Greta Garbo and Victor Sjostrom

Saturday, December 30, 2023

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

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

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Scott Lord Scandinavian Silent Film: Bjrnetaemmern (Bear Tamer of the Fl...

During 1912, Lilli Beck appeared in the sequel to the film "The Flying Circus" (Lind, 1912), again appearing on the screen as a snake charmer under the direction of Alfred Lind in "The Bear Tamer of the Flying Circus".

Alfred Lind is notable for having directed the seven reel film "The Masque of Life/The Jockey of Death" during 1916 if only for its having been an example of an early attempt to create a new genre of "Thrill" movies in it continuance of circus themes and motifs, the publicity for the film similar to that of serials, or "cliffhangers", a later short film directed by Lind survives from 1923 entitiked "Filmens vovehals" (Daredevil of the Movies", starring Emilie Sannom.

During 1913, Motography Magazine in the United States introduced The Great Northern Film Company to its readers by defining the "circus thrill" film as an emerging genre, "The natural scenery in the suburbs of Copenhagen and in the country surrounding this old city afford all that could be desired for the taking of motion pictures and the atmospheric conditions have been pronounced as ideal by experts in the art of motography. The companyy boasts of a perfectly equipped circus arena in which many of its talked of feature productions are made." Lilli Beck Silent Film

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Scott Lord Silent Film: American Aristocracy (Ingraham, Triangle Film, 1...

Motion Picture Review reviewed “An American Aristocracy” (five reels)in 1916. “The exhibitor knows the value of Douglas Fairbanks...We sincerely believe that Mr. Fairbanks can put this picture over with any audience whatsoever. It mixes comedy and thrills superbly. However, in the matter of construction it is not up to the standard of the best of his former pictures. It starts off with such a bang and such a rattling selection of uproarious subtitles that it cannot keep up the pace and as a consequence the action slowly up for a while during the middle of the picture. In the end, however, the thrills start again and takes the picture through to a glorious finish.”

"American Aristocracy" was directed by Lloyd Ingraham and photographed by Victor Fleming. During 1916, LLyod Ingraham also directed the film "Stranded" with Bessie Love for the Triangle Film Corporation. The film is presumed to be lost, with no existing surviving copies.

During 1916 Douglas Fairbanks also appeared in the five reel film "The Matrimaniac" (Paul Powell) scripted by John Emerson and Anita Loos for the Triangle Film Corporation and costarring actress COnstance Talmadge, as well as several five reel films directed by Alan Dwan, among which were "Manhattan Madness", "The Habit of Happiness", "The Good Badman" costarring Bessie Love, and "Reggie Mixes In", costarring Bessie Love.

For those interested in the screenwriting behind the photo play, which for this film was penned by Anita Loos, below is a magazine short story version, or novelization, of the Douglas Fairbanks Film.

Douglas Fairbanks Silent Film