Monday, March 10, 2014
I have always been fascinated by the career of actress Bessie Love. She was born in Texas. Her name was Juanita Horton. Her family moved to Los Angeles and she went to Los Angeles High School. Looking for work, she met director DW Griffith and got a small part in Intolerance. She appeared in movies with William S Hart and Douglas Fairbanks. She was a 1922 WAMPAS (Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers) Baby Star. She played many leading roles, most famously in The Lost World, but never broke through until the talkies came, when she starred in The Broadway Melody. Her career was hot again for a few years, but then tailed off. She continued to appear in small parts in movies until the early 1980s.
In this item from the June, 1925 Photoplay, Bessie Love relaxes on Miami Beach with director John Robertson and leading man Richard Barthelmess "after finishing a day's work on Soul-Fire."
Sunday, March 9, 2014
"Telling Whoppers" was a short comedy with Hal Roach's Our Gang. Note that the ad also says "Hal Roach presents His Rascals." In this scene, Joe Cobb and Farina Hoskins confront Tuffy the bully. Please excuse the racist quality of the drawing. The Our Gang movies were not usually racist.
A note at the bottom of this ad from the 16-Decmber-1926 Film Daily says that this ad is a cornerblock provided to theaters to use in newspaper advertising.
Friday, March 7, 2014
The Peerless Features Producing Company's new studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey. From the 26-September-1914 Moving Picture World. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
In January, I reviewed Accidentally Preserved, a DVD made by famous film accompanist Ben Model. Now I have watched Volume 2, which came out in February this year. Again, Model dug into his collection of old 16mm prints, which were mostly made for the home rental or purchase market. Some of the movies only exist in old Kodascope prints. Naturally he also created the musical scores.
The DVD contains nine films, seven short comedies and two public service films.
"Why Wild Men Go Wild" was an Al Christie production directed by William Beaudine. It starred Bobby Vernon, whom I had only seen in Sennett movies. It was silly, but worth watching. There was a cute swimming pool gag at the end.
"Charley on the Farm" was a cartoon produced by Pat Sullivan and animated by Otto Messmer, who later created Felix the Cat. It was one of a series that featured Charlie Chaplin. I think Messmer captured Charlie's movements and gestures. He also recycled many gags from Chaplin's Essanay short "The Tramp."
"Sherlock's Home" was a two-reel entry in the "Telephone Girl" series, starring cute Alberta Vaughn. I thought it dragged in spots, but it was fun. It also featured the team of Al Cooke and Kit Guard, whom I learned about in Steve Massa's excellent Lame Brains and Lunatics. The title came from a light heavyweight boxer called Hurricane Sherlock. His opponent in a match was played by the real Kid McCoy, the dirtiest fighter in history. Mal St Clair directed it and Darryl F Zanuck, later president of 20th Century Fox, wrote it.
"The Little Pest" was a Universal Bluebird one-reeler starring Neely Edwards. When the little boy in the sailor suit arrived, I asked my daughter "The little blond kid. Is he evil?" She looked at him and said "Yes, I've had him in my classes." Bud Jamison played the evil kid's father. I enjoyed it, especially when the kid dismantled Neely's car.
"Papa's Boy," a Lloyd Hamilton two-reeler, was my favorite item. Hamilton's father wanted he-man Glen Cavender to make a man out of his wimpy, butterfly-chasing son. There was a nice series of gags with Hamilton chasing butterflies with a net, some sort of a grabber, and a huge pin. Cavender and Hamilton went camping. There were two nice sequences with an alligator and a tent on fire. Norman Taurog directed.
"Helter Skelter" was an Educational two-reeler, but the first reel of the only surviving print is unprojectable. The second reel is very lively, with Malcom Sebastian (Big Boy) and his dog Mutt leading a merry chase around the house of some rich folks.
"Cook, Papa, Cook" starred Henry Murdock, who was usually a supporting player. He had a fight with his wife, triggered by their mischievous son, and tried to make breakfast. At least it moved quickly.
"How Jimmy Won the Game" was a public service short about blasting cap safety. Until I saw it, I had not remembered that I used to see blasting cap safety ads during kid's shows on television. This one was pretty stark, warning about blowing eyes out or hands off. I was impressed by the crappy condition of the field where the kids played baseball.
The last item was a short animation for Christmas Seals. It may have been animated by Dick Huemer.
I thought the best score was the one for "Papa's Boy."
The Accidentally Preserved website: http://www.accidentallypreserved.com/
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
French director Alain Resnais has died. I had read about his work, but I didn't see any of his movies till I saw Last Year at Marienbad in a film class. The whole class found it confusing, even after a vigorous discussion. Then I took a class where we read translations of two novels by Alain Robbe-Grillet, The Voyeur and Jealousy. When I saw the movie again, I found it more digestible.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Actress Pearl White was the first and best-remembered serial queen, starring in The Perils of Pauline in 1914. She was famous for performing her own stunts. She was born 125 years ago, on 04-March-1889. She died in 1938.
Other posts about Pearl White:
Pearl of the Army
The Iron Claw
The image is from the May, 1921 Cinea.
Animator Ward Kimball worked on many Disney films, including the features Dumbo and Alice in wonderland and the shorts "Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom" and "It's Tough to Be a Bird." Kimball was a fan of traditional jazz. He founded the Firehouse Five Plus Two which recorded albums and performed at Disneyland. He was a dedicated railfan who had a narrow gauge railroad, the Grizzly Flats Railraod, in his back yard.
Disneyland Railroad Number 5, the Ward Kimball, premiered at Disneyland on 25-June-2005. Kimball designed the gold Jiminy Crickets on the sides of the headlight. Number 5, a 2-4-4T, was built by Baldwin in 1902 as an 0-4-4T for a plantation railroad in Louisiana. This was Disneyland's first new locomotive since 1959. Disney acquired Number 5 in a trade with Cedar Point, an amusement park in Ohio, where it had operated as Number 1, the Maud L, from 1963 to the early 1990's. Cedar Point had added the leading pony truck. In return for Maud L, Cedar Point received the first Ward Kimball, a Davenport 2-4-4T which Disney had intended to operate on the Disneyland Railroad, but which proved to be too heavy for the bridge at Critter Country. The locomotive went to Walt Disney World in Florida, where it proved to be too light (!). The new Ward Kimball sat in storage until 2004, when restoration began at Boschan Boiler & Restorations. I took the photo on July, 2007. Learn more about it on my Park Trains and Tourist Trains page.
Amid Amidi has written a biography of Ward Kimball, Full Steam Ahead: The Life and Art of Ward Kimball, but it appears that the Disney company has blocked its publication.
Monday, March 3, 2014
|Film Daily, 20-March-1945.|
I thought I would write about my experiences watching this year's Academy Awards. We were at my mom's house for dinner. Between bouts of helping in the kitchen, we saw some of the red carpet show, which is pretty silly. Leonardo DiCaprio wore a navy blue tux. That is not right.
Dinner was served just as the awards started. We left the television on, which we rarely do. My mother made stuffed zucchini, onions and green bell peppers. She complained that her mother got the potato slices underneath to brown on both sides, but she could only get them to brown on the bottom. She also said that her mother ground the meat again so it was very fine. Then she asked who was talking. We said the host was Ellen DeGeneres. My mother looked over her shoulder and said she didn't recognize her. My mother stood up to see Kim Novak as a presenter.
Every time they announced an award, somebody talked and I didn't hear who won. We want to see the short about the 110-year-old woman.
After we finished dinner, we went out to the kitchen to get the coffee and the apple pie. The pie was good.
Then we did the dishes and put away the food and packed up some leftovers. Then we drove home. I fed the cat and put away the leftovers. I saw Glen Close come out in a nice gown to present the list of people who had died. Then I had to go out to the garage to get more boxes of soda so I could make my lunch for tomorrow. Then I made my lunch.
I got to see best director, Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity.
Sidney Poitier is very old and unsteady, but everyone was happy to wait for him to walk out.
12 Years a Slave won best picture. I want to see it.
The only nominated picture we saw was The Lone Ranger.