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!


Mr. Door Tree said...


Good to read your viewing some films you haven't seen before! As for Richard Barthelmess he is a particular favorite, even more so as time goes by! Tol'able David was an early one I saw down at Yale in the mid-60's and is on the must see list! But what comes first to mind with this film is that it's the film that is playing at the theatre in The Tingler where the spinal fiend is unleashed! Surprising that IMDB doesn't note this!

Artman2112 said...

god its been so long since i seed the Tingler, i'll sure notice it now though! thanks for the info Mr Tree! i really did enjoy the hell out of that film. There's something extra special about viewing a "new" silent film to me. and yeah I have got to start chipping away at my back log of unseen films or i will die before i make a dent in it! It's not like I have to twist my own arm much, and I think you know once i get into the groove of something i usually get a bit obsessive!
Tonnight i watched that Liam Neeson film "Taken" which was prety damn awesome, very fast moving, very edgy, a well made picture on all counts! So we go from "Tol'able David" to "Taken", haw!

Elsie said...

My film-viewing is seriously lacking as of late. It's a bit sad. But you've got a good idea there, trying to watch something new on a regular basis.

...And, of course, I love Mr. Barthelmess, too. :)