Tag Archives: Silent film

What a character!!

One of the original comedians from the silent film era, other than the more commonly known Chaplin and Keaton comedies…..there was Ben Turpin!

First of all, the cross-eyed comedian of silent days was not born that way. Supposedly his right eye slipped out of alignment while playing the role of the similarly afflicted Happy Hooligan in vaudeville and it never adjusted. Ironically, it was this disability that would enhance his comic value and make him a top name.

Ben Turpin was born in New Orleans in 1869, the son of a French-born confectionery store owner. When 7 years old, his father moved to New York’s lower East Side. A wanderlust fellow by nature, Turpin lived the life of a hobo in his early adult years. He started up his career by chance while bumming in Chicago where he drew laughs at parties. An ad in a newspaper looking for comedy acts caught his eye and he successfully booked shows along with a partner. Going solo, he performed on the burlesque circuit as well as under circus tents and invariably entertained his audiences by doing tricks, vigorous pratfalls and, of course, crossing his eyes. One of his more familiar sight gags was a backwards tumble he called the “108.” He happened upon the Happy Hooligan persona while playing on the road and kept the hapless character as part of routine for 17 years.

Do you have a favorite film by him?


Hollywood Heavyweight – William Powell

Happy Birthday to William Powell (July 29, 1892-March 5, 1984).

Happy Birthday to William Powell (July 29, 1892-March 5, 1984).

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001635/

Personal Quotes

[when asked how he kept so slim] “I highly recommend worrying. It’s much more effective than dieting.”

[speaking in 1929] “Unfortunately, or perhaps it is fortunate that I have always been forced to stand on my acting ability. I haven’t a personality such as Jack Gilbert’s, for instance, that attracts women and makes them like me for myself. When I am on the screen I must make them forget me entirely and think only of my acting.”

My friends have stood by me marvelously in the ups and downs of my career. I don’t believe there is anything more worthwhile in life than friendship. Friendship is a far better thing than love, as it is commonly accepted.

I do not hold that because the author did a bad job of writing the player need trump it with the same kind of acting. When I go into a picture I have only one character to look after. If the author didn’t do him justice, I try to add whatever the creator of the part overlooked.

I have never gone into a picture without first studying my characterization from all angles. I make a study of the fellow’s life and try to learn everything about him, including the conditions under which he came into this world, his parentage, his environment, his social status, and the things in which he is interested. Then I attempt to get his mental attitude as much as possible.

There is more money in being liked by an audience than in being disliked by it. The biggest thing about movie audiences is the sympathy they give characters on the screen. But the art of acting and the talent of selecting what one will act are divorced qualities.


What to do on Saturday? Silent film under the stars? YES!

Just a reminder that  Silent & Classic Movie Nights continues this Saturday with the 1915 film version of Alice In Wonderland. Bring the whole family and watch the film under the stars. Gates open at 7:30.

“The 1915 film version of Alice In Wonderland will be screened on Saturday, July 27. This is the third film adaption of the Lewis Carroll classic novel. For admirers of the book, this film version is significant for portraying the ‘Father William’ poem in its entirety and it includes an image of John Tenniel’s illustration of Father William doing his back-somersault at the front door. Tenniel was the artist who illustrated Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

http://heritagesquare.org/about/press/press-release/2013-silent-and-classic-movie-nights-to-feature-early-film-adaptations-of-childrens-literary-classics

HeritageSquareMuseum is a living history museum dedicated to telling the story of Los Angeles like no place else. The Museum is regularly open for tours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $10/adults, $8/seniors, $5/children ages 6-12.  Heritage Square is located at 3800 Homer Street, off the 110 Arroyo Seco Parkway (110/Pasadena Freeway) at Avenue 43. For further information, visit our website at www.heritagesquare.org or like us at our Facebook page.

Alice in Wonderland 1915 with live music - dir. WW Young/ 3


Movie review – A true classic, I give you….Grand Hotel (1932)

First let me wow you with the cast: Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, John Barrymore.  Let me allow you to soak in this greatness.

Joan…*sigh*

Greta….*sigh*

and John…*swoons*

Basically this movie is about  a group of very different individuals staying at a luxurious hotel in Berlin deal with each of their respective dramas. John, who is the resident hotel thief and gambler, has a brief flirtation with Joan who is at the hotel on business as a stenographer, only to quickly fall head over heals in love with Greta, a world famous ballerina.  Joan gives a great performance, her eyes and smile dazzle you, Greta, with her silent film background, is very passionate and communicates so much about her character just in facial expressions and body language.  You really get a feel her anguish.  I loved Johns character because he was devilishly handsome and flirtatious.  He was also a gentleman and played this diverse part well.

This is a great look into luxury travel in the past, and the different characters you would come in contact with during your travel adventures.  As I like to say, a must see!!

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0022958/

I hope you take my word for it and give it a try!!


Heritage Square presents: Silent and Classic Movie Nights series

Sponsored by Vidéothèque, admission to the Silent and Classic Movie Nights is free for Museum Members and a $10 donation for the General Public. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. for picnics with the show starting each Saturday after 8:00 p.m. These special screenings will take place on the lawn near the Palms Depot. Guests are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets to sit on, a small picnic to eat before the movies begin, and warm clothing. Beverages and snacks will be available with suggested donation. For more information about the program and featured movies, call the museum offices from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at (323) 225-2700.


Hollywood Vamps & Vixens in the 1930’s – Pomona, CA

This looks really interesting! Check it out!!

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What a gem I’ve found Vintage Movie Lovers!!!

I am always on the hunt for locations that play classic films like the Egyptian Theater and the Silent Film Cinema on Fairfax, but this was unknown to be until about five minutes ago. I give you….. Old Town Music Hall.  Located at  140 Richmond Street, El Segundo, CA 90245  (310) 322-2592.

Since 1968, Old Town Music Hall has been showing vintage silent and sound films, and presenting live concerts by some of the world’s finest performers of jazz, ragtime, and popular music from the past.

Silent films are accompanied by the Mighty Wurlitzer, a massive 1925 wind-powered pipe organ that has been meticulously preserved so that silent classics can be experienced with live musical accompaniment, just as they did when they were first shown.  It’s something you really have to see and hear to believe.

Old Town Music Hall is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  Your generous support enables us to preserve the golden era of feature film and music.

This weekend is Dinner and a Movie Night.  They are showing Wings, with Clara Bow.

Please visit the site to see details.http://www.oldtownmusichall.org/index.html

I can’t wait to check this place out and have already told my husband to add this on our list of “must do’s”.

If you go, please let me know here how it went!  Have fun!!


Happy Birthday Charles Chaplin

Happy Birthday Charles Chaplin

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Where does one begin when trying to sum up Charlie Chaplin’s career?

Sir Charles Spencer “Charlie” Chaplin was born on this day, April 16, 1889 in London, England.

Charlie Chaplin, considered (and for good reason) to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood and film.  Charlie Chaplin was an actor, comedian, director, producer, writer, musician and music composer whose work in motion pictures spanned from 1914 until 1967.

He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular “Little Tramp” character; the man with the toothbrush mustache, bowler hat, bamboo cane, and a funny walk.

Here is an interesting trivia fact that I had no clue about: “On March 3, 1978, his dead body was stolen from the Corsier-Sur-Vevey cemetery. It took until 18 May when the police found it.” – OH MY  I know silent films aren’t for everyone but if you ever want to give it a shot, you will not be let down with Mr. Chaplin.  He is a great comedian who can make you laugh without saying a word, and that’s saying something.

Top 5 Charlie Chaplin movies I suggest:

1: The Great Dictator (1940)

2: The Gold Rush (1925)

3: The Circus (1928)

4: The Kid (1921)

5: Modern Times (1936)

If you are in the Los Angeles area, I would suggest looking up the Egyptian Theatre for silent film screenings as I have seen first hand Chaplin films on original 8mm along with commentary.  It was a fabulous experience and definitely a great way to view the classics!