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Just now getting around to some stuff on my DVR


brackenhe
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I'm just now getting around to watching some stuff I recorded during Summer Under The Stars in August. Most notably John Gilbert, Renee Adoree & Lionel Barrymore in The Show and two Norma Shearer silents, Lady of Chance & Lady of the Night. I enjoyed all three immensely, especially the Shearer films.

 

The Show was a gritty tale about carnival folk. Gilbert plays the appropriately named **** Robin, a true ****-of-the-walk front man who's job it is to entice folks to see the freak show. He's a true hedonist who basically is a user until circumstances finally force him to do realize a few things about himself. Adoree is great in the role of Salome named after the character she plays in the tableau she performs at the carnival. She's hopelessly in love with Robin, but has apparently been rejected and has taken up with Barrymore's slimy gangster type--he's very menacing in this part. I won't go into any more details regarding the plot, but I recommend this film based on Adoree's performance mainly, although the other leads are quite good as well.

 

I've always liked Shearer but I've only seen a couple of her silents--He Who Gets Slapped & Student Prince in Old Heidelberg. But these two films, Lady of Chance & Lady of the Night, she gets to play women who are living hand to mouth and sometimes resorts to crimes to survive. In Lady of Chance, she plays Dolly, a con woman who's out to snag a rich guy in order to live the easy life. While working at a fancy hotel, she's spotted by a couple of old pals, played by Lionel Sherman & Gwen Lee, who force her into starting back the old con game of shaking down rich men through blackmail. She finds a guy to marry and tries to get away from her "gang" so the riches won't have to be shared. But she falls for the guy she married, played by the handsome but naive Johnny Mack Brown and her background as a con is revealed to him. It's a fast paced, funny film with serious moments and Shearer is quite good in the film. And of course, Lionel Sherman is great--I love that guy in anything I've ever seen him in. He plays the cynical crook with great humor. Highly recommended.

 

Lady of the Night give Shearer the chance to play two roles--one, a well born good girl and the other a street wise kid who's life hasn't been as rosy. I won't go into details other than to say she's the whole show here. Her two leading men are just there and aren't given much to do. It's a good film but not as good as Lady of Chance. Shearer shines in her parts though.

 

Just wanted to write a few thoughts about these silent films.

 

Edited by: helenbaby on Dec 15, 2010 8:17 AM

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Helenbaby -

 

I am so glad you wrote your thoughts on these movies - I think Jeff will agree that Renee Adoree is probably the most under appreciated actress of the silent era. I think Norma is very good in her silent work.

 

Lowell Sherman has become one of my favorite favorite character actors, he's marvelous in pretty much everything I've ever seen him in, silent or talking. He had lots of charm and even when he was playing a rake, you still liked him. What a shame he died so young.

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