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WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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

Postby JackFavell » February 5th, 2010, 8:43 pm

Yes, Ben Johnson it is, P. Isn't he a doll? There's a thread for him here:

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=3945

Welcome, if I didn't already say so...

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

Postby Ann Harding » February 6th, 2010, 4:38 am

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

This is indeed a TCM copy I got from a friend.

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

Postby Ann Harding » February 6th, 2010, 5:20 am

Yesterday I watched Beau Brummel (1924, H. Beaumont) with John Barrymore, Mary Astor & Irene Rich. This Barrymore starring vehicle feels extremely slow at 127 min. I wonder if the TCM print is not stretch-printed or just plain too slow. John is showing his gorgeous profile against those of lovely ladies (Carmel Myers, Mary Astor - then only 17, Irene Rich) for long minutes. Harry Beaumont never was an imaginative director. Most of the films of his I have seen felt the same way. On the plus side, there are some nice costumes and sets. Dear John is allowed to age until he becomes a senile old man. We even get 'a happy end' of some kind when the ghost of John meets the ghost of Mary in the after life, when they have both become young again. Overall, a bit disappointing, especially if you know the kind of performance John could give in talkies.

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

Postby Ollie » February 6th, 2010, 9:06 am

The Warners Archive version is listed at "127 minutes", by the way. Just checked on that for you.

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

Postby Ann Harding » February 6th, 2010, 9:11 am

Thanks Ollie. Watching it, it felt slow. I suppose I am now very sensitive to speed for silents. At the French Cinémathèque, they always show French silents too fast (around 22 fps). But I have also seen some films too slow. Now I react immediately when I notice that movement is not quite right. I think it's a disease called 'silentmania'! :mrgreen:

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

Postby drednm » February 6th, 2010, 10:01 am

I watched the 3-part documentary D.W. Griffith: the Father of Film by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill. It came out in 1993.

Excellent. Well balanced look at Griffith the man, Griffith the filmmkaer (often the same thing). Starts out with biographical material, the short films, and then launches into his major works. Interviews with Lillian Gish, Blanche Sweet, Karl Brown, Evelyn Baldwin (DW's last wife), Adela Rogers St. John, Anita Loos, etc.

Terrific insight and info on the major films: The Birtha of a Nation, Intolerance, Broken Blossoms, Way Down East, Hearts of the World, Orphans of the Storm as well as looks at the "lesser" Griffith films like Judith of Bethulia, Sorrows of Satan, The White Rose, America, One Exciting Night, Isn't Life Wonderful.

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

Postby MichiganJ » February 6th, 2010, 2:56 pm

Ann Harding wrote:Yesterday I watched Beau Brummel (1924, H. Beaumont) with John Barrymore, Mary Astor & Irene Rich. This Barrymore starring vehicle feels extremely slow at 127 min. I wonder if the TCM print is not stretch-printed or just plain too slow. John is showing his gorgeous profile against those of lovely ladies (Carmel Myers, Mary Astor - then only 17, Irene Rich) for long minutes. Harry Beaumont never was an imaginative director. Most of the films of his I have seen felt the same way. On the plus side, there are some nice costumes and sets. Dear John is allowed to age until he becomes a senile old man. We even get 'a happy end' of some kind when the ghost of John meets the ghost of Mary in the after life, when they have both become young again. Overall, a bit disappointing, especially if you know the kind of performance John could give in talkies.


You aren't alone in thinking Brummel was too long. According to the Barrymore biography Good Night, Sweet Prince, in a postscript "Jack" himself had written in his sea log after attending a revival screening in Quayquil:

"I've seen a lot of long pictures, but I know till the day I die I'll never see one half as long as as El Hermoso Brummell!"

While I agree with all of your criticisms, especially about director Beaumont, I actually like the film. I recently watched most of the Barrymore silents available on DVD, and perhaps because it was came after the disappointing Sherlock Holmes, I found Brummel pretty good.

One thing is for sure, from Brummel on, Barrymore and his directors took the "Great Profile" moniker way too seriously. In most of his subsequent silents, Barrymore pauses to show off that profile, and if you let it, it can become almost distracting.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

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

Postby drednm » February 6th, 2010, 5:18 pm

Just watched Broken Blossoms which I haven't seen in years. An amazing film with terrific performances by Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess. The sets, lighting, tints, and music score are just about perfect. A simple and beautiful story despite the brutality of the world. This is a timeless classic.

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

Postby myrnaloyisdope » February 6th, 2010, 5:43 pm

Broken Blossoms is quite tremendous. I think it's Griffith's best film, and certainly a marvellous showcase for Lillian Gish. I like Richard Barthelmess quite a bit, and his performance is quite good too, but I am always a bit wary of actors in yellow-face.

I watched Benjamin Christensen's Sealed Orders (1914) and thought it was marvellous. One of the most inventive film's of the era. The plot is a bit of a jumble with Christensen playing a navy captain who is accused of treason after his wife gets entangled with another man (who happens to be a spy). It's full of secret messages and carrier pigeons, but my goodness the film has tremendous lighting and so many brilliant flourishes that aside from the relatively static camera you would think there was no way the film was made in 1914. There is a sequence involving a telephone wire being struck by a mortar that literally had my jaw agape in pure astonishment. I am excited about checking out his next film Blind Justice. Anybody know why he didn't make more films?
"Do you think it's dangerous to have Busby Berkeley dreams?" - The Magnetic Fields

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

Postby drednm » February 6th, 2010, 6:28 pm

Amazingly, Broken Blossom was a big hit.... It may have been the first "art" film produced in America to reach a wide audience. Haunting.

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

Postby Ann Harding » February 8th, 2010, 4:26 am

Yesterday, I went to see Lonesome (P. Fejös, 1928) with Barbara Kent and Glenn Tryon. This cute little film follows Mary and Jim as they are spending Sunday in Coney Island. They meet by chance, fall in love and then lose each other in the crowd. And later discover they are neighbours. The script is that simple. Barbara Kent is cute as button with a winning smile while Glenn Tryon is sometimes rather irritating and reminded me of William Haines' mugging. But, the film has a lot of charm thanks to the editing and the innate rhythm. That's a film crying out for a great jazz score to follow its syncopated rhythm. There are a lot of camera movements in the film that gives it real fluidity. Alas I saw it completely silent. The CF print looked like a reasonable dupe but grainy. The film was shown silent which meant that the few talking scenes in the film became incomprehensible. Overall, I found the film pleasant, but a far cry from a masterpiece like The Crowd, and even less interesting that Hindle Wakes (1927, M. Elvey) as this British film includes a social message. Perhaps I sound unduly harsh on this film. Seen with a good score, it must be quite different.

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

Postby drednm » February 8th, 2010, 7:43 am

Watched The Sorrows of Satan and thought it was wonderful. Unlike anything else Griffith directed. My version is 90 minutes and probably missing the "FX" ending. Not the best picture quality and hideous music score tacked on. I have no memory of where I got this from. I notice a VHS version at 1111 minutes for sale.

Ricardo Cortez is excellent as the struggling writer who invokes the devil in a moment of despair. The devil (Adolphe Menjou) appears and tells him he's inherited a fortune but he must leave his current world behind. This includes Mavis (Carol Dempster), also a struggling writer. Cortez is taken by Menjou on a whirlwind tour of posh nightclubs and society parties where he meets a Russian countess (Lya De Putti). They marry but nothing goes right.

On a larger theme, the get the story of Lucifer being cast out of heaven and being told that each soul that refuses him will bring him a step closer to being re-admitted (hence the sorrow). There even seems to be a tender look in the devil's eye when Dempster refuses his offers of money and success.

This is a remarkable film. I wish I had a better copy. During one scene when Menjou and Cortez are arguing each actor keeps stepping from the dark into the dark to speak. It's a mesmeric scene of light and shadow and beautifully done. Griffith easily handles the opening scenes of poverty and misery as he details the lives of Cortez and Dempster. And Da Putti moves through the film like a spider. She always seems to be wearing webby materials and capes. But Griffith also shows us a huge, sumptuous nightclub replete with dancing girls. It's a mammoth set and very jazz-age modern.

Dempster's final film.

feaito

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

Postby feaito » February 8th, 2010, 10:23 am

Ann Harding wrote:Yesterday, I went to see Lonesome (P. Fejös, 1928) with Barbara Kent and Glenn Tryon. This cute little film follows Mary and Jim as they are spending Sunday in Coney Island. They meet by chance, fall in love and then lose each other in the crowd. And later discover they are neighbours. The script is that simple. Barbara Kent is cute as button with a winning smile while Glenn Tryon is sometimes rather irritating and reminded me of William Haines' mugging. But, the film has a lot of charm thanks to the editing and the innate rhythm. That's a film crying out for a great jazz score to follow its syncopated rhythm. There are a lot of camera movements in the film that gives it real fluidity. Alas I saw it completely silent. The CF print looked like a reasonable dupe but grainy. The film was shown silent which meant that the few talking scenes in the film became incomprehensible. Overall, I found the film pleasant, but a far cry from a masterpiece like The Crowd, and even less interesting that Hindle Wakes (1927, M. Elvey) as this British film includes a social message. Perhaps I sound unduly harsh on this film. Seen with a good score, it must be quite different.


I have always been curious about this particular film Christine. Thanks for posting your review. I'm sorry to hear it is not in the same category than "The Crowd", because since some critics have praised it highly and compared it with Vidor's masterpiece, I had high expectations about it.

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

Postby drednm » February 8th, 2010, 10:44 am

Actually I liked Lonesome and thought it was an extremely well made and moving little film. Maybe seeing it mute ruined it?

feaito

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

Postby feaito » February 8th, 2010, 8:44 pm

I hope one day I'll be able to see both Lonesome and Sorrows of Satan, which sounds as a very good picture. Uncannily enough today I watched the excellent documentary "The Love Goddesses" (Thanks Kevin) and among the many fantastic clips that are included there was a clip of Sorrows of Satan featuring Lya de Putti, Ricardo Cortez and Adolphe Menjou.

I also saw the last chapter of Brownlow's Hollywood, Bravo!! The End of an Era is an excellent episode to close the saga. The best documentary ever done!


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