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Mary Astor in Beau Brummel: What a Revelation!


whistlingypsy
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I realize this film aired a week ago, so I am somewhat ?behind the loop,? but I keep thinking about Mary Astor?s performance: What a revelation!

 

I watched the newly scored silent film "Beau Brummel" when it aired last Tuesday night. I am a big fan of silent films, so any opportunity to see a newly restored or newly scored film is a big treat. I was thrilled at the thought of seeing this John Barrymore film for the first time, but the real revelation was Mary Astor. I was vaguely aware that she appeared in silent movies, but this was my first opportunity to see one of her silent titles.

 

Mary plays the love interest of the title character but their love is doomed when she is forced to marry another. Her early scenes with Barrymoore are brief but heartbreaking, and I believed that his love for her could remain throughout his ?reckless? life (the two apparently carried on an affair for years after the film.) She was but seventeen at the time she appeared in this film and she is simply stunning?in one scene she reminds me of the painting ?Mrs. Siddoes as the Tragic Muse? by Joshua Reynolds. . .all I can say is: Mary Astor is a true revelation.

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I agree! She was only seventeen and played the one female character (of five) who had self respect and dignity. I liked this film and think there is more to it than meets the eye. It was more than an adulterous romp and held a mirror up to audiences of the day and Margery's final journey was very moving, following her heart. John Barrymore's transformation from the prime of his life to old age was phenomenal! And then there was Mortimer...

 

Funny you should mention Reynolds, I see paintings and artists' styles in a lot of these films, too- especially Vermeer.

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Hi MissGulch, thanks for your response. Perhaps I should have mentioned that, for me, the most moving of the scenes was the one in which Lady Marjory and Brummel say farewell for the final time. Lady Marjory has visited him in his garret and attempted to persuade him to go with her but he refuses and sends her away. She stands outside the door while he hesitates on the other side...will he reconsider...will he stop her? This scene broke my heart.

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whistlingypsy,

 

Well, I have Mary Astor in at least two other Silent's on DVD-R if your interested? Alan Crosslan's DON JUAN (1926), again with Barrymore, and Also Myrna Loy, and Hedda Hopper! And Lewis Milestone's unforgettable TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS (1927), with William Boyd, and Louis Wolheim. One of Kate's (Miss Gulch) favorites! Mine too, for that matter!

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G-Man, thanks for the recommendations. Myrna Loy is another actress that I have always enjoyed but never had a chance to watch in her silent films. I saw her last year in THIRTEEN WOMEN and she was quite disconcerting as the deranged former schoolgirl. I?m also curious to see Hedda Hopper?s performance. I?ve seen Hedda Hopper in a speaking role or two in MIDNIGHT with Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche and in THE WOMEN playing a role remarkably similar to her later career as gossip queen.

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Jorge,

 

Sorry, I can't see this Image again? What is it of?

 

Whistlingypsy,

 

You will have a rough time finding DON JUAN or TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS either, for that matter, since they have not been released on DVD.

 

Myna Loy also appears in Barrymore's WHEN A MAN LOVES (1927), which is an excellent film, with beautiful Delores Costello, "The Great Profile's" soon to be wife.

 

I have all of these on DVD-R though, so I can help you.

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Hi G-Man, sorry I have taken so long to check on this thread. I assumed that with the showing of WINGS and SUNRISE on Monday night things had slowed down on the Silent front.

 

I wanted to mention that I wasn?t ignoring your offer on the two Mary Astor titles. I simply wasn?t certain that you had made a definite offer. I am interested in both titles, but I?m still a little confused. Can you be more specific? Are you offering to sell me copies of DVD?s that you own?

 

I also want to mention how much I have enjoyed reading your WINGS thread. I watched the documentary on William Wellman last month and I hoped that TCM would add this title to the schedule. I watched the film for the first time on Monday evening and I?m now a big fan: of both Wellman and Richard Arlen. I am not an expert on film soundtracks, of any era, so I have felt reluctant to contribute to your thread, however I have enjoyed reading the postings of others. . .fun and informative!

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whistlingypsy,

 

Thank you for the compliments. I am sorry I would normally have contacted you through the PM's. However, my In-Box is about 85% full, and so far I have been unable to permanently delete old messages. Anyone else having this same problem? This feature, doesn't seem to be working as it should?

 

As I mentioned my Laser-disc transfer of WINGS is about 60% shaper, than what TCM broadcast. Looking at the DVD of SUNRISE, it look's better than the TCM airing as well. I have not seen the Region 2 DVD of SUNRISE, which is supposed to be improved ever further.

 

Again, I have DON JUAN, WHEN A MAN LOVES, and TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS on DVD-R, not true DVD. But the quality is outstanding. You would not be in any way disappointed. I have a few other Buddy Rogers Silent's, and Richard Arlen titles too, as well. If you have something to trade, that would be great?

 

If you check my profile, you will find an E-mail address, where you can contact me. Hope to hear from you very soon.

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Just watched Mary Astor in THE GREAT LIE (1941) with Bette Davis and was surprised by her voice! Deep contralto- sure didn't expect that! She seemed so asthenic in the silents...here's a few very interesting quotes from her on IMdb:

 

 

"A painter paints, a musician plays, a writer writes - but a movie actor waits."

 

"I was never totally involved in movies. I was just making my father's dream come true."

 

"It's not good to make sentimental journeys. You see the differences instead of the sameness."

 

On her earlier Hollywood roles:"I was as two-dimensional as the screen itself: cool, indifferent, looking lovely in close ups. Period. Period. Period. When was I ever going to learn to act? You can't learn if you can't experiment and find out what works and doesn't work. But the hours are long, the schedule rigid, so I did what I was told and saved time and money for the front office. And got a lot of jobs that way."

 

"Once you start asking questions, innocence is gone."

 

"A person without memory is either a child or an amnesiac. A country without memory is neither a child nor an amnesiac, but neither is it a country."

 

On George S. Kaufman: "He was the kind of man I'd go over a cliff for."

 

"There are five stages in the life of an actor: Who's Mary Astor? Get me Mary Astor. Get me a Mary Astor Type. Get me a young Mary Astor. Who's Mary Astor?"

 

"At Metro, you practically had to go to the front office if you wanted something as real as having your hair mussed. . . All automobiles were shiny, a picture never hung crooked, a door never squeaked, stocking seams were always straight and no actress ever had a shiny nose."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

...Wow...she was tough on herself!

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