Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Ernest Borgnine 100 -- January 24, 2017

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Actor Ernest Borgnine would have been 100 years old today.  In interviews, he always sounded like a wonderful grandfather or uncle.  In movies, he often played murderous villains.  I first remember seeing him in reruns of McHale's Navy.  Then I saw him in Emperor of the North Pole.  Then The Dirty Dozen, then Marty, then Bad Day at Black Rock.  I was confused about him, but I always knew he was a good actor, who wasn't afraid to open the throttle. 


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Monday, January 23, 2017

Patria -- The Serial Supreme -- January 23, 2017

Moving Picture World, 06-January-1917
The Wharton Brothers produced Patria, a fifteen-chapter serial starring Irene Castle, for William Randolph Hearst.  Warner Oland, who made a career out of playing Asian parts, was a Japanese spy.  Baron Huroki and his spy ring want to destroy American munitions plants, many of which are owned by Patria Channing, who was played by Irene Castle.  .  Milton Sills is a Secret Service agent who is after the spy ring.  At one point in the serial, the Japanese ally with Mexico to attack the United States.  While the film was being release, President Woodrow Wilson learned about the themes of the film and asked the producers to change the nationalities of many of the characters.

Irene Castle had become famous, with her husband Vernon, as a ballroom dancer.  He left the act in early 1916 to return to his native Britain, where he joined the Royal Flying Corps.  He was a successful pilot, earning the Croix de Guerre.  He was sent to Canada and then the United States to train new pilots.  He died in a flying accident in 1918.

Moving Picture World, 20-January-1917

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Carole Lombard 75 Years -- January 17, 2017

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75 years ago yesterday, on 16-January-1942, beautiful and funny actress Carole Lombard, who had been in Indiana selling war bonds, boarded a Transcontinental and Western Air Douglas Sleeper Transport, a close relative of the DC-3, to return to Hollywood.  The airplane crashed into a mountain in Nevada, killing everyone aboard, including Carole Lombard and her mother.

 She started out appearing in silent comedies for Mack Sennett, floundered around a bit during the talkie transition, and then became a big star, appearing in many favorites including My Man Godfrey, Nothing Sacred, Twentieth Century and To Be Or Not To Be.  She had a special knack for screwball comedies. 

Lombard had been married to William Powell, and was married to Clark Gable.  Both men were shattered.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Tom Mix Signs With Fox -- January 14, 2017

Moving Picture World, 13-January-1917

Tom Mix was the biggest cowboy star in silent movies. He and his horse Tony had many adventures in Selig Polyscope Company and later Fox films.This item from the 13-January-1917 Moving Picture World announces his signing with Fox.  "He will produce for Fox the same type of western features which made him so popular with Selig Company."  Leading lady Victoria Forde was his fourth wife. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

DVD: Accidentally Preserved, Volume 4 -- January 10, 2017



They're at it again.  Famous film accompanist Ben Model has produced a fourth volume of the Accidentally Preserved series.  This time, Model dug into his collection of old 9.5mm prints, which were made for the home rental or purchase market. Most of the movies in this collection only exist in old home use prints.  Naturally he also created the musical scores.  Volumes 1, 2 and 3 of Accidentally Preserved used 16mm prints.

The DVD begins with a brief text introduction to 9.5mm films.  Pathé introduced the format in 1922.  The films, printed on safety stock, were eventually distributed across Europe, in the UK and the United States.  16mm was more popular in the US.  Pathé subsidiaries continued to sell and rent 9.5mm films until around 1960.


The US subsidiary was called Pathex.

The first movie in the set was "Nonsense," a 1920 Mermaid Comdies two-reeler, directed by Jack White and released by Educational.  It starred Jimmie Adams and Sid Smith as two farmhands who competed for the attention of Marvel Rea, the beautiful niece of the farmer.  The unidentified bad guy calls her "Mary Hickford" in one intertitle.  There was little plot, but there were lots of gags and it moved right along.

Exhibitors Herald, 07-May-1921
This movie was released in both two and one-reel versions in 9.5mm.

The Ninety and Nine was a 1922 Vitagraph feature based on the popular 1902 melodrama by Ramsay Morris.  The greatly abridged 9.5mm version dashes through bits of the story to get to the huge forest fire scene.  Warner Baxter is the hero and Colleen Moore with long hair is the leading lady.  The town simpleton looks like Harpo Marx.

The locomotive used to make the dash through the fire has the railroad name on the side of the cab painted over and the number of the locomotive, 1379, is mostly obscured.  The locomotive should have been numbered 99.

Exhibitors Herald, 19-May-1923
The Ninety and Nine was a major production and exhibitors used a variety of tricks to promote it, including an automobile disguised as a locomotive.

Bobby Ray starred in "Meet Father," an Arrow film, in 1924.  It also stars Josephine the Monkey from The Navigator and Pete the Dog from Our Gang.  Bobby loves a girl whose father wants her to marry a tough boxer.  Bobby is absent-minded and not tough.  He carefully studies a book on fighting.  Bobby uses his little car to chase the boxer over a famous cliff in the Pacific Pallisades.

"The Wages of Tin" is a 1925 Hal Roach two-reel comedy starring Glenn Tryon.  The 9.5mm version is one reel.  Glenn reads a book on how to operate an automobile.  He rents a Model T Ford to impress Blanche Mehaffy.  Things don't go well.  The intertitles must be from a UK version.  "That'll be another two quid."  "I say, can I write you a cheque?"

Mae Marsh stars in a two-reel cut-down of a Vitagraph feature, Tides of Passion.  Her husband is a louse.  He ships out for India and forgets her.  He fools around with other women and falls overboard on the way back.  He gets the woman who rescues him, Laska Winter or Winter Blossom, pregnant.  He dies.  Mae Marsh tries to help with the baby, but the mother gets jealous.  There is a nice rescue from the rocks when she tries to commit suicide.  It goes by quickly.

Photoplay, July, 1925
Photoplay said the feature version was slow.  The abridgement may have been an improvement.

"A Man's Size Pet" starred cowboys Ben Corbett and Pee Wee Holmes as a pair of rivals who played tit for tat in the west.  There is a bear and a guy in a bear suit.  Leading lady Dorothy Kitchen, also known as Nancy Drexel, was really cute.

Pathescope 9.5mm Sound, 1956-7
This movie was listed in the Pathescope 1956-1957 catalogue.

"Walter's Paying Policy" was a 1926 British short starring Walter Forde, who had elements of Harold Lloyd in his style.  Walter and his rival worked for Busy Bee Insurance (You Won't Get Stung) and needed to sell a policy to the owner of a famous vase to get a big promotion.  It was funny.

The Fleischer Brothers, known for their animated cartoons, also made live action movies, like the Carrie of the Chorus series, in the 1920s.  "Morning, Judge" starred former chorus girl Peggy Shaw as a chorus girl who gets involved in problem with small-town prudes.  It was cute.

Moving Picture World, 04-September-1926

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Peggy Shaw was also cute.

Ben Model's music was great.

I highly recommend the dvd.  

Volume One:
http://bigvriotsquad.blogspot.com/2014/01/dvd-accidentally-preserved-january-27.html

Volume Two:
http://bigvriotsquad.blogspot.com/2014/03/dvd-accidentally-preserved-volume-2.html

Volume Three:
http://bigvriotsquad.blogspot.com/2016/01/dvd-accidentally-preserved-volume-3.html







Sunday, January 8, 2017

Wife Tamers -- December 8, 2017


Film Daily, 22-March-1926

Lionel Barrymore and producer Hal Roach were going through a hard patch when Roach featured Barrymore with comic Clyde Cook in "Wife Tamers" with Gertrude Astor as Barrymore's wife.

A note at the bottom of this ad says that it is a cornerblock provided to theaters to use in newspaper advertising.

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