Greta Garbo and Victor Sjostrom

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Scott Lord Silent Film: One is Buisness, the Other Is Crime (D.W. Griffi...

D.W Griffith directed "One is Buisness, the Other is Crime", photographed by G.W. Bitzer, for the Biograph Film Company during 1912 The film stars actresses Blanche Sweet and Kate Bruce. Authors Edward Wagenkneckt and Anthony Slide, in their volume The Films of D.W. Griffith, put the film's themes of "stockmarket manipulation and political corruption" with those from Griffith's other films on the moral problems of "Gangsterism". It could be that modern audiences eventually view many of Griffith's films as being "lofty sensationalism", perhaps there being no direct link from the muckraking of Thomas Nast and Tammany Hall or from Naturalism. Scholar Mark Sandberg has termed Griffith's dramas as being "uplift cinema". D. W. Griffith

Scott Lord Silent Film: Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts (George Nichols- D.W. Griffith, 1915)

It may be that the recent histoiography of the earliest adaptations of the plays of Ibsen to the screen can be seen as "transnational film adaptations", the effect of Hollywood upon an international film market before and after the First World War in a competetive emergence of directorial systems, including the vying screenwriting techniques of Griffith and Ince. Author Eirk Frsvold Hanssen writes that in 1918 there were twenty eight silent film adaptations of the plays of Henrik Ibsen, of which only nine still exist today, the others presumed lost, with no surviving copies, the version directed by George Nichols "employing montage techniques of the emerging classical Hollywood style".

Scholar Mark Sandberg looks at the "difficulties of transposing a densely verbal naturalist drama to the visual regime of silent film", invluding the "evocation of the unsaid underneath all that is said". Sandberg continues to describe Griffith's adaptations as "pantomime" and "paratext". Thanhouser began producing one reel adaptations of literature and in 1911 filmed three plays written by Norwegain playwright Henrik Ibsen: "Pillars of Society" (Samfundets stotter), starring Julia M. Taylor, "Lady of the Sea" (Fruen fra havnet, Theodore Morsten) starring Marguerite Snow and "A Doll's House" (Ettdukkenhjem).

Lubin that year filmed a two reel version of Ibsen's "Sins of the Father" (Genggarare), directed by William Baumann. The Oliver Morosco Photoplay Company followed suit during 1915 with a five reel version of "Peer Gynt" (Apfel, Walsh) starring Myrtle Stedman, Mary Ruebens and Mary Ruby. The Thanhauser film "Lady of the Sea" from 1917 that film historians will find is not a lost film but rather one abandoned by actress Valda Valkyrien before changing studios. Born Baroness De Witz, Valkyrien made five films for Thanhouser between 1915-1917. Charles Bryant in 1922 directed a seven reel adaptation of "A Doll's House, photographed by Charles van Enger.

Swedish Silent Film D.W. Griffith D.W. Griffith

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Greta Garbo before Hollywood- Einar Hanson

Motion Picture News explained that Corrinne Griffith would begin filming "Into Her Kingdom", based on a nobel by Ruth Comfort Mitchell, upon the completion of the film "Mllo. Modiste" of which she was then currently on the set.

The photo caption beneath Einar Hanson's photograph Picture Play Magazine read, "Einar Hanson, who, made his debut in Corinne Griffith's Into her Kingdom is romantic adventurous, much more like a Latin than Scandinavian." In the article Two Gentlemen from Sweden, Myrtle Gebhardt relates about having dinner with him, her having at first hoped to interview Lars Hanson and Einar Hanson together in the same room. "For it appeared that Einar was working not for Metro, but for First National...Two evenings later I ringed spaghetti around my fork in a nook of an Italian cafe with Einar Hansen...Prepared for a big, blond man, whose bland face would be overspread with seriousness, I was startled by his breathtaking resemblance to Jack Gilbert. "Ya," he admitted, "Down the street I drive and all the girls call, 'Hello Yack' and I wave to them."
Motion Picture News announced the decision for the directorial assignment to the film with Director or Interpreter, "Svend Gade, the Danish director now making Into Her Kingdom is wondering whether he is engaged as a megaphone weirder or interpreter. In directing Miss Griffith, of course, he uses English; but Einar Hanson receives his instructions in Swedish" Meanwhile it also introduced Griffith's co-star, "Einar Hansen, 'The Swedish Barrymore' has arrived in Hollywood to appear opposite Corinne Griffith in her newest First National starring vehicle, Into Her Kingdom, by Ruth Comfort Mitchell." it had been announced by the magazine during early 1926 that, "Corinne Griffith is already planning to start work the first week of March on Into Her Kingdom though now she is only now finishing Mlle. Moditte, both of which are to be First National releases. It is uncertain whether a viewable copy of "Into Her Kingdom" exists, it has appeared as a lost film among films listed as not surviving made by First National, and it seems omitted on lists of lost silent films as either being missing or as being surviving, but at any rate locating a copy held by a museum which preserve films seems beyond public access.
     There is also every indication that there is no existing copy of "The Lady in Ermine" (seven reels, James Flood) in which Einar Hanson starred with Corinne Griffith during 1927.

Motion Picture Magazine in 1927 published an oval portrait of Einar Hansen with the caption, "In Fashions for Women, Einar is the first man to be directed by Paramount's first woman director. How's that for a record? Incidentally, Einar has become a popular leading man as quickly as anyone that ever invaded Hollywood." The caption to the somber portrait published in Picture Play magazine that year held a more sundry description, "Einar Hansen, the young man from Sweden who looks so like a Latin has fared well during his year in this country. he is now under contract to Paramount and has the lead opposite Esther Ralston in Fashions For Women." The film was the first directed by Dorothy Azner, who had worked uncredited with Fred Niblo on Blood and Sand. Gladys Unger, who a year later worked on the scenario to the film "The Divine Woman" (Victor Seastrom), wrote the screenplay to the film "Fashions for Women". The running length of the film consisted of seven reels. The periodical Exhibitor's Herald explained that it was the first starring vehicle for actress Esther Ralston and the first venture weilding the microphone" for director Dortohy Arzner.

Einar Hanson appeared with Anna Q. Nilsson in the film "The Masked Woman" (six reels) during 1927.
     Of the film "Children of Divorce", Motion Picture News wrote, "It is a picture which is easy to guess the denoument...Frank Lloyd, the director, has overcome much of the plot shortcomings with his lighting and other technical efforts. he provided some charming settings and gotten every ounce of dramatic flavoring from the story." Joseph Von Sternberg's work on the film is uncredited.
     Essayist Tommy Gustafsson almost besmirches Einar Hanson by claiming him to have a Bohemian image, that while carrying with it a "soft masculinity", appeared "unsound" when part of his after hours social life, although the author doesn't specifically include Gosta Ekman, Mauritz Stiller or Greta Garbo leaving it only a generic impression. He noted that there was a posthumous "negative attitude" toward Hanson due to "considerable media exposure he received for 'Pirates of Lake Malaren' and 'The Blizzard' as well as great commotion surrounding the trial following his car accident the same year...This is an example of a new connecting link, a kind of intertexuality, that was created between the real people and the characters they played." Gustafsson stops there, only to infer, without making an obvious conclusion and before speculating that Stiller had brought Garbo and Sjostrom to the United States to avoid having been placed in any nocturnal subculture or artistic society of artists that may not have been entirely accepted in Sweden or Europe. 
     The body of Einar Hanson was crushed between the steering wheel and a ten inch drainpipe along the highway. Photoplay Magazine reported, "Here is a tragedy- and a mystery. Einar Hansen was found fatally injured, pinned beneath his car on the ocean road. Earlier in the evening, he had given a dinner party for Greta Garbo, Mauritz Stiller and Dr. And Mrs. Gistav Borkman...Hanson was unmarried and he is survived by he parents in Stockholm."
      Hanson had filmed in Europe before coming to the United States. In his native Denmark, he had appeared in the Danish silent film So "Bilberries" ("Misplaced Highbrows", "Takt, Ture Og Tosser", Lau Lauritzen, 1924) and "Mists of the Past" (Fra Plazza del Polo, Anders W. Sandberg, 1925), the latter having starred Karina Bell. In Sweden, Einar Hanson starred with Inga Tiblad in "Malarpirater", written and directed by Gustaf Molander in 1924 and with Mona Martenson in "Skeppargatan 40", directed by Gustaf Edgren in 1925.

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

Danish Silent Film

Remade by Greta Garbo

Silent Film

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Remade by Greta Garbo: Camille

Studio manager of Rasunda was relegated to Vilhelm Bryde during 1923. Author Forsyth Hardy Gaines an account, "His influence was most clearly seen in 'Damen med Kamelioarna', a static, theatrical adaptation of the Camille theme, directed by Olof Molander. The film derived some distinction from the delicately composed interiors...a reversion to a theatrical style of filmmaking quite foreign to the Sjostrom-Stiller."

For those familiar with the history of Danish Silent Film Lady of the Camellias, (Kameliadamen, Camille) adapted from the novel by Dumas, was filmed by Viggo Larsen, who starred in front of the camera as well as creating from behind it, as he was often won't to do, the film also starring Oda Alstrup, Robert Storm Petersen and Helga Tonnesen. It was produced by Nordisk Film and Ole Olsen and it's cinematographer was Axel Graatkjaer Sorensen.

The Divine Bernhardt that was immortalized as a model for Alphonse Mucha exists, the plays that Louis Mercanton adapted for the screen, Jeanne Dore (1915, three reels), starring Madame Tissot with actress Sarah Bernhardt and shown in the United States by Bluebird Photoplays, and Adrienne Lecouvveur (1913, two/three reels), do not, and belong to the province of Film Preservation, if not Lost Films, Found Magazines, a vital part of From Stage to Screen, the transition of the proscenium arc to visual planes achieved by film editing and composition having been relegated to desuetude. By all accounts there still is a copy of Sarah Bernhardt performing Camille on film.

Camille (J. Gordon Edwards, 1917, five reels) starring Theda Bara is, like The Divine Woman (Victor Seastrom), a lost silent film, there being no surviving copies of it. Motography not I coincidentally revealed, "Theda Bara in a sumptuous picturization of Camille is the latest announcement of William Fox to the public...Theda Bara as the unhappy Parisian girl who sacrifices herself on the altar of convention, has surpassed all her previous work. This production...Parisian life is followed in every detail so that the atmosphere of the story fits admirably with the acting in it." Surepetitiously, Motion Picture News used the exact same wording, it concluding with, The tears it caused were genuine and the emotions it stirred were deep." J. Gordon Edwars directed Theda Bara in several films for the Fox Film Corporation during 1917 which are now lost, with no surviving copies, including the films "Cleopatra" (ten reels), "Heart and Soul" (five reels), "Her Greatest Lobe" (five reels) and "The Rose Blood" (six reels), as well as the lost films "Under the Yoke" (five reels), "When a Woman Sins" (seven reels) and "The Forbidden Path" from 1918.

Most significant may be that the script to Poor Violetta (Arme Violetta, 1920) was written by Hans Kraly, who later emigrated to Hollywood; directed by Paul L. Stein, it was released by Paramount as The Red Peacock, with the alternate title Camille, purportedly only loosely an adaptation of the novel by Dumas. The film is thought to be lost, with no surviving copies.  in her autobiography Memories of a Star, actress Pola Negri describes filming in Europe, "Even before Hemmingway and Fitzgerald made The Lost Generation internationally famous, it was a city intent on losing itself. Jazz was beginning to become a rage in all the little chic clubs.... When production began on Camille, I was ready for it. Nightlife had served its purpose. The mixture of wild gaiety and sense of loss which had been so much part of the last few weeks gave me fresh insights into the character I was to portray. Certainly, the doomed tubercular Marguerite Gautier would not have felt out of place in Berlin at the dawn of the twenties. My sojourn among those people who lived on the opposite side of the clock had been a useful and pleasant interlude, but it was now over." Negri, who would leave for Warsaw after filming Camille had been writing about a city that would soon embrace Expressionism and where Asta Nielsen that year had been filming an adaption of Hamlet as a Silent Film.
In the United States The Film Daily during 1922 reviewed the film by claiming it had "No Visible Drawing Power in this Except for Sensation".  While giving a brief synopsis it wrote, "as for the story, it is certain to offend the decency of some and practically everyone with any sense of refinement. There isn't anything very tasteful or entertaining in this depiction of a series of liaisons even though you can hardly blame the girl for running away from her drunken step father...Another matter which you will do well to consider in connection with this picture is the type of patron you cater to." Their sentiment was echoed by Exhibitor's Herald magazine, who saw Pola Ngeri in the film as depicting a woman who was " that of the tennis-ball tossed lightly from one gentleman's racquet to another" to which it appended, " This is made abroad and their standards are not ours."

Using a still where the two lovers were in embrace on a couch, reminiscent of John Gilbert and Greta Garboin Flesh and the Devil, captioned with "Armand pours out his love to the adored Camille, Picture Play magazine during 1927 introduced the nine reel film starring Norma Talmadge and Gilbert Roland as "the latest screen version of the Dumas' masterpiece." MPotion Picture magazine noted that it was a film in which Norma Talmadge would wear her hair bobbed, the studio having reported to the magazine that it would be an adaptation located in the then present day Paris of Gerturde Stien, Fitzgerald and Hemmingway and that the cast of the film would also include Lilyan Tashman. Photoplay reviewed the film with,"Norma Talmadge shifted the background to the present day. This change seems to have affected the story itself but slightly. 'Camille has one fault. it is too long...Rather actory but worth IT. Super-sexy stuff this." Amateur Movie Makers magazine looked at Niblo's camerawork during 1927, noting that the film as having a Titleless Start. "Eliminating the usual series of opening titles, 'Camille' opens with a series of swift dissolves which move from the general to the specific, from a shot down to a mass of moving umbrellas, to a salient bit of portraiture of the auctioneer hawking Camille's effects."

The 1915 screen version of Camille was scripted by Frances Marion. the five reel film starred Clara Kimbal Young under the direction of Albert Cappellani. There is thought to be a lost film from 1912 starring actress Gertrude Shipman that was based on Dumas' work possibly one reel in legnth.

Greta Garbo John Gilbert

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo in Love

Greta Garbo photographed

Greta Garbo

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Greta Garbo before Hollywood- Lars Hanson

The 1927 article "Swedish Hospitality featured in Motion Picture Magazine gave an account of journalist Rilla Page Palmborg, author of "The Private Life of Greta Garbo", being entertained by actor Lars Hanson and his wife, Swedish actress Karin Molander. It began, " 'And now we shall see if you like real Swedish cooking,' said Lars Hanson as he escorted us across the velvety green lawn of his walled garden, where for the past hour we had sat enthralled by the tales he and his charming wife had told us of their native land...This was a Sunday supper to which we had been invited. 'My wife prepared everything when I her that I had promised you real Swedish cooking.' Said Mr. Hanson as we took our places at a long refectory table in a long, rather narrow and dignified dining-room."

Fact may be just as exiciting as fiction to historians when we think that the events of the nineteenth century, depicted in the twentieth, are already culturally different from ours, especially in film the show the humanity that we still do have in common, or rather psychological insights about characters in moral dilemas; in fact Moving Picture World contrasted the character portrayed by Lars Hanson in John Robertson's film with a "more straitlaced" character that Hanson had played earlier for Victor Sjostrom in his depiction of Puritan Colonialism, "The Scarlet Letter". Photoplay reviewed the film. "A well knit drama is this story of how the gospel ship came into being." A ship embarks from the Boston waterfront and is saved from shipwreck off to become apparently a then "floating church" The film might be historically inaccurate about the date triangular trade hade ended in regard to the War of 1812. Motion Picture News subtitled their review with a "Rugged, Well Acted Story of the first Gospel Ship" while the periodical Motion Picture News subtitled their review with "Lars Hanson and Pauline Starke in Gripping Drama of Founding of First Gospel Ship". The subtitles used in Motion Picture World were directed more toward the jazz age- one page announcing the film "Flesh and the Devil" in which Lars Hanson, starred with Greta Garbo and John Gilbert, as being busy "Cleaning Up" at the box office, while "Captain Salvation" was in production for Cosmopolitan with "Wild Crew Now Sails the Main". Motion Picture World announced that the seventy five actors of the studio were filming exterior scenes ar Catalina Island, the "dramatic action" filmed after having "set sail" on the "high seas".

Picture Play magazine during 1927 featured stills from the eight reel film "Captain Salvation", starring Lars Hanson. They were captioned with, "Lars Hanson has another intensely dramatic role in 'Captain Salvation', that of a young New Englander whose heart is in the sea, but who is forced his uncle to go onto the ministry...Marceleine Day as the girl who waits for him at home." Motion Picture News Booking Guide during 1927 provided a brief synopsis of the film, "Theme: Melodrama of the sea. Adaptation of the novel by Fredrick William Wallace, Divinity Student forsakes the pulpit for the sea, forgets his faith and becomes aide of a much feared skipper. His regeneration is brought about through an unfortunate girl he befriends. After her death he is reunited with his sweetheart." The cameraman to the film is listed as William Daniels and the scenarist as Jack Dunningham. Photoplay Magazine reviewed the eight reel silent film, "Pauline Starke is Excellant as the waterfront derelict." In a photo caption to a full page portrait of Pauline Starke, Picture Play magazine introduced her upcoming film, "If you saw 'Captain Salvation' you have no doubt of Pauline Starke's dramatic gifts. If you did not, you will find proof of them in 'Fallen Angles'".
Child actor Jackie Coogan was employed in the title role of the seven reel film "Buttons" (1927, George W. Hill), in which he starred with Lars Hanson, Gertrude Olmstead and Polly Moran. Photoplay provided a brief synopsis of the film during its review, "the ship strikes an iceberg and then founders, with little Jackie standing by on the bridge with the captain to the last. Both are saved, however."

With the advent of sound, Picture Play magazine in 1929 featured an article titled "Have foreigners a Chance Now?", written by Myrtle Gebhart, evaluating the inconstant position of foreign stars in the firmament "defeated by the microphone", including British actors that had already returned to England. The author turned to Sweden, "Greta Garbo's first out loud. 'Anna Christie' is fogged with her native accent...Enchanting Greta Nissen is routined with an obscure stock company to acquire English dexterity...Lars Hanson and Mona Martenson, better known abroad than Garbo did not click. That was prior to the accent age."
     On his return to Sweden, Photoplay Magazine recorded,"Contentment meant more to Lars than money. He writes that he is happier than he has ever been in the Royal Dramatic Theater in Stockholm."  Katherine Albert of Photoplay in 1932 seemed to feel she had the definitive account of Lars Hanson having had been excluded from sound film, although Hanson had returned to Sweden and would not much later costar with Victor Sjostrom who had relinquished directing upon his return to Sweden to continue only as an actor, the film having been shot by director Gustav Edren. She wrote, "And there was a Swedish Girl who had just been brought over with a great director. None of us could see why they had been given a contract. She was too tall, too gawky and had none of the requirements of a great actress. She just wandered about the lot and nobody paid her any attention. her name was Greta Garbo. No, we were concerned with the artists Lillian Gish and that marvelous actor Lars Hanson. And now who knows anything about Lars Hanson and where is Lillian Gish? While...well, if we had had sense enough to see what the girl had we wouldn't have been working in the publicity department."

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo Love

Greta Garbo

Monday, December 18, 2023

Scott Lord Silent Film: The Star of Bethlehem (Marston, 1912)

THe periodical Motography announced in its November 23, 1912 issue that Thanhauser would release the three reel film "The Star of Bethlehem" one month later, on December 24, as its Christmas feature of that year. It describes the film and its costumes as being a spectacle film for its time period, which is early for the genre. The film gives an account of the prophet Micah and the "signs and portents" of the Old Testament continuing untill the Nativity.

A month later, when the company advertised the film as being on the same marquee as its "Romeo and Juliet", it promoted the films as belonging "an Easter programme", prompting exhibitioners to view it. The periodical The Cinema News and Property Gazzette explore the film belonging to a new genre during January 1913, "Of the making of films the stories of which are based upon Scripture there appears to be no end. There are some who would taboo this kind of picture, but for our own part, so long as we habe companies like Thanhauser, we care not how greatly this kind of film increases and multiplies. Reverence is the keynote..."

silent film silent film

Scott Lord Silent Film:The Nativity (Feuillade, 1910))

silent film silent film

Scott Lord Silent Film: Noah’s Ark (Vitagraph, 1911)

Silent FIlm Silent Film

Scott Lord Silent Film: The Deluge (Vitagraph, 1911)

Silent Film Silent Film Noah's Ark (Vitagraph, 1911)

Scott Lord on Film: Lillian Gish in Swedenborg, The Man Who Had to Know

Silent Film Scott Lord

Scott Lord Silent Film: Biograph Film Company; The Lure of the Gown (D.W...

Actresses Marion Leonard and Florence Lawrence appeared with Linda Arvidson in "The Lure of the Gown", directed by D.W. Griffith and photographed by G.W. Bitzer in 1909. Silent Film D.W. Griffith D.W. Griffith

Scott Lord Silent Film: Confidence (D.W. Griffith, 1909)

D.W. Griffith wrote and directed the one reel film "Confidence" during 1909. Photographed by G.W. Bitzer and Authur Marvin, the filmfeatures Florence Lawrence along with D.W. Griffith's wife, Linda Arvidson, and Kate Bruce.

SILENT film D.W. Griffith Biograph Film Company

Scott Lord Silent Film: A Strange Meeting (D.W. Griffith, Biograph, 1909)

"A Strange Meeting", directed by D. W. Griffith for the Biograph Company during 1909 starred actress Stephanie Longfellow. Silent Film D.W. Griffith Biograph Film Company

Scott Lord Silent Film: The Country Doctor (D.W. Griffith, Biograph, 1909)

One technique used to present narrative by D.W. Griffith, although the principle thematic action was two interior scenes connected by cutting on action, was to introduce the film with an exterior panning shot as the establishing shot. The film is concluded with a similar exterior shot which pans in the opposite direction to imply the story had reached an irrevocable conclusion.

Written and directed by D.W. Griffith the film stars Gladys Egan, Mary Pickford, Florence Lawrence and Kate Bruce. D.W.Griffith D.W. Griffith Biograph Film Company

Scott Lord Silent Film: Corner in Wheat (D.W. Griffith, Biograph, 1909)

"The Miller's Daughter", "The Song of the Shirt"(1908) and "A Corner of Wheat", directed by D.W. Griffith for the Biograph Film Company are early films that depicted the individual within a social context. Kay Sloan, in her copyrighted paper "Silent Cinema as Social Criticism, Front Page Movies", writes, "The comedies, melodramas and occaisional westerns about labor conflict, tenement poverty or political corruption reveal through fantasy an America torn with ideological conflict." Pointing out that film companies looked to the contemporay "muckrackers" for story lines, she includes the films "The Suffragete's Revenge" and "The Reform Candidate" as being timely depictions of audience involved in reception, extending that audience to the readers of Upton Sinclair, but later attributes the decline of social drama to the development of the feature film after World War I. She adds to these the film "The Govenor's Boss" which took its storyline from Tammany Hall while modernizing its theme and message, a technique often attempted by D.W. Griffith. Studio advertisements for "A Corner in Wheat" hailed "The Story of Wheat in Symbolism", writing, "This is possibly the most stirring and artistic subject ever produced by Biograph. It starts with an animated portrayal of Millet's masterpiece 'The Sowers'." "A Corner of Wheat" had been adapted by D.W. Griffith and Frank Woods from the novel "The Pit" and the short story "A Deal in Wheat", both written in 1903 by the sometimes controversial author Frank Norris.

The steady, weekly competition from other studios during 1909 was typical for the release of the Biograph film "In a Corner of Wheat"; from Selig there was "Pine Ridge Fued", from Lubin there was "Romance of the Rocky Coast", from Essany there was "The Heart of a Cowboy", from Vitagraph there was "Two Christmas-Tides" and from Edison Films there was "Fishing Industry in Gloucester, Mass.". The following week Biograph released "A Trap for Santa Claus" while Vitagraph vied for its audience with "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and Selig with "A Modern Dr. Jeckyll". As the competition was weekly, the month before Kalem had released "Dora", a dramatization of the poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Vitagraph had offered "Lancelot and Elaine". Silent Film D.W. Griffith Biograph Film Company

Scott Lord Silent Film: The New York Hat (D.W. Griffith, Biograph)

Directed by D. W. Griffith, the film features the first photoplay written by Anita Loos. Subsequently, Loos was to write the scenarios and screenplays to films which starred Douglas Fairbanks. The New Movie Magazine during 1930 nostalgically related that the film had also introduced Lionel Barrymore to the screen and that Loos, who had only been sixteen years old at the time of its release, had received “the large sum of $15” for writing the film. Author Iris Barry explains that it was not only Anita Loos that was behind the scenes, “At this period, ideas for films were commonly bought from outsiders and members of the company alike. Mary Pickford, Mack Sennett and others contributed many of the plots Griffith used.” This in part can be taken into consideration when apply Autuer theory to the abrupt difference between the scriptwriting methods of D.W Griffith and Thomas Ince and when reconsidering autuer theory when comparing the directorial efforts of D.W. Griffith and Ingmar Bergman in the mileau of a theatrical acting company.
In the volume D.W. Griffith, American Filmaker, Iris Barry writes that 1912 was a year that D.W. Griffith was an innovator not only in the depiction of social themes and social problems but also in film technique and the uses of the camera as well as the legnthening of the onscreen running time of the two reeler. Barry describes the filmmaking involved in “The New York Hat” (one reel),The film uses cut-backs, close-shots and sharply edited scenes with ease and mastery: close-ups made acting a matter of expresssion and minute guestures instead of the stereotyped guestures of the popular theater.”
In the short scenes of Griffith’s film, Mary Pickford is shown to the right of the screen in medium close shot, trying on a hat, her hands and elbows shown in the frame. Griffith cuts on the action of her leaving the frame to exterior shots. In a later scene, Griffith positions her to the left of the screen, and, his already having shown time having elapsed between the two scenes, then brings the action back to the right of the screen frame. As an early reversal of screen direction, or screen positioning, there is the use of screen editing in between the complimentary positions of showing her in the same interior. During the film the actress is, almost referentially, often kept in profile, facing to the right of the screen's frame. Although Griffith may have been still developing editing techniques, it has been noted that the acting style in the film can be seen as an example of a more naturalistic and less histrionic acting style than that of other contemporary films.

Silent Film D.W. Griffith Biograph Film Company

Scott Lord Silent Film: The Girl and Her Trust (Griffith, Biograph, 1912)

DUring 1912 actress Dorothy Bernard starred in for director D.W. Griffith at Biograph in the one reel "The Girl and Her Trust".

Dorothy Bernard went on to film for the Fox Film Corporation, beginning with the 1915 film "The Song of Hate" (seven reels) directed by J. Gordon Edwards.The film is presumed to be lost, with no surviving copies.

Silent Film

Scott Lord Silent Film: The Switchtower (Biograph, 1913)

During 1913 D.W. Griffith directed Lional Barrymore and Henry B. Wathall in the one reel film "The Switchtower". Silent Film SILENT FILM D.W. Griffith SILENT FILM

Scott Lord Silent Film: The Lonedale Operator (Griffith, 1912)

In her autobiography, Lillian Gish discusses D.W. Griffith's cutting between camera distances in "The Lonedale Operator" (one reel). The photoplay was written by Mack Sennett and photographed by G.W. Bitzer for the Biograph Film Company durin 1912. Linda Arvidson, writing as Mrs. D. W. Griffith, in her autobiography entitled "When the Movies Were Young" recounts the importance of "The Lonedale Operator" to the career of actress Blanche Sweet, "Mr. Griffith, as of yet unwilling to grant that she had any soul or feeling in her work, was using her for 'girl' parts. But he changed his opinion with 'The Lonedale Operator'. That was the picture in which he first recognized ability in Miss Sweet." Arvidson later phrases it as "screen acting that could be recognized as a portrayal of human conduct". In another account contained in the volume, Arvidson chronicles D.W. Griffith having met with Blanche Sweet "on the road" with an offer to film two reelers in Calfornia neccesitated by the departure of Mary Pickford to the IMP Studios. Silent Film D.W. Griffith Biograph Film Company

Scott Lord Silent Film: An Unseen Enemy (D.W. Griffith, Biograph 1912)

The year 1912 was to mark the first film with Lillian and Dorothy Gish, “An Unseen Enemy” (one reel), directed by D.W. Griffith. Lillian and Dorothy Gish appeared in a dozen two reel films together during 1912 and several more during 1913. In The Man Who Invented Hollywood, the autobiography of D.W. Griffith, published in 1972, Griffith outlines his arriving at the Biograph Film Company and adding actors, including Mary Pickford,tohis ensemble. Griffith recalls, "One day in the early summer of 1909, I was going through the dingy, old hall of the Biograph studio when suddenly the gloom seemed to disappear. The change was caused by the prescence of two young girls sitting side by side and on a hall bench...They were Lillian Gish and Dorothy Gish. Of the two, Lillian shone with an extremelyfragile, ethereal beauty...As for Dorothy, she was lovely too, but in another manner- pert, saucy, the old mischief popping out of her."
Silent Film

Lillian and Dorothy Gish Biograph Film Company

Scott Lord Silent Film: Lena and the geese (D.W. Griffith, Biograph, 1912)

During 1912 Mary Pickford, Kate Bruce and Mae Marsh starred for D.w. Griffith at Biograph in the one-teel "lena and the Geese". Silent Film D.W. Griffith Biograph Film Company

Scott Lord Silent Film: The Lesser Evil (D.W. Griffith, Biograph, 1912)

The Lesser of Evil starred actresses Blanche Sweet and Mae Marsh and was directed for Biograph by D.W. Griffithduring 1912. The film was photographed by G.W Bitzer. Silent Film Biograph Film Company

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Swedish Silent Film, The Golden Age in Decline

Swedish Silent Film scholar Bo Florin makes note of the province held by Nils Bouveng at the newly structured Svenska Filmindustri after the merger had taken place of the smaller companies into one and that Bouveng had published an article entitled Swedish Film Advertising: How the Industry Plans to Conquer the World in the 1919 periodical Filmjournalen. Nils Bouveng of Swedish Biograph was very much responsible for the distribution of Swedish silent film in the United States. The publication Exhibitor's Herald during 1921 noted that although Bouveng was deemed to have thought the film market overcrowded, he would still export film "of merit" to the United States. It wrote,"Swedish Biograph has control of all product of Scandinavian studios and will offer only the cream of these pictures to American theaters...While Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness is regarded as its finest offering, company executives believe that Judge Not, Sir Arne's Treasure, Youth Meets Youth, Dawn of Love and Secret of the Monastery will compare favorably with any American made production." Actors that were anticipated to greet audiences in the United States included Mary Johnson, Gosta Ekman Renee Bjorling, Tora Teje, Edith Erastoff Lars Hanson, Karin Molander and Victor Sjostrom.
Scandinavian films were often peered at by American and British film magazines and for thos looking for film rveiews, extatextural discourse on European films can often be located within them. Picture Play Magazine during 1921 looked at the theater screens of Sweden. "Lars Hanson, a star of the Swedish constellation may be added to the European counterparts of American stars. Lesley Mason denominates him 'the Charles Ray of Sweden' and considers him the best male bet of Europe so far as American popularity is concerned. The most popular of the Swedish feminine stars, according to Mr. Mason, are Tora Teje, Karin Molander and Mary Johnson. During the following year, 1922, the periodical Picturegoer magazine in fact recognized actress Mary Johnson as being the leading actress from Sweden in an article about actors known internationally and transnational cinema but opined that as a foreign celebrity she entertained a more subdued fame, as though to denote a lack of commodification of the female in extratextural discourse, ie. exploitation. "Although she rejoices in the title of 'Sweden's Sweetheart", loveable, little Mary Johnson has never recieved a 'fan' letter from Sweden. The reason is extremely simple. There are no 'fans' there. The star, as a star and personality, simply doesn't count. The Swedish picturegoer is very critical as to story, technique and acting and highly appreciative too; but as to writing to the movie stars- perish the thought." Author Walter Bloem, in his volume The Soul of the Moving Picture from 1924, in a discussion on The Scene, singled out two Swedish Silent Film actresses by briefly mentioning Karin Molander and Tora Teje as having "the psychic power which spells variety in the creation of character" as contrasted with a plentiful supply of American actresses that presented "a soporific drama of a single sorrow or grief or pain, of a conventional melancholy, sadness or lament." Author Benjamin B. Hampton to the contrary, in his volume A History of the Movies, published during 1931, seems to transverse the period following the Golden Age of Silent Film as though from 1925-1930 were stagnant, typifying Swedish Silent Film as tendentious. "The Scandinavians, despite fine actors and directors, lean so frequently toward gloomy, sophisticated stories, that they have been negligible factors in production as far as production is concerned." Hampton overlooks that this is exaclty what helps to account for the film made in Sweden after 1925 having been attempts at commercial success through light hearted comedies.

The periodical Motion Picture News during 1925 cited Charles Magnusson as the president of The Swedish Film Industry, Inc. of Stockholm. The occaision was his visit to America and Hollywood. It quoted Magnusson as having said, "American pictures are teaching the people of Sweden to think like Americans, to dress like them and to act like them...They are all emulating the American screen stars and bobbed heads are almost universal throught the North country." He added that Swedish filmmakers were dependent upon artifical lighting, "Our plant in Stockholm is about twelve acres, but we have only two production stages." The Film Daily covered the same visit of Charles Magnusson to Hollywood with the title "Sweden Can't Compete". It claimed that Sweden would look to European markets rather than American and that Swedish audiences demanded American films, one hundread out of one hundread and forty films shown in Sweden being made in Hollywood.

The sentiment that the Golden Age of Swedish Silent Film had been overwhelmed by Hollywood and its towering economic system rather than the expected bolstering of Swedish studios through exportation is expressed by author Joel Fryholm who includes the global prescence of American films as conributing to the decline of the Scandinavian art film in a paper tracing the "Swedish Agitation against American Films" and the splashing of advertisements for them in Swedish newspapers that had neccesitated the need for debate regarding legislation.

During 1921, the periodical Motion Picture Magazine reported there would be an increase of importations from Stockholm and while it featured still photographs from the films Dawn of Love, The Secret of the Monsastery and A Fortuned Hunter, it marked that the storylines we're to be adaptations from the literature of Ibsen, Bjornsen and Selma Lagerlof and that the principal players had come from the Swedish theater, which aptly describes the way in which actress Greta Garbo would be introduced to Swedish film audiences two years later.

Swedish director Ivan Hedqvist during 1919 directed the Svenska Biografteatern film "The Downy Girl"(Dunungen) from a play by Selma Lagerlof, the film having starred Renee Bjorling, Jenny Tschernichin-Larssen and Mia Grunder in her first appearance on the silent screen. The cinematographer to the film was Julius Jaenzon. Among the films produced by Filmindustri Skandia during 1920 photographed by Raol Reynolds and directed by Rune Carlsten was the film "The Bomb" ("Sunshine and Shadow", "Bomben"), starring Karin Molander and Gosta Ekman. Actress Karin Molander had starred in the lost film "Surrogatet" during 1919, the being no surviving copies of the film. A short film lasting only slightly over a half hour, it was directed by Einar Braun for Filmindustri Scandia, Stockholm. Rune Carlsten in 1920 wrote and directed the film "A Modern Robinson" ("Robinson i skargarden") with actress Mary Johnson. The cinematographer to the film was Raoul Reynolds. Actress Mary Johnson married Norwegian actor Einor Rod after having appeared with him in the film. Director Rune Carlsten that year also directed Mary Johnson with Tora Teje and Hilda Castegren in "Family Traditions" ("Familjens traditioner") which he coscripted as well, his co-author having had been being Sam Ask. The film was produced by Svensk Filmindustri and photographed again by Raoul Reynolds.
Solve Cederstrand directed his first film, "A Fateful Incognito" (Ett odesdigert kognito), starring Tage Alquist and Signe Selid in 1920. The film was written by Axel Essen and photographed by Kurt Jager, who went on to direct the film "Elaman maantiella" (1927) in Finland. Children were allowed to public exhibition of the 1920 film "The Shoemaker Prince",directed by Hjalmer Davidsen and scripted by Jens Locher for Palladium film. The film starred Maja Cassel as Princess Charlotte and Oda Larsen. In her paper The Excavation of New Swedish Childen's Film History, scholar Taichi Niibori, Stockholm University, asks if Pauline Brunius, wife of Swedish Silent Film director John Brunius was the "Founding Mother" of the Swedish Barnfilm with the film "Dragonfly" (1920) in a chapter on the Ambiguity of Generic Identity in exhibition strategies, that its "textural aspect symolises the contemporaneuous concept of children's films". It is a short film of 21 minutes running time. Brunius often made short films with child actors in the leading parts.
Scripted by Hjalmer Bergman as an adaptation of his 1917 work "Friarna pa Rockesnas", the 1921 film "Fru Mariannes fare" was directed by Gunnar Klintberg, the cinematographer to the film having had been Robert Olsson. The film starred Astri Torsell, Ingrid Sunblad, Aslag Lie-Erde and Gota Klintberg. Gunnar Klintberg continued by directing Astr Torsell in two more Swedish Silent Films, "The Love Circle" [Elisabet) with actresses Julia Hakanson and Gota Klintberg and in "Lord Saviles Brott", adapted from the work of Oscar Wilde. Gunner Klintberg's wife, actress Gota Klintberg had appeared with Signe Kolthoff during 1919 in the film "Jefthas dottar", directed by Robert Dinesen.
Swedish Silent Film director Ivan Hedqvist in 1921 directed the film "Pilgrimage to Kevlaar" (Valfarten till Kevlaar). Ragnar Hylten Cavallius, who scripted the photoplay of the film, appears on film as a supporting actor. Ivan Hedqvist followed the film in 1924 with "Life in the Country" (Livets pa Landet), photgraphed by Julius Jaenzon and starring actress Mona Martenson. /
Formerly a journalist, Gustaf Edgren in 1922 had founded his own film company, Varmlandsfilm, making his screenwriting and directorial debut with the film "Miss at Pori" (The Young Lady of Bjorneborg/Froken pa Bjorneborg) starring actresses Rosa Tillman, Elsa Wallin and Edith Ernholm in her first film. The photographer was Adrian Bjurman. Adrian Bjorman was again the photographer for Gustav Edgren during 1923 for the film "People of Narke (Narkingara), which Edgren wrote and directed. Starring in the film were Anna Carlsten, Gerda Bjorne, and Maja Jerlstrom in her first appearance on screen. The film was also produced by Edgren's company Varmlandfilm, which would continue to produce only the flms of Gustaf Edgren.

Aparrently actress Karin Swanstrom was required to give co-directing screen credit to her screenwriter Oscar Rydqvist to the first film she was to direct, "Boman at the Fair" (Boman at the Exbhition, Boman pa Uttstallingen", 1923). Photographed by Gustav A Gustafson, the film starred Ingeborg Strandin and was the only film in which Karin Gardtman was to appear.

Although it joins the narrative of film history in a chapter concerned with the decline of Swedish Silent Film and its Golden Age, author Forsyth Hardy describes the work of Inga Tiblad and Einar Hanson in the 1923 Gustaf Molander film "Malapirater" as "pleasant acting". The film is a comedy. Ragnar Widestedt in 1923 directed Agda Helin and Jenny Tschernichin-Larsson in the film "Housemaids" (Hemslavirmor) written by Ragnar Hylten-Cavallius.

Frederick Andersson in 1923 directed the film "En rackarunge" with actresses Elsa Wallin and Mia Grunder. Gustaf V, King of Sweden, is listed as being in the film. It was photographed by Swedish cinematographer Sven Bardach.

Per Lindberg directed his first film during 1923, "Norrtullsligan", written by Hjalmer Bergman and starring Tora Teje, Stina Berg, Linnea Hillberg and Nils Asther. Peter Cowie, in his volume Scandinavian Cinema, commended the film by writing it "nelongs among the most courageous and enjoyable films of the European decade. Films prior to 1923 had presented individual female characters of flesh amd blood, but the Nortell Gang established a precedent....The screenplay by Hjalmer Bergman transcends the familiar image of women as decorative objects." Hjalmer Bergman was in fact the borther-in-law of director Per Lindberg.

Swedish Silent Film director Sigurd Wallen during 1923 directed the lost silent film "Friaren fran Landsvagen", which co-scripted with Sam Ask had starred Edvin Adolphson, Jenny Hasselquist, and Mia Grunden.

John Lindlof in 1924 directed the film "Man of Adventure" (Odets Man) with Inga Tiblad and Uno Henning, photographed by Gustav a Gustafson and written by J. Evicius. Knut Lambert who appears as an actor in the film and subsequently several later films, directed the lost film "Equal Among Equal" (Lika mot lika) in 1906, it having been the first film in which actress Tollie Zellman was to appear. Lambert appears with Tollie Zellman in the film as an actor with his wife Helfrid Lambert. There are no surviving copies of the film.

Sigurd Wallen during 1924 directed Inga Tiblad with Einar Froberg in " Greune pa Svanta" photographed by Henrik Jaenzon. Mostly known for being a theater director it was the first of only a handful of films Froberg had appeared in and the only film script that he had written. Froberg had directed an earlier film, "Lunda-indianer" starring Ture Sjogre and Malte Akerman, during 1920, his only time behind the camera, and had directed his own play, "Individerna Forbund' in Stockholm during 1919. Gustaf Molander appeared on stage in Stockholm in Froberg's play "Erna" under the direction of Gustaf Linden at The Drama (Dramaten) during 1922.

Ivar Kage in 1924 directed Gosta Hillberg and Edvin Adolphson in the film "When the Lighthouse Flashes" (Dar fyren blinken) for Svensk Ornfilm. The script was written by Esther Julin who had earlier adapted the novels of Selma Lagerlof to the screen for Victor Sjostrom. A fairly obscure or nonprolific photographer, Hellwig Rimmen during 1924 photographed the only film that he was to direct, "Hogsta Vinsten", it having starred actress Hilma Bolvig. The running time to the film was a half hour. Rimmen had began filming in Sweden under the direction of Einar Fronerg during the only film he was to direct, the 1920 film "Lunda-Indianer".

Included in the number of Swedish Silent Films that are lost, with no surviving copies known to exist is the film "40 Skipper Street" (Skeppargatan 40), directed by Gustaf Edgren during 1925. The film brought Mona Martenson and Einar Hanson together on screen , it also having featutred actresses Magda Holm and Karin Swanstrom. The photoplay was cowritten by director Gustaf Edgren with HUgo CLareus and Solve Cederstrand.

During 1925, Pauline Brunius was appearing on stage with Gosta Ekman in the play "Dalin och Drottningen", written by her brother in law, August Brunius. August Brunius has recently been described by one biographer as having been "the first professional Swedish critic", his having had begun writing essay on the theater in 1917.

Swedish Silent Film director William Larsson during 1925 directed the films "Broderna Ostermans huskors" with Jenny Tscherichin-Larsson and Frida Sporring and "For hemmet och flickan" with Jenny Tchernichin Larsson and Elsa Widborg in what was to be the first film in which she was to appear. The former was photographed by Arthur Thorell, the former by Henrik Jaenzon.

Swedish Silent Film director Sigurd Wallen during 1925 directed the film "Hennes lilla Majestat" starring actresses Margita Alfven, Stina Berg, Gucken Cederborg, and Olga Andersson in the first feature film in which she was to appear. With a photplay scripted by Henning Ohlson, the film was photographed by Axel Lindblom.

Olaf Molander, to bring the Golden Age of Swedish Silent Film to an anticlimax rather than a crescendo, directed only three silent films, the first in 1925, the next the following year and one the year following that. About the 1925 film, "Lady of the Camelias"(Damen med kameliorna) Forsyth Hardy writes,"The film derived some distinction from the delicately composed interiors and the touching performance of Tora Teje gave in response to Molander's skilled direction." Peter Cowie writes, "Although the film betrays the theatrical loyalties of its director, the camera observing most scenes from a single, rigid, set up, Molander knows how to rein in the histrionics of his players (Nils Arehn, for example creates an excellant Georges Duvall) and he copes well with the outdoor scenes." Photographed by Gustaf A. Gustafson, the films stars Ivan Hedqvist, Hilda Bjorgstrom and Lisskulla Jobs in the first film in which she was to appear.

Sigurd Wallen during 1926 directed the film "Ebberods Bank", the assistant director to the film Rolf Husberg. The film starred acresses Stina Berg, Jenny Tschernichin-Larsson and Carina May in her first of three screen appearances. The film is presumed to be lost, with no survivivng copies.

There are no surviving copies of the lost film "My Wife Has a Fiancee" (Min Fru har en Fastman, 1926) directed by Theodor Berthels who coscripted the photoplay with wife Greta Berthels. SWedish silent film actress Jenny Hasselquist stars in the film with Thora Ostberg and Tyra Leijman-Uppstrom. It was one of two films produced by Thebe Film. THe following year Theodor Berthels directed the film "Arnljot" (1927) from a manuscript written by his wife Greta Berthels. Both appear onscreen in the film with actress Thora Ostberg. The photographer of the film was Adrian Bjurman. The film is also presumed to be lost, with no surviving copies.

Petschler-Film during 1926 produced the film "Brollopet i Brana" directed by Eric A. Petschler and written by Esther Julin and Lars Tessing. The film, photographed by Gustav A. Gustafson, teamed Edvin Adolphson, Mona Martensen and Emmy Albin. The film "Hin och smalanningen" directed by Erik A Petschler for Petschler Film during 1927 is presumed to be lost, with no known surviving cooies of the film. Co-written by Petschler with Sam Ask as an adaptation of the 1888 play by Frans Hedberg, the film starred actresses Jenny Tchernichin-Larsson, Anita Dow, Birgit Tengroth and Greta Anjov. Screenwriter Sam Ask appears on screen as an actor. The film was photographed by Gustav A. Gustafson.

"Mordbrannerskan" (1926), directed by John Lindlof, photographed by Gustaf A. Gustafson and starring Vera Schmiterlow and Brita Appelgren was the first film in which Birgit Tengroth was to appear.

Actress Vera Schmiterlow, fondly remembered for being a friend of Greta Garbo, during 1927 under the direction of Sigurd Wallen with actress Stina Berg in the film "The Queen of Pellagonia" (Drottninggen av Pellagonia". Scripted by playwright Henningen Ohlsson, the film was photographed byAxel Lindblom.

Gustaf Edgren in 1927 directed "The Ghost Baron" (Spokbaronen) starring Karin Swanstrom and photographed by Adrian Bjuman, which was followed by "Black Rudolph" (Svarte Rudolph) in 1928, starring Inga Tiblad amd Fridolf Rhudin, both films having been written by Solve Cederstrand. The assistant director to the film "Black Rudolph" had been Gunnar Skogland. It was the first film in which actress Katie Rolfson was to appear.

Vilhelm Bryde directed his only film during 1927, "A Husband By Proxy" (En Perfekt Gentleman) a comedy scripted by Hjalmar Bergman starring Gosta Ekman, La Jana and Karin Swanstrom. The film was produced by Minerva Film. Bryde had acted in a more than a dozen Swedish Silent Films beggining with "Erotikon", directed by Mauritz Stiller.

Sam Ask wrote and directed the 1928 Swedish Silent Film "Erik XIV", it having starred Sophus von Rosen, Eva Monk af Rosenchold, Lisa Ryden and Gosta Werner. Nothwithstanding, despite the film "Erik XIV", author Peter Cowie sees 1928 as the beginning of a "barren period" ensuing after Charles Magnusson was "eased out of" Svenska Filmindustri by Ivar Kruger with Olaf Andersson as head of the firm. Charles Magnusson had folded, and left his position at Svenska Filmindustri during 1928, but the present author feels that perhaps author Peter Cowie is either mistaken or exaggerating when he claims that it had precipitated a "veritable exodus of talent"- the directors Victor Sjostrom and Mauritz Stiller admittedly were in the United States, but contrary to Cowie's volume Scandinavian Cinema, actor and actress Greta Garbo and Lars Hanson had u doubtedly left Sweden prior to the departure of Charles Magnusson, as had Einar Hanson, leaving only the screenwriters Hjalmer Bergman and concievably Tancred Ibsen. And yet the spirit of Cowie's passage views him as essential as a founder and catalyst, which he was.

Peter Cowie, in his volume Scandinavian Cinema chronicles the end of the silent era in Sweden as being a time of less output, "Swedish film production declined through the 1920's, reaching a nadir in 1929, when a mere six features were released."

Danish Silent Film

Victor Sjostrom
Victor Sjostrom

The Photoplay: Silent Movie Lobby Cards, Lon Chaney

Lon Chaney

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Scott Lord Silent Film: The Girl Who Stayed Home (D.W. Griffith, 1919)

Directed by D.W.Griffith and photographed by G.W. Bitzer for the Famous Players Lasky Corporation "The Girl Who Stayed at Home" (seven reels) showcased actress Carol Dempster. In their volume The films of D.W. Griffith, Edward Wagenkneckt and Anthony Slide describe the theater transpiring on screen, the theatrical element, by contrasting the loves scenes of each of the two couples; compared to the Seymour-Harron affair, the "Carol Dempster-Richard Barthelmess love affair is strangely tepid; it lacks the joyful emotion of true feeling."

D. W. Griffith

D.W. Griffith

Monday, November 27, 2023

Scott Lord Silent Film: True Heart Susie (D. W. Griffith, 1919)

Directed D W Griffith during 1919 for ArtcraftPictures Corporation, "True Heart Susie" (six reels) was photographed by G.W. Bitzer and paired Lillian Gish in the titular role with Robert Harron with actresses Kate Bruce and Carol Dempster. In their volume The Films of D.W. Griffith, authors Edward Wagenkneckt and Anthony Slide, divide Griffith's films into two genres, much like author Vachel Lindsay would - the epic and the lyric, the latter being "less ambitious, more intimate" the "stylistic directness" of "True Heart Susie" falling into the latter.

Author Anthony Slide perpiscaciously introduces D. W. Griffith actress Seymour by noting that both Seymour and actor Robert Harron, who had appeared together in both "The Girl Who Stayed Home" and "True Heart Susie" during 1919, had died early during 1920.

After directing “True Heart Susie” in 1919, to end the year, D.W. Griffith directed Lillian Gish in the film “The Greatest Question” (six reels), photographed by G.W. Bitzer.

The films "A Romance of Happy Valley", starring Lillian Gish, and "Scarlet Days", both directed by D.W. Griffith, were thought to be lost and donated to the Modern Museum of Art by Russia when rediscovered. Silent Film D.W. Griffith

Scott Lord Silent Film: The Love Flower (D.W. Griffith, 1920)

In their volume The Films of D. W. Griffith, Edward Wagenkneckt and Anthony Slide summarize the theme of "The Love Flower" as being "the paradox of reprehensible deeds committed by "the fair hand of woman' for the sake of love". Of the cinematography, Wagenkneckt and Slide write, "The lyrical element so characteristic of Griffith is fortunately much better expressed photographically than in the purple prose of some of the captions. The many shots of tropical vegetation are richly atmospheric and the rope bridge is a novel, interesting and slightly terrifying property."
D.W. Griffith directed "The Love Flower" during 1920 from his own adaptation of a story by Ralph Stock, the cinematographers to the film having been G.W. Bitzer and PauH. Allen.
Writer Anthony Slide provides biographical entries on one hundread Silent Film stars without avoiding both ones that he met personally and more prominent choices in a section titled "Legends". About D. W. Griffith's star Carol Dempster, Slide writes "Carol Dempster's hysterical running around in 'The Love Flower' is nothing more than pure melodrama." Also starring in the film is actress Florence Short.
Director D.W. Griffith also filmed "The Idol Dancer" with actresses Clarine Seymore and Kate Bruce.

After having starred in the seven reel silent film “The Love Flower”, directed by D.W. Griffith in 1920, actress Carol Dempster went on to star in the 1921 film “Dream Street”, again directed by D. W. Griffith. Author Anthony Slide calls both films "impersonations" of Griffith's better leading ladies.

Silent Film D.W. Griffith

Friday, November 24, 2023

Scott Lord Silent Film: Old Time Movies Castle Films 8mm

silent film

Greta Garbo in The Torrent (Monta Bell, 1926)

A suitable story for director Mauritz Stiller, famous Swedish director who just began work under M.G.M. contract is now being sought and will be announced at an early date. Greta Garbo, who has also just arrived in America will be assigned a suitable vehicle sometime this month." -Exhibitor's Trade Review, 1925

During the summer of 1925, Metro Goldwyn advertised Victor Seastrom's "Tower of Lies" with Norma Shearer and Lon Chaney as "Selma Lagerlof's world prize novel with the outstanding personalities of 'He Who Gets Slapped'". Using the front and inside covers of Moving Picture World Magazine, it also advertised "Bardleys the Magnificient", starring John Gilbert as a "colossal production in full technicolor", "Lights of Old Broadway", starring Marion Davies and directed by Monta Bell, and advertised two Cosmolitan Productions, The Temptress, "backed by intensive national publicity promotions of Cosmopolitan Productions, and "The Torrent"- "with Aileen Pringle in a cast of big names". To readers beginning with the recent biography by Robert Dance, Pringle was "displaced" by Greta Garbo

Author Lucy Fischer, in the paper Greta Garbo and Silent Cinema:The Actress as Art Deco Icon In no way establishes an Art Deco style of filmmaking as opposed to an art nouveau style of painting, although the elements of a modernity, including thematic elements, are certainly present. Fischer sees the film “The Torrent”, essentially a jazz age film and a precursor to the upcoming surprise of precode, as fluctuating between stylistic flourishes. These for Fischer are not inserted inadvertently, but at “heightened moments of the text” and the first “glamour shot” of Greta Garbo “inhabits a modernist space”. It is almost as if the author is implying that the screenwriter worked more closely with the wardrobe department than the scenario department while making her point. It would seem that Fischer is analyzing the shot structure of the film and its camera movement, the photoplay, by changes in what Greta Garbo is wearing rather than by evaluating how the spectator is drawn to the screen by a medium that after art nouveau, Dadaism and ante-bellum needed Art Deco to commercialize in a world apart from Sarah Bernhardt and the poster iconography of Alphonse Mucha. But Fischer brings a point of departure as the subculture of early surrealism lacked popularity in Hollywood- is Art Deco more than set and costume design and is there a corresponding style of acting, if not directing for the “lost generation”?
For a moment, let’s allow our look at Greta Garboin the film be a collection of shots of the new fashions within modernity and transfer theory written about one genre, the Silent Western to another- with the hope of providing a key to her volume on the iconography of Silent Western Film, the content of its mise en scene and typical motifs, author Nanna Verhoeff, in her volume “The West in Early Cinema, before quoting Jacques Derrida,claims to have coined the phrase “archival poetics” as compared and contrasted to other semiotics systems, to narrative poetics or to poetics of gender, much as a “landscape poetics” emerged in the reviews of the silent films of Mauritz Stiller and Victor Sjostrom The author highlights the content of Western Silent films by searchingly for their common physical elements, which presumably at times include Sjostrom’s masterpieces “The Wind” and at times, owing to its historical context, would not. The author writes, “I am to reflect on the connections between objects, discursive systems within which they can be understood and the cultural life in the present within which such ‘readability’ in terms of poetics’ etymological sense of making. The current interest in hypertextual discursive organization will serve as a heuretical metaphor that will help articulate an archival poetics useful for cultural analysis of early screen culture, in other words screening the past.” Needless to say this alone doesn’t place Greta Garboas an Art Deco figurehead and the volume written by Verhoeff consists of analysis of early silent film independent of the work of Greta Garbo but it places an archival value on the screen prescence of Greta Garbo contingent on the technology of the period and on audience reception that dates genres as having a chronological beginning when they are to emerge- Garbo’s insistence she did not belong to the Vamp iconography. If a dress worn by Garbo, then an article in a time capsule. To see the effect of costume design clearly, one might look at Elizabeth Taylor in the film Cleopatra, where it seems that every cut to a new scene includes Taylor wearing a different gown, adding a aesthetic value to the silence within each scene through numerous visual additions to mine en scene through numerous costume changes.

Greta Garbo arrives from Europe

When refilmed, her hollywood screentest would by filmed by Mauritz Stiller and purportedly spliced into the rushes of Torrent and was then, in turn, seen by Monta Bell, who insisted the script be given to Garbo. Greta Garbo's second screentest had been photographed by Henrik Sartov, who later explained that the earlier test had lacked proper lighting and that a lens he had devised had allowed him to articulate depth while filming her. Cameraman William Daniels had photographed the earlier test. Lillian Gish relates a conversation between her and Sartov where Gish asked him if he could photograph a screentest of Garbo, "Garbo's temperment reflected the rain and gloom of the long, dark Scandinavian winters."
     It skips any personal contact made between its author, Hedda Hopper, and actress Greta Garbo up untill a phone call from Ina Claire during her marriage to John Gilbert when Hopper had been visiting the set of His Glorious Night and, even then, when giving an account of Greta Garbo walking off the set when Arthur Brisbane had stepped on to it, it makes no claim that Hopper had ever spoken to the actress while at contract at M.G.M., but as an autobiography, From Under My Hat, the personal memoir of the events of Hedda Hopper's career in Hollywood, leaves us with a question. Why was Hedda Hopper compelled to include biography about Greta Garbo ? The account Hopper gives is standard and third person, much like the biography provided by John Bainbridge, it seeming to have its origin in the same fan magazines that were prevalent at the time and following their consensus. "In 1926 Lillian Gish," Hopper writes, "brought a Russian cameraman, whose name I've forgotten, to Hollywood from the East. Nobody had seen the work of the Russian. The studio saw some trick slides with which he was said to get effects...He was asked to make tests...So for three days Greta Garbo sat on a high stool while the unknown Russian made tests of her. A director was looking at water scenes to use in his picture 'The Torrent', when accidentally, the test using Garbo were cut in. His producer was sitting beside him. Apologizing nervously, he stopped the projection. 'No, go ahead,' said the director, 'I want to see something.' When they'd been run through once, he called for them to be run again, then jumped up and ran to the front office. 'I want that girl- the one in the tests. I want her for 'The Torrent.'" Hedda Hopper continues her autobiography with scenes from the romance between Garbo and Gilbert which she was also no part of and without personal memory, which is again odd in that the stories belong more properly to fan magazines, for example Photoplay Magazine, which offered a flurry of biography on Stiller and Gilbert between 1932 and 1935, for some reason the fact that Garbo wouldn't grant interviews making her the subject of biographies speculating why she had become a recluse. Hopper in fact calmy writes, "Garbo had no confidantes" at a point when the reader has begun to question when the two women had ever interacted. Under My Hat was published by Hopper during 1952, twenty years after the height of publicity of how the Swedish Sphinx had come to the United States to fall out of love with John Gilbert
      At first Garbo was reluctant to accept a role in the film "The Torrent". Although it was a large role that had been considered for Norma Shearer, whom Bell had directed in the film After Midnight (1921). Mauritz Stiller advised, "It can lead to better parts later." to which Garbo replied, "How can I take direction from someone I don't know?". John Bainbridge writes that in the beginning Garbo spent most of her time with , quoting him as having said, "You will see that something will become of her." It would be ten weeks before the studio would show any marked interest in her, this mostly at the behest of Stiller and in light of his second series of screentests. "She was especially fond of Seastrom's children," Bainbridge writes, "and brought little present to them." Victor Sjostrom's daughter is the Swedish actress Guje Lagerwall. 
     Begnt Forlund notes that the filming of Anna Karenina had at first been thought for actress Lillian Gish, who in Sweden, Greta Garbo had seen the film White Sister. In her autobiography, Gish wrote, "I often saw young Garbo on the set. She was then the protege of the Swedish director Mauritz Stiller. Stiller often left her on my set. He would take her to lunch and then bring her back, and Garbo would sit there watching." John Bainbridge reiterates this while writing on The Torrent, "Stiller did not appear on the set, but every evening he rehearsed Garbo in the next day's scenes, coaching her in every movement and every expression...Stiller delivered Garbo to the studio every morning and called for her every night." He quotes a letter written to Sweden by Stiller, "Greta is starting work for a well-known director and I think she has got an excellant part." Richard Corliss adds, "Though out of her element and seperated from Mauritz Stiller, Garbo gives fine performance, full of feeling and technical precocity. her first Hollywood kiss is one to remember."

NOrman ZIerold, in his 1969 biography Garbo, write, "The Swedish colony, especially Stiller, thought the final version of 'The Torrent' terrible." Zierold quotes Greta Garbo as having said, "Wouldn't it be cheaper to make a good movie".

Swedish actor Lars Hanson attended the premiere of the film and reflected, "We all thought the picture was a flop and that Garbo was terrible...In our opinion it didn't mean anything." Bainbridge makes the observation that Mauritz Stiller and Victor Seastrom were also at the premiere. He writes, "The picture did perhaps contain a few imperfections, such as Garbo's costumes." As a biographer, Bainbridge is enjoyable to read in one sense, not only for his prose synopsis of the film, but that he plays a guessing game by quoting a Swedish actress who was then in Hollywood without disclosing her name, the reader to wonder if she was in fact Karen Molander, wife of Lars Hanson who journeyed to Hollywood with him. The accuracy of Hollywood reporting during the Twenties, or Jazz Age, on which Bainbridge seems to base his historical references was admittedly referred to by Picture Play magazine and journalist William H. McKegg in Three Sphinxes, which compared Jetta Goudal, Ronald Colman and Greta Garbo, who, as of 1929, were three people that "puzzle Hollywood" It opined, "Of course rumors have been spread bu those who "know". Some say that Garbo was a waitress in one of the open air caf├ęs in the Swedish capital. They add that the poverty and sorrow she underwent made her fearful of life. Only those who have experienced poverty really know hoe cruel human beings can be to one another. some say she was a singer. Who cares?"The subtitle to one section of The Story of Greta Garbo as told to Ruth Biery, published in Photoplay during 1929 reads, "Tempermental of misunderstood". In it Greta Garbo relates the events that led up to her having left the studio for what would only be less than a week, "Then it was for months here before I was to work for Mr. Stiller. I'm r. When it couldn't be arranged, they put me in The Torrent, with Mr. Monta Bell directing. It was very hard work, but I didn't mind that. I was at the studio every morning at seven o'clock and untill six every evening." She goes further explaining that there was a language barrier that would later contribute to Mauritz Stiller being also taken off her next picture, "Mr. Stiller is an artist...he does not understand the American factories. He always made his own pictures in Europe, where he is the master. In our country it is always the small studio." Stiller had in fact written to Sweden to say, "There is nothing here of Europe's culture." Journalist Rilla Page Palmborg, author of The Private Life of Greta Garbo, during 1931 wrote of a language barrier that extended to both Greta Garbo and Mauritz Stiller, her giving an account of the actress not having learned enough English to be fluent while making "The Torrent" and while there was no dialouge in the film, the instructions from director Monta Bell were given to her through her interpreter, Sven Borg. Palmborg attributes Mauritz Stiller and his determination as an artist with encouragement that was crucial to Greta Garbo's succeeding in Hollywood. It is of note that in regard to Stiller's relationship to the studio, and Thalberg, Lars Hanson has been quoted as having said, "And Stiller, because he could speak hardly any English, wasn't able to explain what he was doing and how to satisfy them.": it was on the set of The Torrent that author Sven-Hugo Borg was introduced to Stiller, who in turn then informed Garbo that he was assigned translator under Monta Bell's direction. In "The Private Life of Greta Garbo By Her Most Intimate Friend" ("The Only True Story of the Private Life of Greta Garbo" Borg recounts that Bell had turned to him and had said of her, "What a voice! If we could only use it." Of the film he notes, "Of course she was constantly with Stiller, spending every possible moment with him; but thought that when the camera's eye was flashed upon her, (that)the picture would decide her fate began, (that) he would not be there terrified her." Borg continued as the interpreter for Greta Garbo untill 1929. The titles of the biographies of Greta Garbo by Rilla Palmborg and Sven Borg, written only two years apart in 1931 and 1933 ostensibly do sound similar. Sven Borg was primarily an actor, with many uncredited Hollywood endeavors. 
     Author Richard Corliss remarked upon the performance in the film by Greta Garbo "Though out of her element and separated from Mauritz Stiller, Garbo gives a fine performance. Her first Hollywood kiss is one to remember...There are to be sure moments early in the film when Garbo works too hard with her eyes; overstating emotions rather than expressing them, dropping nuances like anvils, registering filial devotion...but she grows in the the final scenes..she is utterly convincing as an actress and a star." Corliss continues stating that there are flashes of the later Garbo as though she were many-talented and in retrospect it was present but would later develop more fully, "By the end of The Torrent he face seems more severely contoured, her eyes more glacially clear, her head lifted upward by the chinstrap of spiritual pride. The phenomena is that of a star creating her own myth within the time-space of a single film." Photoplay magazine quoted Greta Garbo, "Greta Garbo was having her pictures taken by Ruth Harriet Louise. During one of the close up shots her eyes blinked, 'Oh, I'm so sorry, Miss Louise,' Greta apologized, 'But I twinkled.'" The production stills of Greta Garbo during the filming of The Torrent were photographed by Ruth Harriet Louise. Ruth Harriet Louise had also published an early full photograph of Greta Garbo in Motion Picture Classic Magazine during May of 1926. Before photographing Greta Garbo Louise had created her "first published Hollywood image", that of Vilma Banky from the film Dark Angel in the September 1925 issue of Photoplay and during 1926 she contributed a particularly romantic blue-titnted portrait of Pauline Stark and Antonio Moreno to Photoplay from the film Love's Blindness. During 1928 Louise contributed to Screenland Magazine a portrait of Lars Hansen and Lillian Gish, "the lovers in the forthcoming special production The Wind", directed by Victor Sjostrom under the name Victor Seastrom. For those susceptible to the fantasy of Hollywood, it might feel like one of those rare fleeting siI'm at ghtings of Harriet Brown but it in fact that Robert Dance and Bruce Robertson introduce the photographer in their volume Ruth Harriet Louise and Hollywood Glamour Photography. The authors include a photograph of Greta Garbo taken by Ruth Harriet Louise, who had invited her back to her studios for another photo shoot after the filming of The Torrent had come to its completion, late December of 1925. Harriet Brown, now in fact Harriet Brown and company, the owner of the photograph is none other than "senior management and market executive" Scott Reisfield whom, and I quote, "Developed museum exhibit of photographs with the Santa Barbra Museum of Art. The exhibit subsequently was toured to four additional venues. Developed a book published by Rizzoli in conjunction with the museum exhibit." in all honesty, I have not as of yet corresponded with Mr. Reisfield about Greta Garbo, Sven Gustaffson or Guge Lagerwall. 
     The picture of Greta Garbo in a chair seated next to a lion, Garbo photographed outdoors on what at first appears to be a bench and the lion posing with his feet elevated on a log, as it was first published in Motion Picture Magazine during 1926 must have been a publicity test, by a publicity department that may have named her The Swedish Sphinx during the silent era, as it left her not only silent but unidentified, without printing her name; the caption reads, "$10.00 for the best title of this picture."



     There are twenty three photographs of Greta Garbo taken by the photographer Arnold Genthe in the United States either on July 25, or July 27. Often unseen by the public and for the most part belonging to public domain, the were part of his estate and are presently housed at the library of congress.

Biographer Norman Zeirold, who used a photograph of Greta Garbo taken by Genthe for the cover of his wonderful volume has written that, "Garbo's plasticity made it possible for her to reflect the fantasies of her screen audiences, in the sense she functioned as a receptacle for the emotions of others." An attempt on the present author to include the subject of Greta Garbo while corresponding with Norman Zierold, now a professor, was mostly unsuccessful. In keeping with the Greata Garbo that was nearly unknown to movies audiences for her personal life off-screen despite its being highly remarked upon by extra-diegetic text, the Garbo that had lurked in the shadows of museum-art-house screenings as a recluse after her retirement, the Garbo that had blindfolded her firing squad as she smoked a cigarrette as though at any time she could be sitting right beside any us us during any of her films while as spectators we made identifications with each interpellated nuance, I added, "These emotional structures are created within each particular film, often by subject and spectator positioning that exploits the combination of tragic seductress, the viewer, and the film's other characters often in relation to her pre-talkie, before sound, body in an objectification of sexual mystery, as when her body within the frame creates space between two other characters in front of the camera, isolating them near a specific visual motif, or when Greta Garbo briefly moves into the emotion of a particular solitude." But then clearly, the relationship between character and landscape and its interaction with subject positioning and or spectatorial positioning can also differ widely from one director to another, almost to the point where it includes stylization, as when comparing the film's of Victor Sjostrom and Carl Th. Dreyer- the relation of character to landscape during the appearances of Greta Garbo is a relation, or inverse relation, to modernity within the object arrangements of mise-en-scene and female sexuality. Louise Lagterstrom of the Swedish Film Institute adorned her writing on the arrival of Greta Garbo in Hollywood, "Mot Hollywood", with a photograph taken in 1924 by Arnold Grenthe, almost reiterating Garbo was photographed extensively, often posing as a photo-model for publicity stills before her deciding to live in self-imposed exile.

It it clearly for emotion that Garbo posed for the soft-focus series of portraits, almost in as much as the close up in film is used to depict the significant detail of the shot. During December 1925, a photograph of greta Garbo by Arnold Genthe was published in Picture Play magazine with the caption From the Land of the Vikings, it announcing that she was the "latest arrival" from Scandinavia, a "statuesque blond, very reserved in manner." Picture Play Magazine during 1927 used a full page photograph taken by Arnold Genthe to figurehead the article Rebellion Sweeps Hollywood, written by Aieleen St. John Brennon, following it within pages by a portrait of Lars Hanson by Ruth Harriet Louise, it's caption noting that he had "amassed a large following since his forceful performance in The Scarlett Letter and now has the title role in Captain Salvation. Greta Garbo 

     Picture Play magazine, in a section titled A Confidential Guide to Current Releases, reviewed Ibanez's "Torrent" with "Interesting film introducing the magnetic Swedish actress Greta Garbo to American audiences. Richard Cortez plays the young lover whose mother's influence kills his romance and ruins two lives."
     The entire review of The Torrent in Photoplay runs as follows: "Monta Bell stands well in the foreground of those directors who can take a simple story and fill it with true touches that the characters emerge real human beings and the resulting film becomes a small masterpiece. Such work has he created in The Torrent and for fans who are slightly grown up, this picture will be a visual delight. Greta Garbo, the new Swedish importation is very lovely." To provide a timeline, it appears on the same page as a review of The Devil's Circus (Benjamin Christensen). Tucked away in a later Photoplay issue was a more candid reviewer, "Greta Garbo exerts an evil fascination- on the screen. True, her debut was not auspiciously placed in The Torrent, which is in reality a babbling brook that runs on forever, now-she-loves-him-now-she don't until the end of the film and beyond." The reviewer then complements her as being attractive, surveying her eyes, lips and nostrils in, perhaps, a "gender-specific" paragraph. And yet Eugene V. Brewster began the watching of Greta Garbo on the part of Motion Picture Classic magazine with his own secular view, "At Metro Goldwyn Studios they showed me a few reels of Greta Garbo's unfinished picture. This striking young Swedish actress will doubtless appeal to many but somehow I couldn't see the great coming star in her the company expects." Frederick James Smith continued for Motion Picture Classic with Greta Garbo Arrives, "The newcomer is a slumber-eyed Norsewoman, one Greta Garbo, who seems to have more possiblities than anyone since Pola Negri of Passion...She isn't afraid to act. That she was able to stand out of an infererior story, poorly directed, is more than her credit...The Ibanez story is full of claptrap, including the dam that bursts without having anything to do with the story. Monta Bell tossed it in the film form without any apparent interest." It quickly followed with the article, "The Northern Star, The Screen's Newest Meteor is a Moody daughter of Sweden", written by Alice L. Tildelsey, who decidedly felt more at liberty to Greta Garbo than interviewers that came later. She relates that the actress had said, "I love the sea, yes. It understands me, I is not happy, it is always yearning for something that it cannot have." Garbo purportedly referred to herself as "poor little Sweden girl" during the interview. "Now for my new picture I must learn to dance the tango and to ride the horse." Tidesley refers to Garbo as "a moody young thing, Greta Garbo, with the temperment of the true artist." The article imparts how Greta Garbo was introduced to Mauritz Stiller, who had seen her performing Ibsen and had had her called in to his office. The photograph of Garbo was taken by Ruth Harriet Louise. 
     National Board of Review magazine, although literate, may have remained true to form as it typified the film with, "The story preserves a European atmosphere in which parents still have the least say about their children's marriages." Biographer Richard Corliss fairly accurately assesses Greta Garbo's first of several silent films, "Not only does it prefigure many of the morals and motifs of her later pictures, but it avoids many of those films pirouettes into the ludicrous. All things considered (the times. the material, the studio, The Torrent is a suprisingly adult piece of work." While reading Corliss the reviewer as essayist, there is a slight temptation to see him presenting the synopsis of each story and the characters as being antiquated, that it is a reevaluation of our film and its incidents but, written while it was a given that Garbo was leading a solitary life, it is kept within Garbo being a mystery, that if the stories were outdated, they could be looked at with curiousity and inquiry, as the fantasies they were meant to be, and in that way the reviews of Richard Corliss only contain a hint of being outdated in their being questioning without necessity. To compare and contrast, if Corliss is writing about the versatility of Greta Garbo, John Bainbridge reverberates the sentiment, "What was to become known as the Garbo manner was but faintly discernable in The Torrent, but there were intimations." Bainbridge seems to keep his secret that much of the material for his biography was derived from fan magazines, albeit he conducted interviews. Biographies on Greta Garbo the sensation began to appear, almost in droves, as soon as the actress had spoken in sound film, many explaining how she reached the screen in Hollywood in the first place while adding spoonfuls of data about Mauritz Stiller. This was to nearly culminate in 1938 with Modern Screen's 15 pages of biography, The True Life Story of Greta Garbo, written by William Stewart. It summarized, "The picture was The Torrent, originally slated for Aileen Pringle but given to Garbo as a test of her ablility...It pleased her, but for final praise she awaited Stiller's word. "It is good.', he said, and those three encouraging words were sufficient." In that being bilingual played a part on Stiller's dismissal from M.G.M, there is an interesting quote from John Bainbridge's biography, "Her inability to speak English prevented her, even if she had wished, from mixing easily with the other people on the set. In spare moments at the studio she was being tutored in English by an interpreter who had been assigned to translate her. She also practiced English with her chief cameraman, William Daniels, with whom she struck up a pleasant and lasting acquaintance, 'I didn't teach Garbo to speak English,' Daniels has remarked, 'but we used to talk a lot and I would correct her on certain things. We understood each other, and talked about things we both knew- movie talk."
     Motion Picture News during 1926 gave the title to the film as "Ibanez' Torrent" The Exploitation Angles were given as "Feature Ricardo Cortez and Greta Garbo. Tell patrons about the letter's European success. Bill as strong emotional drama. Stress flood episode." The Production Highlights given for the film included the talent of actress Greta Garbo and "Spectacular Flood scene and unusual climax".
Rilla Page Palmborg, author of the biography The Private Life of Greta Garbo, described the premiere of "The Torrent" in California, "No one noticed Garbo as she and Mr. Stiller quietly slipped into seats at the rear of the dimly lighted house. No one saw them steal out of before the picture was finished. At the first picture Greta Garbo made in Hollywood she set the precedent of never appearing publicly at any of her pictures."

It would seem that the "prophesy" of Modern Screen Magazine was ten years premature when as early as 1931, in a Modern Screen Film Gossip section, it ran a story titled Will Greta Garbo Quit the Screen For The Stage, which held a prediction which claimed that theater director Max Reinhardt had seen a print of "The Torrent" and after having rewatched it six times had already begun negotions to direct Greta Garbo on the stage. The article, referring to her in 1931 as a "mystery woman", mentions a second offer from a "Swedish movie company", which in fact seems a more well kept, or bigger, secret.