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!