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 small tribute to a fine actor...
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!
Essential Richard Barthelmess:
"Heroes for Sale" - 1933
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!