Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Quickie with Clara Bow...

Found a ton of Clara Bow pics on the net tonight. This one from "My Lady of Whims" gives a better view of the costume Clara "wears" for the masquerade party scene.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Arrow Studios wardrobe department for a job well-done!

Monday, February 22, 2010

More Clara Bow...

This weekend I watched 2 more Clara Bow silents I had never seen before and so I will gladly use that as an excuse to plaster her all over my blog again!

Last night I watched "My Lady of Whims" a film she did on loan out to Arrow Studio in 1925, just one of 14 films she made in that year alone! Her leading man was Donald Keith who would also star with her in "The Plastic Age". The film is as almost totally devoid of anything resembling a plot or story and leading man Keith is as bland as bland bland bland, but Clara is so dazzlingly gorgeous and once again literally bouncing off the walls with youthful energy that who even cares about all that other stuff! I've always loved this pic of her and never knew where it was from, but it's the costume party scene, which is indeed the high point of the picture! This same pic appears on the cover of a new Peter Kobel book on silent movies I just recently got called, appropriately enough, "Silent Movies".

"If Clara Bow ever makes the picture she can make, then you will see how great screen acting can be". - Joseph Von Sternberg

Clara was under contract to B.P. Schulberg at that time and was getting $750 a week plus he provided her wardrobe, but he would loan her out to other studios for over $3,000 a week! He would continue to exploit Clara right until the end of her days at Paramount.

"You couldnt steal a scene from Clara Bow. Nobody could. She doesnt 'mug' the camera, never that. She just naturally walks away with every scene she's in. She's marvelous. She has everything". - Gary Cooper

The other film I watched was "Free to Love", another from 1925 and yet another teaming her with bland Donald Keith (I cant get away from that guy!) The film was pretty much a straight drama with some seedy underworld types and Clara did get to play a different woman than her usual flapper character so it was fun to see that but the film as a whole is pretty shoddy. Apparently it was shot in 2 weeks and believe me it showed.

"A temperment that responded like a great violin. Touch her and she answered with genius" - Victor Fleming

Clara's biggest movie of 1925 was the aforementioned "The Plastic Age" and the success of that film was what got her and Schulberg (and that blasted Donald Keith!) over to Paramount where within the next 2 years she would become the biggest box office star in Hollywood. She was 22 years old at the time!

"She was the biggest star, the biggest moneymaker in Hollywood - above Garbo, above them all. I was fascinated with her". - Louise Brooks

I started thumbing through David Stenn's bio of Clara, "Runnin' Wild", about a week ago but ended up starting at the beginning and reading the whole thing for a second time. I'm about half through it now. Good book, a fascinating and ultimately, sad story of an enormously gifted, wholly unpretentious but scared little girl who just wanted to be loved.

"She could cry at the drop of a hat and you'd believe her!
A beautiful actress, just beautiful" - prop man William Kaplan

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Diary of a Stripper....part I

Bet my hit counter goes way up tonight....

My asshole aunt gave me this neat old desk when she moved a few months back. She bought it from a used furniture store and slapped a coat of white latex paint on it as soon as she got it home. OK rule number one- latex paint is NOT the proper finishing material for furniture... it NEVER fully dries and even if you do a good prep job any objects left on it for any appreciable amount of time will either stick to it or lift the paint when you pick them up!

She also decided to put different pulls on the drawers so she filled in the original holes with wood putty and drilled new ones in the center so she could install cheap plastic Walmart pulls in place of the nice original brass ones! Genius!

Despite the mess she made with the paint and the pulls I felt the desk was worth saving and after peeling some paint away I was convinced it was made of walnut, one of my favorite woods! I'm sure you can imagine my excitement!

Let the stripping begin! Woo hoo, Go Baby Go!!!!

The chemical stripper slop smells god awful but it sure works good! Took the old varnish off underneath the paint too.

Getting there! For the most part the entire desk is in very solid shape. They made shit to last back in them there days!

I didn't use chemical stripper on the sides and tried out my cabinet scraper instead. It did a much less messy job but I still have to use the chemical to get the rest of the old varnish off. So in the end I'll still have to make a mess *sigh*

Imagine covering this beautiful walnut desktop with white paint!
"da horror.....da horror...."

The drawers are no fun because she goobered so many paint drips down the sides and inside them, it took a lot of scraping and sanding but in the end they clean up pretty nice! I've decided to make my own pulls so all the holes will get covered up. I'll make'em out of black walnut just like the ones I did for my bathroom which should make a nice contrast with the regular walnut.
To be continued...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Clara Bow!

Tonight I watched "Hula", a fun little Clara Bow silent from 1927 directed by Victor Fleming that I had never seen before.

Clara, as "Hula Calhoun", was the whole show and her co-stars could have been cardboard cutouts and it wouldnt have made much difference! Forget plot or story (apparently the writers did!) and just sit back and enjoy 63 minutes of the "It" girl bouncing off the walls, that's whatI did! Clara's first scene had her bathing nude in a river but the highlight was her doing a sexy Hula dance...hard to say if it was a "Charleston-ized" Hula or "Hula-ized" Charleston but it makes no difference, Clara pulled it off with style and vigor....yeah, lots of vigor!

The print on the DVD I have is pretty shabby but so far as I know it's the only one available right now. I feel lucky that it's available at all really! By the end of 1927 Clara had made over 35 films in 5 years and many are lost. Even worse is NONE of her movies from 1928 exist, which sadly includes her only color film "Red Hair". The pic above is a net find.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

A few new pics of my true love *sigh*

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More Richard Barthelmess...

I'm trying to make it a goal to watch 1 or 2 films a week that I've never seen before. I figure to blog about the ones I feel strong enough about to make the effort!

Last night I watched "Tol'able David" starring Richard Barthelmess.

"Tol'able David" was directed by the great Henry King in 1921. King later directed films like "Jesse James", "The Black Swan" and "Captain from Castille" with Tyrone Power, as well as 3 awesome Gregory Peck films "Twelve O'Clock High", "The Gunfighter" and "The Bravados". Henry King made a lot of money for 20th Century Fox studio throughout the 40's and 50's and was certainly one of Darryl F Zanuck's "Golden Boys"! "Tol'able David" was all shot on location in Virginia and King got an incredibly eboulient and physically believable performance from 26 year-old Richard Barthelmess as the young David. Some of it is quite hilarious and Richard is literally bouncing all over the place with youthful energy! (so was his dog!) The whole film paints a very vivid portrait of that period of Americana.

The film takes a dark turn when 3 extremely nasty hillbilly dudes (one of them played to the hilt by the always excellent Ernest Torrence) enter the scene and make life for David, his family and his friends quite unpleasant. This shot is from the climactic brawl between Richard Barthelmess and Ernest Torrence and it really is incredibly intense!! I dont want to give away any more plot details so I'll just say that this film gets added to my "Essential Richard Barthelmess" list and I recommend it highly to anyone who enjoys his work, silent films or just a damn good movie in general!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Rant and a List...

OK, some serious net-turd reposted an entire year of my blog at his own without even giving me credit or posting a link back to the original source! At first I was really pissed off, but after I thought about it, for the most part I dont really care. I mean I am scanning stuff from books and other things I have around here but hey, I am the one taking the time to scan this shit, the least you can do is give me some credit knucklehead!! He's doing this to others as well but it looks like for the most part Blogspot does get involved in these types of problems.
However, what I do NOT take kindly to is my own artwork being reposted elsewhere without having the courtesy to even mention my name, so I am most likely going to make a second "invite only" blog just for my artwork.
OK rant over, now for the fun! Juliette over at "Some Parade" did up a "Centuries worth of Favorites" list and I thought I'd have fun doing the same. Well it turned out to be a real chore actually so thank you Juliette! Heheheh, but seriously, it was fun and of course not being someone who likes rules I made my list 105 films that I think are great or just enjoy the hell out of or both.

The 1920-s

1. Sherlock jr. (1924)
2. Metropolis (1927)
3. Flesh and the Devil (1926)
4. Wings (1927)
5. Pandora’s Box (1929)
6. Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)

The 1930's

7. A Free Soul (1931)
8. The Public Enemy (1931)
9. Little Caesar (1931)
10. Red Dust (1932)
11. Kongo (1932)
12. Scarface (1932)
13. I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
14. Grand Hotel (1932)
15. Footlight Parade (1933)
16. King Kong (1933)
17. Twentieth Century (1934)
18. The 39 Steps (1935)
19. Captain Blood (1935)
20. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
21. Dodsworth (1936)
22. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
23. Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
24. Stagecoach (1939)

The 1940's

25. Torrid Zone (1940)
26. Foreign Correspondent (1940)
27. Little Foxes (1941)
28. High Sierra (1941)
29. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
30. Gentleman Jim (1942)
31. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
32. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
33. Sahara (1943)
34. To Have and Have Not (1944)
35. Pride of the Marines (1945)
36. Notorious (1946)
37. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
38. Humoresque (1946)
39. Out of the Past (1947)
40. The Snake Pit (1948)
41. Force of Evil (1948)
42. Red River (1948)
43. Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948)
44. The Fountainhead (1949)
45. White Heat (1949)
46. Champion (1949)

The 1950's

47. Caged (1950)
48. All About Eve (1950)
49. Detective Story (1951)
50. Strangers on a Train (1951)
51. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
52. Shane (1953)
53. The Big Heat (1953)
54. Pickup on South Street (1953)
55. On the Waterfront (1954)
56. The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
57. Rear Window (1954)
58. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
59. The Searchers (1956)
60. Lust for Life (1956)
61. Paths of Glory (1957)
62. Vertigo (1958)
63. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
64. Rio Bravo (1959)
65. North by Northwest (1959)

The 1960's

66. Psycho (1960)
67. Spartacus (1960)
68. One, Two, Three (1961)
69. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (1962)
70. Lonely are the Brave (1962)
71. Shock Corridor (1963)
72. The Great Escape (1963)
73. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
74. For a few Dollars More (1965)
75. The Good the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
76. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
77. The Wild Bunch (1969)

The 1970's

78. The Getaway (1972)
79. High Plains Drifter (1973)
80. Taxi Driver (1976)
81. Star Wars (1977)
82. The Deer Hunter (1978)

The 1980's

83. Raging Bull (1980)
84. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
85. The Road Warrior (1981)
86. Star Trek II (1982)
87. Return of the Jedi (1983)
88. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
89. Aliens (1986)
90. The Abyss (1989)

The 1990's

91. Reservoir Dogs (1991)
92. T-2 (1991)
93. Goodfellas (1991)
94. Unforgiven (1992)
95. The Piano (1993)
96. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
97. Leon a.k.a. The Professional (1994)
98. Pulp Fiction (1994)
99. Heat (1995)

The 2,000's

100. Pitch Black (2000)
101. Kill Bill 1&2 (2003-2004)
102. Spiderman II (2004)
103. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
104. 300 (2006)
105. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

No doubt I left out some important ones that I'll think of later and go DOH!

Now back to our regularly scheduled nonsense...

Monday, February 8, 2010

New Stuff...

Vintage late 1920's Clara Bow and Anita Page 5x7's

Gotta love that look on her face! Most vintage Clara Bow stuff is pretty expensive but this closed out at only $11! If only that signature was real *sigh*

This is penciled in on the back with someone's name and a date of 1929. This auction closed out at a whopping $.99!
Now to get some appropriate vintage frames to display them in!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Richard Barthelmess...

A small tribute to a fine actor...

Richard Barthelmess... certainly not a household name these days but in his heyday during the silent period he was a huge star. Born in 1895, after graduating from Trinity College in Hartford CT. , he made his film debut in 1916.

A few years later he went to work for D.W. Griffith. His first important role was "The Yellow Man" in Griffith's 1919 silent masterpiece "Broken Blossoms". He gave a beautifully sensitive performance in that film and was now well on his way to super-stardom. I've only seen 3 Griffith pictures so far but this one is my fave.

Barthelmess flanked by the Gish sisters.... Lilian once said he had "The most beautiful face of any man who ever went before the cameras". He and Lilian were to star in another Griffith masterpiece in 1920. . .

A shot from the intense climax of Griffith's "Way Down East". That HAD to be a tough film to make for all involved! I think anyone who's seen it will agree, no method actor of today has ANYTHING on Lillian Gish!

When Barthelemess moved into the sound era he played tougher, more hard edged characters. He starred in Howard Hawks' first talking film "Dawn Patrol", a.k.a. "Flight Commander", a first-rate WWI picture that was remade almost scene-for-scene with Errol Flynn in 1938. In fact some of the arial battle footage from Hawks' film was reused for the Flynn version. The scene above is with co-star Neil Hamilton, best known for his much later role as Commissioner Gordon on the Batman TV series.

A scene from 1929's "Drag", an early talkie directed by Frank Lloyd. I dont even know if this film exists anymore. Barthelmess made another film with Howard Hawks in 1939, the classic "Only Angels Have Wings" with Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth and Thomas Mitchell. I could not find a single picture of Richard Barthelmess from that film in any of my books!

One of his better films of the talkie era, 1932's "Cabin in the Cotton" directed by Michael Curtiz and co-starring Bette Davis. This was an important film for Bette as it was her first good sexy-bitch role and of course she played it with gusto! Bette said one of her most famous lines in that one: "Ah'd like ta kiss ya but ah jes washed mah hayah". "Cabin in the Cotton" is pure Warner Bros entertainment...a fast moving, social drama with a great cast. Well-worth a look if you havent seen it already! Ditto for the 2 films Barthelmess made with William Wellman in 1933, "Central Airport" and "Heroes for Sale"

Richard got 2 oscar nominations during the silent era, one for "The Patent Leather Kid" in 1927 and another for "The Noose" in 1928. He only made 3 films in the early 1940's and then left Hollywood, served a brief stint in the Navy reserve during the war and then retired all together living the rest of his years off of his real-estate investments until his death in 1963.

Essential Richard Barthelmess:

"Broken Blossoms" - 1919
"Way Down East" - 1920
"Dawn Patrol" - 1930
"Cabin in the Cotton" - 1932
"Central Airport" - 1933
"Heroes for Sale" - 1933
"Only Angles Have Wings" - 1939
"The Spoilers" - 1942

Several of his early talking films have just been released by Warner Home video but I have yet to see some of them so I cant say if they are "essential" Richard Barthelmess or not. I'm looking forward to seeing them regardless!