Discussion:
LON CHANEY - what next?
(too old to reply)
Harlett O'Dowd
2003-10-31 17:16:42 UTC
Permalink
It was great to have an all-Chaney night on TCM especially to allow
those to catch up on the Chaneys they missed the first couple of times
some of these films were shown.

The next, logical question is - of the extant Chaney features that
have NOT appeared on TCM yet (and I don't think there are many) what
do you guys want to see most and/or feel is the most necessary?

Mr. Blake? Jon? anyone?
J. Theakston
2003-10-31 23:09:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
It was great to have an all-Chaney night on TCM especially to allow
those to catch up on the Chaneys they missed the first couple of times
some of these films were shown.
The next, logical question is - of the extant Chaney features that
have NOT appeared on TCM yet (and I don't think there are many) what
do you guys want to see most and/or feel is the most necessary?
Mr. Blake? Jon? anyone?
WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS damnit! I think they've run WHERE EAST IS EAST
before, but not nearly as much as they probably should. MOCKERY is
another one that just doesn't get any coverage.
I'd also be up for seeing (as terrible as I hear it is), WHEN BEARCAT
WENT DRY.

-J. Theakston
ChaneyFan
2003-11-01 01:10:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
The next, logical question is - of the extant Chaney features that
have NOT appeared on TCM yet (and I don't think there are many) what
do you guys want to see most and/or feel is the most necessary?

I have no idea what they've run, but here's a complete list of all the Chaney
titles that Turner owns and could easily run. Others will have to comment on
what they have and haven't run.

The Penalty (1920) Don't think they've run it, and it's a shame since they have
gorgeous print material, but I don't believe it's been scored yet.

Ace of Hearts (1922) TCM ran it, and it's on the DVD.

He Who Gets Slapped (1924) I think they've run this?

Monster, The (1925) TCM ran it.

Unholy Three, The (1925) TCM ran it. Isn't this also on the laserdisc?

Tower of Lies, The (1925) LOST

Blackbird, The (1926) I don't think they've run it, but it's one of the weaker
ones.

Road to Mandalay, The (1926) print material is very poor. They are unlikely to
ever run this, and it's a lousy film anyway

Tell It to the Marines (1926) TCM ran it.

Mr. Wu (1927) Don't think they've run it.

Unknown, The (1927) TCM ran it and it's on the new DVD

Mockery (1927) Haven't run it, and it's just as well. His worst MGM film.

London After Midnight (1927) LOST. TCM ran the reconstruction.

Big City, The (1928) LOST

Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928) TCM ran it, and it's on the new DVD

While the City Sleeps (1928) Don't think they've run it. A great picture!

West of Zanzibar (1928) Have they run this? It was on the laserdisc so I
assume they have goo material with a score.

Where East is East (1929) Have they run it?

Thunder (1929) Only fragments survive

Unholy Three, The (1930) TCM ran it.

Of course they could run any of the p.d. titles, and they just did PHANTOM OF
THE OPERA (from Milestone?), but I suspect they aren't going to be willing to
pay a licensing fee to someone to run, for example, DOLLY'S SCOOP, or THE PLACE
BEYOND THE WINDS, even if they had access to good material and had a score for
it.
===============================
Jon Mirsalis
e-mail: ***@aol.com
Lon Chaney Home Page: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan
Jon's Film Sites: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan/jonfilm.htm
John Aldrich
2003-11-01 01:40:03 UTC
Permalink
On 01 Nov 2003 01:10:03 GMT, ***@aol.com (ChaneyFan) wrote:

Just a couple of fill-ins to Jon's excellent post.
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
The next, logical question is - of the extant Chaney features that
have NOT appeared on TCM yet (and I don't think there are many) what
do you guys want to see most and/or feel is the most necessary?
I have no idea what they've run, but here's a complete list of all the Chaney
titles that Turner owns and could easily run. Others will have to comment on
what they have and haven't run.
The Penalty (1920) Don't think they've run it, and it's a shame since they have
gorgeous print material, but I don't believe it's been scored yet.
Ace of Hearts (1922) TCM ran it, and it's on the DVD.
He Who Gets Slapped (1924) I think they've run this?
Yes, they've run this frequently..including last night.
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Monster, The (1925) TCM ran it.
Unholy Three, The (1925) TCM ran it. Isn't this also on the laserdisc?
Yes. And TCM is running it again in November.
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Tower of Lies, The (1925) LOST
Blackbird, The (1926) I don't think they've run it, but it's one of the weaker
ones.
Road to Mandalay, The (1926) print material is very poor. They are unlikely to
ever run this, and it's a lousy film anyway
But Turner did put it out on LaserDisc.
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Tell It to the Marines (1926) TCM ran it.
Mr. Wu (1927) Don't think they've run it.
Yes, they ran this a couple of years ago, but not since. I have no
idea why. I have always liked this picture, but mine seems to
be a minority opinion.
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Unknown, The (1927) TCM ran it and it's on the new DVD
Mockery (1927) Haven't run it, and it's just as well. His worst MGM film.
London After Midnight (1927) LOST. TCM ran the reconstruction.
Big City, The (1928) LOST
Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928) TCM ran it, and it's on the new DVD
While the City Sleeps (1928) Don't think they've run it. A great picture!
West of Zanzibar (1928) Have they run this? It was on the laserdisc so I
assume they have goo material with a score.
Yes, they ran this years ago (mid 1990's), but not since. Why?
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Where East is East (1929) Have they run it?
Same as with West of Zanzibar. They ran it years ago, but as far as I
know, have not repeated it. I'll have to pull out my old VHS copy
and see what kind of a score it has on it. It's been so long ago,
I've forgotten.
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Thunder (1929) Only fragments survive
Some of the THUNDER fragments are included in the documentary that's
on the new DVD set, I believe.
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Unholy Three, The (1930) TCM ran it.
Right. And they are running it again in November.
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Of course they could run any of the p.d. titles, and they just did PHANTOM OF
THE OPERA (from Milestone?), but I suspect they aren't going to be willing to
pay a licensing fee to someone to run, for example, DOLLY'S SCOOP, or THE PLACE
BEYOND THE WINDS, even if they had access to good material and had a score for
it.
===============================
Jon Mirsalis
Lon Chaney Home Page: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan
Jon's Film Sites: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan/jonfilm.htm
--John A.
G. Marsh
2003-11-01 09:25:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Aldrich
Just a couple of fill-ins to Jon's excellent post.
Post by ChaneyFan
Road to Mandalay, The (1926) print material is very poor. They are unlikely to
ever run this, and it's a lousy film anyway
But Turner did put it out on LaserDisc.
--John A.
I don't think Road To Mandalay has ever appeared on laser from anyone
- the only official home video release I have seen was a French vhs
under the title La Route De Mandalay. And Jon is right about the lousy
print quality....

Gary
Your Pal Brian
2003-11-02 04:33:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Aldrich
Post by ChaneyFan
West of Zanzibar (1928) Have they run this? It was on the laserdisc so I
assume they have goo material with a score.
Yes, they ran this years ago (mid 1990's), but not since. Why?
They've run it since then; I taped it about 6 months ago.

Brian
BlakeMF
2003-11-03 05:34:49 UTC
Permalink
I want to see WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS and THE PENALTY on TCM. I would also like
them to show MOCKERY and THE BLACKBIRD.

I would also like them to show some of the earlier 1920s Chaney films.

Michael F. Blake
ChaneyFan
2003-11-04 08:31:26 UTC
Permalink
I don't fundamentally disagree with Bob's assessment of the MGM Chaney films.
While I disagree with a few of his calls (UNHOLY 3 in a stunning print is a
knockout, TELL IT TO THE MARINES with an audience is terrific), I generally
agree that his MGM output as a whole is a disappointment. As Eric pointed out,
this is the Thalberg touch, running every MGM actor into the ground with a
preset formula. What I enjoy about even the stinkers (THE TRAP, MR. WU,
MOCKERY) is that Chaney is just so damned interesting to watch on screen! As
others have noted, would MANTRAP or HULA be interesting to watch if they
starred, say, Viola Dana or Hedda Hopper? Likewise, WHERE EAST IS EAST would
be pretty limp with Noah Beery in the lead.
Post by Bob Birchard
Is there any other actor who could survive such a mediocre filmography and
still hold the attention of an audience this many years later?

Humphrey Bogart?? Lot of stinkers in there!
===============================
Jon Mirsalis
e-mail: ***@aol.com
Lon Chaney Home Page: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan
Jon's Film Sites: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan/jonfilm.htm
Precode
2003-11-04 19:09:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by ChaneyFan
I don't fundamentally disagree with Bob's assessment of the MGM Chaney films.
While I disagree with a few of his calls (UNHOLY 3 in a stunning print is a
knockout, TELL IT TO THE MARINES with an audience is terrific), I generally
agree that his MGM output as a whole is a disappointment. As Eric pointed out,
this is the Thalberg touch, running every MGM actor into the ground with a
preset formula. What I enjoy about even the stinkers (THE TRAP, MR. WU,
MOCKERY) is that Chaney is just so damned interesting to watch on screen! As
others have noted, would MANTRAP or HULA be interesting to watch if they
starred, say, Viola Dana or Hedda Hopper? Likewise, WHERE EAST IS EAST would
be pretty limp with Noah Beery in the lead.
Post by Bob Birchard
Is there any other actor who could survive such a mediocre filmography and
still hold the attention of an audience this many years later?
El Brendel?

Mike S.
(who prefers Kay Brendel)
Dr. Giraud
2003-11-08 00:48:16 UTC
Permalink
<< As Eric pointed out,
this is the Thalberg touch, running every MGM actor into the ground with a
preset formula. What I enjoy about even the stinkers (THE TRAP, MR. WU,
MOCKERY) is that Chaney is just so damned interesting to watch on screen! As
others have noted, would MANTRAP or HULA be interesting to watch if they
starred, say, Viola Dana or Hedda Hopper? Likewise, WHERE EAST IS EAST would
be pretty limp with Noah Beery in the lead.>>

True, but even in in my comparatively limited exposure to 20s American studio
silents, a Paramount stinker is usually preferable to an MGM stinker. And since
that rule pretty much holds true (IMHO) through the late 40s, I'm more inclined
to blame Mayer than Thalberg.

Shawn Stone
Precode
2003-11-04 00:55:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Aldrich
Post by ChaneyFan
Mr. Wu (1927) Don't think they've run it.
Yes, they ran this a couple of years ago, but not since. I have no
idea why. I have always liked this picture, but mine seems to
be a minority opinion.
Yes, I've been waiting for them to rerun it, too. I set the timer to
tape it that one time, but it ran WAY overlong and I missed the
ending.

Mike S.
The Avocado Avenger
2003-11-06 05:16:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Aldrich
Post by ChaneyFan
Mr. Wu (1927) Don't think they've run it.
Yes, they ran this a couple of years ago, but not since. I have no
idea why. I have always liked this picture, but mine seems to
be a minority opinion.
I liked it, too. The theme is a bit dated and I think nowadays people
are uncomfortable with a white man playing an Asian. It conjures up
Mickey Rooney from "Breakfast at Tiffanys", when Chaney's performance
was nothing like the 1960s charicatures. It may also be a little
melodramatic/romantic for some of our more hardened AMS'ers. But it's a
sweet film, and there's some lovely cinematography and costumes.

Stacia
Bob Birchard
2003-11-03 17:37:19 UTC
Permalink
{List of Chaney films--with comments ]
The Penalty (1920) Don't think they've run it, and it's a shame since they have
gorgeous print material, but I don't believe it's been scored yet.
Ace of Hearts (1922) TCM ran it, and it's on the DVD.
He Who Gets Slapped (1924) I think they've run this?
Monster, The (1925) TCM ran it.
Unholy Three, The (1925) TCM ran it. Isn't this also on the laserdisc?
Tower of Lies, The (1925) LOST
Blackbird, The (1926) I don't think they've run it, but it's one of the weaker
ones.
Road to Mandalay, The (1926) print material is very poor. They are unlikely to
ever run this, and it's a lousy film anyway
Tell It to the Marines (1926) TCM ran it.
Mr. Wu (1927) Don't think they've run it.
Unknown, The (1927) TCM ran it and it's on the new DVD
Mockery (1927) Haven't run it, and it's just as well. His worst MGM film.
London After Midnight (1927) LOST. TCM ran the reconstruction.
Big City, The (1928) LOST
Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928) TCM ran it, and it's on the new DVD
While the City Sleeps (1928) Don't think they've run it. A great picture!
West of Zanzibar (1928) Have they run this? It was on the laserdisc so I
assume they have goo material with a score.
Where East is East (1929) Have they run it?
Thunder (1929) Only fragments survive
Unholy Three, The (1930) TCM ran it.
I find it fascinating that Lon Chaney continues to be one of the most discussed
silent actors. I'd hazard a guess that many of us became interested in Chaney
before we were every really interested in the broader realm of silent film. I
include myself in this group. I first became aware of Chaney in 1957 or so when
Life Magazine ran a feature on "Man of a Thousand Faces" with photographic
comparisons of the Chaney and Cagney makeups for several roles including the
Vampire, Phantom, Road to Mandalay, Unholy Three, etc. The Chaney makeups were so
superior that it made me want to see the films.

And I eagerly sought out those films as I could, but I have to say that for me
many of them have been disappointing. I don't think M-G-M (for the most part) had
a clue what to do with Chaney. Had he lived he probably would have become Wallace
Beery if he's stayed at Metro. There are all these gawdawful stories about the old
guy falling in love with the young dame who has her cap set set for William Haines
or Carroll Nye or some other fellow of questionable male credentials.

Some of these pictures are reasonably well made (Tell it to the Marines, silent
Unholy Three)--but two reels too long, some of them (Mr. Wu, talkie Unholy Three)
are just bad movies that only hold interest because Chaney is in them. While the
City Sleeps is a creditable but reasonably unremarkable picture that could just as
easily have starred Thomas Meighan, Richard Dix.

I know Michael Blake disagrees with me about The Monster, but I think it is one
of Chaney's best surviving films because plays to his strengths as an actor. Let's
face it, Chaney was an actor of the "grand manner" school--not uncommonn at the
time--but he simply wasn't suited for subtle material--or he needed directors much
stronger than Rupert Julian, Herbert Brenon, George Hill, Benjamin Christiansen or
William Nigh to guide his performances. Browning wasn't much better than the group
just listed, but he did have a sense of the bizarre that sometimes clicked, as in
The Unknown.

Of the films Jon listed, I'd rate as follows:

The Penalty (1920) Great.

Ace of Hearts (1922) Dull, dull, dull. Six reels of people playing cards.

He Who Gets Slapped (1924) Generally a fine film.

Monster, The (1925) Great! A lot of fun.

Unholy Three, The (1925) Pretty average at best.

Tower of Lies, The (1925) LOST

Blackbird, The (1926) A Buptkie.

Road to Mandalay, The (1926) Another buptkie.

Tell It to the Marines (1926) Robert Israel's score is great but the film is a
very pedestrian programmer stretched to too many reels.

Mr. Wu (1927) yet another buptkie.

Unknown, The (1927) Great!

Mockery (1927) And still another buptkie.

London After Midnight (1927) LOST. TCM ran the reconstruction.

Big City, The (1928) LOST

Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928) Rather maudlin and below average

While the City Sleeps (1928) Although this is incomplete there's more than enough
to give it a fair shake. Jon and Michael really like this one, I find it a pretty
average program picture at best.

West of Zanzibar (1928) This is a really fine film, playing to Chaney's strengths.

Where East is East (1929) Have not seen this one

Thunder (1929) Only fragments survive

Unholy Three, The (1930) Chaney is great, but the picture is a stiff.

Is there any other actor who could survive such a mediocre filmography and
still hold the attention of an audience this many years later?

--
Bob Birchard

Coming from the University Press of Kentucky in 2004
“Cecil B. DeMille’s Hollywood”
by Robert S. Birchard
Frederica
2003-11-03 19:36:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bob Birchard
Is there any other actor who could survive such a mediocre filmography and
still hold the attention of an audience this many years later?
Rudolph Valentino?

Frederica
Eric Stott
2003-11-03 20:38:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Frederica
Post by Bob Birchard
Is there any other actor who could survive such a mediocre filmography
and
Post by Bob Birchard
still hold the attention of an audience this many years later?
Rudolph Valentino?
Frederica
Louise Brooks?
People find her visually fascinating even if they've never seen her films. Same
with Greta Garbo.

Clara Bow?
Lets face it- Clara's great, but she's the sole point of interest in many of her
films..

Theda Bara.
She's an Icon on the basis of ONE film.

Stott.
(Who still agrees with you about Lon Chaney's career. Personally, I'd like to
see more Leatrice Joy.)
John Aldrich
2003-11-03 20:17:12 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 03 Nov 2003 17:37:19 GMT, Bob Birchard
Post by Bob Birchard
I find it fascinating that Lon Chaney continues to be one of the most discussed
silent actors. I'd hazard a guess that many of us became interested in Chaney
before we were every really interested in the broader realm of silent film. I
include myself in this group. I first became aware of Chaney in 1957 or so when
Life Magazine ran a feature on "Man of a Thousand Faces" with photographic
comparisons of the Chaney and Cagney makeups for several roles including the
Vampire, Phantom, Road to Mandalay, Unholy Three, etc. The Chaney makeups were so
superior that it made me want to see the films.
And I eagerly sought out those films as I could, but I have to say that for me
many of them have been disappointing. I don't think M-G-M (for the most part) had
a clue what to do with Chaney. Had he lived he probably would have become Wallace
Beery if he's stayed at Metro. There are all these gawdawful stories about the old
guy falling in love with the young dame who has her cap set set for William Haines
or Carroll Nye or some other fellow of questionable male credentials.
Some of these pictures are reasonably well made (Tell it to the Marines, silent
Unholy Three)--but two reels too long, some of them (Mr. Wu, talkie Unholy Three)
are just bad movies that only hold interest because Chaney is in them. While the
City Sleeps is a creditable but reasonably unremarkable picture that could just as
easily have starred Thomas Meighan, Richard Dix.
I know Michael Blake disagrees with me about The Monster, but I think it is one
of Chaney's best surviving films because plays to his strengths as an actor. Let's
face it, Chaney was an actor of the "grand manner" school--not uncommonn at the
time--but he simply wasn't suited for subtle material--or he needed directors much
stronger than Rupert Julian, Herbert Brenon, George Hill, Benjamin Christiansen or
William Nigh to guide his performances. Browning wasn't much better than the group
just listed, but he did have a sense of the bizarre that sometimes clicked, as in
The Unknown.
*** Before we dismiss these films as generally mediocre, let's look at
how they performed financially at the time they were released (figures
Post by Bob Birchard
The Penalty (1920) Great.
Ace of Hearts (1922) Dull, dull, dull. Six reels of people playing cards.
He Who Gets Slapped (1924) Generally a fine film.
Gross: $881,000 Cost: $172,000 Profit: $349,000
Post by Bob Birchard
Monster, The (1925) Great! A lot of fun.
Unavailable
Post by Bob Birchard
Unholy Three, The (1925) Pretty average at best.
Gross: $704,000 Cost: $114,000 Profit: $328,000
Post by Bob Birchard
Tower of Lies, The (1925) LOST
Gross: $653,000 Cost: $185,000 Profit: $271,000
Post by Bob Birchard
Blackbird, The (1926) A Buptkie.
Gross: $656,000 Cost: $166,000 Profit: $263,000
Post by Bob Birchard
Road to Mandalay, The (1926) Another buptkie.
Gross: $724,000 Cost: $209,000 Profit: $267,000
Post by Bob Birchard
Tell It to the Marines (1926) Robert Israel's score is great but the film is a
very pedestrian programmer stretched to too many reels.
Gross: $1,658,000 Cost: $433,000 Profit: $664,000
Post by Bob Birchard
Mr. Wu (1927) yet another buptkie.
Gross: $1,068,000 Cost: $267.000 Profit: $429,000
Post by Bob Birchard
Unknown, The (1927) Great!
Gross: $847,000 Cost: $217,000 Profit: $362,000
Post by Bob Birchard
Mockery (1927) And still another buptkie.
Gross: $751,000 Cost: $187,000 Profit: $318,000
Post by Bob Birchard
London After Midnight (1927) LOST. TCM ran the reconstruction.
Gross: $1,004,000 Cost: $152,000 Profit: $540,000
Post by Bob Birchard
Big City, The (1928) LOST
Gross: $833,000 Cost: $172,000 Profit: $387,000
Post by Bob Birchard
Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928) Rather maudlin and below average
Gross: $1,202,000 Cost: $293,000 Profit: $450,000
Post by Bob Birchard
While the City Sleeps (1928) Although this is incomplete there's more than enough
to give it a fair shake. Jon and Michael really like this one, I find it a pretty
average program picture at best.
Gross: $1,035,000 Cost: $259,000 Profit: $399,000
Post by Bob Birchard
West of Zanzibar (1928) This is a really fine film, playing to Chaney's strengths.
Gross: $921,000 Cost: $249,000 Profit: $347,000
Post by Bob Birchard
Where East is East (1929) Have not seen this one
Gross: $920,000 Cost: $295,000 Profit: $283,000
Post by Bob Birchard
Thunder (1929) Only fragments survive
Gross: $1,018,000 Cost: $352,000 Profit: $272,000
Post by Bob Birchard
Unholy Three, The (1930) Chaney is great, but the picture is a stiff.
Gross: $988,000 Cost: $279,000 Profit: $375,000

Total MGM Grosses: $15,863,000 (17 Films)

Total MGM Profits: $6,304,000
Post by Bob Birchard
Is there any other actor who could survive such a mediocre filmography and
still hold the attention of an audience this many years later?
I think a better question is: Was there another star in the 1920's who
performed more consistently at the box office, with 17 films from
1924-1930, every single one turning a healthy profit, with no serious
missteps or box office flops? The films were produced for 1920's
audiences, not 2003 audiences.

You could easily make the argument that MGM and Chaney had a extremely
solid grasp of what his audience expected in a Chaney star vehicle.
The box office results prove that.

Rather than a mediocre filmography, I think what Chaney's films
represent is one of the most amazing runs of box office consistency in
Hollywood history.

For that alone, I think he commands our interest. In addition, I
think some of the films you dismiss as "buptkies" are extremely well
crafted.

--John A.
Eric Stott
2003-11-03 22:17:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Aldrich
For that alone, I think he commands our interest. In addition, I
think some of the films you dismiss as "buptkies" are extremely well
crafted.
--John A.
Craftsmanship does not always equate with greatness, for example see Robert Redford in
The Great Gatsby.

Architect Stanford White once showed a drawing to his associate Joseph Wells with the
statement, "You know Wells, of it's kind, this is an absolutely perfect example."

Replied Wells, "So, of it's kind, is a Boiled Egg."

Stott
Greta de Groat
2003-11-03 22:58:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Stott
Post by John Aldrich
For that alone, I think he commands our interest. In addition, I
think some of the films you dismiss as "buptkies" are extremely well
crafted.
--John A.
Craftsmanship does not always equate with greatness, for example see Robert Redford in
The Great Gatsby.
Architect Stanford White once showed a drawing to his associate Joseph Wells with the
statement, "You know Wells, of it's kind, this is an absolutely perfect example."
Replied Wells, "So, of it's kind, is a Boiled Egg."
Stott
Chaney's ratio of great/entertaining/mediocre films actually seems higher to me than most
stars. Think about it--how many exceptionally good films do most stars have, compared to
simply well crafted and entertaining. or even to downright bad?. Chaney's got a pretty
good record compared to, say, Pickford. Most stars put out more junk than treasures.
Fortunately many of us will watch our favorites in anything--which is just why the films
were produced the way they were. They were star vehicles produced for the purpose of
inducing people to go see the star and to keep coming back for more, while hopefully not
being bad enough to turn the audience off. When we get one that's actually better then
average, i feel pretty lucky.

By the way, i found Mockery entertaining. And i hated The Monster, finding only the
Chaney scenes tolerable.. So one person's buptkie...

greta
Harlett O'Dowd
2003-11-03 23:15:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bob Birchard
I find it fascinating that Lon Chaney continues to be one of the most discussed
silent actors. I'd hazard a guess that many of us became interested in Chaney
before we were every really interested in the broader realm of silent film.
At the risk of getting flamed, in the 70s, FAMOUS MONSTERS peaked my
interest in Chaney specifically, and by extension silents/vintage film
in general. Before many of us knew anything of THE BIG PARADE or
NAPOLEON, we knew of MR. WU.
Post by Bob Birchard
There are all these gawdawful stories about the old
guy falling in love with the young dame who has her cap set set for William Haines
or Carroll Nye or some other fellow of questionable male credentials.
What an .... interesting way of putting it. Did poor Carroll Nye have
questionable male credentials?
Post by Bob Birchard
I know Michael Blake disagrees with me about The Monster, but I think it is one
of Chaney's best surviving films because plays to his strengths as an actor.
I have tried to get through this film three times, including a mid-90s
Cinecon screening and always end up asleep by the time Chaney finally
decides to show his face - and I *like* Johnny Arthur. This is far
and away my least favorite of the MGM Chaneys I've seen.
Post by Bob Birchard
The Penalty (1920) Great.
Yep.
Post by Bob Birchard
Ace of Hearts (1922) Dull, dull, dull. Six reels of people playing cards.
Probably creepier in today's terrorist world than it was 20 years ago.
It's a perfectly adequate programmer.
Post by Bob Birchard
He Who Gets Slapped (1924) Generally a fine film.
Yep. Even Norma's easy to take in this one.
Post by Bob Birchard
Monster, The (1925) Great! A lot of fun.
Wake me when it's over.
Post by Bob Birchard
Unholy Three, The (1925) Pretty average at best.
One of my favorite Brownings. Love the jewels-in-the-elephant scene
and it's fun to see Victor McLaglen so young. Chaney in drag is
pretty special.
Post by Bob Birchard
Tower of Lies, The (1925) LOST
Blackbird, The (1926) A Buptkie.
haven't seen this.
Post by Bob Birchard
Road to Mandalay, The (1926) Another buptkie.
this neither.
Post by Bob Birchard
Tell It to the Marines (1926) Robert Israel's score is great but the film is a
very pedestrian programmer stretched to too many reels.
would this really qualify as a programmer? I like this film a lot,
but then I like Billy Haines.
Post by Bob Birchard
Mr. Wu (1927) yet another buptkie.
where is that tape? I *still* haven't caught up with it.
Post by Bob Birchard
Unknown, The (1927) Great!
Yep - best of the Brownings.
Post by Bob Birchard
Mockery (1927) And still another buptkie.
haven't seen it.
Post by Bob Birchard
London After Midnight (1927) LOST. TCM ran the reconstruction.
Why do I fear this would give THE MONSTER a run for its money were it
ever found?
Post by Bob Birchard
Big City, The (1928) LOST
Drat!
Post by Bob Birchard
Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928) Rather maudlin and below average
I expected more PAGLIACCI than I got and it pales in comparrison to
HE, but it has its moments.
Post by Bob Birchard
While the City Sleeps (1928) Although this is incomplete there's more than enough
to give it a fair shake. Jon and Michael really like this one, I find it a pretty
average program picture at best.
This probably heads the list of MGMs I'd like TCM to run or relase on
DVD
Post by Bob Birchard
West of Zanzibar (1928) This is a really fine film, playing to Chaney's strengths.
Up there with THE UNKNOWN and UNHOLY THREE as the best of the
Brownings. Pity it was toned down by the time it was released.
Post by Bob Birchard
Where East is East (1929) Have not seen this one
me neither.
Post by Bob Birchard
Thunder (1929) Only fragments survive
Double drat!
Post by Bob Birchard
Unholy Three, The (1930) Chaney is great, but the picture is a stiff.
this also suffers from LAUGH CLOWN, LAUGH syndrome. Hearing him speak
is the main draw here, other than that, pop in the original.
Post by Bob Birchard
Is there any other actor who could survive such a mediocre filmography and
still hold the attention of an audience this many years later?
You fail to include PHANTOM and HUNCHBACK, his two most famous (non
MGM) films and those which upon his reputation rests. MGM found not
one but two formulas for Chaney (the Browning freak show and the
suffering-sacrificing-love-triangle-with-boy-toy model - and often the
two formuli were combined) and ran them into the ground - but they did
that with most of their stars (Haines, Crawford {in cycles} and later
on, Judy & Mickey) so I doubt this shows any lack of faith MGM had in
Chaney or any deficienies in Chaney as an actor.

I'm not sure I totally buy your claim Chaney needed a stronger
directorial hand. Yes, Chaney *could* be an old-styled ham and could
be a lot of fun when it was intentional, and, occasionally overdid it
in weaker films when a more natural acting styled might have been a
better choice. Perhaps Chaney would have been better served with
better written and more varied vehicles but I find Chaney almost
always interesting even in the most pedestrian rehash. The same
cannot be said for most stars of his or any other era.

Even without the makeup (which is certainly a great hook for a 14 year
old boy) Chaney would still be one of the all time greats.
Frederica
2003-11-03 23:18:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Post by Bob Birchard
Mr. Wu (1927) yet another buptkie.
where is that tape? I *still* haven't caught up with it.
I thought Mr. Wu was a HOOT. I don't think Chaney looked even remotely
Chinese; on the other hand, Renee Adoree looked even less Chinese. It
didn't help that Anna May Wong was also in the cast. I was wayyy impressed
with Mr. Wu's house, which had a whole room set aside for daughter
executions.

Frederica
The Avocado Avenger
2003-11-06 05:21:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Frederica
I thought Mr. Wu was a HOOT. I don't think Chaney looked even remotely
Chinese; on the other hand, Renee Adoree looked even less Chinese. It
didn't help that Anna May Wong was also in the cast. I was wayyy impressed
with Mr. Wu's house, which had a whole room set aside for daughter
executions.
...? Yours doesn't?

Again, I liked the film, but partly because it was so pretty. Pretty
pretty pretty.

Stacia
ooh shiny
ChaneyFan
2003-11-06 05:50:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Avocado Avenger
When TCM first showed the movie (or, rather, when I first saw it) it
was the tinted print. Why hasn't that been shown again? It's how I
first saw "The Unknown" and I quite liked it.

Are you sure your memory isn't playing tricks on you? Turner has never owned a
tinted print of THE UNKNOWN. It's possible someone put video tints on a
version once for broadcast, but that version has never surfaced on any video
format. Most importantly, the original cutting continuity indicates that the
film was shown in straight b/w on original release.
===============================
Jon Mirsalis
e-mail: ***@aol.com
Lon Chaney Home Page: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan
Jon's Film Sites: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan/jonfilm.htm
Brent Walker
2003-11-04 00:07:57 UTC
Permalink
I'm glad you mentioned WEST OF ZANZIBAR because I really enjoyed that
one--along with THE UNKNOWN--more than any other Chaney I've seen
(including THE PHANTOM) and wondered if I was alone in that
assessment. In ZANZIBAR, you can really get behind his revenge
fantasy come to life, whereas in most of his other films with a "man
who was wronged" premise I empathized with his character up to a point
but finally threw up my hands and said "okay buddy, enough's
enough...get over it." In ZANZIBAR I was with him the whole way. I
also enjoyed THE MONSTER.

Brent Walker
Post by Bob Birchard
{List of Chaney films--with comments ]
The Penalty (1920) Don't think they've run it, and it's a shame since they have
gorgeous print material, but I don't believe it's been scored yet.
Ace of Hearts (1922) TCM ran it, and it's on the DVD.
He Who Gets Slapped (1924) I think they've run this?
Monster, The (1925) TCM ran it.
Unholy Three, The (1925) TCM ran it. Isn't this also on the laserdisc?
Tower of Lies, The (1925) LOST
Blackbird, The (1926) I don't think they've run it, but it's one of the weaker
ones.
Road to Mandalay, The (1926) print material is very poor. They are unlikely to
ever run this, and it's a lousy film anyway
Tell It to the Marines (1926) TCM ran it.
Mr. Wu (1927) Don't think they've run it.
Unknown, The (1927) TCM ran it and it's on the new DVD
Mockery (1927) Haven't run it, and it's just as well. His worst MGM film.
London After Midnight (1927) LOST. TCM ran the reconstruction.
Big City, The (1928) LOST
Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928) TCM ran it, and it's on the new DVD
While the City Sleeps (1928) Don't think they've run it. A great picture!
West of Zanzibar (1928) Have they run this? It was on the laserdisc so I
assume they have goo material with a score.
Where East is East (1929) Have they run it?
Thunder (1929) Only fragments survive
Unholy Three, The (1930) TCM ran it.
I find it fascinating that Lon Chaney continues to be one of the most discussed
silent actors. I'd hazard a guess that many of us became interested in Chaney
before we were every really interested in the broader realm of silent film. I
include myself in this group. I first became aware of Chaney in 1957 or so when
Life Magazine ran a feature on "Man of a Thousand Faces" with photographic
comparisons of the Chaney and Cagney makeups for several roles including the
Vampire, Phantom, Road to Mandalay, Unholy Three, etc. The Chaney makeups were so
superior that it made me want to see the films.
And I eagerly sought out those films as I could, but I have to say that for me
many of them have been disappointing. I don't think M-G-M (for the most part) had
a clue what to do with Chaney. Had he lived he probably would have become Wallace
Beery if he's stayed at Metro. There are all these gawdawful stories about the old
guy falling in love with the young dame who has her cap set set for William Haines
or Carroll Nye or some other fellow of questionable male credentials.
Some of these pictures are reasonably well made (Tell it to the Marines, silent
Unholy Three)--but two reels too long, some of them (Mr. Wu, talkie Unholy Three)
are just bad movies that only hold interest because Chaney is in them. While the
City Sleeps is a creditable but reasonably unremarkable picture that could just as
easily have starred Thomas Meighan, Richard Dix.
I know Michael Blake disagrees with me about The Monster, but I think it is one
of Chaney's best surviving films because plays to his strengths as an actor. Let's
face it, Chaney was an actor of the "grand manner" school--not uncommonn at the
time--but he simply wasn't suited for subtle material--or he needed directors much
stronger than Rupert Julian, Herbert Brenon, George Hill, Benjamin Christiansen or
William Nigh to guide his performances. Browning wasn't much better than the group
just listed, but he did have a sense of the bizarre that sometimes clicked, as in
The Unknown.
The Penalty (1920) Great.
Ace of Hearts (1922) Dull, dull, dull. Six reels of people playing cards.
He Who Gets Slapped (1924) Generally a fine film.
Monster, The (1925) Great! A lot of fun.
Unholy Three, The (1925) Pretty average at best.
Tower of Lies, The (1925) LOST
Blackbird, The (1926) A Buptkie.
Road to Mandalay, The (1926) Another buptkie.
Tell It to the Marines (1926) Robert Israel's score is great but the film is a
very pedestrian programmer stretched to too many reels.
Mr. Wu (1927) yet another buptkie.
Unknown, The (1927) Great!
Mockery (1927) And still another buptkie.
London After Midnight (1927) LOST. TCM ran the reconstruction.
Big City, The (1928) LOST
Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928) Rather maudlin and below average
While the City Sleeps (1928) Although this is incomplete there's more than enough
to give it a fair shake. Jon and Michael really like this one, I find it a pretty
average program picture at best.
West of Zanzibar (1928) This is a really fine film, playing to Chaney's strengths.
Where East is East (1929) Have not seen this one
Thunder (1929) Only fragments survive
Unholy Three, The (1930) Chaney is great, but the picture is a stiff.
Is there any other actor who could survive such a mediocre filmography and
still hold the attention of an audience this many years later?
Eric Grayson
2003-11-04 01:59:08 UTC
Permalink
(De-cloaking for a moment):

The gross of a film has nothing to do with its artistic merits. Chaney was
only partly concerned with this, it seems, and Thalberg, the career
destroyer, seemed to be completely oblivious to artistic merit.

I think we trash Chaney too readily when we see that Thalberg ran just
about every star into the ground by repeating their successes over and over
again. Only Jean Harlow seems to have escaped this, and then not by much.
Keaton was destroyed by it, the Marx Brothers damn near were. Garbo, Norma
Shearer--ack. Lionel Barrymore and Wallace Beery found comfortable niches
playing the same two or three characters over and over again, but their
best work is often in non-MGM pictures.

Why is it we focus on Chaney repeating formula when most of the MGM stars
did?

As Dr. Mirsalis has pointed out, the most artistically enjoyable Chaney
films are his pre-MGM ones, some where he's only in a supporting role.
Evil Bob maintains Chaney isn't often subtle, but when he is, he can be
great. Watch Shadows, where he convinces you he's an old arthritic
Chinaman. Victory, the fragments of some of his westerns, the clips from
The Miracle Man. Great stuff.

Browning is also getting a bad rap as an untalented, bland director, and
Bill Everson ripped the Browning/Chaney films roundly. But The Unknown and
West of Zanzibar are some of the most geniunely icky films ever made.
Outside the Law is a snorter crime drama. They're well directed and well
acted.

The Monster is, despite Evil Bob's defense of it, a buptkie, IMHO.

The Blackbird almost is, but the ending is great and very creepy.

I couldn't make it all the way through Laugh, Clown, Laugh, because it was
too maudlin for me. If the last half was better, someone should tell me.

Road to Mandalay is lousy, but Ace of Hearts is sorta fun, I think.

While the City Sleeps is a great film, and despite the fact it's a
programmer, I can't see anyone but Chaney making it hold together.

Mockery contains an interesting, and different, Chaney performance, but
it's one of those films that makes me believe that Christensen was REALLY
the director who was an overrated hack instead of Browning. I have yet to
see a really good film from him, despite his rep.

I think that some directors get a get-out-of-jail-free card because we
never see some of their worst films. James Whale is a genius, but he
directed stuff like Green Hell or The Man in the Iron Mask--buptkies. We
just never see them. We end up seeing some of Browning's lesser works
along with his great films, and we see him as a hack.

Just my opinion. I'm now going away again because I don't want to get
involved in the digital/liberal/conservative/Coulter/Limbaugh wars here. I
will support good silent film discussion, though.

Eric
Robert Lipton
2003-11-04 02:13:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Grayson
The gross of a film has nothing to do with its artistic merits. Chaney was
only partly concerned with this, it seems, and Thalberg, the career
destroyer, seemed to be completely oblivious to artistic merit.
I think we trash Chaney too readily when we see that Thalberg ran just
about every star into the ground by repeating their successes over and over
again. Only Jean Harlow seems to have escaped this, and then not by much.
Keaton was destroyed by it, the Marx Brothers damn near were. Garbo, Norma
Shearer--ack. Lionel Barrymore and Wallace Beery found comfortable niches
playing the same two or three characters over and over again, but their
best work is often in non-MGM pictures.
Why is it we focus on Chaney repeating formula when most of the MGM stars
did?
As Dr. Mirsalis has pointed out, the most artistically enjoyable Chaney
films are his pre-MGM ones, some where he's only in a supporting role.
Evil Bob maintains Chaney isn't often subtle, but when he is, he can be
great. Watch Shadows, where he convinces you he's an old arthritic
Chinaman. Victory, the fragments of some of his westerns, the clips from
The Miracle Man. Great stuff.
Browning is also getting a bad rap as an untalented, bland director, and
Bill Everson ripped the Browning/Chaney films roundly. But The Unknown and
West of Zanzibar are some of the most geniunely icky films ever made.
Outside the Law is a snorter crime drama. They're well directed and well
acted.
The Monster is, despite Evil Bob's defense of it, a buptkie, IMHO.
The Blackbird almost is, but the ending is great and very creepy.
I couldn't make it all the way through Laugh, Clown, Laugh, because it was
too maudlin for me. If the last half was better, someone should tell me.
Road to Mandalay is lousy, but Ace of Hearts is sorta fun, I think.
While the City Sleeps is a great film, and despite the fact it's a
programmer, I can't see anyone but Chaney making it hold together.
Mockery contains an interesting, and different, Chaney performance, but
it's one of those films that makes me believe that Christensen was REALLY
the director who was an overrated hack instead of Browning. I have yet to
see a really good film from him, despite his rep.
I think that some directors get a get-out-of-jail-free card because we
never see some of their worst films. James Whale is a genius, but he
directed stuff like Green Hell or The Man in the Iron Mask--buptkies. We
just never see them. We end up seeing some of Browning's lesser works
along with his great films, and we see him as a hack.
Just my opinion. I'm now going away again because I don't want to get
involved in the digital/liberal/conservative/Coulter/Limbaugh wars here. I
will support good silent film discussion, though.
Well put, sir! Although Chaney does not seme to need much defense, I
think Todd Browning needs some rehabilitation. Like Melford, another
silent favorite of mine who, I feel, has been downplayed by people who
have no concept of what visual style is, Borwning, when he had the
opportunity, had a great sense of storyline and bizarreness that comes
through in many of his pictures, not just the more overtly "horror"
ones. How he has escaped the acclaim of the French auteurists I don't
know, but perhaps his flourishing for several years at MGM counted
against him. A particular favorite of mine is WHITE TIGER, which stars
Wallace Beery, Priscilla Dean and Raymond Griffith.

Yes, he did turn out a number of buptkies, and yes, when given his head
he could be way over the top, but if we judged Griffith from his
Dempster period or Chaplin from his last movie, we wouldn't have high
opinions of them.

When judging art -- and film-making is a commercial art -- judge the
artist by his best work, not his worst.

Bob
Dwight Frippery
2003-11-04 07:11:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Grayson
As Dr. Mirsalis
Dr??? I ask you, has ever written a prescription?
Post by Eric Grayson
has pointed out, the most artistically
enjoyable Chaney films are his pre-MGM
ones, some where he's only in a
supporting role. Evil Bob maintains
Chaney isn't often subtle,
Neither is Evil Bob. He can be horribly
evil at times. The worst! Feh!


.
Precode
2003-11-04 19:06:00 UTC
Permalink
(snip)
Post by Eric Grayson
Just my opinion. I'm now going away again because I don't want to get
involved in the digital/liberal/conservative/Coulter/Limbaugh wars here. I
will support good silent film discussion, though.
Eric
Hey, Eric, remember in the old days, there'd always be a newsreel with
the feature, and the newsreel was mostly politics and sports? Well,
just think of these threads as the newsreel with the
silent-film-discussion feature!

Mike S.

"Sell my Warner Bros. stock! I have a tip that Bugs Bunny is about to
die!"--Daffy Duck (on his cell phone as their car plummets to Earth)
in LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION (which I saw last night and is
fabulous)
Christopher Snowden
2003-11-05 05:35:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Grayson
I think we trash Chaney too readily when we see that Thalberg ran just
about every star into the ground by repeating their successes over and over
again.
Keaton was destroyed by it, the Marx Brothers damn near were.
Garbo, Norma Shearer--ack.
Norma Shearer has been ground under Frederica's stiletto heel
long enough. How many of her films have you guys actually seen? There
is no such thing as a formulaic Shearer film. She tackled all kinds of
roles, and excelled at almost all of them. LADY OF THE NIGHT, THE
STUDENT PRINCE, UPSTAGE, A LADY OF CHANCE, THE DIVORCEE, SMILIN'
THROUGH, THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET, on and on: she's a completely
different person in each of them. She was an acclaimed actress, an
Oscar winner and a box office favorite. She was a glamorous star...
and, unlike that of a certain campy would-be siren of the silents,
Shearer's glamor was the real thing!



Chris Snowden
Feuillade
2003-11-05 07:11:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Grayson
I think we trash Chaney too readily
when we see that Thalberg ran just
about every star into the ground by
repeating their successes over and
over again.
Keaton was destroyed by it, the Marx
Brothers damn near were.
I think that this theory is flawed.

Buster Keaton's career was damaged by his drinking first of all. Then it was
further damaged by Thalberg trying, not to get him to repeat his success, but
by having him do something completely different (i.e., become part of a comedy
team with Jimmy Durante -- a really bad idea).

With the Marx Brothers it was different. The brothers gave him credit for
saving their careers, when Paramount had dropped them after the flop of "Duck
Soup."

He came up with the formula that was run into the ground, by him, but by far
less talented producers after Thalberg died.

Thalberg's treatment of Keaton is debatable, but Keaton was also very
self-destructive at the time.

But his treatment of the Marx Brothers can't be faulted. He produced two of
their best films.


Tom Moran

"Too many whites are getting away with drug use. The answer is to find the
ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river.''
-- Rush Limbaugh
Feuillade
2003-11-06 08:09:24 UTC
Permalink
***@aol.com (Feuillade) writes:

(I know, I know... I'm quoting myself, but when you make a mistake you have to
correct it.)
Post by Feuillade
With the Marx Brothers it was different.
The brothers gave him credit for
saving their careers, when Paramount
had dropped them after the flop of "Duck
Soup."
He came up with the formula that was
run into the ground, by him, but by far
less talented producers after Thalberg
died.
He came up with the formula that was
run into the ground, not by him, but by
far less talented producers after Thalberg
died.
You need that "not." :)


Tom Moran

"Too many whites are getting away with drug use. The answer is to find the
ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river.''
-- Rush Limbaugh
Harlett O'Dowd
2003-11-05 14:32:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Snowden
Norma Shearer has been ground under Frederica's stiletto heel
long enough. How many of her films have you guys actually seen?
More than enough.
Post by Christopher Snowden
There
is no such thing as a formulaic Shearer film. She tackled all kinds of
roles,
perhaps.
Post by Christopher Snowden
and excelled at almost all of them.
*not* in my book. PRIVATE LIVES is excrutiating. THE DIVORCEE is not
much better. MARIE ANTOINETTE is the sort of treacly Hollywood
barf-fest that keeps modern audiences away from vintage film. Her
balcony scene with Gilbert in THE HOLLYWOOD REVUE is smug
pretentiousness to the nth degree. Only in THE WOMEN do I find her
bearable - mostly because I root for Joan & Roz and delight in every
bad thing that happens to smug Mary Haines.

Her smug, mannered presence is somewhat more tolerable in silents
where I don't have to listen to her. LADY OF CHANCE and HE WHO GETS
SLAPPED are probably my two *favorite* Shearers. HE is particualrly
good but Norma doesn't really contribute a lot to its success. LADY
OF THE NIGHT is also OK.

However, I find her few moments in the 25 studio tour to be the limit.
Never have I wanted to leap through the screen and bitch-slap someone
as much as I want to wipe that smug look off Norma's fan-mail laden
face.

LADY OF THE NIGHT, THE
Post by Christopher Snowden
STUDENT PRINCE, UPSTAGE, A LADY OF CHANCE, THE DIVORCEE, SMILIN'
THROUGH, THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET, on and on: she's a completely
different person in each of them.
No - she had her husband get her a variety of roles and types - but
she played every one the same.
Post by Christopher Snowden
She was an acclaimed actress, an
Oscar winner and a box office favorite. She was a glamorous star...
and, unlike that of a certain campy would-be siren of the silents,
Shearer's glamor was the real thing!
Siren???!!!!!!! Norma couldn't vamp her way out of a wet paper bag!

I know it's all a matter of taste but, for me, Norma is the liver of
film stars. Yuuuch!
RP Faiola
2003-11-05 16:38:15 UTC
Permalink
I'll take the Warner gals ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!!!
John Aldrich
2003-11-05 18:37:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Siren???!!!!!!! Norma couldn't vamp her way out of a wet paper bag!
Hmmmpf. Sez you.
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
I know it's all a matter of taste but, for me, Norma is the liver of
film stars. Yuuuch!
This is probably the only truly factual statement in your post. It
truly IS a matter of taste. I find Norma's performances in general,
to be compelling and surprisingly modern. She walks off with A FREE
SOUL, imo, even though Gable got the buzz and Barrymore got the Oscar.

I even like Norma in ROMEO AND JULIET even if she is 15 years too old
to play Juliet.

Just because she doesn't do it for *you* doesn't mean she should be
dismissed entirely. I personally can't see Renee Zellweger's appeal
to save my life, but that doesn't mean she isn't an important and
apparently very popular star.

--John A.
Robert Miller
2003-11-05 23:43:13 UTC
Permalink
Even though much of her major 1920s work (like that of, say, the other
famous Norma) remains un-revived today ---by looking at how busy at the
studio and popular with audiences Miss Shearer was in the silent era, it
seems clear that the lady must have displayed a powerful combination of
audience-pleasing factors, including acting, on the screen.

But unlike so many other popular silent stars whose youth and looks began to
fade just as sound was taking hold, she didn't then get bypassed for
important roles, have her option not picked up, and either retire quickly or
descend to Chesterfield, Chadwick, or Grand National by the early 1930s.

Encountering MGM's "First Lady" for the first time only when the bloom has
faded, in her later talkies, may be at least partly responsible for some of
this Norma-bashing, don't you suppose?
Post by John Aldrich
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Siren???!!!!!!! Norma couldn't vamp her way out of a wet paper bag!
Hmmmpf. Sez you.
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
I know it's all a matter of taste but, for me, Norma is the liver of
film stars. Yuuuch!
This is probably the only truly factual statement in your post.
Christopher Snowden
2003-11-06 07:24:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Miller
Even though much of her major 1920s work (like that of, say, the other
famous Norma) remains un-revived today ---by looking at how busy at the
studio and popular with audiences Miss Shearer was in the silent era, it
seems clear that the lady must have displayed a powerful combination of
audience-pleasing factors, including acting, on the screen.
Encountering MGM's "First Lady" for the first time only when the bloom has
faded, in her later talkies, may be at least partly responsible for some of
this Norma-bashing, don't you suppose?
That accounts for a lot of it. People see IDIOT'S DELIGHT or THE
WOMEN and think those films are representative of her whole career.
They aren't.

When Shearer started out, she was a young woman with no real
acting experience, and no family background in the performing arts.
She had thick ankles, her teeth needed some work and she had a problem
with her eyes (instead of moving in tendem, one tended to wander out
of sync with the other!).

But instead of setting the world speed record for failure in
Hollywood, she persevered. She hung in there, taking extra roles and
bit parts (look fast for her in WAY DOWN EAST), learning everything
she could about film acting. She improved her appearance, learned to
control her eye disability, and dedicated herself to succeeding in
Hollywood.

Gradually, she began to get supporting roles, then leading parts.
She signed with Metro-Goldwyn but was often loaned out. She made the
most of every opportunity. Within a year or two, she scored hits with
a pair of films that are forgotten now, but which drew a lot of
favorable attention in their day: THE SNOB (1925) and especially HIS
SECRETARY (1925) with Lew Cody. Few of her films from this critical
period are ever screened today. One that is, Monta Bell's LADY OF THE
NIGHT (1925), is terrific. She plays two utterly different roles and
does so with just as much skill as Pickford did in STELLA MARIS. Mick
LaSalle, writing in "Complicated Women," waxes positively Fonviellian
in his praise of her in that film. From here on, the loan-outs
stopped, and she was M-G-M's most bankable female star.

To this point, she'd been linked romantically with actors Malcolm
McGregor and John Gilbert, though the connection with Gilbert may have
been more about studio publicity than true love. Now she began seeing
Irving Thalberg, and as they grew closer, she made a point of
explaining to interviewers that her interest in him was personal, not
professional. She married her boss in late 1927.

Thalberg was no more (or less) helpful to Norma's career than he
was to the rest of the M-G-M stars. For every plum role like the
female lead in THE STUDENT PRINCE (1927), there was a dubious
assignment, like AFTER MIDNIGHT (1927), in which she plays a woman who
gets mugged and falls in love with her mugger.
Then, in talkies, for every showcase like THE DIVORCEE (1930), for
which she won an Oscar, there was a creaky vehicle like THE TRIAL OF
MARY DUGAN (1929), a courtroom drama without the drama. But whatever
the merits of the films, her performances are always good (anyway,
I've never seen one that wasn't), and sometimes they're great.

Also by this time, the former ugly duckling had become one of the
screen's great beauties. She tied for first place (with Billie Dove)
in an exhibitors' poll naming the most beautiful women in American
cinema.

She portrayed modern, independent women in key pre-Code films
like THE DIVORCEE and A FREE SOUL, and she was just as modern in her
own life. She reached the height of her profession, then took time off
to raise a family. Once she was ready, she went back to work. She took
more time away from her career when Thalberg began having heart
trouble. After his death, she stood her ground when Louis B. Mayer
tried dictating terms to her. She let him (and the New York office)
know how many shares of Loews stock she held, and Mayer backed off.

But she began losing interest in acting after Thalberg's death,
and worked less often. Here's when she made the films that most people
judge and misjudge her by: IDIOT'S DELIGHT, THE WOMEN, THE ESCAPE, and
WE WERE DANCING. No longer interested in working, and certainly not
needing the money, she retired young and spent the next few decades
traveling the world and enjoying life. She married again, to a younger
man, and lived as she pleased.

Hers is a classic Hollywood success story... with a happy ending.



Chris Snowden
A. Gerard
2003-11-06 18:30:32 UTC
Permalink
->
Post by Christopher Snowden
But she began losing interest in acting after Thalberg's death,
and worked less often. Here's when she made the films that most people
judge and misjudge her by: IDIOT'S DELIGHT, THE WOMEN, THE ESCAPE, and
WE WERE DANCING. No longer interested in working, and certainly not
needing the money, she retired young and spent the next few decades
traveling the world and enjoying life. She married again, to a younger
man, and lived as she pleased.
Hers is a classic Hollywood success story... with a happy ending.
And a suicide attempt.
Max Nineteennineteen
2003-11-05 19:51:50 UTC
Permalink
I agree, there's not much to justify her stardom-- but there's
slightly more than, say, Merle Oberon. I don't even think The Women
is the best of it-- she's well used there, but as the straight man to
the rest of the cast, it's her not-very-interesting normalness that
puts everyone else in relief and allows her to be the sympathetic
character. Her other talkie movies show that she was the most aerobic
actress in 30s Hollywood-- you could get decapitated by her flinging
arms, or dislocated by her sudden, pseudo-sultry slumps (the better to
make her breasts jut out in a slinky dress, of course), in something
like The Divorcee. You might chalk that off to early talkieness (it's
no worse for affectation than early Hepburn, raylly it isn't) but
she's still up to it, at least as bad, in Idiots' Delight.

The one movie I've seen (and I admit that I don't exactly seek her
out) that I think justifies her stardom is The Student Prince in Old
Heidelberg. Give Lubitsch the credit, but she's young, fresh-faced,
charmingly romantic and utterly winning there. I assume there are
some others around that same time that may exhibit some of the some
charm, but I haven't seen them.
Christopher Snowden
2003-11-05 20:33:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Her smug, mannered presence is somewhat more tolerable in silents
where I don't have to listen to her. LADY OF CHANCE and HE WHO GETS
SLAPPED are probably my two *favorite* Shearers. HE is particualrly
good but Norma doesn't really contribute a lot to its success. LADY
OF THE NIGHT is also OK.
However, I find her few moments in the 25 studio tour to be the limit.
Never have I wanted to leap through the screen and bitch-slap someone
as much as I want to wipe that smug look off Norma's fan-mail laden
face.
It's a smug look to you. To me, she's just looking at the camera,
smiling and then laughing... and it's all over in about ten seconds.
If you've got such a violent reaction to THAT, maybe Shearer isn't the
one with the problem.
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Post by Christopher Snowden
LADY OF THE NIGHT, THE
STUDENT PRINCE, UPSTAGE, A LADY OF CHANCE, THE DIVORCEE, SMILIN'
THROUGH, THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET, on and on: she's a completely
different person in each of them.
No - she had her husband get her a variety of roles and types - but
she played every one the same.
She was M-G-M's leading female star well before she and Thalberg
married. In fact, she was playing female leads in things like HE WHO
GETS SLAPPED before they ever dated. This idea that Shearer had her
stardom handed to her by her husband is a total fraud.
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
Post by Christopher Snowden
She was an acclaimed actress, an
Oscar winner and a box office favorite. She was a glamorous star...
and, unlike that of a certain campy would-be siren of the silents,
Shearer's glamor was the real thing!
Siren???!!!!!!! Norma couldn't vamp her way out of a wet paper bag!
Haven't seen UPSTAGE, eh? And her Hurrell portraits are the
epitome of Hollywood glamor, better even that the Harlow ones.



Chris Snowden
Eric Grayson
2003-11-06 00:46:11 UTC
Permalink
Most of what I've seen of Shearer's work is her stale early talkie stuff.
It's pretty repetitive and lifeless, but I'm willing to give her a chance
in more silents.

Mr. Moran--

Thalberg destroyed comedians by letting them do one or two good films,
building a trust, and then overcontrolling them. This is what he did with
Keaton (and you're right, Keaton himself didn't help, but I get the feeling
with a freer hand in his films he'd have been a bit more sober and made
better film) and he was well on his way to doing it with the Marx Brothers.
Day at the Races is really poky and no longer plays especially well with
an audience, whereas the Paramount pictures and Night at the Opera still
do. I get the feeling Thalberg would have made At the Circus about the
same as the later cronies did.

We can argue from now until eternity about what Thalberg MIGHT have done,
but I see the diminishing trend already progressing by the middle of Day at
the Races. Sure, Duck Soup flopped, but it's a brilliant film by today's
standards. Thalberg's idea to hold back on jokes and throw in a bigger
romantic plot subverts even Day at the Races, IMHO.

I think Thalberg must have seen Keaton as a weak feature comedian and
wanted to bolster him by teaming him with Durante. Remember, the
Keaton/Durante films were successful, financially at least, and Thalberg
DID repeat them. They only seem awful to us today, but they made money
then.

For the most part, I don't see MGM stars of the period (late silent, early
talkie) doing off-the-wall daring stuff like at other studios. Look at
Cagney at Warners. Heroes, villains, different kinds of parts. William
Powell from witty and urbane to smarmy in Lawyer Man. MGM didn't let stars
veer far from "type."

It took Columbia to discover that Clark Gable was an able comedian!

I'm sure that many can dispute this with individual titles, but it's a
general rule. I'll go first: The Girl from Missouri is a real change of
pace and a different role for Harlow.

Eric (who wants to encourage Tom to discuss films more and Ann Coulter
less)
Feuillade
2003-11-06 01:58:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Grayson
Mr. Moran--
Thalberg destroyed comedians by
letting them do one or two good films,
building a trust, and then overcontrolling
them. This is what he did with
Keaton (and you're right, Keaton himself
didn't help, but I get the feeling
with a freer hand in his films he'd have
been a bit more sober and made
better film) [...]
You're getting perilously close to the place where Occam's Razor applies.

If they hadn't invented talkies Keaton's career might have been smoother as
well, but they did.

Keaton was an alcoholic, which is a progressive disease. He got steadily worse
until he stopped drinking (which was, unfortunately, after Thalberg died).

I don't think Thalberg ever shoved liquor down his throat.
Post by Eric Grayson
[...] and he was well on his way to
doing it with the Marx Brothers.
Day at the Races is really poky
and no longer plays especially well
with an audience, [...]
We must have seen it with different audiences. :)

If parts of "A Day at the Races" drag, it might have something to do with the
fact, not that Thalberg produced it, but that Thalberg died before he could
finish it.

The brothers believed (as asserted by Groucho's son Arthur) that the film would
have ended up better if Thalberg had been around to give it some finishing
touches -- as he routinely did on the films he produced, many of which were
changed considerably after their initial cuts.

Even in its less-than-perfect form, however, "A Day at the Races" is one of
the best films they ever made -- and the rapid decline in quality of the films
they made afterwards testifies to the importance of Thalberg on their careers.

This is not just what I believe. It is what the Marx Brothers themselves
believed. They always gave Thalberg credit for rescuing their careers.


Tom Moran

"Too many whites are getting away with drug use. The answer is to find the
ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river.''
-- Rush Limbaugh
Max Nineteennineteen
2003-11-07 17:42:47 UTC
Permalink
I agree with everybody.

Keaton's alcoholism was a problem. Talkies might well have doomed him
without alcoholism, or vice versa. In the absence of both MGM and
talkies, however, he might also have had less incentive to get
plastered. Who knows?

What I think you can see clearly is that at MGM Buster is being pushed
toward a simpleton character-- a little bit in The Cameraman, quite a
bit more in Spite Marriage-- which is different from his independent
productions. This becomes that much more apparent when he's paired as
the silent dope with a faster-talking character like Jimmy Durante.
And that to me is the beginning of the end of the Buster we know and
love, regardless of the other factors (and regardless of the fact that
both those films are still pretty good).

Now back to Cinesation...
John Aldrich
2003-11-07 18:27:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Max Nineteennineteen
What I think you can see clearly is that at MGM Buster is being pushed
toward a simpleton character-- a little bit in The Cameraman, quite a
bit more in Spite Marriage-- which is different from his independent
productions. This becomes that much more apparent when he's paired as
the silent dope with a faster-talking character like Jimmy Durante.
And that to me is the beginning of the end of the Buster we know and
love, regardless of the other factors (and regardless of the fact that
both those films are still pretty good).
Yes, in comedy parlance, this is called the "Elmer Syndrome".
Post by Max Nineteennineteen
Now back to Cinesation...
Enjoy!

--John A.
Dr. Giraud
2003-11-08 01:04:25 UTC
Permalink
<<
Even in its less-than-perfect form, however, "A Day at the Races" is one of
the best films they ever made -- and the rapid decline in quality of the films
they made afterwards testifies to the importance of Thalberg on their careers
Really? The film dies in the endless water carnival, and the Harpo spiritual
number is very lame. It runs a poor 7th, behind COCOANUTS.

Shawn Stone
Feuillade
2003-11-08 02:07:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dr. Giraud
Post by Feuillade
Even in its less-than-perfect form,
however, "A Day at the Races" is
one of the best films they ever made --
and the rapid decline in quality of the
films they made afterwards testifies
to the importance of Thalberg on their
careers
Really?
Really.
Post by Dr. Giraud
The film dies in the endless water
carnival, and the Harpo spiritual
number is very lame.
I said it was one of their best.

I did *not* say it was perfect.
Post by Dr. Giraud
It runs a poor 7th, behind COCOANUTS.
I can't agree.

Their first two films (both of which I've seen in 35 mm on a big screen) are
horribly dated, although each has its moments.

What they did after Thalberg died was more or less crap (although I have a
sneaking fondness for the scene in "The Big Store" where we see a young
Virginia O'Brien -- it was one of her first films).

Their great films are the last three for Paramount ("Monkey Business,"
"Horsefeathers" and "Duck Soup") and their first two for M-G-M ("A Night at the
Opera" and "A Day at the Races").

So saying that the latter of those two M-G-M films comes in 7th makes no sense
to me.


Tom Moran

"Too many whites are getting away with drug use. The answer is to find the
ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river.''
-- Rush Limbaugh
George Shelps
2003-11-08 08:10:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Feuillade
Post by Dr. Giraud
Post by Feuillade
Even in its less-than-perfect form,
however, "A Day at the Races" is
one of the best films they ever made --
and the rapid decline in quality of the
films they made afterwards testifies
to the importance of Thalberg on their
careers
Really?
Really.
Post by Dr. Giraud
The film dies in the endless water
carnival, and the Harpo spiritual
number is very lame.
I said it was one of their best.
No, it was not.
Post by Feuillade
I did *not* say it was perfect.
It is has some classic scenes..."Tutsie-Frutsie Ice Cream"
but the Thalberg formula drooped---perhaps because Thalberg
died before it could be previewed.

The romance in NIGHT is somewhat
affecting. Allan Jones and Kitty
Carlisle make an attractive couple
and their success in love and on the stage is something we care about
and Groucho
and his brothers are more sympathetic and accessible without losing
their comic edge.

By contrast, Allan Jones is bland and
Nelson Eddyish in DAY (which worked
for baritone Eddy but not for an emotional tenor like Jones.)

I knew Allan and he regarded the role with little affection, whereas in
NIGHT,
as Ricardo, he threw himself into the
part and contributed to the staging
of the scenes. (According to Allan,
the musical numbers were not shot
by Sam Wood but by Edmund Goulding.
You can notice the stylistic change
in the "Alone" number.)









__________________________________


"The past is never dead. It's not even past."
__William Faulkner
Fair Pickings
2003-11-08 20:48:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Feuillade
Post by Dr. Giraud
Post by Feuillade
Even in its less-than-perfect form,
however, "A Day at the Races" is
one of the best films they ever made --
and the rapid decline in quality of the
films they made afterwards testifies
to the importance of Thalberg on their
careers
Really?
Really.
Post by Dr. Giraud
The film dies in the endless water
carnival, and the Harpo spiritual
number is very lame.
I said it was one of their best.
I did *not* say it was perfect.
Post by Dr. Giraud
It runs a poor 7th, behind COCOANUTS.
I can't agree.
Their first two films (both of which I've seen in 35 mm on a big screen) are
horribly dated, although each has its moments.
What they did after Thalberg died was more or less crap (although I have a
sneaking fondness for the scene in "The Big Store" where we see a young
Virginia O'Brien -- it was one of her first films).
Their great films are the last three for Paramount ("Monkey Business,"
"Horsefeathers" and "Duck Soup") and their first two for M-G-M ("A Night at the
Opera" and "A Day at the Races").
So saying that the latter of those two M-G-M films comes in 7th makes no sense
to me.
Tom Moran
Some Marx Bros. fans regard the first two MGM films, as good as they are in
many ways, as the beginning of their decline. Many of the elements that
killed them are introduced in these films: the "normal" love interests, the
non-Marxian musical numbers, the focus on plot and, above all, the
toning-down of the wildness that was characteristic of their Paramount
movies.
When one calls the earlier films "dated" I assume what is meant is that
they strongly reflect the period in which they were made. Inasmuch as the
Marx Brothers were a product of that period, what could be more appropriate?

Art Pierce
Dr. Giraud
2003-11-08 23:33:51 UTC
Permalink
<< Some Marx Bros. fans regard the first two MGM films, as good as they are in
many ways, as the beginning of their decline. Many of the elements that
killed them are introduced in these films: the "normal" love interests, the
non-Marxian musical numbers, the focus on plot and, above all, the
toning-down of the wildness that was characteristic of their Paramount
movies.
When one calls the earlier films "dated" I assume what is meant is that
they strongly reflect the period in which they were made. Inasmuch as the
Marx Brothers were a product of that period, what could be more appropriate?

Art Pierce >>

Yes. And even though there were love interests in COCOANUTS and ANIMAL
CRACKERS, the Marxes weren't expected to give a crap about them.

Shawn Stone
Feuillade
2003-11-09 04:22:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Fair Pickings
Some Marx Bros. fans regard the
first two MGM films, as good as they
are in many ways, as the beginning
of their decline.
I understand that opinion, but I do not share it.
Post by Fair Pickings
Many of the elements that killed
the "normal" love interests, the
non-Marxian musical numbers, the
focus on plot and, above all, the
toning-down of the wildness that was
characteristic of their Paramount
movies.
There are a number of elements to address here:

1) The "toning down" was inevitable, and would have happened no matter where
the Marxes went after Parmount.

People tend to forget that inbetween "Duck Soup" and "A Night at the Opera"
something happened in film, called the Production Code.

All the Marx Brothers movies made at Paramount were Pre-Code. And a lot of
what they did then they would not have been able to do after 1934 --no matter
where they worked, Thalberg or no Thalberg.

2) The very elements that are now considered classic in the Marx Brothers'
Pre-Code films were what made them impossible to write for. Unmotivated
anarchy is not easy to write -- and would have been increasingly difficult to
write as the brothers got older.

3) Not to mention that some of the elements that you mention are in the Marxes
earliest films, the very ones that are claimed to be some of their best. How
is Kitty Carlisle and Allan Jones worse than Lillian Roth and
whoever-his-names-was in "Animal Crackers"?
Post by Fair Pickings
When one calls the earlier films "dated"
I assume what is meant is that
they strongly reflect the period in
which they were made.
No, what is meant is that, at least in my opinion, the films don't hold up.

Both "The Cocoanuts" and "Animal Crackers" have a certain interest insofar as
they represent filmed musicals -- arguably the best examples of what a Broadway
musical of the 20s look and sound like -- but as films I don't think either one
of them holds up.


Tom Moran

"Too many whites are getting away with drug use. The answer is to find the
ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river.''
-- Rush Limbaugh
Fair Pickings
2003-11-09 20:32:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Feuillade
Post by Fair Pickings
Some Marx Bros. fans regard the
first two MGM films, as good as they
are in many ways, as the beginning
of their decline.
I understand that opinion, but I do not share it.
Post by Fair Pickings
Many of the elements that killed
the "normal" love interests, the
non-Marxian musical numbers, the
focus on plot and, above all, the
toning-down of the wildness that was
characteristic of their Paramount
movies.
1) The "toning down" was inevitable, and would have happened no matter where
the Marxes went after Parmount.
People tend to forget that inbetween "Duck Soup" and "A Night at the Opera"
something happened in film, called the Production Code.
All the Marx Brothers movies made at Paramount were Pre-Code. And a lot of
what they did then they would not have been able to do after 1934 --no matter
where they worked, Thalberg or no Thalberg.
2) The very elements that are now considered classic in the Marx Brothers'
Pre-Code films were what made them impossible to write for. Unmotivated
anarchy is not easy to write -- and would have been increasingly difficult to
write as the brothers got older.
It¹s true that the enforcement of the Production Code had SOME effect on the
Marx Brothers, but a lot of what happened to them at MGM was just a product
of, well, MGM. In DUCK SOUP, for example, you have that wild "The Country's
Going to War" production number; in the next movie (and their first for
MGM), A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, the big musical production is "Cosi
Cosa"--hardly vintage Marx Brothers. In fact, they have relatively little
to do in the number, which is also typical of the MGMizing of them. I don't
think there's any doubt that the watering down of their antics was due to a
conscious effort by MGM to make their movies palatable to the average
moviegoer. I know there are some people who feel it worked, at least in
their first two movies at the studio, but a lot of died-in-the-wool Marx
Brothers fans resent it and don¹t feel that ANY of the MGM¹s are among their
better efforts.
Post by Feuillade
3) Not to mention that some of the elements that you mention are in the Marxes
earliest films, the very ones that are claimed to be some of their best. How
is Kitty Carlisle and Allan Jones worse than Lillian Roth and
whoever-his-names-was in "Animal Crackers"?
That's a good point. But even here you have the earlier style with the two
nominal romantic leads singing distinctly Tin Pan Alley-type pop stuff, as
opposed to what MGM did. In the case of A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, the romantic
couple are, what else?--opera singers! And there's a goodly chunk of
operatic or "classy" (in MGM's estimation) popular music in the movie. In A
DAY AT THE RACES it's that pretentious Water Carnival number (in blue tint,
yet!) and in THE BIG STORE it's the wildly overblown Tenement Symphony--all
of which would have been VERY out-of-place in their Paramounts.
Post by Feuillade
Post by Fair Pickings
When one calls the earlier films "dated"
I assume what is meant is that
they strongly reflect the period in
which they were made.
No, what is meant is that, at least in my opinion, the films don't hold up.
Both "The Cocoanuts" and "Animal Crackers" have a certain interest insofar as
they represent filmed musicals -- arguably the best examples of what a Broadway
musical of the 20s look and sound like -- but as films I don't think either one
of them holds up.
Here I think it's just a plain old-fashioned difference of opinion. I like
THE COCOANUTS a lot--one of my favorites among their pictures, in fact,
partly BECAUSE it drips of that '20's musical comedy flavor. If it's polish
you're looking for then, yes, I can understand why you and a lot of other
people favor the MGMs.
Post by Feuillade
Tom Moran
Art Pierce
Neil Midkiff
2003-11-09 20:41:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Harlett O'Dowd
I like
THE COCOANUTS a lot--one of my favorites among their pictures, in fact,
partly BECAUSE it drips of that '20's musical comedy flavor.
Art Pierce
I like it a lot too, because it also drips of early talkie flavor. In
fact, the map which Groucho is trying to explain to Chico (Viaduct/
Why-a-duck?) drips because it has been soaked in water to help keep it
quiet. Early mikes apparently could easily be overwhelmed by rustling
paper and other seemingly innocuous sounds.

Still, I laugh a lot louder at A DAY AT THE RACES.

-Neil Midkiff
William Ferry
2003-11-08 19:11:09 UTC
Permalink
It has several good scenes, but it's a film that needed one more rewrite; or
at least another trip to the editing room, as there are references that
don't make sense (usually referring to things that must have been cut out
previously). I don't think it's that bad, but it's clear that, like many of
today's sequels, there's the approach of, "OK, what did we do in A NIGHT AT
THE OPERA that we can do again here?"

Tootsie-Fruitsi Ice Cream=Party of the First Part
Wallpaper Scene=Bed Changing Scene
Racetrack Anarchy=Opera Anarchy
--
Yours for bigger and better silents,
Bill Ferry
Post by Feuillade
<<
Even in its less-than-perfect form, however, "A Day at the Races" is one of
the best films they ever made -- and the rapid decline in quality of the films
they made afterwards testifies to the importance of Thalberg on their careers
Really? The film dies in the endless water carnival, and the Harpo spiritual
number is very lame. It runs a poor 7th, behind COCOANUTS.
Shawn Stone
Eric Grayson
2003-11-11 14:14:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Feuillade
This is not just what I believe. It is what the Marx Brothers themselves
believed. They always gave Thalberg credit for rescuing their careers.
He rescued their careers financially, but killed them artistically. Just
like what he did with everyone else.

This is my point: Thalberg was a genius at financially making stars pay
off, but the films show dry rot (artistically) pretty quickly, and I
include the Marxes in this.

Groucho Marx cared not one whit if his films were great; he wanted them to
make money. He never understood why Duck Soup didn't make money because he
felt it was an artistic success, and he spends a lot of time in some books
going over this. Of course he's going to think Thalberg rescued his
career. In another 3-4 films, he'd have complained that Thalberg sunk it,
too, just like most of the other comedians at MGM.

Judging from what I've seen Thalberg do with other stars, I still suspect
Races would have come out about as lame as it did had Thalberg lived. It's
an opinion, and cannot be proved.

I attribute Keaton's decline more to Thalberg than booze. Again, this is
an opinion. His MGM work in the early 30s is junk, and the Educational
shorts he made a few years later, still on the booze, are miles better,
though still lame. Keaton didn't help himself, but he was powerless to
fight Thalberg.

I recently saw Animal Crackers with an audience, and it still plays very
well, despite the creakiness. Races doesn't. Opera does.

To me, the first sign of decline in the Marx Bros. films is when Groucho
is nice to Kitty Carlisle early in Night at the Opera. It's a departure
from character and detracts from the film. It gets worse from there.

I'm done on this one, Tom. I know you don't agree with me, and you won't,
which is fine, but unless you have something new to add, let's agree to
disagree.

Eric
Feuillade
2003-11-12 12:31:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Grayson
Post by Feuillade
This is not just what I believe. It is
what the Marx Brothers themselves
believed. They always gave Thalberg
credit for rescuing their careers.
He rescued their careers financially,
but killed them artistically. Just
like what he did with everyone else.
This is unsupported by fact.

When Thalberg started working with ther Marx Brothers, they had just come off
their worst flop.

The only two films he made with them proved to be two of their biggest hits --
financially *and* artistically.

They only started to slide after Thalberg's death.

It seems to be that, along with many other people, you have an instinctive bias
in favor of the Paramount films as opposed to the films they did later, but you
ignore the fact that the Production Code was put into effect after they left
Paramount, making it difficult if not impossible for them to make those same
kinds of films.

In effect, you're blaming Thalberg for not doing what was no longer possible.

This doesn't make sense to me.
Post by Eric Grayson
This is my point: Thalberg was a
genius at financially making stars pay
off, but the films show dry rot
(artistically) pretty quickly, and I
include the Marxes in this.
This argument doesn't hold up. The Marx Brothers only started to slide after
Thalberg's death, and the longeurs in "A Day at the Races" can be attributed to
the fact that Thalberg died while it was in production, and was not able to see
the film through to a final cut.
Post by Eric Grayson
Groucho Marx cared not one whit if
his films were great; he wanted them
to make money.
As best I can tell, this is an assertion wholly unsupported by fact.
Post by Eric Grayson
He never understood why Duck Soup
didn't make money because he
felt it was an artistic success, and he
spends a lot of time in some books
going over this.
This contradicts your earlier assumption.

As far as I know, Groucho never stated that he didn't care if his films were
good or not artistically as long as they made money.

If that were the case, then why would he and his brothers have gone on the road
in his MGM days, honing the timing of the routines in their films in front of a
live audience? That merely added to the budget of their films, which made it
harder for them to make money.

Either they did it to make the films better artistically, or it makes no sense.
Post by Eric Grayson
Of course he's going to think Thalberg
rescued hiscareer. In another 3-4 films,
he'd have complained that Thalberg
sunk it, too, just like most of the other
comedians at MGM.
Occam's Razor applies here. One could just as easily say that if Thalberg had
lived, "A Day at the Races" wold have ended up as good or better then "A Night
at the Opera." And that the films they did after that would have been
appreciably better than the films we have.

Neither assumption can be proven.
Post by Eric Grayson
Judging from what I've seen Thalberg
do with other stars, I still suspect
Races would have come out about
as lame as it did had Thalberg lived.
It's an opinion, and cannot be proved.
You're right. It cannot be proven.

And "A Day at the Races," however flawed it may or may not be, is certainly not
"lame" by any definition.
Post by Eric Grayson
I attribute Keaton's decline more to
Thalberg than booze. Again, this is
an opinion.
You're right. This is an opinion.
Post by Eric Grayson
His MGM work in the early 30s is
junk, and the Educational shorts he
made a few years later, still on the
booze, are miles better, though still
lame.
From what I've seen of the Educational shorts, all they do is recycle gags from
much better films that Keaton had done years earlier.
Post by Eric Grayson
Keaton didn't help himself, but he was
powerless to fight Thalberg.
I'm not positing that Thalberg is blameless in what happened to Keaton at MGM,
but Keaton was hardly blameless either.

Casting Thalberg as a straw man villain is convenient, but doesn't seem to fit
in with the facts.
Post by Eric Grayson
I recently saw Animal Crackers with
an audience, and it still plays very
well, despite the creakiness. Races
doesn't. Opera does.
Then we have had very different experiences with very different audiences.
Post by Eric Grayson
To me, the first sign of decline in the
Marx Bros. films is when Groucho
is nice to Kitty Carlisle early in Night
at the Opera. It's a departure from
character and detracts from the film.
It gets worse from there.
Again, you're forgetting that the MGM films were made after the Production Code
kicked in. It would have been nice if they had been able to make the same
kinds of films they did at Paramount, but -- and this is the key fact that you
and others have been assiduously ignoring -- that was no longer possible.
Post by Eric Grayson
I'm done on this one, Tom. I know
you don't agree with me, and you
won't, which is fine, but unless you
have something new to add, let's
agree to disagree.
Fine with me.


Tom Moran

"Too many whites are getting away with drug use. The answer is to find the
ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river.''
-- Rush Limbaugh
James Neibaur
2003-11-12 12:38:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Feuillade
When Thalberg started working with ther Marx Brothers, they had just come off
their worst flop.
The only two films he made with them proved to be two of their biggest hits --
financially *and* artistically.
They only started to slide after Thalberg's death.
From what I have read, the post-Races MGMs were still successful at the box
office. They just aren't very good films and don't hold up well as Opera,
Races, or the Paramounts.

JN
Feuillade
2003-11-13 02:04:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Neibaur
Post by Feuillade
When Thalberg started working with
the Marx Brothers, they had just come
off their worst flop.
The only two films he made with them
proved to be two of their biggest hits --
financially *and* artistically.
They only started to slide after
Thalberg's death.
From what I have read, the post-Races
MGMs were still successful at the box
office. They just aren't very good films
and don't hold up well as Opera,
Races, or the Paramounts.
I agree.


Tom Moran

"Too many whites are getting away with drug use. The answer is to find the
ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river.''
-- Rush Limbaugh

Shemp
2003-11-12 14:55:21 UTC
Permalink
***@aol.com (Feuillade) wrote in news:***@mb-m03.aol.com:


.
Post by Feuillade
If that were the case, then why would he and his brothers have gone on
the road in his MGM days, honing the timing of the routines in their
films in front of a live audience? That merely added to the budget of
their films, which made it harder for them to make money.
Were the road-show appearances free for the audiences....or did they have
to pay? If these were paid performances, what did they do with the
profits, put them back into the budgets of the films?



Shemp

Posted Via Usenet.com Premium Usenet Newsgroup Services
----------------------------------------------------------
** SPEED ** RETENTION ** COMPLETION ** ANONYMITY **
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Frederica
2003-11-05 20:13:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Snowden
Norma Shearer has been ground under Frederica's stiletto heel
long enough. How many of her films have you guys actually seen? There
is no such thing as a formulaic Shearer film. She tackled all kinds of
roles, and excelled at almost all of them. LADY OF THE NIGHT, THE
STUDENT PRINCE, UPSTAGE, A LADY OF CHANCE, THE DIVORCEE, SMILIN'
THROUGH, THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET, on and on: she's a completely
different person in each of them. She was an acclaimed actress, an
Oscar winner and a box office favorite. She was a glamorous star...
and, unlike that of a certain campy would-be siren of the silents,
Shearer's glamor was the real thing!
(...wha...hunh?..."would be??!!"...) Snowdon, you are SO on my list.

Frederica
Harlett O'Dowd
2003-11-06 03:59:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Frederica
Post by Christopher Snowden
Norma Shearer has been ground under Frederica's stiletto heel
long enough. How many of her films have you guys actually seen? There
is no such thing as a formulaic Shearer film. She tackled all kinds of
roles, and excelled at almost all of them. LADY OF THE NIGHT, THE
STUDENT PRINCE, UPSTAGE, A LADY OF CHANCE, THE DIVORCEE, SMILIN'
THROUGH, THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET, on and on: she's a completely
different person in each of them. She was an acclaimed actress, an
Oscar winner and a box office favorite. She was a glamorous star...
and, unlike that of a certain campy would-be siren of the silents,
Shearer's glamor was the real thing!
(...wha...hunh?..."would be??!!"...) Snowdon, you are SO on my list.
Frederica
Bless you Frederica for coming to my aid!

You tell 'im!
Bustm
2003-11-06 01:26:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Snowden
She was a glamorous star...
and, unlike that of a certain campy would-be siren of the silents,
Shearer's glamor was the real thing!
A box of oatmeal is real, too, and about as appealing.

-R. Bush
Harlett O'Dowd
2003-11-06 13:38:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bustm
Post by Christopher Snowden
She was a glamorous star...
and, unlike that of a certain campy would-be siren of the silents,
Shearer's glamor was the real thing!
A box of oatmeal is real, too, and about as appealing.
-R. Bush
Hey! I *like* oatmeal. I'm eating some right now.
Frederica
2003-11-06 15:40:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bustm
Post by Christopher Snowden
She was a glamorous star...
and, unlike that of a certain campy would-be siren of the silents,
Shearer's glamor was the real thing!
A box of oatmeal is real, too, and about as appealing.
-R. Bush
What have you got against oatmeal? What has oatmeal ever done to you?

Frederica
Bustm
2003-11-07 02:11:00 UTC
Permalink
"> > A box of oatmeal is real, too, and about as appealing.
Post by Frederica
Post by Bustm
-R. Bush
What have you got against oatmeal? What has oatmeal ever done to you?
Frederica
A dry box of oatmeal has done nothing to me - exactly the same effect as
Shearer.
PrinceHalsChase
2003-11-09 17:47:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bob Birchard
Is there any other actor who could survive such a mediocre filmography and
still hold the attention of an audience this many years later?
Bela Lugosi
===========================================================
"Someday I know we'll live those dreams we left so far behind'
You'll never know unless you try, to see what's yours and mine"
Robert Miller
2003-11-04 02:53:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by ChaneyFan
The Penalty (1920)
I suppose TCM hasn't run this one because although they own good-quality
pre-print, they have neither tape-copied nor scored it themselves. Of
course, they could license it from the home-video, third-party who has.
Post by ChaneyFan
Ace of Hearts (1922)
Previously an archive-only item. TCM recently gave it the full treatment,
as we know.
Post by ChaneyFan
He Who Gets Slapped (1924)
Once circulated mute by Films Inc. TCM inherited an old analog master of
this title from Gold Key, complete with their stock-library score.
Post by ChaneyFan
Monster, The (1925)
Similar circumstances as with SLAPPED.
Post by ChaneyFan
Unholy Three, The (1925)
FI (silent-circulated) and Gold Key (stock-tracked) again, prior to landing
in the TCM library.
Post by ChaneyFan
Tower of Lies, The (1925)
Still missing.
Post by ChaneyFan
Blackbird, The (1926)
Used to be available (silent) from Films Inc. Not licensed by Gold Key,
however.
Post by ChaneyFan
Road to Mandalay, The (1926)
Perhaps ignored by all (FI, Gold Key, and TCM) due to inferior pre-print.
Post by ChaneyFan
Tell It to the Marines (1926)
Same situation as BLACKBIRD, but recently digitally transferred by TCM and
newly scored.
Post by ChaneyFan
Mr. Wu (1927)
Similar circumstances as MARINES.
Post by ChaneyFan
Unknown, The (1927)
After years of circulating mute on the 16mm grey-market from a possibly
pirated-long-ago, 9.5mm "original," blown-up many decades later, this one
recently got the full treatment by TCM (from archival materials) and has
been in rather "heavy rotation" for some odd reason.
Post by ChaneyFan
Mockery (1927)
Same situation as BLACKBIRD.
Post by ChaneyFan
London After Midnight (1927)
Had to be stills-reconstructed, due to donor restrictions on the
Frippo/Kubrick/Waugh original (; - }
Post by ChaneyFan
Big City, The (1928)
Still missing.
Post by ChaneyFan
Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928)
Another deserving recipient of the TCM full treatment. Previously an
archive-only item.
Post by ChaneyFan
While the City Sleeps (1928)
Mostly archival screenings. Never legally released on either 16mm or analog
video.
Post by ChaneyFan
West of Zanzibar (1928)
The single-perf FI prints were mute; Gold Key's analog video master was
stock-tracked, although the score disks have apparently survived.
Post by ChaneyFan
Where East is East (1929)
Once circulated mute by FI, but not picked up by Gold Key. Score disks may
have turned up years later.
Post by ChaneyFan
Thunder (1929)
Archival bits and pieces.
Post by ChaneyFan
Unholy Three, The (1930)
First entered broadcast-television syndication via the original MGM talkie
library in 1958; later circulated non-theatrically by FI. Has received
occasional cable-only screenings since the early TNT days.
The Avocado Avenger
2003-11-06 05:12:28 UTC
Permalink
ChaneyFan wrote:

"The Penalty" is the one I wish they'd show first, but it's on my
Christmas list this year, so I expect to see it soon either way.
Post by ChaneyFan
He Who Gets Slapped (1924) I think they've run this?
Monster, The (1925) TCM ran it.
I believe they showed "He Who Gets Slapped" the month Chaney was star
of the month. I've seen it and if I've seen it, I either own it or it
was on TCM.
They definitely ran "The Monster", as you say. We had a near-war
about it on AMS, and I believe I was one of two people who liked it.
Any movie where you can order a gun by mail order gets my vote.
Post by ChaneyFan
Unknown, The (1927) TCM ran it and it's on the new DVD
When TCM first showed the movie (or, rather, when I first saw it) it
was the tinted print. Why hasn't that been shown again? It's how I
first saw "The Unknown" and I quite liked it.
Post by ChaneyFan
London After Midnight (1927) LOST. TCM ran the reconstruction.
Not lost, it's under Frederica's coffee table, holding up a leg.
Post by ChaneyFan
West of Zanzibar (1928) Have they run this? It was on the laserdisc so I
assume they have goo material with a score.
It's a good movie, they ran it when it was Chaney month on TCM. There
is a confusing bit at the end, but otherwise it's one of my favorites.

Stacia
James Neibaur
2003-11-06 05:18:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Avocado Avenger
I believe they showed "He Who Gets Slapped" the month Chaney was star
of the month. I've seen it and if I've seen it, I either own it or it
was on TCM.
He Who Gets Slapped was on the same night I saw Laugh Clown Laugh. Forgot
what night that was -- but it was on.

JN
ChaneyFan
2003-11-01 01:10:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Theakston
I'd also be up for seeing (as terrible as I hear it is), WHEN BEARCAT
WENT DRY.

Who has told you it was terrible? Who has seen it? I'm not even sure Eastman
has finished the restoration on it yet.
===============================
Jon Mirsalis
e-mail: ***@aol.com
Lon Chaney Home Page: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan
Jon's Film Sites: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan/jonfilm.htm
J. Theakston
2003-11-01 05:59:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Theakston
Post by J. Theakston
I'd also be up for seeing (as terrible as I hear it is), WHEN BEARCAT
WENT DRY.
Who has told you it was terrible? Who has seen it? I'm not even sure Eastman
has finished the restoration on it yet.
Perhaps I'm mistakening it for another Universal western he did, but I
seem to recall someone mentioning seeing it and saying that it's not
very good and that Chaney's not in it much (perhaps I'm thinking of
something out of the Yukon find?). Stills of it intrigue me, though.

-J. Theakston
ChaneyFan
2003-11-01 06:55:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by ChaneyFan
Road to Mandalay, The (1926) print material is very poor. They are unlikely
to
Post by ChaneyFan
ever run this, and it's a lousy film anyway
Post by John Aldrich
But Turner did put it out on LaserDisc.
ROAD TO MANDALAY was on laserdisc? I don't think that's correct, but I haven't
seen the laserdisc so I can't confirm or refute. Who has this who can comment?
===============================
Jon Mirsalis
e-mail: ***@aol.com
Lon Chaney Home Page: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan
Jon's Film Sites: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan/jonfilm.htm
Christopher Snowden
2003-11-01 09:28:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by ChaneyFan
Post by ChaneyFan
Road to Mandalay, The (1926) print material is very poor.
Post by John Aldrich
But Turner did put it out on LaserDisc.
ROAD TO MANDALAY was on laserdisc? I don't think that's correct, but I haven't
seen the laserdisc so I can't confirm or refute. Who has this who can comment?
I think John meant WEST OF ZANZIBAR, which was issued on laser.




Chris Snowden
Stephen Cooke
2003-11-01 15:51:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Snowden
Post by ChaneyFan
Post by ChaneyFan
Road to Mandalay, The (1926) print material is very poor.
Post by John Aldrich
But Turner did put it out on LaserDisc.
ROAD TO MANDALAY was on laserdisc? I don't think that's correct, but I haven't
seen the laserdisc so I can't confirm or refute. Who has this who can comment?
I think John meant WEST OF ZANZIBAR, which was issued on laser.
Of course the Hope/Crosby remake Road to Zanzibar, combining elements of
both films, is much more readily available.

swac
Not DF, just an incredibly lifelike simulation.
Stephen Cooke
2003-11-01 16:13:57 UTC
Permalink
While we're on the topic of Chaney DVDs...I see there's a DVD of SHADOWS
from Alpha Home Video. It's only $6 at DeepDiscount, which gives me cause
to be wary of its quality, but has anybody out there seen this?

swac
www.rasslinrelics.com
2003-11-01 19:22:07 UTC
Permalink
"Stephen Cooke" <***@chebucto.ns.ca> wrote in message news:Pine.GSO.3.95.iB1.0.1031101121304.17456A-***@halifax.chebucto.ns.ca.
..
Post by Stephen Cooke
While we're on the topic of Chaney DVDs...I see there's a DVD of SHADOWS
from Alpha Home Video. It's only $6 at DeepDiscount, which gives me cause
to be wary of its quality, but has anybody out there seen this?
swac
Its a bit dark,but not bad.I have a video copy from Video Classics,or
whatever it was,really cheap with no soundtrack that is far superior.Alpha's
not much of a loss if you don't have it though,pretty watchable for the
money.
--
Chris Parsons
www.rasslinrelics.com
s***@nospamprovide.net
2003-11-02 12:37:35 UTC
Permalink
On 01 Nov 2003 19:22:07 GMT, "www.rasslinrelics.com"
Post by www.rasslinrelics.com
..
Post by Stephen Cooke
While we're on the topic of Chaney DVDs...I see there's a DVD of SHADOWS
from Alpha Home Video. It's only $6 at DeepDiscount, which gives me cause
to be wary of its quality, but has anybody out there seen this?
swac
Its a bit dark,but not bad.I have a video copy from Video Classics,or
whatever it was,really cheap with no soundtrack that is far superior.Alpha's
not much of a loss if you don't have it though,pretty watchable for the
money.
SHADOWS was available on DVD paired with OUTSIDE THE LAW,...from
Image.

http://www.dvdplanet.com/product_listing.asp?productid=11681&format=DVD



Scoundrel
s***@nospamprovide.net
2003-11-01 15:01:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by ChaneyFan
Post by ChaneyFan
Road to Mandalay, The (1926) print material is very poor. They are unlikely
to
Post by ChaneyFan
ever run this, and it's a lousy film anyway
Post by John Aldrich
But Turner did put it out on LaserDisc.
ROAD TO MANDALAY was on laserdisc? I don't think that's correct, but I haven't
seen the laserdisc so I can't confirm or refute. Who has this who can comment?
===============================
Jon Mirsalis
Lon Chaney Home Page: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan
Jon's Film Sites: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan/jonfilm.htm
The only Chaney MGM titles on LD were WEST OF ZANZABAR \ THE UNHOLY
THREE (1930),....(which was my first LD,...before I had purchased a
player ! )

and the LON CHANEY COLLECTION which featured

HE WHO GET'S SLAPPED \ THE UNHOLY THREE (1925) \ THE UNKNOWN


PHANTOM has been issued three times on LD, first on Lumivision,...
and twice from Image,...

HUNCHBACK , three times as well ,........two from Image and one on
Republic.......


The availability of so many Chaney titles on Home video is really
appreciated , when for years access was only thru stills in
fan magazines,....and If you were lucky,..PBS..

Scoundrel
Sean Brobst
2003-11-04 19:30:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@nospamprovide.net
Post by ChaneyFan
Post by ChaneyFan
Road to Mandalay, The (1926) print material is very poor. They are unlikely
to
Post by ChaneyFan
Post by ChaneyFan
ever run this, and it's a lousy film anyway
Post by John Aldrich
But Turner did put it out on LaserDisc.
ROAD TO MANDALAY was on laserdisc? I don't think that's correct, but I haven't
seen the laserdisc so I can't confirm or refute. Who has this who can comment?
===============================
Jon Mirsalis
Lon Chaney Home Page: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan
Jon's Film Sites: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan/jonfilm.htm
The only Chaney MGM titles on LD were WEST OF ZANZABAR \ THE UNHOLY
THREE (1930),....(which was my first LD,...before I had purchased a
player ! )
and the LON CHANEY COLLECTION which featured
HE WHO GET'S SLAPPED \ THE UNHOLY THREE (1925) \ THE UNKNOWN
PHANTOM has been issued three times on LD, first on Lumivision,...
and twice from Image,...
HUNCHBACK , three times as well ,........two from Image and one on
Republic.......
The availability of so many Chaney titles on Home video is really
appreciated , when for years access was only thru stills in
fan magazines,....and If you were lucky,..PBS..
Scoundrel
While I wait for DVD Planet to deliver my Lon Chaney set, what are the
chances of more Chaney MGM films making their way to DVD? Call me a
ungrateful slob, which I suppose I am, but I could think of several
others I'd rather they would have put out. A few I'd like to see most
are both versions of The Unholy Three, He Who Gets Slapped, The
Monster, West of Zanzibar and Tell it to the Marines. Please don't
misunderstand, I'd buy anything Chaney, and always do. Is it a case of
watching how well this set does sales wise?
John Aldrich
2003-11-01 18:16:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by ChaneyFan
Post by ChaneyFan
Road to Mandalay, The (1926) print material is very poor. They are unlikely
to
Post by ChaneyFan
ever run this, and it's a lousy film anyway
Post by John Aldrich
But Turner did put it out on LaserDisc.
ROAD TO MANDALAY was on laserdisc? I don't think that's correct, but I haven't
seen the laserdisc so I can't confirm or refute. Who has this who can comment?
===============================
Jon Mirsalis
Lon Chaney Home Page: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan
Jon's Film Sites: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan/jonfilm.htm
I apologize for the error on Road To Mandalay. I could 've *sworn* it
came out on LD. Must have been wishful thinking....

--John A.
www.rasslinrelics.com
2003-11-01 19:23:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by ChaneyFan
Post by ChaneyFan
Road to Mandalay, The (1926) print material is very poor. They are unlikely
to
Post by ChaneyFan
ever run this, and it's a lousy film anyway
Post by John Aldrich
But Turner did put it out on LaserDisc.
ROAD TO MANDALAY was on laserdisc? I don't think that's correct, but I haven't
seen the laserdisc so I can't confirm or refute. Who has this who can comment?
===============================
Hi John,
Its not out on LD or DVD,at least not "offcially".

--
Chris Parsons
www.rasslinrelics.com
Post by ChaneyFan
Jon Mirsalis
Lon Chaney Home Page: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan
Jon's Film Sites: http://members.aol.com/ChaneyFan/jonfilm.htm
Rich Wagner
2003-11-04 01:42:53 UTC
Permalink
Another Chaney film that I have not seen for some time is "Flesh &
Blood". Although it has none of Chaney's makeup magic, the film has a
very good story line.
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