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Gentlemen of the Silent Films


whistlingypsy
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I think that, arguably, the men were also some of the most beautiful stars in the silent films firmament. In honor of Valentine?s Day, the day of Xs and Os, I thought I would share a few of those silent film gentlemen who make my heart beat a little faster.

 

Richard Arlen and Gary Cooper are two of the actors who appeared in Wings (1928) directed by William Wellman. Arlen and Cooper, along with Wings co-star Charles "Buddy" Rogers, became close friends on the set and often referred to themselves as The Three Musketeers.

 

Arlen07.jpg

 

Arlen appeared in another Wellman vehicle as Dum-Dum Brooks in The Man I Love (1929) with Mary Brian. Arlen's chiseled features and cleft chin made him the perfect matinee idol and everyman.

 

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Cooper also had a small role in the Clara Bow vehicle IT! in which he appeared as a news reporter. Cooper was almost otherworldly in his ability to communicate his characters humanity, and his beautiful blue eyes are even more striking with the contrast of black and white.

 

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O'Brien might best be known for his role opposite Janet Gaynor in Sunrise (1928) directed by F. W. Murnau. O'Brien also appeared in Noah's Ark(1929) co-starring Dolores Costello and directed by Michael Curtiz. O?Brien was a muscular and athletic actor, nicknamed The Chest, who was at ease portraying the sensitive and emotional natures of his characters.

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Never underestimate intelligence and humour, whistlingypsy, and I've never been impressed by the ones who sit tall in the saddle so Louis Wolheim will always hold a special place in my heart! But the guy who really brings home all the groceries is Douglas Fairbanks! Mary, Mary, Mary, what were you thinking letting that one get away...

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MissG: Thanks for your comments. I am still new to the silent film era and the work of most actors and actresses is a discovery for me. I have not seen Louis Wolheim in TWO ARABIAN KINGHTS, but I have seen him in ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT and was unaware of his name. I just discovered that Wolheim spent six years as a Mathematics instructor at Cornell University, before becoming an actor, and he came by his broken nose in a Cornell football game. Douglas Fairbanks is another actor that I have yet to see in a silent role. I do know that he was instrumental, along with Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, in forming the United Artists company.

 

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A narrow escape! TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS with Louis Wolheim and William Boyd

 

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Doug riding tall in the saddle!

 

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Doug and Mary at home at Pickfair with a four-legged friend.

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whistlingypsy,

 

Well, I must say that I have seen lot's of ladies swoon over a young William Boyd in TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS, but Kate, is the only one who has seemingly been entranced by Mr. Wolheim's Gruff "Monk Mayfair" type appearance! LOL!

 

Sure hope that We Fella's are allowed to Gush over Mary Astor as the beauteous Princess Mirza in this movie??? TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS is a outstanding film! You would enjoy seeing it very much!

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Karin:

 

To insert a picture, right-click on the photo, select properties, and you will see the url address of the photo. Now type this:

 

img src=

 

Put < just to the left of img (no space between the < and img)

 

Copy and Paste the url after the equal sign (no space) and place > at the end (no space).

Give it a shot.

 

Rich

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The beginning of the end of Doug and Mary was Lupe Velez and Buddy Rogers, during the filming of THE GAUCHO, according to Scott Eyman's bio of Mary Pickford. But as for Douglas being a rogue---lies, all lies!!! But then again, you gotta watch those teatotallers...LOL

 

And thanks for those great pics, whistlingypsy!

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Dear Miss Gypsy,

If you like Wolhiem, you should check out his brief talkie career.I always found him doing an entertaining job of it even in some of the cheapie Radio pictures.

In GENTLEMAN'S FATE, he is unlikely cast as John Gilbert's brother as they take over a rum running racket from their dying father.

In THE SHIP FROM SHANGHAI, he gives an over-the-top performance as a mutinous, psychopathic communist servant that traps a lot of wealthy lie abouts on a yacht.

A great film is DANGER LIGHTS, one of the best railroad movies ever. It was only one of a handful of "Granduerscope" films, a 1930 precursor to "Cinerama" that didn't pan out.

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G-Man: of course You Fellas may gush over Mary Astor in TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS. You may recall that I did my share of ?Mary gushing? last week.

 

Astor03.jpg

Mary Astor is stunning as a Pre-Raphaelite beauty

 

I am also prepared to gush over Norma Shearer in THE STUDENT PRINCE IN OLD HEIDLEBERG (1928). My favorite of the silent ladies is Norma Shearer with her beautiful eyes and her delicate but expressive features. I think she received an unwarranted reputation based on the contemptuous remarks of Joan Crawford.

 

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Norma Shearer is enchanting. . .she will make a lovely Elizabeth Barrett

 

I don't see any need to stop at just two. I would also like to gush over Myrna Loy who is another of my favorite silent film actresses. Myrna was often cast as the exotic beauty and she appeared in NOAH'S ARK (1929) with George O'Brien.

 

d8_1_b.JPG

Myrna telling a fortune by reading tea leaves?

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*Barbara Worth* was his first real acting part. He began working as an extra and stunt rider in '25 and got the part in *BW* in '26. He was orginally just supposed to have a bit part but he really wanted the supporting role of Abe Lee. It had already been cast but then that guy got held up in another project so they decided to give Gary a shot. He got good reviews and Sam Goldwyn was going to offer him a contract but he just kinda got lost in the shuffle and Paramount swooped in and got him instead.

 

Because he was one of the actors who successfully transitioned to talkies and had such a long career after that, his silent work is often forgotten. He was very good in his silent films though as his wonderfully expressive face and eyes were perfect for that era of filmmaking.

 

Here's a screencap of him from *Beau Sabreur* in 1928. Unfortunately this one is lost but I have the trailer for it and that's better than nothing :).

 

IMG_4524.jpg

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*Barbara Worth* was his first real acting part. He began working as an extra and stunt rider in '25 and got the part in *BW* in '26. He was orginally just supposed to have a bit part but he really wanted the supporting role of Abe Lee. It had already been cast but then that guy got held up in another project so they decided to give Gary a shot. He got good reviews and Sam Goldwyn was going to offer him a contract but he just kinda got lost in the shuffle and Paramount swooped in and got him instead.

 

Because he was one of the actors who successfully transitioned to talkies and had such a long career after that, his silent work is often forgotten. He was very good in his silent films though as his wonderfully expressive face and eyes were perfect for that era of filmmaking.

 

Here's a screencap of him from *Beau Sabreur* in 1928. Unfortunately this one is lost but I have the trailer for it and that's better than nothing :).

 

IMG_4524.jpg

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MissG: May I call you Kate? My name is Karin. I agree with you on Harold and Jobyna. I have never seen BATTLING BUTLER, but the images and the plot description might make Buster and Sally "contenders" for the title. I chose Marion because she is in STEAMBOAT BILL JR. my favorite Keaton film. However, after reading G-Man's review of THE RIVER, I can certainly see the appeal of those "mountain guys and gals."

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Poor little Marion Byron (1911-85), only made the one feature with Keaton, then she went into production of Roach studio shorts where she was the small, dumb half of a team with tall, cranky Anita Garvin. They made only three, but she's also in some Charley Chase and Max Davidson titles. There's even one where she plays a secratary with Jean Harlow, but it's apparentl a lost film. Her career shrank to nothing but background characters in the talkies. forinstance, she's the chorus girl Bert Wheeler tries the special fourmula lipstick out on in HIPS HIPS HOORAY.

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