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Flappers


Guest Alix

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Yes, it is quite sad that TCM (or FMC, etc.) doesn't air many of his films--with the exceptions of WEST POINT and HOLLYWOOD REVUE OF 1929, which are shown very rarely...Those are the only two I've seen him in, so it would definitely be nice to see his other films. William Haines was quite like a male flapper, wasn't he?! I didn't know he was #1 at the box office, actually. That proves even more that we should get to see more of him! I am a huge fan of Colleen Moore, so I know exactly what you mean when you mention the lack of attention people seem to be giving to actors like these ("these" being the lesser known stars). I mean, Colleen was the top draw in 1927, you know. I haven't seen WHAT PRICE HOLLYWOOD, (although I have seen A STAR IS BORN both Janet Gaynor and Judy Garland), so Im excited to see it!!!

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Guest Lorusso, Ed

William Haines was in the top 5 box office from 1927 to 1932--amazing when you see how bad his talkies were. Like John Gilbert, Clara Bow, Lillian Gish, Gloria Swanson--they were all given drivel to do, with the exception of a decent film here and there. Lowell Sherman, another fave, was a standout in the wonderful Way Down East (1920) with Gish and Richard Barthelmess, as the villain as well as What Price Hollywood as the boozy director. I also liked him in Bachelor Apartment, Mae Murray's only talkie. Sherman also directed some big films like Morning Glory, an early Mae West starrer, and The Greeks had a Word for Them..... He died of pneumonia in 1934 (I think).... Lowell Sherman was in his mid40s.

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You are correct, Ed, that it's a surprise Haines was able to stay on top with his somewhat disappointing talkies. I did enjoy him in JUST A GIGOLO. I thought he was very sexy and played well against the upper crust Brittish regular C. Aubrey Smith. Ed, are you sure Mae West was in MORNING GLORY? I thought that starred Katherine Hepburn, Doug Fairbanks, Jr., and Adophe Menjou?

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That's weird, I thought Katharine Hepburn was in MORNING GLORY, too. Maybe there's a different version I don't know of, or something?? I would have to slighty disagree with you, Ed, with your statement that Clara Bow didn't have any decent talkies--CALL HER SAVAGE and HOOPLA seem to be pretty good (I've seen clips of each). But it is true that the others (John Gilbert, etc.) weren't offered any great roles.

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Guest son, jery

A dream movie that I wish and wish had been made would have been starring those twin bombshells, Clara Bow and her male twin, Billy Haines, together in a red-hot flapper, gin-soaked, Charleston movie! Those moguls back then didn't have any imagination--except the one time that co-starred the glorious Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino in "Beyond the Rocks." This latest has just been released by Grapevine Video and I am gonna get me a copy soonest. I always heard that Clara never wore lace panties or anything beneath those short, sexy little skirts. But if you notice in "The Wild Party," she jumps out of a car, her dress flies up and she's wearing beautiful silk unmentionables! Can't you just see Bow and Haines dancing up a storm?

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Yes, they'd have made a hot team! Can you imagine her flapping her eyes at him, and pouting those lips, and him teasing her unmercifully? Oh, that'd have been a good pairing!

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Johnny Mack Brown Alert! Our delicious JMB will feature in two westerns on November 14. MONTANA MOON, which I think has aired countless times, and BILLY THE KID. Both date back to 1930. Even if we've seen them before, who doesn't need a fix of that gorgeous hunk-0-man?

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Guest Lyndsey

I've seen both-- Johnny is wonderful. MONTANA MOON isn't a particularily wonderful film, but I like Joan Crawford and Dorothy Sebastian, so I can sit through it alright because of that. They were lovely together in other films as well (OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS, OUR BLUSHING BRIDES, etc.). I liked Dorothy; too bad her career never went anywhere.

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Guest son, jery

Git-along, Johnny Mack, I'm coming after ya! Thanks for the alert Alix. Anything starring Mr. Gorgeous from Alabam'is a treat to be savored. I wish TCM would do a bio on him. Or, again, a docu on the "Hunks of the Silents"--there were such beautiful men back then--like the drool-a-licious Buddy Rogers,Billy Haines, Ramon Navarro, Victor Laughlin. Maybe we could even edge in the stunning David Manners and Charles Starrett. What'd ya say, huh?

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You can certainly edge in David Manners and Charles Starrett! You know how I feel about those two! Manners kind of had an overly melodramatic acting style that would have fit in fine with silent film acting.

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Was Helen Twelvetrees ever considered to be a flapper? I'd never seen one of her movies until I saw YOUNG BRIDE the other day, and I liked her a lot. She reminded me of Kay Johnson a little in the looks department. Anyway, I know she played in lots of pre-Codes, and wondered if she had a career in the silents. Anyone know?

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Guest Lyndsey

Hmm, I'm not sure if she was a flapper. She'd be really cute as one, though! Her personality is very flapperesque. I do know that she wasn't in a whole lot of silents. She's more recognizable in her talkies. Or at least I think so...Then again, I don't remember seeing any of her silent pictures. I looked her up, and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot on her (at least not where I'm looking). Maybe I should search in some other places...

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Guest Dan, Coffee

Helen Twelvetrees made her film debut in THE GHOST TALKS at Fox in 1929. Her second film, BLUE SKIES, was the only silent film she ever made. The following year, she starred in THE CAT CREEPS at Universal, the sound remake of THE CAT AND THE CANARY, playing the Laura LaPlante role. Later in 1930, she signed with RKO where she made the string of movies we've been seeing lately on TCM -- THE PAINTED DESERT, MILLIE, BAD COMPANY, A WOMAN OF IMPORTANCE, and YOUNG BRIDE among them. At her peak in 1932, she was making $2,500 a week. That year, she was lent to MGM for UNASHAMED, a prime pre-code melodrama written by Bayard Veiller, author of THE TRIAL OF MARY DUGAN. She also had a big hit in STATE'S ATTORNEY with John Barrymore, and RKO was planning to team them again in A BILL OF DIVORCEMENT. At that time, Helen and her husband Clark Twelvetrees were planning to adopt a baby boy, and Helen wanted to take a year off to raise him. The boy's arrival coincided with the start of production on the film, and she had to reluctantly give up the part. This was good news to director George Cukor, who didn't think she could handle the role. He replaced her with a new actress the studio had just tested, Katharine Hepburn -- and the rest is cinema history. But when Helen returned to filmmaking in 1933, she had a hard time finding work. She free-lanced for a few years, but never earned more than $600 a week. She went to Australia and made one film, returning to the United States to make still a few more before retiring in 1940. Long separated from her husband, she committed suicide in 1958 by an overdose of pills.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I caught one of our favorite flappers, Anita Page, in a PBS bio special on Lon Chaney tonight. Apparently she and Chaney starred together (he naturally had top billing) in a 1928 feature called WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS. Anita would have been about 18 years old and looks really cute and stylish. She also had darker brown hair! I'm so used to seeing her as a blond I had to look twice. Has anyone seen this movie? About 7 people on the imdb have voted, so it must be out there somewhere.

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  • 6 months later...

I love the flapper fashions, especially the debutante dresses-I always thought that "flapper" style meant the shortish straight dresses, but now that I know better, I LOVE those feminine dresses with the fuller skirts, the sheer delicate fabrics, and often many layers-some of the skirts were fashioned like hundreds of little flower petals making the skirt. They are just beautiful! And the hats-why oh why don't we wear hats anymore, I mean REALLY wear hats, not just now and then, but regularly!Women were so elegant then, and dainty,and perfectly groomed-nothing these days or for a long time since then comes even remotely close! I even like the hair styles-marcelled or curls or rolled under in the back, or ANY of the styles:)

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If you want to hear some really good tunes from the Jazz Age, before the Big Band Sound came in(I love that also though), go to Live 365, there are about three stations that play all Jazz Age music. I'm listening to the station "Sweet & Lovely" right now, it's great! To find the others, just do a search with the term "twenties"

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In the flapper movies I've seen, the dresses and gowns worn by the women are beyond fabulous. That beaded, sequined gown worn by Anita Page in the big party scene at the end of "Broadway melody" is an absolute stunner. Remember, she wore that one with a stunning white ermine cape. Also, in another flaper movie, "Bare Knees," Virginia Lee Corby wears unforgettable flapper fashions. Light, chiffon gowns way above the knees, with trains behind them. In "Diary of a Lost Girl," Louise Brooks wore silk frocks and hats that really made the character. In "Our Dancing Daughters", Joan Crawford and Anita Page also wore adorable hats and flapper gowns.

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Paty, you are soooo right about that beaded gown that Queenie wears in BROADWAY MELODY. Oh, what a stunner--the gown and Miss Page too!

 

I also want to sing the praises of the cloche hat. It's a crime that women today don't wear hats daily. It really did provide a "finished" look to an outfit, plus, if the hat was right, it could be really sexy.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 years later...

I think Clara Bow was the ultimae flapper but the real tragedy of Bow and so many other silent screen greats is that their work is no longer available for viewing--or their movies have become lost. Although not a silent, Bow's "The Wild Party" shows the IT girl wearing some unforgettable flapper fashions. Bow was simply made for those skirt-above-the-knee fashions and in one scene, she wears a fabulous ermine-trimmed coat to a midnight party. there's one scene of her jumping from her car and her skirt flies up for a split second to expose Bow's silk panties. I'd love to have a time machine and been in a big, oldfasihoned movie palace and seen Bow in "Red Hair," "Man Trap", "Love Among the Millionaires", etc. Viva la Bow!

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