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WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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feaito

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

Postby feaito » February 3rd, 2010, 7:42 pm

Saw Hollywood's 12th episode: "Star Treatment", one of the most exciting, especially when Leatrice Joy reminisces about John Gilbert's inscription on a photograph dedicated to her. Hollywood is a truly awesome Saga and certain bits and pieces seem familiar, so I guess I watched part of it, dubbed in Spanish, on public TV, during the very early '80s, when I still was in High School. Again, the best documentary ever made and assembled together. Impossible to repeat, because most -if not all- of the interviewees are dead. A wonderful experience.

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

Postby myrnaloyisdope » February 3rd, 2010, 11:11 pm

I watched The Toll of the Sea (1922) last night. It's the first 2-strip technicolor feature, and it looks quite lovely. Anna May Wong is a Chinese girl who falls in love and "marries" an American traveller, Kenneth Harlan. When push comes to shove, Harlan leaves and travels back to America leaving poor Anna to raise the child they conceived. Wong gives an absolutely heartbreaking performance, providing definitive proof that Anna May Wong looking sad is enough to carry a film. I hate the crummy anti-miscegenation politics that the film reinforces, although it was interesting that Harlan's character was given the choice to stay or leave, and chose cowardice.

It's a powerful and conflicting film that really showcases Anna May Wong at her very best. I'll try and get around to Piccadilly one of these days. Anybody happen to have a copy of her German silent Schmutziges Geld aka Show Life? It sounds great.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby charliechaplinfan » February 4th, 2010, 2:42 pm

I love The Toll of the Sea, Anna May Wong was an underused star in the Hollywood firmament. Have you seen Piccadilly? Anna's is great in that film too.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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

Postby intothenitrate » February 4th, 2010, 8:51 pm

Picadilly is so polished, and it allows Anna May to be a complex, human character, rather than merely an Asiatic prop in a Caucasian narrative.

[That said, I DID just send away for a copy of "Daughter of the Dragon," so I do have my Jingoistic tendencies as well].

I probably need to look at Toll of the Sea again. When I watched it a few months back, I couldn't stop paying attention to the two-strip technicolor. I like the look of Mystery in the Wax Museum and Dr X from Warner Bros, where the reds and blues are more pronounced. Green foliage appears gray in those pictures. In Toll of the Sea I believe, the reds and greens are dominant. The Sea [title character] is lime green.
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Gagman 66
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby Gagman 66 » February 4th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Image

Anna May wong-"For Good Measure"

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

Postby Ann Harding » February 5th, 2010, 8:43 am

Yesterday I saw Fast Workers (1933, Tod Browning) with John Gilbert & Mae Clarke. This is a snappy little pre-coder with John Gilbert as a skyscraper builder who likes to seduce easy ladies at the WE for fun. Until his best pal falls into the trap provided by Mae Clarke. She manages to look like an innocent while being a professional dame. It's a shame that all the scenes on the skyscraper were such obvious process shots, but nevertheless, it was a fun picture. I thought that Gilbert was pretty good as the tough-talking guy. And Mae Clarke was great as the dame who manages to talk her way through the most improbable situation.

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

Postby MichiganJ » February 5th, 2010, 12:12 pm

Watched a few more German silents.

Danton (1921) With Emil Jannings as Danton and Werner Krauss as Robespierre I expected a little more, but Danton as a film is still quite fun, if not entirely historically accurate. Starting after the Revolution, the film chronicles the events leading up to Danton's meeting with the guillotine. Jannings is quite good, with the period costumes and setting allowing for his emoting and Krauss is almost unrecognizable wearing this huge garment with a collar up to his chin.

The Deerslayer (1920) With Bela Lugosi playing Chingachgook, a "good" Indian ("Injun" in the titles), how could the film miss? Surely one of the oddest silents I've seen, apparently based on The Last of the Mohicans, but featuring a castle that is actually set atop a raft and floating in the middle of the lake, this is a film that just keeps on giving. There is a plethora of titles and awkward dialogue cards that are both heavy in exposition and include inanities like: "Judith, my sister, who looks like our mother..", which, of course, is information the bad indians shouldn't know. Oh, and the bad indians begin and end their comments with "ugh". Adding to the wackiness is the drop-the-needle music score of assorted classical greatest hits. There's nothing that says "Indian attack" like Pacobell's Canon.

Daughters of Eve (1928) Not sure if this is considered a German film or a Czech film, but either way, it's terrific. A funny sex comedy starring the adorable Anny Ondra, (who reminded me of a somewhat saucier Clara Bow) as a woman with many suitors, some of them married, and the various complications that arise from their exploits. The print I have is sadly truncated and ends too abruptly (and, considering the lightness of tone throughout much of the film comes out of nowhere). Still, a lot of fun. Ondra would soon work with Hitchcock in The Manxman and Blackmail.
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JackFavell
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Postby JackFavell » February 5th, 2010, 12:42 pm

AnnHarding - May I ask where you got a copy of Fast Workers?

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

Postby pvitari » February 5th, 2010, 1:46 pm

I watched True Heart Susie yesterday. What a sweet movie.

True Heart Susie goes onto the list of "movies in which people cough -- significantly."

Coughs, and guns hanging over the mantlepiece or tucked in a drawer, are harbingers of things to come in the movies. :)

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

Postby JackFavell » February 5th, 2010, 2:01 pm

Hi, Paula!

I'm Wendy. This is a great bunch here.

coughs are always a bad sign...so are jolly goodbyes before one steps into an airplane....

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

Postby charliechaplinfan » February 5th, 2010, 3:06 pm

JackFavell wrote:AnnHarding - May I ask where you got a copy of Fast Workers?


I think it was shown on TCM quite a while back, I have a copy sent to me by a very good friend. I don't think John Gilbert ever looked better.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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

Postby charliechaplinfan » February 5th, 2010, 3:10 pm

intothenitrate wrote:
I probably need to look at Toll of the Sea again. When I watched it a few months back, I couldn't stop paying attention to the two-strip technicolor. I like the look of Mystery in the Wax Museum and Dr X from Warner Bros, where the reds and blues are more pronounced. Green foliage appears gray in those pictures. In Toll of the Sea I believe, the reds and greens are dominant. The Sea [title character] is lime green.


I agree, it is red/green dominant, for me it makes Japan appear as a make believe world, one can only wonder what the audience thought back in 1922. If you like Anna May Wong I'd recommend her biography From Laundryman's Daughter to Hollywood Legend.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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

Postby JackFavell » February 5th, 2010, 3:20 pm

Thanks, CCFan. I saw it at the TCM database, but wasn't sure if it had been shown or not there.... at least I can hope it will come around again!

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

Postby MichiganJ » February 5th, 2010, 6:33 pm

pvitari wrote:I watched True Heart Susie yesterday. What a sweet movie.

True Heart Susie goes onto the list of "movies in which people cough -- significantly."

Coughs, and guns hanging over the mantlepiece or tucked in a drawer, are harbingers of things to come in the movies. :)

I think this may be Lillian Gish's best performance in a Griffith film, but as for the film itself, while it seems to be a simple pastoral romance and a return, of sorts, to Griffith's one and two-reelers, True Heart Susie is a lot more complicated. It's fascinating that early in the film Griffith himself refers to his two main characters as "simple idiots…", a pretty cynical characterization from the film's writer/director, which cannot help but color the entire film.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

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

Postby pvitari » February 5th, 2010, 7:22 pm

Hi, Wendy! Love your icon. :) Ben Johnson is so adorable. :)

(That is Ben Johnson... yes?)

Michigan, I didn't find anything idiotic about Susie or Bill or Bettina. D.W. Griffith may have wanted to satirize his characters a little, but really, he's all on their side. The idyllic little town and the characters are portrayed with far too much affection (and I suspect memories of his own boyhood) for him to undercut them to any serious degree. They seemed like very real people to me -- not the most sophisticated people, but otherwise very real human beings, who act both wisely and foolishly following their hearts. I cared a lot for Bettina -- maybe because bubbly Clarine Seymour played her with such enthusiasm. She was extremely flawed and she went out on a lie, but I couldn't help but feel sorry for her. She just never had a clue. At least Bill finally had his eyes opened, and Robert Harron did a great job making us feel that Bill had changed. He seemed not only sadder but more knowledgeable at the end, even if it was a happy ending for him and Susie. He grew up a lot. As for Susie -- she is the soul of constancy and indeed hers is the true heart. She is not simple or sappy in the least. Her love is very profound indeed. Of course Gish's subtle, understated performance is one of the reasons why Susie is so loveable instead of intolerable. Though there were a few times when I wanted to take her by the arm and tell her she needed to speak up a bit. :)

I confess I am a sucker for pastoral romances. Tol'able David for me is one of the great films.


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