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Captain Salvation (1927) On Tonight!


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This is in my view one of the best MGM Silents that no one has ever heard of. Or hadn't heard of before TCM premiered it in 2006. Truly an outstanding film! Wonderful performances from Lars Hanson, Pauline Starke and Marceline Day. I love this movie! What ever you do, don't miss the broadcast. Record this one without fail. TCM hasn't run the picture since 2007.

 

 

PHOTO_9129959_66470_8093159_main.jpg

 

*Marceline Day and Lars Hanson*

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*CAPTAIN SALVATION* is typical of the extremely high quality of the great Silents being made during the second half of the 1920's. 1925 and 1927 were probably the two greatest years of the entire Silent Era. So many great films were released in those two years. 1924, 1926 and and 1928 were very strong year as well. That being said, the sad reality is taht we can't fairly judge against other years, because so many Silents are either locked away in vaults, or they are lost forever.

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I'm 26 so most of the people I know think I'm a lunatic for loving silents. That being said, everyone who does watch one with me is blown away. It's like the scene in *The Scarlet Letter* where Lillian Gish is holding her baby staring at Lars Hanson while he begs her to name her accomplice in front of the town, if you can watch that scene and not get chills you just don't get chills. There were a few scenes in this movie that were a bit like that, definitely one of the best silents I've had the pleasure of seeing.

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Watasha,

 

I don't think that the emotional power of the Silents has ever been equaled. The Silent Cinema was a completely different medium than Sound films.

 

Have you seen *THE BIG PARADE* yet? As far as I am concerned it should be on everyone's short list of the very best films ever made. By far the greatest American film Silent or Sound that has never been released on commercial DVD. TCM will be running it later this month, but I don't think that is is the latest restoration that we have been waiting on for the past 6 years. That being said it is not to be missed.A true masterpiece of film-making.

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No, Ive never seen it. I do like Vidor though. I actually haven't seen that much with Gilbert to tell the truth. One thing I've seen, children REALLY lock on to silent films. It must be the over-exaggerated gestures and such. My sister is 9 and has been exposed to them (and classics in general) her whole life. You should see folks faces when she tells them that she and I watch A Christmas Carol every year, they assume it's the cartoon until she tells them it was made in 1938! lol

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Well, I grew up on Classic Films and TV Shows, and it's a shame that kids by and large are no longer exposed to them. Television apart from TCM, has all but written off anything that is more than 25 years old! It's insanity that with as many as 500 channels, that TCM is the lone Classic Movie Station in operation in this country. There should at least be a couple more of them.

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Back In the 90's and up until 2001 AMC was known as American Movie Classics, and at the time they aired mostly Classic films including Silents without any commercial interruption. Largely different movies than what TCM runs. But after 2001 AMC went all commercials, and stopped presenting un-edited films. For the most part, with few exceptions anything that was over 30 years old was also no longer being shown anymore.

 

AMC had announced plans for a Sister Station that would still run Classic Movies only, but for what ever reason that never happened. It was probably written of by the powers that be as "Impractical". The plans were discontinued. Since than TCM has virtually been the only game in town for Classic films.

 

Fox Movie Channel shows some films from the Golden Era and an occasional Silent, but they are certainly nothing like TCM. There has to be room for more than just TCM on the airwaves. But young Executives seem to feel that people their age and younger have no interest in Classic films. They are branded by many people who haven't really watched them as Sappy or boring. This stigma needs to be overcome. The fact is that Classic Cinema is far more Mature than today's tripe.

 

Sadly, Young Movie goers are used to excessive Sex, profanity, violence vulgarity, and things blowing up all the time! They have literally been conditioned to believe that is what a movie is supposed to be like. Well, it most certainly isn't. Unfortunately, as long as this is the prevailing notion among the masses, it's rather unlikely that another Classic film channel will emerge. I sure hope to be proven wrong. I personally think that Television as a Medium is starting to die out. Over-saturation has killed it. In the future all you will have is the web.

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

> No, Ive never seen it. I do like Vidor though. I actually haven't seen that much with Gilbert to tell the truth. One thing I've seen, children REALLY lock on to silent films. It must be the over-exaggerated gestures and such. My sister is 9 and has been exposed to them (and classics in general) her whole life. You should see folks faces when she tells them that she and I watch A Christmas Carol every year, they assume it's the cartoon until she tells them it was made in 1938! lol

 

That's very true in general with children and older films. The exact problem is indeed really just a lack of exposure. Most people aren't invested enough in cinema to show older films to their children, they go out to the movie theater every week and see something new or watch whatever is on the general cable channels. And of course these newer films are often (or rather mostly) of lesser quality. Similarly, most people never read because they don't grow up around literature (it seems most people buy self-help books or Dan Brown novels nowadays.) And this extends to a lack of appreciation of art and culture in general. Schools can't do this alone, as many expect them to. Kids need a highly personalized experience to adopt an appreciation for these things (parents, siblings, family, role models.) They don't get it anymore.

 

Another problem specifically pertaining to silent movies: The image most people have of a silent movie usually comes from the 1910's or perhaps even earlier. They've never experienced any of the highly sophisticated films of the late 1920s. I think showing someone a Garbo film like last Sunday's The Single Standard would be eye opening for many with its naturalism. Chaplin, Birth of a Nation, Caligari, and Nosferatu: Unfortunately, that's the deepest most people tend to go.

 

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

>It's like the scene in The Scarlet Letter where Lillian Gish is holding her baby staring at Lars Hanson while he begs her to name her accomplice in front of the town, if you can watch that scene and not get chills you just don't get chills. There were a few scenes in this movie that were a bit like that, definitely one of the best silents I've had the pleasure of seeing.

 

So true.

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Jonas EB,

 

Your last point illustrates why it is so vitally important for a true Silent Movie masterpiece such as Vidor's *THE BIG PARADE* to be released on official DVD. It is along with Chaplin's *CITY LIGHTS* in my opinion the film that most likely should have been the first Silent features selected for TCM's *"The Essentials",* And neither film has ever been shown on the program thus far. Perhaps sometime *THE BIG PARADE* might conceivably still turn up on *THE ESSENTIALS* in the future once the 2004 restoration is at last available in a broadcast format, and has been aired a few times. I sure hope so, because it is still among the greatest movies ever made. Long overdue for major rediscovery.

 

Incidentally, I wanted to be sure to mention, did anyone else catch this? Just before the Prime-Time hour on TCM this evening, they ran a clip from the 1931 sound reissue of *THE BIG PARADE* during a *MGM Parade* extra from the 50's. Much of the epic *"Jimmy Leaves for the Front"* sequence joined in progress, minus a few key frames and some title cards, was shown. The *William Axt- David Mendoza, Maurice Barron music* was so drowned out by excessive sound effects tracks that it was highly distracting. I sure hope that when we finally see the new restoration on TCM, or DVD, that it does not have all those garbled sounds overpowering the music. :( I'm all for a new recording of the original 1925 Axt-Mendoza score, while at the same time if possible keeping the 1983 Carl Davis one. But We definitely don't need all those annoying effects tracks in the way. They are just not complimentary to the greatness of the film.

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> {quote:title=gagman66 wrote:}{quote}

> Incidentally, I wanted to be sure to mention, did anyone else catch this? Just before the Prime-Time hour on TCM this evening, they ran a clip from the 1931 sound reissue of *THE BIG PARADE* during a *MGM Parade* extra from the 50's. Much of the epic *"Jimmy Leaves for the Front"* sequence joined in progress, minus a few key frames and some title cards, was shown. The *William Axt- David Mendoza, Maurice Barron music* was so drowned out by excessive sound effects tracks that it was highly distracting. I sure hope that when we finally see the new restoration on TCM, or DVD, that it does not have all those garbled sounds overpowering the music. :( I'm all for a new recording of the original 1925 Axt-Mendoza score, while at the same time if possible keeping the 1983 Carl Davis one. But We definitely don't need all those annoying effects tracks in the way. They are just not complimentary to the greatness of the film.

>

 

Yes, I did notice that, and thought of you, our "Big Parade" expert. I meant to ask you if you know if a copy of the movie is available anywhere with that Axt / Mendoza score intact?

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musicalnovelty,

 

 

Ha, Ha! Thanks. I'm no expert believe me. I know next to nothing about Tom O'Brien apart from his role of "Bull O'Hara" in the film. Nor the lady who played Jack's Sweetheart back home for example. Can't even think of her name? Even the actor who was Gilbert's Brother Apperson either?

 

According to Jorge, when He was still in Argentina many years ago, there was a VHS version of the 1931 re-issue floating around at the time. The first version He ever saw. He never saw the Thames one until a few years later. The scary thing is that Warner's lopped the scoring track of the sound re-issue to the 2004 restoration in 35 millimeter rental prints, not the Carl Davis one. So I would hope both scores would be included on the DVD if and when it is ever released.

 

There was talk of Robert Israel and his Orchestra reprising the 1925 Axt-Mendoza score verbatim with a brand new recording. Unfortunately, it sounds like there are so many legal snafu's involved with such an idea that this possibility appears highly unlikely. They have preformed the score at several live events in the past. I was under the impression that most of the music was Public-Domain Fair. That's doesn't seem to be the case. Certainly the vaunted Love Theme "The Sweet Fever" is. It was written during the Teen's in France.

 

Only one more week, and *THE BIG PARADE* in which I'm sure is the non-remastered Thames Silents version is running on Silent Sunday Nights.

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> {quote:title=gagman66 wrote:}{quote}

> Incidentally, I wanted to be sure to mention, did anyone else catch this? Just before the Prime-Time hour on TCM this evening, they ran a clip from the 1931 sound reissue of *THE BIG PARADE* during a *MGM Parade* extra from the 50's. Much of the epic *"Jimmy Leaves for the Front"* sequence joined in progress, minus a few key frames and some title cards, was shown. The *William Axt- David Mendoza, Maurice Barron music* was so drowned out by excessive sound effects tracks that it was highly distracting. I sure hope that when we finally see the new restoration on TCM, or DVD, that it does not have all those garbled sounds overpowering the music. :( I'm all for a new recording of the original 1925 Axt-Mendoza score, while at the same time if possible keeping the 1983 Carl Davis one. But We definitely don't need all those annoying effects tracks in the way. They are just not complimentary to the greatness of the film.

 

I saw that. A lot of the early sound-on-film films did that but it's unnecessary or even wrong to put them in a normally completely silent film.

 

I'm getting tired of waiting for the remaining King Vidor and Victor Sjostrom films, among others, to come out on DVD. Give them to Criterion, release them on the too-pricey-for-what-you-get Archive series, or get these deluxe DVD (now preferably Blu-ray) sets done.

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JonasEB,

 

I agree that the Warner Archives, or something hopefully a little bit better such as the TCM Vault Series of the Thames/Photoplay MGM Silents is long overdue. Especially, *THE BIG PARADE.* But I have no idea if anything like that is even in production at the present time? In truth, I rather doubt that it is. Sure there were plans announced many times, but no real sign that those ever actually got off the ground or not.

 

As far as I can tell nothing has changed. The reason TCM hasn't run the 2004 restoration of *THE BIG PARADE* is that it has never been made available to them from Warner's in a broadcast format of any kind. Of course it also lacks a matched score, or does it? Jack says that the 35 millimeter rental prints were looped with the 1931 Re-issue track? What ever the case may be, I'm quite sure it's going to be the same Thames Silents version from the early 80's that runs here on TCM next week again. Otherwise, Chuck Tabesh would have said something that this was a new master, fresh transfer, what have you, when I last spoke with him back in March.

 

Normally I don't mind the vintage Goat Gland or Hybrid Silents, with the recorded tracks. Many I think are excellent. Like *SEVENTH HEAVEN* for example. And *FOUR SONS* which was much better with the Movie-Tone track, than what it has now. *TIDE OF EMPIRE, THE SINGLE STANDARD* too. But if that clip from the re-issue of *THE BIG PARADE* is any indication of what was done to the film in 1931, it was just not a good thing. I did manage to record the complete clip as it aired on Friday. I was lucky to get it.

 

That being said here is some food for thought from a May 2008 Interview with Kevin Brownlow. You may find these comments very surprising.

 

Question:

 

"I've read how *THE BIG PARADE* was augmented by special stage lighting, music, and sound effects, especially during the battle scenes, during its original New York run, making it a real multimedia presentation. Was this a common practice in the silent era, and if so, what other films received this type of treatment?"

 

Kevin's Answer:

 

"*Yes, presentation of big silent pictures was often spectacular. David Gill and I interviewed director Arthur Lubin for our documentary on D W Griffith because as a kid he had dropped cannonballs along wooden runways to suggest the sound of distant gunfire for the San Diego presentation of THE BIRTH OF A NATION. He was just one of several special effects men. CHANG, the Cooper-Schoedsack drama-documentary, had 6 foot thunder drums behind the screen which went into action when the screen enlarged for the elephant stampede. Exhibitors were always trying to turn silents into sound films! WINGS was so successful that in 1929 the film was still running, and it was equipped with an RCA Photophone track consisting of the sound of aeroplane engines and machine guns - and run double head - separate from the picture - to thrilled audiences. (The orchestra was still pounding away in the pit at the same time!)."*

 

 

Question:

 

Could you tell us more about your finding the long lost Camera Negative of *THE BIG PARADE* at Eastman House, and how that happened to come about? Also does any 2-Strip Technicolor footage still survive??? Few people have seen the new (2004) restoration, since it has only been screened at some live events so far. Naturally, many of us are most anxious to see this.

 

Answer from Kevin:

 

*"I was giving a talk at the Archive School at Eastman House in l997 when I asked how many students had seen THE BIG PARADE. To my surprise, none. So we arranged to screen it that same day. And although it was the sound reissue of 1931,I realised from the superb quality that it had been made from the camera negative. Eastman House preserve many MGM films, soI was conducted into the vault where we examined cans marked 'silent neg' The quality was only so-so. What about looking in the cans marked 'sound neg'? There was the original camera negative, with splices at each cut, and titles cut in which had been adjusted for sound academy ratio. But....archive practice means that you don't print direct from an original camera neg so when it was eventually 'restored', a fine grain was made. The new version is far superior to the one previously available that we did back in '83, but it would be wonderful to see the gorgeous quality of that print I saw in l997. No Technicolor was used on the film. There is one shot of an ambulance stuck in the mud for which a red cross was created using (I suspect) the Handschiegl process. I believe this was printed by Technicolor, originally. That may be where the confusion originated for Technicolor? I'm not sure?"*

 

Question: Will the Carl Davis score or the Axt-Mendoza one be used on the long promised DVD release? Perhaps both? Do you know?

 

Kevin's Response:

 

*"I've heard that they plan to include the re-issue track with the Axt-Mendoza score and the sound effects as an alternative to the Carl Davis score".*

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Kevin Brownlow's comments about the inclusion of both the original silent with a new score/Carl Davis score and the 1931 sound reissue are echoed in this interview about the recent How The West Was Won collector's package...http://www.filmradar.com/articles/item/an_interview_with_george_feltenstein_for_how_the_west_was_won/

 

*"What about The Big Parade? It is among my most favorite silent films.*

 

 

*We are planning that for 2009. We will hopefully be releasing both the original 1925 version and the 1931 ?sound re-issue? which had a score with sound effects synchronized. We?ve planned something very big around that. We want to do a King Vidor set with The Crowd and The Big Parade and some of his other silents. There is a lot more silent film coming from Warner Home Video!"*

 

It's encouraging; these two comments from Brownlow and Feltenstein indicate that Warner is seriously working out a box set. I'd gladly pay $100, in fact I'd buy two, for a set including The Big Parade, The Crowd, La Boheme, The Patsy, and Show People (and perhaps some of the earlier Vidor silents that have never seen a home video release?) 2009 has passed. Oh, Warner, quit teasing us!

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JonasEB ,

 

Again just plans, but "seriously working on"? Don't count on it. Not until I see something concrete to that effect will I be convinced that the project ever got beyond the idea stage. Word has it the announced clear back in 2006 follow up Lon Chaney Collection Box set was shot down by the Powers That Be. Definitely not what we wanted to hear after waiting this long.

 

*THE PATSY* was already released by Warner Archive last year. Although, if they wanted to include it in a Vidor box set, maybe we could get the Alternate Maud Nielssen score produced by Photoplay Productions with it? As well as the alternate Carl Davis score for *SHOW PEOPLE.*

 

Among the other King Vidor Silent's I would very much appreciate having the chance to to see, would be first and far most *HIS HOUR (1924),* as it was a Milestone for both Vidor, and John Gilbert. Really the film that made Jack a Superstar. And hey, the story is by Elinor Glyn too!

 

Then you have *WINE OF YOUTH (1924)* which I have seen and it's terrific. Huge cast, led by Eleanor Boardman and William Haines. Another Boardman picture *PROUD FLESH (1925).* is a thought. Would love to see any of these in a restored print. But of course all of these need recorded scores too. Any of those three would be most welcome.

 

Must mention *WIFE OF THE CENTAUR (1924)* if it still exists? A fragment was found in 2008. But as far as I am aware, the film itself is considered lost. However, it wasn't included on a very recent list of lost MGM's titles that I saw at all, so who knows? *BARDELYS THE MAGNIFICENT* was of course released by Flicker Alley last year. So that wouldn't be in the mix.

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This might be short notice, I only discovered this last night, but I wanted to mention that *The Trail of ?98* is airing at 6:30am/EST. The film features Dolores Del Rio, Ralph Forbes and Karl Dane, with direction by Clarence Brown, and a story set in the Klondike gold fields. I?ve never seen this one and I thought I would record it to watch later.

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Karin, Wendy,

 

Yes I had been meaning to mention this. *THE TRAIL OF '98* is out on DVD from Warner Archive. However, this is the first time TCM has run the movie since 2003 or 2004. Maybe even 2002?

 

One thing of note, the film is not complete, missing about a reel. The print is good, but not great. With a vintage scoring track. Obviously re-cut in spots where footage is missing. Kino of makes up for *WHAT PRICE GLORY?* having been canceled, to be able to see another Delores Del Rio Silent.

 

Incidentally, I just uploaded a bunch of music, and will be uploading more on TCM Classic Film Union. Including for Mother's Day the *MUTTERCHEN* song from John Ford's *FOUR SONS.* And a vintage recording of *CHARMAINE.* Also a song inspired by *THE BIG PARADE.*

 

Here are the links:

 

 

 

http://fan.tcm.com/_My-Dream-of-the-Big-Parade-Peerless-Quartet-with-Henry-Burr-38-Billy-Murray-1926mp3/audio/698358/66470.html

 

 

http://fan.tcm.com/_CHARMAINE-1926-From-WHAT-PRICE-GLORY-Erno-Rapee-Lew-Pollack/audio/698426/66470.html

 

 

http://fan.tcm.com/_Four-Sons-1928-Little-Mother-Theme-Mutterchen-By-Vaughn-De-Leath/audio/698436/66470.html

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Wendy,

 

Yes, of course. They honestly might have thought of running *FOUR SONS* for Mother's Day, instead of Memorial Day. I'm glad they are running it though at last. Although, minus the Erno Rapee' Lew Pollack Movie-tone track it is just not the same film. A miserable decision by Fox to commission an all new score that could never hope of being as good, or effective.

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I'm a tad disappointed in the Mother's Day lineup, but that's OK. I don't want to be one of those naysayers who latch onto any complaint so they can denigrate our wonderful TCM!

 

Thanks Jeff! I hope you get a lot of hits on your Union page for that beautiful Mutterchen theme....

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Wendy,

 

Actually, I think I uploaded the wrong file of the *Little Mother* song? I sent it to Jorge for repairs, and I believe I just found the file that He worked on? It's a little crisper and has more volume.

 

I've uploaded a bunch of songs and melodies, and few people have found them on TCM Classic Film Union, so please give them a listen and leave feedback. I would very much appreciate it. I am going to be adding a couple versions of "*MY DIANE"* from *SEVENTH HEAVEN,* and *ANGELIA MIA* from *STREET ANGEL,* as soon as I find the right files. Also *CROSS ROADS* from *SHOW PEOPLE* and several others.Already added *GOOD NEWS.* Also several Colleen Moore and Clara Bow related songs. *NEAPOLITAN NIGHTS* from *FAZIL,* And the original theme for Chaney's **LAUGH CLOWN LAUGH,** among others.

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