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newbie to silent films


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#1 Natalie Webb

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 11:15 PM

I admit it...I am a newbie to silent films....until tcm all the movies I've seen are talkies ...except nosferatu which I saw at college.

It says something about the movies/tv today when I get into the story of a silent (a Norma Shearer comedy). My daughter and I got into Baby Peggy's Captain January, which I happen to prefer over the Shirley Temple remake. (We also saw the Little Senorita one)

I am looking forward to discovering many more silent gems.

Thank you TCM for introducing me to this genre...

how about some Alla Nazimova.... I'm curious about her.

 

Nazimova was quite interesting. She was the godmother of Nancy Reagan and she was the aunt of Val Lewton (producer, screenwriter, author). Aside from that, she had a remarkable film career and a noteworthy personal life. One thing about her that I find so wonderful, is her ability to convincingly play characters much younger than herself. Born in 1879, she was older than most other actresses playing heroes and romantic leads in the 1920s, but you'd never know by watching her. In Camille (1921) Alla played the main character, Marguerite, at age 42. Her co-star and romantic interest was only 26. I had no idea the first time I saw the movie, even now I can hardly tell. She even pulled of playing a young girl in Salome. There are many rumors about what went on at her home, "The Garden of Alla"; because I cannot definitely say that any of the stories are more than simple rumors, I won't comment on that, I don't have enough information or evidence to form an intelligent opinion worth sharing. However, I do encourage you to research it a little, there are some interesting tales, you can decide for yourself what you believe. Her personal life was unique and it makes for a very interesting study.

I know this post is a few years late, but if you haven't already seen her movie Camille (1921) I recommend it! It includes Rudolph Valentino as Armand, a dramatic performance from my favorite actor! (this is the first movie I saw him in!) I think it's fun to watch. I had a really hard time paying attention to Salome, I have tried so many times to sit down and watch it, but it doesn't hold my attention and I end up turning it off. I have the feeling that if I could just keep watching until the very end, I'd get drawn into the story, but so far I haven't been able to do it. (Not Nazimova's fault though, she acts very well in it, I think its just the slow progressing storyline.) 

Not sure if you will read this since it has been a few years since your last post, but if you do, I hope this helps a little.  :)

~Natalie



#2 gagman66

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:56 AM

Welcome to the wonderful world of Silent film. It is an endlessly fascinating and surprising journey. Prepare yourself for an amazing ride.

Unless you saw NOSFERATU in a restored print you probably were not impressed. The film wasn't fully restored by the Murnau Foundation until 2006, and that version was not available until 2008. TCM has yet to run the beautiful 2006 Restoration, but it is on DVD from Kino in the States, and from Eureka in the U. K. Quite a difference.

Alas, CAPTAIN JANUARY survives in rather choppy condition today. Milestone tryed to reconstruct the film from several incomplete print sources. Mostly 35 Millimeter, but some 16 Millimeter. But it should not be taken as representative of what audiences originally saw back in 1924.

Silent Film has been my passion since I was Nine or 10 years old, back in the 70's, watching Tom Mix and William S. Hart Western's. My interest soon expanded the Silent comedies. To Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd. Later to Pickford and Fairbanks. Since that time I have discovered hundreds of films and dozens of great Stars. The late Silent period from 1924 to 1929 was remarkable. My favorite film is King Vidor's THE BIG PARADE (MGM, 1925) Starring John Gilbert, and Renee Adoree. The highest grossing movie of the 1920's.

My favorite Silent film actresses are probably Colleen Moore and Renee Adoree. But I love Mary Pickford, Marion Davies, Corinne Griffith, Constance Talmadge, Lillian Gish, Pola Negri, Vilma Banky, Jetta Goudal, Dolores Del Rio, Janet Gaynor, Norma Shearer, and numerous others.

For Male Stars, Harold Lloyd, Chaplin, Keaton, probably Lon Chaney, John Gilbert, Fairbanks, Ronald Colman (Yes, he was a very Big Silent Star), Ramon Novarro, Richard Barthelmess. Etc..

Another of my favorite Silents is Ernst Lubitsch THE STUDENT PRINCE IN OLD HEIDELBERG (1927) which is airing during the Ernst Lubitsch Friday;s this month. It might be one tomorrow. I haven't looked at the schedule. Truly a masterpiece of film making.

#3 tovachanah

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:47 PM

I admit it...I am a newbie to silent films....until tcm all the movies I've seen are talkies ...except nosferatu which I saw at college.

It says something about the movies/tv today when I get into the story of a silent (a Norma Shearer comedy). My daughter and I got into Baby Peggy's Captain January, which I happen to prefer over the Shirley Temple remake. (We also saw the Little Senorita one)

I am looking forward to discovering many more silent gems.

Thank you TCM for introducing me to this genre...

how about some Alla Nazimova.... I'm curious about her.




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