My Silent Swedish Film webpage, which covered from the turn of century to the advent of sound, was, before its having been transferred at the last minute, a Geocities webpage. I still have a love for silent film, which skyrocketed after having looked at The Last Tycoon and The Garden of Eden; Photoplay magazine of 1927 mentions Fitzgerald being in the process of writing an original screenplay for Constance Talmadge, it later reviewing his adapted work, "Fitzgerald's novel, with its unscrupulous hero, violates some pet screen traditions." The silent film is in fact a deepening of the novel as an art form. Waldemar Young was credited for writing the scenario of the film Off Shore Pirate (1921), adapted from the short story written by Scott Fitzgerald. If I was not to be present that evening, I jotted down my having noticed that Harvard Film has a free series of screenings open to the public at the University, which if you rebegin this month, includes The Joyless Street (Die Freudlosse Gasse G.W. Pabst 1925); my copy of the film I no longer have (my former mentor had a yardsale or something or other). Previous screenings have included Danish film star, Asta Nielsen Tragedy of the Street (Dirnetragodre, Bruno Rahn, 1927). Evidently, The Great Train Robbery (Porter,1903) was still being shown in theaters as late as 1926, added to the feature then playing, whereas it wasn't untill Hamlet (Gade, 1920) that sex symbol Asta Nielsen was introduced to mainstream audiences in the United States. Is it possible that when Greta Garbo visited the home of Basil Rathbone in the masquerade costume of Hamlet, it was a tribute, or nod, to Danish Silent Film star Asta Nielsen? As research, the recent European claim that it is impossible to screen two films by Sam Brakage, The Boy and the Sea and Silent Sand Sense Stars Subotnick and Sender, seems to avoid being mysterious as it teeters on being ludicrous, and the present author sees little probability that they have decomposed-what will not be seen at Harvard University, or at the Universities of Sweden or Denmark, is the 1922 film The Beautiful and the Damned directed by William A. Sieter/SydneyFranklin and starring Marie Prevost, if a film accurately reported as being unavailbable for screening, or or the 1926 film The Great Gatsby directed by Herbert Brenon and starring Lois Wilson- within the world of Lost Films, Found Magazines, there are no existant copies of either film, our knowledge of them and curiousity is left for stills taken during the time period; there are no vaults that exist.For that matter, there little likelihood of a copy of The Villiage Blacksmith (1922, eight reels) directed by John Ford going on sale; there are no copies of it anywhere: similarly The Courtship of Miles Standish (Fredrick M Sullivan, 1923) is lost but two pages of full page advertisements of Charles Ray and Enid Bennett were found by the present author in The Film Daily from the year of its first run.
The characters portrayed on-screen by Ruth Taylor and Alice White may be familiar to present audiences, but the scenario co-written with John Emerson by the author of the novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Anita Loos, and directed by Malcom St. Clair in 1927 is also among the silent film listed as lost film. One novel, One Increasing Purpose, seems intriguing in that it seems only possible that it is missing, filmed in 1926, it was advertised as being the next great work to have been written by A.S.M Hutchinson after If Winter Comes; as good as the drama may have been, it was filmed in England and seems elusive in being included in lists of lost-missing films. Although only its director, Leslie H. Hiscott, may know the whereabouts of The Missing Rembrant, die hard fans of Arthur Wotner and Ian Fleming can only wonder. And yet there are several films that are now lost that appeared not only on the theater marquee, but in bookstores; Grosset and Dunlap having published Photoplay Editions of films rewritten as novels, in including intertextual photos, the illustrated photoplay edition of the novel London After Midnight, written by Marie Coolidge Rask, was published in 1928. Just as lost films have left behind their accompanying movie posters, as well as full page magazine advertisements that serve very much like movie posters when deciding not if we should see the film but what the film was like when first seen, each hardcover copy of an film adaptation into novel included a dustjacket, art that gives information about missing films: within there being Lost Films, Found Magazines. In regard to the 1918 film Mania (Evyen Illes), not only can it be included in Lost Films, Found Magazines, but it has been restored by the National Film Inatitute (Filmoteka Nardowa), who when announcing its premiere wrote, "its contents pertain to universal truths". The film is notable for its starring Pola Negri and the set design to the film having had been being crafted by Paul Leni. It is imperative that the word film study be surplanted by the word film appreciation: it was in 1946 that author Iris Barry cautioned the readers of Hollywood Quarterly through the article "Why wait for Posterity" as to films quickly becoming lost and the need to preserve the "romantic" Greta Garbo film The Saga of Gosta Berling (Stiller, 1925) by saving the prints from deterioration. After explaining that the original two-color technicolor copies of the Black Pirate that had belonged to Douglas Fairbanks and Harvard University, respectively, were in a vault "at the point of final deterioration", and could only be duplicated in black-and-white form, she qualifies that the criteria for screening film need, as with "the early Seastrom films", only be pleasure. "What, really is the point of dragging old films back to light? First, I believe that it benefits the general esteem and standing of the motion picture industry as a whole; for if the great films of the past are not worth taking seriously and are not worth re-examination, then presumably neither are the great films of today. It would be unthinkable if the only books available to literary men and women should be no more than those published in the past year or so." To echo her by my now finding this during the centennial of the two reeler in the United States and of Victor Sjostrom and Mauritz Stiller having become contemporaries at Svenska Bio , the biography of actress Greta Garbo penned by the present author on Geocities webpage encompassed the long waiting period before what was to be the last film to be made by Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman, which happenned to be during the centennial of the one reel narrative film, "Of the utmost importance is an appreciation of film, film as a visual literature. film as the narrative image, and while any appreciation of film would be incomplete without the films of Ingmar Bergman, every appreciation of film can begin with the films of the silent period, with the watching of the films themselves, their once belonging to a valiant new form of literautre. Silent film directors in both Sweden and the United States quickly developed film technique, including the making of films of greater length during the advent of the feature film, to where viewer interest was increased by the varying shot lengths within a scene structure, films that more than still meet the criterion of having storylines, often adventurous, often melodramatic, that bring that interest to the character when taken scene by scene by the audience."
Whether or not there were pirates off the coast of Boston, the naval battles of the War of 1812 were immortalized, not only in the poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes, but in the film Old Ironsides (twelve reels), starring Ester Ralston, directed by James Cruze in 1926; it is a film that there has always been a copy of and not in need of restoration, but like The Black Pirate, which employed technicolor, the film is more renowned for its early use of Magnascope than its story of the high seas. Three years before James Cruze had directed Hollywood (eight reels) for Paramount, which featured cameos by Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. The film has not been seen since it was first reviewed by Robert E. Sherwood, the printed article one of the only ways of our knowing its subject, "James Cruze treated Hollywood as a fantasy rather than a grimly realistic drama...Miss Drown, as Angela, was wistful, appealing and supremely pathetic. Her wide eyes seemed to increase in depth and in softness with each fresh disappointment...She is a tremendous success in this her first picture." Is The Mystery of Room 643 (1914) a lost film?
Swedish Silent Film
|Helen Hancock had only months earlier in Pantomine praised Swedish Silent Film star Lars Hanson in the article How About those Viking Ancestors, A little Talk about Swedish Matinee Idols.
Like Greta Garbo, Mary Johnson travelled from Sweden to Germany. Mary Johnson had starred with Gosta Ekman in the first film directed by John W. Brunius, Puss and Boots (Masterkattan i stovlar) in 1918 for Film Industri Inc Scandia. The film was co-written by John W. Brunius and Sam Ask and was the first in which actress Ann Carlsten was to appear. The following year Scandia merged with Scandia to team Charles Magnusson with Nils Bouveng to run AB Svensk Filmindustri. Having been an actress for several films directed by George af Klerker, Mary Johnson was also that year to appear in the Swedish silent film Stovstadsfaror, directed by Manne Gothson and photographed by Gustav A. Gustafson. Appearing with Johnson in the film were Agda Helin, Tekl Sjoblom and Lilly Cronwin. Actress Mary Johnson returned to the screen to act for director John W. Brunius and cameraman Hugo Edlund in 1923 for the film Johan Ulfstjerna in which she starred with Anna Olin, Einar Hansson and Berta Hilberg. To add a sense of the film as a vehicle for the actress, author Forsyth Hardy has written, "Brunius could work effectively on a large canvass."|
Motion Picture Magazine during 1923 wrote, "Sigrid Holmquist has come to Lasky's to appear in The Gentlemen of Leisure. She is a Swedish Mary Pickford" Holmquist had appeared under the direction of Lau Lauritzen in 1920 in the film Love and Bear Hunting (Karlek och Bjornjakt) before coming to the United States to appear in the film directed by Joseph Henabery and also during 1923 appeared in an adaptation of the Kipling novel The Light that Failed (George Melford) with Jaqueline Logan. She had also appreared in the 1922 film The Prophet's Paradise directed by Alan Crosland.
Bela Belaz introduces the new subjects and new characters of the "form language" with a discussion of Urban Gad, "Urban Gad, the famous Danish film producer, wrote a book on film as far back as 1918...According to him every film should be place in some specific natural enviornment which must affect the human beings living in it and plays a part in directing their lives and destinies." Belaz, in Theory of Film: character and growth of a new art, looks at "photographed theater", and that including Scandinavian Film, as no longer being only the "photographed play", that nature itself could be included in the cast of players by the "dramatic features through the present action of the immediate effect of nature on the moods and feelings of human beings which sometimes excersise a decisive influence in their fate." Although The Silent Cinema, authored by Liam O'Leary, is a "Pictureback" and includes numerous stills from films that are lost and represents them as though they were available for screening at the time of its 1965 printing, it not only presages internet writing with its combination of filmography and chronology, but astutely alerts us that while becoming an even more vesatile drama actress, Asta Neislen had found new directors with whom to film. During 1922, she appeared in an on screen production of the writing of Stendhal with Vanina (Vanina, order die galgenhochziet), directed by Arthur von Gerlach and photographed by Fredrik Fuglsang.
In Germany, Marlene Dietrich by 1927 had begun to appear on the the screen in lead roles more often, her having that year starred in the film Cafe Electric (Gustav Ucicky). Not entirely ironically, while more and more films from Europe were becoming introduced to writers in the United States, two films from Germany that were filmed complicitly without subtitles yet still having a clear narrative development and depiction of plotline without expository or dialoge intertitle were being written about in the United States, Backstairs (1926), filmed by the stage director Leopold Jessner, a film about a young girl whose is in love and a mailman who witholds love letters written to her because he himself is in love with her, and Shattered (Lupu Pick,1921), scripted by Carl Mayer. Not only did Photoplay Magazine spy on Hollywood, but in 1929 it reported the release of Mata Hari: The Red Dancer, with Magda Sonja in the title role, the film directed in Germany by Fredrich Feher.
| The Street of Sin (1928, seven reels) starring Fay Wray and Olga Barclanova was begun by Stiller and finished by the director Joseph von Sternberg. Kenneth MacGowan writing about the film notes, 'The film was more distinguished for its players-Jannings and Olga Barclanova- than for its script by Joseph Sternberg. Sternberg's work on Stiller's film has been credited as having secured his position as the writer and director ofthe silent films The Last Command (1928) with Evelyn Brent and The Case of Lena Smith (1929) with Esther Ralston. During 1928, actress Olga Barclanova also appeared in the films The Man Who Laughs (Paul Leni, ten reels), The Dove (Roland West, nine reels), Forgotten Faces (Victor Schertzinger, eight reels), Avalanche (Otto Brower, five reels) and Three Sinners (Rowland V. Lee, eight reels). Three Sinners, with Warner Baxter was the second film to pair Olga Backlanova and Pola Negri, their both having appeared in the film Cloak of Death in 1915. During 1928, Fay Wray appeared in the films Legion of the Condemned (William Wellman, eight reels), The First Kiss (Rowland V. Lee). It was the year she began her lengthy first marriage to playwright screenwriter John Monk Saunders. Legion of the Condemned also that year appeared in bookstore. The Grosset Dunlap Photoplay Edition advertised John Monk Saunders as having been the author of Wings and published the film as a novel rewritten from one narrative form into another by Eustace H Ball, with illustrations from the film. Ball himself was an author, his having written the mystery novel The Scarlet Fox and had previously adapted into novel form the photoplay of the Douglas Fairbanks film The Gaucho. Pola Negri during 1929 had starred in The Secret Hour (eight reels), directed by Rowland V Lee.|
An emailed newsletter from Norway reported that Silent Film actress Fay Wray had died early during the month of August, 200 4. The silent film actress and first of the screaming screen feminists of the horror genre had appreared in numerous silent films before having been cast in Eric von Strohiem's The Wedding March (1928), beginning with the films Gasoline Love (1923) and The Coast Patrol (1925).
King Vidor in 1924 paired John Gilbert and Aileen Pringle in two films, Wife of the Centaur, with Kate Lester, and His Hour. Conrad Nagel would that year team with Aileeen Pringle for the film Three Weeks. Nagel would appear on the screen with Eleanor Boardman for the 1924 film Sinners in Silk (Henley) and then the following year for The Only Thing, directed by Jack Conway. Silent Film actress Norma Shearer, in 1924, was starring in Broadway After Dark (Monta Bell, seven reels) with Anna Q. Nilsson, The Snob (Monta Bell, seven reels) with John Gilbert, Empty Hands (Victor Fleming, seven reels), Married Flirts (Robert Vignola, seven reels) with Conrad Nagel and The Wolfman (Edward Mortimer, six reels) with John Gilbert. The next year she starred in Pretty Ladies (Monta Bell, six reels), one of the films that she had been given by being a contract player at the MGM studio, it having afforded her a cameo role. The film was based on a story by Adela Rogers St. Johns and had featured Conrad Nagel. Also that year Shearer appeared in the films Waking Up the Town (James Cruze, six reels), Lady of the Night (Monta Bell, six reels) and His Secretary (seven reels). She continued with Conrad Nagel the following year in The Waning Sex (seven reels) and appeared in Upstage (Monta Bell, seven reels). While Mauritz Stiller was in movie theaters with Hotel Imperial, Photoplay Magazine reviewed Monta Bell's direction of Norma Shearer in Upstage as "delightful. When an interviewer had asked Conrad Nagel if he had been in love with Norma Shearer, Nagel equivocated, 'Every man who knew or worked with her was in love with her. She had an unusual grace and tact, and she was very sensitive to other people's feelings.' Pola Negri appeared in two films directed by Dimitri Buchowetski during 1924, Men, with Robert Frazer and Lily of the Dust.
1922 was a year during which Gustaf Molander's second film, Amatorfilmen, the first film in which actress Elsa Ebbengen-Thorblad was to appear, brought actress Mimi Pollack to Swedish movie audiences. Molander had made the film The King of Boda (Tyrranny of Hate, Bodakungen) in 1920. It was the first film to be photographed by Swedish cinematographer Adrian Bjurman and starred Egil Eide and Wanda Rothgardt. Karin Molander had in 1920 starred in two films by Mauritz Stiller, in When We Are Married (Erotikon) with Lars Hanson, Tora Teje, and Glucken Cederberg, and in Fiskebyn. She also that year appeared in the film Bomben, directed by Rune Carlsten. And yet Karin Molander would only later be mentioned to audiences in the United States, Photoplay Magazine noting in 1926 that she was no longer in Sweden and no longer married to Gustaf Molander, "With Lars Hanson came his wife, Karin Nolander, leading woman in the Royal State Theater of Stockholm and billed as 'Sweden's most beautiful woman' She hasn't appeared on the screen yet, but it shouldn't be long now with so many good Scandinavian directors over here." Pictured together, a 1927 photocaption from Photoplay Magazine read, "When Mr. and Mrs. Lars Hanson worked for Swedish companies, Mrs. Hanson was popular on the European screen as karin Nolander. But now that her husband has made a hit in this country, she has retired and decided to let his gather all the glory for the family." Sir Thomas Henry Hall Caine had been secretary to Dante Gabriel Rosetti during the last year of the painter's life, his novels having been adapted to the screen by George Fitzmaurice, who filmed Barbara LaMarr in The Eternal City (1923) and by Hugh Ford, who filmed Katherine McDonald and Katherine Griffith in The Woman Thou Gavest Me (1919.) Cinematographer Charles Van Enger not only photographed the 1924 film Name the Man, directed by Victor Sjöstrom, but also that year photographed the films Lovers' Lane (Phil Rosen, seven reels) with actress Gertrude Olmstead, Three Women (Lubitsch, eight reels) with May McAvoy, Forbidden Paradise (Lubitsch, eight reels) with Pola Negri and Daughters of Pleasure (six reels) and Daring Youth (six reels), both directed by William Beaudine.
King Vidor in 1924 paired John Gilbert and Aileen Pringle in two films, Wife of the Centaur with Kate Lester, and His Hour. Norwegian film director Tancred Ibsen, while briefly in Hollywood, worked on the set design to the Vidor film His Hour. Monta Bell that year directed John Gilbert in The Snob (seven reels).
In Sweden, Karin Boye was publishing her second volume of poetry, Hidden Lands, her continuing in 1927 with the volume The Hearths. She had published her first work, Clouds two years earlier, a year when Swedish poet Birger Sjoberg had published Frida's Songs.
In 1925, Edmund Goulding began directing with Sun-Up Sally (six reels), starring Conrad Nagel and Irene and Sally (six reels), starring Constance Bennett, following the two films with Paris (six reels). Rathbone had also appeared in silent films- Trouping with Ellen (T. Hayes Hunter, seven reels) in 1924, The Masked Bride (Christy Cabanne, six reels), starring Mae Murray, in 1925 and The Great Deception (Howard Higgin, six reels) in 1926. Rathbone and his wife had been present at the premiere of Flesh and the Devil. Anna Karenina (1914), filmed by J. Gordon Edwards, had starred Betty Nansen. On learning that Greta Garbo had already had the film Mata Hari in production, Pola Negri deciding between scripts that were in her studio's story department chose A Woman Commands as her first sound film, in which she starred with Basil Rathbone. Directed by Paul L.Stein, the films also stars Reginald Owen and Roland Young. Ronald Colman had begun as a screen actor in England as well with the films The Live Wire (Dewhurst, 1917), The Toilers (1919), Sheba (Hepworth, 1919), Snow in the Desert (1919) and The Black Spider (1920) It was for Nordisk Films Kompani that year that August Blom had directed Asta Neilsen in the film The Ballet Dancer (Balletdanserinden).
The actress also during 1911 appeared with Valdemar Psilander in The Black Dream (Dem Sorte Drom), thought to be remarkable for the the use of silhouette, by Asta Neilsen's husband, Peter Urban Gad, the film's director.
If only a footnote, Vitagraph in 1917 had brought the novel Arsen Lupin (Paul Scardon, five reels) to the screen with Earle Williams as the titular character; a year earlier George Loan Tucker had filmed a British rendering of the drama; far from being a footnote is the fact that there no existing print of what seems to be the first feature filming of Doyle's armchair detective, A Study in Scarlet, directed by George Pearson in 1914 being among one of the most sought after films listed as missing by the British Film Institute. W. Scott Darling, a favorite of the present author, was certainly writing mystery scripts in Hollywood during 1920, his scenario to 813 (Scott Sidney-Charles Christie), based on an Arsene Lupin story written by Maurice Leblanc, was reviewed under the title Mystery Novel Loses interest In Screen Adaptation. It purportedly lost "some of its excitement and suspense in the pictorization...There is a morbid element to the tale which becomes unneccesarily vivid in the picture form." Apparently, "Lupin falls in love with Delores Castlebank, widow of the murdered man." At the bottom of the page, the magazine offerred a "box office analysis for the exhibitor" with "The Name of Arsene Lupin and A Promise of Mystery, Your Best Bets" and prompted, "If you want a catchline, this will do: Added, subtracted, divided, the mysterious numbers gave the answer 813. What does it mean?" Perplexing to the readers of the present author is that. although there is no reason to qualify the film as being "lost" the fact that the title of the film is a number, 813 makes it missing from catalogues of film that are not lost as well as those that are.
Rometa Garbo in the film Mata Hari under the direction of George Fitzmaurice, in 1924 appeared in two films directed by Fred Niblo, Thy Name is Woman and The Red Lily. In 1925 the actor appeared in the films The Midshipman (Christy Cabanne, eight reels) and The Lovers Oath (six reels). Novarro is quoted as having said, 'It wasn't enough for her to satisfy the director. Often -despite his OK- she asked for a scene to be retaken because she didn't think she had done her best.' Between the films The Primitive Lover (Sidney Franklin, seven reels, 1922) and The Lady (1925), Frances Marion had written the screenplays to The French Doll (1923), Song of Love (Chester Franklin, eight reels, 1924), based on the novel Dust of Desire and starring Norma Talmadge Secrets (Frank Borzage, eight reels, 1924) and Tarnish (George Fitzmaurice, seven reels, 1924). Technicolor and artificial lighting were used in tandem for the first time in 1924 by director George Fitzmaurice to bring Irene Rich, Alma Rubens, Betty Bouton and Constance Bennett to the screen in the film Cytherea (eight reels). Screenland magazine noted that the scripts filmed by Fitzmaurice were often submitted by his wife, and that Ouida Bergere, more frequently remembered, or referred to, as the lover of Basil Rathbone, "was a successful actress before she began to write for pictures." The present author almost found it of more personal interest that there was an author named Faith Service that wrote for Motion Picture Classics more than anything. During 1920 it featured a portrait of the film director George Fitzmaurice and his relationship to the screenwriter, but also included a fictionalized version of the script to the silent film On With the Dance, its scenario written by Ouida Bergere. Faith Service regularly appeared in the magazine as an author that adapted the photoplay into the short story, with the subtitle "fictionalized by permission" or "told in story form, her having typed out the plots to the films Victory Miss Hobbs, Remodeling a Husband and The World and His Wife and She Loves and Lies, it being to the present author fascinating that the stills to films that now may be lost appear next to their transposition into a differeton art form. That year Gladys Hall fictionalized the scenario to the film Way Down East, condensing its charactizations into a handful of pages, the spectator of 1920 reading what would soon be on the screen in front of them, perhaps while viewing the star as a commodity within the extra-textual discourse of the fan magazine but with the familiar art form of the magazine short story installment. About the director Fitzmaurice, the Motion Picture Classics published, "For Fitzmaurice owes his remarkable ability to attain beautiful pictures- admirable in light, shade and grouping- to his early training as a painter, Maurice Tourneur owes his skill in the same field to the same source......En passme it is interesting to note the commraderie of Fitzmaurice and his wife, known to the scenario world as Ouida Bergere. 'We work together on every production,' explains the director." Faith Service was also distinguished as having been published in Photoplay magazine. Is the Mystery of Room 643 a Lost Film? There are many photoplays that during their first theater run were adapted from screen images into third person narrative, original screenplays that were published as magazine fiction after rewritten by magazine staff writers that, with stills from each film, have been preserved in regard to their storyline, characterization and that still exist as they did on celluloid and silver nitrate. The Essanay Film The Return of Richard Neal (1915), starring Nell Craig, and earlier chapters with Francis X. Bushman staring as in "adventures of the private investigator" are not listed as lost, but presently some lists they are not found to be existant. The film appears in story form , with several film stills,in Picture Stories Magazine. It has caught the attention of the present author that Edna Mayo may be an actress with which modern audiences could have been be more familiar with; her Essanay film Stars, Their Courses Change (1915, three reels) seems to be unlisted as being missing while having had appeared in Motion Picture World Magazine- in light of there having been the documentary The Unknown Chaplin, both films would appear to currently be lost. There is every indication that the film Ponjola, starring Anna Q. Nilsson is missing from compendiums on lost film, although it appeared in full page magazine advertisements it seemingly to have been left unlisted. It also appeared in a Photoplay Edition published by Grosset and Dunlap the year of its release, the dustjacket of the 1923 novel rewritten from the screen by Cyntheia Stockley reading, "Illustrated with scenes from the photoplay. A First National Picture". Of course not every film made by the Stoll Film Corporation is lost and missing, but as it seems like a smaller studio, two films from 1923 appear to be unlisted, The Tidal Wave (Hill) and Bars of Iron (Thorston). Any film featured in Picture Stories Magazine during 1914-1915 could be later found to be a lost film. His Last Chance was featured as a work of fiction as novelized in Picture Stories Magazine and does not presently appear to be included in list of films that have been lost; the magazine cover advertises the periodical as being the "Illustrated Films Monthly". The title reads "Adapted from the IMP drama by Rosa Beaulaire", but neglects to name the actors and actresses in the stills and the name of the director of the film. The same issue includes the photoplay On the Verge of War in short story form with only "Adapted from the 101 Bison Film by Owen Garth. The Riddle of The Green Umbrella on the other hand credits Alice Joyce as a girl detective "from the two reel Kalem detective story" who is solving the murder of a professor; the film is not listed as being lost and is absent from lists of films that are decidedly not lost. The Triumph of Venus, advertised in the pages of Photoplay during 1918 is another film that seems yet to be put on lists of missing silent films. What I did happen to find in the pages of Photoplay Magazine was the six page novelization of the chapter-play, or serial, The Eagle's Eye directed by George Lessey and Wellington Player in 1918. With the novelization of the photoplay are published stills from the film, stills that show frames from a silver screen flicker that no longer survives. The lost silent film starred actress Marguerite Snow.
During 1925 actress Vilma Banky was filming for George Fitzmaurice rather than Victor Sjostrom, who featured her in his first sound film, A Lady To Love, that being before her Hungarian accent purportedly had contributed to an unacceptance on the part of movie going audiences. The Great Goldwyn, an early biography on producer Sam Goldwyn written by Alva Johnston, gives an account of her having been brought to the United States States, "He discovered Miss Banky when he saw her picture in a photograph shop in Budapest. This was a feit, because when the photograph was sent to Hollywood, the Goldwyn executives could see no possibilites in her. She arrived in Hollywood herself a few days after her photograph. Miss Banky was bewildered on her arrival in Hollywood. 'I thought I was being tricked,' she told an interpreter, 'I didn't believe the man was Goldwyn untill he gave me two thousand dollars.'"
In Sweden, Par Lagerkvist that year published the novel Guest of Reality (Gas hos verkligheten). It is an account of the events of his childhood an his claim of his reluctance to accept religous ideals. In Sweden, Olaf Molander directed Lady of the Camellias (Damen med kameliorna, 1925), starring Ivan Hedqvist and Hilda Borgström and photographed by Gustav A. Gustafson. Forsyth Hardy writes, "The film derived some distinction from the delicately composed interiors and from the touching performance Tora Teje gave in response to Molander's skilled direction." In 1926 Molander followed with Married Life (Giftas), starring Hilda Borgström and Margit Manstad, also photographed by Gustav A. Gustafson and in 1927 with Only a Dancing Girl, which he wrote and directed. Gustaf Molander in 1925 directed the film Constable Paulus' Easter Bomb (Polis Paulis' Easter Bomb). William Larsson that year directed the films Broderna Ostermans huskors and For hemmet och flickan, with Jenny Tschernichin and Elsa Widborg in what would be the first film in which she was to appear. John W. Brunius in 1925 directed the film Charles XII (Karl XII), photographed by Hugo Edlund and starring Gösta Ekman, Pauline Brunius and Mona Martenson. Its screenplay was written by Hjalmar Bergman and Ivar Johansson. Many of the scenes of Brunius' film were shot on the actual historical locations and battlesites, it having had been being one of the most expensive films to have been made in Sweden up untill that time. Gosta Ekman had earlier been seen as leading man in the United States, as a "romantic type" In Pantomine magazine it was surveyed that, "he plays the impudent, but loveable adventurer to life and his slender blonde figure lends itself most admirably to graceful interpretations of this kind." Photoplay magazine saw Ekman in a similar way, describing him in 1923 as "the Swedish shiek" (the Swedish Valentino) and predicted his soon aquiring famem in the United States, as it did that year with Sigrid Holmqvist. Photoplay reported, "Arriving with him from Stockholm was Edith Erastoff, the wife of Victor Seastrom, the Swedish director who is now working for Goldwyn. Miss Erastoff played opposite Mr. Ekman at the Stockholm Theater....'A beautiful boy,' says director Seastrom, 'Too beautiful- but he is a great actor and never hesitates to conceal his good looks for a character part which demands make-up.'" The magazine that year speculated that "in all probability" Ekman woulod appear on screen in a version of "Three Weeks", concievably opposite actress Theda Bara. In Sweden, in 1925 Ragnar Ring directed the film Tre Kroner (1925), following the next year with the film Butikskultur. Ett kopmanshus i skargarden starring Anna Wallin and Anna Carlsten was written and directed by Hjalmer Peters, its photographer Hellwig Rimmen.
Danish film director Carl Th. Dreyer in 1925 filmed Thou Shalt Honor Thy Wife (Master of the House, Den Skal Aere Din Hustru), which the director co-wrote with Sven Rindholm. Photographed by Goerge Schneevoigt, the films stars Astrid Holm, Karin Nellemose and Mathilde Nielsen. In his book Transcendental Style in Film, the director Paul Schrader (Autofocus) characetrizes Dreyer's early film by their use of mise-en-scene, likening them, in their use of interiors and 'revelatory guesture', in particular to the Intimate Theater of Strindberg. Dreyer, in a foreward to a collection of four of his screenplays, writes, 'I am convinced that presenlty a tragic poet of the cinema will appear, whose problem will be to find,
Early Danish sound film director Alice O'Fredricks appeared as an actress a year earlier with Clara Pontoppidan in a film produced by Edda Film, Hadda Padda, directed by Gudmundar Kamban and also starring Ingeborg Sigurjonsson. Gudmundur Kamban in 1926 for Nordisk Film directed Gunnar Tolnaes, Hanna Ralph and Agnete Kamban int the film Det Sovende Hus
In Finland, the film The Northeners/The Bothnians (Pohjalaisis) was recently screened for the first time since its first run release in 1925. Directed by Jalmari Landensue, the film was photographed by a camerman that would film on several occaisions for the directors Konrad Tallroth, Erkki Karu and Teuro Puro. In Germany, Scandinavian film director Svens Gade positioned actress Asta Nielsen in front of the lens in Hamlet (1920). Directing in the United States in 1925, his films included Fifth Avenue Models adapted from the novel The Best in Life by Muriel Coxen, Siege and Peacock Feathers (seven reels) with Jacqueline Logan; in 1926 they were to include Watch Your Wife (seven reels), Into Her Kingdom (seven reels) with Corinne Griffith and Einar Hanson and The Blonde Saint (seven reels), adapted from the novel Isle of Life by Stephen Whitman and starring Lewis Stone and Ann Rork. Gade would later become a scenario writer rather than director, one instance being Symphony for Universal, directed by F. Harmon Weight.
During his absence from Europe, Dadaist Hans Richter photographed avaunt-guard silent film during 1925, including Ghosts Before Breakfast, and Filmstudie. Richter is not specificlly referred to in the 1922 issue of Vanity Fair Magazine that published legend Tristan Tzara with the article Some Memoirs of Dadaism, an account of the movement which has undertaken to free French art from its classical rigidities, but as a chronicle of the Tzara's 1920 return to Paris it explores Dadaism as an international endeavor while introducing Dadaist meetings, which were to include Paul Eluard, Andre Breton (A Tempest in a Glass of Water), Louis Aragon (The Glass Syringe), and Hans Arp (Clean Wrinkles), as Dadaist Theater, and therefore Dadaist Festival. If it is seen that Modernism in art was removed from cinema, also writing in Vanity Fair was Edmund Wilson, who wrote The Aesthetic Upheaval in France, the Influence of jazz in Paris and the Americanization of French Literature and Art. "For the younger artists in France have competely thrown overboard the ideals of perfection and form, of grace and measure and tranquility, which we Americans are accustomed to think of as their most valuable possession." Although it was in 1928 that Germaine Dulac filmed The Seashell and the Clergyman, written by Antonin Artaud, her film The Smiling Mrs. Beudet brings her work back into 1923. Duchamp, whom the present author has long admired for the paintings Nude Descending a Staircase would eventually turn from the meanings imbued within the human figure is the poetic meanings, associations, it can geometricly, within plane and shadow, hold, to a more plastic ready-made interpretation of angle and curve, his having filmed Anemic Cinema in 1927, leaving spatial questions of the human form delineated by action to Jean Cocteau with The Blood of the Poet, a film of which the present author is as equally fond. Paul Rotha adds the appellation Absolute Film to Abstract Film, "The abstract film is a primary example of unity of filmic purpose." A series of abstract visual images could be brought into visual abstract patterns with abstract forms that were in movement, seen through the relations of mercurial geometric figures to each other. "The screen is a blackboard to Eggeling." Rotha refers to the films Light and Rythym (Bruguiere and Blaketon), Light and Shade, and Montparnasse (Desalv). The Flood (Louis Delluc, 1923), while being a catalyst to the experimental film of the period, is attributed with having been "derived from the Swedes" (O'Leary). The film still lauded Delluc as a proponent of the experimental film and he has been referred to as one of the first film critics, his having written about the theater, untill inveigled toward the film by his hife, actress Eve Francis. In her volume Let's Go to the Movies, Iris Barry wrote, "There is a lady called Gertrude Stein, who writes books composes entirely of words; meaning is a thing she avoids. She has her enthusiasts, who conted, quite rightly, that writers must make patterns in words and that old words must be pressed into new meanings...She is in fact the same case as the absract films as Paris, which equally scrupulously avoid meaning." Long ago, the present author was fond of her novel Ida.
Audiences in 1925 viewed Mary Pickford in the silent film Little Annie Rooney (William Beaudine, nine reels). Among the films in which flapper Clara Bow appeared in that year were Eves Lover (Roy Del Ruth, seven reels), The Scarlett West (John G. Adolphi, 9 reels) and The Keeper of the Bees (James Meehan, seven reels). During 1925, Sally of the Sawdust (ten reels) and That Royal Girl (ten reels) would both team W.C. Fields and Carol Dempster. Both films were directed by D.W. Griffith.
n regard to D.W. Griffith still filming during the 1920's and Thomas Ince having been part of Triangle, it may have been that the photodramatists of the silent era in the United States had by 1925 seen a transformation. In a volume entitled Modern Photoplay Writing, published in 1922, Howard T. Dimick wrote, Thus the present era might be called the era of the detailed synopsis, which has evolved out of the era of the scenario." It concludes his thought from the previous sentence, "The modern playwright submits his story in the form of a detailed synopsis, amounting in length to a short story, casting the dramatic form, establishing the events, developing the characters, introducing the atmosphere, but minus all dialogue and moralizing not pertinent to the demands of the mechanism it is intended for, the camera." He adds that previously the scenario had been submitted to set the dramatic form and that the synopsis would not be able to veer from the dramatic line as developed, whereas in a more modern era, the synopsis had become a dramatic form of continuity. In a slightly earlier volume, Scenario Writing Today, published in 1921, Grace Lytton crawled to page 146 before adding the chapter Writing the Brief Synopsis or Outline and discusses the part played by the scenario editor, "Your brief synopsis is your card of introduction to the scenario editor...An outline of the plot is really all that is indispensible." Interestingly, she adds to the synopsis and scenario, continuity, but claims that, "The continuity will be written in the studio and if you send it one it will probably not be used" while optimisticlly claiming continuity writing, the adding of a full developed novel like description after the scenario and synopsis, to be a valuable thing to study in that its practice imporved scenario writing.
A director that had worked with Griffith, Jack Conway, who had himself dropped out of highschool, would direct Jack Pickford in the 1926 film Brown of Harvard with Mary Brian, Mary Alden and Francis X Bushman. Ever since, there have been various murders and questionable characters surrounding the University. Sometimes sinister, it often boil down to that as a University, it has its own unique way of whether it does or doesn't know whom is attending, and or whom isn't. Conway was also to direct the film Soulmates that year. In the United States, in 1926, Dorothy Gish would begin filming with Herbert W. Wilcox, under whose direction she made the films Nell Gwyn (1926) with Randle Ayerton and Julie Compton, London (1927), with John Manners and Elissa Landi, Tip Toes (1927) with John Manners and Mme. Pompadour (1927), written by Frances Marion and starring Antonio Moreno. It was in 1926 that Lillian Gish, while filming La Boheme (King Vidor, nine reels) with John Gilbert, had met Victor Sjöström. Lillian Gish was quoted by an early biographer as having said that it was on the set of La Boheme that she began working with Frances Marion on the continuity behind The Scarlet Letter. Photoplay Magazine in 1926 added a photocaption to a still from Victor Sjostrom's film, for they had trouble getting Lillian to put torrid temperature into her La Boheme scenes. Here is Lillian sending hot looks to Lars Hanson. Quoted by Liberty Magazine during 1927, Lillian Gish said, "King Vidor directed La Boheme, and one of the best cameramen in my experience, Hendrik Sartov, lent his aid...We finished it on a Saturday, and without waiting for my weeks holiday, we began The Scarlet Letter on Monday."
The present author uploaded one google.video, as a test film, it covering only the first four minutes of the film, but it was one of those directors that become a favorite on reputation, rather than the availability of the entire catolog of film, he being James Kirkwood, who was married to silent film actress Gertrude Robinson before marrying Lilla Lee.
In the United States, Fox Studios in 1927 continued their films of the Great West, pairing Tom Mix with Dorothy Dwan in The Great K and A Train Robbery (Lewis Seiler, five reels).
Silent Film: Lost Film, Found MagazinesThere were 478 silent films made in Sweden; of them only 192 still exist, although there are copies of fragments from a number of them. Added to that, countless Danish silent films produced by Ole Olsen for Nordisk Films Kompagni are "presumably lost": the Danish Film Institute notes that approximately 1600 silent short and feature films were made whereas only 250 films presently exist, Not the only webpage concerned with the preservation of Silent Film, the lost films webpage from Berlin show clips and stills from fifty silent film that it claims are "unknown or unidentified". Bengt Forslund penned a brief paragraph about the silent film The Divine Woman (En Gudomlig Kvinna, 1928), directed by Victor Sjostrom under the name Victor Seastrom, "This was written 35 years ago and even at that stage all prints seem to have vanished. There is not much hope of finding one today since Garbo's films have been the subject of more research than those of most other stars.". Lon Chaney is quoted as having said, "I told Garbo that mystery served me well and it would do as much for her." Forslund reflected upon the exisiting early silent film of the Swedish director, "Even more regrettable is that out of the 31 films directed by Sjostrom during this period, only three have survived, and out of the other 8 films in which he acted, not a single one remains." It was Norma Shearer who was to star opposite Lon Chaney in the other M.G.M directed by Victor Sjostrom under the name Seastrom of which there are no existant copies, that film being Tower of Lies (1924, seven reels). Photoplay Magazine reviewed the film in a way that doesn't discourage the viewer but only makes us want to screen the film more, "If the director had been as concerned with telling the story as he was with thinking up symbolic scenes, this would have been a great picture. As it is, Victor Seastrom was so busy being artistic, he forgot to be human. The emotions are those of the theater, not of life, in spite of the fact that both Lon Chaney and Nora Shearer might have made them real." During 1925, Lon Chaney, in an article entitled My Own Story and published by Movie Magazine, while pointing to the themes of "self-sacrifice and renunciation" in his films wrote, "The picture I have just completed, Tower of Lies, is the story of a father's enduring love and sacrifice, even to death, for his wayward daughter. I do not know that it is my favorite of all roles that I have portrayed, but certainly it is one of them and I consider Victor Seastrom, who directed it, the greatest director in the motion picture profession." Also in 1925, The Reel Journal, a sister publication to the magazine New England Film News, reviewed the films of Lon Chaney with the article "Lon Chaney Turns to Less Grotesque Roles". The article initially began by noting that, in regard to depiction of thematic character, "Lon Chaney, who has attracted stardom by playing roles of a weird and grotesque character, is turning to portrayals depending on more deeply human qualities for their interest.", the professionalism as a make-up artist on the part of Lon Chaney is not without having been noticed, "In his first Metro-Goldwyn Mayer picture, Victor Seastrom's production of Leonid Andreyev's He Who Gets Slapped...Chaney donned two make-ups, one as a European scientist, and the other as a clown. It was said by critics of the latter that this portrayal was the first circus clown interpretation to express the humanity which lies behind the painted mask of a mountebank...In The Tower of Lies, his make-up demonstrates a transition from middle age to old age." Both films The Tower of Lies and The Unholy Three were unreleased at the time of the review. An earlier film starring John Gilbert and Norma Shearer, The Wolfman, directed by Edmund Mortimer in 1924, is also among the myriad of films now thought to be lost. Included among them are The Dark Angel (George Fitzmaurice, 1924) pairing Vilma Banky and Ronald Coleman, The Chinese Parrot (1927, seven reels), adapted for the screen from the pen of Earl Der Biggers by Paul Leni and starring Marian Nixon and Florence Turner and Four Devils, filmed in the United States by F. W Murnau in 1928 and starring Janet Gaynor and Nacy Drexel. Photoplay, while providing a still from the film, saw The Four Devils as the "long awaited successor" to Murnau's Sunrise and as a source of a plot summary to the film, it alludes to the film's tone, "the final shot implies a happy ending. The film will probably be cut to eliminate the over drawn scenes before it is released." Silent film journals have noted that no matter how star-struck audiences may have been, John Barrymore's film When a Man Loves was eclipsed and while thought to be a lost film, it was not screened between 1927 to 2000, but add to this that the film The Lotus Eater (Marshall Neilan, 1921), in which he appeared with Colleen Moore and Anna Q. Nilsson, was also during that entire time taken to be a lost film; one source listed as many as thirteen films in which John Barrymore starred that are believed to be missin. A year earlier, in the United States, Valda Valkyrien had appeared in the film The Valkyrie (Eugene Nowland), which irregardless of how possibly faithful it was to Norse Saga and The Elder Edda and its being elected to the Hall of The Dead, the film is now thought to be lost. Originally a ballerina, Valda Valkyrien had appeared in six Danish silent films before coming to the United States, including Dodsspring til hest fra Circuskuplean (1912) and The Vanquished (Den Staerkeste, 1912). Loves of An Actress (Rowland Lee,1928) in which Nils Asther starred with Pola Negri and Mary McAllister, as a matter of fact, is a lost film. If all that exists of The Chinese Parrot is a still photograph, the caption from Photoplay Magazine, cautioned that, alhtough mysteries were not meant to be divulged, the adaption had not kept faithful to the Earl Der Biggers plotline.
In regard to Lost Films, Found Magazines, Photoplay reviewed the film London After Midnight, "Lon Chaney has a stellar role in this mystery drama and the disguise he uses while ferretting out the murderer is as gruesome as any has ever worn...Chaney plays a dual role." Carl Sandberg reviewed the film in 1928, "No wonder Inspector Burke is played by Lon Chaney with little or no make up. The world had forgotten what Lon Chaney's real face looks like and when he lets his own countenance shine forth he is disguised most of all...The story of how Inspector Burke solves the mystery is one of the most diverting and suspenseful in all the long associations of Chaney, the actor, and Tod Browning, the director. Conrad Nagel, Marceline day and H. B. Walthall have parts, but do not have them seriously enough to interfere with Mr. Chaney and his performance." National Board of Review magazine wrote, "An interesting mystery story. The story is tense and the acting excellant...The effect rendered by the use of vampires is eerie and the whole story is of an unusual nature."
An earlier film directed by Tod Browning, A Dangerous Flirt (1924), starring Evelyn Brent, is also included among the lost films of Silent Hollywood. Of Silent film director Tod Browning, Iris Barry wrote, "Browning has a peculiar gift for managing dramatic suspense, only rivaled by some of the Germans, though achieved by methods less dramatic than theirs." Lon Chaney would return to the screen in 1926 in the films The Blackbird (Tod Browning, seven reels), The Road to Mandalay (Tod Browning, seven reels) and Tell It To the Marines (George Hill, ten reels). In 1927, Lon Chaney starred in front of the camera of silent film director William Nigh to portray Mr. Wu (eight reels), the film co-starring Renee Adoree and Gertrude Olmstead. It was reviewed in Photoplay as a "gory story and one that is not likely to equal most of Chaney's films in popularity." 1927 was a year in which Rupert Julian, director of Phantom of the Opera was collaborating with screenwriter Garret Fort on the film Yankee Clipper to showcase actress Elinor Fair.
Screenwriter Frances Marion had written the early revision to the photoplay The Mysterious Lady, which was rewritten by screenwriter Bess Meredyth. During the time in between it had been elaborately reworked by Danish film director Benjamin Christenson. Upon first arriving in the United States, the Danish silent film director Benjamin Christenson had sold the scenario to The Light Eternal, his remarking later that 'writers were let loose on my script and altered the whole tone and message'. The first film Christenson had directed in the United States, The Devil's Circus (1926, seven reels) with Norma Shearer and Charles Emmet Mack, had had a script which he had written himself. In The Devil's Circus Praised, Motion Picture Classic reviewed the film, "Some of the metropolitan critics were impressed with Benjamin Christenson's first American film The Devil's Circus. To me it was just early Griffith plus a dash of Seastrom pseudo-symbolism. Christenson is responsible for both the story and the direction." The Haunted House (seven reels) with Thelma Todd, Montague Love and Barbara Bedford and The Hawk's Nest (eight reels) with Milton Sills, Montague Love and Mitchell Lewis were to follow in 1928. Mockery (seven reels) when reviewed by Photoplay shifted the look from director to star, "Lon Chaney's running rapidly through the list of human ailments and tribulations...Mockery is hardly an authentic picture of the budding (Russian) revolution but it is a good melodrama built up to a keen edge of tensity by Lon Chaney's highly effective character playing." Author John Ernst published the biography Benjamin Christensen in 1967.
Today, there are no known existant copies of the 1929 film The House of Horror (7 reels) for which Thelma Todd returned to the screen to film under the direction of Benjamin Christensen. Nor are there existant copies of the silent films The Haunted House and The Hawk's Nest; untill they are found and or restored, the films made in the United States by Benjamin Christensen continue to lurk within the shadows of the silver screen theaters, and although many of the theaters, with all their granduer that introduced the films are also gone, particularly in Boston, the detectives of film can find them in the world of Lost Film, Found Magazines with each newly discovered poster, still or full page advertisement. It need not be overlooked that the Journal of Scandinavian Cinema recently published the article Scandinavian Auteur as Chameleon: How Benjamin Christenson reinvented himself in Hollywood 1925-29, written by Arne Lunde, who looks at correspondence written by the film director. Lunde sees an influence Christensen, "a visionary stylist and innovator" (Lunde), made on the technique used to film The Mysterious Island (1929), although, much like Stiller's having been replaced by Fred Niblo, he had been replaced on the film by Lucien Hubbard. "Silhoetted lighting in a submarine-interior shot also shows traces of a key Christensen stylistic signature." When Photoplay reviewed the film Seven Footprints to Satan (1929), it held, "You won't get very excited about this so-called mystery story because you feel down underneath that it will turn out to be a dream. The denoument is not quite as bad as that, but almost...Thelma Todd manages to look both beautiful and freightened while Chreighton Hale makes his knees stutter." The film was photographed by Sol Polite.
Forsyth Hardy chronicles, "The Danish director Benjamin Christensen, who was engaged to make Haxan (1922), an imaginative study of witchcraft which excitedly exploited the properities of the camera. These expensive films, however, failed to make impressions on the reluctant foreign audiences." He notes that it was a newly completed studio at Rasunda that had emerged with Svensk Filmindustri, a momentum having arisen as the result of the merger in 1919 between Svenska Bio and Film Scandia.
As you may have noticed, my public domain copy of Haxan is fickle: please accept the above copy and allow me to add for good measure an embeded copy of
The Phantom Carriage (Korkarlen/The Phantom Chariot, 1920, also listed as 1921), thus allowing the two directors to be screened together. When shown in the United States during 1922 under the title The Stroke of Midnight, the film was reviewed by Photoplay Magazine as being, "Drama from the Swedish- so drab and grim in its realism tha one longs, almost, for a bit of unassuming splapstick to liven it up...Impressive, but depressing." Picture-play Magazine in 1922 reviewed the film, "It is a Swedish film and full of gloom. But the strong point of 'Midnight' is not the gloom, but its ghost story." it continued to note that the film "will send shivers up your spine" the reviewer conceded that they "had to sit through reels of endless dreary moralizing." When asked about Victor Sjostrom, Ingmar Bergman had told Torsten Manns, "His films meant a tremendous lot to me, particularly The Phantom Carriage and Ingeborg Holm. Adapted from the novel by Selma Lagerlof, directed by Victor Sjostrom from his own screenplay, the film was photographed by Julius Jaenzon. In the United States, Exceptional Photplays reviewed the film during 1922, "In this picture is present to a very marked degree the inclination toward the supernatural, toward the the eerie forces beyond the bounds of reason, which is characteristic of nearly all Swedish productions. Obviously any attempt to transpose the works of Selma Lagerlof to the screen would necessitate careful handling of the suggestion of the supernatural nowhere more strickingly present than in her novel Stroke of Midnight is a picturization." Einar Lauritzen wrote, "The double exposures in the graveyard scenes and in the scenes with the phantom chariot are beautifully executed, and, as always in Julius Jaenzon's photography, the interplay of light and shoadow is superb. Peter Cowie has noted that during the scene, "Occaisionaly as many as four images are superimposed on a single frame." Francis Taylor Patterson of Exceptional Photoplays reviewed the film, "Here a strong dramatic interest is built upon the legend of the Gray Driver, who drives his grim cart over the moors, through the cities, to the floor of the sea itself, collecting the souls of the dead...There is a wealth of imagery in the play, a freshness both of in conception and excecution, which combined with the admirable acting, again, of Victor Seastrom, place the play well forward among screen excellancies."
During 1920, Victor Sjostrom had veered from Selma Lagerlof and had adapted, that is to say wrote and directed, a story by Franz Grillparzer, his relying upon Swedish camerman Henrik Jaenzon behind the lens to film The Monastery of Sendomir (Klosteret i Sendomir/The Secret of the Monastery, starring Tora Teje, Renee Bjorling, Jenny Tschernichin-Larsson and Erik A Petschler. Francis Taylor Patterson reviewed the film for the magazine Exceptional Photoplays, "The Secret of the Monastery has used for dramatic purposes an interior setting just as 'Sir Arne' used an exterior." The magazine felt that as there were only two exterior shots employed in the film in shifted the interest from setting to characterization at the expense of depicting the splendor of the Scandinavian landscape. Forsyth Hardy brackets the film with Masterman with the observation, "Sjostrom never lost his interest in the film as a medium for the expression of inner conflicts and for the revelation of character from within.
Photoplay magazine in 1927 reviewed a unique foreign film, "A story of the City of the future, weirdly imagined, technically gorgeous, but almost ruined by terrible acting and awful subtitles. The settings are unbelievably beautiful; the mugging of the players unbelievably bad." In the United States, a newer version of the Silent Film Metropolis is currently being presented by Kino International. Karl Freund was the film's cameraman. Apparently, possibly as a lietmotif or metaphor for cranking up the kem and its dusty archive of sprockets and outdated take up reels once a tradition at Harvard, the University overlooked the dilapitated condition of the Fogg Art Musuem and screened actress-machine Brigitte Helm in the Silent Film at its Film Archive during September along with the film Sunrise (Murnau).
|Silent film was almost to an end. In 1927 alone, Alice Terry appeared in the films Lonesome Ladies (Joseph Henaberry), Notorious Lady (King Baggot), also starring Lewis Stone, An Affair of the Follies (Milland Webb), written by June Mathis, and The Prince of Headwaiters, also starring Lewis Stone (John Francis Dillon, seven reels). Roman Navarro that year appeared in the film Road to Romance (seven reels). During a year that he appeared with Delores Costello on the cover of the Scandinavian periodical Filmjournalen, John Barrymore in 1927 would begin what was to quickly become the only then whispered of crescendo of the silent film period, whith the film The Beloved Rogue, a year when Warner Oland appeared under the direction of Alan Crosland and with Delores Costello in A Man Loves (ten reels), starring Barrymore, and again in the film Old San Francisco (eight reels). Photographer Oliver Marsh that year would be behind the camera lens Norma Talmadge in the film The Dove (nine reels), director Roland West adapting the play written by Willard Mack for the screen. W. S. Van Dyke that year brought Wanda Hawley to the screen in the film The Eyes of Totem, also starring Ann Cornwall. That Movie Classic Magazine included the title New Styles for Sex Appeal on its November,1933 cover featuring Greta Garbo is a fitting contrast to when the magazine had featured Garbo the silent actress on its cover during 1927 before it had changed its name, a look, from Motion Picture Classic. Alice Joyce had been the magazine's cover girl during the previous month and silent actress Betty Bronson followed during March. Included among those chosen to be covergirl for Photoplay Magazine during February of 1927 were actresses Olive Borden, Arlette Marchal, Lois Wilson, Mae Murray and Mary Brian. Actresses chosen by Screenland magazine in 1927 to grace its cover included Marie Provost, lya De Putti,Anita Parkhurst, Gilda Gray and Jetta Goudal: Each month Cal York wrote a page entitled Girl on the Cover; in regard to any personal favorite covers to Photoplay Magazine of the present author, so far there are two, both from 1926, Marion Davies and Alice Joyce. While author Deebs Taylor explains that 'it' as typified by Elinor Glyn was sex appeal, he also writes that silent film actress Clara Bow had brought the excitement of the flapper to the screen a year before her having been given the role in the 1927 film It (seven reels) during her appearance in the film Mantrap (Victor Fleming, seven reels). She appeared on the cover of Filmjournalen Magazine in 1927 and in 1929. Photoplay Magzine covers for the year 1928, featured the actresses Corinne Griffith, Marion Davies, Evelyn Brent, Billie Dove, Ruth Taylor, Ester Ralston and Eleanor Boardman. Clara Bow is a particular instance of Lost Films, Found Magazines; a highly publicized silent actress that was often written about, if not written about in within the extra-textual discourse of fan magazines as one the earliest forms of film criticism, with the expectation that modern novels that had not yet been filmed would soon be brought to the screen, Clara Bow apprearred in several films that have only been seen due to recent efforts to preserve them. Parts of silent films are missing- among the films featuring Clara Bow either still incomplete, but restored, or restored in their entirety are Down to the Sea in Ships (1922), Maytime (Gasnier, 1923), Poisoned Paradise (Gasnier, 1924), Black Oxen (Frank Lloyd, 1924) and the 1925 film My Lady of Whims. Without the films, all that is left are magazine advertisements where the screen star cordially invites our consumership, not only our consumership as spectators for the advertised product, but as spectators for the fantasies of 'a now by gone era', the look of the female directed to a time only preserved as being seldom seen on the silent silver screen, once captured by the moving camera and now guessed at through the pages of magazines. |
1928 saw actress Loretta Young as she appeared in her first two films with silent film actress Julanne Johnston, Marshall Neilan having directed both actresses in Her Wild Oat (1927, seven reels), with Colleen Moore and Martha Mattox and Joseph Boyle having directed both actresses in The Whip Woman (1928, six reels), with Estelle Taylor, Lowell Sherman and Hedda Hopper. She had been acting under the name Gretchen, which was changed at the suggestion of Mervyn Leroy, and, according to the webpage of the estate of Loretta Young, at the suggestion of Colleen Moore.
John Gilbert that year made the films The Show (Tod Browning, seven reels), Twelve Miles Out (Jack Conway, eight reels). John Gilbert also appeared that year with Jeanne Eagles in the film Man, Woman and Sin (seven reels), which Photoplay reviewed as being of interest because the actresses and actor were paired together but concluded, "Miss Garbo needn't worry over Miss Eagles.", it thinking that the film and the part played by the actress was tailored in order to substitute for Garbo. "Director-and author-Monta Bell knows his city room. After that the film disintegrates into cheap melodrama." The following year John Gilbert appeared in Four Walls, made with him by director William Nigh, (eight reels), and actress Vera Gordon.
Actress Emily Fitzroy, who appeared with John Gilbert and Greta Garbo in the 1927 film Love, had that year appeared in the films Married Alive (Emmett Flynn, five reels), with Margaret Livingston and Gertrude Claire, Orchids and Ermine (Alfred Santell, seven reels) with Colleen Moore, Hedda Hopper and Alma Bennet, One Increasing Purpose (Harry Beaumont, eight reels), with Lila Lee, Jane Novak and May Allison, and Once and Forever (Phil Stone, six reels), with Patsy Ruth Miller and Adele Watson.
| In Sweden, Ragnar Hylten-Cavallius continued directing with Youth (Ungdom), starring Ivan Hedqvist, Marta Hallden and Brita Appelgren. Erik A Petschler in 1927 directed Hin och smalanningen, photographed by Gustav A Gustafson and starring Birgit Tengroth, Ingrid Forsberg, Greta Anjou, Jenny-Tschernichin-Larsson, Helga Brofeldt, Emy Bergstrom and Emy Albiin. Gustaf Edgren in 1927 directed The Ghost Baron (Spokbaronen) starring Karin Swanström and photographed by Adrian Bjurman, which was followed by Black Rudolf (Svarte Rudolf, 1928) starring Inga Tiblad and Fridolf Rhudin, both films having been written by Sölve Cederstrand. The assistant director to the film Black Rudolf had been Gunnar Skogland, it having been the first film in which the actress Katie Rolfsen was to appear. Gustaf Molander directed Sealed Lips (Forseglade lappar) with Wanda Rothgardt, Mona Martenson and Karin Swanström and His English Wife (Hans engelska fur), with Margit Manstad, Wanda Rothgath, Lili Dagover and Margit Rosengren in what was to be her first appearance on screen in 1927. Forsyth Hardy sees the films as comedies that had unduly come under the heavy influence of Paul Merzbach of Svensk Filmindustri, who was looking for a more international audience, and who would bring a frivolity to the early sound films made in Sweden that would now seem far too typical. |
In 1928 Molander continued with the film Sin (Synd) starring Lars Hanson, Ragnar Arvedson and Ellisa Landi. Forsyth Hardy writes that although the film was based on the literary work Brott och Brott, the addition of Paul Merzbach at Rasunda, had "helped scale down the Strindberg drama into a thriller." Molander that year also directed Woman of Paris (Parisiskor), with Ragnar Arvedson and Karin Swanström and photographed by Julius Jaenzon. When reviewed in the United States, it was written that His English Wife/ Discord was a film in which 'the acting is of the school that believes in tapping fingers and clenched hands' and when Sealed Lips was reviewed it was written that 'the direction goes back to the stand-gaze-and-hark acting of the old days.' His English Wife was the first film to be photographed by Ake Dahlquist.
Also in Sweden the novel Raskens, written by Vilhelm Moberg appeared in 1927 and was followed in 1929 by the novel Langt fran landsvagen. Pa (The Triumph over Life. The poet Bertil Malmberg in 1927, as an attempt to approach the ideal of beauty, beauty in itself with a sublimity that seemed in hope that beauty could have the power to save man, penned the volume The Veil) (Slojan, his following it in 1929 with The Wind (Vinden). Swedish novelist Eyvind Johnson saw the close of the silent film period in continental Europe, writing City in Darkness (Stad i morker) in 1927, and as expatriate to Sweden following it with City in Light (Stad i ljus, 1928), Remembered (Minnas, 1928) and Commentary on a Falling Star (Kommentar till ett starnfall, 1929). Novelist Elin Wagner reflected back on the continent with The Five Peals (De Fem parlolorna) in 1927.
Brunius directed the film Gustaf Wasa, from a screenplay by Ivar Johansson, in 1928. In 1928 Adolf Niska contributed the film Stormens barn, starring Jenny Hasselquist and Torsten Bergstrom. Theodor Berthels that year directed the film The Poetry of Adalen (Adalens poesi) starring Hilda Borgstrom and Jessie Wessel. The 1928 film Erik XIV was written and directed by Sam Ask, it having starred Sophus von Rosen, Eva Munck af Rosenchold, Lisa Ryden Prytz and Gösta Werner.
The screenplays to The Kiss (Kyssen, Feyder, seven reels) and Wild Orchids were both written by Hans Kraly during a year in which he had also written Eternal Love (Lubitsch, nine reels), Betrayal (Lewis Milestone, eight reels), The Garden of Eden (Lewis Milestone), starring Corrinne Griffith and Lowell Sherman, and The Last of Mrs. Cheyney. Kraly also in the United States had earlier penned the screenplays to Rosita (Lubitsch, 1923, nine reels), Black Oxen (Frank Lloyd, 1924, eight reels), Three Women (Lubitsch, 1924, eight reels), Forbidden Paradise (1924) and Her Night of Romance (Sidney Franklin, 1924, eight reels). In Germany, Kraly had written the scripts to the films of Danish director Urban Gad, including the 1913 film The Film Star (Die Filmprimaddonna, starring Asta Nielsen.
Norma Shearer in 1928 appeared on theater marquees in The Actress (Sidney Franklin, seven reels), a film photographed by William Daniels, The Latest from Paris (eight reels) and A Lady of Chance. Silent film actress Vilma Banky was seen on the screen in theaters across the United States during 1928 with Ronald Colman in Two Lovers (nine reels), directed by Fred Niblo. That same year it was reported, "Vilma Banky's first picture following Two Lovers will be entitled The Awakening (nine reels) instead of The Innocent. It is an original Frances Marion. Victor Fleming is to direct."
Apparently some of the scenes in which Eva von Berne had appeared were refilmed after the shooting of the film Masks of the Devil (Victor Seastrom, 1928, eight reels) had concluded. New to film, Eva von Berne was to star opposite John Gilbert under the direction of Victor Sjostrom. Photoplay magazine lent acclaim to the film with, "A creditable effort to delve into the minds of a group of strange, Continental characters. The fans may not like John Gilbert as a sinister character, but he is always a great actor. She (Eva von Berne) has a difficult role even for an experienced actress". In another review it touted, "John Gilbert is great in a weird and sinister story." Bengt Forslund surmises that the use of double exposures to depict interior monolouge was Victor Sjostrom's interest in directing the film. Sven Gade was asked to revise Frances Marion's adaptation of the novel before it went to Monte Katterjohn. "I have the feeling that Sjostrom took the assignment for almost the same reason he had done Kiss of Death; the plot gave him an excuse to play around with the technical side again." Important to modern authors, Movie Makers magazine, a journal for semi-professional or amateur cameramen, published in 1929 the shot structure from a scene from Masks of the Devil in Central Focusing, Technical Reviews to Aid the Amateur, it putting the film making of Victor Sjostrom on to paper as one of the forerunners to modern film criticism and theory, "Cinematics: In several instances, the camera is used to depict a character's inner thought or impulse in addition to thought and action which he conventionally expresses. In those cases the cinema becomes the all seeing eye of a narrator who penetrates the minds of the characters as well as show their surface reactions, In this case the technique used is as follows: first a medium shot or semi-close shot of two characters in conversation, then a close up of the face of one of them which dissolves into a scene showing him reacting as he really feels. This scene then dissolves back to a semi-closeup of the two characters talking together, fitting in smoothly," As a magazine article from a publication swamped with advertisements for "home projectors", it comes a half-century before the study of semiotics and film narrative. Interestingly, the same issue reviewed the film Uneasy Money (Berthold Vietral) in regard to plot complications, inanimate objects and story-line as the expression of human emotions. In a later issue it looks at the moving camera, flashback narrative and double exposed titles, the use of an image with inter-title, in the film Night Watch (Lajos Biros) looks at the overuse of the moving camera in The Street of Illusion (Kenton), "the camera pauses before a door, opens it, goes through a hall, enters a curtained arch, then another curtained arch, passes to a man and then gives a close up of him." It almost reevaluates the criticism of Stiller's and Dreyer's use of the moving camera from the perspective of 1929. Also, a double exposure of a seance scene is pointed out in the film Unholy Night. In regard to the art of Victor Sjostrom, its is of interest to glance at the article Magic Shadows-what double exposure is doing for the art of the screen, an article written by Edwin Shallert for Picture Play magazine in 1923. While discussing double exposure and "higher artistic imagination" he discusses the narrative use of "dual roles", superimposing one actor on to a split screen and looks at trick photography in the photplay Earthbound (1920, T Hayes Hunter), starring actress Caroline Desborough, along with the later film All Soul's Eve, both belonging to "spiritistic pictures". "Double exposure in its attempt to suggest to the mind some new and yet unseen dream or actuality, may delight with novel humor, may charm with a visible poetry or perhaps even for a second or two inspire thoughts of the sublime." Chaney is quoted as having returned with a compliment for Greta Garbo. The fragment of Greta Garbo in The Divine Woman showcases the interior editing of Victor Seastrom
|As the silent era was coming to a close, Douglas Fairbanks would appear in the film The Iron Mask, directed by Silent Film Director Allan Dwan. Alfred Hitchcock in 1928 would direct one of his only Silent Films, The Farmer's Wife. John Ford, who's first sound film The Black Watch appeared on theater screens a year later in 1929, had by then directed several silent films, including The Girl in No. 29 (1920), Little Miss Smiles (1922), Thank You (1925) and Mother Machree (1928).|
|Directing A Modern Hero in the United States with cameraman William Rees in 1934, G. W. Pabst, the director of Greta Garbo's second feature film, had entered into the directing of sound film with the films Westernfront 1918 (1930), Die Greigroschen Oper (1931) and Kameradschaft (1932). His actress, Louise Brooks, whom in 1929 he had directed in the films Pandora's Box and Diary of a Lost Girl (Das Tagebuch einer verbrenen), was during that same year introduced to the sound film by being paired with William Powell in The Canary Murder Case. While A Cottage On Dartmoor (Anthony Asquith) includes a dialog intertitle written by the director reading,"Will you come with me to a talkie tonight?". |
|After returning to Sweden in hope that it was there that his daughters would be raised, Sjostrom appeared with Lars Hanson and Karin Molander in a short 1931 beauty contesst film, Froken, Ni linkar Greta Garbo, where Eivor Nordstrom was chosen to be most like Greta Garbo. Its photographer was Ake Dahlquist. With Per-Axel Branner for an assistant director and actress Karin Granberg in the first film in which sshe was to appear,Juilius Jaenzon photographed and directed the fil Ulla, My Ulla, during 1930, while Victor Sjostrom returned to the screen with Brokiga Blad, in which he cast Lili Ziedner. |
Forsyth Hardy chronicles the use of sound-on-track for films made at Rasunda, "In Charlotte Lowenskold, Gustaf Molander turned again to a Selma Lagerlof novel describing the spiritual conflict of a young priest and his struggle between loyalty to a fiancee and loyalty to the Christian faith. Made in the style of a silent film, it included only a brief passsage of dialouge."
John W. Brunius directed two films during 1930, The Doctor's Secret (Docktorns Hemlighet) and The Two of Us (Vi Tva), in which Edvin Adolphson appeared as an actor with Margit Manstad, Marta Ekstrom and Anna-Lisa Froberg, the film having been the first in which the actress was to appear. Swedish cinematographer Harald Berglund in 1930 began filming under the direction of Ragnar Ring on the film Lyckobreven.
Danish film director George Schneevoigt continued the beginning of early Danish sound film the following year with the film Pastor of Vejlby (Praesten i Vejlby). The first Norwegian sound film, The Big Chirstening (Den store Barnedapen) was also the first film directed by Tancred Ibsen. He would begin worj in Swedish film co-scripting and then co-scripting and co-directing Vi som gar koksvagen (1932) and its counterpart Vi som gar kjokken veinen (1933) with Gustaf Molander and his photographer Ake Dahlqvist. Made for A/S Oslo Talefilm, it is an adaptation of a novel published two years earlier by Sigrid Boo. Tancred Ibsen would rejoin Victor Sjöström in Sweden, directing him in the 1934 film Synnove Solbakken. Among the photographers that began the era of early sound film in Sweden was Martin Bodin. It is almost endering that Pauline Brunius appeared as an actress in front of his camera under the direction of Gustaf Edgren in the 1934 film Karl Fredrick regerar while Brunius was directing what would be his last film, False Greta.
Suomi-Filmi of Finland produced its first sound film in 1929, The Supreme Victory (Korkein voitto), directed by Carl von Hartmann. The photography was found to be too expensive and the making of sound films was postponed while silent films were continued to be made. Finnish author and film director Jorn Donner was later to write, 'I have a difference of opinion from that of those historians who proclaim the eternal value of a mass of pictures from the teens and twenties. I reject the theoreticians, such as Rudolf Arnheim, who characterize talking pictures as a corruption.' Where Jorn Donner shows an appreciation of film is in his viewing it as a literature, his seeing the silent film as a point of departure within the freedom, or sensitivity, of the artist, Donner's particular appreciation of film seemingly that of an appreciation of the film having an audience that recieves what the film conveys thematiclly and a spectator that not only is positioned in a relationship to the subject, but that is connected to the author of the work by the characters and what they symbolize; Donner seemingly views filmmaking as a readership, one that within film history can only become more modern. The spectatorial address of the silent film was one that used the intertitle, scene construction often based on whether explanatory titles were being used to carry the narrative and establish the expostition, or whether the amount of dialouge needed by the scene could be accomodated by the use of dialougue intertitles: the advent of sound had brought about the transition from photoplay, as a literature, to screenplay.
Two actors that have now become legendary for their having worked together with Sjöström in his film The Wind (eight reels), silent film actress Lillian Gish and Montague Love, were teamed together for the early sound film His Double Life, under the direction of Arthur Hopkins. Two actors that were paired together after the beginning of the use of sound in film were Nils Asther and Fay Wray, their appearing in Madame Spy, directed by Karl Fruend in 1934.
As the silent era was approaching nearer still to its close, The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (1929), directed by Rowland Lee, pitted silent film actor Warner Oland against O.P. Heggie. Jean Arthur co-stars in the film. Warner Oland would become a nemesis by continuing in two sequels, The Return of Dr. Fu Man Chu (Rowland V. Lee, 1930) and Daughter of the Dragon (Lloyd Corriton, 1931). The first Charlie Chan film, The House Without a Key is lost. Based on the novel by Earl Der Biggers, it appeared in 1926 as part of a two-reel serial with Betty Caldwell and Carry Egan with George Kuwa appearing on as the sleuth. The review of one of the first "all-talking" or "talkie" motion pictures in which Warner Oland had starred in during 1929 while at Paramount explains the script and plotline centered around a foriegn film director, "No doubt you read the thrilling mystery in PHOTOPLAY. Perhaps you were among the many thousands who took part in 'The Studio Murder Mystery Contest' In any event you will still wnat to see 'The Sudio Murder Mystery" because it is a corking mystery melodrama with plenty of dramatic kicks and suprises. The story deals with the murder of a prominent actor in a big studio at midnight."
We will not reveal the real murderer here, either.
A 1929 issue of Photoplay Magazine reported, "Lon Chaney has overcame his microphone phobia. One of his first talkies will be "Cher-Bibi", by Gaston Leroux. It then pealed with the announcement, "Snow storms, trainwrecks, and floods" were in fact promised, "with Lon Chaney at the throttle of the locomotive, with the film, "Thunder". In Chaney Talks!, Harry Lang lends insight to what lay behind Hollywood legend, the extratextual discourse that enveloped stage performer and screen character, while writing for Photoplay Magazine, "'I'll tell you frankly,' said Chaney, sitting back with his inevitable cap and his not so often seen horn-rimmed specs on, 'that my first talking picture is going to make me- or break me! Inside, I mean; in here...' He tapped his breast." Picture Play Magazine in 1930 announced, "Young, lovely, successful Vilma Banky has decided to abandon her career on the screen and find contentment in private life. She doesn't say that she prefers to be "just a wife, because to her the change entails no comedown, no sacrifice." The magazine felt that she was retiring at "the height of her beauty and fame."
|Photoplay in 1930 noted, "At the end of every picture Greta Garbo gives an entire day to new portraits. She takes it seriously...She will be photographed on in the only in the clothes she wears in her pictures...One Garbo belongs to the public, the other is a private individual. To keep in the sustained mood she likes to have sad music played on the phonograph. To end the silent era two months before Greta Garbo's last silent film, The Kiss (Jacques Feyder), Clarence Sinclair Bull became her gallery photographer. Author Mark A. Viera writes, 'She liked him because, like Clarence Brown, he spoke softly, if at all.' When Geocites closed, the still photographs scanned from the orginal negatives that Mr. Vieira sent via yahoo e-mail to the present author, and the two letters he wrote were transferred to my google blog. They include a still photograph of Greta Garbo in The Kiss left over from his editorial decision. Apparently he owned more photographs than he needed to publish and sent the unused ones to me. Please accept that I may have been the author to introduce the photos to a Swedish readership, years after they were unearthed. As the reader will notice, the photo used on the cover of Mr. Vieira's was sent to without the title Cinematic Legacy lettering. One published photograph taken by Clarence S. Bull found by the present author was in an issue of International Photographer from 1931, a portrait of camerman John W. Boyle, who had only just then returned from Scandinavia filming a "multi-color film" in Denmark and who would make Sweden, Land of the Viking, a travel newsreel shot on color film stock. Before his having met Greta Garbo, the photography of Clarence Sinclair Bull had been published in periodicals under the name Clarence S. Bull. During 1922, Picture-Play magazine ran his portraits of Helen Chadwick and Claire Windsor; in 1923 his portraits of Mae Busch and Mabel Ballin. His portrait of Colleen Moore had appeared in Screenland Magazine in 1922.|