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Factotum

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Everything posted by Factotum

  1. Caught Short used to be in an MGM package of films shown in the 1970's & 80's. I'v e noticed there are several titles they just never show.
  2. That may be so, and god bless whoever can maintain a good print. But why be a snob about it? If a film is only available in secondary quality, then see it in secondary quality. We've all put up with it when none better were available.....I was looking at a kinescope of The Thief of Bahgdad on "Silents, Please" (1961) a few weeks ago. It is utterly horrible, looking like a scratched up, dupey, played-a-thousand times, 8mm print from Hell. Yet it was good enough to be broadcast on the ABC network in prime time then. Now it would intolerable anywhere. But if we want to see films, we should tak
  3. One of the largest threats to film has not been vault fires so much as copyright control. If a studio can keep these, it can stop anyone from preserving a film. Notice how films that fell out of copyright a long time ago, for instance, most UA titles, have been with us all along. They were always available from Tarbox, or Blackhawk for film collectors, and shown on TV or revival Theatre rentals from Paul Killiam at mid-century. Short subjects, at least the talkies produced by Educational, or the cartoons produced by VanBuren studios, are safe and sound and have always had a lot of currency sin
  4. I've seen MODERN LOVE by way of a privately owned 16mm print in addition to the print that's to be shown at Cinecon. (niether is perfect, bits are missing in both, though fortunately not the same bits) In it there are some funny moments, but clearly Charley is a hired actor, at the mercy of the tepid comedy writing skills of the Universal script writers (in this case, Albert DeMond). I forget if this will have the whole parked car sequence or not, that was the comedy highlight. Miss Garvin only has a very few minutes, so she's pretty much wasted. I think it's a case of one will be pushing o
  5. TCM has no interest in showing any more Vitaphone short titles than they already have made prints of, and shown. There are scores of them, whole series of them, but they've decided they have enough. There's even ones they showed back in the late 1980's/early 90's on TNT that haven't been run again. So they may be showing even less than they did! With so many shorts unseen, that they *do* have access to, can only mean they have something against them. There's some reason that makes them want to fill the time with things everybody's seen a million times instead of keeping it fresh with new-old
  6. They've run those two all the way back to the "TNT" days. Just why does TCM have such a reluctance to touch the hundreds of Vitaphone non-musical shorts? They have plenty of negs and or prints, and most titles are in existance, they even made prints of them in the 1950's for a huge TV package- but why do they ignore them? For that matter, why this frustratingly tepid use of the Roach shorts? It's like they have something against anything slightly obscure. Does every minute have to have top stars in it?
  7. Worse than coughers, laughers or even whining children, is the arrogant know-everything who must loudly proclaim his superiority to the people, attitudes and times onscreen. He's deathly afraid that he may be mistaken for approving of what he's being subjected to, so it's his obligation to help the dumb sheep audience become politically sensitive and aware by just how enlightened he is. In the dark, where you can't see them, he may suddenly believe he's actually in the 1920's, and his mission is to educate the poor primitives as to their cultural shortcomings. This experience has befalle
  8. I did hear the score to the Time-Life and the Israel version, and yes, "Freshie" was there. I think that the tune was inspired by the film. As a cultural land mark, The Freshman is responsible for about forty years of rah-rah, never-go-to-classes, football-obsessed college movies. Really, Harold pretty much invented a film genre. Itwas a hit, and almost immediately spawned Universal's well recieved short subject series, "The Collegians" (1926-29), wherein each episode yet another inter-collegiate sports rivalry is addressed down to cross country skiing and water polo. "GOOD NEWS" came along
  9. Actually quite a lot of areas didn't run the Loyd series; probably the largest market I've heard of was the New Jersey PBS network, but for the most part something so old is by definition not hip. It is also slapstick comedy, so it is seen as beneath contempt by most PBS progammers. The scores were actually not that bad, and the occassional sound effect is okay. The real problem was the vicious chopping up of the shorts until they were as meaningless and insufferable as the Laurel & Hardy "Laughtoons". The hectoring narration is as welcome as would be a self-appointed loud-voiced member o
  10. I recall the "Time-Life presents Harold Lloyd" programmes, I suppose many saw HL for the first time this way when many PBS stations picked them up in 1977. When Lloyd died in 1971, his executors were obliged to let the huge media conglomerate Time-Life have TV rights to the long dormant films. They actually toured some art house cinemas first, hence the 1974 copyright. But they apparently had very little idea on how to show them in any dignified way, and instead used the technique of such crass kiddie presentations as THE FUNNY MANNS, MAD MOVIES or THE MISCHIEF MAKERS. Lloyd himself was appa
  11. The sound problem is likely your cable provider. You should complain to them. They control the image and sound, so if it's become as bad as you describe, they may not be aware of it.
  12. PLAYING AROUND, to my knowledge, has yet to be shown on cable TV. "TNT" never ran it in the 80's nor TCM in the 90's or 00's. I have a Videotape of it from a 50's TV syndication print.(sorry, I can't make copies! ) Maybe the only time it was offered was in the early going, when a station would snap up a package of 500 features, good or bad, with some big stars or none. It seems that PLAYING AROUND has a fizzy soundtrack most of the way through, as if the track was made from worn out vitaphone discs. That was good enough when TV was starving for film, but a lesser film that's among the oldest
  13. My understanding of the Roach studios situation in 1935 was this: Hal Roach found that short subjects were a diminishing proposition for him, his competition being from studio-produced and owned SSs like those from Paramount, Warner Bros. (Vitaphone), RKO-Radio, and the newly created Columbia unit. He was even competing with his own distributor, MGM, who were turning out short musicals, travelogues, comedies and general trivia like Pete Smith offered, and even material in color. For years, Roach wanted his little studio to become a big one that produced features. That year he decided the ti
  14. I assume Mamma's suposed to be portraying the way an old person would shake when decrepit and racked by strokes. Pretty heavy handed, almost farcical.
  15. "PEACH GIRL(..THAT WEEPS TEARS OF BLOOD)" was considered a prestige film and would indeed be used for export. The split titles indicate the importance of it's being sent abroad, but significantly the use of American English will imply "Chinatown" destinations in U.S. cities. Chinese studios had very few outlets at home, depending heavily on export for survival, and Hollywood's lack of interest in what was deemed far too insignificant a niche market, meant success for the exporters. Ethnic cinemas were seen a lot in the nation made up of immigrants, with foriegn-produced films finding screens
  16. I've never heard that about Alex Raymond's inspiration for Ming, what is your source? If one examines the first year or so of the strips, you find that he seems to just take influences willy-nilly through any exotic imagery without thinking it through; Ming is Chinese, his soldiers dress like ancient Romans, his palace is Egyptian, and most other inhabitants of Mongo (Mongoloids?) wear capes and feathers and tights, like Faustian opera costumes. This in difference to the successful space comic strip Buck Rogers, which preceeded it by five years, where they wear more "nuts and bolts" outfit
  17. _Shirley Jean Rickert_ (born 25 March 1926) went as far back as *MICKEY'S ELEVEN* (FBO 7 Nov 27) _Jean Darling_ (born 23 Aug 22) debuted in *BRING HOME THE TURKEY* (Roach-Pathe 16 Jan 27) _Mildred Kornman_ (Born 10 Jul 25) Debuted in *THUNDERING FLEAS* (Roach-Pathe 4 July 26) _Coy Watson, Jnr._ (born 16 Nov 1912) Supposedly was in Keystone comedies at age 1... _Virginia Davis_ (born 31 Dec 1918) debuted in *ALICE'S WONDERLAND* (Winkler 1923)
  18. Whenever you see (or hear) Jack Benny before 1935, he still retains his personality that he used as his stage specialty; wise-cracking, arrogant revue host. That he usually gets stung somehow in the end, (as seen in the Laurel & Hardy segment of THE HOLLYWOOD REVUE OF 1929), is the only saving grace. In the early talkie Paramount shorts like TAXI TANGLES (1930) or the Tiffany Feature MEDICINE MAN (1930), he doesn't get comeuppance, and it's impossible to like the smart alecky jerk he plays. He becomes a totally lovable and cherished actor only after he and his writers developed the stin
  19. Their best film is the hilarious silent feature "TOPSY AND EVA", but I wouldn't have any hopes of it's being aired anytime soon.
  20. The other day I had a similar experience in reverse; watching a silent Edward Everett Horton film. His voice was a major part of his character.
  21. Factotum

    Max Linder

    Oddly enough, Both *THE KID* and *SEVEN YEARS BAD LUCK* were released on 6 February 1921, so they must have been in production simultaneously. Message was edited by: Factotum
  22. But if it's HIS GLORIOUS NIGHT that gave him all the trouble, why would REDEMPTION be the one he wanted to squelch? The only times I have seen clips of HGN were in a long ago series (circa 1963) called HOLLYWOOD AND THE STARS and in the 1979 HOLLYWOOD episode on Gilbert. Both were used to illustrate the dire dialogue they put him through. Oddly, even though it didn't sound like it, the earlier series went along with the myth of his "squeaky" voice anyway. Obviously a case of "Are you going to believe me, or your lying ears?" In the latter, we go on to explain that it was embarras
  23. But was Dawn Patrol ever in the hands of MGM? First National was still finding plum stories for Richard Barthelmess, who did the leading role in that film. In 1930, Gilbert was doing "REDEMPTION", a classic Tolstoy epic of misery and degradation, sure to please Russians. I found this cheerless relic on the long and talky side, but I got the impression Gilbert was really throwing his heart into it, and why not? The ham in him rose to the occassion- He was showing what an artist he was. I have a still showing him in the dying sequence where he's made up to be old and unkempt, but he looks li
  24. Yes, they did laugh at many of the star's voices when they heard them for the first time, and many stories,(mostly un true) rose from that experience. One of the most famous was that John Gilbert's voice was high and squeeky or sounded effeminate. This legend even gave rise to a hilarious Sid Caeser skit, but it's not based in fact. Gilbert was laughed off the screen for his appearance in "HIS GLORIOUS NIGHT", but not because his voice was ridiculous, it was the lines he was saying; all archly fake and flowery. Legend has it L.B.Mayer wanted to sabotage him and ordered the technicians to scr
  25. I believe the "Tenderloin District" as it was known, was called that because it's shape on a map was reminicent of that particular cut of meat. TENDERLOIN was more significant for it's hybrid status; it has a part-talkie Vitaphone score, then famous for showing Delores Costello's lisp, and overly melodramatic dialogue. TIME magazine quoted her during a scene where she's being attacked:"Have you no thithter?"
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