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WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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

Postby Vecchiolarry » March 22nd, 2014, 11:07 pm

Hi,

I also watched "The Gold Rush" the other night. I had seen it years ago in a NYC theater and thought it was a brilliant film.
I don't know how they all manoeuvered themselves into those various situations - the house balancing on the cliff and their back&forth movements to keep it from plunging - - and the dance with the dog tied to his rope belt - - the fight with the gun seemingly always pointed to 'The Little Tramp' - and etc......
Marvellous!!!

Charlie Chaplin was a genius and very talented as actor, writer, producer and director; and of course he was a STAR!!! An original....
He did it first...

Larry

P.S. - I must praise Max Swain also.

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

Postby Gagman 66 » March 24th, 2014, 1:53 pm

:o Someone should mention that TCM aired the Criterion Restoration of THE GOLD RUSH in the original Silent version with title cards and the numerous cut scenes that were butchered out of the 1942 re-issue that the we see in the Youtube link. Now that we can see the original 1925 cut in a magnificent print with a full orchestra score I see no reason that the vastly inferior 1942 sound re-issue need be heard from again. It is not and never was THE GOLD RUSH. The real film finally aired on TCM and this was a significant development. I have to thank Chuck Tabesh for his tireless efforts in securing the broadcast rights at long last for TCM. I just wish I had known about it ahead of time. I do have the Critetrion Blu-ray release which is highly recommended.

It's very likely that TCM will be replacing the version of Harold Lloyd's THE FRESHMAN that they have been airing since 2003 as well. Since the Criterion Blu-ray is out tomorrow and contains a new score by Carl Davis. I am saddened however that the Robert Israel score was not at least included as an alternate track. I have come to think of the score as being definitive. But I have yet to hear the new Davis one, and never heard the old Davis one from the 90's.

Here is a Big Review of THE FRESHMAN Blu-ray at this link.

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Fresh ... 47/#Review

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

Postby Rita Hayworth » March 24th, 2014, 3:36 pm

Gagman 66 wrote::o Someone should mention that TCM aired the Criterion Restoration of THE GOLD RUSH in the original Silent version with title cards and the numerous cut scenes that were butchered out of the 1942 re-issue that the we see in the Youtube link. Now that we can see the original 1925 cut in a magnificent print with a full orchestra score I see no reason that the vastly inferior 1942 sound re-issue need be heard from again. It is not and never was THE GOLD RUSH. The real film finally aired on TCM and this was a significant development. I have to thank Chuck Tabesh for his tireless efforts in securing the broadcast rights at long last for TCM. I just wish I had known about it ahead of time. I do have the Critetrion Blu-ray release which is highly recommended.




Thanks for sharing that (Criterion Restoration) information of the GOLD RUSH Gagman 66 ... I did not know that and appreciate the additional information about the Blu-Ray release too - because I just got a BLU-RAY Machine the other day and using both of them to watch movies from this day forward.

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

Postby CineMaven » April 16th, 2014, 5:59 am

“TORCH SINGER” ( 1933 )

SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS
!

I don’t know why Colbert was Oscar’d for “IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT” when clearly, her performance the year before in “TORCH SINGER” ( 1933 ) puts her through her paces and shows her off to good advantage in a grand way.

In “Torch Singer” Colbert plays a pregnant unmarried woman who has to give up her child, SALLY, for adoption. We see the repercussions of her decision as she goes from hopeless and helpless, to ‘torch singer’ ( based on life experience...and a clever montage showing her move UP the show biz ladder ), to becoming a radio diva. Colbert does a good job in each phase of her life. Underneath it all, is a woman missing her child.

She figures out a way how she can find her daughter, but gets depressed when faced with the possibility the child might be dead. She starts to spiral alcoholically downward. Colbert goes through a slew of emotions in this movie like a champ, very believably. She's not showy or actress-y. Her line readings are very down-to-earth. Oh....and she wears the hell out of her outfits. She's very glamorous. How come that's news to me? :roll:

Mildred Washington plays maid, Carrie. And however brief her appearance, it is apparent Washington has personality. She is sassy, not subservient. And young and attractive too. And could be more of a friend in the context of those times than the Louise Beavers character in “Imitation...” ( To be fair to Ms. Beavers, I direct you to watch her moment opposite Una Merkel in “Bombshell.” There's fire there. )

A scene that positively shocks and blows away 21st century me is when a hopeful Colbert goes to visit a little girl named Sally, who's written into the radio station to try and win a doll. The child is not hers, but the scene shocks me as it plays out. I must say, Colbert is very loving to children in her movies. ( Well..at least in the two movies I’ve seen of hers recently; this one and “Imitation of Life.” ) She’s very tender with them, and I hadn’t known that before.

Image

What’s also interesting for me is the bifurcation of Colbert’s character. At night she works in a nightclub, torching the blues like nobody's business, and she does it in backless slinky sparkly shiny satin-y tight-fitting outfits. ( Yeehaw, let’s hear it for pre-code! ) By day, in a fluke, she’s a wholesome children’s radio show storyteller. She also sees that her radio backers want her for just her Voice and not what’s going on in her internally. She’s a commodity and that’s not quite sitting well with her. I like how she goes from mocking a song, to seeing its meaning...all within the one reading.

There are also two men in her life: the one who went away ( David Manners ) and a radio program manager ( Ricardo Cortez - who doesn’t hit a woman ONCE in this movie. Boo! ) It’s just too neatly tied in a predictable bow for me when Manners returns and wins her over. ( I usually like Manners but this time, I wanted her to be with Cortez. ) What probably would have been unpalatable for 1930’s audiences was if Colbert reconnected with her child but chose NOT to want to be with the child’s father ( Manners. ) I like the way Cortez is in the movie. Ha! THIS is the same guy that mistreats Loretta Young in “Midnight Mary”?? :shock: ) That would have been radical choice for Colbert’s Mimi Benton to make.

I guess for me, Colbert suffers from what Loretta Young suffers for me. It’s like they had two different personas. I discover them in the 1940’s, when they were scrubbed maternally clean without a trace of the ‘hotcha’ in ‘em. But it’s in the 30’s, the pre-code 30’s, where’s she’s slinky and sexy and uses that dulcet voice to great advantage. 1930’s look out. I’m-a comin’. I'm taking a time machine. I’m ready to get my preconceived notions turned inside out.

I think this scene single-handedly put me over the edge INTO the Colbert camp:

Image

Wait...what?!!! What the heck just happened to me?

You may also catch a small dose of Mildred Washington here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?

What might’ve been.

I like “Torch Singer.” I like Claudette Colbert in it. It took me long enough to watch it and I have you to thank for it.

You know who you are.
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com

feaito

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

Postby feaito » April 16th, 2014, 8:38 am

Great, great write-up Tess. I am happy to read that you liked so much this grand Precoder. It's become one of my favorites; I have already seen it thrice. In my opinion this film is definitely superior to her 1934 "Imitation of Life".

This is the small review I wrote at imdb back in 2004 when I watched it for the first time (10 years ago!...time flies).

This 1933 Paramount film, is a sophisticated and greatly acted drama, with the Depression as background and a powerful performance by the great comedienne and actress, Claudette Colbert, as a chic "fallen" woman. I'd even dare to say that this one pleased me even more than that other favorite 1934 tearjerker, "Imitation Of Life".

Awesome Miss Colbert's costumes, designed by the best Hollywood costume designer of all time, Travis Banton, to "showcase" her "conversion", when she turns into the successful "Torch" Singer-Mimi Benton-of the Title.

Great performance by latin-named, but European born, Ricardo Cortez, as Miss Colbert's lover and mentor and a good one too by David Manners, as the rich guy, who "unwantedly" & "unknowingly" disgraced Miss Colbert's life.

Nice acting by beautiful Mildred Washington, who plays Miss Colbert's maid, and "punchy" Lyda Roberti, who plays an earthy woman who befriends Colbert in the beginning of the film. Ethel Griffies, gives a good "nasty" performance, as Manners' stiff-upper-lip, aristocratic, embittered aunt.

Mention apart deserves Charley Grapewin as the mischievous sponsor of Miss Colbert's Radio Show. He delivers some great lines!

I won't add anything more about the plot of the movie, 'cos you oughta watch it for yourselves! A must see for Pre-Code and 1930's film lovers!

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

Postby CineMaven » April 21st, 2014, 7:41 pm

...Why oh why did I doubt Ernst Lubitsch? :roll:

Jewel thieves Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins are partners-in crime ( are they even married? I s'pose they're deliciously NOT in the wonderful world of pre-code ) in “TROUBLE IN PARADISE.” They are a deee-light to watch (...and trust me, no one is more shocked to hear me say that than me ) as they go after the big Kahuna, the raven-haired Kay Francis. Watching Marshall and Hopkins is like watching a tennis or fencing match; they volley’d and parried. Their oneupsmanship was as precise as a Swiss watch. Lying and stealing were compulsive for them. They couldn’t help themselves. Hopkins has to actually sit on her hands to keep from stealing Francis’ jewels.

When I first got a gander of Miriam Hopkins, I got scared. “Here we go,” I thought. “She’s all affected again.” When Lubitsch reveals her ruse, I laugh and relax and realize she’s handling the comedy very nicely. ( Uh-oh, I guess it’s time for me to break out “Design for Living”, huh? Baby steps, please. ) When she plays her scene with Francis, she’s pitch perfect. She’s now the dowdy secretary with horn-rimmed glasses after we’ve seen her in some stunning and devastating outfits. She has to play it cool, but they both understand each other in that way we women do when we’re competing for the same man. In their case, that man is Herbert Marshall.

Who knew he was spry and nimble ( though I know it wasn’t him bounding and sprinting up and down those stairs. ) He had a nimble way with the language of ‘sophisticated comedy’ and spoke it well. Why didn’t somebody tell me? :shock: You mean I have to go back to the 30’s for the men, too? His deadpan delivery and erudite diction works surprisingly well here. I say surprisingly because it’s a surprise to me, never having seen him this way. The last two times I saw Herbert Marshall he was:

( 1. ) in a car going over a cliff and

( 2. ) dying on a staircase with Bette Davis’ voice: “I’ll be waiting for you to die,” ringing in his ears. ( This right after she confesses that with all her heart she still loves the man she killed. ) That’s the Herbert Marshall I know. Well here, in 1932, he’s a fast-talking, quick-thinker who talks his way out of any situation. He’s such a talker, he turns the table on his accuser(s) until they are the ones who flee with guilt. He has a wonderful scene volleying with character actor: C. Aubrey Smith. Marshall’s character should have been a politician instead of a thief; this way he could legally steal from his constituents...with their blessing!

Kay Francis is no piker in all this. Yes, she’s the "straight man" here; the girl who’s about to be taken. But her raison d’etre comes from a different place. She’s fallen for Marshall. She puts her complete faith and trust and business in his hands. He's a cad, but why don't I dislike him? She woos him, somewhat vamps him. He thinks he’s out to get her, but she’s two steps ahead of him, and walking towards the boudoir. He's falling for her. And she’s very smart. What a handsome woman she is. I was struck by her blackness; black gowns and that jet black hair. She makes me think of sable, or a raven. She’s regal, with a smoky darkness. She made quite a contrast to Miriam Hopkins, a soft dewy blonde, who was also quite beautiful in this film.. I like that Francis is oblivious to everything other than getting Marshall, but I think underneath she knew the score, and I like how that played out.

Image
Click foto to read about the Style of Kay Francis

The clothes in this movie are absolutely divine. Breathtaking. I'm not one who pays attention to clothes, but I would have killed for any one outfit of Francis' or Hopkins' - especially this black number that Francis wears. ( I can't describe it, but I swear, I swooned a little in my seat. :oops: And if fashion IS your thing, here is a good article for you to read about the clothes in "Trouble in Paradise" done by Travis Banton. )

Lubitsch packs a lot of plot and moves things along swiftly. I like how we have a montage of servants responding to Francis, and a later montage of those same servants responding to Marshall. Lubitsch keeps the camera on a clock, and we just hear the voices in the scene, as time moves forward. And he takes his time to let a character set up a joke so that when we hear the punchline later in the movie ( “TONSILS!” ) he trusts us to remember, and laugh. Oh he’s got The Touch alright.

Last but not least another find for me, who would have made a great comic team: Edward Everett Horton and Charles Ruggles. They were hilarious together, and made perfect foils for each other as they tried to out do each other to win Francis’ hand. Neither stood a snowball’s chance, if tall dark and handsome were on the scene. But it was great fun to watch them try, and to see them annoy and outwit each other.

When the jig is up, the movie ends beautifully, perfectly...justly. The lesson: we are all meant to be with whom we are meant to be with. I learned more than I bargained for from Lubitsch during this movie:

( 1. ) how to tell a story

( 2. ) how to present the story and

( 3. ) how to be a good sport when you lose the thing you want...that’s not really meant for you. I shall hold Herbert Marshall and Kay Francis as beacons in that regard. I’d do well to remember that.

Image
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com

feaito

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

Postby feaito » April 21st, 2014, 8:02 pm

Great review Tess. You are a masterful writer and expert at conveying everything you felt when you saw the film. It's like one were watching with you and commenting....Good job friend.

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

Postby Robert Regan » April 21st, 2014, 8:24 pm

Theresa, you have got Lubitsch's number! And how! Many tons of ink have been spilled writing about Trouble in Paradise, but you have said it all. Great director with a great script (the incomparable Samson Raphelson!), an unbelievably perfect cast, and as you point out great clothes, at least for those two beauties! Now, you know me, Theresa. I am very cautious about recommending something, even if I consider it the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I don't think I'm going out on a limb here in saying yes, it is indeed time for you to break out Design for Living. If you don't like it, I'll eat my hat! In fact, I think you will even like Frederic March in this one. He and Cooper are a great pair of straight men, and guess who's the center of their attention. It's said that Ernst was in love with her, and who could blame him? Bless him, he gave her three of her greatest moments on the screen. As you well know, I love him, and I love Miriam, and Kay, and even Herbert Marshall!

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

Postby Robert Regan » April 21st, 2014, 8:31 pm

Fealto, you have hit the nail right on the head about Theresa's writing! I have been reading a lot of academic film writing lately, and I really needed a major dose of Theresa Brown!

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

Postby mongoII » April 21st, 2014, 8:54 pm

Theresa, a swell review indeed. Oh, by the way, I enjoy Herbert Marshall in all his films.
I always thought of him as Fay Bainter's twin brother.
Joseph Goodheart

feaito

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

Postby feaito » April 22nd, 2014, 10:04 am

Robert Regan wrote:Theresa, you have got Lubitsch's number! And how! Many tons of ink have been spilled writing about Trouble in Paradise, but you have said it all. Great director with a great script (the incomparable Samson Raphelson!), an unbelievably perfect cast, and as you point out great clothes, at least for those two beauties! Now, you know me, Theresa. I am very cautious about recommending something, even if I consider it the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I don't think I'm going out on a limb here in saying yes, it is indeed time for you to break out Design for Living. If you don't like it, I'll eat my hat! In fact, I think you will even like Frederic March in this one. He and Cooper are a great pair of straight men, and guess who's the center of their attention. It's said that Ernst was in love with her, and who could blame him? Bless him, he gave her three of her greatest moments on the screen. As you well know, I love him, and I love Miriam, and Kay, and even Herbert Marshall!


I second the motion Robert, for me -and I know that this is perhaps a lesse-majesté misdimeanor- "Design for Living" (1933) even tops "Trouble In Paradise" (1932) and the quality of the print available of the former on the Gary Cooper Collection and the Criterion Release, is much better than that of the latter -available on the Criterion DVD Release-. I have seen Design at least four times and each time I have seen it it has been a complete pleasure and I discover a new thing. And I maintain this, Lubistch did a superbly interesting thing with Coward's source, improving it :)

Robert Regan wrote:Fealto, you have hit the nail right on the head about Theresa's writing! I have been reading a lot of academic film writing lately, and I really needed a major dose of Theresa Brown!


Robert, Theresa's writing has also become of major source of enjoyment, thus I also need a major dose of her.

mongoII wrote:Theresa, a swell review indeed. Oh, by the way, I enjoy Herbert Marshall in all his films.
I always thought of him as Fay Bainter's twin brother.


Joe, You have a point there Re. Bainter-Marshall.

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

Postby CineMaven » April 23rd, 2014, 6:44 am

:oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:

THANK YOU!!!!

Thank you sooooo much. I've read some academic writing in my day; scholarly writing. But I never respond as much as I do with writings I read from the heart. You might've noticed that in my writing here or at the now "new & improved" TCM-City, ( :evil: ) that I don't tend to write negative reviews. If I don't like a movie, I really just basically keep it to myself, though there's nothing really wrong with not liking a movie and saying so. But I put all my ire in my political rants on FaceBook. ( Thanx a lot Supreme Court! Grrrr! )

I'm flattered guys because I've enjoyed your writing style as well ( and long to see more of it. )

At the TCMFF I just attended, I turned a couple of corners and am seeing some films with a renewed appreciation. Maybe THAT'S what seeing things on the big screen is all about. I hope I can write about it in an entertaining and heartfelt way. One year it was "THE CONSTANT NYMPH" that left me thunderstruck. Another year, "THE MACOMBER AFFAIR" dropped my jaw. You'll be mighty surprised at the movie that shook me to the core this year: "THE QUIET MAN." Could I be Snow White ( :shock: ) getting kissed awake by the charms of these movies I've resisted in years past?

* * * * * * * * *

mongoII wrote:Theresa, a swell review indeed. Oh, by the way, I enjoy Herbert Marshall in all his films.
I always thought of him as Fay Bainter's twin brother.

Thank you Joe. I'm re-assessing Herbert Marshall as we speak. And:

Image
"You build my gallows high, baby."

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

Postby Robert Regan » April 23rd, 2014, 10:40 am

Oh yes, Theresa, most academic writers can be a trial. It seems fairly clear that most of them do love movies. Or else why would they spend so much time seeing them and learning about them? But in the books that I have been reading lately about the history of Italian film, it is rare to find any statement that suggests that they like a particular film, director, or actor. And they also seem to feel obligated to use a lot of language that restricts their readership to their colleagues and those who are assigned the texts.

A major exception to these problems is James Naremore from Indiana University. First of all, he writes in English! Happily, he wants people like you and me to read his books which include wonderful studies of Orson Welles, Vincente Minnelli, Noir, and Screen Acting. One comes away from his highly readable books knowing more, understanding more, and having had a good time!

One of the gifts you bring to writing about film is the ability to convey to others the nature of the experience of seeing a particular movie. As Fealto (he's Fernando, right?) says, "It's like watching with you and commenting". I have had that pleasurable experience, if not often enough, and I am glad that it can be shared with others who are not so fortunate.

I would love to hear more about your reactions to The Quiet Man. I recently had the great pleasure of showing it to my daughter Sally for her first time, and we both loved it mucho. It has been a part of my life since it was new, and it seems to grow with the passage of time, the mark of a true classic. The big revelation for me this time was that all the Irish scenery and humor is the Macguffin! What The Quiet Man is really about is love and marriage. This is certainly the sexiest movie that Ford ever made! Wayne, O'Hara, and all those wonderful character players were at their very best here.

feaito

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

Postby feaito » April 23rd, 2014, 12:45 pm

Hey guys, I'd like to have the experience of watching 35MM version of Classics on a big screen, but in this country it's not easy. Most Houses who have shown Classic films use DVDs projected on big screens and I have done that myself on my building's projector, but it is not the same experience at all.

Academic writers...there's a topic; some of them can be a plain bore and difficult to comprehend completely; I am used to the excessive use of difficult language (remember I am a lawyer and I'm used to reading "rhetoric" ;) ); but when scholarly is united with love for the cinema, it's a blessing to read THAT.

I have one favorite writer who concentrates in analysing Classic Films, but he writes in only in Spanish, so I can't recommend it to you. But still, as Tess states I much better would read anything that comes from the heart sincerely in relation with the experience of watching a film, than a dry analysis.

Like Tess, as well I avoid writing negative reviews per se. If I won't like sth. at all I usually sense it somehow beforehand and avoid it. It has happened to me that I've liked films I that I have avoided, but not the other way round; I always find some redeeming quality ;)

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

Postby ChiO » April 23rd, 2014, 3:42 pm

RR wrote:
A major exception to these problems is James Naremore from Indiana University. First of all, he writes in English! Happily, he wants people like you and me to read his books which include wonderful studies of Orson Welles, Vincente Minnelli, Noir, and Screen Acting. One comes away from his highly readable books knowing more, understanding more, and having had a good time!

Total, absolute and complete agreement. His More Than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts is not only the best book on film noir that I've read, it is the best film book that I've read. The Magic World of Orson Welles is probably the least academic of all the academic books I've read on the Great One.

About three years ago I had a short opportunity to discuss those two books privately with him before a lecture (he was a guest lecturer for a film noir class at the School of the Art Institute for a semester, and the screenings and lectures were open to the public) and he is one of the most pleasant, gentle, and engaging persons I've ever met.

Another writer who conveys the academic in an enjoyable and reading style for me is Chris Fujiwara.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles


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