WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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Synnove
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Post by Synnove »

William S. Hart was also very like Clint Eastwood in that he popularized the "good bad man", years before Clint did. It makes his heroes more interesting, to be sure. Even though he basically turns over a new leaf as soon as he sets eyes on the good woman, without much internal conflict, he is still keeps in touch with his dark side. Although that kind of justice is not my kind of justice, I like Hell's Hinges because it shows what a harsh world it was. I think 1910's westerns are very interesting because they are close in time to the real wild west, and they are so grim. Hell's Hinges has many images which you won't forget in a hurry.
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silentscreen
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Post by silentscreen »

Synnove wrote:William S. Hart was also very like Clint Eastwood in that he popularized the "good bad man", years before Clint did. It makes his heroes more interesting, to be sure. Even though he basically turns over a new leaf as soon as he sets eyes on the good woman, without much internal conflict, he is still keeps in touch with his dark side. Although that kind of justice is not my kind of justice, I like Hell's Hinges because it shows what a harsh world it was. I think 1910's westerns are very interesting because they are close in time to the real wild west, and they are so grim. Hell's Hinges has many images which you won't forget in a hurry.


Excellent points! The Old West was highly romanticized, but in reality it was harsh. William S. Hart's appearance suited the parts he played. He had the dignity of the survivor about him, but he wasn't nice looking like Clint. I think it could be said that he was one of the earliest anti heroes.
"Humor is nothing less than a sense of the fitness of things." Carole Lombard
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

I watched Little Old New York with Marion Davies. This is the earliest Davies film I've seen. Marion adopts boys clothes to pose as her dead brother to get his inheritance for the family but falls in love with her guardian. The story is a pleasant but it's Marion that shines and plays a boy so convincingly. Better I would say than Mary Pickford, that is a big compliment coming from me.

I think Marion has one of the more interesting of the silent screen stars both in terms of career and private life.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
Synnove
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Post by Synnove »

I remember seeing clips from that one on the Marion Davies documentary. It looked as if it was one of the earliest examples of her getting to show some comedic skill. She didn't look so much like a boy, but she had a lot of fun with that part, it seemed.

Excellent points! The Old West was highly romanticized, but in reality it was harsh. William S. Hart's appearance suited the parts he played. He had the dignity of the survivor about him, but he wasn't nice looking like Clint. I think it could be said that he was one of the earliest anti heroes.


I agree that he had the dignity of the survivor about him! I think a part of the reason why he was so convincing in that role was that he actually came from that environment. He cared about his films, he wanted them to show the west accurately as he remembered it.

He was also an experienced Shakespearian actor, wasn't he? I think I saw a still of him from his theatre days once.
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silentscreen
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Post by silentscreen »

Yes Hart was an experienced Shakespearean actor. I heard him talk in a clip once and he had a wonderful voice and would have made the transistion to sound with no problem. :)

charliechaplinfan, I agree about Marion. She was a darned good little comedienne!
"Humor is nothing less than a sense of the fitness of things." Carole Lombard
Ollie
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Post by Ollie »

I can only find 3 Hart films on commercial DVD. I presume so many of his were destroyed by presumption-of-disinterest and subsequent film-rot.
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Post by Ollie »

I've really enjoyed the spate of Pre-Codes that TCM and Forbidden Hollywood has delivered. It's not the sex or nudity - it's the storylines and how those plot-devices were used in a way that, even now, I seldom see. I know that NIGHT NURSE's clothes-changing scenes were presented with some notion of titilating the male audience, but in fact, they weren't presented in a substantially different manner than seeing guys change into bowling shirts or cops getting into their civvies after their beat was done.

Yet, because it was women doing it, the filmmakers and studios just KNEW the male audience and tsk-tsk'ers would take it some other way. "Judging themselves" is the thought that really comes to mind... I'll bet women change their clothes almost every day!
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silentscreen
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Post by silentscreen »

Ollie wrote:I can only find 3 Hart films on commercial DVD. I presume so many of his were destroyed by presumption-of-disinterest and subsequent film-rot.


From what I've been able to find out thus far, Hart got into pictures with Thomas Ince, who was a personal friend. I'm really not sure about the survival rate of films from that studio. Jack Gilbert got his start there as well, also in Westerns. Hart later worked for Famous Players Lasky (a predecessor to Paramount Sudios ) Paramount it would seem aren't very interested in preserving their silent libary. At least that's what I've heard.

His last film, Tumbleweeds was made through United Artists, and I believe that one is still in existence.
"Humor is nothing less than a sense of the fitness of things." Carole Lombard
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

Synnove wrote:I remember seeing clips from that one on the Marion Davies documentary. It looked as if it was one of the earliest examples of her getting to show some comedic skill. She didn't look so much like a boy, but she had a lot of fun with that part, it seemed.


You're right she didn't look at all like a boy but her performance was so convincing. A truly multitalented comedienne :D
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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silentscreen
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Post by silentscreen »

Here's my review of Little Old New York.

Little Old New York, with Marion Davies, is a cute little period piece, nothing heavy, except it is one of her first performances as a comedienne and significant from that standpoint. In most of the movie she's disguised as a boy, although she neither looks nor really acts much like a boy. This isn't important to the story though, as it's equivalent to when an actor plays Abe Lincoln who doesn't look like the real Abe did, but everyone accepts that because it doesn't effect the story at all. You know who he's supposed to be! My favorite parts are the comedy bits when Marion makes her usual hysterical faces and when she dances an Irish jig. I thought they handled the historical aspects of the early part of the ninetieth century quite well. It takes place a the time of the invention and launch of the first steamboat, and several historical persons are portrayed. The sets and costumes are quite authentic looking and add to the ambiance.

Anyone who cares about silent movies and enjoys Marion Davies will like this one!
"Humor is nothing less than a sense of the fitness of things." Carole Lombard
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

Did I not mention the Irish jig!!! How could I have forgotten.

This film is proof that Marion made quality pictures earlier in her career too. :D
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

I treated myself last night and watched two silents

The first The Mating Call is a fast moving silent starring Thomas Meighan as a soldier in WW1 who marries his sweetheart secretly and returns from war to find his marriage annulled and his sweetheart married to Lon, a womanising member of the KKK. His sweetheart played by Evelyn Brent is unhappy with her marriage and wants to sleep with Thomas Meighan's character Leslie Hatten. Leslie manages to resist temptation and tells her that he married in France and his wife is on her way. He then has to find a wife and goes to Ellis Island and marries the lovely Catharine (Renee Adoree) in a marriage of convenience. He needs help on his farm and she needs a visa for herself and her parents. I don't want to include any spoilers so I'll stop here.

It's definetly precode it contains nudity and isn't shy of portraying the Klan in a bad light. Thank you for lending it to me Gagman :D

Next my good friend Marta sent me her Rudy collection. I am quite partial to Valentino but find his style a little too slick for my tastes. In Moran of The Lady Letty he was right up my street. He starts off as a bored socialite who is late arriving to sail on his friends yacht. The yacht has gone without him and he makes friend with a old sailor and buys him a drink, Rudy's drink is drugged and he gets shanghaied. He joins a ship belonging to Walter Long (often the baddie in Valentino's films) It proves to be the making of him. No more slicked back hair, in comes slightly ruffled hair, tight black clothes and white sneakers. I much prefer this Rudy. Moran of The Lady Letty is Dorothy Dalton who gets taken aboard Walter Longs ship when her own has to be abandoned. Walter Long's intentions aren't strictly honourable. He saviour is Rudy who looks out for her. Eventually the crew tire of their captain and revolt and throw him in the hold. He still has time to escape threatening Moran on an abandoned ship, all the othr crew have gone ashore including Rudy who comes back in time to save.

This film is a case of them living happily ever after. Ramon Laredo (Rudy's character) makes his life with Moran on the ocean waves.

One thing that really adds to this film is that it is filmed in San Francisco you can see Alcatraz in the background in some of the scenes and some of the piers too.

There is no sign in this film of any of the overplaying that Rudy was accused of in The Sheik which makes me think that he was directed that way for The Sheik and that he was a much more naturalistic actor than many give him credit for, interestingly this film was made by the same director who made the Sheik. I failed to take to Dorothy Dalton who looked far too startled sometime when she was meant to be looking lovingly at Rudy. A small criticism the film is excellent, I recommend any Rudy fan to get this boxset. Thank's again Marta :D
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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silentscreen
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Post by silentscreen »

The Mating Call is s surprising precode! Superb story and acting! That Thomas Meighan was very manly! He was an older matinee idol, having given up the stage for the fledgling film industry and becoming a favorite of Cecil B. DeMille. His masterpiece was The Miracle Man with Lon Chaney which is now sadly lost except for a small portion.

A friend is getting me The Valentino Collection for my birhday. I can hardly wait! :) I've seen Moran of the Lady Letty before, but not two of the other films included in the set. The extras are what make it though! They give you more of an insight into Valentino's personality.
"Humor is nothing less than a sense of the fitness of things." Carole Lombard
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

It's the kind of film that raises the spirits. Did I mention how toned he was in that one 8) :lol:
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
feaito

Post by feaito »

I do not know if "Free and Easy" (1930) could be called a "Pre-Code", but certainly it's pre-1934 :wink:

Thanks to Alison I watched this amusing film I have been wanting to see for decades, ever since I saw the clip of Bob Montgomery singing in the movie anthology "That's Entertainment" (1974). I've been intrigued by the sequence for years. It has lingered in my mind permanently, I do not why. Kind of uncanny, isn't it?

It is the first time I watch a film starring Buster Keaton (It's a shame I know, but I'm not very fond of comics) and I enjoyed the film, especially thanks to his performance and Trixie Friganza's. Also all the Hollywood background featuring real stars from that era playing themselves (Bill Haines, Fred Niblo, Gwen Lee, Dorothy Sebastian et al) was a plus.

Anita Page and Bob Montgomery are OK and look very young and handsome, but aside from that their performances do not amount to anyhing special here. Bob gave many excellent performances throughout the years and Anita's best performances I have seen are those she gave in "Our Modern Maidens" (1929) and "Night Court" (1932) (BTW, Phillips Holmes gives one of his best performance in the latter too).

I had always been intrigued by who was the lady who sang "It Must Be You" with Bob and I'm happy to know that it is a very lovely singer and actress named Lottice Howell, who made very few films; most notably she had a second lead in "In Gay Madrid" (1930), starring Ramón Novarro and Dorothy Jordan.

I also discovered that the lady playing Mimi in the "Free and Easy" number opposite Trixie and Buster is Estelle Moran, of whom I found scarce information.

I'm almost sure that the lady who plays the Princess in the "Queen has swooned" sequence opposite Buster is Marion Shilling. Can anyone confirm that?

Does anyone know who is the actress who is called "Carrie" by the director and plays one of the Princess' ladies in waiting?

In all the film was a highly amusing experience. Thanks again Alison :D
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