I have a Google News App on my cell phone and I customize which news I want to hear. Categories right now are Korean Dramas, Korean Films, Korean Actors and Actresses, Classic Films, Silent Films, Coronavirus / COVID-19, and Health news. Every hour or so there are updates, you just have to hit Reload.
Post by RMichaelPyle on Aug 1, 2020 16:02:59 GMT -4
Watched "The Witness for the Defense" (1919). Of the 25 films made by stage star Elsie Ferguson, only her single talkie and last film "Scarlet Pages" (1930) and this single silent survive. She was a very nice looking actress and a rather engaging one at that. For a film made still in the nineteen-teens, the acting throughout it is uniformly quite good. The story itself is interesting, but at 50 minutes rushes through the plot at such a breakneck speed that it reminds one in the end of a live television play of the 1950s. The courtroom scenes are melodramatic and lack suspense. The 'witness' may be a slight surprise, yes, but the way it's played out is less than satisfying. Overall, there's just not enough to the film, yet it still satisfies anyway, and the reason is Warner Oland. His part is out and out implausible as far as his social behavior versus what his behavior privately is, especially with Ferguson. Nevertheless, Oland has a certain charisma that sucks the viewer in whether one wants to be sucked in or not! He's a great villain, and here as one who is psychologically and physically cruel to Ferguson he is one the viewer can't wait to see punished! In the end, it's the psychological crushing that Ferguson takes that makes me think this is just too much of a potboiler. Nevertheless, I didn't regret watching a single moment of this film. It made me wonder what the other Elsie Ferguson films must have been like. Also in this one are Vernon Steele as the true love of Ferguson, Wyndham Standing as a fascinating interloper and the character that probably propels this thing more than any other, even though the part as written for the film is not perfect (I'll leave it at that), George Fitzgerald and J. H. Gilmour, Emilia Summerville and Etienne Girardot as nasty friends of Vernon Steele's family, and others. For those who love the early sound films of William Powell starring as Philo Vance, you may remember Etienne Girardot as the diminutive forensic pathologist/coroner who always has his meals interrupted by a murder that's being looked into by Vance. He's certainly a different kind of character in this earlier part of his career.
In this one Ferguson and Steele are in love, but their parents just won't have it. Ferguson's father lives now in India and he's an invalid. She has to go there to live with her father and take care of him. She meets a very rich man who's a friend of her father - Warner Oland. Eventually she's pressured into marrying Oland. Now begins the harrying of all by the fates that play out. Eventually, Oland ends up dead. Ferguson is accused of murdering him and goes to court, but a surprise witness exonerates her. She goes back to England. Then come more surprises and doings.
Thanks to Ed Lorusso for his patient reconstruction and restoration during a Kickstarter campaign and a three cheers to Rodney Sauer and the Mont Alto Orchestra for their marvelous original accompanying music that was performed individually and put together BY REMOTE (!) because of the Covid-19 crisis. Amazing all around.
I reworked the silent film I had worked on ten years ago, From The Submerged (1912), and added it to my own server. It was on the first post on this thread topic, so go back to that first post if you want to watch it. I added some tints to it this time.
I was talking to Neil about Carl Davis and he had forgotten Carl did scores for silent films. I went to get him a CD collection, one Kyle gave me 15 years ago, but it's OOP and unavailable on Amazon anymore. I thought when I have time I will put the tracks on YouTube and I started with his Moonbeams theme from Broken Blossoms (1919). It was a little tricky combining still photos with moving images, but kind of fun too. I remember being such a goner on Richard Barthelmess after I saw the movie, and when I found out he lived many years close to where I grew up on Long Island I was even more thrilled. I remember driving past the area where his estate used to be at Oyster Bay one of the last times I visited New York. He died when I was five years old.
"If you're really in love, appearances aren't important. The best house is the one you build in each other's hearts." ~ Winter Sonata
Post by RMichaelPyle on Aug 10, 2020 9:31:53 GMT -4
"Call of the Desert" (1930) is a late silent Western with Tom Tyler, Sheila Bromley, Bud Osborne, Cliff Lyons, Bobby Dunn, and Rube Dalroy, directed by J. P. McGowan. I didn't even realize as I was watching last night that it was the 117th birthday of its star, Tom Tyler! Must have been some RVing (remote viewing) occurring! Absolutely awful script - the writer and/or scenarist should have been given lessons by a sixth grader to improve upon what was left...YET...YET STILL...the film is good. It's not great because the writing is so bad, but the players play this thing out wonderfully. For 48 minutes the show goes exactly where you know it's going to go, and the director McGowan gets it there just fine. Tyler when he smiles in this thing looks exactly like George O'Brien and that surprised me because I'm a big fan of O'Brien and I've seen Tyler innumerable times. Just surprised me here. Sheila Bromley actually looked like a fine actress, and she was quite lovely to look at besides. Bud Osborne, playing Bromley's uncle in this one, is, as usual, the baddie. And baddie he is! He steals Tyler's mining claim when Tyler can't find the original filed by his father because the court house records have all burned up in a fire at some prior time. All of this has been done time after time after time. We've all seen it done before. Nevertheless, this was fun watching, even though the writer needed to go back to first grade and begin all over again. Even though the print I viewed was only one-half the quality it needed to be, it's obvious that the cinematographer, Hap Depew, was really watching what he was doing in his surroundings, because this is actually a beautifully shot film for such a cheapie. And cheapie it is - I'll bet this didn't cost three sticks of Spearmint gum. When the viewers went to the matinees to view this on Saturday, they spent more money on red hots and pop corn than the movie cost to make. All in all, Tyler was a good actor for this kind of thing. Quite believable, though when he was being 'fixed up' after being shot at by the baddie, he didn't look like he was suffering much in the home of Sheila Bromley... Looked a tad too relaxed... And that last kiss... Really? Oh, well, the sunrise is always after the night fades and the moon disappears...and the baddies were all just a bad dream in a movie we were watching...
They've been censoring for awhile now. It's been on the news. It's even harder to accept when you get personal emails telling you how noble they are for doing it, and that you'd better not sell this stuff or your selling account will be pulled.
Post by RMichaelPyle on Aug 13, 2020 10:19:55 GMT -4
Watched a wonderful little "B" Western called "The Fighting Stallion" (1926) with Yakima Canutt, Neva Gerber, Boy the Wonder Horse, Al Ferguson, Bud Osborne, Leonard Trainor, and Walter Shumway. Pretty decent print on an Alpha Video, this one begins with the plot centered on Yak's horse, Boy, but ends up having the ranch for which Yak's gone to work have rustlers all around and within it. Yak saves the day, of course, but he nearly gets hanged for a murder he didn't commit. In the end it turns out he's a government agent, besides, and could have mentioned that to the sheriff who arrested him for the murder, but Yak never said a thing!? Then he escapes to find the culprits; and, meanwhile, Neva Gerber is trying to find out what's going on, discovers the culprits herself, but not before being kidnapped basically, etc., etc., etc. In the end Yak saves the day, the ranch, gets the girl, proposes to her - this after a couple of days only on the ranch - THE END. As I said, a "B" Western. "D" material except for the horse and the parts about the horse, but they seemed to have ended one-third into the movie, then the other things began. Boy only plays a small part, even though the title implies differently. Still, I really enjoyed the film. Yak's character was really jovial and a pleasure to watch. May have been a picture of the real Yak. By the way, his name in the film: Yak. What d'ya know? Some where around 58 minutes long. Painless and enjoyable overall. Yak, for the record, sits a horse and rides as well as any cowboy in the movies I've ever watched. No wonder he became the best stunt man in movie history. Some of the riding in this cheapie is fantastic! If you've ever ridden a horse, you'll appreciate how well the stunts in this film are performed. There are a couple of scenes where people need to ride their horses down a very, very steep and rocky cliff side, and all of them do it remarkably well! That includes Neva Gerber!
Post by RMichaelPyle on Aug 21, 2020 9:06:08 GMT -4
Watched Griffith's "The Love Flower" (1920) with Carol Dempster, Richard Barthelmess, George MacQuarrie, and Anders Randolf. Beautifully photographed in Florida and in the Bahamas, this is still a mellerdrama (pronounced like ama in Alabama). A meller's meller, it plays fairly well for 1920. I enjoyed it, but it's fluff of the potboiler kind. Just because Griffith's behind it doesn't make it any better. Indeed, it would have been much better had he not put in some of the intertitle cards. Some of them are just awful!! Still, Dempster proves how very athletic she was, especially as a swimmer. She's superb! And Barthelmess is fine, though George MacQuarrie pretty much takes top acting honors with a very fine straightforward performance of Dempster's father who is accused of the murder of his infidel wife (played by Florence Short). Anders Randolf, playing a perfect copy of Emile Javert from Les Miserables, pursues MacQuarrie with a tenacity that makes the viewer hate his guts. Fun to watch from this distance - but probably only if you're a silent movie buff. Others could even cringe. The film is NOT cringe-worthy, but some of the Griffith intertitles will drive modern viewers crazy. Very nineteen teens!
I've never cared what other people have said about this film, it will always be one of my favorites. Loved Carol in it.
She's very good in this, although there are two particular scenes near the beginning where she does a little itzy-bitzy girl fidget with her hands and head the same way Mae Marsh did in her early shorts for Griffith. This evidently was a Griffith desired attitude. I find it not to my liking. Even Lillian Gish did this in some early Griffith stuff. You never see Mary Pickford do this little wee-woman thing for Griffith, though, and I have a feeling I know why: she was an actress's actress and was good enough without total Griffith direction behind her moves. Just an opinion. Dempster in this one is fine, though. I particularly like her, though, in 1924's "Isn't Life Wonderful". She's superb in what I think is one of Griffith's greatest films, and one that's very underrated.