NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post Reply
User avatar
scsu1975
Posts: 179
Joined: December 14th, 2022, 6:17 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

Image

The Hero, directed by Louis J. Glasnier, starred Gaston Glass as Oswald Lane, Barbara La Marr as Hester Lane, John Sainpolis as Andrew Lane, and Doris Pawn as Martha. The film was released in December of 1922 at seven reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Oswald Lane returns home, from World War I, a decorated soldier, handsome, and admired by his townspeople.

Image

Image

Image

His older brother Andrew, an insurance salesman, has a wife, Hester, and a son, Andy.

Image

Image

Andrew was kept out of the war by family obligations, and broken arches. Andrew is a colorless individual, and also walks with a limp. Still, Andrew welcomes home his brother, as does his mother and Martha, a lovely Belgian refugee who works as a maid in the Oswald home.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Martha remains bashful before Oswald’s admiring eyes, but he finally wins her heart. Andrew insists that Oswald share their home until he settles in. Andrew even gets his brother a job at his office, and buys a new suit for him. Oswald gladly accepts the suit, but isn’t so interested in the job. He spends the day with Martha and Andrew’s little son, while Andrew and his boss wait for him to keep an appointment he had made. At a rally held at Leavitt’s Grove, Oswald proves so entertaining with his tales of heroism overseas that the spectators gladly donate over $500 for a church building fund. That evening, Andrew, who serves as church treasurer, worries about the cash he is holding in his desk. Oswald offers to sleep in the parlor and guard the money, much to Andrew’s relief. Hester, Andrew’s wife, decides to make Oswald more comfortable on the couch by retrieving a blanket. Before she can perform the errand, Oswald tells her of his loneliness and lack of understanding from his family. He implies his life might have been different had he met a woman like Hester. He begins to put his arm around her, but Hester slips away. A short time later, clad in a negligee, she returns to the parlor with a blanket. Martha, jealous and worried, sees Hester and follows her. Hester enters the parlor just as Oswald is lifting the cover of the desk and taking the church funds. Heather gasps. Martha arrives and casts an accusing look at Hester.

Image

Oswald, irritated by the interruption, brushes them both aside and rushes upstairs. All night, Hester keeps watch on Oswald to make sure he does not leave with the money. In the morning, she pleads with him, then threatens him.

Image

He dares her to call the police and have it be known that the brother of the church treasurer is a thief. Hester steps aside, and lets him leave. Andrew arrives, ignorant of what has transpired. Andrew goes to open the cover of the desk to retrieve the money. Hester is about to tell him the truth about his brother. At that moment, a fire alarm is heard. A neighbor rushes in to say that kindergarten is burning – and Andrew’s son is inside. Oswald, passing the school, see the flames and immediately dashes into the blazing structure. He rescues most of the children.

Image

Then he rushes back in to save the last. The floor collapses and he is seriously burned. Semi-conscious, he is taken back to Andrew’s house. A doctor says that Oswald will need a skin graft to survive. Oswald, stroking the hand of an admiring Martha, whispers to Hester to take the money from his pocket and return it to the desk. Andrew, oblivious to the fact that his brother had taken the money, offers to give up his skin for the operation. Andrew’s mother and Hester now realize that there are two heroes in their family.

Image

For the climactic fire scene, an abandoned school house was brought to the studio, where it was safely burned down with the Los Angeles fire department supervising. Unbeknownst to the film crew, some rattlesnakes had taken up residence in the structure. While Glass was still inside the building, he was bitten by a rattlesnake trying to escape from the heat. With the cameras still rolling, Glass continued the scene until he was out of camera range. Then he was treated by a doctor, without any complications.

Motion Picture News praised the film, writing “a human interest picture this – one which tugs at finer sensibilities because of its lifelike figures who work out their destinies as they are being worked out every day … the picture is splendidly staged.” Screenland wrote “this picture gives you food for thought, a couple of heroes of entirely different ilk – take your choice – and two lovely ladies for heroines. … John Sainpolis … walks away with the acting honors, in his marvelously real characterization of the insurance agent, loving, but commonplace husband and father – an every day life’s real hero.” The Film Daily gave a mixed review, noting “the opening scenes promise a better picture than you really get … but it suddenly lapses and nothing happens except the regular routine of the household in which the characters are congregated. … Cutting would be a decided benefit for the picture as entertainment.”
User avatar
laffite
Posts: 1918
Joined: October 27th, 2022, 10:43 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by laffite »

scsu1975 wrote: April 16th, 2023, 4:22 pm Image
Rich, a long time ago on the TCM board, there once was a poster named LoliteBlue. Might you remember her? This other poster would post on Saturdays a synopsis of a movie or something like that and Loliteblue would always get excited and make a deal of having popcorn ready every Saturday morning. She (presuming) was I'm sure very young, possible a teenager, very spontaneous and full of youthful vigor and somewhat of a charmer. One day we were chatting about Baby Ann Marie and her marvelous singing. I noted that she was the same Ann Marie that was in The Dick Van Dyke Show. She launched into a paroxysm of such laughter such utter glee, oh she got a kick out of that reveal. I was pleased because she was loving the messenger. I believe she was on the Boards in 2002-2003 but probably not much later that.

Not sure if I am going to filch from Loliteblue's playbook but it might be fun to have popcorn on hand, not only as a tribute, but to have a munchie session while reading. It actually takes me awhile to get through your posts. I'm not so razor sharp as I used to, I need to follow the synopses closely to get it right. And it might even encourage me to linger a bit over the photos. I mean let's face it It's impossible to munch on popcorn and be in a hurry. And I can salute Little Miss Loliteblue (as I imagine her) where ever she may be.
"Pippo"
User avatar
scsu1975
Posts: 179
Joined: December 14th, 2022, 6:17 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

laffite wrote: April 16th, 2023, 8:58 pm

Rich, a long time ago on the TCM board, there once was a poster named LoliteBlue. Might you remember her? This other poster would post on Saturdays a synopsis of a movie or something like that and Loliteblue would always get excited and make a deal of having popcorn ready every Saturday morning. She (presuming) was I'm sure very young, possible a teenager, very spontaneous and full of youthful vigor and somewhat of a charmer. One day we were chatting about Baby Ann Marie and her marvelous singing. I noted that she was the same Ann Marie that was in The Dick Van Dyke Show. She launched into a paroxysm of such laughter such utter glee, oh she got a kick out of that reveal. I was pleased because she was loving the messenger. I believe she was on the Boards in 2002-2003 but probably not much later that.

Not sure if I am going to filch from Loliteblue's playbook but it might be fun to have popcorn on hand, not only as a tribute, but to have a munchie session while reading. It actually takes me awhile to get through your posts. I'm not so razor sharp as I used to, I need to follow the synopses closely to get it right. And it might even encourage me to linger a bit over the photos. I mean let's face it It's impossible to munch on popcorn and be in a hurry. And I can salute Little Miss Loliteblue (as I imagine her) where ever she may be.
The name sounds vaguely familiar, but I didn't join the boards until 2005 so I may not have encountered that poster. I also think you mean Rose Marie, not Ann Marie, regarding The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Some of these synopses may be a little unclear, only because I work from several sources and there are occasional discrepancies. In some cases, I'm not sure myself what is going on. So if you have trouble following them, part of that is my fault.
User avatar
laffite
Posts: 1918
Joined: October 27th, 2022, 10:43 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by laffite »

scsu1975 wrote: April 16th, 2023, 9:46 pm
laffite wrote: April 16th, 2023, 8:58 pm

Rich, a long time ago on the TCM board, there once was a poster named LoliteBlue. Might you remember her? This other poster would post on Saturdays a synopsis of a movie or something like that and Loliteblue would always get excited and make a deal of having popcorn ready every Saturday morning. She (presuming) was I'm sure very young, possible a teenager, very spontaneous and full of youthful vigor and somewhat of a charmer. One day we were chatting about Baby Ann Marie and her marvelous singing. I noted that she was the same Ann Marie that was in The Dick Van Dyke Show. She launched into a paroxysm of such laughter such utter glee, oh she got a kick out of that reveal. I was pleased because she was loving the messenger. I believe she was on the Boards in 2002-2003 but probably not much later that.

Not sure if I am going to filch from Loliteblue's playbook but it might be fun to have popcorn on hand, not only as a tribute, but to have a munchie session while reading. It actually takes me awhile to get through your posts. I'm not so razor sharp as I used to, I need to follow the synopses closely to get it right. And it might even encourage me to linger a bit over the photos. I mean let's face it It's impossible to munch on popcorn and be in a hurry. And I can salute Little Miss Loliteblue (as I imagine her) where ever she may be.
The name sounds vaguely familiar, but I didn't join the boards until 2005 so I may not have encountered that poster. I also think you mean Rose Marie, not Ann Marie, regarding The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Some of these synopses may be a little unclear, only because I work from several sources and there are occasional discrepancies. In some cases, I'm not sure myself what is going on. So if you have trouble following them, part of that is my fault.
This is the second correction I have taken from you. I am remember trying to make some brilliant point of Ms Pitts. I spelled it Z-a-z-u and you corrected me. It's quite all right, mind you. Sorry Rose, wherever you may be. Rose Marie had a raspy voice on the show. Is this because of singing those songs as a child. I mean she did some strenuous things with her voice at such an early age, one song I remember she made her voice sound like a Mack Truck barreling down the highway. I wonder if voice teachers wince. :shock:
"Pippo"
User avatar
scsu1975
Posts: 179
Joined: December 14th, 2022, 6:17 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

Image

The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, directed by Charles Maigne, starred Mary Miles Minter as June Tolliver, Antonio Moreno as John Hale, and Ernest Torrence as Jud Tolliver. The film was released on April 15, 1923, at six reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Two youngsters, one from the Tolliver family, and one from the Falin family, are shooting marbles when the Tolliver lad is taunted because of a patch on his trousers. The two boys grapple, and soon are rolling on the ground. Both fathers arrive, followed by both mothers. Words are exchanged, and the families come to blows. Tolliver’s son is shot and killed by one of the Falins, thus starting a long feud in the Cumberland Mountains. Years later, the feud between the two families is suspended, due to the development of their coal and iron holdings. John Hale, an engineer from the North, has organized a police guard to bring law to the mountains. “Bad” Rufe Tolliver returns from the West, despite having promised to stay out of the area. Hale threatens to send him to jail if he doesn’t leave immediately. Rufe complies, but threatens vengeance when he comes back. Hale meets June Tolliver, daughter of Jud Tolliver, when he rides up a ridge to examine a coal vein.

Image

He takes an interest in June, agrees to pay for her schooling, and takes an option on Jud’s coal mine.

Image

Hale’s interest in June increases.

Image

June’s cousin, Dave Tolliver, who loves June, resents Hale’s attentions towards her, and declares he will kill any man who tries to take her from him. June goes to New York for a year under the guardianship of Hale’s sister, where she develops a passion for music. Meanwhile, the industrial boom in Kentucky bursts, and Hale loses money. He is hard pressed to pay for June’s expenses. Rufe Tolliver quietly returns, and the old feud with the Falins is revived. June returns from New York.

Image

Image

But she overhears Rufe threaten to kill a policeman. When Rufe commits the crime, Hale arrests him. For the sake of her family, June breaks from Hale, but at Rufe’s trial, she tells what she overheard and Rufe is convicted and sentenced to death.

Image

Dave Tolliver declares his intention to kill Hale, and when June hears of the threat, she rides desperately to warn Hale of the danger. Since the Tollivers believe that “no Tolliver was ever hanged,” Dave Tolliver shoots Rufe dead while the latter is standing at a window of the jail. June reaches Hale, but Dave ambushes him, and Hale drops by June’s side, but he recovers.

Image

Dave falls from the roof where he had been hiding, and is fatally injured.

Image

Image

Through June’s efforts, the feud is called off. Hale and June are married.

The story had been filmed several times before. Motion Picture News was not impressed with this version, writing “Miss Minter does nothing except pose, so the acting falls upon the shoulders of Ernest Torrence who is as lifelike as usual. Antonio Moreno is satisfactory as the hero. Call it fair and let it go at that.” Moving Picture World was somewhat more positive, writing “as is natural in a story of a mountain feud there is little of novelty in plot. It is not so much in plot that this production makes its appeal; the ending is apparent almost from the start; but the story has a simple directness and an appeal to human sympathy and understanding that robs it somewhat of the taint of triteness.” The Film Daily described the film as “a satisfactory number; doesn’t strike any particular high places but will please a good many,” but added “the plot has been used so many times it has lost considerable of its appeal.”
User avatar
scsu1975
Posts: 179
Joined: December 14th, 2022, 6:17 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

Coming in May:

Alice Adams, with Florence Vidor

One Stolen Night, with Alice Calhoun

Poor Men's Wives, with Barbara La Marr and David Butler

The Abysmal Brute, with Reginald Denny
User avatar
scsu1975
Posts: 179
Joined: December 14th, 2022, 6:17 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

Image

Alice Adams, directed by Rowland V. Lee, starred Florence Vidor as Alice Adams, Claude Gillingwater as Virgil Adams, Harold Goodwin as Walter Adams, and Vernon Steele as Arthur Russell. The film was released in March of 1923 at six reels. The British Film Institute holds a fragment. The story was remade in the sound era, with Katharine Hepburn in the lead.

Plot: As a teenager, Alice Adams is one of the most popular girls in town. When her friends go off to school, they all have coming out parties, but Alice, now 22, has none.

Image

Image

Image

She feels out of step in society. Her father, a clerk in a glue factory, is sick most of the time, and her mother constantly argues with him because he doesn’t make enough money.

Image

Alice gets invited to a dance, and after much persuasion, Alice’s brother Walter agrees to escort her. Nearly everyone at the party snubs her, including her own brother.

Image

Image

But Alice meets Arthur Russell, a stranger, who is kind to her. Alice asks Arthur to find her brother. Walter is discovered smoking and gambling with the servants.

Arthur calls on Alice on several occasions.

Image

Embarrassed by her surroundings, Alice pretends her family is well-to-do, and that her father prefers to live in that house because he is old-fashioned. Alice’s mother invites Arthur to dinner, and Alice helps her father put on a good appearance.

Image

Image

Image

Image

But the evening goes poorly, due to the hot weather and the poor choice of food.

Image

Arthur learns that Alice’s family is not well-off as she had claimed. Alice discovers Walter is leaving town, and she runs across him dancing on the sidewalk with a woman.

Image

An old friend of Mr. Adams arrives and tells him of Walter’s misappropriation of money from J. A. Lamb. For years, Mr. Adams had worked for Lamb, and only recently had given up his job to start a small factory of his own. Mr. Adams tries to secure a financial statement for a loan to cover up his son’s misdeed. He discovers that Lamb is preparing to open a rival factory. The two get into an argument, and Mr. Adams collapses. Back at the Adams home, Alice and Arthur are sitting on the front steps when Lamb’s car appears, carrying the unconscious Mr. Adams. Mr. Adams is carried upstairs, and Arthur leaves, dismayed at the odd goings-on in the house. Days later, Mr. Adams has recovered, and Lamb calls on him. “I’ll be glad to take your little factory off your hands,” says Lamb, “and I won’t prosecute your boy. And, Virgil, your old job’s waiting for you.” Alice passes a sign reading “Frincke’s Business College” and makes a decision to enroll. Arthur runs into her and says “I’ve been hoping for a glimpse of you for days. May I come to see you again soon?” “Yes, Arthur,” Alice replies, “but it will have to be in the evenings – no more afternoon walks. I’m going to learn how to work.”

The still below shows Florence Vidor on the set with Arthur S. Kane, President of Associated Pictures:

Image

Reviews were very positive across the board. Motion Picture Magazine called the film “a fine, human study – which touches the core of middle-class American life,” adding “how eloquent is Florence Vidor in the title role! The shading, the deep understanding – the manner in which she touches the very soul of the character stamps her as one of our most gifted actresses.” Motion Picture News called the film “a fine, human document, which intelligent and appreciative audiences will take to their hearts.” Moving Picture World wrote “this is a picture which is above the ordinary in dramatic skill and in the delineation of character. There is an appeal which will be felt by all … it is a type of picture … which is a very great credit to the motion picture industry.” Photoplay noted “Miss Vidor has never done finer work.” Screen Opinions wrote “Florence Vidor’s portrayal of the title role is masterly, and the spectator will find himself suffering along with the girl as she strains every nerve to win the race for social recognition.” Exhibitor’s Herald wrote “it is a picture that will make a deep impression upon those who want the best in screen entertainment and deserves unstinted praise.”
Belle
Posts: 204
Joined: May 1st, 2023, 12:28 am

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by Belle »

It's been great reading this!!

I'm a fan of films from the Wiemar Republic but this film, from 1924, Orlacs Hände, starring Conrad Veidt - one of Germany's leading actors - was actually made in Austria. Here it is in restoration with a new soundtrack. I put it here because, though the film is not yet 100 years old, it demonstrates how European cinema was light years away from its American and English counterparts. Just look from 18:15 here and the sexualized nature of their acting for a couple of minutes between Orlac and his wife, from his hospital bed. It's a ridiculous plot altogether, but the sensuality is worthy of note - as is the excellent performance of Veidt, who was 31 years old when this film was made. He's already demonstrating his protean acting skills. He says "Your eyes...how I love your hair" and she talks about his 'beautiful, tender hands' (which have just been transplanted- yes it's the horror genre!!!). The next sensual scene is from 50:00 where the maid admires Orlac's hands; expressive sexuality through fetishization!! Until she realizes he has 'the hands of a murderer"!! Veidt's face was just made for the cinema!!

User avatar
scsu1975
Posts: 179
Joined: December 14th, 2022, 6:17 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

Image

One Stolen Night¸ directed by Robert Ensminger, starred Alice Calhoun as Diantha Ebberly and Herbert Heyes as Herbert Medford. The film was released in January of 1923 at five reels. A private collector holds an incomplete copy.

Plot: Diantha Ebberly, an American, is engaged to a young Englishman, Herbert Medford.

Image

The betrothal has been arranged by their parents. Two years pass, and Herbert is stationed in the diplomatic corps in Egypt. The marriage date is set, and Diantha and her parents go to Egypt. Despite feeling an aversion to marrying Herbert, she is willing to go along with her parents’ wishes. Their train breaks down at the edge of the desert, and Diantha actually welcomes the delay. When she and her parents reach the bazaar, Diantha is captivated by the colorful scenes around her.

Image

Image

She becomes separated from her parents, and is set upon by beggars.

Image

Image

A tall sheik rescues her, and Diantha is thrilled to meet him. He escorts her through the town and entertains her with his manner and stories. The sheik disappears before Diantha is reunited with her parents.

Image

That evening, Diantha tells her parents she no longer wants to marry Herbert. Her mother tries to reason with her, to no avail. Left alone with her thoughts, Diantha thinks about the sheik. The music and warmth of the town affect her, so she decides to steal away for the evening. She puts on Arab dress, slips outside, and watches a dancing girl entertaining the natives. She goes through the city gate, to the desert. Alone, she begins a wild dance. The sheik finds her, and introduces himself as Abdullah. He tells her that he loves her, and Diantha confesses the same.

Image

The pair ride on the sheik’s horse until they reach an oasis.

Image

Image

Image

There, a band of Bedouin outlaws attack them, wounding Abdullah. They capture Diantha and take her to their leader, Amud. Amud offers to cast his wives aside for Diantha. She is locked in a chamber.

Image

Meanwhile, Abdullah recovers, and sets out after Diantha. He captures a guard, dons his clothing, and enters the chamber. Amud arrives and Abdullah locks him in the chamber. Abdullah and Diantha escape, and after a long chase across the desert with Diantha safely away from the outlaws, Abdullah departs to be with his followers.

Image

Image

The next day, Diantha’s mother tells her that Herbert has arrived. When Diantha sees him, she is stunned to see that he is Abdullah. Herbert’s work in Egypt had required him to be disguised. Although he had recognized Diantha the day they had met, she had not recognized him. Diantha forgives him for the deception. Herbert again dons his sheik outfit and sets about wooing Diantha.

Corinne Griffith was originally set to play the lead, but in November of 1922, she quit the Vitagraph Company, which was producing the film.

Motion Picture News called the film “a good program picture,” adding “Robert Ensminger who directed the picture, has put some real pep into some of the desert fight moments and has provided the story with a convincing Bedouin background.” Exhibitor’s Trade Review was positive on the story and photography, and praised the star, writing “Alice Calhoun, always attractive, is brilliantly so in the character of Diantha Ebberly. Her grace and beauty are undeniable and she fills the role with a fine sense of its dramatic needs and possibilities.” Moving Picture World was more muted, writing “atmospherically, the story belongs to the sheik class. The locale is Arabia and most of the scenes are on the desert with outlaw raids to furnish the melodrama. But the main part of the action is far too mild and idealistic to be actually compared to the typical sheik drama.” Exhibitor’s Herald called the film “light but amusing entertainment.” Finally, H. G. Selk, of the Selk Theatre in Scotia, Nebraska, wrote “can’t give this one much. Outside of some pretty scenes this is no good.”
User avatar
scsu1975
Posts: 179
Joined: December 14th, 2022, 6:17 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

Image

Poor Men’s Wives, directed by Louis J. Gasnier, starred Barbara La Marr as Laura Bedford, David Butler as Jim Maherne, Betty Francisco as Claribel Hayes, and Richard Tucker as Richard Smith-Blanton. The film was released in March of 1923 at seven reels. The Gosfilmofond in Moscow holds four reels.

Plot: Laura Bedford and Claribel Hayes work in the same modiste’s shop. Claribel is the more outgoing of the two, and attracts Jim Maherne, a taxi driver, with whom Laura is secretly in love. However, Claribel marries Richard Smith-Blanton, a wealthy divorced man. Jim goes to Laura for consolation, and the two get married, and live on a tight budget.

Image

Image

Image

A few years later, Laura has twins.

Image

Claribel gives Laura a solid silver punch bowl as a gift. Laura and Claribel meet again.

Image

Image

Claribel is neglected by her husband.

Image

So she sets out to make Laura jealous by showing the luxurious life she leads with Smith-Blanton. After a trying day with the twins, and Jim’s unromantic attitude, Laura gives in to her jealousy. On her way home, Laura is almost run down by Smith-Blanton’s car. He drives her home, and becomes infatuated with her. Claribel invites Laura to an artists’ ball. Laura appeals to Jim for money to buy a suitable dress, but he refuses. He tells his wife that if she wants to run around with Claribel, she will have to do it in her everyday clothes. Laura gets a gown and fur coat on credit, intending to wear it to the party and return it the following day. Laura is excited at the party, and catches the attention of one of the masters of ceremony, who is wearing a costume of Satan. She is surprised to see Smith-Blanton, who has not given her his real name. He pursues her, and when he takes her slipper, he tries to exchange it for a kiss.

Image

Image

But Laura flees without the slipper. Smith-Blanton leaves the party, and enters Jim’s taxi, with each not knowing who the other is. Smith-Blanton tosses the slipper to Jim as a tip, and Jim carries it home. In the morning, Laura finds that her twins have cut up her party dress. In desperation, she opens a piggy bank in which Jim is saving their money, and pays for the dress.

Image

Soon, Jim arrives home with the news that he is going to buy a taxi with the money he has saved. Laura confesses what she has done. Jim then discovers the mate to the slipper that Smith-Blanton had given him. Laura is driven out of the apartment, and seeks refuge at Claribel’s home. Claribel is not at home, but Smith-Blanton tries to force himself on Laura. Even the arrival of Claribel does not discourage Smith-Blanton. Meanwhile, Jim feels remorse for his wife’s grief, and recalls the address of the man who had given him the slipper. He arrives at Smith-Blanton’s home just in time to save Laura and punish Smith-Blanton with a beating.

Image

Reunited, Laura and Jim return to their apartment, where they decide to sell the silver punch bowl and buy a taxi.

Image

Image

The film garnered good reviews in the trade journals. Motion Picture Magazine wrote “the director deserves commendation in providing a reasonably true slice of life as it is lived in the poor man’s home. … You can spot the ending from the start, but it manages to hold the attention thru the contrasts and the sincere performances of Betty Francisco as the rich wife and Barbara La Marr as the poor wife.” Motion Picture News wrote “a good deal of the picture is given up to moralizing and it often appears illogical. Yet in its favor are some effective touches emphasizing the craving of the poor, downtrodden wife to share the fortunes of the rich.” The Film Daily noted “the story really contains material with genuine audience appeal but it is decidedly the skillful treatment and careful handling accorded it that makes it entertaining.” Exhibitor’s Trade Review wrote “the tale rings true right to the ending – a wholesome and logical one,” adding that the film is “a story that appeals to the eye as well as to the heart.” However, W. H. Brenner, manager of the Cozy Theatre in Winchester, IN, called the film “the most absurd offering I have had the misfortune of having to show, and I pray there won’t be any more soon. This will not do for better class patrons as it is over directed, overacted and a mighty poor picture.”

Zasu Pitts had a supporting role as “Apple Annie,” although I could not determine how her character fit into the plot:

Image

The twins were played by Mickey McBan and Muriel McCormac (pictured below):

Image

In one scene which was to feature Muriel, Mickey would not get out of camera range. So Muriel solved the problem by dropping a towel in front of them so all that could be seen of Mickey was his feet (shown below). “I hated to do it,” said Muriel, “but it was my scene and Mickey wouldn’t move out of it.”

Image

The still below shows La Marr between scenes with director Louis J. Gasnier:

Image

During one sequence, David Butler was called upon to twist Barbara La Marr’s arm. The actor, of course, tried to go easy on his co-star, but she would have none of it. “If you think it takes any imagination to suffer when David Butler is twisting your arm, just ask him to try it on you,” La Marr told an interviewer. “At first Mr. Butler wanted to ‘play pretend’ in our big scene. But I couldn’t get the necessary feeling into it, so I made him mad so he would squeeze hard. And he did! Afterward the poor boy came over and apologized, and explained that he had forgotten himself in playing the part. I just laughed. It was just what I wanted. I can’t bear those wishwash characters that try so hard to look beautiful that they can’t show an emotion. And I want to be honest enough with my audience to live the character I am playing down to the minutest detail of feeling.”
User avatar
scsu1975
Posts: 179
Joined: December 14th, 2022, 6:17 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

Image

The Abysmal Brute, directed by Hobart Henley, starred Reginald Denny as Pat Glendon, Jr., Mabel Julienne Scott as Maude Sangster, and Crauford Kent as Deane Warner. The film was released in March of 1923 at eight reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Pat Glendon, Sr., a retired boxer, raises his son Pat Jr. to take his place in the ring.

Image

Pat Jr. heads for San Francisco, where he makes a name for himself. His success in the ring leads writers to call him “The Abysmal Brute.” However, he does not care to keep company of the people connected with boxing, and keeps to himself. While at the beach one day, he rescues a man from drowning, and meets Maude Sangster, a society girl, who invites her to her home for a party.

Image

Image

One of the guests is Deane Warner, who is in love with Maude. Warner is about to ask Maude to marry him, but his plans are interrupted when Pat shows up.

Image

Image

Pat starts to fall for Maude, and she returns the feelings, not knowing he is a boxer.

Image

Image

Warner, now jealous, sees a picture of Pat in one of the local papers, along with an interview. He shows it to Maude, and she is heart-broken. Meanwhile, Pat has left to train for a big fight. Maude sends him a note saying she never wants to see him again. Warner takes advantage of the situation and gets Maude to promise to marry him. Pat receives the message at the training camp, and cannot decide what to do. His father, who has since died, had once told him that when he found the right girl he should never let her go. Pat goes to see Maude, and when the butler informs him she is not at home, Pat brushes him aside. Maude, who is with Warner, tells Pat that her note is final and that she does not want to see him again.

Image

Warner tries to interfere and Pat brushes him aside. Pat takes Maude in his arms and forces her to admit, in front of Warner, that she loves him and is going to marry him that very night. A few nights later, Maude, as Mrs. Pat Glendon, sits at ringside and watches her husband win the big fight.

Image

Image

The next morning, Pat takes her to his father’s place, which he now owns, in Great Bear Valley, and the two spend their honeymoon there.

The stills below could not be placed in context. The first shows Denny with Dorothea Wolbert and Julia Brown:

Image

The second shows Nell Craig with Denny:

Image

The last still shows Denny behind the scenes, with his daughter applying his makeup:

Image

Motion Picture Magazine wrote that the film “is destined to leave more than a trace upon the imagination – the reason being its approach to realities, its local color and rich incident and the fine character study which serves as a background.” Motion Picture News called the film “a genuinely human document of the prize-ring which carries a most realistic atmosphere and picturesque incident which gets under the skin because of its lifelike plot and characterization,” adding “Hobart Henley has never given the screen a more entertaining subject than this … Some of the Latin favorites had better watch this fellow Denny. He is stealing some of their thunder.” Moving Picture World wrote “it is a red-blooded story that starts off strong and keeps up a good pace, although there is a tendency to unnecessary footage in developing the detail of some of the scenes … but even as it stands it is an excellent box-office attraction.” The Film Daily called the film a “thoroughly enjoyable picture that contains sure-fire entertainment and will please everyone.” Exhibitor’s Herald wrote “Denny has a naturalness before the camera that at once wins your undivided attention and respect and he makes a very attractive figure as the back-woodsman who vanquishes all comers in the prize ring and wins a sweet young girl in the meantime.” Finally, Photoplay wrote “this picture was taken from a yarn by Jack London – and the characters are all drawn so well that they might have stepped from the original manuscript. Reginald Denny makes a hero who is both manly and appealing. And Hobart Henley’s direction is practically flawless. This is a picture for everybody.”
User avatar
scsu1975
Posts: 179
Joined: December 14th, 2022, 6:17 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

Coming in June:

Bavu, with Wallace Beery, Forrest Stanley, and Estelle Taylor

Fools First, with Richard Dix and Claire Windsor

Scars of Jealousy, with Frank Keenan, Lloyd Hughes, and Marguerite De La Motte

White Shoulders, with Katherine MacDonald and Bryant Washburn
User avatar
scsu1975
Posts: 179
Joined: December 14th, 2022, 6:17 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

Image

Bavu, directed by Stuart Paton, starred Wallace Beery as Felix Bavu, Forrest Stanley as Mischa Vleck, Estelle Taylor as Princess Annia, and Sylvia Breamer as Olga Stropik. The film was released in April of 1923 at eight reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: During the Russian Revolution, Felix Bavu, an illiterate peasant, is carried into political power, along with Mischa Vleck, an educated and idealist peasant. When the council meets to determine the means of raising funds to operate the new government, Bavu proposes taking money by bloodshed and pillage, while Mischa is for levying taxes on the wealthy nobility. The council decides in favor of Mischa’s plan. Bavu returns to his home, where he is taunted by his sweetheart, Olga Stropik, who had plotted with him. Enraged, Bavu inflames a mob to burn and pillage.

Image

When Mischa sees the mob, he rushes to the home of Prince Markoff, who was the reigning power in the community, in order to save the prince’s daughter, Annia, with whom he is in love.

Image

Image

Mischa takes Annia to his home.

Image

But Markoff refuses to be saved and is taken prisoner. Bavu, taking his plunder to his attic, plans a way to escape to neutral territory. He has a secret vault in the wall of his attic, where he can hide his treasure, and return to it when all is quiet. Bavu then goes to Mischa, who is commissioner of licenses, and asks for passports and a license to wed Olga.

Image

Bavu discovers Annia is staying with Mischa, and forces Mischa to issue the permits. Mischa then takes Annia with him to Bavu’s attic, where he tells Bavu that he, Bavu, must marry Annia and take her to safety. Bavu agrees to the plan, and possesses the ring which is used to seal official documents.

Image

But Olga, who has overheard, refuses to give up the ring which is necessary to make the license valid. Bavu orders her from the house. Olga reads the license before going, and finds that it has been made out to Mischa and Annia. Knowing that Bavu can neither read nor write, Mischa has pretended the permit was for Bavu so he could get the seal for the document. Olga tells Bavu, who rushes after Mischa. But by this time, Mischa has disappeared. Thinking Mischa is in a clothes basket, Bavu runs his sword through it, but finds the basket is empty. Then, believing Mischa has hidden in the vault, he orders his servants to wall it up. Annia, not knowing where Mischa has gone, and hearing some pounding on the wall of the vault, thinks he is in there and pleads with Bavu to let him out. Bavu laughs at her, and she faints as the vault is sealed. Bavu prepares to leave and goes for Olga to tell her to get ready. While he is gone, Annia awakens and desperately tears at the vault, dislodging some of the stones. Bavu returns and grabs Annia in his arms, derisively telling Mischa to look.

Image

Suddenly, Mischa jumps from the rafters above them and the two battle with swords.

Image

Image

As Mischa finally beats Bavu, a hand is seen protruding from the hole in the vault wall. To his horror, Bavu realizes he has walled up Olga, who is dead. After a pursuit in the snow, Bavu is killed.

The publicity photos below show members of the cast. The first two show Beery in full makeup:

Image

Image

The next shows Estelle Taylor:

Image

The next shows Josef Swickard, who portrayed Prince Markoff:

Image

The final shows Martha Mattox, playing a character named Piplette:
Image

The three stills below show some of the night scenes being filmed. Beery can be seen in the first still, at left:

Image

Image

Image

The film was based upon a play entitled “The Attic of Felix Bavu,” written by Earl Carroll. This was also the working title of the film before its release. House Peters was originally chosen for the role of Mischa, and Boris Karloff was slated for a role, but apparently that fell through.

Moving Picture World was impressed, writing “the story is intensely interesting, has been finely produced with an excellent cast and there is a fascinating love story based on a popular angle,” adding “the picture as a whole is well out of the beaten path of usual screen offerings, furnishes unusually exciting and thrilling entertainment that should appeal to the majority of spectators and should prove a big box-office attraction.” Motion Picture News praised Beery’s performance, noting “his make-up, his eloquent pantomime and fascinating mannerisms are deftly suggested. In fact, he makes the picture. Since he is in nearly every scene the picture compels attention. … Watching Beery you forget its obviousness and the fact that it carries few dramatic twists.” The Film Daily called the film “the sort of picture that affords plenty of excitement and thrills that will satisfy those who like their entertainment to take this form, and in addition has been given a splendid cast with many well known names.” Exhibitor’s Herald was neutral, calling the story “at times quite thrilling, especially in the last reel, but there is no let-up to the sordidness and general heaviness of the tale from beginning to end.” Picture Play Magazine lampooned the film, writing “the action gets started when some one puts the torch to a Universal setting and immediately burns up one of those miniatures used to represent panoramas of cities. The looting mob runs away with the treasures of the Russian aristocrats, which consist of old costumes and jewels from “Foolish Wives.” … Be sure and wait until the end of the picture for the best scene. The hero and heroine are just about to jump over the border from darkest Russia to true freedom when they come upon a little town, all Russian and snow covered. It is the town of Truckee, California, where all the snow scenes are made by the Western companies. So, in the happy haven of Truckeesky, this truly fillum couple go for their honeymoon.” E. A. Armistead, of the Lyric Theatre in Easley, SC, wrote “one of the worst ones I ever put on the screen. Absolute punk. Didn’t please 30 per cent. No drawing power. Stay off it.”
User avatar
scsu1975
Posts: 179
Joined: December 14th, 2022, 6:17 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

Image

Fools First, directed by Marshall Neilan, starred Richard Dix as Tommy Frazer and Claire Windsor as Ann Whittaker. The film was released in June of 1922 at six reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot: Tommy Frazer is a clerk who has grown up among the gangs in New York. Despite his attempts to stay straight, he gets involved with crooks.

Image

The leader of the gang is Tony the Wop.

Image

One night, “Spider,” one of the gang members is killed by a rival gang member named “The Cockney Kid.” When detectives arrive at the scene, they find “Spider” sitting at a table playing cards, so they leave. They are unaware that the other gang members propped up the dead body to make it appear lifelike. The gang then gets “Blondie” Clark to coax “The Cockney Kid” to their rooms, where Tony the Wop stabs him and disposes of the body. Meanwhile, Tommy is arrested for forgery and sentenced to three years. Ann Whittaker, a fellow clerk, nods farewell as he is led away. Upon his release, he meets Ann in another town.

Image

She helps him get a position at the bank where she now works, by manufacturing references for Tommy. Denton Drew, the bank owner, shows his confidence in the pair so that they have the run of the place. Then, an unusually large deposit is made. Tommy and Ann recognize this as their big chance. Tommy takes the money and meets Ann at the train station, but then decides he cannot go through with the theft.

Image

So Ann tells him to take the money back. But Tommy’s old gang has heard of the money. Just after Tommy replaces the money, the gang raid the bank. Tommy is knocked out and the money is taken. When Tommy recovers, he rushes to Drew and confesses what happened. The crooks are overtaken. Then Tommy discovers that Drew had set a trap for him to test his honesty. Drew, knowing of Tommy’s past, had substituted paper for the money. Realizing that Tommy had proven himself worthy of being hired, Drew gives him a promotion. Ann, whose mission had been to turn Tommy onto the straight path, finds happiness with him.

Baby Peggy appears in the film, although I could not determine how she fits into the story. She is pictured below in a scene with Windsor and Dix:

Image

The stills below could not be placed in context. The first shows Claude Gillingwater at right (as Denton Drew) and Robert Brower, as his butler:

Image

The next three stills feature George Siegmann as Spud Miller, one of the gang members. I could not positively identify the woman with him in the first two stills:

Image

Image

Image

The next still shows George Dromgold (as another gang member) and Raymond Griffith (as Tony the Wop) clowning around between takes:

Image

The final still shows Gillingwater, Windsor, Director Marshall Neilan, and Dix:

Image

Reviews were positive. Motion Picture News wrote “it’s story that picks one up, carries him along as if gripped in a swiftly flowing tide, bounding from one dramatic situation to another and landing before a climax of overwhelming power – the while playing with the heart strings and stirring the emotions into a veritable maelstrom,” but citing the violence in the film, added “to meet the censor laws of the various states, “Fools First” is undoubtedly going to be manhandled and in many cases utterly spoiled. In its entirety the production is 100 per cent entertainment.” Moving Picture World wrote that the film “holds the audience spellbound and causes them to laugh with reactionary relief when “The End” shows on the screen. From the standpoint of real life, it is rather an impossible plot, but it is fine theatrical entertainment.” The Film Daily called the movie “the most interesting and human crook story so far this year; skillfully made and well acted.” Exhibitor’s Trade Review noted “it is an established fact that movie audiences always take deep interest in a hero who is trying to break away from the sinister influences of the underworld and Tommy Frazer, in the present instance, is a likeable sort of chap who wins everybody’s favor from the start and holds it to the finish.” Exhibitor’s Herald wrote “this is a straight crook melodrama, rather gruesome in places, but with a wealth of incident that holds the attention all the way through.”
User avatar
scsu1975
Posts: 179
Joined: December 14th, 2022, 6:17 pm

Re: NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

Post by scsu1975 »

Image

Scars of Jealousy, directed by Lambert Hillyer, starred Frank Keenan as Colonel Newland, Edmund Burns as Jeff Newland, Lloyd Hughes as Cody Jacques, and Marguerite De La Motte as Helen Meanix. The film was released in March of 1923 at seven to eight reels. Complete copies are held in several film archives. The working title for the film was “The Brotherhood of Hate.”

Plot: Jeff Newland, the only son of Colonel Newland, a rich Alabama planter, drifts into a life of dissipation. The Colonel returns home unexpectedly from a trip and finds a wild dance in progress at his home, with liquor flowing freely.

Image

Image

Image

He orders Jeff from the house, declaring he no longer has a son.

Image

Image

In the hills, a group of Cajuns run a moonshine operation.

Image

They are descendants of the Acadians whom the British expelled from Nova Scotia. Colonel Newland decides he will go into Cajun country and adopt one of the young men as his son. On his way to the hills, he meets Coddy Jakes, who has just captured a revenue officer and is running him off the hills at gunpoint. The Colonel persuades Coddy to return with him to the plantation, and offers him five dollars a day, which seems like a fortune to the mountain boy.

Image

After Coddy leaves with the Colonel, his brother kills the revenue officer, and suspicion falls upon Coddy due to his disappearance. It is revealed that Coddy can trace his ancestry back to Count Carter de Jacques, a famous nobleman expelled from France for defying King Louis XV. Coddy adjusts to his new surroundings.

Image

Image

Image

Coddy’s tutor discovers the boy has a brilliant mind.

Image

The Colonel persuades Coddy to take on the Newland name, and he becomes Carter Newland.

Image

Carter meets Jeff by accident, and when Jeff insults him, Carter gives him a good beating. Helen Meanix, Jeff’s cousin, witnesses the fight and demands that the Colonel send Carter back to the hills. But the Colonel ignores her pleas, and also the pleas of Jeff when he comes around asking for forgiveness. Carter overhears the conversation, and determines to make a man out of Jeff. He kidnaps him.

Image

Image

Then he takes him to the hills, and forces him to work in the cornfield. The hard labor slowly brings Jeff to his senses, and, after a series of fight, he and Carter become friends. “Ye’re gettin’ harder to lick every day,” Carter grudgingly admits. Carter sends a note to Helen telling her that Jeff is safe. But Helen is determined to bring the two boys back to the Colonel, who is grieving for both of them. She goes to the hills. Meanwhile, a posse sets out to capture Carter.

Image

Carter is charged with the killing of the revenue officer. Jeff attempts to rescue Carter, but is wounded. He hurries to his father to form a rescue party.

Image

Image

Helen follows the posse and learns they are going to turn Carter over to a lynch mob. One of the moonshiners, in revenge, sets fire to the woods which surrounds the cabin where Carter is being held.

Image

The mob is called off, and Helen shoots the Sheriff.

Image

Image

She and Carter escape to the woods. Trapped by the flames, they flee along a timber flume which runs near a river. Scooping Helen in his arms, Carter mounts a log as it goes by and balances the two of them until they reach the edge of the river where the flume has caught fire.

Image

Jumping from the flume into the river, Carter protects Helen with his body from the flames until they are rescued by Jeff and the Colonel. Carter wins Helen’s love and the gratitude of the Colonel for making a man out of Jeff. Coddy is acquitted of the murder charge. The spirit of Count Cartier de Jacques returns to bless the union of Carter and Helen.

The film contain a prologue set in pre-revolutionary France; those scenes cost $20,000 to make. The still below is from that prologue:

Image

Motion Picture News gave a positive review, noting “the story is treated in a manner so that the interest is maintained, due to a well arranged continuity and emphasis being placed upon the feud and characterization,” adding “Lloyd Hughes cuts a picturesque figure as the young mountaineer. The atmosphere is good and the settings entirely appropriate. The story has vitality and Keenan’s acting carries quality.” Exhibitor’s Herald called the film “a vivid and dramatic story told in excellent terms of acting, direction and photography. It is thrilling and suspenseful, holding interest unfalteringly.” Moving Picture World was somewhat muted, writing “from a production standpoint the picture is well handled and there are some excellent tinted scenes of a forest fire,” but added “this picture is not especially distinctive and from a standpoint of general interest does not appear to be as strong as other recent Ince productions.” Photoplay also gave a mixed write-up, noting “in review there are many weak spots in the plot development, but at the moment there are times of suspense and vivid color.” Exhibitor’s Trade Review wrote “this picture affords the average amount of entertainment although the plot is exaggerated. It is semi-melodramatic with a spectacular ending and should appeal to the majority who see it.”

I found several interesting backstories to the film. Director Lambert Hillyer gave Lloyd Hughes four months (with pay!) to grow his hair for the role. To make the fights realistic between Hughes and Burns, Hillyer yelled at them to make them angry, and the men exchanged actual blows. Forty fights were staged just to get the right ones. The fire scene was filmed in Northern California. By chance, Hillyer discovered a forest ranger who was preparing to clear out several sections of dead timber. The Ince Company got permission to take over the section of land, and used it for the fire sequence. The ranger was able to mark off sections which could be set ablaze without too much danger. Three thousand five hundred gallons of oil were used for the fire. Hillyer, carrying a gallon can of oil, climbed a tree marked for destruction. He doused the limbs, thinking he would get a great shot of the tree as it caught fire and fell. Unfortunately, a fire had been started some distance away, and a sudden breeze sent flames toward the tree. Hillyer scrambled to one side of the tree, and his assistants were able to stretch a net below him so he could leap to safety. In another, more humorous episode, Hillyer wanted to try out the log-jumping stunt by the flume. So he and his assistant, Steve Roberts, played the parts of Hughes and De La Motte, and both tumbled into the water when they lost their balance. Undaunted, Hillyer and Roberts tried the stunt again, and this time were successful – for a moment. Hitting the log at just the right angle, the pair kept their balance, until Hillyer turned to yell at the onlookers – sending both men into the water again. Eventually, on their fourth attempt, the men got the stunt right, ignoring the hoots of laughter from the bystanders.
Post Reply