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WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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Gagman 66
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Gagman 66 » August 2nd, 2012, 9:28 pm

:) I've already mentioned this several times. I think KIKI (1926) is one of the funniest films ever made. While not a debut, this was the first time it had aired on Silent Sunday Nights. I was pleased that TCM was running it again, since it has been a vastly overlooked movie for many decades. Who would have expected a director such as Clarence Brown to be able to produce such a delightful screwball type romantic comedy like this? Norma is brilliant in the quirky role that was originally played by Lenore Ulric onstage from 1920- 1922. Wearing virtually the exact same costume with the dangerous feather in her cap. In addition to Norma and Ronald Colman the entire supporting cast is just tremendous here. Gertrude Astor as the classy Rival, Paulette. George K. Arthur as the Butler, Adolphe. Marc McDermott as the Rich friend. Frankie Darrow as the Boy are all terrific.

I just watched the brand new Criterion Restoration of THE GOLD RUSH, and it is magnificent. Finally the original 1925 cut of the film is done proper justice on DVD and Blu-ray. I hope this too will find it's way to TCM, replacing the poorly edited, and grossly altered 1942 sound re-issue with Charlie's narration they have been stuck with for years. But while I love Chaplin, and THE GOLD RUSH in it's entirety is a long time favorite, I have no qualms in saying that KIKI is a much funnier picture. And at the time KIKI was considered the comedy sensation of the year. In some smaller markets KIKI probably faired allot better than THE GOLD RUSH did. There is plenty of historical evidence to suggest that Chaplin's best known film sort of tanked in rural middle America.

I was quite anxious to hear Robert Osborne's introduction. to KIKI. This turned out to be a relative let down. He did say that Norma Talmadge and Ronald Colman were two of the biggest Stars of the Silent Era. That was good. However, subsequently he perpetuated the old myth about most of her films being lost, which simply is not true. He also says that Norma Talmadge popularity was pretty much on a par with Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, and Lillian Gish. Actually, Norma was the undisputed queen of Hollywood even ahead of Pickford from about 1920 to 1925. In 1926 she lost her Box-office crown to Colleen Moore. It seems they just have to put a modern spin on the facts, because those ladies are so much more recognized today then either Norma or Colleen.

With Ronald Colman he did mention THE DARK ANGEL (1925) a famously lost film that made Colman a huge Star. The other two films he brings up being STELLA DALLAS and LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN. Although Colman was top billed in both those films, he really is not the focus of either movie. In the closing intro he did mention the 1926 BEAU GESTE which I was very gratified to hear.

A note about the Kino score. The main title theme as chosen by Vitagraph Players for whatever reason is the familiar 20's Standard "Whispering". Which works quite well at various tempos. While Vitagraph players overall arrangement to KIKI is quite good for the most part, they really dropped the ball on a critical sequence. Where KIKI is supposed to be in the lingering catatonic state, one of the most riotous scenes in the film all we get is a slow droning melody that does nothing to enhance the experience. This scene required a far richer accompaniment.

In any event, I sure hope that allot of people discovered KIKI on TCM for the first time and enjoyed it to their hearts content. Pretty much sets the template for all the Screwball comedies of the 30's that were to come.

Those two DVD's are well worth purchasing. I would definitely get these why they are still around. Doris Corporation was bought out by another company and Kino may not have the rights much longer. TCM did air HER NIGHT OF ROMANCE last year, but they did not run HER SISTER FROM PARIS as of yet.


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KIKI- "No Pink Slips Please!"
Last edited by Gagman 66 on August 5th, 2012, 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby moira finnie » August 3rd, 2012, 12:04 pm

I liked Kiki too--especially because of the chance to see a very young Ronald Colman and Frankie Darro (who was darling). You're right--it's a shame that Clarence Brown didn't have a chance to make more comedies.

Gagman 66 wrote:I was quite anxious to hear Robert Osborne's introduction. to KIKI. This turned out to be a relative let down. He did say that Norma Talmadge and Ronald Colman were two of the biggest Stars of the Silent Era. That was good. However, subsequently he perpetuated the old myth about most of her films being lost, which simply is not true.


Actually, when I listened to the intro, I believe that I heard RO say that most of Talmadge's films were believed to be lost until the last few decades, when copies of several of her silent movies have been rediscovered all over the world. He went on to say that as they become restored and distributed once again, they allow us to see and understand why the unfairly obscure Norma Talmadge was once such a famous figure.
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby feaito » August 9th, 2012, 12:25 pm

I concur about "Kiki" (1926), it is a great film and Norma Talmadge comes across as very gifted comedienne.

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

Postby feaito » August 9th, 2012, 12:31 pm

Ann Harding wrote:Arte broadcast last week -for the first time- a brilliant Feyder comedy.
[Les Nouveaux Messieurs (1928, Jacques Feyder) with Gaby Morlay, Albert Préjean and Henry Roussell
This charming comedy pokes fun at parliamentary life during the French Third Republic. Adapting Flers and De Croisset's play, Feyder creates a little masterpiece of understatement. Suzanne Verrier (G. Morlay) is a ballet dancer at the Paris Opera. She is kept in grand style by the Count of Montoire-Granpré (Henry Roussell), a member of parliament, who offers her a limousine with chauffeur. But, the opera chief electrician, Jacques Gaillac (A. Préjean) is secretly in love with her. By a strange reversal of fortune, the government is toppled and new general elections bring Gaillac to power. From union leader, he becomes minister. Then Suzanne has to make a choice between the two men...
Feyder has at his disposal a magician of a set designer: Lazare Meerson. Meerson creates some superb sets in particular Suzanne Verrier's flat which looks ultra-modern with its pure white lines. The building of the CIT union is also a masterpiece showing Art Deco at its best. For the cast, Feyder hesitated for a long time before casting Albert Préjean. Poor Préjean recalls in his memoirs how his friend René Clair told him about the part and to run for it. His first meeting with Feyder was disastrous: "I need an actor, not an acrobat." In fact, Préjean had started his career as a stuntman. He worked with the wolves of Le miracle des loups (1924, R. Bernard) and he climbs a building with his bare hands in Le fantôme du Moulin-Rouge (1925, R. Clair). But he had already shown his qualities as comedian in the wonderful Un chapeau de paille d'Italie (An Italian Straw Hat, 1927) under René Clair. Feyder asked him to shed 8 pounds and he went on starvation diet for a week. He finally got the part after a disastrous screen test when he had to kiss Gaby Morlay. It's also a pleasure to see the wonderful Henry Roussell playing the aristocrat. He is no caricature an never pompous. He draws an elegant and humorous figure who stops at nothing to keep his mistress, though always with great finesse. Gaby Morlay is just a joy to behold. Her career went on from success to success with the arrival of sound. Here, she is a delightful dancer, exhuberant, charming and totally natural. Some of the most charming scenes in the film shows her going for a swim in the Seine river with Préjean. The film predates the poetic realism from the 30s, better known with the Marcel Carné films. Actually, Marcel Carné was Feyder's assistant on Les nouveaux messieurs and we can guess he drew some inspiration from this film. Funnily enough, the film was banned from the screen for several months. One scene created the fury of the censors: an elderly member of parliament falls asleep in the National Assembly. He dreams that a whole corps de ballet invades parliament with lovely female dancers everywhere. It took an intervention from the actress Mary Marquet (a friend of Françoise Rosay, Mrs Feyder) to lift the ban. This is the first time I had a chance to see the film with some music, so far I had seen it only in silence. The new score created by Antonio Coppola with a small chamber ensemble (Octuor de France) brings charms and dynamism to the proceedings. He follows the plot and the atmosphere perfectly (and it's not always the case!). Overall, my third visit with this lovely film was just as enthusiastic as the previous times. The film remains fresh even after repeated viewing. Just one word about the print. It's supposedly a new print from 2011, but I couldn't see any differences with the previous 1990 print. The image has the same defaults and softness. The film should come out on DVD thanks to Flicker Alley.
Thanks to Christine I saw this great film and I agree with her opinions. I was especially impressed by the quality of the print that let me appreciate the amazing cinematography, art direction and camera work. The performances are excellent, especially Roussell's, who creates a three-dimensional character of monsieur le Marquis. A must-see and easy to understand, even for people who are not fluent in French.

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

Postby Ann Harding » August 11th, 2012, 4:46 am

Really happy you enjoyed it, Fernando! Les Nouveaux Messieurs is a true gem of French cinema. It's a film that should have been available on DVD for years. We have to thank Flicker Alley for their pioneering work. The CF is not doing its job: keeping alive French cinema.

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

Postby CineMaven » August 11th, 2012, 5:15 am

Here are some silent film stars, waaaaay back in 1985:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Up4HeIcPN8&feature=related[/youtube]

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

Postby charliechaplinfan » September 10th, 2012, 12:58 pm

I watched the Barbara Stanwyck feature Illicit today, a precode about a woman who prefers to live in sin with her society boyfriend although he wants to marry her, she doesn't care when gossip starts about her, her parents marriage failed and all she knows are people who are unhappily married or divorced however her mind is changed by her boyfriend's father, she gives ni and marries into the well to do family. She has everything, rich husband, 2 homes, holidays but the marriage becomes fimiliar and he sparkle fails, so she moves out to make the marriage fresh again. It didn't quite live up to the promise of it's title for precode loose morals but Barbara looked extremely stylish and was supported by Joan Blondell, James Rennie and a very rakish looking Ricardo Cortez who had very little to do apart from look a bit sleazy.
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » September 12th, 2012, 5:06 am

Another precode, this time When Ladies Meet a plot that partly covers the plot of a novel that one of the women is writing, the novel concerns a love triangle, a man and a woman love one another but he has a wife who stands in the way, in the book the wife steps out of the picture when confronted by the love of her husband for another woman. The live of the author doesn't resolve as comfortably, Myrna Loy/Mary is in love with Frank Morgan/Rogers her publisher who in turn is married to Ann Harding/Claire and also present is Robert Montgomery who loves Mary and who conspires for the two women to meet, they do at the house of Alice Brady, daft as ever, they meet without knowing who Claire is and like each other, then Claire helps Mary with the resolution to her novel, in walks Rogers and the realisation hits and the triangle has to be sorted rather abruptly.

I don't think I've watched Frank Morgan in a lover role before, let alone a philanderer, he is convincing I can just about believe he is loved by both women. Myrna Loy is excellent as the lover/author, she doesn't invite our disgust at her affair, she truly believes he loves her and Ann Harding is very noble and correct in her role as the wife. Both women incite sympathy whilst Frank Morgan incites our loathing but also a bit of sympathy because he's the kind of man who's never happy with what he's got and Robert Montgomery, I fail to see why Myrna Loy would ever look at him as anything but a meddling friend. A very enjoyable precode though.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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

Postby JackFavell » September 12th, 2012, 9:04 am

I could kick myself, I had this movie bookmarked on youtube but it's disappeared before I could get to it.

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

Postby CineMaven » September 12th, 2012, 10:34 am

Did you ladies know that this was re-made in 1940 as "WHEN LADIES MEET"? Ha. This time around it starred Joan Crawford as the author... Greer Garson as the wife...Herbert Marshall as the husband and Robert Taylor as the boy in love...with Spring Byington doing her best to bring on the daft, bring on the ditz. It's got that M-G-M champagne sparkle.
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » September 12th, 2012, 10:52 am

I've seen that one before, Maven! I have to say I am so partial to stories like these, and Joan Crawford movies in general. It's not perfect, but that's OK by me. I'd like to see the earlier one just because of the two leads. I think it's fascinating that they paired Loy and Harding like this in two movies.

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

Postby CineMaven » September 12th, 2012, 12:57 pm

"ANIMAL KINGDOM" and "WHEN LADIES MEET"

ImageImage

That was a great pairing, don't you think? Harding and Loy. I thought they both had very sharp & smart personas. And I believe they both could have switched parts with equal aplomb: friendly and accessible or cold and forbidding. I kind of don't think they even make these kinds of pairings anymore of actresses.

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SUSAN SARANDON and RICHARD GERE in "ARBITAGE."

I'd love to see Susan Sarandon paired with someone equally as strong. Meryl Streep comes to mind. A good strong solid script, and Sarandon & Streep duking it out with their maturity and understanding and beauty; standing across each other toe-to-toe. ( Let me add Julianne Moore to the bunch too. ) I read your and Allison's posts about Keira Knightley and I want to weigh in on that ( in the appropriate thread, of course ) but I want to say I just don't see anyone coming down the pike ( for me ) with the maturity and gravitas of a grown woman. I do think Charlize Theron is moving ever so gently into the character actress lane. For me, there's basically a dearth of mature actresses. But I'd have to really think hard to see someone today that could fill the marcelled curls of a Loy, Harding or Dunne ( or Selena Royale ). You know what I mean, those gals who are not bombshells like Harlow, or Plain Janes like the Zasu Pittses, but are attractive, smart, someone a man's equal and not a Barbie Doll. Do I need to go to more movies ( recently saw and enjoyed "The Words" ) or just stay under the covers with TCM?

P.S. I didn't know you cared for Joan Crawford. :)
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » September 12th, 2012, 1:48 pm

I'm with you there Theresa, I don't see anyone out there either. Jennifer Aniston or Lopez, still playing ditsy things. How we need our Loy's and Dunne's they were women we could all aspire to be like, OK, we might not look that good but we can dream that with the right treatments and care we might. When Ladies Meet is a mature movie and I'm glad I saw the precode first because it doesn't get hampered with any censorship rules, not that there was much to censor. I curious about the remake, mark me down as a Joanie fan too.
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » September 12th, 2012, 2:56 pm

I'm with you too, T. I would love to see Sarandon/Streep duke it out. Geena Davis seems to have stopped making movies. I haven't seen Virginia Madsen either, but I am kind of out of the movie loop. One person I like a lot but who really only does comedies is Catherine Keener. She has a nice warm personality but still seems mature:

Image

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

Postby charliechaplinfan » September 13th, 2012, 5:35 am

I don't know who she is but she looks nice Wendy.

I carried on watching movies from the Myrna Loy day, this time with The Naughty Flirt made in 1931 when Myrna was still being cast as the femme fatale type, here she plays the scheming sister of a man who has had his fortune wiped out by the crash, she sets her brother's cap at Kay Elliot a girl with a $100,000 a year trust fund played here by Alice White who must have been Warner Brothers answer to Clara Bow. Also in this movie are Paul Page the man she wants and George Irving as her father. Myrna Loy is the best thing in this movie but Alice White reminds me so much of Betty Boop, it's the voice, the figure, the clothes and if her hair was dark instead of blonde she's be the spitting image of her. The movie only runs for 59 minutes and is plesant but no great shakes.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin


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