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Jayo

"Moguls and Movie Stars"

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Actually there is a "screwball" film noir and a very good film it is too: *The Big Steal* (1949) with Robert Mitchum, and Jane Greer- the stars from what might be the BEST film noir- *Out of the Past*. *The Big Steal* is a really good chase film, and the interweaving of comedic moments with threatening ones is excellent! I can recommend this highly!

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

> I have a technical type question about this series' segment on silent films, and in fact about silents in general: Does anyone know why sometimes silent movies are not so much black and white, or even sepia-toned, but appear in pinkish or bluish shades? *They're still basically b & w,* definitely not colour, but instead of black, grey and white, they look somewhat pink, or blue. Sometimes even sort of golden. What's up with that?

 

The term you were groping for here is monochrome. :)

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> {quote:title=filmguy24 wrote:}{quote}

> Actually there is a "screwball" film noir and a very good film it is too: *The Big Steal* (1949) with Robert Mitchum, and Jane Greer- the stars from what might be the BEST film noir- *Out of the Past*. *The Big Steal* is a really good chase film, and the interweaving of comedic moments with threatening ones is excellent! I can recommend this highly!

 

Good call. *The Big Steal* is a screwball noir, and fun, even if not the classic that *Out of the Past" is.

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>>People should check out the book "Genius of the System"

 

A great book, I was pleased when I saw its author Thomas Schatz in last week's chapter of the series.

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

> "The term you were groping for here is monochrome. :) "

>

> I thought that was a song by Paul Simon. :)

 

Ah, you have no idea how that hurts... :)

 

I have done photography for many years, and I loved Kodachrome above all others! But, Kodak stopped making it. I used my last 5 rolls in September. They also stopped making almost all Ektachrome, including the asa1600 stuff I used to use to shoot concerts at night. So, alas, I shoot no more.

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*Actually I think It Happened One Night has many of the elements of a screwball comedy. It deals with a female character driving the guy crazy, it deals with the poor VS the rich, it has some fast talking dialog, it involves marriage, it involves two characters who don't like each other at first and so forth.*

 

Other common screwball elements include the mistaken (or withheld) identity: Colbert's character definitely does not know that Gable is a reporter (a common plot device in the 30s). And her character jumping off a yacht, or running to catch a helicopter on her wedding day in her wedding dress from the altar, are not the sanest things one can do. Of course IHON spawned a slew of movies on runaway brides that lasted the rest of the decade; this is considered a sub-genre of screwball.

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My dad always considered It Happened One Night to be a screwball comedy, but I didn't, though I can see where he got that idea. To me it's not screwy enough.

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Just watched the fourth installment. I really am learning things from this series. What's up with this African -American director, Oscar Micheaux ? I really hate to admit this, but I'd never heard of him before. I really think it would have been a good idea if TCM had scheduled some of his films as as follow-up to the 4th segment of "Moguls and Movie Stars". I thought this part of the program was fascinating, and would love to see something by Micheaux.

 

But then, maybe availability was a problem.

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I also really enjoyed this segment but I always get annoyed that directors like Lubitsch & Mamoulian are always ignored when talking about early musicals. They were also very important for early sound films (although I do understand they can't include everything).

 

 

I don't know much about Micheaux or race films either so I am glad TCM talked about it. I also like the segments on Walt Disney and Frank Capra. I also loved seeing Hattie getting her Oscar.

 

Also nice to see the Silent Stars still talked about as late as the 4th segment. Surprised they didn't talk about what happened to Gilbert though.

 

Finally seeing Hitler always makes me nervous. And I think I have fallen for Irving Thalberg.

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I believe that TCM has shown a few Oscar Micheaux films lately, maybe has another one or two coming up, I believe 1920's *Within Our Gates* was shown. I think I have it on the DVR.

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While I am enjoying this series, it moves so fast & jumps around so much I feel like I have whiplash after viewing. They could spend an hour on each year and it probably still wouldn't feel like enough.

 

It feels like more of the moguls story rather than movie stars, because if you tried to cover the popular stars it really would be 100 hours long. Maybe the focus should have been more narrow because you just can't give due diligence to the important stars in a couple of minutes. So many haven't been mentioned that it seems like people are being neglected.

 

I'm sorry to be complaining because I was so excited by the series that I feel let down a tiny bit. However, the films TCM are showing to accompany each episode are great ones.

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I'm sorry folks but Chapter 4 was a Clunker. Virtually unwatchable.When this series was first announced I was hoping that something spectacular was in the works. While the series started out with allot of promise, boy has it really gone downhill since than. I believe that the opportunity was there for something truly special to take shape and sadly this has fallen far short of any sort of greatness in my estimation. The editing is extremely choppy, and it seems to be getting steadily worse with each succeeding episode. Extending this thing to at least 10 chapters would have definitely been a bright idea.

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I think 2 hour long episodes would have better suited this project. Even taken as a very basic history it just feels like too much is being left out or glossed over.

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Yes, the color was very nice. My background is Scandinavian so it's a particular pleasure to see stereotypical Vikings on film, particularly Donald Crisp's fantastic mustache and hair.

 

I enjoyed all of the silents TCM has aired over the past few weeks, particularly the two Pickfords and The Blot, all three of which I hadn't seen before, and seeing the Photoplay Birth of a Nation as well as IT again was a real pleasure.

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I've enjoyed this series up till now, but tonight's was a huge disappointment. I've found the 'Moguls' side of things really interesting, but the 'Movie Stars' side is really a disaster. It was as if they put together a Moguls documentary, and then threw in some Movie Stars tidbits as an afterthought to keep the audience's attention.

 

The exception appeared to be Warner Bros., where the story of the rise of stars like Bette Davis and James Cagney were worked into the narrative, but even then, it was pretty skimpy! The omission of Jean Arthur from the Columbia story, and Joan Crawford from the MGM story was a real shame. Tossing Clark Gable and Jean Harlow into the MGM portion didn't really help, it just made you wonder why others weren't included. Same with the directors. Why go into the story of Frank Capra without talking about others like John Ford or Howard Hawks?

 

I think the biggest problem with this segment of the series is that they've decided to concentrate on the more modern image of the 30s. We all know that there were huge stars then who are largely forgotten now, but they fact that they don't bother to educate about that is sad. Why else spotlight Clark Gable and leave out Spencer Tracy? Why trot out the same old stories of Bette Davis bucking the studio system, or Katharine Hepburn creating independent woman identity? This is old hat. Who is this series for anyway?

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The downfall of so many of the Silent Stars is very hard to figure in retrospect. Take Clara Bow for example. There was nothing whatsoever wrong with her voice. In my opinion her voice is better than Jean Harlow's. I think it was really the scandal sheets and not her voice that hastened the premature end to her career. John Gilbert's voice is just fine. It wasn't even remotely high-pitched as contemporary mythology would have us believe. I don't really think Garbo's voice was all that great personally, but she succeeded best in sound. Along with Ronald Colman who had been a giant Silent Star himself during the 20's.

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I have two things that I wish they had done, one give an outlined bibliography of books, since they have crammed so much in one hour. On Ken Burns Documentaries, they provide a teachers resource which lists recommended readings. Which leads to my second thing, why didn't they have these as 2 hour segments.

 

Oh one other thing, why is Gregory Orr listed as Jack Warner Grandson (when there is not a biological connection since they list his mother as a step daughter).He did have a son, Jack M Warner, who had two daughters..just wondering

 

I also agree that they seemed to have a continuity issue with last segment (Segment #4). Otherwise I'm enjoying. it.

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*The downfall of so many of the Silent Stars is very hard to figure in retrospect.*

 

In many cases it wasn't the invention of sound and talkies, it was that the audiences tastes changed. Gilbert was the "The Great Lover" and thousands of movie goers loved him in that role.

 

But with the Depression and the end of the Jazz era, audiences moved away from many of the archetype characters that the silent era stars played.

 

Audiences wanted new archetypes and in the wings were waiting a slew of actors from Jimmy Cagney to Errol Flynn to fit the bill.

 

Many silent stars continued working in character roles in talkies. Others like Bow retired. Gilbert likely could have had a long career as a character actor but his high salary demands during the transition to sound put a target on his back.

 

He's very good in some of his talkies but the majority of movie-goers only saw him in his more flamboyant "Great Lover" role and when that archetype became outmoded, they moved away from Gilbert and started looking for a new King, who they would find in Clark Gable.

 

The American movie-going audience is very fickle. They love you when they love you but when they stop, so do many careers.

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> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> *The downfall of so many of the Silent Stars is very hard to figure in retrospect.*

>

> In many cases it wasn't the invention of sound and talkies, it was that the audiences tastes changed. Gilbert was the "The Great Lover" and thousands of movie goers loved him in that role. But with the Depression and the end of the Jazz era, audiences moved away from many of the archetype characters that the silent era stars played.

 

Very true. In fact that's one of the issues mentioned in the documentary that contributed to Clara Bow's fall from stardom. Although another problem for bow (and Crawford to some extent) was that producers would only put them in "tried and true formula" pictures. Crawford lobbied hard break free from the "poor shop girl" stories that they were saddling her with. The producers at Paramount did not try to put Clara in anything demanding.

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