WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

I'm so glad you liked it Feaito.

I wished the ending were different, but then I always have liked Buster 8) :wink:
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
Marta
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Post by Marta »

charliechaplinfan wrote: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



You're more than welcome Alison. I knew you'd enjoy the Rudy collection. He was definitely one in a million.
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

Last night I watched the reconstruction of The Young Rajah. It wasn't the film I expected. I have seen the clips of him decked out in pearls but much of the action was set in America.

Flicker Alley have done an excellent job with the third of the film that they have. Let's hope that the remainder of the film is found one day.

Also included was a Society Sensation with Carmel Myers. Rudy plays a society boy in this film who gets rescued from drowning by Carmel.

It's a good set.

I also had chance to see The Docks of New York by one of my favorite directors Josef Von Sternberg. I've loved his films with Marlene. What struck me first was the likeness of Betty Compson to the younger Dietrich. Perhaps Sternberg liked a certain type.

Whereas Marlene's films glamourised her this film was set in the seedy New York Docklands. In a bar frequented by sailors and ladies of the night and in the apartment where Betty Compson lives. George Bancroft plays the male lead, a burly and gruff stoker used to carousing and then going on his way the next day.

This film is so well told I forgot there was no dialogue only titles cards. Betty Compson's performance conveyed so much. A marvellous silent.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
feaito

Post by feaito »

This film is so well told I forgot there was no dialogue only titles cards. Betty Compson's performance conveyed so much. A marvellous silent.


Alison, I felt pretty much the same when I watched it. It's one of the best Silents I've seen. A timeless film.

Today I had a Borzage Fest thanks to Christine.

I got to watch three great films directed by the Master in a row:

"Secrets" (1933). Nobody is going to believe me but this is the first film I've seen Mary Pickford in :oops: ...and it's kind of uncanny that it was her final film.

I had wanted to watch this one ever since I saw a still featuring Mary and Leslie Howard in a Movie Encyclopaedia I bought in 1981 and I was not disappointed after the long wait.

In spite of the fact that Mary was over 40 when this film was made, in the first part of the movie she conveyed the innocence and candor of a young girl falling in love for the first (and only) time. She and Leslie Howard had chemistry and played their roles in a sensitive, exquisite manner.

Beautiful cinematography.

"Man's Castle" (1933). This one is a gem. Superb!! Bravo!! In spite of the fact that the cuts the film was subjected to are noticeable, it is nevertheless a masterpiece.

The impressive chemistry between Loretta Young and Spencer Tracy is real; in their scenes together one feels the real love and attraction that must have been going between both, because they convey so much; it goes beyond acting ability, they are living their parts.

Never has Loretta been so radiant, so human, so magnificent, so honest in a role. This ranks among my three favorite Loretta films along with "Zoo in Budapest" and "Midnight Mary", all done in 1933. What a glorious year for her! And Spencer Tracy is equally flawless as Bill, the immature boy-man who falls for Loretta's character.

One of the best love stories I have seen. The ethereal cinematography is supreme. The soft focus shots of Loretta's face, especially her eyes, are dreamlike.

The supporting cast is uniformly excellent.

This film should be on DVD!

"A Farewell to Arms" (1932)- The restored uncensored version running 89 minutes.

I had seen the PD prints of this film many times, but I hadn't dreamed of watching this version. It's a different film. Much more romantic and risqué. Another Borzage masterpiece.

I feel that the director took Hemingway's story and transformed it into something superior. The War serves only as background to one of the most beautiful romances of the XXth Century. Helen Hayes and Gary Cooper are sublime together and their scenes have so much truth and are so moving. Cooper easily gives one of the best performances of his long career.

Regarding Gary Cooper's career I feel something similar than with Loretta Young; they made their best films in the 1930s, especially during the Pre-Code Era. There was a vulnerability, a sensibility and a charming naïveté in Coop's acting that was never quite the same afterwards.

Thanks again Christine!
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Ann Harding
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Post by Ann Harding »

I am really glad you enjoyed them, Fernando! :D
Man's Castle is also a favourite of mine and certainly should be on DVD ASAP!!!! 8)
It's a shame that Borzage's best movies are still not available commercially while so many lesser quality classics are on the market :(
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

Man's Castle is excellent. Thanks to Christine I got to see it too.

I felt the same about Secrets. So hard to believe Mary was 40 when she made this film. I have seen lots of Mary Pickford film and I've alway preferred her when she plays women as opposed to children.
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 »

My little review of Man's Castle:

Recently I had the pleasure or viewing Man's Castle with Loretta Young and Spencer Tracy. First off, I think Man's Castle is one of the best depression era love stories that I've ever seen! Kudos to Borzage for his fine sense of romantic drama in Depression era America. This ranks as one of the best precodes I've ever seen as well! It reminds me somewhat of Seventh Heaven in it's foundation of love transcending poverty and hardship in an almost spiritual sense. I've never seen Tracy when he was so young and virile. His chemistry with Young is obvious. I believe I read somewhere that this was his first leading role. Young is luminous as the shanty town domestic goddess. Her fragility is misleading as she makes the best of her situation and captivates the resistant Tracy.

Wonderful movie!
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Avalon
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Post by Avalon »

I taped "Across to Singapore" off of TCM, and even though it was (IMO) a mediocre programmer, I still enjoyed it. Ramon Novarro - rowr. :lol:
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

Last night I watched The Phantom of The Opera with Lon Chaney. I had watched this once before but with the worst soundtrack, a punk/keyboard score, this was on a commercial disc too. Anyhow I watched it with the sound turned off.

The version I watch last night had a Carl Davis score (silents don't come with better scores). It was like watching a completely different film. It brought it to life. Far more chilling was this version than the recent musical. Lon Chaney was extremely chilling with his mask, a blank face and grotesque without it. The director tempted us with shadows before revealing the horror of the Phantom. This film didn't build up any sympathy for the Phantom he was thoroughly unlikeable.

The masque ball was in colour which I don't remember from my earlier DVD.

In fact with Phantom of The Opera I cut my teeth and realised I needed to do more research before buying discs. Therefore I joined my first forum and got knowledgable.

Thanks for lending Gagman :D
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
feaito

Post by feaito »

Yesterday I watched "Let's Go Native" (1930) a naïve Pre-Code with Jeanette MacDonald, James Hall, Jack Oakie, Skeets Gallagher, Kay Francis, David Newell, William Austin and Eugene Pallette. Some good songs, funny moments, sexy pre-code elements and Jeanette is so different from her MGM films that if you played this one back to back with "Bittersweet" (1940) -for instance- you wouldn't believe they are the same actress. She really had a sexy, mischievous, tongue-in-cheek quality that she lost completely in her MGM period. Kay is very youthful too. Oakie, Gallagher and especially William Austin provide the fun. Enjoyable in spite of the poor quality of the print.
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Post by SSO Admins »

Avalon wrote:I taped "Across to Singapore" off of TCM, and even though it was (IMO) a mediocre programmer, I still enjoyed it. Ramon Novarro - rowr. :lol:


Have you seen The Pagan?
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Gagman 66
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Post by Gagman 66 »

Jondaris,

:D I have THE PAGAN (1929) on DVD-R. I personally like this film, very much, but I know a few others that did not. True Renee Adoree is lost in the shuffle of the story, and is not given as much to do as one of her talent's is entitled. That part is rather disappointing.

:o Ramon Novarro is very good as the care-free Pagan islander, ! Donald Crisps character is a real Son of a Gun! To me, Dorothy Janis pretty much steals the film with her staggering beauty! Definitely ranking her among the top five most stunning ladies in all of Silent Cinema! Plus her performance is equally lovely. Great vintage Metro-tone track, including the popular "Pagan Love Song". Haven't watched this in a couple years, so to give a detailed review I will need to view it again.

Alison,

:) Lon Chaney's THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is one of the very few Carl Davis scored Silent's from the Channel Four Silents series available on official DVD from Milestone. Part of their 2 disc Ultimate Edition DVD set. Although, it is only the shortened 1929 re-issue version that has the Davis score, and has been beautifully restored,

:cry: It's very sad that the original 1925 version only exists in poor 16 Millimeter reduction prints, The heavily re-edited 1929 version, and the 1925 Original release, are not very much alike. It's virtually like watching two different films! In addition to "The Ball Masque", two other sequences were filmed in 2-strip Technicolor, but they are both now lost.

:oops: Mary Philbin who portrayed Christine, like Dorothy Janis also made my top 10 list of Silent Screen beauties. An astonishingly lovely Woman to be sure. Few of her films have survived. The only others that I have seen are Von Stroheim's/Moulin's, MERRY GO ROUND (1923), and Paul Leni's THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (1928). Norman Kerry was a big leading man, Sort of Universal pictures version of Fairbanks earlier on, and later more of John Gilbert type.

:? THE DOCKS OF NEW YORK is another one of the great Paramount titles that should really be on official DVD. A Von Sternberg's Silents set would be a great Idea. With SALVATION HUNTERS, UNDERWORLD, THE DOCKS OF NEW YORK, and THE LAST COMMAND, though it will probably never see the light of day.

:roll: Burly George Bancroft was a Major Paramount Star in the 20's. Betty Compson was a very big name Silent Film Actress who's work has pretty much vanished all together. Olga Baclanova, was quite well known in her day as well. Shocking you repeatedly as the deviant Duchess in THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

:o THE DOCKS OF NEW YORK is such a well made film in every respect. Stunningly photographed, and very good prints of this movie still exist! So there is no reason that it has not been released on official DVD.

:roll: I never really thought of Compson as a Dietrich type before. Betty through most of her career was a Strawberry blonde. She worked with many of the greats. I have a few of her other films, but not very many. Grapevine just released one of her long unseen features, James Cruze THE PONY EXPRESS (1925), a few weeks ago.
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phil noir
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Post by phil noir »

Hello to you all. I’ve been reading this Board for several weeks, and I thought I’d jump in. I’ve just seen Clara Bow’s last film, Hoop-La. Not as good as Call Her Savage, but still enjoyable (but then I don’t think I’ve ever not enjoyed a film with Clara in). I was surprised what a talented actor Richard Cromwell was – I hadn’t seen him in anything else, and for some reason, I thought he’d be a bit weak, but he wasn’t.

I particularly liked the last scene, which doesn’t end in the expected clinch between the lovers. Instead, while father-in-law Preston Foster ‘spiels’ her to the fairground crowd, there's a long close-up of Clara stretching her arms up, vamping and smiling: projecting out to the audience (to the cinema audience as well) rather than to one man. It struck me as a nice final shot for a great star in her last film.
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Avalon
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Post by Avalon »

jondaris wrote:Have you seen The Pagan?


Not yet! As you could imagine, I really want to. :mrgreen:
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Synnove
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Post by Synnove »

Hello Phil Noir! Thanks for that review. I like that, it does indeed sound like an appropriate farewell for her. It is a good thing she managed to end her career with two decent movies.

I saw Show People today. This is an sweet story about a girl who comes to Hollywood, gains stardom and loses herself. The scene where she is about to get married to the duke and remembers what it was like to be really in love was very touching, it elevated the film to a high level for me.

As a satire it's a success too. It's a valuable film to see for anyone who has read about this period in Hollywood history and knows what they're talking about, and what famous stars are showing up on the screen. Chaplin's cameo is especially nice. One star who doesn't make a cameo and doesn't need to is Gloria Swanson, she is already clearly present in Marion Davies's portrayal of 'Patricia Pepoire' (what a name!). Show People might start out as fairly innocent, lightweight comedy, but in the end it is pretty ruthless to certain famous stars. Mostly thanks to Marion Davies's performance. Well, they probably deserved it. Today's star system isn't what it once was, that's for sure. They don't make 'em like that anymore.

Marion Davies is very sweet in this role, and isn't afraid of making herself ridiculous. She does a good job of bringing out Peggy Pepper in Patricia. The music score is nice, I wish someone could restore it or create a new one based on the original. It fits the mood of the film, but the sound quality isn't great.

I liked seeing the clip from Bardleys the Magnificent, since it has been found again so recently! I also thought the ending was perfect.

It's a very enjoyable comedy, and a lovely look at 20's Hollywood. Thank you Alison.
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