Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cecil B. DeMille’s Male and Female (1919), The Affairs of Anatol (1921) ~ Gloria Swanson


Cecil B. DeMille: Male and Female (1919) Gloria Swanson, Thomas Meighan & Lila Lee

Male and Female (1919) is a silent film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Gloria Swanson and Thomas Meighan.  Its main themes are gender relations and social class. The film is based on the J. M. Barrie play The Admirable Crichton.

The film contains two famous scenes, indicative of de Mille's predilections as a filmmaker.

An early scene depicts Gloria Swanson bathing in an elaborate setting, attended by two maids, lavishing her with rosewater and bath salts, silk dressing gown, and luxurious towels.

Toward the end of the film, a fantasy sequence about ancient Babylon shows Swanson posed as Gabriel von Max's famous painting The Lion's Bride, which involved her being photographed with an actual lion.

Starring Gloria Swanson
Directed by Cecil B. DeMille
Produced by Cecil B. DeMille, Jesse L. Lasky
Written by Jeanie Macpherson, J. M. Barrie (play)
Released November 23rd, 1919

Running time: 1hr 55min

The Affairs of Anatol is a 1921 American silent comedy-drama film directed by Cecil B. DeMille, and starring Wallace Reid and Gloria Swanson.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

10 DVDs for only $25 - FREE ship USA

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Classic 1925 Silent films: Smouldering Fires w/Laura La Plante & William S. Hart in Tumbleweeds w/intro by Hart

Smouldering Fires (1925) Pauline Frederick & Laura La Plante

A Universal silent drama film directed by Clarence Brown and starring Pauline Frederick and Laura La Plante. The movie's plot is similar to the 1933 talking picture Female, starring Ruth Chatterton.

This silent film was a smash success and was considered scandalous upon its theatrical release.

Tumbleweeds (1925) William S. Hart

American Western film starring and produced by William S. Hart. It depicts the Cherokee Strip land rush of 1893. The film is said to have influenced the Oscar-winning 1931 Western Cimarron, which also depicts the land rush.

On this double-feature DVD is the 1939 Astor Pictures' re-release of Tumbleweeds which includes an 8-minute introduction by the then 75 year old Hart as he talks about his career and the "glories of the old west."

Tumbleweeds was Hart's last movie.

William S. Hart was one of the most succccessful silent film stars.  His films were immensely popular.  However, he was shy.  Unlike Gish, Pickford, Chaplin - his films were smash successes but never received the same notoriety.  Cumulatively, his films were more successful than Gish and Pickford.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Carmen (1915) Geraldine Farrar & Wallace Reid and Pola Negri as Carmen (1918)

Carmen is a 1915 silent drama film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. 
It is based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée. 

Directed, Produced & Written by Cecil B. DeMille
Cinematography, Alvin Wyckoff
Editing by Anne Bauchens, Cecil B. DeMille
Release date: 31 October 1915

Geraldine Farrar - Carmen
Wallace Reid - Don Jose
Pedro de Cordoba - Escamillo
Horace B. Carpenter - Pastia
William Elmer - Morales
Jeanie Macpherson - Gypsy girl
Anita King - Gypsy girl
Milton Brown - Garcia
Tex Driscoll
Raymond Hatton - Spectator at Bullfight (un-credited)

Carmen is a 1918 German silent drama film directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Pola Negri, Harry Liedtke and Leopold von Ledebur. It was based on the novella Carmen by Prosper Mérimée.

Like Bizet's opera Carmen, this film only adapts the third part of Mérimée's novella and transforms the character of Don José at the beginning of the story from bandit on the run to honest man in love with his childhood sweetheart. The film was released with English intertitles in the United States in 1921 under the alternative title Gypsy Blood.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1903, 1914, 1927, 1965)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1903) Edwin S. Porter
Working for Thomas Edison, Edwin S. Porter was the first American "director," the pioneer who discovered how to use Edison's invention to tell stories and entertain audiences. His Uncle Tom's Cabin (1903) was one of the very earliest "full-length" American movies -- although "full-length" in 1903 meant about 14 minutes. According to a Notice in The New York Times, it premiered on August 3rd at Huber's Fourteenth Street Museum; sharing the program with it were several live acts, including a married team of "colored comedians."

Porter shot the film inside the Edison Company's studio in New York, and made sure there was no doubt whose film it was by including a “Sign” displaying the Thomas A. Edison ® in almost every one of the 14 separate scenes. (Edison had reason to be proprietary; within weeks after this film was made, Sigmund Lubin, his Philadelphia competitor released "a dupe" of it.) The movie's actors, sets, costumes, and much of its stage "business" derive from one of the turn-of-the-century theatrical "Tom Shows."

Other than Edison's name, the film contains no credits and which UTC Company Porter employed has never been learned. But although many changes were required to turn a five act drama into a one-reel silent movie, Porter's film is extremely valuable as a partial record of what thousands of live audiences saw when the "Tommers" came to town.
Since most people in the film's original audience would have seen at least one "Tom Show," they already knew not just the larger story (and so could fill in the many gaps created by telling the story of a 500-page novel or a 3-hour play in less than 14 minutes), but the dialogue and "stage business" of the individual scenes. The catalog that the Edison company prepared to help sell the film to exhibitors provides descriptions that help 21st century viewers "see" what is going on ... As the catalogue also notes, Uncle Tom's Cabin was the first American film ever to include titles (called "announcements" here) to identify and introduce each new scene.
Like the typical "Tom show," this performance uses white actors in blackface for the major "black" parts, and black performers only as extras. This version also gives a vivid idea of how the "Tom show" version of Stowe's novel depicted slavery; most of the time, even at a slave auction, the slaves can't help dancing. The movie's subtitle is Slavery Days, which suggests its makers and its viewers believed this re-presentation was faithful to historical reality.
The movie was shot in 14 sequences, each with its own stage set and film title.
Original Score by Brian Pinette

Uncle Tom's Cabin (1914) Sam Lucas
This 1914 version of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic was directed by William Robert Daly. It was adapted Edward McWade from the play adaptation by George L. Aiken. It was the second known film adaptation of the story.
It starred Sam Lucas, Teresa Michelena, Marie Eline (again), Roy Applegate, Irving Cummings and Boots Wall. This was the first "white" film to have an African-American star, Sam Lucas.
Sam Lucas, one of the most respected and celebrated entertainers of his time, is credited with breaking barriers for black actors and becoming the first African American actor to star in a “white” feature film. Lucas is best remembered for his comic and dramatic roles performed on the minstrel circuit and Broadway stages, and by the end of his career, a major motion picture.
Lucas was born Samuel Mildmay in Washington, Ohio in 1840. He began singing and playing the guitar as a teenager and went on to establish a reputation as a performer while working as a barber. After the Civil War when African American performers (in blackface) were allowed to work in minstrel shows, Lucas joined traveling black companies and sang on the Ohio River steamboats. Lucas built a reputation as the best all-around entertainer in the business and was empowered to select his own shows which allowed him to star with the most successful black minstrel companies as a comedian and singer.
Dissatisfied with limited minstrel roles, Lucas attempted to establish himself as a serious actor by appearing in dramatic plays during the mid 1870s. By 1878, he became the first black man to appear as the title character in the serious stage production of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. At the age of 73, the veteran actor capped his career when he recreated the role of Uncle Tom in the 1914 film version released by World Film Corporation as well as two comedy shorts made as Tom. Lucas is believed to be the first African American actor to appear as Uncle Tom during the era.

Shortly after completing the film, Lucas died after suffering a long bout of liver disease.
Release Date: 10 August 1914
Production Co: World
Runtime: 54 min

Uncle Tom's Cabin (1927)

Silent film “epic" directed by Harry A. Pollard and released by Universal Pictures. The film is based on the eponymous novel written by Harriett Beecher Stowe and was the last silent film version. It was preserved in a copy at the Library of Congress.
In this version of the film, all of the major slave roles, with the exception of Uncle Tom himself, were portrayed by white actors. Actress Mona Ray played the slave Topsy in blackface, while the slaves Eliza, George, Cassie and Harry were all presented as having very light skin coloring because of mixed-race heritage.
This two-hour movie spent more than a year in production and was the third most expensive picture of the silent era (at a cost of $1.8 million). Black actor Charles Gilpin was originally cast in the title role, but was fired after the studio decided his "portrayal was too aggressive." James B. Lowe then took over the character of Tom. One difference in this film from the novel is that after Tom dies, he returns as a vengeful spirit and confronts Simon Legree before leading the slave owner to his death. Black media outlets of the time praised the film, but the studio—fearful of a backlash from Southern and white film audiences—ended up cutting out controversial scenes, including the film's opening at a slave auction (where a mother is torn away from her baby).
The story was adapted by Pollard, Harvey F. Thew and A.P. Younger, with titles by Walter Anthony. It starred James B. Lowe, Virginia Grey, George Siegmann, Margarita Fischer, Mona Ray and Madame Sul-Te-Wan
Universal, 1927. Directed by Harry A. Pollard. Camera: Jacob Kull, Charles Stumar. 1hour 48min

Uncle Tom's Cabin (1965)
Uncle Tom's Cabin (German: Onkel Toms Hütte) is a 1965 German film directed by Géza von Radványi. The film was entered into the 4th Moscow International Film Festival.

Writers: Harriet Beecher Stowe (novel), Fred Denger (screenplay)
Stars: John Kitzmiller, Herbert Lom and Olive Moorefield
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Sunday, May 18, 2014

EXQUISITE painting of Legendary Mamie Van Doren by acclaimed artist Chuck Caplinger

Portrait (painting) of Miss Van Doren displayed at the Windmill Dinner Theatre, Houston, Texas when Mamie was performing live on the Summer Stock Circuit to sold out crowds throughout the Southwest.
I first saw Miss Van Doren in "In One Bed and Out The Other."  I met her after the show and we became friends.

Miss Lillian Gish, a friend of mine since I was pre-Junior High School signed an autographed photo of herself inscribed to Mamie.  I kept telling Miss Gish how nice and pretty and talented she was.

Years later, when I was living in NYC and I brought that up to Miss Gish while I was having lunch with her at her Brownstone, Miss Gish remembered signing the photo. 

She then told me that she was at the premiere of Teacher's Pet" in NYC.  The film starred Doris Day, Clark Gable and co-starred Mamie, who livened up the movie with her great singing voice and comedic moves. 

"She was so pretty and the camera loved her." said Miss Gish.
Anyway, I digress ... I had the portrait hanging in all my apartments all these years since I received it from Mr. Caplinger after her run was complete at the Windmill Dinner Theatre. 

Miss Van Doren is a true talent and lovely lady - to this VERY moment.

Chuck Caplinger website:

A clipping of Miss Doren at the Windmill from one of her other productions.

FYI:  The top STARS on that circuit were:  Sal Mineo, Virginia Mayo, Mamie Van Doren and Dawn Wells.  Dawn and Mamie still delight to this day.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Colleen Moore ~ Sky Pilot (1921) Dir. King Vidor, Twinkletoes, Irene, Ella Cinders (1926)



SAD fact, but true:
Many of Colleen Moore's films deteriorated but not due to her own neglect, after she had sent them to be preserved at the Museum of Modern Art. Some time later, Warner Brothers asked for their nitrate materials to be returned to them. Moore's earlier First National films were also sent, since Warners later acquired First National. Upon their arrival, the custodian at MOMA, not seeing the films on the manifest, put them to one side and never went back to them. Many years later, Moore inquired about her collection and MOMA found the films languishing unprotected. When the films were examined, they had decomposed past the point of preservation.
Heartbroken, Colleen tried in vain to retrieve any prints she could from several sources without much success.
At the height of her fame, Moore was earning $12,500 per week. She was an astute investor, and through her investments remained wealthy for the rest of her life.
In her later years she would frequently attend film festivals, and was a popular interview subject always willing to discuss her Hollywood career. She was a participant in the 1980 documentary film series Hollywood, providing her recollections of Hollywood's silent film era.
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