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Walter Huston: Lesser and Better Known Work

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

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Re: Walter Huston: Lesser and Better Known Work

Postby RedRiver » March 9th, 2013, 3:24 pm

A few months ago, we discussed RAIN, with Huston and Joanie C. I've located a copy of the play. Our local library ordered it from The University of Louisville! I haven't read it yet, and probably won't have time till next week. But I look forward to it. I think the atmosphere would be enthralling on stage!

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Re: Walter Huston: Lesser and Better Known Work

Postby JackFavell » March 9th, 2013, 4:06 pm

I read the short story it came from, and let me tell you, it's as spare as can be. There isn't anything in it that illuminates the movie, it's bare bones and in fact gives even LESS explanation than the movie or play does.

I'd be curious to hear what you'd have to say about the Gloria Swanson version. I don't know if you actually have time to sit and watch it on the computer or not, ... but if you are interested here it is. I liked it, Robert hated it, so I'd love to get someone else's opinion. The movie is flawed by having a chunk missing, but it's still an interesting film.

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Re: Walter Huston: Lesser and Better Known Work

Postby intothenitrate » March 10th, 2013, 9:09 am

I recently secured a copy of D.W. Griffith's 1930 film Abraham Lincoln with Walter Huston in the title role. I haven't seen much of Griffith's work, nor did I catch the recent bio-pic in theaters. [That would have made this a more interesting post]. Still, I have the irrepressible urge to knock off David Wark's high hat and say that the film is creeeeaaaa-ky.

The typeface of the opening credits has the title written out as if with hickory sticks. This says less to me about Honest Abe than it does about the sophistication (or lack of, even by 1930 standards) of the filmaking. The film plods along like a series of Sunday school lessons, one tableaux following the other with illustrative dialog supporting each topic heading.

One of our members -- I can't recall who it was -- had a tag-line for while that was a quote by Huston...something to the effect that his job as an actor was to sell what the writers had given him to say. I wish I had that quote, because it certainly applies here.

Huston does an amazing job, despite certain limitations. He photographs beautifully as Lincoln, a perfect combination of his own genetics, the make-up and the lighting. It's obvious that Griffiths intends to beatify Lincoln, so the lines, the staging and the delivery are contrived to give the impression of a saintly trance most of the time.

Ooops. Kids are up. I'll finish this later.
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Re: Walter Huston: Lesser and Better Known Work

Postby RedRiver » March 10th, 2013, 3:25 pm

Griffith's Lincoln film is primitive. Was it good for its time? I don't know. It's an interesting work from the standpoint of film history. As drama, it needs some shoring up! Huston is good. There are some fairly appealing shots. Not a lot of depth. Much of the dialogue feels lifted from actual quotes and dropped gratuitously into the story. "You can fool some of the people some of the time..." Um, OK!

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Re: Walter Huston: Lesser and Better Known Work

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » January 22nd, 2016, 10:49 pm

Nice recap, Jezebel! :-)
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