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Silent Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde


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As of 0115hrs June 5, 2006, my favorite silent film is 1920 DJ&MH with Barrymore. You can tell this movie was made in NY and not in Hollywoodland! A lot of brains and talent went into the production. From a classic point of view, it beats the heck out of Metropolis or Birth of a Nation. Even though I regard Robert Osborne as one of my own family members I took exception to his "apologizing" for the dated "special effects". Most of us know as well as the experts that it takes magnificent ability to contort one's facial features so convincingly. Did anyone besides me notice?--very few dialogue cards were needed to tell the story. I only wish I were a lip reader--no doubt the players were saying actual dialogue when they "spoke". With no offense intended to the amateur composers to whom TCM caters, I had to turn the sound off COMPLETELY to really let myself be engrossed in the film.

 

It was a masterpiece.

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Regarding the music for Jekyll and Hyde, sometimes the music merely sets the mood, and I could be more forgiving. In the scene where Nita Naldi is dancing onstage, I thought the music should be literal though. It should seem as if the music were actually coming from the pub where Miss Naldi was dancing. The movie showed a piano and violin duo accompanying Miss Naldi, but there was no way that she could dance to the soundtrack that was playing...

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I agree with you about that silly music. That's why I may tune in but for only a few minutes. I find silent's difficult to watch. Perhaps if they took out the musical score it may be better. Now if I were readying a silent to be shown I'd omit all original music and replace it with a modern band sound. AND, those new so-called composers who score new music they ought to listen to Stan Kenton or any composer like Hermann or Roza. Now there and then, was a musical score!

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Jack,

 

I remember spotting Nita Naldi's star on the Walk of Fame last September and someone had left an orchid on it -- mauve, I think... I thought that was very nice and many people remarked about it. Nobody knew who she was, but I refrained from commenting as I didn't want to come across as "a know-it-all"........

 

In the 50's, she appeared on TV with Leatrice Joy, Lila Lee and the Gish sisters in an interview about the silents.

When the moderator asked, "Would you like to relive those heady days again?", Nita clasped her heaving busoms and cried out, "Oh Gawd!, could we?"........

I had to laugh, she was so dramatic.

 

Larry

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I found Nita Naldi's beauty in Jekyll to be very contemporary. She wouldn't have looked out of place today.

 

I love the thought of an orchid resting on her star, and pray that it wasn't there because it had been inadvertently kicked from Vera Hruba Ralston's piece of terrazzo.

 

Thank you for that story, vl.

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Hey Jack,

 

Her orchid had a piece of scotch tape across the stem, so I think it was really intended for Nita.

About 5 years ago, I heard that there was to be a movie about Rudolph Valentino - yes, another one, but the real story this time. Jennifer Tilley was to be cast as Nita Naldi, which I thought was appropriate. She resembles Nita.

 

I think Jennifer was a hoot as Louella Parsons in that movie about Ince's murder.

But, believe me, Lollie Parsons never looked that good.

 

Larry

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I wonder whatever happened to this Valentino movie? Jennifer Tilley is an underrated actress (and I wish she'd stop making those Chucky horror films). And now I'll be imagining what tokens I could leave on the stars of my favorite industry charcters...

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Jack,

 

This movie died a bornin' so to speak. The producer died and the script wasn't very good or accurate and everybody got doing other things.

In 2002 in Vegas, I was at a dinner party with some backers of this movie and Jennifer was the only one cast. I suggested Margo Kidder for Pola Negri but someone said she was too old and unreliable. So I suggested Meg Tilley for Pola and they thought that was good....

Nobody knew who to cast as Valentino, so I just knew this was all a pipe dream.

 

Jennifer needs someone to give her a great movie and support her. She is one of the greats of today, if only given the chance.

 

Larry

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Maximo,

 

Last night, I watched the Valentino film "Beyond The Rocks". I mentioned to my wife while watching "Beyond The Rocks" that, for a couple of scenes, the modern score was distracting, not enhancing, the story. Overall, I thought the "Beyond The Rocks" music was fine...just a couple of movie moments that the jazzy music was a distraction. After "Beyond The Rocks" we watched a recording of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". I 'take back' anything negative I said concerning the score for "Beyond The Rocks". The music for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" was a complete distraction--at least the first fifteen minutes of the movie. Why do I say the first fifteen minutes? Because, like you, I turned down the sound...'popped back' to the beginning of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and started watching. With no sound, I was able to concentrate and appreciate John Barrymore's wonderful performance.

 

Rusty

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