Pre-1930s Hall of Fame

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Ed nicely says, 'Marianne sucks!'...It was a blind nom and I wouldn't have nominated if I had watched it first. It sounded 'good on paper' but is a bit of a mess of a movie. It would've been interesting if my two noms were both Marianne, the talkie and the silent. I have a feeling the silent is a much better film, as the talkie had new scenes filmed to take advantage of the sound abilities in 1929. But the film uses those added in scenes for songs, jokes and a crazy French accent which doesn't really add to the story...I'm glad you liked Marion Davies, I've only seen her once and she impressed. Maybe we'll see 'Rosebud' again in a future HoF.



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Ed nicely says, 'Marianne sucks!'...It was a blind nom and I wouldn't have nominated if I had watched it first. It sounded 'good on paper' but is a bit of a mess of a movie. It would've been interesting if my two noms were both Marianne, the talkie and the silent. I have a feeling the silent is a much better film, as the talkie had new scenes filmed to take advantage of the sound abilities in 1929. But the film uses those added in scenes for songs, jokes and a crazy French accent which doesn't really add to the story...I'm glad you liked Marion Davies, I've only seen her once and she impressed. Maybe we'll see 'Rosebud' again in a future HoF.
I agree that the Silent is more likely the better of the two. As you said, on paper it sounds like a great film and there are some beautiful moments; the opening, those moments after Andre returns home and Stagg comes to say goodbye as he and Marianne share words that Andre mistakes for her sentiments for him.
I'm guessing that throwing in all the extras for the new thing "sound" was kind of like George Lucas throwing in new effects for Star Wars; unneeded.
__________________
They say: that after people make love there's a kind of melancholia, the petite mort, the little death. Well, I'm here to tell you, after a romantic night with yourself there's a very acute sensation of failed suicide. ~Dylan Moran



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



The Man Who Laughs

To die is nothing. Not to live is frightful. ~ Victor Hugo

From the great French Romantic Writer Victor Hugo's L'homme qui rit, who is best known for writing Les Misérable and Hunchback of Notre Dame, this film, due to it's more "grotesque" aspect has been very much mislabeled as a Horror when, in fact, it is, much like Hugo's work is a melodramatic romance.
Our central figure, Gywnplaine is a tragic figure who's outward deformity, much like Quasimodo from HoND, causes him to be treated as a freak by everyone else. A common thread of Hugo's writing (from the very limited knowledge I have of him)
And, as I've stated, this is a romance. With a Germanic expressionist interpretation that brings the emotional and psychological implications with a visual artistry. Seeing Gywnplaine's misery, living with the surgical mistreatment dealt to him as a child in nearly every scene as he continues to hide his "smile" from everyone. Even his love, the blind Dea who "sees" the real Gywnplaine and the beauty within.

Knowing that this is not a Horror but a Romance IS paramount to the enjoyment of this film.

While much of the political accompaniment is left out from the story, the director, Paul Leni still creates an emotionally provoking world scape of both rural and royal England. A lot of the really amazing cinematography appearing in the beginning and especially in the "chase" at the end of the film.

I've been very happy to finally see this "blind grab" and I will be placing it on my list for the Countdown.









The Unknown and The Man Who Laughs are a pair of circus tragedy-horror type films. I liked both films, Lon Chaney would often diaspear in makeup but the Unknown shows us that he was an incredibly capable actor without the prosthetic as he plays.


The Man Who Laughs had Conrad Veidt playing a man permanently scared and the rightful heir to the throne. Veidt is good but the film felt long and kind wore me out so much of the film felt like filler on the otherhand The Unknown is almost too quick. It bounces around from plot point to plot point at a frantic pace so that at the end you feel like you could seen much more from the characters.


You've got a second act reveal in The Unknown that could have had a much bigger influence had Browning spent more time establishing the characters or adding to the plot. Still I found myself more engaged with The Unknown than The Man who Laughs, I think romance is somewhat difficult to convey in silent works while horror is more easier.


Not to say The Man who Laughs doesn't have strengths that The Unknown didn't have. The budget seems greater and we had a number of excellent set pieces I just felt like once we moved out of the circus we lost the more interesting characters and the movie lost it's way a bit.


The Unknown

The Man Who Laughs




Faust (F.W. Murnau, 1926)

Visually an amazing film that must have held 1920s audiences spellbound with the movie making magic that F.W. Murnau brought to the classic tale of Faust. It's like the director was a great, great grandfather of Steven Spielberg. I was impressed by the special effects in the film I mean it boggles the mind how nearly a 100 years ago they were able to bring this tale with all of it's supernatural images to life.

A great film, but on a personally level I didn't really enjoy it. I'm not familiar with the story of Faust, though I've seen movies where people foolishly make a deal with the devil. I had no idea that the 'crossroads devil summoning' went back that far, there was a similar scene in Crossroads (1986). I didn't really like the actors or connect to them and that then caused me not to be in the movie or care about their plight. Though I can't deny it was a spectacular film for it's time.

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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
I'm about halfway through Lucky Star; didn't have enough time to finish it last night and will be attempting to knock it out tonight.

I'm trying to help knock this one out so CR can make a second one before the Countdown.



I'm about halfway through Lucky Star; didn't have enough time to finish it last night and will be attempting to knock it out tonight.

I'm trying to help knock this one out so CR can make a second one before the Countdown.
Me and you are in the same boat. I still have two noms to watch, and a bunch of movies from the library I need to see before I get a late fee. Somehow I'll do it



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Me and you are in the same boat. I still have two noms to watch, and a bunch of movies from the library I need to see before I get a late fee. Somehow I'll do it
that reminds me I owe at my library, need to pay that very soon. lol



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Lucky Star

Daddy, tell us how you met mommy?
Well, she tried to steal a nickel from a jerk I worked with, so I whooped her butt fer it.


A pleasant little love story with a truly amazing background layout and some even more amazing camerawork.
So much so I'm VERY intrigued to see two other Borzge films with the two leads; Farrel and Gaynor, Street Angel and 7th Heaven which I was curious about after seeing the remake with James Stewart and Simone Simon for the 30s Countdown.

I think Cricket described this best as being a schmaltzy romance and it is pleasingly so. Though there are times that drag through the second half as the relationship develops, it is still enjoyable and truly wonderful to glimpse the camerawork and the realistic backdrops that really put you in the Ozarks.
Also, it needs to be mentioned that Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams did a splendid job playing a slime-ball braggart.




The Man Who Laughs (1928)

I swear that's Madonna circa 1990 in that screen shot. And yeah I've said that before about Freaks. That's Olga Baclanova in both films btw. I've seen this film before, in fact I was considering nominating it myself. I think it's a fine film based on the French author Victor Hugo's work, Hugo also wrote Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And in the last chase scene when Gwynplaine is trapped in a castle looking tower, the crane shot of him looking down at the pursuing crowd below from atop of the buildings pinnacle, reminded me of the same scene with Lon Chaney in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

To me The Man Who Laughs isn't so much about the story or the world building or even the look of the film. To me it's about one thing...the sustained look of nervous fear on the face of the great Conrad Veidt. Matching that frozen look of a nightmarish grin carved in his face, is the beautifully serene gaze of the elfin like Mary Philbin as Dea. Those expressions spoke volumes and conveyed inner being that no narrative could.

The Man Who Laughs will figure high on my list. Then again lots of these noms are going to be high on my list, and they can't all be at the top. Well, I'll figure out my voting order after I re-watch Metropolis.

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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

The Man Who Laughs (1928)

To me The Man Who Laughs isn't so much about the story or the world building or even the look of the film. To me it's about one thing...the sustained look of nervous fear on the face of the great Conrad Veidt. Matching that frozen look of a nightmarish grin carved in his face, is the beautifully serene gaze of the elfin like Mary Philbin as Dea. Those expressions spoke volumes and conveyed inner being that no narrative could.

I agree about the beautiful complimenting effect of the two's expressions. Nicely written.
Apparently there's a recent remake of this film with the french title L'homme qui rit and, instead, Gwynpaine has two slits from the corners of his mouth. This is a far more effective visual and Veidt's inner turmoil shuddering from beneath that colossal grin really speaks volumes.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Watched Metropolis (with extended scenes) on youtube where there were two versions with different music. Went with classical music which was really really good. Should have a review up tonight or the next day or two.
Should be knocking out my final one, Sadie Thompson in the next couple of days as well.



Watched Metropolis (with extended scenes) on youtube where there were two versions with different music. Went with classical music which was really really good.
I think the hardest thing about watching older silent films is deciding which music is the best fit.

Years ago I saw a version of Metropolis accompanied by heavy metal, and it worked really well. Classical was probably a better choice though haha.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
I think the hardest thing about watching older silent films is deciding which music is the best fit.

Years ago I saw a version of Metropolis accompanied by heavy metal, and it worked really well. Classical was probably a better choice though haha.
I've done a few variations on some of these. Had a Blues compilation that was excellent for Pandora's Box and I listened to old Rainbow albums with Dio singing for Faust that synced up rather nicely.
So I'm sure metal to Metropolis would probably be pretty cool.




Metropolis (1927)

"Fathers for whom every revolution of a machine wheel meant gold had created for their sons the miracle of the Eternal Gardens."

Tell me more about those Eternal Gardens!
Metropolis starts off deep and heady. Right off the bat we're introduced to all sorts of interesting futuristic things and in a very short time. We never find out what the Eternal Gardens are all about but we can use our imaginations.

Unlike some silent films, Metropolis hooked me from the start. Right away we see the big city and those gardens with girls on parade, and we see the city designer's son who's beset to choose one of the lovely garden decorations! Then he spots a poor girl surrounded by starving children and is smitten. I don't know why, she wasn't that hot looking, but I guess he's a man of deep character and he's had enough of the weekly trollops. So he follows the girl to the bowls of the city and discovers there a hellish world of people slaving away to machines. Now that's a hook!

And for the next hour I was memorized by the technical cinema achievements that Fritz Lang was able to reproduce on screen. Audiences back in 1927 must have set with their jaws dropped at the sights of Metropolis...I noticed great detail in the interior shots of bedrooms and offices too. The furniture, the art design all looked futuristic to me. And all those extra actors! OMG this is a huge, huge epic film. It's literally a monument to Fritz Lang.

Metropolis isn't just long, I mean it felt long. At 2 hours and 33 minutes the last 90 minutes dragged and that's because for all the grandiose sets and cinematic achievements, there's not a great story to be had. The last part of the film meanders and hits upon religious and political themes without really every exploring them. And the end scene that resolved the big worker's riot with a mere handshake is very unsatisfying.

However I still hold the film in great regard for it's amazing scope and artistic design. I love the look of the robot before it's transformed into Maria. And I loved the transformation scene itself. OMG! for it's time that was beyond amazing. And I loved the German expressionistic approach to film making. Those scenes of the workers marching to work as the sway back and forth with heads held down like mere clogs in the machine...that was amazing.

Gosh the fully restored HD quality was a thing of joy to watch. Last time I seen this it was the shorter version and poor quality. Metropolis will be making my Pre 1930s Countdown list and figure prominently on it. I'm so glad I got a chance to see this again.

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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Metropolis

Flash Card: One man's hymn of praise became other men's curses

It's pretty easy to see why Metropolis is in the echelon of iconic films that, while not everyone has seen, they do know of or have heard of it.
Fritz Lang went all out when creating and filming this. From the 37,000 extras to the futuristic details in the various rooms and the city-scape,

creating something that would outlast his own lifetime.

With the dark, zombie-like walk into work (the machines) as we, along with Freder, discover what dismal existence is mete out to the workers to attain the utopia that he and his fellow upper citizens enjoy, to the eventual uprising; we are hooked and remain so.

While I did find Freder a bit on the lukewarm side, there were a number of others that really shined in this film.
Fritz Rasp's Thin Man had such a great foreboding, I easily saw him as inspiration for countless long-limbed enforcers since.
Rudolf Klein-Rogge DID get a bit over the top as the Inventor, his mad scientist got a little comic bookish at times, he still was a great sight to behold.
And, of course, Brigette Helm was truly phenomenal, ESPECIALLY when playing the Machine Man impersonating Maria

with such robotic mischief. Absolutely loved those scenes as she roused and incited the crowds into rioting.

A pretty extraordinary film and I'm VERY glad to see the extended, polished rendition of this film.
Also, while there were two musical scores on youtube, I went with the classical music which really added to the enjoyment of this. Though, after reading Cosmic's viewing with metal music I would be VERY curious to try it out that way as well. I'm sure it would be freakin' awesome.

Like CR, this WILL be on my Countdown List, without a doubt.



@Siddon @edarsenal

Today is July 22nd the deadline, how are you guys doing? It looks like you each have 1 more movie to go. If you've already watched it, you can send in your voting list now and do a write-up later. So let me know how it's going?



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Sadie Thompson

Dr. Angus McPhail: Tolerance is such a splendid virtue it's a pity so few of us have it.

Rather liked that statement written in the autograph book of the ship officer following the Davidsons' zealous remarks. Followed by Sadie's [I"]Smile, Bozo, smile, for no matter how tough it is today it's bound to be worse tomorrow."[/i] and you have all the set up you need for this film.
Lionel Barrymore's unforgiving Reformist character is literally, hellbent to stamp out evil as he sees it. One particular statement he makes really delves into this on so many levels, regarding how he thought so little of the natives since they didn't know what sin even was and how he was damn sure to teach them.

He sets his damning eyes on Sadie, who is having far too much fun and proceeds to destroy her by using his political sway to send her back to San Francisco where jail time awaits her for something she states she was framed for.
No matter. She is evil, in Davidson's cold eyes, and must repent and be cast down.

The hypocrisy of religious condemnations that ignore the basic dogma of compassion and forgiveness is the core of this film and it is taken, nearly, it's full spectrum.
WARNING: "I state nearly because" spoilers below
Sadie escapes being sent back to jail and finds the promise of love and happiness with Seargent O'Hara, who, amongst every guy smitten for her, is the one she becomes smitten with.


While the climax of the film IS missing, the stills and dialogue do fill us in quite nicely.
WARNING: "Though it did make me wonder" spoilers below
how quickly they pass off Davidson's suicide as just that. It's the method that made me wonder: throat slit? That's not a typical suicide. It IS a typical murder. Perhaps, simply that Davidson was so hated for pissing on the pleasures of a paradise that they were more than happy to close it up and pass it off.

That was the only aspect that I would have liked to have seen to get a better feel for how it transpired.

Still, Swanson was great and this was a great finish to a great HoF.

Oh, and the scene where she's cussing and calling Davidson every swear word she can come up with and no dialogue card appeared made me laugh.