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WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » February 10th, 2008, 5:50 pm

I've just watched Beggars of Life such a powerful story. It centres around the life of hobos who jump trains and live from hand to mouth. it was made in 1928 the year before the Wall St crash. It shows America's underbelly, it has menace, sweetness, poverty and romance. Three wonderful performances, especially from Wallace Beery who I am beginning to think was a truly great actor and Louise Brook who is so much more than a beautiful face and looks very fetching in mens garb. It also had a wonderful soundtrack to accompany it.

Please Paramount. This film deserves so much a DVD release.

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Gagman 66
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Postby Gagman 66 » February 10th, 2008, 6:08 pm

Alison,

:o The print I have is a washed out old 16 millimeter reduction copy. However, the news is most promising regarding this picture. It was just restored in 2006 by George Eastman House! Last year the new restoration was featured at the San Diego Silent Film Festival.

The film is gritty and dark, and a definite pre-cursor to Wellman's later "YOUNG BOYS ON A TRAIN". My copy is also cut-off before the picture is over? Does yours have the ending?

:? I have a recording of the Original "Beggars Of Life" song that was used as a part of the films soundtrack. Did you see a version with the Western Electric score in-tact? If so where did it come from? I sure would like to see the Vintage track version.

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Ann Harding
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Postby Ann Harding » February 11th, 2008, 5:33 am

We have all seen the same print, Gagman, from Grapevine. Until, Paramount wakes up and produces a DVD!

*Spoiler alert!!!*
Yesterday I had the pleasure to discover a rare silent French film directed by Marie-Louise Iribe (the daughter of the famous art deco designer Paul Iribe who worked for De Mille). Hara-Kiri (1928) explored the relationship of a young western woman Nicole Daomi (M.L. Iribe) and her husband, an Eurasian. She leaves him for a Japanese prince. They both run away to a French alpine resort where he falls down a precipice and kills himself. His father, the powerful Shogun, orders a traditional Shinto ceremony for his deceased child. But, they can't find any Shinto priest in France. In the end, they ask Nicole's husband, a scholar specialised in Japanese customs, to perform it. He turns up, finds his wife there and humiliates her. Desperate, she tries to commit hara-kiri, the Japanese way, but lacks the courage. In the end, she takes her life with a gun. Her husband finally acknowledges that 'she faced death honourably'.
The film was extremely handsome looking with some great Japanese designs and mountain locations. It completely escapes the traditional caricature and patronising way of looking at Japanese customs. I guess the miscegenation involved would have made any American censor go mad! A really interesting feature film by a woman director, not that common after all!
Last edited by Ann Harding on February 11th, 2008, 7:11 am, edited 2 times in total.

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » February 12th, 2008, 1:46 pm

Yesterday I watched Smouldering Fires a 1925 film with Pauline Frederick and Laura La Plante. I've never had chance to watch a Pauline Frederick film before. The storyline was very modern. Pauline plays Jane Vale the MD of a large firm of baby gro manufacturers, she is very successful in running the firm but one of her employees questions her methods. Instead of firing him she promotes him to her assistant and becomes interested in having him as more of an assistant. The factory workers get wind of this and make fun of her assistant played by Malcom McGregor, he defends her honour and asks her to marry him. She accepts only when he meets her sister played by Laura La Plante he realises that he should be with her instead. In the end Jane makes the sacrifice for her sister proclaiming to a friend within her husband and sister's hearing that she didn't marry for love.

It's translates so well to today. At first Pauline's character is not bothered about how she is perceived, only when she falls in love does her character soften. Pauline's character is aware that she is older than her husband and is liberally applying face creams and treatments to keep her youthful and keep her husband. She learns to cook and tells her sister if she is cooking for a man it must be love. I've ,ade pastry of the kind she turned out, not for a while though :)

This version had a lovely soundtrack, well chosen, it suited it perfectly. Thanks Gagman :D

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MissGoddess
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Postby MissGoddess » February 12th, 2008, 4:55 pm

I watched Devil and the Deep (1932) with Gary Cooper, Tallulah Bankhead, Cary Grant and in one of his first American movies, Charles Laughton. I enjoyed it, though I think Gary and Cary had rather thankless roles. The real drama is between Tally and Charlie. It is very "creaky" and Laughton chews all the scenery in sight, but I would watch it again.

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » February 12th, 2008, 5:01 pm

MissGoddess wrote:I watched Devil and the Deep (1932) with Gary Cooper, Tallulah Bankhead, Cary Grant and in one of his first American movies, Charles Laughton. I enjoyed it, though I think Gary and Cary had rather thankless roles. The real drama is between Tally and Charlie. It is very "creaky" and Laughton chews all the scenery in sight, but I would watch it again.


Surprised Tallu left him any scenery to chew. Then again, she was always not quite herself in on film (as opposed to on stage), especially in the earlier works. I don't think she came to life onscreen until Lifeboat.

And Gary and Cary in the same flick. Gotta see that one, thankless or not.

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » February 13th, 2008, 2:46 pm

[/quote]


And Gary and Cary in the same flick. Gotta see that one, thankless or not.[/quote]

I agree wholeheartedly.

Last night I watched The Kiss Greta Garbo's last silent film. It's short, just over an hour, but it's so lovely to look at, not only the divine Miss Garbo but the sets and costumes. Greta stars with Conrad Nagel and Lew Ayres. Conrad is the lawyer who loves her and Lew Ayres is the young boy who adores her. Lew Ayres is caught at Greta's house by her husband giving her a kiss before he returns to college. A fight ensues and Greta's husband is killed. Greta is arrested on a charge on murder. Conrad Nagel defends her. I'm not going to spoil the ending. It's well directed by Jacques Feyder. Also on this disc was an excerpt from the missing film The Divine Woman. How I wish that could be found :)

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Gagman 66
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Postby Gagman 66 » February 13th, 2008, 7:38 pm

Alison,

:o THE KISS holds up pretty well, but I am pretty sure that the film is missing at least a reel, maybe more? Feyder was an excellent Director! I have really enjoyed all of his films that I have seen.

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » February 14th, 2008, 2:30 pm

I think the Kiss holds up really well. On the imdb there is a film listed at 89 min (I think) but even if it had a reel missing it flowed really well.

Today I watched two movies. The first Hotel Imperial was a Grapevine print. Pola Negri has been a favorite of mine since seeing her in The Wildcat and I've liked everything I've seen directed by Maurice Stiller. This film was worth the wait to me. Pola just shines through on screen, the film has a good storyline set in the hotel in the dying days of the war. Stiller really gives the hotel a feeling of decaying granduer and of space. Pola gets chance to wear some gorgeous gowns but she looks best in the clothes she wears as a maid. I was hooked from beginning to end.

The I watched The Tide Of Empire set in the Gold Rush days in California. Renee Adoree and George Duryea plated the leads in this film. It had the hallmarks of an MGM big budget film. It had an engaging storyline and some fabulous scenery.

Credit where credit is due, MGM does look after it's silents. I wish other studios took the same care.

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Gagman 66
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Postby Gagman 66 » February 14th, 2008, 7:21 pm

Alison,

:o I first saw Pola Negri in Rowland V. Lee's BARBED WIRE (1927), opposite Clive Brook, which is an amazing film! HOTEL IMPERIAL was released in January of 1927, so it is really a 1926 film. James Hall, who was so memorable as Joseph, in John Ford's Masterpiece FOUR SONS, the following year, is very good as Pola's leading Man here.. While the Grapevine version is better quality, than allot of their releases are, Paramount supposedly still has very good prints of this picture.

:? Sadly the final Reel, and a half of Alan Dwan's THE TIDE OF THE EMPIRE is missing, and is considered to be lost! I would love to be able to see how the film actually ends!

Tom Keene (George Duryea's real name), is almost to handsome, and I am of course just crazy mad over Renee Adoree! You thought it might be a stretch to see Her with such Lily-White Skin as a Mexican Senorita "Josphita", but She pulls it off quite convincingly. The TCM print is beautiful, and the Vintage track is excellent.

:? I think I posted a big review of this movie, on this forum a little while back? Didn't I?
Last edited by Gagman 66 on February 18th, 2008, 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ann Harding
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Postby Ann Harding » February 18th, 2008, 10:41 am

Yesterday, I went to see a very handsome French silent, Le Chant de l'Amour Triomphant (1923) by Viktor Tourjansky. This was a production from the Albatros company composed of Russian émigrés, just outside Paris at the time. This fairy tale was an adaptation of Turgueniev. It took place in XVIth century Ferrara, Italy. Two young men, Fabio and Muzio, raised like brothers, are in love with the same girl. They vow to renounce the girl once she made a choice. After Fabio's wedding, Muzio leaves for a long journey around the world. He comes back after a few years accompanied by a strange Hindu servant who seems to have magical powers....
The film was absolutely gorgeous looking with beautiful sets and costumes extremely faithful to the Italian Renaissance. Tourjansky can be a very boring director and the few talkies I have seen were really disappointing. This silent is something different. Though it doesn't move very fast, it's a pure aesthetic pleasure. On top, some sequences are beautifully edited suggesting a level of sensuality I wouldn't have suspected. The Hindu servant was a cross between Boris Karloff and Conrad Veidt. The tinted print from the French Cinémathèque was just beautiful. Worth investigating. 8)

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » February 21st, 2008, 3:02 pm

Today I watched The Red Mill a lovely restoration by TCM complete with a great menu by Gagman. Thank you so much :D

This is my third Marion silent. She is such a joy to watch. She plays a Dutch drudge in this film who falls in love with Dennis played by Owen Moore. She steals the idea of cleaning the floor by skating on scrubbing brushes off Mary Pickford in Through the Back Door but no matter she makes it her own. The film has charming moments with mice and a large dog upon whose back Marion wins a skating race. It's a film of confusion when Marion steps in for Louise Fazenda's Burgemasters daughter whilst Louise has a meeting with her lover. Everything gets sorted out in the end with MArion ending up happy ever after with Owen Moore and Louise Fazenda getting to marry her lover played by Karl Dane.

A footnote this film was directed by William Goodrich aka Fatty Arbuckle and a very good job he made too.

melwalton
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Postby melwalton » February 21st, 2008, 4:42 pm

'City Lights'.
I couldn't stop laughing and I've seen it several times. and I'm not crazy about slapstick but Chaplin was great.

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » February 22nd, 2008, 2:43 pm

City Lights is sheer perfection in my book :wink:

I've just watched The Blackbird it's only my second experience of a Todd Browning picture and Lon Chaney. I love the atomosphere that Todd Browning creates in his pictures. I really felt I was in London's Limehouse. renee Adoree looks far too fragrant to be caught up with all the seedy characters. None more seedy that Lon Chaney's Blackbird. He does a brilliant double turn as The Blackbird a notorious thief and troublemaker and The Bishop a good crippled man who runs a mission. The Blackbird loves Renee's character but she becomes enamoured of West End Bertie, a high class crook played by Owen Moore. The Blackbird uses underhand tactics to get Renee's character for himself. I won't reveal anymore but the ending was very good. It will definetly encourage me to watch more Browning and more Chaney films.

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Gagman 66
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Postby Gagman 66 » February 22nd, 2008, 6:09 pm

Alison,

:) I wrote big reviews of both THE RED MILL, and THE BLACKBIRD earlier on this forum. If you want to read them, they are not at all hard to find.

:roll: This version of THE BLACKBIRD has the foreign translations, beneath the English Title-cards since to my knowledge in has only been broadcast on TCM-Spain so far? I do not know why. It has yet to debut on the American TCM.

:o It's interesting because in 2005, my good friend Jack T. himself a Silent film Musician, and who knows Robert Israel personally told me in the late Summer of 2005, that before the end of the year one of the long unseen MGM Chaney's would debut with a new Robert Israel score.

:shock: Well, at the time all of us were under the impression that Jack was talking about WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1928). Now I know differently. He actually meant THE BLACKBIRD (1926) instead. That being said the rest of 2005 went by, and the next two years, and no previously un-aired Chaney MGM was broadcast! At least not in the United States, but on The Spanish TCM, and maybe a couple others, this excellent 2005 restoration did run! I would love to see the American TCM debut of the picture though, since I could than have a recording minus the yellow-toned Spanish translations.

:lol: As for THE RED MILL (1927), I consider the film to be a real buried treasure, and a major rediscovery! Certainly among the funniest films that I have seen! Most people who have gotten a chance to view the sparkling new TCM print myself included, felt that the Michael Picton score was excellent. A scant few bulked, but it's possible they might have been comparing it to the original score for the film by Victor Hubert, portions of which I have heard, and it is hard to compete with it?

:) Nonetheless , on the whole I thought Picton's score was as good as any new Silent film score that I had heard in recent memory! It is also one of the best restorations of any Silent film that I have seen. Same with THE BLACKBIRD.

:wink: I would love to see re-mastered prints of Marion Davies features such as THE FAIR CO-ED, and THE CARDBOARD LOVER look nearly as good! I have seen these movies, and both are excellent comedies. In the late 1920's Davies was Starring in, and even producing some of the best comedies that were being made in Hollywood!

:roll: Marion was a remarkable talent, and today if She is remembered at all, it is largely for all the wrong reasons! A nice DVD set from Warner's would help to right some of those glaring mis-perceptions! Davies was actually a Top 5 MGM Box-office Star, but no one every seems to mention this!





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