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WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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drednm
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby drednm » September 10th, 2010, 9:38 pm

I watched the 1922 film, The Bohemian Girl starring Ivor Novello and Gladys Cooper. The first 2 reels are missing but the story is so trite a few lines fill it in. Supporting cast includes C. Aubrey Smith, Constance Collier (excellent as the Gypsy Queen), and the legendary Ellen Terry.

The cast alone is worth the time.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » September 11th, 2010, 2:44 pm

Birdy, you're on the right film. It does start with a suicide at the beginning. The Divorcee is a better film I feel, I enjoy Norma whenever she's playing in her precode roles.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Birdy
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Birdy » September 14th, 2010, 9:30 pm

You got me thinking so I rewatched Strangers May Kiss. I was thinking of the right one. I could totally see the ending with Lizbeth committing suicide, but am glad they ended up together after other. Otherwise, the movie wouldn't be one to watch over and over.

I am on a precode jag, and watched one new to me: Behind Office Doors, 1931, Mary Astor, Robert Ames, Richardo Cortez. Mary plays the good girl, in love with and ignored by her boss, who has to decide whether to turn bad or wait it out... Her character was great, it reminded me of Irene Dunne's character in Bachelor Apartment. I think Ms. Astor was lovelier in the later 30s. She kind of came into her own.

The best charcacter was the ditzy secretary Daisy : "Who you callin' Greek?"

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » September 15th, 2010, 1:28 pm

I like Behind Office Doors, it's an engaging precode.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Birdy
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Birdy » September 15th, 2010, 11:21 pm

Another new pre-code for me today:
Big Brown Eyes 1936 with Cary Grant and Joan Bennett. They are a great romantic sleuth couple, up against Walter Pidgeon as the smooth, gentlemanly foil, Lloyd Nolan as the slimeball, and Alan Baxter as the , uh....I can only think of the modern word for it and I can't print it here. Let's see...what would be the 30's word? Creep is all I've got. There are also a couple of the best looking mob goons I've ever seen in a pre-code. Maybe it was just a mood. I really enjoyed Joan Bennett in this and apparently need to look for more. I've really only paid attention to her in period pieces but would like to see more of her as the snappy-talking hard-boiled pre-coder.
B

PS In the opening credits, the screenplay came from a detective story called "Hahsit, Babe" by James Edward Grant in Liberty.
I thought that was a fun mention.
Last edited by Birdy on September 17th, 2010, 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

feaito

Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » September 17th, 2010, 9:36 am

Thanks to Christine yesterday I watched "The Wonderful Lies of Nina Petrovna" (Die wunderbare Lüge der Nina Petrowna, 1929) and was completely blown away by its beauty and Brigitte Helm's performance. All the time I was watching this wonderful Silent I was thinking: Garbo, Garbo! Helm's sensitive, heart-felt, human performance reminded me of the best I've seen of Garbo in Silent films and also I realized -yet once again- that during this time 1928-1929 Silent film -and its language- had reached its complete maturity and its pinnacle as an art form.

The intertitles are in French but it did not matter much, because the film's visuals are much more important than the dialogue (of which I understood 80% which is good, not being fluent in French) and in this sense I also recalled "A Cottage on Dartmoor" (1929), the film with the fewest amount of intertitles ever -which for me is perfect, because when a director can tell a story in a Silent film without much use of intertitles is because he's very talented indeed.

The story is set in Russia before the Revolution and Nina is a Colonel's (Warwick Ward) mistress who falls for a younger officer (Franz -Francis- Lederer). The sets are beautiful. The clothes worn by Helm are incredible (Renée Hubert was responsible for them); the wonderful pacing and unfolding of the story of the film, especially the depiction of how Helm and Lederer (playing a naïve man) fall in love is so subtly, delicately and elegantly done. Wonderful.

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Ann Harding
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Ann Harding » September 17th, 2010, 10:49 am

So happy to see that you loved it so much! :D But you fail to mention the score by Maurice Jaubert (written specifically for the film's release in France in 1929). I think it's also a powerful element in making this film unforgettable.

feaito

Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » September 17th, 2010, 11:01 am

I am Sorry that I forgot to mention it, the score is definitely excellent and helps immensely to film's success on many levels. Thanks for pointing it out.

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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » September 18th, 2010, 4:40 pm

I recently saw "Piccadilly" and was mesmerized by Anna May Wong's performance. She could really hold the screen.

The opening half-hour or so of this movie was marvellous. I loved how we were introduced to the nightclub, watched the dance number, saw Charles Laughton's (!!!) tantrum over the dirty plate and then walked the problem back through the kitchen to the scullery and encountered Wong. Who needs sound?

It was almost a proto-film noir in a way. The ending almost made me want to say "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them."

feaito

Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » September 19th, 2010, 9:50 pm

I saw an excellent Precoder: "Safe in Hell" (1931). Dorothy Mackaill is really an unsung, talented actress with beauty and lots of guts. She plays a woman (Gilda Carlson) who becomes a call girl, due to a no-good man's doing (Ralf Harolde who plays Piet Van Saal). The wonderful character actress Cecil Cunningham appears ever so briefly as a Madam who arranges her "dates"; unknowingly she goes to meet a client who turns to be Van Saal and kills him accidentally; then her long-gone love, a seaman (Carl) played by Donald Cook comes back and offers to marry her, but he confesses to him that she's become a call girl; he nevertheless forgives her and helps her to escape to Tortuga, an island in the Caribbean which is the only place in the world where they do not extradite criminals; Carl has to leave her, but promises to return and she's the only white woman on the island...and the hotel in which she's staying -run by Leonie, wonderfully impersonated by the very talented and beautiful Nina Mae McKinney- is full of crooks who want her badly....Mackaill is brilliant and I wished she'd become a bigger star during the talkies, because she had it all: talent, beauty, personality and appeal; and in the few films I've seen her in: "The Office Wife" (1930), "Kept Husbands" (1931) and even in a secondary role in "No Man of Her Own" (1932), she's superb! What a loss!

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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MichiganJ » September 20th, 2010, 7:01 am

feaito wrote:Thanks to Christine yesterday I watched "The Wonderful Lies of Nina Petrovna" (Die wunderbare Lüge der Nina Petrowna, 1929) and was completely blown away by its beauty and Brigitte Helm's performance. All the time I was watching this wonderful Silent I was thinking: Garbo, Garbo! Helm's sensitive, heart-felt, human performance reminded me of the best I've seen of Garbo in Silent films and also I realized -yet once again- that during this time 1928-1929 Silent film -and its language- had reached its complete maturity and its pinnacle as an art form.

I agree completely. The opening sequence is pure cinema, and Helm gives a terrific performance. Happily, filmmakers in Europe weren't quite as impatient to jump on the talkie craze and wound up producing some truly great films.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

feaito

Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » September 20th, 2010, 8:52 am

Hi Kevin, and I forgot to mention that in a way the film's plot was quite reminscent of "The Lady of the Camellias" aka "Camille"

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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » September 20th, 2010, 8:56 am

I watched "Sally of the Sawdust." W. C. Fields was charming in this silent film. Charming, but not as funny as he would be in talkies.

I liked the first hour of this film very much. It had real charm and delight, and I even liked Carol Dempster as Sally. She convinced me she was a daughter of the circus, a child who had elephants as friends. "Sally of the Sawdust" seemed to be a Griffith film I could actually enjoy.

Then, in the second hour, Griffith decided to show us that this was a Griffith film. Sally got persecuted by persnickety New England do-gooders, and there was cross-cutting between Sally fleeing the do-gooders and Fields fleeing the bootleggers. This wasn't a comic chase. It was played as if it were "Intolerance."

It didn't wreck the movie, but "Sally" didn't live up to the promise of the first hour.

I had always heard that Griffith didn't know how to film Fields. I think the more accurate judgment is to say that he didn't know how to structure a comedy.

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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby MikeBSG » September 22nd, 2010, 10:28 am

I watched "Son of the Sheik," which I enjoyed much more than "The Eagle."

This one lives up to all the good things said about it. It moves fast, the performances are good, and it doesn't outstay its welcome. Very enjoyable.

feaito

Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » September 23rd, 2010, 9:45 pm

I saw a very well done B Precoder, the Columbia 1932 feature "Attorney for the Defense" in which Edmund Lowe portrays a ruthless District Attorney who sends a man (Dwight Frye) to the Electric Chair and then it's discovered he was innocent of the crime he was charged with (he was condemned due to circumstantial evidence), thus Lowe resigns and becomes a famous Attorney for the Defense, taking care of the son and wife of the man he condemned...The print is fabulous, the story is very entertaing and absorbing and the performances are uniformly good, especially Lowe who's brilliant as the title character and Constance Cummings as his ever devoted secretary. Evelyn Brent plays a sort of moll, who had an affair with Lowe and she's totally amoral and shameless. Some exciting camera work and a good script. A little gem and a total discovery for me.


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