Silent Gems

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Let's go way back in movie history. before the invention of sound in films. Let's find and share clips of some of the silent films that graced the theaters before we were born.



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Love during the Silent Era...............courtesy of Greta Garbo and John Gilbert. :-4



And more love....................

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Towards the end of the classic, "Greed."

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Silent screams......................

Nosferatu
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



History



Roundhay Garden Scene 1888, the first known celluloid film recorded.Main article: History of film

The first film was created by Louis Le Prince in 1888. It was a two second film of people walking around in Oakwood Grange garden, titled Roundhay Garden Scene. The art of motion pictures grew into full maturity in the "silent era" before silent films were replaced by "talking pictures" in the late 1920s. Many film scholars and buffs argue that the aesthetic quality of cinema decreased for several years until directors, actors, and production staff adapted to the new "talkies".

The visual quality of silent movies — especially those produced during the 1920s — was often extremely high. However, there is a widely held misconception that these films were primitive and barely watchable by modern standards. This misconception is due to technical errors (such as films being played back at wrong speed) and due to the deteriorated condition of many silent films (many silent films exist only in second or even third generation copies which were often copied from already damaged and neglected film stock).

Intertitles

Main article: Intertitle

Because silent films had no synchronized sound for dialogue, onscreen intertitles were used to narrate story points, present key dialogue and sometimes even comment on the action for the cinema audience. The title writer became a key professional in silent film and was often separate from the scenario writer who created the story. Intertitles (or titles as they were generally called at the time) often became graphic elements themselves, featuring illustrations or abstract decoration that commented on the action.



Live music and sound

Showings of silent films almost always featured live music, starting with the pianist at the first public projection of movies by the Lumière Brothers on December 28, 1895 in Paris. From the beginning, music was recognized as essential, contributing to the atmosphere and giving the audience vital emotional cues (musicians sometimes played on film sets during shooting for similar reasons). Small town and neighborhood movie theaters usually had a pianist. From the mid-teens onward, large city theaters tended to have organists or entire orchestras. Massive theater organs were designed to fill a gap between a simple piano soloist and a larger orchestra. Theater organs had a wide range of special effects, and used actual percussion. Theatrical organs such as the famous "Mighty Wurlitzer" could simulate some orchestral sounds along with a number of percussion effects such as bass drums and cymbals and sound effects ranging from galloping horses to rolling thunder.

The scores for early silent films were either improvised or compiled of classical or theatrical repertory music. Once full features became commonplace, however, music was compiled from photoplay music by the pianist, organist, orchestra conductor or the movie studio itself, which would send out a cue sheet with the film. These sheets were often very lengthy, with detailed notes about effects and moods to watch for. Starting with mostly original score composed by Joseph Carl Breil for D.W. Griffith's groundbreaking epic The Birth of a Nation (USA, 1915) it became relatively common for the biggest-budgeted films to arrive at the exhibiting theater with original, specially composed scores.

When an organist or pianist used sheet music, they still might add in improvisatory flourishes to heighten the drama onscreen. As well, even if special effects were not indicated in the score, if an organist was playing a theater organ with an unusual sound effect, such as a "galloping horses" effect, they would use it during a dramatic horseback chase.

By the height of the silent era, movies were the single largest source of employment for instrumental musicians (at least in America). But the introduction of talkies, which happened simultaneously with the onset of the Great Depression, was devastating to many musicians.

Some countries devised other ways of bringing sound to silent films. The early cinema of Brazil featured fitas cantatas: filmed operettas with singers performing behind the screen. In Japan, films had not only live music but also the benshi, a live narrator who provided commentary and character voices. The benshi became a central element in Japanese film form, as well as providing translation for foreign (mostly American) movies. Their popularity was one reason why silents persisted well into the 1930s in Japan.

Few film scores have survived intact from this period, and musicologists are still confronted by questions in attempting a precise reconstruction of those which remain. Scores can be distinguished as complete reconstructions of composed scores, newly composed for the occasion, assembled from already existing music libraries, or even improvised. Interest in the scoring of silent films fell somewhat out of fashion during the 1960s and 1970s. There was a belief current in many college film programs and repertory cinemas that audiences should experience silent film as a pure visual medium, undistracted by music. This belief may have been encouraged by the poor quality of the music tracks found on many silent film reprints of the time. More recently, there has been a revival of interest in presenting silent films with quality musical scores, either reworkings of period scores or cue sheets, or composition of appropriate original scores. A watershed event in this context was Francis Ford Coppola's 1980 restoration of Abel Gance's Napoleon (1927) with a live orchestral score composed by his father Carmine Coppola.

Notable current specialists in the art of arranging and performing silent film scores include organists and pianists such as Steven Ball (of Ann Arbor's Michigan Theater); Rosa Rio (organist at the Brooklyn Fox during the silent era and now at the Tampa Theater), Ben Model, Neil Brand, Geoff Smith, John Sweeney, Phillip C. Carli, Jon Mirsalis, Dennis James, and Donald Sosin. Orchestral conductors such as Carl Davis and Robert Israel have written and compiled scores for numerous silent films. In addition to composing original film scores Timothy Brock has restored many of Charlie Chaplin's scores.



Acting techniques



Lillian Gish was a major star of the silent era with one of the longest careers, working from 1912-1987Silent film actors emphasized body language and facial expression so that the audience could better understand what an actor was feeling and portraying on screen. Much silent film acting is apt to strike modern-day audiences as simplistic or campy. For this reason, silent comedies tend to be more popular in the modern era than drama, partly because overacting is more natural in comedy. The melodramatic acting style was in some cases a habit actors transferred from their former stage experience. The pervading presence of stage actors in film was the cause of this outburst from director Marshall Neilan in 1917: "The sooner the stage people who have come into pictures get out, the better for the pictures." In other cases, directors such as John Griffith Wray required their actors to deliver larger-than-life expressions for emphasis. As early as 1914, American viewers had begun to make known their preference for greater naturalness on screen.

In any case, the large image size and unprecedented intimacy the actor enjoyed with the audience began to affect acting style, making for more subtlety of expression. Actresses such as Mary Pickford in all her films, Eleanora Duse in the Italian film Cenere (1916), Janet Gaynor in Sunrise, Priscilla Dean in The Dice Woman and Lillian Gish in most of her performances made restraint and easy naturalism in acting a virtue. Directors such as Albert Capellani (a French director who also did work in America directing Alla Nazimova films) and Maurice Tourneur insisted on naturalism in their films; Tourneur had been just such a minimalist in his prior stage productions. By the mid-20s many American silent films had adopted a more naturalistic acting style, though not all actors and directors accepted naturalistic, low key acting straight away, as late as 1927 films featuring expressionistic acting styles such as Metropolis were still being released. Some viewers liked the flamboyant acting for its escape value, and some countries were later than the United States in embracing naturalistic style in their films. In fact today the level of naturalism in acting varies from film to film and our favourites may not be the most naturalistic. Just like today, a film's success depended upon the setting, the mood, the script, the skills of the director, and the overall talent of the cast.



Projection speed

Until the standardization of the projection speed of 24 frames per second (fps) for sound films in 1926, silent films were shot at variable speeds (or "frame rates"), typically anywhere from 16 to 23 frames per second or faster, depending on the year and studio. Unless carefully shown at their original speeds they can appear unnaturally fast and jerky, which reinforces their alien appearance to modern viewers. At the same time, some scenes were intentionally undercranked during shooting in order to accelerate the action, particularly in the case of slapstick comedies. The intended frame rate of a silent film can be ambiguous and since they were usually hand cranked there can even be variation within one film. Film speed is often a vexed issue among scholars and film buffs in the presentation of silents today, especially when it comes to DVD releases of "restored" films; the 2002 restoration of Metropolis (Germany, 1927) may be the most fiercely debated example.

Projectionists frequently ran silent films at speeds which were slightly faster than the rate at which they were shot. Most films seem to have been shown at 18 fps or higher - some even faster than what would become sound film speed (24 fps, or 90 feet per minute). Even if shot at 16 fps (often cited as "silent speed"), the projection of a cellulose nitrate base film at such a slow speed carried a considerable risk of fire. Often projectionists would receive very general instructions from the distributors as to how fast particular reels or scenes should be projected on the musical director's cue sheet. In rare instances, usually for larger productions, detailed cue sheets specifically for the projectionist would carry a detailed guide in how to present the film. Theaters also sometimes varied their projection speeds depending on the time of day or popularity of a film in order to maximize profit.



Tinting

Main article: Film tinting

With the lack of natural color processing available, films of the silent era were frequently dipped in dyestuffs and dyed various shades and hues in order to signal a mood or represent a specific time of day. Blue represented night scenes, yellow or amber meant day. Red represented fire and green represented a mysterious mood. Similarly, toning of film (such as the common silent film generalization of sepia-toning) with special solutions replaced the silver particles in the film stock with salts or dyes of various colors. A combination of tinting and toning could be used as an effect that could be very striking.

Some films were hand-tinted, such as Annabelle Serpentine Dance (1895), from Edison Studios. In it, Annabelle Moore, a young dancer from Broadway, is dressed in white veils that appear to change colors as she dances. Hand coloring was often used in the early "trick" and fantasy films of Europe, especially those by Georges Méliès.



Scene from The Birth of a NationBy the early teens, with the onset of feature-length films, tinting was expanded upon as another mood setter, just as commonplace as music. The director D.W. Griffith displayed a constant interest and concern about color, and used tinting to a unique effect in many of his films. His 1915 epic, The Birth of a Nation, utilized a number of colors, including amber, blue, lavender, and a striking red tint for scenes such as the "burning of Atlanta" and the ride of the Ku Klux Klan at the climax of the picture. Griffith later invented a color system in which colored lights flashed on areas of the screen to achieve a color effect.



Top grossing silent films in the United States

The following are the films that earned the highest ever gross income in film history, according to Variety magazine in 1932. The dollar amounts are not adjusted for inflation, and the values were calculated in 1932.

The Birth of a Nation (1915) - $10,000,000

The Big Parade (1925) - $6,400,000

Ben-Hur (1925) - $5,500,000

Way Down East (1920) - $5,000,000

The Gold Rush (1925) - $4,250,000

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) - $4,000,000

The Circus (1928) - $3,800,000

The Covered Wagon (1923) - $3,800,000

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) - $3,500,000

The Ten Commandments (1923) - $3,400,000

Orphans of the Storm (1921) - $3,000,000

For Heaven's Sake (1926) - $2,600,000

Seventh Heaven (1926) - $2,400,000

Abie's Irish Rose (1928) - $1,500,000

During the sound era

Transition

Although attempts to create sync-sound motion pictures go back to the Edison lab in 1896, the technology became well-developed only in the early 1920s. The next few years saw a race to design, implement, and market several rival sound-on-disc and sound-on-film sound formats. Although The Jazz Singer's release in 1927 marked the first commercially successful sound film, silent films formed the majority of features produced in both 1927 and 1928. Thus the modern sound film era may be regarded as coming to dominance beginning in 1929.

For a listing of notable silent era films, see list of years in film for the years between the beginning of film and 1928. The following list includes only films produced in the sound era with the specific artistic intention of being silent.

City Girl, F.W. Murnau, 1930

Borderline, Kenneth MacPherson, 1930

Earth, Aleksandr Dovzhenko, 1930

City Lights, Charlie Chaplin, 1931

Tabu, F. W. Murnau, Robert Flaherty, 1931

I Was Born, But..., Yasujiro Ozu, 1932

A Story of Floating Weeds, Yasujiro Ozu, 1934

The Goddess , Wu Yonggang, 1934

Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin, 1936

Later homages

Several filmmakers have paid homage to the comedies of the silent era, including Jacques Tati with his Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1953) and Mel Brooks with Silent Movie (1976). Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's acclaimed drama Three Times (2005) is silent during its middle third, complete with intertitles; Stanley Tucci's The Impostors has an opening silent sequence in the style of early silent comedies. Writer / Director Michael Pleckaitis puts his own twist on the genre with Silent (2007).

The 1999 German film Tuvalu is mostly silent; the small amount of dialog is an odd mix of European languages, increasing the film's universality. Guy Maddin won awards for his homage to Soviet era silent films with his short The Heart of the World after which he made a feature-length silent, Brand Upon the Brain! (2006), incorporating live Foley artists, narration and orchestra at select showings. Shadow of the Vampire (2000) is a highly fictionalized depiction of the filming of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's classic silent vampire movie Nosferatu (1922). Werner Herzog honored the same film in his own version, Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979).

Some films draw a direct contrast between the silent film era and the era of talkies. Sunset Boulevard shows the disconnect between the two eras in the character of Norma Desmond, played by silent film star Gloria Swanson, and Singin' In The Rain deals with the period where the people of Hollywood had to face changing from making silents to talkies. Peter Bogdanovich's affectionate 1976 film Nickelodeon deals with the turmoil of silent filmmaking in Hollywood during the early 1910s, leading up to the release of D.W. Griffith's 1915 epic The Birth of a Nation.

In 1999, the Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki produced Juha which captures the style of a silent film, using intertitles in place of spoken dialogue.[10] In India, the 1988 film Pushpak, starring Kamal Hassan, was a black comedy entirely devoid of dialog. The 2007 Australian film Dr Plonk, was a silent comedy directed by Rolf de Heer. Stage plays have drawn upon silent film styles and sources. Actor/writers Billy Van Zandt & Jane Milmore staged their Off-Broadway slapstick comedy Silent Laughter as a live action tribute to the silent screen era. Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford created and starred in All Wear Bowlers (2004) which started as an homage to Laurel and Hardy then evolved to incorporate life-sized silent film sequences of Sobelle and Lyford who jump back and forth between live action and the silver screen. The 1940 animated film Fantasia, which is eight different animation sequences set to music, can be considered a silent film, with only one short scene involving dialogue.



Preservation and lost films

Main articles: Lost film and Film preservation

Many early motion pictures are lost because the nitrate film used in that era was extremely unstable and flammable. Additionally, many films, like the series of Pinochle Boys films, were deliberately destroyed because they had little value in the era before home video. It has often been claimed that around 75% of silent films have been lost, though these estimates may be inaccurate due to a lack of numerical data. Major silent films presumed lost include Saved from the Titanic (1912); The Apostle, the world's first animated feature film (1917); Cleopatra (1917); Arirang (1926); Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1927); The Great Gatsby (1926); and London After Midnight (1927). Though most lost silent films will never be recovered, some have been discovered in film archives or private collections.

In 1978 in Dawson City, Yukon, a bulldozer uncovered buried reels of nitrate film during excavation of a landfill. Dawson City used to be the end of the distribution line for many films, and the titles were stored at the local library until 1929 when the flammable nitrate was used as landfill in a condemned swimming pool. Stored for 50 years under the permafrost of the Yukon, the films turned out to be extremely well preserved. Included in this treasure trove were films by Pearl White, Harold Lloyd, Douglas Fairbanks, and Lon Chaney, Sr.. These films are now housed at the Library of Congress.[18] The degradation of old film stock can be slowed through proper archiving, or films can be transferred to CD-ROM or other digital media for preservation. Silent film preservation has been a high priority among film historians.
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Let's get busted by the Keystone Cops...........................................:D

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Birth of a Nation:



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Louise Brooks.................I think she was gorgeous.

Here is more info about the silent screen actress:

Louise Brooks Society - all about the silent film star who played Lulu in Pandora's Box



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Sort of

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:wah:

Here is an amusing video on silent cartoons:

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I thought I would include this video in this thread:



;)
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along-for-the-ride;1223102 wrote: Let's go way back in movie history. before the invention of sound in films. Let's find and share clips of some of the silent films that graced the theaters before we were born.




Does this qualify :-

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:wah: Thanks for sharing, Bryn Mawr. Your video made me think of Buster Keaton, seen below.........Enjoy!:)

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The Wind







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Valentino..heart throb of the silent era...

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Excellent thread, AFTR.
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Glaswegian;1329116 wrote: Excellent thread, AFTR.


Thank you, Glaswegian. :) I'll be adding more videos as I find them. Many of us enjoy watching these old classics once in awhile.
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along-for-the-ride;1227326 wrote: Louise Brooks.................I think she was gorgeous.

Here is more info about the silent screen actress:

Louise Brooks Society - all about the silent film star who played Lulu in Pandora's Box






GREAT AMERICAN

LOUISE BROOKS (1906-1985)




Actress, Writer, Dancer, Woman Extraordinaire

~o0o~


Louise Brooks was one of the most beautiful and intelligent women ever to appear on the silver screen. Her best film work was accomplished with the German director G. W. Pabst in such films as Pandora’s Box (1929) and Diary of a Lost Girl (1929). As well as being a woman of stunning beauty, Brooks possessed a formidable intellect which made Hollywood moguls nervous. She remarked in her later years: ’Hollywood feared me because I read books.’ Brooks abandoned Hollywood for Europe because she was tired of being offered film scripts which portrayed women as simpering objects dependent on men. After years of being overlooked by film critics and historians, she is now increasingly recognised as one of the most original talents in cinema. In Europe, she is regarded as the first Anti-Star - decades before Brando et al.

Henri Langlois, film historian of the Cinematheque Francaise, commented on Louise Brooks as follows:

‘Those who have seen her can never forget her. She is the modern actress par excellence because, like the statues of antiquity, she is outside of time. She is the intelligence of the cinematographic process, she is the most perfect incarnation of photogenie; she embodies in herself all that the cinema rediscovered in its last years of silence: complete naturalness and complete simplicity.’

One of the individuals who did much to rescue Louise Brooks from obscurity was the English writer and critic, Kenneth Tynan. You can read Tynan's legendary New Yorker magazine article on Brooks here:

Kenneth Tynan - The Girl In The Black Helmet

~o0o~


LOUISE BROOKS: ANTI-STAR




Brooks made Hollywood nervous

E. R. Richee, the photographer who took the above iconic photo of Louise Brooks, originally used Greta Garbo as his model. He said the composition just didn’t work with the Swede, but with Louise Brooks ‘it was a classic’.

~o0o~
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:) Yes, Louise Brooks. A fascinating woman.

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along-for-the-ride;1329204 wrote: I'll be adding more videos as I find them. Many of us enjoy watching these old classics once in awhile.


Thanks very much for posting the Looking For Lulu documentary, AFTR.

I enjoy silent films enormously. I’m fortunate to live near an excellent art house cinema where I’ve watched a number of these films over the years: for example, The Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, Metropolis and Dr Mabuse, the Gambler. There is something very atmospheric and very haunting about silent films. And something very beautiful about them too. I think what gives these films their great beauty has a lot to do with the spectral quality of black and white cinematography. Black and white film captures the different effects of light and shadow so well - in ways that are quite breathtaking, in fact.

One of the best pieces of black and white cinematography I’ve seen is in a sound film - The Night Of The Hunter. This film was directed in 1955 by Charles Laughton and it received lots of negative reviews back then. However, it is now rightly regarded as a masterpiece of American cinema. There is a famous sequence in the film in which two young children flee downriver in a boat from a killer who is in pursuit of them. The sequence only lasts for several minutes but its beauty is unearthly, and it belongs to the centuries. Perhaps you’ve seen it? Here are several stills from it:



THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955)

Directed by Charles Laughton

1.




2.




3.




4.



~o0o~


'In 1992, The Night of the Hunter was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in its National Film Registry.' - Wikipedia

Deservedly so.
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LOUISE BROOKS




‘The Girl In The Black Helmet’

~o0o~



‘There is no Garbo! There is no Dietrich! There is only Louise Brooks!' - Henri Langlois, French film historian


'Brooks is considered one of the first naturalistic actors in film, her acting being subtle and nuanced compared to many other silent performers. The close-up was just coming into vogue with directors, and her almost hypnotically beautiful face was perfect for this new technique. Brooks had always been very self-directed, even difficult, and was notorious for her salty language, which she didn't hesitate to use whenever she felt like it. In addition, she had made a vow to herself never to smile on stage unless she felt compelled to, and although the majority of her publicity photos show her with a neutral expression, she had a dazzling smile. By her own admission, she was a sexually liberated woman, not afraid to experiment, even posing fully nude for "art" photography, and her liaisons with many film people were legendary, although much of it is speculation.' Extracted from Wikipedia article on Louise Brooks

Full article can be read here: Louise Brooks - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Yes, I do agree about "The Night Of the Hunter." I have seen it many times, and always enjoy it. One of my favorites. It is a haunting beautiful film. It stays with you.
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along-for-the-ride;1329295 wrote: Yes, I do agree about "The Night Of the Hunter." I have seen it many times, and always enjoy it. One of my favorites. It is a haunting beautiful film. It stays with you.


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along-for-the-ride;1223136 wrote: Silent screams......................

Nosferatu


Another German silent film classic, AFTR, is this one:

THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1920)

Directed by Robert Wiene

'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (German: Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari) is a 1920 silent film directed by Robert Wiene from a screenplay by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer. It is one of the most influential of German Expressionist films and is often considered one of the greatest horror movies of all time. This movie is cited as having introduced the twist ending in cinema.' - Wikipedia

Full article can be read here: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

~o0o~


Some stills...

1.



2.



3.

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Good to see you here again, Glaswegian.:) The silent era did produce some visually stunning horror movies.
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Post by Glaswegian »

along-for-the-ride;1330012 wrote:


My favourite film version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, AFTR, is the one directed by Rouben Mamoulian in 1931, and starring Fredric March. I think March is the actor who has best portrayed the characters of Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde on screen. Regarding Edward Hyde, March grasped what this creature was all about. In Robert Louis Stevenson‘s story, there is nothing recognisably human in Edward Hyde’s character at all. He is an utterly primal life-form. All the moral feelings and restraints which civilization normally produces in a human being are completely absent in him. When Jekyll drinks the potion which suppresses his own character and allows Hyde's to emerge, the latter feels sheer exhilaration. He is stronger and more vital than Jekyll, and his will is unclouded by any moral considerations. In the film, the first words Hyde says after supplanting Jekyll are these:

‘Free! Free at last!’

Hyde simply exults in being alive, and March plays him with gusto. Just watch the scene in the film where Hyde/March stands in the night rain with his face upturned, drinking the falling drops in joy. Great cinema.

~o0o~


DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE (1931)

Directed by Rouben Mamoulian




‘My devil had been long caged, he came out roaring.’

Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
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Post by Glaswegian »

along-for-the-ride;1223136 wrote: Silent screams......................

Nosferatu


Near-silent screams.....................

VAMPYR (1932)

Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer

This film was badly received by critics and audiences when it was released. However, its reputation has grown over the years. Dreyer wanted to make Vampyr as a silent film but he was forced to embrace the new technology of sound back then. Even so, ‘very little dialogue was used in the film and much of the story is told with silent film-styled title cards.’

The film contains a remarkable sequence which depicts premature burial. The sequence is filmed from the perspective of an individual inside a coffin looking through a tiny glass window in the coffin lid. The individual is only able to see the sky and the sides of buildings sloping upwards as the coffin is transported through the streets leading to the graveyard. Very claustrophobic and unsettling.

Some rare stills...

1.




2.



~o0o~


I think Werner Herzog’s 1979 remake of the original Nosferatu is very good. Here is the classic opening credits sequence from Herzog’s film:

YouTube - nosferatu-herzog opening credits. (1979)

~o0o~


NOSFERATU (1979)



~o0o~


NOSFERATU (1922)

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Post by along-for-the-ride »

Thank you so much for the extra information and pictures, Glaswegian. :) I trully appreciate your contributions. Please add more when you can.



The other evening, Hubby and I watched "The Big Parade" starring John Gilbert. What happened to Mr. Gilbert in his private life is a tragedy to me. The advent of the "talkies' and the manipulation of his screen test voice. Being jilted by the love of his life, Greta Garbo, at the altar. Alchoholism. Obscurity.

I think he had potentional to be a great star in the 30's and beyond.
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along-for-the-ride;1330393 wrote: The other evening, Hubby and I watched "The Big Parade" starring John Gilbert. What happened to Mr. Gilbert in his private life is a tragedy to me. The advent of the "talkies' and the manipulation of his screen test voice. Being jilted by the love of his life, Greta Garbo, at the altar. Alchoholism. Obscurity.

I think he had potentional to be a great star in the 30's and beyond.


JOHN GILBERT (1899-1936)




‘John Gilbert had been the highest paid star of 1928, receiving $10,000 a week from MGM ever since he packed them in with The Big Parade (1925). After his affair with Garbo had fizzled out, Gilbert married Broadway actress Ina Claire on the rebound. He was in mid-Atlantic, returning from a squabbly honeymoon, when the Wall Street crash occurred. Gilbert docked in New York to discover he was broke. Like many other Hollywoodians, he had invested in stocks on margin, a victim of one of the investment sharpies who infested the film colony.

John Gilbert still had an “unbreakable” contract at MGM to fall back on, but this was scant solace after his first Talkie - His Glorious Night (1929) - was dubbed a “shreikie”. When the film opened at New York’s Capitol Theater, his fans tittered embarrassedly as a caricature of his voice piped out of the loudspeakers like a tinny whine. But Gilbert’s light tenor was in truth not bad. The proof is to be found in a brilliant 1932 comedy, Downstairs, written by Gilbert himself, in which his delivery is excellent. The harm had already been done, however, and columnists and fan magazines spread the word that Gilbert was finished. His fine performance in Downstairs encourages one to lend some credence to the rumour that the sound engineers at MGM, at the orders of Louis B. Mayer (who at that point wanted to smash Gilbert’s career and get rid of him) played havoc with the trebles and deliberately gelded Gilbert’s voice.’ - Kenneth Anger, Hollywood Babylon

~o0o~


John Gilbert with the love of his life

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Post by along-for-the-ride »

John Gilbert speaking and burping.... :)



His actual voice is quite normal. It's hard to belive that just one screen test could do so much damage to one already established career. A shame.
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Post by Glaswegian »

along-for-the-ride;1330623 wrote: John Gilbert speaking and burping.... :)



His actual voice is quite normal. It's hard to belive that just one screen test could do so much damage to one already established career. A shame.


Has the fall from fame to obscurity of the silent-screen star ever been portrayed better than this?…

SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950)

Directed by Billy Wilder

'The film stars William Holden as an unsuccessful screenwriter and Gloria Swanson as a faded silent movie star who draws him into her fantasy world, in which she dreams of making a triumphant return to the screen. Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough and Jack Webb play supporting roles. Director Cecil B. DeMille and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper play themselves, and the film includes cameo appearances by leading silent film actors Buster Keaton, H. B. Warner and Anna Q. Nilsson.

Praised by many critics when first released, Sunset Boulevard was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and won three. It is widely accepted as a classic, often cited as one of the most noteworthy films of American cinema.' - Wikipedia

1.

CAST MEMBERS




2.

NORMA DESMOND: CRACKED ACTOR




‘I am big! It’s the pictures that got small.’

3.




‘She had a swimming pool…Mabel Normand and John Gilbert must have swam in it ten thousand midnights ago.’

4.




‘I’ll show them. I’ll be up there again, so help me!’

5.




‘This is my life. There’s nothing else. Just us, and the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark.’

6.




‘Alright, Mr De Mille. I’m ready for my close-up.’

~o0o~
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Post by along-for-the-ride »


Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson
Uploaded by debra71. - Check out other Film & TV videos.
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Post by Glaswegian »

along-for-the-ride;1330837 wrote:
Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson
Uploaded by debra71. - Check out other Film & TV videos.




GLORIA SWANSON (1899-1983)



Gloria Swanson was a good choice to play the role of the forgotten, but wealthy, silent-screen star ‘Norma Desmond’ in Sunset Boulevard.

At the height of Swanson’s career in the 1920‘s, ‘her yearly clothes bill itemized at: fur coats, $25,000; other wraps, $10,000; gowns, $50,000; stockings, $9,000; shoes, $5,000; lingerie, $10,000; purses, $5,000; headdresses, $5,000 and a $6,000 cloud of perfume.’

~o0o~

La Gloria




Swanson's choice of car was a leopard-skin upholstered Lancia...

~o0o~





to match her rug...

~o0o~




…and her curtains.
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Post by Glaswegian »

Sunset Boulevard is one of a number of cinematic masterpieces made by Billy Wilder. Here is another:

THE LOST WEEKEND (1945)

Directed by Billy Wilder

The film is a magnificent portrayal of an individual's descent into alcoholic hell. It won a clutch of Oscars, and rightly so.

~o0o~


Ray Milland




Pouring a straight nightmare

~o0o~



‘It shrinks my liver. It pickles my kidneys. Yes. But what does it do to my mind? It tosses the sandbags overboard so the balloon can soar. Suddenly, I’m above the ordinary. I’m competent, supremely competent. I’m walking a tightrope over Niagara Falls. I’m one of the great ones! I’m Michelangelo moulding the beard of Moses. I’m Van Gogh painting pure sunlight. I’m Horowitz playing the Emperor Concerto. I’m John Barrymore before the movies got him by the throat. I’m Jesse James and his two brothers - all three of them. I’m W. Shakespeare. And out there it’s not 3rd Avenue any longer. It’s the Nile, and down it floats the barge of Cleopatra.’ - From the award-winning screenplay to The Lost Weekend by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett

~o0o~
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You can't drown yourself in drink. I've tried, you float.

John Barrymore

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Post by along-for-the-ride »

A tribute to the beautiful Dolores Costello;



And some more information about her:

http://www.things-and-other-stuff.com/m ... tello.html
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Post by along-for-the-ride »

I found this useful link:

Silent Movies

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Yes, I was correctly quoted in saying I introduced sex into films in the 20's, but it was sex in good taste and left a great deal to one's imagination.

Pola Negri

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pola_Negri
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The film above,Cendrillon (Cinderella) premiered in America during the Christmas season, 1899.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Perhaps, the first film to use photographic dissolves (or fades) as a transition effect. This was done using Melies' method of in-camera editing.

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Albert E. Smith claimed that this was the first foreign film to be acquired by an American company (his company, Vitagraph). Release prints were bought in France for $100 a piece and brought to the US, where a team of workers set about hand coloring every frame. According to Smith, colorizing a film was not attempted again by Vitagraph because it caused too much eye strain for their workers.
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