Swearing Silently

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
silent-partner
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Swearing Silently

Unread post by silent-partner » Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:41 pm

So have you ever caught a curse word emit from the lips from an actor?
I put my deaf sister to the test (she is obviously a great lip reader) some years ago and confirmed what I beleived; sometimes a bit more than 'goshdarnit' gets immortalized on nitrate.
I have since lost my notebooks but recently came across what I believe is the 'F' bomb on Criterion's HAXAN Witchcraft through the Ages (1922, Sweden).
It appears to be purposly done as possessed nuns dance and cavort around. At approx. 1:25:50 a close-up of a nuns face she seems to say '**** God!!!'.
I know this is a foreign movie but is it beyond belief that this would happen given the subjet matter?


What movies have you seen that made you say 'What? Did I just see what I thought I saw???'

Remember Harold Lloyd giving himself the finger in the funny mirror?

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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by milefilms » Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:23 pm

silent-partner wrote:
I have since lost my notebooks but recently came across what I believe is the 'F' bomb on Criterion's HAXAN Witchcraft through the Ages (1922, Sweden).
It appears to be purposly done as possessed nuns dance and cavort around. At approx. 1:25:50 a close-up of a nuns face she seems to say '**** God!!!'.
I know this is a foreign movie but is it beyond belief that this would happen given the subjet matter?
I'm sure you're right that it's possible, but the fact that they're speaking Swedish in the film would make me think that "God" is possible but most likely another curse is used.
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Darren Nemeth
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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Darren Nemeth » Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:27 pm

silent-partner wrote:So have you ever caught a curse word emit from the lips from an actor?
I put my deaf sister to the test (she is obviously a great lip reader) some years ago and confirmed what I beleived; sometimes a bit more than 'goshdarnit' gets immortalized on nitrate.
I have since lost my notebooks but recently came across what I believe is the 'F' bomb on Criterion's HAXAN Witchcraft through the Ages (1922, Sweden).
It appears to be purposly done as possessed nuns dance and cavort around. At approx. 1:25:50 a close-up of a nuns face she seems to say '**** God!!!'.
I know this is a foreign movie but is it beyond belief that this would happen given the subjet matter?


What movies have you seen that made you say 'What? Did I just see what I thought I saw???'

Remember Harold Lloyd giving himself the finger in the funny mirror?
There is swearing in WINGS and that Edison feature starring Erik VonStrheim.

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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Chris Snowden » Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:01 pm

There's a scene in Gloria Swanson's Fine Manners in which she's yelling at the hero, and it winds up with a dialogue intertitle that ends with the words "you can go to - - - " followed by a medium shot of Gloria mouthing a shouted "HELL!"

It's done so openly and obviously that even near-sighted folks in the back row of the theater couldn't have missed it.
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Unread post by Danny Burk » Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:14 pm

Gloria also lets loose in SADIE THOMPSON, and the exchanges between Edmund Lowe and Victor McLaglen in WHAT PRICE GLORY are well known. At Cinesation a few weeks ago, there was a scene in HER SISTER FROM PARIS in which George K. Arthur very clearly referred to Ronald Colman as an SOB, to much amusement from the audience...many of whom were obviously good at lip-reading.

Almost forgot...Clara is pretty foul-mouthed to the social workers in IT as well...

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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Jack Theakston » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:13 pm

Bumping this because as I'm sitting here watching BIG BUSINESS for the umpteenth time, I've noticed something. In the film, Stan starts slicing away at Jimmy Finlayson's door frame. Cut to a close-up of Finlayson looking through the window in the door. Is he saying what I think he's saying? It may be one of the most blatant swearings I've ever seen in a silent film, and I've missed it.

Incidentally, there's a moment in GET OUT AND GET UNDER in which Lloyd drives up on a railroad platform, and is clearly saying "Oh, s***" in his reaction shot.
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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:41 pm

Wings has many recognizable "bastard!"s, and I was amused to see that in one instance, "Goddam son of a bitch" is cut off at the B, as if the rest of it were fine.
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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Gagman 66 » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:43 pm

:) Colleen Moore calls a Masher a particularly nasty name while on duty as a lobby phone operator in ORCHIDS AND ERMINE. The lady on the other end of the line thinks she is addressing her. It is a very funny sequence.

Or how about when Harold Lloyd covers the little old ladies ears in GET OUT AND GET UNDER so she can't hear him curse out his stubborn automobile? The way Vince Giordano scored that sequence was a riot.
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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Donald Binks » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:11 am

Not so long back I was watching a documentary where the silent footage Eva Braun had shot at Hitler's holiday retreat in Bavaria had been watched by a bevvy of lip-readers. A script was made and actors dubbed in the voices. It was quite well done and gave you an extra dimension.

I have often thought what a wizard whease it would be to do the same thing to some silent pictures. It would bring another perspective to them - especially some scenes from "What Price Glory"

Just a thought.
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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Jim Reid » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:00 am

You don't mean Eva was cursing, do you?

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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by moviepas » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:10 am

have often thought what a wizard whease it would be to do the same thing to some silent pictures. It would bring another perspective to them - especially some scenes from "What Price Glory"

Just a thought.

Not a real good idea if the dubbing of lost audio from serials is any guide. It is awful to the ear compared to the surviving original audio. I would prefer leaving it silent or even subtitles added compiled from a surviving script.

Goddam was a common expression from my friends at the local film institute in the 1970s. I used to visit often and deliver films to railway stations for them to go to schools of film societies. It was Goddam this and Goddam that when having a problem with a US film. But usually the trendies that ran the institute(who were not my friends but rather my friends were in the library area of the place & I saw a lot of films of all kids as a result) dropped the F word like people drop 5c coins on the street today. Didn't matter who was there and some of the best known local filmmakers(many went to USA later) came thru there.

On TV today they have their buttons to beep, or, rather now erase a word but usually they miss and the F or C word is clear to the viewers' ears in news or 60mins type shows. They seem to cover car number plates OK and faces when they have to.

On radio they have the 7-8 second delay during the peak hours for naughty words, name of people not involved in the broadcast(referring to court cases) or other such. In the wee hours they usually let the words go thru without a hitch & a lot of sleepless little old ladies listen to the radio in those hours and often call up.

When Love Story was made they filmed some extra takes of scenes without the swearing for subsequent TV broadcasting but left it in for Patton on TV because they reckoned that the public would expect the likes of Patton & his crew to talk that way in a theater of war. I am referring to early 1970s US TV when I lived there. My local affiliate(CBS?) had the manager give the famous editorials that were a feature of US TV then(may still be for all I know) about why he was going to show a different film to the national broadcast of In Cold Blood. But of course, if you could pick up Toledo stations the affiliate there screened it.

Those words are used so often these days everywhere, it might be a case that if they left them out of a film people would say they heard lots of swearing in the film!!!!

A film buff friend of mine fell a few days in a row and on his final fall in his bedroom on Saturday he died soon after. He was in mid-90s. One of his four sons is a playwright and journalist(another writes kid's books but can otherwise rarely gets accepted for a job anywhere). The playwright wrote a play based on his parents(which actually predicted his mother's later mental disease) and there was a lot of swearing in it. The dad went to see it but left mum at home and took along 6 cans of beer for the actor(now also a playwright etc) playing him. My friend was horrified at all the language and the C word coming out of the mouth of the actress playing the mum. Dad asks son about it and he was told that if he did not put those words in his plays no one would workshop them and ultimately stage them. Sign of the times all those years ago(1980s).

We used to be told that using such adjectives was a poor command of our language. Hmmm. Immigrants to my country used to tell me it was OK to use such word because English was not their first language!!!!! I don't buy that.But I have to sa some of the ways they use these words in speech can be hilarious at times.

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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Donald Binks » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:36 am

Not a real good idea if the dubbing of lost audio from serials is any guide. It is awful to the ear compared to the surviving original audio. I would prefer leaving it silent or even subtitles added compiled from a surviving script.

I meant it to be a good basis for an interesting documentary - not that silents be released with talking! Heaven forbid!

I agree with you concerning the general lapse into whatever goes. On Australian TV after 2030 anything goes - language, nudity - you name it. The worst of the lot are those stand-up comedians/iennes who cannot seem to get through a sentence without an obscenity. I switched off one comedienne who decided to base her whole routine on secret woman's business. At least in the days of the silent pictures and early talkies they made family pictures.
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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by sepiatone » Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:56 pm

DON JUAN(1926)
John Barrymore VERY OBVIOUSLY calls Estelle Taylor(playing evil Lucretia Borgia) a 'bitch' after she has him locked in a dungeon and she shuts the door behind her.

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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Gagman 66 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:10 pm

Chris Snowden wrote:There's a scene in Gloria Swanson's Fine Manners in which she's yelling at the hero, and it winds up with a dialogue intertitle that ends with the words "you can go to - - - " followed by a medium shot of Gloria mouthing a shouted "HELL!"

It's done so openly and obviously that even near-sighted folks in the back row of the theater couldn't have missed it.
:? Hmm, I though Hell's and Damn's where pretty common in Silent Title-cards? I've seen all kinds of them. And sometimes even a little rougher language as well.

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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by All Darc » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:45 pm

Once I saw a article where a restorer said a brazilian talk film survived with footage but no audio. They found the key actor was still alive and call then to dubby the film. Lip reading experts was called to transcript the dialoge.
I though their voice could be too aged and not fit well into their own old performances. I would like to see this restoration just to check it.

People who read lips probably get many surprises with silenms.
Keep thinking...

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alcibiades
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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by alcibiades » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:23 pm

Image

Image

Buster dropping the F-bomb. I am a terrible lipreader, I actually never noticed this until this was pointed out a couple of days ago.

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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by LouieD » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:52 pm

alcibiades wrote:Image

Image

Buster dropping the F-bomb. I am a terrible lipreader, I actually never noticed this until this was pointed out a couple of days ago.
Doesn't look like it to me.

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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Danny Burk » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:20 am

I don't think so either. See Clara Bow in IT for genuine usage.....

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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Jim Roots » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:41 pm

In the opening minutes of Ella Cinders (1926), the character of "Lotta Pill" (Doris Baker) is introduced sitting in bed yelling at Ella (Colleen you-know-who) to make her breakfast. When Ella leaves the room, there is a close-up of Lotta as she splutters something in a rage.

It took me five repeats to figure out she was saying, "She's a little brat!" It sure looks like, "Shitty brat!"


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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Rollo Treadway » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:44 pm

Gagman 66 wrote:Hmm, I though Hell's and Damn's where pretty common in Silent Title-cards?
John Gilbert has both "Hell" and "Damn" in The Big Parade, which I guess few objected to given the context. I was more surprised at his dialogue in The Show: "Christ! He's dead!"

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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Darren Nemeth » Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:01 pm

There are a couple moments in TELL IT TO THE MARINES.
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Platinum Blonde

Unread post by JFK » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:23 pm

REMOVED FOR COPYRIGHT VIOLATION
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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by The Blackbird » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:10 am

Not quite silent, but...
Edgar Kennedy sounds like he's saying "Oh, ****!" when the parson walks by in THE PERFECT DAY.

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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Brooksie » Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:35 am

Danny Burk wrote:I don't think so either. See Clara Bow in IT for genuine usage.....
According to Michael Sragow's book on Victor Fleming, Clara drops the F-bomb during Hula (1927). I'll believe it when I see it.

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Danny Burk
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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Danny Burk » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:53 pm

Brooksie wrote:
Danny Burk wrote:I don't think so either. See Clara Bow in IT for genuine usage.....
According to Michael Sragow's book on Victor Fleming, Clara drops the F-bomb during Hula (1927). I'll believe it when I see it.
I don't remember it in HULA, but it's easy to spot in IT; watch the sequence when the social workers are suddenly offended during their visit.

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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by SteppenBow59 » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:04 pm

In the first scene of Hula, where Clara is skinny dipping, a bee stings her and she appears to say "F***!" almost right after.

Right after 0:27.


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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Brooksie » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:05 pm

Eh, I don't know. I sometimes think we can (lip) read too much into these things. Then again, I didn't believe the 'sonuvabitch' in Wings until I saw the restoration. No debating that one! :shock:

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Monsieur X
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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Monsieur X » Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:12 pm

I'm pretty sure that's the F-bomb. It makes sense in the context, and it sure looks like it!
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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Little Caesar » Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:26 pm

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I saw John Barrymore calling someone an SOB (he didn't use the acronym though :lol: ) in "The Beloved Rogue."
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Re: Swearing Silently

Unread post by Jim Roots » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:43 am

In Beau Geste, the first time sadistic Lejaune inspects his new recruits, he walks past the Americans, Hank and Buddy. Hank mutters something -- my guess is Victor McLaughlin didn't say any actual words but just made mouth-noises. But Donald ... forget his last name, he plays Buddy the little guy ... he mutters five words, of which the first, third, and fifth are all the same f-bomb. I guess his vocabulary was somewhat limited. Or else he was a rhyming poet.

Jim

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