to it), and I was also struck by her small stature. She was wearing a hat, but the top of it didn't reach my chin. I've heard that when people said to her "I'm pleased to meet you," she'd reply: "And I'll bet you're surprised at the little runt you found." But she didn't say anything like that to me. Maybe she saved it for the grownups.

A couple of years ago I attended a museum exhibition of costumes from Hollywood's heyday, and saw several famous movie outfits once worn by the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, etc. We were able to get fairly close to the displays, close enough to get a sense of their size. And yes indeed, it was noticeable how tiny all the outfits were. People really were smaller then, generally speaking.

Getting back to Queen Kelly, I'd agree that Swanson was too old for the part, especially in those early school girl scenes. Fay Wray would have been perfect for the title role. But then, she was in no position to co-produce the picture.
-- Charlie Morrow

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