Greta Garbo

Friday, October 6, 2017

Ingmar Bergman, Svensk Filmindustri, Rasunda

In Images, before filming with Victor Sjostrom, the actor, Ingmar Bergman relates his early emergence as a scriptwriter-director by mentioning the playwright Hjalmer Bergman, "According to Molander, Torment ought to be filmed. Stina Bergman showed me his comments, at the same time rebuking me for my penchant for dark and terrible things, 'Sometimes you are just like Hjalmer!'...Hjalmer Bergman was my idol.'" Not entirely unprophetic, Forsyth Hardy saw Ingmar Bergman's influence as screenwriter, specifically on Gustav Molander after the two had filmed, "Molander's association with Ingmar Bergman has clearly been a stimulus, as his subsequent films, notably Love is the Victor (Karleken Segrar, 1949)...have revealed."

Victor Sjostrom Swedish Silent Film

Ingmar Bergman

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Silent Film of John Gilbert

     Jerome Storm began directing drama in 1918 with the C. Gardner Sullivan screenplay "The Keys of the Righteous", starring Enid Bennett and produced by Thomas Ince. In 1923 he directed John Gilbert and Ruth Clifford in the six reel film "Truxton King". The Library of Congress reports no archival copies of the  film, leaving it presumed to be lost.
During 1923 John Gilbert also appeared in the film "Cameo Kirby", directed by John Ford. In the film, Gilbert plays romantic lead to actress Gertrude Olmstead.

     Edmund Mortimer paired John Gilbert with actress Betty Boulton and actress Margaret Fielding in the film "The Exiles" during 1923.

An early film starring John Gilbert and Norma Shearer, "The Wolfman", directed by Edmund Mortimer in 1924 is among the myriad of films thought to be lost from the silent era.
King Vidor in 1924 paired John Gilbert and actress Aileen Pringle in two films, "Wife of the Centaur", with Kate Lester, and "His Hour". Norwegian film director Tancred Ibsen while briefly in Hollywood, worked on the set design to the Vidor film "His Hour".

Director Monta Bell that year directed John Gilbert and Norma Shearer in "The Snob" (seven reels).

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Silent Film Hollywood

The Film Daily magazine during early 1928 made one of its many pertinent announcements entitled Janet Gaynor Goes Abroad, which read, "Janet Gaynor, who recently signed a five year contract with Fox, will leave for Europe upon the completion of 'The Four Devils', F.W. Murnau picture, to work in exteriors for 'Blossom Time' with Frank Borzage directing. 'The Four Devils' went into production Friday."
The Four Devils, directed by F.W. Murnau, is a lost silent film, with no available surviving copies. Picture Play magazine reported having had an interview with Janet Gaynor early that year. "The other week I came across Janet Gaynor on the Fox lot...'I have to get used to doing these stints and turns. That is if I don't twist myself into something that can't be undone.' This she explained her role in 'The Four Devils'. Nevertheless risking all when such dire mishaps, Janet continued to work on her contortions. When Hollywood learned that Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell were chosen for the leads in 'Blossom Time' and that part of the picture might be filmed in Vienna, the Cinderella chorus sang once more." In the article, almost now seemingly out of place while below a picture of a bare shouldered actress turned so that her chin touched her shoulder demurely, was a caption which read, "Nancy Drexel was long obscure before she was given a leading role in 'The Four Devils", the age of the actress in the photo implying that her initial fame had only been fleeting.

I was asked during an online course of film to view the silent film Street Angel starring Janet Gaynor. The instructor of the course, Professor Scott Higgins of Wesleyean University has recently written two papers, Technicolor Confections and Color at the Center.

There is an astonishing relationship between lost film, films which there are no longer prints of due to the celluloid having deteriorated, and the history of technicolor films; even up untill the 1935 film "Beck Sharp" there were two-tone and three-tone inserts, including a 1923 adaptation of "Vanity Fair" directed by Hugo Ballin that is incidentally a lost film. 
     "So This Is Marriage?" (Hobart Henley, 1924) starring Conrad Nagel and Eleanor Boardman is a lost film that contained technicolor sequences.
   One consideration in the use of Technicolor during the production of silent film was running length and how expensive, or perhaps lucrative, it would be to advance from two-reefers to seven feelers. The four reel film had been introduced over a decade earlier and with it the narrative film had become to be expected in movie theaters. While John Gilbert and Greta Garbo were being reviewed in magazines for their acting in the film "Love", so we're Olga Baclanova and David Mir for the film The Czarina's Secret. The Film Spectator reported,"The Czarist's Secret is another artistic gem of the series that Technicolor is making for Metro release. There are to be six, each presenting a great moment in history, and this is the fourth....Dramaticly it is a splendid picture and the technicolor process has made it gorgeous pictorially. technicolor has brought its process to a point of perfection that our big producers cannot ignore much longer. They cannot keep giving us only white and black creations with such a color process is available." Actress Olga Baclanova later costarred with John Gilbert and Virginia Bruce in the impeccable early sound film "Downstairs".
Technicolor and artificial lighting were used in tandem the first time in 1924 by director George Fitzmaurice to bring Irene Rich, Alma Rubens, Betty Bronson and Constance Bennett to the screen in the film "Cytherea". Admittedly, an early pioneer of Technicolor described the film as two component subtractive print that had only been used as "an insert", but that in that it had been the "photographing of an interior set on a darkened stage" the silent film director had been "delighted with the results".

Swedish Silent Film

Friday, July 7, 2017

Silent Film

Not only were silent films remade in Hollywood, Anna Christie, Anna Karenina and Camille all films that had originally been silent before having been remade with Greta Garbo, but the "grammar of film" or syntax of film technique, how scenes are constructed through shot structure evolved, or was perhaps developed from earlier silent film. Silent Film

     Vitagraph during 1919 had advertised its onscreen images as being "As brimful  of Appeal, of Allurement, of Unexpectedness, of Radiance and Feminine Witchery as- Girls Themselves" as it brought actress Corinne Griffith to the screen in The Girl Problem,  under the direction of Kenneth Webb.
     It has been suggested that characters were to become unique to each studio, an early for. Of branding, in that way the star system having precedence to genre, which would be established gradually. At a time when the screen was readying its sales for a post-war audience, director Sidney Franklin, sometimes credited as Sidney A. Franklin, was showcasing Norma Talmadge in morality scripts, or marital melodramas, typical of the period, although during 1919 he would waver on genre formula and try for star power, directing Talmadge in the the six reel adventure "Heart of Wetona". Franklin had during the previous year directed Norma Talmadge in the films "The Safety Curtain", "The Forbidden City" and "Her Only Way". The Norma Talmadge Film Corporation had in fact begun during 1917 with the five reel film "The Panthea" directed by Alan Dwan and featuring Eric Von Strohiem as an actor starring with Talmadge.
      1919 was a year readying for a new decade with D. W. Griffith at Artcraft directing The Girl Who Stayed Home, (six reels) photographed by Bitzer and starring Robert Harron, Carol Dempster, Richard Barthelmess and Calir Seymore and it was a year with Thomas Ince heading the production of Dorothy Dalton in Extravagence. . D.W. Griffith appears to have sought the combination of moralizing and character interest again by unspooling, unraveling the 1919 drama "Scarlet Days" starring both Carol Dempster and Clarine Seymore while perhaps targeting audience reception and identification by also directing Lillian Gish in the film "True Heart Susie" (six reels) with Robert Harron and Kate Bruce. And yet Paramount was advetising Elsie Ferguson in Counterfeit and Ethel Clayton in More Deadly Than the Male.
D.W. Griffith during 1920 cast Lillian Gish in "The Greatest Question" (six reels), photographed by G.W. Bitzer, as well as "The Idol Dancer" (six reels) with Clarine Seymore and Kate Bruce and "The Love Flower" (seven reels), starring Carol Dempster. During 1921, Carol Dempster again starred under the direction of D.W. Griffith in the silent film "Dream Street".
 During 1921, actress Alice Lake, with the film Uncharted Seas (Wesley Ruggles) knudged in between the battle for covergirl transpiring between Viola Dana and May Allison, both for Metro Pictures Corporation. Priscilla Dean stayed on the periphery of the dogfight with her film Reputation for Universal Jewel Deluxe. 
     Cecil B. DeMille during 1921 expanded the genre of romantic melodrama directing Conrad Nagel with Dorothy Dalton and Mildred Harris in the film "Fool's Paradise". DeMille during 1921 directed Agnes Ayers and Kathleen Williams in "Forbidden Fruit", adapted from a story written by Jeanie Macphearson, the story a remake of an earlier film, "The Golden Chance", DeMille had directed in 1915 with actress Cleo Ridgely. Motion Pocture News during 1922 wrote,"Cecil B. DeMille's name immediately conjures up a very definite and distinguished type of screen entertainment: lavish, intimate, satiric, daring, broad in scope and fine in detail, artistic in execution yet with strong box office appeal and exploitation angles...The name of DeMille soon becomes identified rather closely with society drama, but in "Forbidden Fruit" he showed that his genius was by no means confined to one strata of society."
     First National in 1923 published its Great Selection First National First Season brochure of the films it had released during 1922 with a preface explaining that with the aesthetic value of its film was the box office value and it supported the practicality of the exhibitor entering into membership while the studio in fact owned the theater. in their Franchise Plan. "Every First National Picture will have a cast of famous actors. Keep your eyes open and let your patrons know they are with you. It will mean an added box-office attraction." One of the "biggest box-office certainties of the year" was Madge Bellamy in Lorna Doone. It also showcased Norma Talmadge in The Eternal Flame and Costance Talmadge in East is West, it also including Katherine MacDonald in Three Class Productions, Heroes and Husbands, The Woman Conquers and White Shoulders. Hope Hampton was featured in The Light in the Dark. First National annouced, "Louis B. Mayer out to put John Stahl productions on top." Among these were The Dangerous Age, One Clear Call, The Woman He Married and Rose o the Sea (Fred Niblo). "First National Franchise holders can look foward to a series of superb attractions from the studios of Louis B. Mayer, one of the Circuit's earliest producers. J.G. Hawks, "former editor and supervisor of production for Goldwyn" was assigned to Mayer, as was actress Anita Stewart.
     Sidney Franklin in 1922 directed the film "Primitive Lover" with Constance Talmadge. It was a year during which Franklin directed the seven reel film "The Beautiful and the Damned", adapted from the novel written by Scott Fitzgerald by screenwriter Olga Pritzlau, it having been only one of her numerous screen credits beginning from 1914. The film starred Charles Burton with actresses Marie Prevost and Louise Fazorda. As the archival holdings of the film are unknown, the film is listed as being lost, with no surviving copies available.

        Silent Film Silent Film Silent Film From the advertising of 1927 for the film White Gold, actress Jetta Goudal seemed a sensation. The direction of William K Howard was reviewed as "distinctive". The Film Daily wrote, "His method of creating atmosphere appropriate to the action, while not relatively new, is most effective. The monotonous creaking of a rocker, the dreary routine of the sickening desert heat, all these and more,creating detail, makes his efforts outstanding." The photoplay was scripted by Garret Fort with scenario writer Marion Orth.
     Photographer Oliver Marsh during 1927 would be behind the camera lens to film Norma Talmadge in "The Dove" (nine reels), director Roland West adapting the play written by Willard Mack for the screen. That year Norma Talmadge left her autograph, and footprint, in cement in front of the pagoda of Graumann's Chinese Theater, in Los Angelas, along with those who would include her sister Constance, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, and Norma Shearer.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Ingmar Bergman- Insight into Ambiguity, Interactions Internalized

Published in 1960, The Film Till Now: A Survey of World Cinema gives an apt summary of how the film's of Ingmar Bergman were received after 1955. Author Paul Rotha writes, "He is without question a difficult director. Much of the time I am led to think he is as confused in his own mind as to what he is trying to say as we are trying to understand him. That he has a strong sense of the cinema, especially the use of the camera, is obvious from the three above-named films, but I find his symbolism and his fondness for playing tricks with time, legitimate as they are, tedious. To be fair, Bergman's work deserves greater space than it can be given here. He is a supremely individualist but in nothing that I have seen of his is there any real warmth for humanity." One is tempted to ask if any "warmth for humanity" hasn't been commercialized in modern film during a century in which Bergman is absent, or if rather it wasn't at its most insightful a century ago, now long overlooked.
To begin looking at the work of Ingmar Bergman is easily precipitated as we have begun the lecture series Birth of New Wave Cinema, given by Birger Langkjaer and have finished the series Ingmar Bergman Bewteen Classicism and Mordernism, given by Johannes Riis, in a course offered online from the University of Copenhagen, under Professor Ib Bondeberg. Dreyer's Gertrud, which had previously been the subject of a lecture series given by Casper Tyjberg, and the films of the early sixties directed by Ingmar Bergman, including Persona, that had prompted the articles written in Expressen by Bo Widerberg, were attributed as the context from which the new wave of Scandinavian film directing had arose. While discussing the "narrative digress" of Bergman's films, his obituaries were include to provide an overview of his career, and I have therefore since looked to see what I had written the week Ingmar Bergman passed away, which, although brief, included a quote. " 'I believe a human being carries his or her own holiness, which lies within the realm of the earth; the are no other wordly explanations.' Ingmar Bergman - Images.' Shortly after his birthday, it was announced that director Ingmar Bergman had died, July 30, 2007. Ase Kleveland was quoted by as having said, 'There will be an enormous void.'" In that particular series of pages I myself had quoted Ase Kleveland from a letter that she had sent me, the pages continuing, "Cissi Elwin will be greeting Swedish cinematographer Gunnar Fischer at the Filmhuset to end the first week of October, 2007 during a film series to honor Ingmar Bergman entitled Long Live Bergman (Lang leve Bergman. Also present will be actress Harriet Andersson." More recently, the trailer to Through a Glass Darkly was recommended in the Readings and Resourses by professor Bondebjerg, University of Copenhagen.

In that there had been brief correspondence between the writer that now has the trailer, I had saved a banner from his original page from before the death of Ingmar Bergman and before he had entirely redesigned his superior tribute to the Ingmar Bergman and the artists that appreared in and worked on his films.

Scott Lord-Silent Film