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John Gilbert


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This is an odd thought...so forgive me.

 

Do you think if the romance between Garbo & Gilbert had panned out (marriage & living happily ever after) Gilbert might have been more stable, and been able to weather the transition?

 

By most accounts, he was devestated when Garbo left him at the altar, and we all know a broken heart can affect one's work performance.

 

Surely this is simply speculation, but I was wondering your thoughts...

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Good point, Alix.... It's probably a mix of all that has been mentioned here... No simple reason but add it all together (Garbo, talkies, Mayer, ego, drinking) and it spells disaster. What a loss. Saw Queen Christina again and Gilbert was really good.

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I also just saw QUEEN CHRISTINA again, and I thought the exact same thing! I know it is Garbo's film, but all the way through I kept thinking, "He was good! Why didn't anyone see that??"

 

Maybe the better question was, "Why didn't anyone care?"

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I think one of the reasons is that Gilbert's performance in QUEEN CHRISTINA, as good as it was, was actually a throwback to the roles he had played in silent pictures. It probably seemed old-fashioned to 1933 audiences.

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I am going to have to try and see more of John Gilbert's silents. I liked him in "Queen Christina" though I thought he was a little too modern or maybe American sounding for the part of a Spanish nobleman, especially when combind with garbo's accented English, but he worked in the part. However, the only silent I've seen with him was "Flesh and the Devil" and frankly, I thought he looked like a pole-axed ox whenever his character was staring at Garbo. She was wonderful, but i just thought he was funny. I'm assuming he was better in some of his other films, like "The Big Parade" or "La Boheme?"

I read in onw of Dietrich's bios that she wanted him for the John Halliday part in "desire." I think he would have been good in that also and maybe that would have set him up for more similar parts.

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It's great to see the genre forums up and running again, it's been a long time. I'm so glad Dan posted a topic on my favorite male actor, the great John Gilbert. I must say my favorite Gilbert talkie is Downstairs. I think it's one of the ten best movies made in the 1930's. I just recently purchased a beautiful Downstairs herald off eBay for like $10, it looks awesome framed. I really enjoyed Fast Workers too. It's interesting that Virginia Cherill is billed so prominently in that movie and she is onscreen for about two-seconds. Anyway, I look forward to seing Desert Nights and hope that His Glorius Night is shown sometime on TCM (God knows I've requested it).

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I didn't mind Desert Nights. Sometimes it's great just watch a performer like Gilbert, regardless of what's he up to and just how bad the film might actually be. I'm a little miffed that The Phantom of Paris isn't going to shown in Canada this month. I was so looking forward to it and I don't understand why it can't be shown since it's an MGM release (not that I mind it's replacement, Men Are Such Fools, with Bogart, which is one of the only Warner Bogart pictures I've never seen, but I'd rather have the rarer Gilbert picture). I usually like the replacement films for Canada better than the normal US programming such as this morning's airing of Central Park. I've wanted to see that film for a long time. Oh, guess I'm ranting.

 

I'd be curious to know your thoughts on Desert Nights when you get around to watching the film. Ernest Torrence is always a pleasure to watch in anything!

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I was a litle disappointed with "Desert Nights". With a title like that I was expecting a romantic,Valentino-ish, romp. Even odder, with the camera always so close and the prepondernace of title cards, it looked exactly like one of those "silent version of a talkie" films that came out in '29 and '30 for theaters not yet wired for sound.

 

I know it was filmed as a silent, but it looked as though the filmmakers were employing camera set ups, and the blocking of actors, as they were being done in the new talking films.

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I'm glad it wasn't a Valentino-ish rip-off. I think the reasons why I didn't mind it were precisely those you cited. It is probably best viewed as a transitional film. Not a classic by any stretch, but Gilbert was good, and Torrence can rarely do wrong in my eyes.

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Hi,

I really enjoy "Phantom of Paris". It is one of my favorite Gilbert talkies (along with "Downstairs"). Neither is shown very often so be sure to set your vcr or dvr to record "Phantom" this month. You never know when it will be on again. I hope you will like it as much as I do.

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Oops, I forgot about the scheduling problem when I wrote my post. Sorry. "Desert Nights" was supposed to air back in November and got pulled too. I was so pleased they actually showed it the other day. I hope they will add "Phantom of Paris" back to the Canadian schedule soon. Check out the General message board. Sometimes one of the TCM programmers will check in and answer questions about the schedule. Good luck.

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I am fairly new to John Gilbert.

 

Last night I watched "Phantom of Paris" and really enjoyed it. The only other films I've seen him in were "Flesh and the Devil" (which I LOVE), and "Queen Christina" (which I also love).

 

I also TiVo'd "Fast Workers", and look forward to watching that sometime this week.

 

I'd like to see more of his silents...I've only seen the one. But I have enjoyed the talkies too, and really don't understand the comments that he wasn't able to make it in talkies because of his voice. Personally, I think it's fine!

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