Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gösta Berling's Saga (1924)


In 1820s Sweden, minister Gösta Berling (Lars Hanson) loses his parish due to alcoholism, and finds refuge at Ekeby, an estate that also houses war veterans, run by the Majoress Margaretha Celsing (Gerda Lundequist).  Over the course of the film, Gösta encounters several adventures on his journey to redemption, including meeting the Countess Elisabeth Dohna (Greta Garbo).

Interesting Notes
:
- Greta Garbo's first big movie role; she was nineteen.
- This is the film that led to Greta and director Mauritz Stiller being brought to Hollywood to work for MGM.
- Based on the book by Selma Lagerlöf.

Thoughts
:
This film is epic.  It's sweeping and beautiful and multi-layered, with gorgeous cinematography and a stunning soundtrack.  A few scenes to look for are the one on the frozen lake, and later on when Elisabeth and Gösta reunite.  The burning of Ekeby is also very impressive.

I really like it, though it's probably not for everyone -- the film is nearly three hours long and has numerous story arcs, and is probably best for those of us who can enjoy lengthier silents.

Intertitle
:
"I put up a fight -- but love held me in its grip."

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Monday, October 25, 2010

True Heart Susie (1919)


Susie (Lillian Gish) loves her neighbor, William (Robert Harron), and secretly makes sacrifices so that he can go to college and become successful.  When he returns, she hopes that he will ask for her hand in marriage -- but instead, he weds another girl!  And what should Susie do when she finds out that William's new wife is unfaithful?

Thoughts
:
True Heart Susie
is such a good film -- near perfect in its scope, acting, and direction.  The early years of cinema are some of my favorites because the storylines are often so simplistic and sweet, whisking one back to such a lovely nostalgic time.  Director D.W. Griffith was well-known for his brilliant, old-fashioned tales.  Lillian Gish and Robert Harron are both so cute together, and the film takes many turns that keep the viewer in suspense until the end.  And the score is excellent -- I saved several of the tracks to listen to later on.

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ½

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hoodoo Ann (1916)


Ann (Mae Marsh) has a terrible life at an orphanage.  Not only is she ignored by the other girls and treated as a servant, but it is believed that she is under a curse ('hoodoo') that will not be lifted until after marriage.  After being adopted by a kindly couple and falling in love with Jimmie (Robert Harron), a neighborhood boy, Ann hopes that her life is starting to take a new direction.  She begins to have fun, even enjoying a movie date with Jimmie.  But trouble begins again for Ann after she decides to imitate the lead actress of the film -- and plays with a loaded gun.  Did Ann shoot her neighbor -- who happens to be lying on the floor of his house across the street?  Will Jimmie still want to marry her after discovering what she's done?  And will Ann ever be rid of this plaguing curse?

Thoughts
:
This is an odd little film -- rather uneven and implausible, not as charming as I'd anticipated, but still neat to see because it's sweet and offers good performances.  I'd seen Mae Marsh before in supporting parts, but this was the first time I ever watched a vehicle of her own.  The first half of the story is kind of weird, in part because the orphans all look much too old for the children they're supposed to be, but the second half after Ann's adoption is more interesting.  The relationship between Ann and Jimmie is cute and simple to fit the times, but Robert Harron doesn't have all that much to do, unfortunately.

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sunrise (1927)


The Man (George O'Brien) is tempted by The City Woman (Margaret Livingston) to leave his country farm and come away with her -- after drowning his Wife (Janet Gaynor), in a boating "accident."  The City Woman paints such a dazzling picture of the vibrant city that the Man wonders if such a life would be better than the quiet, everyday one he has now.  He decides to take his wife for a trip across the water, but soon finds that nothing goes as planned . . .

Thoughts
:
Sunrise
is absolutely amazing. What other film could, all at once, be hauntingly dark, hopeful, sweet, exciting, and nearly overwhelmingly gorgeous?

The storyline is so memorable and unique, while the stunning cinematography lingers in one's mind for some time afterward.  There are so many astoundingly beautiful moments that use thoughts and imagery to bring to life the desires of the characters.

Silent films are a lost art, and Sunrise is truly a masterpiece.

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday, October 22, 2010

Manhandled (1924)


Tessie McGuire (Gloria Swanson) decides to quit her job as a salesgirl so she can find better employment and move up in the world, like her boyfriend, Jimmy Hogan (Tom Moore).  While he's off becoming successful with his new invention, Tessie tries working as an artist's model and playacting the role of a Russian countess.  The pay is good, but when Jimmy returns, he is shocked to find Tessie with a closet full of expensive gowns.  He accuses her of being "manhandled," just like those goods she once despised selling.

Thoughts
:
Gloria Swanson is one of my favorite actresses!  This is a good little silent, very funny with any unevenness in the plot being redeemed by Gloria's excellent performance.  She's entirely believable in her role as a shopgirl, from being pushed around in the iconic subway scene (poor thing!), in struggling to make ends meet, trying out different jobs, arguing with Tom.  Gloria was equally good at drama and comedy and this story really gave her a chance to shine and be genuinely funny!  And it was nice to see everything be resolved in the end.

Intertitle
:
"The world lets a girl think that its pleasures and luxuries may be hers without cost — that's chivalry. But if she claims them on this basis, it sends her a bill in full, with no discount — that's reality."

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No Man of Her Own (1932)


Gambler Jerry "Babe" Steward (Clark Gable) heads to a small town to lay low from the law.  While there, he meets and marries librarian Connie Randall (Carole Lombard) and pretends to have a job on Wall Street while secretly continuing gambling on the side.  But what will happen to their relationship after Connie discovers his marked cards?

Interesting Note
:
Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were married in real life from 1939 until 1942.

Thoughts
:
This was such a pleasant little pre-code comedy, sweet and interesting, with any implausibilities made hardly noticeable by the great cast.   It's fun to see a young Clark Gable with future wife Carole Lombard; this was their only on-screen pairing.  They already had such magnetism together, and it's a pity they didn't do more pictures together after they were married.

Quote
:
"I never go back on a coin."

Rating:
♥ ♥ ♥ ½

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ninotchka (1939)


After three Russians Buljanoff (Felix Brassart), Iranoff (Sig Rumand), and Kopalski (Alexander Granach) bungle the sale of the Grand Duchess Swana's (Ina Clare) jewels in Paris, special envoy Nina "Ninotchka" Yakushova (Greta Garbo) is brought in to correct the situation.

Shortly after arriving, she meets Leon d'Algout (Melvyn Douglas), a Parisian count who finds her fascinating -- but also happens to be the Grand Duchess' representative in the jewelry suit.  Ninotchka, though interested in Leon, leaves after realizing his identity, feeling that it's best to continue her work and not become distracted.  However, after a few more meetings with Leon -- Ninotchka loses her stern exterior and realizes that she loves him too.

Unfortunately, another incident with the jewels forces Ninotchka to leave behind the happiness of Paris and abruptly return to Russia.  Will she and Leon ever reunite?

Interesting Notes
:
- The second pairing of Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas.
- The entire movie was constructed around the tag-line "Garbo Laughs."

Thoughts
:
1939 was said to be Hollywood's greatest year -- and Ninotchka is by far my favorite of all those films released then.

Greta Garbo had been primarily a tragic heroine for most of her films in the 1920s and 1930s, and this movie was meant to lighten her image.  Turns out that she was wonderful with comedy, too!  I absolutely love how Ninotchka's personality changed throughout the movie, and Greta's chemistry with Melvyn Douglas was perfect.  They were so great together!

My favorite scene is when Ninotchka and Leon are in the restaurant and he tries to make her laugh by telling funny stories.  But the entire movie is just amazingly good.  I love it.

Quote
:
Ninotchka: I am only interested in the shortest distance between these two points.  Must you flirt?
Leon: I don't have to, but I find it natural.
Ninotchka: Suppress it.
Leon: I'll try.

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Holiday (1938)


After Johnny Case (Cary Grant) becomes engaged to Julia Seton (Doris Nolan), he comes for a visit to meet her family: father, Edward (Henry Kolker), brother, Ned (Lew Ayres), and sister, Linda (Katharine Hepburn).

Johnny is surprised first to discover that the Setons are very wealthy, and also that Julia and her father expect Johnny to give up his dreams of 'retiring young and working old,' conforming instead to their ideas about jobs and plans.

The only person who seems to understand Johnny is Linda.  She gets along well with his friends (Edward Everett Horton and Jean Dixon), agrees with his goals, and looks for life to be both enjoyable and meaningful.

Linda and Johnny love each other . . . but what to do while he's still engaged to her sister?

Interesting Note
:
Third pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.

Thoughts
:
This is my very favorite Hepburn / Grant film.  They were both so talented and worked so well together, and this enchanting film truly captures that.

The other characters are excellent as well -- especially Lew Ayres as Ned.  This story is absolutely perfect.  What's more important -- fun or work, following your own dreams or those of other people?  Those questions are still so relevant.  My favorite scenes are the ones in the playroom.  Fantastically done, they highlight the wistfulness and innocence of childhood, and show how much fun it is to enjoy life and play

Quote:
"Is this where the club meets?"

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday, October 15, 2010

It Happened One Night (1934)


Heiress Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) has married King Westley (Jameson Thomas) against her father's (Walter Connolly) wishes.  After being caught, whisked away, and taken to her father's yacht, Ellie escapes, intending to travel to New York and reunite with her husband.

She meets newspaperman Peter Warne (Clark Gable) on the bus.  He recognizes her and gives her an ultimatum--either she gives him a story, or he'll tell her father where she is.  Ellie reluctantly agrees to travel with him.

Several misadventures occur along the way to New York -- and is it possible that Peter and Ellie have fallen in love?

Interesting Note
:
It Happened One Night
was the first film to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, and Actress).

Thoughts
:
I really enjoyed watching this film!  It Happened One Night is a great example of classic comedy.  The situations that Peter and Ellie find themselves in are always very funny, and I love how their relationship develops throughout the course of every mishap.  Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable are excellent together, and all the awards are very well-deserved.

Quote
:
Ellie: What is it that we're supposed to be doing again?
Peter: Hitchhiking.
Ellie: Well, you've shown me an excellent example of the hiking part.  When does the hitching come in?

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Scarlet Letter (1926)


Hester Prynne (Lillian Gish) is punished for playing on the Sabbath Day, but reverend Arthur Dimmesdale (Lars Hanson) takes pity on her.  They begin to spend time together by taking walks in the woods, and gradually fall in love.  A wedding between the two, however, is impossible, because Hester is already married to Roger Prynne (Henry B. Walthall), a physician who has been away for seven years [and may or may not be dead].

When Hester gives birth to a child, she is forced to wear the letter "A" for adultery.  Instead of naming Dimmesdale as Pearl's father, Hester chooses to protect him and publicly bear the shame alone.

Dimmesdale, who baptizes Pearl, struggles with his own grief and shame, eventually etching an "A" into his own flesh, as penance for his tortured heart.

And what happens next when Hester's husband returns, discovering her and Dimmesdale's secret?

Interesting Notes
:
- This film was based on the novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
- Because this story was on the censored list, Lillian Gish had to spend much time campaigning for permission to make the film.  She was successful and secured Swedes Lars Hanson and Victor Sjöström for her co-star and director, respectively.
- Lillian Gish performed her scenes in English, while Lars Hanson did his in Swedish.

Thoughts
:
The Scarlet Letter
is one of my favorite books, and I truly love this film adaptation.  It's not exactly like the novel, but in some ways, it's even a bit better.  I especially like how time is spent on the development of Hester's and Dimmesdale's relationship.

The acting is absolutely perfect.  Lillian Gish and Lars Hanson were both such excellent silent actors, and the characters' emotions, particularly those of love and anguish, play out amazingly well.  The part when Hester walks up to the scaffold, and reveals her love for her unnamed partner in sin as well as her 'brand of shame,' while Dimmesdale looks on despairingly, is one of the most gorgeous bits I've ever seen.  Eyes and expressions say so much more than words ever could.  I also love the scene in the woods, when Hester removes both her scarlet letter and bonnet, and Dimmesdale gently caresses her long, loose hair.  And that powerful, poignant ending is just gloriously done.

Unfortunately, this film is rather hard to find.  I was luckily able to enjoy The Scarlet Letter in its entirety online over a year ago, but the movie has since been removed, and I have been unable to locate it anywhere else thus far.  I would love to see this again; it certainly is a gorgeous movie and deserves more attention!

EDIT (MARCH 2011): The entire lovely film is currently available online here!  I was so excited to finally see it again, and it's even better than I remembered.  ♥

TCM
will also be airing this movie on June 26, 2011 at 12:00 AM.  I'll definitely be recording it so I can have my own hard copy of it at last.

EDIT (MAY 2012): Lillian will be one of the actresses featured on TCM's 2012 Summer Under The Stars!  A whole day of her films will be broadcast on Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 and one of the titles featured will be The Scarlet Letter at 12:15 PM!

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
One of my all-time favorites.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (1915)


Alice (Viola Savoy) falls asleep and dreams that she is in Wonderland, a magical place full of both strange creatures and unusual situations.

Thoughts
:
This version of Alice in Wonderland seems to fall somewhere between cute and a bit haunting, but is still overall full of whimsy and wonder.  It appears that a few sections of the film are missing, which occurs all too often with silents, but such a matter does not pull away from the fact that this was a very interesting early picture.  The costumes and sets and special effects are a combination of rather charming and quirky, which captures the feel of the classic story.

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ½

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monte Cristo (1922)


Edmond Dantes (John Gilbert), convicted in 1815 for a crime that he did not commit, is sentenced to live out the rest of his days on the island prison of Chateau d'If.  Six years of solitude pass, until he discovers a tunnel linking his cell and that of another man's, the Abbe Faria.  The men talk and study together to pass the time for the next fourteen years, until the Abbe, on his deathbed, tells Dantes the location of a treasure on the tiny island of Monte Cristo.

After the Abbe passes away, Dantes disguises himself as the dead body and is thrown into the sea.  He escapes, swims to the nearest shore, and travels until he comes across the treasure.

Dantes returns home in 1835 and realizes that much has changed in the past two decades.  His father has died of a broken heart, his beloved Mercedes has married another, and the men who unjustly sent him to jail have now become rich and successful.  Determined to use his new-found wealth to seek revenge on those who have wronged him, Dantes puts his plans into action . . .

Thoughts
:
I've been wanting to see more of John Gilbert's films lately -- I know he's an excellent actor, one of the best from the silent era, so I was expecting this one to be good.  I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed Monte Cristo even more than I thought I would.

The whole film was both full of adventure and quite entertaining.   The sets were incredible -- elaborate and believable for all the different locations throughout Dantes' journey.  Additionally, the transformation of John Gilbert from a young man to a wild-haired prisoner to the "Count of Monte Cristo" was very well done!

Intertitle
:
"The wise spider spins its web for the silly flies."

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Monday, October 11, 2010

Beyond the Rocks (1922)


Due to family financial struggles, Theodora Fitzgerald (Gloria Swanson) is forced to marry elderly and ailing millionaire Josiah Brown (Robert Bolder).  But while on her honeymoon in the Swiss Alps, Theodora is surprised to see Hector (Rudolph Valentino), the young Earl of Bracondale, who once saved her from drowning and again during a mountain climb.  When the two meet again in Paris, Theodora falls in love with the handsome Lord Bracondale, and he with her.  Knowing that a relationship is impossible because of Theodora's marriage, the two decide to part ways, but not before Josiah discovers their affair!

Interesting Notes
:
- This 1922 silent had been thought lost for decades until re-discovered in 2003, restored, and released on DVD in 2006.
- Be sure to check out some of the disc's special features!  My favorite by far is Gloria's 85-minute wire recording -- it's wonderful.

Thoughts:
Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino in a picture together?  It sounds like a combination nearly too good to be true!  It really is fortunate that this lost gem was found and able to be seen again today.  Maybe there's hope to recover all of The Divine Woman next?

I really enjoyed this film, not only because the story was very captivating, but also that it was so visually stunning.  All of the costumes and sets and fashions were just beautiful.  I also loved the filming techniques that brought in elements of the past -- when Theodora and Hector realize their love for one another while visiting Versailles, and later when the African expedition discovers an ancient Egyptian document detailing the punishment for an unfaithful wife.

Oh, and it's quite easy to see why Rudolph Valentino was so popular in the 1920s.   He's very attractive and charismatic!  He and Gloria made an excellent on-screen couple.

Intertitle
:
"This only proves that we are not stronger than our love."

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ½

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Amarilly of Clothes-line Alley (1918)


Amarilly Jenkins (Mary Pickford) has never imagined a life besides the one she was born into, and is perfectly content with her hardworking family, home in Clothes-line Alley, and bartender fiance, Terry (William Scott).  But after she begins working as a cigarette girl, she meets wealthy society sculptor Gordon (Norman Kerry) and starts to spend time with him.  Will Amarilly fit in with Gordon's high-class family -- or would she be happier with her old life?

Thoughts
:
I watched this film for the first time today.  I really like Mary Pickford and many of her charming pictures.  Unfortunately though I didn't really enjoy this one as much as the others of hers I've seen so far.

Many bits of the story were quite cute, and I did find interest in Amarilly's quaint little sayings, as well as her sweet relationship with Terry.  But the plot was a bit weak and predictable, and although it's a decent way to spend an hour, I would suggest films like My Best Girl or Daddy Long Legs to watch instead.

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)


Recently widowed Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) decides to move to the seashore, choosing to rent Gull Cottage in spite of rumors that the house is haunted. 

On her first night there, she meets the ghost of handsomely roguish Captain Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison), who reluctantly agrees to let her stay in the cottage after seeing that she will not scare off as easily as the other tenants.

When Lucy finds that her source of income has depleted, Captain Gregg decides that she will write a book about his life to bring in extra money.  He calls the story Blood and Swash, and while the two work on it together, they grow closer and fall in love.  But can their relationship survive?

Thoughts
:
After seeing this film for the first time (and even after watching it numerous more times!), I just kept thinking of how gorgeous it all was, and how much I will always love it.  Part ghost story, part romance, part fantasy, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is such a unique and gentle film, with the beautiful scenery and atmospheric music adding to its magic.  I also love how the seashore is exquisitely used to show the passing of time throughout the story.

Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison make such an excellent film pairing; their scenes together are so sweet as the friendship grows into something more.  The ending is absolutely perfect.

Quote
:
"You must make your own life amongst the living, and, whether you meet fair winds or foul, find your own way to harbor in the end."

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday, October 8, 2010

Woman of the Year (1942)


Sportswriter Sam Craig (Spencer Tracy) and political columnist Tess Harding (Katharine Hepburn) work for the same newspaper, though appear to be complete opposites.  However, after a feud over baseball and an arranged meeting to call a truce, the two realize their attraction to one another.  A few dates follow (including one where Sam takes Tess to a baseball game, teaches her the rules, and she ends up having a great time), and then they decide to marry.

But Tess continues to put her career first, and Sam, who was expecting a little domesticity from his wife, becomes increasingly frustrated with their relationship.  Tess is named "Woman of the Year," but she didn't win the award for being a devoted housewife.

After Sam leaves her, Tess realizes her mistakes, and tries to make things right again.  Will the two reconcile?  Or is their relationship over for good?

Interesting Note
:
This was the first of nine films that Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy made together, and it also marked the beginning of their 27-year off-screen relationship

Thoughts
:
Katharine Hepburn is my very first favorite classic actress, the one who got me interested in Old Hollywood.  I've seen nearly every film of hers, and all of the ones that star both her and Spencer Tracy.  This is their first pairing, and that immediately makes Woman of the Year special.

Tracy and Hepburn are both brilliant throughout the entire film, and the storyline is timeless.  Tess is a total career woman until she realizes that there are so many more other important things in life than work!  Money and awards and titles are all very nice, but there's nothing like having both fun and someone to share your life with.

Quote
:
Sam: There’s something I have to get off my chest.
Tess: I’m too heavy.
Sam: No, I love you.
Tess: You do?
Sam: Positive.
Tess: That’s nice.  Even when I’m sober?
Sam: Even when you’re brilliant.

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Enchanted Cottage (1924)


When Oliver Bashforth (Richard Barthelmess) returns from the war as a disabled veteran, he decides to withdraw from his family and former fiancee to a three-hundred year old rented cottage where he can be alone.

While there, he meets plain, but kind, Laura Pennington (May McAvoy), and after some time, the two decide to marry.  At first, their relationship is a merely platonic one of friendship and convenience, to keep one another from being lonely, but gradually, they fall in love.  And as they do, the two discover that their feelings have somehow magically transformed one another.  Oliver appears whole and handsome to Laura, and she is beautiful to him.

But is this magic real -- or only an illusion?

Thoughts
:
I randomly came across this film online one day, and was intrigued by the title.  I'm so glad I watched it because it's such a memorable film with an important message.

There is so much emphasis on physical perfection and exterior appearances that it was truly refreshing to see a film that appreciated the eventual realization of inner beauty.  The film really played out the growth of Oliver and Laura's love so well, and showcased how they both went from feeling somewhat pessimistic and insecure to finally becoming more confident and optimistic about life, their future, and what it all holds for them.

A really great filming technique used in this movie was to show the spirits of other happy couples that had once lived in the Honeymoon Cottage over the past three hundred years, and how these beings basically fueled the enchantment to bring Oliver and Laura their own true happiness. 

Intertitle
:
How blind I've been -- you are beautiful!

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Monday, October 4, 2010

It (1927)


When shopgirl Betty Lou Spence (Clara Bow) sets eyes on her handsome new boss, Cyrus Waltham Jr. (Antonio Moreno), she decides that he's the man for her.  While trying to catch his attention, she instead attracts the notice of Cyrus' silly friend Monty (William Austin), who finds that she is the only lady employee with "It."

When Monty asks Betty out to dinner, she agrees to go -- if he takes her to the Ritz, which happens to be where Cyrus will be that evening.  Although Cyrus is dining with his date Adela Van Norman (Jacqueline Gadsden) and her mother (Julia Swayne Gordon), he finds himself attracted to Betty, who has dolled herself up for the occasion.

Betty Lou bets Cyrus that he will not recognize her the next time they meet, and he agrees both to take the bet and let her name the stakes.  As he does not recognize her when she visits his office at the store, Betty wins the wager and therefore asks Cyrus to take her out on a date that evening.  They go to the beach, and Betty introduces Cyrus to a night of fun with boardwalk rides.

But their budding relationship takes a turn for the worse when a misunderstanding causes Betty and Cyrus to become disillusioned with one another.  Will the truth be revealed -- and more importantly, will the two make up?

Interesting Notes
:
This is Clara Bow's most famous and successful film.
Gary Cooper has a small uncredited role as a newspaper reporter.

What is "It"
:
It, the topic of Madame Glyn's latest story, is "that quality possessed by some which draws all others with its magnetic force."  Clara Bow, after the release of this film, became known as the legendary "It Girl," a term which still exists today.

Thoughts
:
This is one of my favorite silent movies.  It's so fun and enjoyable to watch.  Clara Bow truly was the "It Girl," and her performance in this film was such a great combination of spunky and sweet.  I love the other characters too -- Monty, especially, is so funny!

I do also have to note on the film's music.  Many people may think that silent movies actually were always "silent," which is definitely not the case!  When these films were shown in theatres, there was nearly always a live musical accompaniment.  This film has been shown with two different musical scores: one by Carl Davis (which can be heard in the single clip posted above), and one by William Perry.  My favorite happens to be the Carl Davis version; in my opinion, it's definitely up there as one of the best silent film scores and fits this movie perfectly.

Intertitle
:
"Sweet Santa Claus, give me him!"

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Lady of the Camellias (1936)


Beautiful Marguerite Gautier (Greta Garbo) is torn between devoted young Armand Duval (Robert Taylor) and the fabulously rich Baron de Varville (Henry Daniell) in 1847 Paris.  Although Marguerite and Armand love each other deeply, unforeseen circumstances could tear them apart.

Thoughts
:
This is one of my very favorite films.  Everything about it is perfection: the beautiful and tragic romance, the 1800s Parisian setting, the exquisite costumes (particularly Greta's gowns), the gorgeous sets, the music, and, of course, the main characters.

This is easily one of Greta Garbo's most memorable and best performances.  She was just so incredibly talented and beautiful with amazing range and expressions; I can't imagine anyone else but her being Marguerite.

And I love Robert Taylor as Armand Duval.  As soon as he first showed up onscreen, I immediately thought how handsome / cute he was.  But he was also an extremely talented actor -- so skilled with displaying various conflicting emotions and behaviors.  And he and Greta Garbo were both [nearly] impossibly gorgeous together with perfect chemistry -- whether they were blissful or quarreling.

It's said that a good story is one where you forget that it isn't real.  I always get swept up in this film.  No matter how many times I see this film, I absolutely adore it with every viewing.

Quote
:
"Never doubt that I love you more than the world, more than myself."

Rating
:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥