scsu1975

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  1. You know, I had some joke titles all lined up, until I realized this day was about breast cancer awareness. So for once I'll keep my wisecracks to myself. Instead, in the future, I would suggest TCM just spotlight some serious films on the subject, or showcase some actresses who've had the disease.
  2. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    From October 12-15, 1919, the Poli ran Fires of Faith, starring Eugene O’Brien as Harry Hammond and Catherine Calvert as Elizabeth Blake. The film was released on August 3, 1919, at between five and six reels, and is presumed lost. Plot: Elizabeth Blake, a foundling, grows up on a farm. She has her young life ruined by an unscrupulous landlord’s agent. She runs away to the city, where she is rescued by the Salvation Army. Henry Hammond is engaged to Agnes Traverse. He sits in at a meeting of the Salvation Army, but leaves early because of disinterest. He waits outside for Agnes and her mother, who have also attended. He sees a woman (Elizabeth) being accosted by thugs and goes to her rescue. But they slug him and shanghai him aboard a steamer for France. When the United States enters the war, Elizabeth departs for France as a member of the Salvation Army. Luke Barlow, a farmhand who knew and loved Elizabeth when she was younger, enlists and follows Elizabeth as soon as he can. Meanwhile, Harry has recovered at a Salvation Army station in the war zone, and decides to enter the flying corps. Agnes has no idea if her fiancé is dead or alive. Agnes signs on to the Salvation Army after her mother dies. When Harry is blinded by an explosion, he is placed in a hospital where Elizabeth works. Elizabeth recognizes Harry as the man who tried to save her, and falls in love with him. But she tells Harry nothing. During a German attack, Harry is left behind in the cellar of an old chateau, along with Elizabeth, Harry, and Luke Barlow. With the help of a little boy and an old Frenchman, they hold out against the German advance until the Americans and French rescue them. Harry’s sight is restored and he marries Agnes. Elizabeth marries Luke, never letting anyone know of her love for Harry. The film received good reviews. Motion Picture World wrote “Less a propaganda picture than a piece of story-telling that will compare favorably with any of the screen tales of the great conflict, “Fires of Faith” will interest and entertain regardless of creed.” Exhibitor’s Herald wrote “Were the war still in progress it would be difficult to select a motion picture attraction of greater box office promise than “Fires of Faith.” The conflict over, there is still reason to believe that it will fare much better than the majority of those belated publications which have that event as an important item of their make-up.” Director Edward Jose received a letter of commendation from Commander Evangeline Booth of the Salvation Army. Booth called the film “a powerful and gripping narrative, rich in philosophy, history, and inspiration.” Booth appeared as herself in several scenes. To film some realistic war scenes, an airplane combat was staged, in which one plane was shot down (intentionally). In addition, with the help of actual soldiers, a barrage was laid down. After the film’s release, Charles Kenmore Ulrich penned the novel Fires of Faith, based upon the screenplay. To exploit the film and novel, Gimbel’s turned over one of their large display windows in New York City to showcase 250 copies of the book, arranged in pyramids. A ballad entitled “Fires of Faith” was written for the film. Manager C. E. Robbins, of the Strand Theatre in Worcester, MA, arranged for a window display at Sherer’s, the leading department store in Worcester. The display, pictured below, featured phonograph records and sheet music for the song, along with a life-sized model of a Salvation Army girl. Manager John Lamp, of Proctor’s Theatre in Mount Vernon, NY, hooked up with Woolworth’s for a window display (second photo below). He also made a deal with a local bakery to have them cook an extra supply of doughnuts every day, and place them in his theatre window. Any unused doughnuts were given away free in the lobby, at the end of the day. Morris Ryskind (who later wrote the Marx Brothers’ classic A Night at the Opera) was employed by Famous Players to “put the film over.” When it played at the Stratford Theatre in Poughkeepsie, NY, Ryskind persuaded the manager of a drugstore to create a drink called “Fires of Faith,” to be served with a doughnut. A rival drugstore countered with a “Catherine Calvert” combination. Ryskind then convinced all the bakeries to turn out a “Fires of Faith” doughnut. In Salvation Army booths, he posted a sign reading “Salvation Army doughnuts made according to the recipe of Catherine Calvert, who appears in ‘Fires of Faith,’ now showing at the Stratford.” Finally, all the taxis in down carried a sign which read “Let me take you to see ‘Fires of Faith’ at the Stratford.”
  3. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    From October 9-11, 1919, the Poli ran Strictly Confidential, a farce starring Madge Kennedy as Fanny O’Gorman Bantock. The film’s release date is uncertain, but it was five reels. Most of the film is presumed lost; the Library of Congress has one reel. Advertising line: Sh-h-h Girls! Keep it Strictly Confidential! If your relatives are all servants DON’T tell your sweethearts! You may spoil your chance of getting married. Sh-h-h- keep it Strictly Confidential! Plot: A young orphan comes to a Lord’s castle, but the rigid lifestyle placed upon her by the servants forces her to run away. Eventually, she becomes a stage actress. She meets an artist and falls in love. She is unaware that he is Lord Bantock, from whose home she had escaped. They get married and return to the castle. The new Lady Bantock discovers that the servants are all her relatives. The servants attempt to train their relative in the duties of being a “lady.” The old butler, who is actually her uncle, tries to curb her happy spirit. Lady Bantock complicates things further by not revealing to her husband the truth about his servants. Eventually she confesses to her husband, and they live happily ever after. The film was based on a story entitled “Fanny and the Servant Problem,” written by Jerome K. Jerome, which was then turned into a stage production entitled “The New Lady Bantock,” and the alternate title “the Rainbow Girl.” Motion Picture News praised Kennedy’s performance, noting that “never has she conveyed her strong sense of humor, her excellent pantomime to splendidly.” The magazine also kind words for Herbert Standing (father of Sir Guy Standing), writing “he plays the butler with an admirable spirit of make-believe.” John Bowers, who portrayed Lord Bantock, was a matinee idol, and, at one time, the highest paid actor in film. But by the beginning of the sound era, he was in his mid-40s and parts were scarce. In November of 1936, a desperate Bowers approached director Henry Hathaway, who was directing a picture on Catalina Island. “I’ve got to have a job,” said Bowers. Hathaway explained that he was only filming exterior shots and wasn’t using many actors. But Bowers pressed for a role, saying “I know I could handle it.” Hathaway told Bowers to phone the studio after he returned to the mainland. “This is the last time I’ll ask for a job,” said Bowers. Bowers then had dinner with some members of the film crew, who paid his fare back to the mainland. “Well, this is the last time you’ll ever see me,” he informed the crew. “You’ll have a real life sea picture. I’m going to jump overboard.” The following day, Bowers rented a small sailboat at Santa Monica. A few days later, his sister reported he was missing. On November 16, 1936, his body washed ashore at Malibu Beach. His friend, Deputy Sheriff George Contreras, mournfully said that Bowers had talked of “sailing out into the sunset and not returning.”
  4. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    Not sure of the history, but around the time this film came out, the Irish were seeking independence. So casting the Irish in a bad light was probably a bad move. Maybe someone more knowledgeable of the history will weigh in on this.
  5. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    From October 5-8, the Poli ran Kathleen Mavourneen, starring Theda Bara as the title character. Released on August 19, 1919 by Fox Films, the film was six reels (some sources say five), and is presumed lost. I could only find a few grainy stills from newspapers, with no context. However, they do show Bara in a different light. They are shown below, along with a photo of the 44th Street Theatre in NYC where the film was being shown: Plot: Kathleen and Terrence, Irish peasants, are planning their wedding. But the Squire of the estate is attracted by Kathleen’s beauty. He sends his agent to her parents, telling them they must pay him or be evicted. But he will accept Kathleen as wife in lieu of payment. So Kathleen is forced into a marriage. Then the Squire meets Lady Clancarthy, who is very wealthy. To free himself from Kathleen, he lures her into the woods and abandons her. She is set upon by ruffians, but rescued by Terrence, who kills one of her attackers. Terrence is falsely accused of having lured Kathleen into the woods and killing the man who tried to rescue her. He is sent to the gallows. Kathleen wakes to discover this was all a dream, and prepares for her wedding to Terrence. Trade journals claimed the film was based on a stage play and a poem, but at least two different people were credited with writing the poem. In addition, there was a song in the 1800s by the same name, although, judging by the lyrics, it had nothing to do with this plot. Yet, a reviewer for Motion Picture News wrote that the movie was “a most excellently produced film version taken from the famous old Irish song.” Elsewhere, in the same journal, the Irish “angle” was played up: “Irish New York has supported the picture – supported it with an enthusiasm that bespeaks for it success in all cities of the United States. It is a true picture of an Ireland that is little known in the United States – the Ireland that every Irishman knows and loves and is ready to fight for.” Bara was pleased with the part, as a welcome relief to her many “vamp” roles. “I refused to vamp another single, solitary second unless I was first given the opportunity to prove I could be good just as easily as I was bad,” she explained in a 1919 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Five practically uninterrupted years of vamping had drawn my nerves pretty taut. … Gradually these vampire emotions began to weigh me down. I felt heavy, depressed. … At last, when those close to me understood I was on the verge of a collapse, they decided to administer a tonic. The tonic was a complete change. So they found Kathleen Mavourneen. How I did delight in that quaint little Irish girl. I adopted her heart and soul. She permitted me to take down my hair, wound around my head in long, low sweeps, and let it bob about in cunning fat curls. I no longer had to glide into a room and begin working the wiles of a trade that is as old as the call of sex.” During the same interview, Bara produced a request from a fan, which highlighted her frustration with her public persona. The letter read “Please pardon for addressing honorable self but will so kind send honorable portrait of honorable self as honorably naked as possible.” Bara then stated “how is any girl going to inspire such requests and keep sane?” Variety was not thrilled with Theda Bara, writing that the actress “does her best to disassociate herself from “vampire” parts. Her trouble, however, is that she has to make the effort. She is forever acting, posing with an exaggerated air of sweetness, shedding in every direction the light of her smiles.” Some Irish-American groups protested the film. On December 1, 1919, John J. Buckley, Secretary of the Friends of Irish Freedom, New York Local Council, sent a letter to theatre managers in the Greater New York area. Among other comments, Buckley wrote that the film “is a brutal caricature of Irish life, and not fit for exhibition in your theatre. … Irish and Irish-Americans consider the picture and insult and strongly resent its being shown.” In San Francisco, things turned violent. On February 8, 1920, Abraham Markowitz, manager of the Sun Theatre (where the film was being shown), put in a call to the police of a riot at his establishment. Earlier that day, Markowitz had given a private showing to two Catholic priests and, at their suggestions, had cut some scenes depicting poverty conditions. During the later showing, according to Markowitz, several young men, aged 19 to 22, took seats near the projecting room, and began yelling their disapproval while the film was being played. At the conclusion of the film, one of the youths yelled “Get the picture,” and they rushed to the projection room, pinning the projectionist to the wall. They then destroyed the projector and other machinery. They also tore down railings, broke chairs, and ran off with two reels of the picture. “I am at a loss to understand why they objected to the picture,” Markowitz said “Just before they started doing the damage one young man said to me: ‘I’m a member of the American Committee for Irish Freedom and we don’t want any of that ___ British propaganda shown in San Francisco.’ I don’t know who was responsible for the riot, but it seemingly was young men connected with that organization, although I am sure it was uncontrollable hotheads, as mature men would have seen nothing in the picture against Irish freedom.” Markowitz later said that the rioters objected to scenes showing two pigs in parlors of Irish cottages, chickens fluttering on stairways, “and other examples of dire poverty on the Emerald Isle.” Damage to the theater was estimated at $3000. The American Committee for Irish Freedom issued a statement denying that any of its members were involved. “There is nothing objectionable in the picture and we will continue to show it,” Markowitz stated. “I will appeal for police protection today, if necessary.” A few days later, Markowitz changed his mind and pulled the film, replacing it with Vagabond Luck, which was described as a “happy, snappy, racing comedy.” A month later, the Rhode Island Branch of the Friends of Irish Freedom succeeded in getting the film cancelled in Newport. There was no violence reported. Also on the bill at the Poli were “The Fashion Minstrels,” described as “seven dusky maidens in a conglomeration of songs, dances and witty dialogue.” Presumably this act did not cause a riot.
  6. scsu1975

    I Just Watched...

    Maybe Universal figured that by moving the remaining mummy films to America, there would be more "chills." Egypt was so far away ... but now the monster was on our doorstep. Look out! There is no escaping a lumbering slow-paced gauze-wrapped creature!
  7. scsu1975

    I Just Watched...

    Actually, the last film in the series is The Mummy's Curse, which inexplicably shifts the locale to Louisiana. The lovely Virginia Christine plays the reincarnated Ananka. The scene where she rises from the swamp is probably the highlight of the film - unless you count the brief appearance of former silent star Bill Farnum, who gets choked out by Kharis.
  8. scsu1975

    I Just Watched...

    Agreed. Also, the subsequent films, while still entertaining, suffer from romantic leads who are not very interesting.
  9. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    From October 2-4, 1919, the feature at the Poli was Virtuous Men¸ starring E. K. Lincoln as Bob Stokes. The film premiered at the Fulton Theatre in NYC in April 6, 1919, at seven reels. It is presumed lost. Advertising line: “Patriotism pitted against a dangerous band of Red Radicals. See the cause of Justice triumph. Plot: Bob Stokes, who was once a wealthy New Yorker but is now down and out, comes to a lumber camp in northern New York State, looking for work. Henry Willard, who owns the camp, has also arrived, to investigate various troubles plaguing the camp. He sees potential in Bob and puts him to work. This angers Robert Brummon, the boss of the camp. Brummon is the leader of a band of “Red Radicals.” They are operating against Willard because he has a large contract with the government, for which he is building ships and supplying lumber. Brummon sees that Stokes is a dangerous rival; this is borne out when Stokes manages to get the lumberjacks out from under Brummon’s influence. Brummon causes trouble at the shipyards, so Willard sends Stokes to take charge. Stokes gets the radicals in hand, only to have Brummon continually exert his influence over them. Stokes meets Willard’s daughter Helen, and before long, they fall in love. Marcia Fontaine, who once jilted Stokes when he was broke, and who now works for Brummon, attempts to make a play for him. But Stokes resists her advances. Marcia, working for Brummon now, finally lures Stokes to her apartment, where Brummon plans to kill him. Stokes learns from Marcia that the radicals plan to blow up a ship which is to be launched the next day. He fights with Brummon, and beats him up. Stokes then races to the shipyards, where he finds the bomb and throws it in the water. The next day, the ship is launched successfully, and Stokes and Helen are united. The scenes below could not be placed in context: Director Ralph Ince, who released this film as his first feature under Ralph Ince Film Attractions, stated “I believe in the production of ‘Virtuous Men.’ I have incorporated every element necessary to photoplay melodrama of the most realistic type. The swiftness of the action, the tensity of the many dramatic situations and the spectacular scenes with which I have embellished the story throughout, form what is to my mind perfect screen entertainment.” The film was almost lost before it was released. In July of 1919, a fire broke out at the Unexcelled Laboratories in Yonkers, NY, destroying several new prints of the film, but barely missed destroying the negative. Several scenes were filmed at the Sun Shipbuilding Company of Chester, PA. Over three weeks at the plant, five thousand feet of film were shot. Many of the actors were given special passes so they could work within the plant. The film also features a forest fire. To stage it, the producers purchased five hundred acres of land in Minnesota, and the crew spent two weeks there filming the scenes. The film was given special showings to the inmates at Sing Sing and Auburn Prisons. According to Motion Picture News, the film was selected because of “its absence of objectionable features” and “the story of regeneration of a young “down-and-outer” … is in exact keeping with the ideas promulgated by the various prison authorities in the welfare work which they carry on through means of speeches, pamphlets and screen entertainment.” E.K. Lincoln personally appeared and made a short speech, when the film was screened at each prison. Virtuous Men received good reviews and was a success at the box office. At Poli’s Palace in New Haven, CT, the theatre was filled to capacity for three days. On the first day, 7800 patrons attended. Immediately afterwards, the film was booked across the entire Poli circuit of theatres. Below is a shot of some of the crowd gathered at Poli’s Palace: E. K. Lincoln (seen below with co-star Grace Darling) retired from the screen in the 1920s to raise chow dogs in Lennox, MA. In 1925, he announced that he was returning to films, in a project entitled Wet Wash, but it appears the film was never made. Clara Joel, as the vamp Marcia Fontaine, apparently made only one other film besides this one. She was primarily a stage actress. She was married to William “Stage” Boyd, but he eventually filed for divorce on the grounds that she was abusive to him, and had deserted him. In 1928, Joel was riding in a taxi in New York City when it smashed into a pillar. Two years later, a jury awarded her $55,000 damages, as she claimed the injuries had marred her beauty and ruined her voice, ending her stage career. However, she continued to find work. In the late 1930s, she played Mary Magdalene during the “Ave Maria Hour,” a radio program broadcast by WMCA. Appearing on the same bill was a pair of young comics named Olson and Johnson. I hear their careers worked out pretty well.
  10. scsu1975

    The Soap Opera Thread

    Geez, he looks like Sly Stallone sans HGH.
  11. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    From September 28-October 1, 1919, the Poli ran Told in the Hills, starring Robert Warwick as Jack Stuart. The six-reel film was released on September 21, 1919. The status of the film is in question, as will be explained later. Plot: A mother who is dying receives the promises of both her sons to care for her young ward. The younger brother, Charles Stuart, ignores his pledge and goes to New Orleans to marry. The elder brother, Jack Stuart, finds him and tells him the ward has given birth to Charles’ son. Jack has married the girl to give the child a name, and has provided for mother and child. Jack tells Charles not to communicate with the girl. Jack then goes to Montana, where he becomes known as “Genesee Jack,” a scout. People believe Jack is a “squaw man,” which becomes an obstacle when he meets a girl and falls in love. Jack is suspected of conspiring with Indians and arrested. Eventually, he escapes and saves United States troopers, who had been surrounded. The following stills could not be placed in context. The first shows a wounded Warwick being comforted by Indians. I believe the second shows Eileen Percy, as Tillie Hardy, and Ann Little, as Rachel Hardy, the woman with whom Jack Stuart falls in love. Variety savaged the film, especially Warwick’s performance, writing that the movie was “a $20,000 failure. Its inability to register in first class fashion is due principally to the acting, and to this necessary part of a photoplay Mr. Warwick contributes a goodly share of distinctly third rate effect. He had a role he should have made stand out in heroic proportions. Instead … he stalks about, poses, and in the close-ups conveys the impression that he has just stepped from the dentist’s chair. … The net truth of the matter is that unless Robert Warwick braces up and takes an interest in pictures he’ll be through almost as soon as he started.” Tom Forman, who played Charles Stuart, was a rising star at Famous Players-Lasky. He decided to enlist in the army when the United States entered World War I. He returned to films as a Lieutenant. “I was sort of shy about being a motion picture actor when I went into the army,” Forman stated. “Men from all walks of life seemed to look down upon it, but I hadn’t been in the army long before I was doggone proud of the fact, because in my mind and in the opinion of thousands of others the pictures did as much to turn out the army we did as anything else, if not more. We had motion pictures to study, with pictures showing the movements of guns, the effect of explosives, the explaining of maneuvers, and other things. Seeing these on the screen, the soldier could understand them in about a quarter of the time that was required to get ‘em into his head by word of mouth.” A few years later, Forman switched to directing, saying “you know, I was in the army for a year and a half. When I came back I thought that somehow or other everybody had forgotten me. So why work and try to gain a following as an actor and then change later? That was why I thought the time to take the plunge had come.” However, in November of 1926, Forman suffered a nervous breakdown while directing a film for Columbia. Despondent and overworked, Forman shot himself in the heart a few days later, at his parents’ home in Venice, California. He was 33. While filming in Idaho, director George Melford got members of the Nez Perce tribe to appear in the movie. “Whenever our company needs Indians for a production, we will use the Nez Perces,” said actor Charles Ogle, who played a part in the film. “When ‘Told in the Hills’ is released and other companies see what we have found, they will come here to negotiate with these Indians for pictures. There are few tribes that I have not seen and it’s been my privilege to work with a good many tribes, and I want to see these Nez Perces are a superior people.” Ogle has the distinction of being the first person to play the Frankenstein monster onscreen, in the 1910 version. While shooting one scene, actor Monte Blue was riding bareback when his horse bolted. Blue had no way of stopping the horse so he let the animal just run itself out. When it was over, director George Melford shouted to him “who gave you permission to take that horse off this set?” to which Blue replied “who gave this horse permission to take me off the set?” In 1989, Gosfilmofond, the Soviet national film archives, located two surviving reels of the film. The reels were sent to Tom Trusky, who was an English professor at Boise State University, and also an expert on Idaho film history. Trusky then showed the two reels in Lewiston, Idaho, during the Idaho Centennial celebration in 1990. But according to the Library of Congress website, the complete six-reel film is held in Gosfilmofond. As an interesting gimmick, the Poli announced that on October 1 (the last day this film was being shown), the theater would keep patrons informed of the World Series, inning by inning, which had begun that same day. “Each inning will be sent by private wire so that the result will be known by Poli patrons as soon as the inning is finished.” Incidentally, the teams involved were the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds, which lead to the infamous “Black Sox Scandal,” as members of the heavily-favored Chicago team conspired with gamblers to throw the series.
  12. scsu1975

    The Soap Opera Thread

    Actually, the best part is seeing how little the women can get away with wearing.
  13. scsu1975

    The Soap Opera Thread

    I recall Tommy Lee Jones as a doctor on One Life to Live.

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