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ALL silent films have musical scores.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Academy Award nominee 1929 Gloria Swanson in The Trespasser & Cecil B. De Mille’s Male & Female (1919) & LUX Radio - Sunset Blvd. (1951)

Gloria Swanson in The Trespasser (1929) received her first of two Academy Award nominations for this film. It was her first talkie. Her 2nd and last nomination was for Sunset Boulevard.
During the silent film era, after Gloria made a collection of short comedies - she hit her stride in the late teens.  From 1919 - 1929 - she reigned supreme with Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford.  It was not necessarily her acting, but it was her on and off-screen persona.  She sizzled.  She had Elinor Glyn's "IT!"  Her smash hits were mostly directed by Cecil B. DeMille who also directed Mary Pickford in her early career.

And like Miss Gish and Miss Pickford - the WORLD awaited their first talkie.  And exactly like Gish and Pickford - the audience somehow had matured, changed.

None of these great actresses would ever achieve the superstardom they once had.

They remained friends and rivals until their deaths.  Miss Gish was the last to go.
3 gems on one DVD.
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Two Monks - Dos monjes (1934) & The Vampire - El Vampiro (1957)

Two Monks - Dos monjes (1934) & The Vampire - El Vampiro (1957) DVD

Two Monks-Dos monjes (1934)

In a Gothic-styled monastery, a monk named Javier sees the face of another monk, Juan, and suddenly attempts to bludgeon him to death with a heavy crucifix...

Stars: Víctor Urruchúa, Carlos Villatoro, Magda Haller

Director: Juan Bustillo Oro
Writers: Juan Bustillo Oro, José Manuel Cordero

Release Date: 20 January 1935
Language: Spanish; English sub-titles
Filming Locations: Mexico

El Vampiro (1957)

El vampiro (1957). El vampiro is widely considered to be a triumph in the Mexican Horror genre. Often called beautifully directed and photographed Vampiro featured film actor, movie writer and producer, Abel Salazar in the lead role. Salazar would become one of the key figures of the Mexican horror film wave and shortly after starring in and producing Vampiro he formed ABSA Studios in Mexico. He would go on to co-produce eight more successful horror films between 1957 and 1963.

The train has arrived in the small Mexican town of Sierra Negra. As the workers unload a large box of soil from Bakonia ...
Stars: Abel Salazar, Ariadna Welter and Carmen Montejo
Director: Fernando Méndez
Writers: Ramón Obón (story), Ramón Obón (adaptation)
Language: Spanish; English sub-titles

Good quality for TWO over looked literal film classics from, another era and decade.
Mastered from old 16mm TV prints from now defunct TV station (1972) in Texas.

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Abel Salazar - El Vampiro & El Ataud Del Vampiro DOUBLE feature FREE worldwide ship 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Classic silent film comedies! Alice Howell “Cinderella Cinders” (1920) & Colleen Moore “Ella Cinders” (1926)


Alice Howell

When Stan Laurel was asked to name the ten greatest comediennes of all time, one of the first on the list was Alice Howell ... Her films were sometimes advertised - "Every one a Howell!"

Alice Howell (May 20, 1886-April 11, 1961) was a silent film comedy actress from New York City.

Early reviews of her movies describe her as the scream of the screen. One reviewer likened her to a "sort of Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., and Max Linder." All of this was compressed into "one more or less diminutive package of femininity." She was sometimes called "the girl Charlie Chaplin." she worked for Mack Sennett and later L-KO Kompany and her early comedies were often produced by Universal Pictures.

Among more than one hundred screen credits Howell made such motion pictures as Caught in a Cabaret (1914), Mabel and Fatty's Married Life (1915), Neptune's Naughty Daughter (1917), Green Trees (1924), and Madame Dynamite (1926). Her Bareback Career (1917) was the first of twelve two reel comedies for a new corporation which was formed to manufacture and distribute Alice Howell comedies. Alice appeared in many of Charlie Chaplin’s early short films.

In this era such female slapstick stars as Howell, Dorothy Devore, and Billie Rhodes were inhibited by second-rate films and the absence of genuine star buildup.

Howell's film career continued into the sound movie era with a role as a mute servant of the master murderer in the motion picture The Black Ace (1933).

Alice Howell died in Los Angeles, California in 1961.

Also check out --

Alice Howell silent film slapstick STAR! 3 films 1 DVD

Colleen Moore
Ella Cinders (1926)
(August 19, 1899 – January 25, 1988) was an American film actress, and one of the most fashionable stars of the silent film era.
Her films out-box officed Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish. She was loved and beloved by her peers and a worldwide audience.

At age 15 she was setting her first step in Hollywood. Her uncle arranged a screen test with director D.W. Griffith. She wanted to be a second Lillian Gish but instead she found herself playing heroines in Westerns with stars such as Tom Mix.

She and her husband, John McCormick (1923–1930) co-produced some of her greatest hits including “Cinderella Cinders” which was released by First National Pictures.

She retired from film in 1934 after a few talkies which were not very successful.

Lillian Gish “Scarlet Letter” (1926 & 1934) Colleen Moore FREE ship
Colleen Moore ~ Sky Pilot (1921), Twinkletoes & Irene (1926) 2 DVDs $9.99

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.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of her: "I was the spark that lit up Flaming Youth, Colleen Moore was the torch. What little things we are to have caused all that trouble."

2 classics gems on one DVD.
Original Scores by Brian Pinette

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Delectable Colleen Moore is Ella Cinders, Twinkletoes, Irene (1926), Sky Pilot (1921) ~ 4 Silent film gems!

Ella Cinders is a 1926 American film adaptation of the comic strip Ella Cinders, directed by Alfred E. Green, starring Colleen Moore, produced by her husband John McCormick (1893-1961), and co-starring Moore's most popular co-star, Lloyd Hughes. In 2013 the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Portions of the film take place on the sets of a movie studio, and so many regulars at First National Studios appear in the film. For example, the director of Ella Cinders, Alfred E. Green, appears in the film as the director of the film being shot as Ella runs through the studio. Famous comedian Harry Langdon appears in the film as a famous film comedian.

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Irene is a 1926 romantic comedy film starring Colleen Moore, and partially shot in Technicolor. The technicolor scene (fashion show) does not survive in its entirety.
Irene was directed by Alfred E. Green and based on the play Irene O'Dare written by James Montgomery. As reported in the book and documentary film The Celluloid Closet, actor George K. Arthur plays a flamboyant gay man in the film named "Madame Lucy". 

Distributed by First National Pictures.  Release: February 21, 1926

Ella Cinders (1926)
Release: June 6th, 1926

Twinkletoes is a 1926 silent film romantic drama directed by Charles Brabin and starring Colleen Moore. The film, as with most of Moore's vehicles at this time, was produced by her husband John McCormick with the couple distributing through Moore's resident studio First National Pictures. Release: November 28th, 1926

Original Scores by Brian Pinette

The Sky Pilot is a 1921 American silent drama film based on the novel of the same name by Ralph Connor. It is directed by King Vidor and features Colleen Moore.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

D.W. Griffith’s America & Isn’t Life Wonderful (1924) with Carol Dempster

D.W. Griffith’s America & Isn’t Life Wonderful
“America" is a silent 1924 classic “historical war romance film” which portrays the heroic events during the Revolutionary war created by D. W. Griffith and adapted from Robert W. Chambers’ novel The Reckoning. (Griffith subtitle: Love & Sacrifice)
Starring Carol Dempster, Neil Hamilton
Directed & Produced by D. W. Griffith
Written by Robert W. Chambers
Cinematography, G. W. Bitzer, Marcel Le Picard, Hendrik Sartov, Harold S. Sintzenich
Editing by James Smith, Rose Smith
Studio: D. W. Griffith Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release date: February 21, 1924
Runninbg time: 214 minutes
The plot mainly centers itself on the battles of the New York State with romance sliced into the individual movie scenes.
The film’s climax was very original and thrilling, as in most other Griffith films, complete with action and exciting stunts in the rescue scenes. However, film critics described the motion picture as lacking in modernity of the time. The movie was unlike the other films of the time at its original release.
The story did not quite fit together as a whole and the order of which scenes were presented in was very confusing to follow, but was rather effective in individual scenes. The usage of title captions was also criticized.
There would be a block of text explaining motifs and character relationships rather than having the characters display them through their acting, which is not made clear on screen.
America did not spark itself onto the audience as well as Griffith’s previous films did. It is possible that the director had trouble differentiating between the colonists and British, since they both held origins to Great Britain. The audience is not clearly shown who are the antagonists and the protagonists. In addition, the movie’s time frame was not rational. The film’s time period made for a very long romance for Nancy and Holden before they could actually be together, since the first scenes were in 1775, but concluded in 1789. Its failure was perplexing, despite heavy promotion, considering Griffith spent over a million dollars on the production.
Griffith used many popular movie actors at the time, but he felt that there was no need for them to play the roles in his films, and could not afford most of them anyway, after they began to consume nearly all of his money in expensive productions.
As a result, Lillian Gish, who acted in a well known film of his, “Orphans of the Storm,” departed him after he could not pay any more for her services and left him with Carol Dempster who had far less appeal than Gish. She showed very little on-camera allure with Neil Hamilton and only good with reaction scenes and had limited facial expressions.
The film was not completely useless to Griffith, but he was still in debt with massive amounts of money and did not receive that boost of attention he was hoping for.
Isn't Life Wonderful (1924) is a silent film written, produced & directed by D. W. Griffith for his company D. W. Griffith Productions, and distributed by United Artists. It was based on the novel by Geoffrey Moss and it went under the alternative title Dawn. It starred Carol Dempster (replacement for Griffith’s protégé Lillian Gish) and Neil Hamilton.
Most of the scenes were filmed in Germany and Austria. Only one was filmed in New York at the studio. The film stars Carol Dempster and Neil Hamilton. The film was a failure at the box office, and led to Griffith leaving United Artists shortly after its run in theaters.
The film did receive some positive critical notices at the time, but its stock has risen considerably since; it has for some decades been considered one of Griffith's greatest films.
The title of the film was spoofed in the Charley Chase comedy Isn't Life Terrible (1925).
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Zane Grey's The Vanishing American (1925) Richard Dix, Lois Wilson, Noah Beery

The Vanishing American (1925) is a silent film western produced by Famous Players-Lasky in the United States, and distributed through Paramount Pictures. The film was directed by George B. Seitz and starred Richard Dix and Lois Wilson, recently paired in several screen dramas by Paramount. The film is based on the 1925 novel, The Vanishing American, by Zane Grey.

The story first appeared in November 1922 as a serial in Ladies' Home Journal. Harper & Brothers planned the book's publication to coincide with the film's release but Christian missionaries feared public criticism. Harper editors thus altered the story before publication.

Starring: Richard Dix, Lois Wilson, Noah Beery, Shannon Day

Plot: History, as portrayed in this film, has been a succession of conquests of stronger races over weaker ones. As played out on the stage of Monument Valley long ago, tribes of Indians defeated the ancient cliff dwellers, then came the Europeans to conquer the Indians. Now, in the early 20th Century, a tribe of Navajo live on a reservation overseen by an Indian-hating agent. When they are betrayed after heroically supporting a white man's war, talk of revolt begins to brew.

This excellent movie far transcends its own genre, with a resourceful and detailed production that makes for a worthy treatment of some thought-provoking themes. Adapted from the Zane Grey novel, it easily does justice to the interesting story, but it is much more than just a good melodrama. Ambitous in its scale, in its time-span, and in its themes, it puts the main story into a context that is as interesting to watch as it is challenging to many of the common conceptions about the history of the American West.

The main story features Richard Dix as a Native American on a reservation, who must contend with a wide range of persons from the 'white' races. Dix succeeds in making his character interesting, believable, and sympathetic. In particular, he does well with portraying the inner torment and longings of a perceptive and capable man who is forced by his environment to keep a lot of things inside.

The 'white' characters work well, and they are well-chosen so as to avoid a simplistic portrayal of those who went west. Noah Beery plays the villainous Booker effectively, making his ill intentions clear even when his character is at his most charming, yet at the same making it believable that such a reprehensible character could so often gain the upper hand. Lois Wilson is rather meek, but she works well with Dix in the relationship that is at the center of the story.

All of that would be good enough (and it doesn't even mention the beautiful scenery and photography in Monument Valley), but what makes the movie even better is that it is set in a broader context, which places the lengthy, heart-rending clash of cultures in the American West into a sweeping, far more comprehensive picture of the unending struggle of human cultures and societies as they rise and fall through the centuries. It balances a number of perspectives, and believably shows how complex the interplay between different cultures can be.

The lengthy prologue, often detailed and interesting in itself, paints a convincing and often harrowing picture of the nature of human societies in their struggles and rivalries through the ages. It adds a depth rarely seen to the eventual conflicts between the expanding USA and the Native American nations, and even if it were made today, it would be a bold statement that challenges stereotypes of all kinds. True indeed is the movie's theme that human cultures come and go, and that those standing strong today will someday pass away, with only the earth itself remaining always.

This movie surely deserves to be much better-known, for its top quality production of some often challenging material, its interesting story, and its themes that are worthy of careful and honest consideration. If it were filmed today, some of the details would probably be handled differently, but that is to a large degree a matter of style or fashion. The specific details are far less important than the movie's impressive depth and quality.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lillian Gish & Ronald Colman in The White Sister (1923) & Romola (1924)

The White Sister is a 1923 American drama film starring Lillian Gish & Ronald Colman & directed by Henry King, and released by Metro Pictures about nine months before its merger into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was based on the 1909 novel by F. Marion Crawford.

Release date:  September 5, 1923

Romola is a 1924 American drama film directed by Henry King and shot on location in Italy.

The film stars Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, William Powell and Ronald Colman, and is based on the George Eliot novel of the same name. A copy of the film survives at the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

This was the second film in which Henry King directed Lillian Gish and Ronald Colman for Inspiration Films, an independent production company which chiefly consisted of King, Charles Duell, and stars Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess.

Release date:  December 6, 1924

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