WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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

Post by intothenitrate »

So Big is a good one, CCF. Wellman directed that, right? It's really a tour-de-force for Stanwyck. I had gotten so used to seeing her in other roles of the period with that tough-as-nails exterior, that this one took me by surprise. She makes the unremarkable remarkable.

In the later scenes, when she's supposed to be elderly, it's interesting that they didn't try to do a lot with her make-up to "sell" the fact. Wellman lets her do it with her performance...and she does. The choice they made showed me how two artists (Stanwyck and Wellman) could invite you into their world of make-believe and tell you a great story without worrying about the artifice.

I also love the way Bette Davis and George Brent--later A List stars in important productions--just sort of pop up near the end of the film to round out the story. They're the "cool kids" who affirm the value of the Stanwyck character's life of toil and sacrifice.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by charliechaplinfan »

It's a real gem of a film, it is Wellman directing, I do like Wellman's early films, she plays the aged Selina so convincingly.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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MichiganJ
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by MichiganJ »

I watched Strike, Sergei Eisenstein's first film, and if I hadn't recently revisited Kane, I would say that this is the most ambitious debut film, if not the most important. Right out of the starting block, Eisenstein seems to have mastered and progressed the language of film. It's not simply his editing technique, which is evident even in the opening scenes, but his scope and ability to tell a story, particularly with his enormous cast. The film deserves to be discovered, but I will say that this is the only Eisenstein films I've seen that featured comedy.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Wow, no one has watched a precode or silent for 2 weeks, we ought to do something. So today I watched Dames, which might just be outside the precodes but holds the spirit of them, utilisig as it does Busby Berkeley's choreography and Joan Blondell, Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler and containing a funny side plot involving Ezra Ounce and his family, Guy Kibbee being the patriarch and being pursued by the desperate Joan/Mabel who has been left high and dry in Troy, she needs to get back into a show and Dick Powell has the answer and Kibbee can be bribed. The musical numbers included I Only Have Eyes For You, Dames and The Girl at the Ironing Board, the sequences don't seem as tight or daring as the earlier ones, the ironing board sequence having been altered to accomadate Blondell's pregnancy, loved the swans pecking at the bread. I was a bit spooked by so many of Ruby Keeler's faces but was much better when they turned into floaty skirts, it was a different take on the Berkeley numbers. I've always marvelled at Ruby Keeler's dancing, not being knowledgable about the different styles of dancing I can only say that I prefer the smooth style of Astaire/Rogers but maybe this was a style that was also popular at the time. Being more acquainted with Powell's later work I can appreciate just how big a jump it must have been for him to go from crooner to tough guy, he was one determined and far sighted bloke. I love Joan Blondell, she can do no wrong.
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knitwit45
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by knitwit45 »

I love Joan Blondell, she can do no wrong.
:D :D



Amen to that! I taped a lot of Joanie's movies for our Birdy last summer, and was happy to become a fan, too!
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drednm
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by drednm »

The Flirting Widow (1931)

Far-fetched but amusing drawing-room comedy about an elder daughter (Dorothy Mackaill) who fakes a marriage engagement in order for her younger sister to marry, thereby avoiding having to wear "green stockings" at her wedding. The tradition is that younger daughters may not marry unless their older sisters have.

But Mackaill is determined to stay free so she fakes a letter to her nonexistent fiancée that she just invented (Basil Rathbone), but it gets mailed by accident. After posting a phony obituary in the paper, who should show up at the country manor (after receiving the letter in Arabia) but the fake fiancée pretending to be a friend of the deceased.

Lots of cat and mouse games and verbal sparring between Mackaill and Rathbone makes this an amusing comedy. One character has the silly name of Raleigh Raleigh who gets introduced to Rathbone and says "I'm Raleigh Raleigh" to which Rathbone replies, "Really? Really?" In Mackaill's opening scenes she dressed in a sweater and tweed skirt, her hair slicked back in a mannish cut. Raleigh (the typical English silly ass character) says to her, "You know, in that outfit you almost look like a man." She turns, eyes him up and down and retorts,"You know, in that mustache you look like a man ... almost." British born Mackaill doesn't have an English accent in this film set in England, which is odd. But she's very good and astonishingly gorgeous. Rathbone is fun as the faux fiancée.

Emily Fitzroy is hilarious as boozy Aunt Ida (who's in on the charade). Others include Leila Hyams as Evelyn, Flora Bramley as Phyllis, Claude Gillingwater as the father, Anthony Bushell as Bobby, William Austin as Raleigh, and Wilfred Noy as the butler.

There's an odd moment of censorship in a scene where Rathbone is putting a watch on a chain around Mackaill's neck. It slips into her cleavage. Rathbone leers as he watches her try to fish out the watch. He's says something that is blanked out, but Mackaill turns and responds sharply to whatever he says.

Certainly worth a look to see wonderful Dorothy Mackaill in her early talkie period.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by charliechaplinfan »

knitwit45 wrote:
I love Joan Blondell, she can do no wrong.
:D :D



Amen to that! I taped a lot of Joanie's movies for our Birdy last summer, and was happy to become a fan, too!


She's a rarity, many of the actresses of the time were skinny, even the bombshells like Harlow couldn't compete with Blondell's curves.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
MikeBSG
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by MikeBSG »

Today I watched the 1924 "Thief of Bagdad."

I never warmed to the 1940 version, so I had high hopes for this one. It started very slowly. Indeed, I thought the first hour and fifteen minutes moved like a glacier. The sets seemed to dwarf everybody.

However, the movie came to life in the last hour, when the princes left Bagdad on the quest to find the present that would impress the princess. This part of the film was light and magical and very enchanting. I did feel like cheering when Doug and the princess flew over the city on the flying carpet at the end of the film.

I'm not the world's biggest Fairbanks fan. I like "Robin Hood," but I really like "The Three Musketeers" and "The Iron Mask." I don't care for "Zorro" or "Black Pirate."
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I regards to Fairbanks I think we are very much alike, I have the same regard for The Thief of Bagdad and feel similarly about his other films. One film I'd really recommend is The Gaucho, I liked it for me it's the film that Fairbanks really allows himself to be sexy and enjoys it, must be the presence of Lupe Velez his lover of the time.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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Ann Harding
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by Ann Harding »

Really funny how experiences can vary. I first saw Thief of Bagdad on a late night TV show in the 80s. It was the beautiful Photoplay tinted print with Carl Davis' ravishing score. I fell head over heels in love with Fairbanks. I have never varied. But, I guess, according to the print & music you saw, it can color your judgment. I also saw The Black Pirate on a big screen at the BFI. I adored every second of it. I have never felt the same when I watched it later on DVD as the prints available are not as good. I would suggest you try the Fairbanks Flicker Alley box which contains some marvellous Triangle pictures of the teens. Each one is a little gem.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by charliechaplinfan »

I like his earlier work, it's not how we are used to seeing him, he's the butt of a lot of the jokes, to turn this around and become the swashbuckling hero is quite a jump but he's so good as the swashbuckler, it fits him like a glove. The Black Pirate is a good movie, I guess I just expected more, the Kino version I have isn't bright in the colouring, he looks amazing too, no wonder Gene Kelly stole this look when he made The Pirate it suired him too.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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drednm
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by drednm »

Finally got around to watching Griffith's The Girl Who Stayed at Home, a lousy title but a surprisingly good movie, once it gets going. Rumor has it Lillian and Dorothy Gish were slated to star with Richard Barthelmess and Robert Harron but were not available so Griffith brought in Carol Dempster and Clarine Seymour.

The story starts out oddly with a tale about a southerner at the close of the Civil War who refuses to accept America. He moves to France and drapes his mantle with a Confederate flag. Years pass. His granddaughter (Dempster) has apparently been brought up in France but travels to America frequently. She goes with friends and meets two brother (Barthelmess and Harron) on the verge of World War I. Barthelmess is the good son; Harron the cowardly bad son. Harron is seeing a singer named Cutie Beautiful (Seymour) on the side, but she is seeing and older man (Tully Marshall).

Barthelmess marches off to war but the father declares Harron necessary for the war effort in his shipyard. Harron does office work and eventually gets drafted. Harron parts from Seymour and goes to war. Dempster meanwhile is working as a nurse in France. There's a minor subplot about a German boy (David Butler) leaving behind his old mother. All the stories converge when the German army invades France and closes in on the house where Dempster lives with the Civil War grandfather.

Apparently some of the war footage was left over from Hearts of the World. The stars are all terrific in this neglected Griffith film.
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Ann Harding
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by Ann Harding »

Yesterday I went to the Cinematheque to see a rare Paul Czinner called Liebe (1927) with Elisabeth Bergner. It's an adaptation of a Balzac novel called La Duchesse de Langeais which has been adapted several times including in 1922 by Frank Lloyd with Norma Talmadge as The Eternal Flame. The story centers round the Duchess of Langeais (E. Bergner) who seems impervious to love as she cruises through all the famous Parisian salons. That is until one day, when she meets Armand de Montriveau (Hans Rehmann). She decides to seduce him. The man falls madly in love but she keeps him at a distance. then, fed up with that treatment, he leaves her. Desperate, she realises she is passionately in love with him. Realising he'll never come back, she enters a convent. Years later, when they meet again in the convent, she dies suddenly. I felt Elisabeth Bergner gave a marvellous performance as the lady of the world passionately in love with a man she can't get. Her acting was restrained and still provided us with plenty of clues to her ordeal. The final scene was beautifully done as Montriveau finds her dead inside her convent cell. The main character has a lot in common with some of the great lovers like Marguerite Gautier or Madame De... I thoroughly enjoyed the film.
feaito

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

Post by feaito »

It surely sounds like a great film Christine. Never heard of it before.
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MichiganJ
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Re: WHAT SILENTS & PRE-CODES HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

Post by MichiganJ »

Our Arts Museum, the IMA, is doing a Winter Nights Film Series dedicated to Technicolor. Every week through February, they will be offering a film or two showing off the wonders of Technicolor. Last night was the first and featured a gorgeous restoration of Doug Fairbanks' 2-strip Technicolor feature, The Black Pirate. The wafer thin plot held up far better on the big screen than it does on video, and Doug looked great in color.

They also showed The Mystery of the Wax Museum, a favorite of mine. This print was a 16mm (unlike the 35mm for Pirate) and the image was a bit soft, but it also played really well with an audience. And it was also a kick being able to see my dear Fay in color, overly rosy cheeks and all.
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