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Have You Seen These Silents??


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Hi again Alix.... to my knowledge TCM has never shown these.... But yes they would be great to see. Belle Bennett got raves for Stella Dallas, and Sally Irene and Mary was a big hit and helped launch Joan Crawford and Constance Bennett. Didn't hurt William Haines either--lol...


I wish TCM would publish something on the "condition" of their silent films.... Are they deteriorated? Just lacking musical scores? They sit on hundreds of silent films they never show....


The Red Mill (Marion Davies) is another I'd love to see.....

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I was lucky to find a somewhat grainy, unscored VHS copy of the silent Stella Dallas a couple of years ago by posting a message at a film site somewhere. I know that very high quality copies of this film still exist because I have spoken to individuals at Kino and MOMA about the film I have inquired at Kino and Flicker Alley but there has been little interest in releasing it. It is also likely to be in the public domain. Most United Artists films from that time did not have their copyrights renewed in the 50's. The film is actually quite good, well directed by Henry King (Tol'able David, etc.), beautifully photographed, and paced well. And Belle Bennett is excellent. The rest of the cast is very good as well. It doesn't "feel" like a film of that era. The acting is very naturalistic. If there is any interest I can try to find the source for this video and leave a posting here.



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I am a huge fan of the Stanwyck version of STELLA DALLAS, and naturally would love to see the original. I also have a copy of a 1941 STELLA DALLAS book--interestingly it contains a note that it is not bound in leather due to wartime shortages, but is "durabound," whatever that meant. I think it was a 1940's high quality paper over cardboard.


I too had heard that Belle Bennett was great, as Stella. I have entertained the hope for a long time to find a copy, but never have. To actually have a nice clear copy would be a thrill!


As to it being unscored, I still feel there are many hungry composers who would enjoy the chance to score ANYTHING! Pay 'em and let's get some of these silent treats out to the viewers who appreciate them!



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Ed, I'd just die if all those silents I'm dreaming to see are sitting in a vault DETERIORIATING! I certainly hope that TCM protects their Hollywood heritage, and keeps working on restoration.


(Yeah, I know, that costs money, but why invest in something like a film library and then let it turn to powder??)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Whether MGM still has any rights to Sally, Irene, and Mary is the question.


It was based on a play, and either Metro only bought it for a limited term or else they sold it, because Fox remade the pic in 1938 as an Alice Faye vehicle. That one doesn't seem to have surfaced on home video either, and it's possible that Fox also bought it for just a limited term and no longer owns the rights.


If Fox did buy the property from Metro, the original silent version may have been trucked over there, along with the script materials. Doesn't seem likely MGM would have spent any effort preserving it in their own archives if they had lost the rights to the property. Of course, in the 30s there wasn't that much effort to preserve silent films anyway, since nobody ever thought they'd be worth a nickel commercially again.

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