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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 » April 29th, 2010, 10:31 pm

Ann Harding wrote:Yesterday I watched Fräulein Else (Miss Else, 1929), a Paul Czinner silent based on Arthur Schnitzler. Else (Elisabeth Bergner) is the teenage daughter of a Viennese businessman. She goes to St Moritz with her aunt and friends for a holiday. But while she is away, her father faces bankrupcy. Her mother asks her to intercede with Von Dorsday who could help them... This spendid silent shows the great talent of Paul Czinner as a director. He captures brilliantly the effervescence of the upper-classes in St Moritz. The teenager Else is excellently played by Elisabeth Bergner. She is an innocent young girl just having fun until her life changes radically when her mother asks her to bear the burden of the family financial problems. Schnitzler always liked to show what happened below the surface of polite society. And here, what we see is not pretty. Else becomes an object in a bargain to help her family and she is destroyed in the process. The cameraman was Karl Freund who produced some incredibly smooth travelling shots. The film contains some superb location shots of the Alps. Overall a brilliant film that deserves to be better known.


I've always been intrigued by Czinner's and Bergner's (husband and wife in real life) films and their reputation seems completely deserved. Thanks for the review Christine.

Hedvig, the Swedish film from 1916 starring Sjöström also sounds fantastic. Thanks to you I was able to see "The Phantom Carriage" :D

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

Postby Ann Harding » April 30th, 2010, 6:59 am

The other Czinner silent I have seen is The Way of Lost Souls/The Woman He scorned (1929) with Pola Negri. It's a naturalistic picture shot in Cornwall, UK. Pola gives one of the best performances of her life. He was indeed a distinguished silent director. In the talkie period, he later specialised in filming ballet and opera. Bergner looks very young and boyish in Fraülein Else, and she provides the exact blend of freshness and innocence to the part.

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

Postby MichiganJ » April 30th, 2010, 1:06 pm

Ann Harding wrote:The other Czinner silent I have seen is The Way of Lost Souls/The Woman He scorned (1929) with Pola Negri. It's a naturalistic picture shot in Cornwall, UK. Pola gives one of the best performances of her life

The Czinner films do sound very intriguing! Interesting that you pointed out The Way of Lost Souls/The Woman He Scorned as being Pola Negri's best performance. I've been watching a few of her films, and have been pleasantly surprised at Negri's acting. I suppose, given the drama surrounding her personal life, I was expecting far more theatrics. But in some of her Lubitich films she's pretty restrained (I just watched Madam DuBarry--or Passion as my copy calls it--and really enjoyed it), and she's great fun in A Woman of the World (1925), where she gets to vamp it a bit (the film is silly but fun), and Sappho (1921), I think, really allowed her to show some amazing range.
Synnove wrote:I watched Dödskyssen (the Kiss of Death), a silent movie from 1916 starring Victor Sjöström.

Dödskyssen sounds terrific, too. Sjöström is so visual that his films require multiple viewings and are easy to return to again and again. Can't claim a favorite, but images from the visceral and haunting Terje Vigen have stayed with me.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

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

Postby charliechaplinfan » April 30th, 2010, 2:53 pm

I knew I'd forgotten to leave the link last night, it only dawned on me this morning, too late to do anything. This is where I left the details of the return journey.

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4243&start=30
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 charliechaplinfan » May 1st, 2010, 5:09 pm

I've watched the English version of Anna Christie some time ago and although good I've hankered to see the German version because Garbo preferred that version and tonight I got to see the German version. Garbo is dressed somewhat differently in this movie, more reflective of her life as a streetwalker, Marthy a father's drinking companion recognises immediately this young woman's profession. Garbo's Anna still drinks the whisky and the hides from her father her drink and the life she has led. Her father hasn't seen her in 15 years. He knows he has let her down as a father and she can't tell him the truth about her life, she takes to the sea with him in his barge and gets a yearning for the sea. They rescue a sailor Matty who sees in Anna all that is absent in the girls who haunt the waterfront, Anna knows she is no better than the girls he describes. Anna is nearly given away by Marthy at the funfair, when Matty asks to marry her she knows that she has to come clean, her life with her father has cleansed her but both her father and Matty leave her after hearing of her previous life and go and drown their sorrows but gradually accept what she has been.

Garbo seems to be having more fun with this version of Anna, she's more natural and animated, directed by Jacques Feyder rather than Clarence Brown. Part of Garbo's happiness might have been down to the fact that this version kept closer to the source material and it's stated from the off what she has done in her past. Salka Viertel doesn't dominate in her portrayal of Marthy whereas Marie Dressler has a tendency to dominate all the scenes she's in. It's interesting to see a foreign language version film of the early talkies and interesting to hear Garbo speaking German, a language that she was very fimiliar with.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

jdb1

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

Postby jdb1 » May 1st, 2010, 5:28 pm

I agree, Alison. I much prefer Garbo in the German version -- she seems much more at ease in a language she is more comfortable speaking. However, I think the power of the performances of Viertel and Dressler is equal; it's just that they give somewhat different readings of the character. Perhaps what seems to be Dresslers domination in the English-language version can be ascribed in part to Garbo's more reticent performance there.

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

Postby MichiganJ » May 1st, 2010, 5:58 pm

"Gif me a visky, ginger ale on the side, and don' be stingy, baby."

One of the great introductory lines and it's just not the same in the otherwise superior German version of the movie.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

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

Postby knitwit45 » May 1st, 2010, 7:23 pm

You are aware the German version is on early tomorrow, aren't you?

Monday 1 AM CDT
Last edited by knitwit45 on May 2nd, 2010, 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 2nd, 2010, 12:28 pm

MichiganJ wrote:"Gif me a visky, ginger ale on the side, and don' be stingy, baby."

One of the great introductory lines and it's just not the same in the otherwise superior German version of the movie.


Too true, the introductory line just doesn't pack as much of a wallop in the German version. I prefer Salka Viertel's Marthy, primarily because she's that fraction younger than Marie Dressler who can come across as a kindly older woman lost in her cups whereas Salka's is still searching for comfort somewhere, I think she's been where Anna's been even though she denies it.

I didn't know it was being shown on TCM, I was lucky to get hold of a version from a friend. It's certainly worth watching.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

jdb1

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

Postby jdb1 » May 2nd, 2010, 4:38 pm

However ----- perhaps Garbo's first German words in a sound film had the same impact for German speakers as the English version had for English speakers. In truth, I don't love this movie in either language, but I prefer the Garbo in the German version.

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

Postby Synnove » May 2nd, 2010, 4:41 pm

Salka Viertel was a close friend to Garbo as well, maybe that meant they had better chemistry? I still haven't seen the German version.

Fernando and MichiganJ, this movie was not as accomplished as The Phantom Carriage but it looked forward to that one. I think even Victor Sjöström's earliest movies were accomplished compared to others from the same time period, possibly because he had directed plays first... it's difficult to tell of course since most of his earliest films are lost.

feaito

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

Postby feaito » May 2nd, 2010, 7:39 pm

Thanks for the feedback on Sjöström's film, Hedvig. :D

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

Postby Ann Harding » May 3rd, 2010, 7:19 am

Yesterday I went to see another Duvivier silent called La Divine Croisière (The Divine Voyage, 1928). We are in Brittany where a nasty shipowner forces his crew to board a ship which hasn't properly repaired. The crew does it as they need the money. They take on a new sailor who turns out to be a nasty influence on the crew. He pushes them to a mutiny. The ship is left drifting and crashes on a reef. Back at home, the families fear the worse and decide to invade the shipowner's castle... After this excellent start, Duvivier gives the story a religious turn instead of building the characters. The whole crew will be saved through some kind of divine intervention. I enjoyed the locations in Brittany though Duvivier doesn't use them as well as Baroncelli in Pêcheur d'Islande (1924). Both films were shot in the same place in Paimpol (Northern Brittany). After watching quite a few Duvivier silents, I realise that he was far more at ease later in talkies than during the silent period. He seems to have been trapped in 'commercial cinema' in the 20s; when producers wanted to see high-society melodramas or religious melodramas often based on cheap novels. This Divine Croisière was nevertheless interesting to see.

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

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 3rd, 2010, 9:28 am

It sounds a lovely movie Christine, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I watched Man Woman and Sin an interesting and short silent. John Gilbert was willing to take on unflattering roles , like Neville in A Woman of Affairs, his character in Man Woman and Sin is that of an overgrown mummy's boy, he's niave and unsure with women. He grows up on the wrong side of the tracks, scenes filmed outside his childhood home are moving. Glady Brockwell plays his mother and is convincing as the adult Gilbert's mother. Gilbert goes to work on a paper and there he is given an assignment to accompany the society editor to a ball. The society editor is Jeanne Eagels is one of her last screen roles before her untimely death. She's very beautiful, shows some of the vulnerability of a Monroe and doesn't overplay. The society editor is the mistress of the publisher, Gilbert does not know this and idealises her, he wants to marry her but discovers the truth, he kills the publisher is tried for it and condemned to death. Gilbert revert to mother's boy once he's committed the crime and tries to shelter in his mother's arms. Gilbert is willing to be seen in an unflattgering light, with a moustache he's dashing and handsome but without and lit badly his charm doesn't come across, it makes me think he wanted to be taken seriously as an actor more than as a matinee idol.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

feaito

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

Postby feaito » May 3rd, 2010, 2:09 pm

Yesterday I saw "Souls for Sale" (1923) and I enjoyed it immensely: the story and the beautiful score to which I listened in my Home Theatre. The story is very entertaining, thrillig and absorbing, although I must admit on the other hand, that there was an excess of intertitles IMO. Then is were I appreciate Borzage's Silents. He conveys what is going on need without excessive title-cards. Eleanor Boardman is lovely as the heroine and the cast is uniformly good, especially Richard Dix, Frank Mayo and Barbara La Marr. I had never seen Miss La Marr on screen and she plays a sympathetic, warm character in this film. The special effects and the cameos by many well-known stars are added assets to the production. Also in the cast: Lew Cody, Bill Haines and Mae Busch. A very good film; a Silent that captures and holds your attention and keeps you amused for all its duration. A credit to Rupert Hughes -notwithstanding the excess of intertitles.


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