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Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

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JackFavell
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Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby JackFavell » June 24th, 2011, 11:25 am

I posted it up above, but here is the link to youtube again:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-psBRZl_ns&feature=feedf[/youtube]

I have no idea if it is the full 105 minute version. If you have a link to where I can get my own copy, I'd love to have my own and would be happy to pay for the privilege of owning this great movie.

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Ann Harding
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Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby Ann Harding » June 24th, 2011, 11:32 am

I have a copy of the film recorded on Arte. Just ask me, I'm sure we can make an exchange. :wink:

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Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby JackFavell » June 24th, 2011, 11:39 am

OK. :D

I guess I didn't post it before, I only thought I did. I got so excited when I found it.

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Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby JackFavell » June 24th, 2011, 2:20 pm

It turns out I had seen Maman Colibri before. I had watched it first thing when Moira posted the European Treasures website some time ago, but 2/3rds of the way through it, the website froze up and stopped working.

So I took this opportunity to watch the whole thing through. It's a little jarring to watch this one after The Wonderful Lies of Nina Petrowna, Julien Duvivier's style is rather jarring in comparison to the graceful Hanns Schwarz'.

That isn't to say that there aren't exceptional, shocking moments in this modern re-telling of Anna Karenina. Julien Duvivier's focus is completely on Maria Jocobini, as it should be, she is very expressive. Though it takes a little time to accept her coyness at the start, by the end I thought she was very good, portraying the sexuality, the anger, and the resignation of a woman often ignored or put into the background once she has children. The story is predicated on the troubled emotions of Baroness de Rysebergue, whose husband is somewhat of an intruder in her life. All this is illustrated early on, as she is dressing for a party, in a splendid ensemble designed to make her look like a hummingbird, a flouncy feathery confection designed to show her at her best. She is dancing with her 10 0r 12 year old son, who remarks that she will be the most beautiful woman at the ball. The Baron arrives, and tactlessly tells her that she looks foolish, to remember her age as a mother of two teenagers. Her crestfallen look forces him to leave the room, and she tears off the outfit for a more suitable one.

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At the masked ball she meets our Francis Lederer, a young recruit to the foreign legion, who finds her mystery attractive. They kiss at midnight, and she, mortified by her actions runs away. Francis confides to his friend that he has fallen madly in love but has no idea who the woman is. The friend invites him over the next day to help him out of his doldrums, but turns out to be the Baroness' other son! The two guilty parties meet, and he impetuously asks her to run away with him.

The two are discovered, after having barely exchanged kisses, and the Baroness has a wonderful scene in which she lets everything out, furiously telling her husband that the intruder in their house is really him, that he has never understood her or even tried. He tells her to make her choice, but that she won't be allowed to come crawling home.

She leaves, finds her young lover packing for his trip, and overjoyed to find that she is coming with him. They travel to Algeria, and there are some stunning location shots of actual street natives, a battle and the beauty of the desert. It's gorgeous and evocative.

They set up housekeeping in the most romantic place ever, but as time goes on, the Baroness finds it's not enough, and Lederer's young soldier is told by superiors that a mistress is not everything, not to make too much of a spectacle of himself with her. He tells her he must go to the next gathering of the European community alone, and she is palpably heartbroken, but says nothing.

Meanwhile a new arrival, the striking and vibrant Helene Hallier, a young single woman shows up, and assumes that the two lovers are mother and son. The Baroness is struck with melancholy, and goes to have her fortune read - it is simple "You have entered your winter time." The young girl is quite the little coquette and steals young Lederer's callow affections away, which almost seems natural.

The Baroness leaves, and we see her some time later, standing outside her old home where her young son discovers her, and makes her come into the house with him. He shows her her grandson, begs her to stay, at which point the Baron shows up - he is a changed man - loving with his children, and forgiving as well. The final shot is one of new hope for the Baroness as she starts to smile over the wonder of new life.

feaito

Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby feaito » June 24th, 2011, 10:00 pm

Wonderful review Wendy! I thought I was actually watching the film. You are a great storyteller. Maria Jacobini rings a bell...Wasn't she one of the Divas of Italian Cinema in the early teens along with Francesca Bertini, Italia Almirante-Manzzini and Giovanna Terribili-Gonzales, among others??

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Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby Ann Harding » June 25th, 2011, 2:57 am

You're right Fernando, she was an Italian diva.
I guess, Jackfavell, you enjoyed the film more than I did, because you saw a shorter version of Maman Colibri. I saw the longest version still known (105 min and still incomplete!) and believe me it was quite tedious. I saw lots of silent Duvivier last year. I was rather disappointed overall. His talkie output is certainly better than his silent one.

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Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby JackFavell » June 25th, 2011, 8:26 am

Thank you, Ferchu! I am not particularly familiar with Italian cinema, but the name of Maria Jacobini did ring a bell.

Ann - I could certainly relate to Jacobini's situation, but I must say, this movie was choppy and seemed pretty thin. I was disappointed too. The only parts that really sprang to life for me were the location shooting, and then the final shot. I had a lot of trouble staying with it. It was no Nina Petrowna. :D

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Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby moira finnie » February 6th, 2012, 12:24 pm

Voice in the Wind (1944-Arthur Ripley) starring Francis Lederer, Sigrid Gurie, J. Edward Bromberg, and J. Carrol Naish, is being aired on TCM this afternoon (Mon., Feb. 6th) at 12:30PM (ET). The movie, originally produced independently at PRC but distributed by United Artists in recognition of the better-than-expected film, was nominated for two Oscars for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture by Michel Michelet (whose original score owed a debt to Smetana's beautiful Czech anthem"The Moldau") and for Best Sound, Recording by Mac Dalgleish of RCA Sound.
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The movie is reportedly notable for the atmospheric story about an amnesiac concert pianist (Lederer) and those he meets while fleeing from the Nazis with his lover (Sigrid Gurie). Reportedly filmed in 12 days for approx. $50k (a paltry budget, even then), "Voice..." is rarely screened and downbeat, taking chances with audience expectations about story resolutions and for the uncredited work of the brilliant cinematographer Eugene Schufftan, (Richard Fryer received on-screen credit, due to the refugee Schufftan's problems with the American Society of Cinematographers, which persisted for the cinematographer for several years). It is reportedly noteworthy as well for the performances of character actors Alexander Granach and J. Carol Naish as a pair of predators. The script was based on an original story by Arthur Ripley who collaborated with Friedrich Torberg on the adaptation and screenplay.
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I'm not sure if this will hold up well, though it does make me curious. Critics were divided about Lederer's performance then and now from what I could find--some found it over-the-top and others felt it was intensely felt, conveying the desperation of displaced people at a critical moment in history. In any case, if you like Lederer's stylish, "take no prisoners" approach to performing and think that Sigrid Gurie was often better than she was credited for in her American movies, maybe this movie is for you.

Director Arthur Ripley, who began in silent comedies, (he and Frank Capra helped hone the Harry Langdon comic persona while working under Mack Sennett) had a long and varied career as a writer, though he may be best recalled for directing such noirs as the fascinating (and strange) The Chase (1946) and the gear head cult classic starring Robert Mitchum, Thunder Road (1958). Ripley was the first professor of Cinema Arts at UCLA and was one of the primary driving forces behind the founding of the UCLA Film Center.
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Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby JackFavell » February 6th, 2012, 3:32 pm

I got a copy, but only saw the first few minutes today. Atmospheric is right. This movie is badly preserved and although I'm guessing that the cinematography is supposed to be murky, the print is completely blackened with age and decomposition. The soundtrack doesn't fare much better and is awfully hard to understand. If you remember how dark The North Star was when it was shown, that will give you an idea of how poor the print is.

This is one that will take some attention to watch, but so far, Lederer and Granach look great, acting wise, and the movie starts off in a very mysterious, interesting manner. Whether it holds up throughout is the question, but I like the moody quality of the first several minutes. I'll try to give it some attention later this week, when I have time to concentrate on it.

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Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby kingrat » February 7th, 2012, 1:14 pm

Lederer fans really need to check out Renoir's Diary of a Chambermaid, where he is both sinister and attractive as the butler, someone who could turn out to be evil or be redeemed by the love of, say, Paulette Goddard. I posted a review of this movie somewhere--the Coming Up on TCM thread, perhaps.

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Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby moira finnie » February 7th, 2012, 1:29 pm

Your incisive comments about The Diary of a Chambermaid (1946) are here, king. The Diary... is one of the times when Lederer worked with a first class director, (Renoir, Pabst, Litvak, and Liesen all brought out something different in the actor). This film is available as a streaming video on Netflix. Here is lovely clip from one of his earliest movies, Die wunderbare Lüge der Nina Petrowna (1929-Hanns Schwarz) with Brigitte Helm, which Wendy and Christine have mentioned earlier. This movie now appears to be available in full on youtube in 7 parts, beginning below:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnoivyY0JPw[/youtube]
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Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby JackFavell » February 7th, 2012, 3:26 pm

It's there, but in a much inferior copy:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnoivyY0JPw&list=FLB9vl4b0LcaGsZLHVravEcA&index=70&feature=plpp_video[/youtube]

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Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby moira finnie » February 7th, 2012, 3:44 pm

Thanks, JF! You are so good.
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Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby JackFavell » February 7th, 2012, 4:01 pm

I just happened to have found two copies on youtube when I first saw it - before I got my own copy. I don't know how to remove favorited videos from youtube, so the less pristine copy is still there. Chalk it up to stupidity on my part. :D

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Re: Francis Lederer (1899-2000)

Postby CineMaven » June 4th, 2012, 10:25 pm

I haven't watched this yet Wendy, but I thought of you...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MHg9VXLDYg[/youtube]

...and wanted to give you an F.Y.I.

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