TCM Treats Movie Fans to Rarely Seen Cinematic Gems Sunday,

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FrankFay

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PostSun Apr 03, 2011 8:00 pm

It was a very nice program, but to experienced film viewers there wasn't a lot of new material. Some of those clips have been circulating a while and a few are even on Youtube, or on disc. Still it's intended for the general public and does a fine job.

It also makes me want to see some more Leige Conley- he looks like one of the best of the second rank comics.
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Fragments

PostSun Apr 03, 2011 8:17 pm

The Miracle Man is one of the most painful losses. It was a huge hit in its day, it made a star of Lon Chaney, and the surviving bits look fascinating.
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Gagman 66

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PostSun Apr 03, 2011 8:23 pm

:o The interview with Baby Peggy remembering how she and Gladys Brockwell jumped for real from the burning building when she was 4 years old in 1923 was incredible. That lady is still as sharp as a tack! Amazing!
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silentfilm

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PostSun Apr 03, 2011 8:35 pm

I only got to see the first half, as my TV was taken over by Desperate Housewives half-way through, but I loved what I've seen so far. (The rest is on my DVR.) I loved the Douglas Fairbanks, Emil Jannings, and Clara Bow scenes. I had already seen the surviving clips from Flaming Youth, but this time I got to read the titles! I loved the music also.

If you don't have TCM, I'm sure that this will be out soon from Flicker Alley.
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colbyco82

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PostSun Apr 03, 2011 8:36 pm

Having never seen the Clara Bow and Colleen Moore fragments before, I was entranced. Makes me a little sad that the films from these great ladies that DO exist can't seem to find their way to DVD.

Also, The Way of All Flesh...what a heartbreaking scene...and loss for us.
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FrankFay

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PostSun Apr 03, 2011 9:01 pm

One of the most frustrating fragments (for me at least) is in the following Avant Garde program. "Beggar On Horseback" starts out as an excellent comedy with a surreal touch which becomes VERY surreal in the nightmare sequence. Unfortunately it breaks off sharply and there isn't any more. Too bad because it's a high point for director James Cruze and the entire cast is excellent.
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Brooksie

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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 5:47 am

silentfilm wrote:If you don't have TCM, I'm sure that this will be out soon from Flicker Alley.


I hope so, it sounds like some fantastic stuff.

Heartbreaking of course - not unlike getting to the final page of Fitzgerald's `The Last Tycoon' - but like that, we have to be glad that we have anything, because we might easily not have the slightest trace. :(
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Harlett O'Dowd

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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 7:06 am

Brooksie wrote:
silentfilm wrote:If you don't have TCM, I'm sure that this will be out soon from Flicker Alley.


I hope so, it sounds like some fantastic stuff.

(


I hope so too, as I was an idiot and didn't set it to record. By the time I remembered it was on, we were in the finale of Gold Diggers of Broadway.

Speaking of which, did they run all three clips from this or just the two musical numbers?
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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 9:16 am

It was a pleasant surprise to see anything related to Charley Chase included. The gags from "Accidental Accidents" were started and completed in a matter of seconds. I know this segment is included in "Becoming Charley Chase", and a lot of us have already seen it. I happened to get my wife interested in this program, she laughed at Charley's segment, turned to me and said, "He is funny!" It was like she discovered something. I think that's the way it's suppose to work for folks that have a passing interest in silents. If you have to have a fragment, it's great to have one that stands on it's own. While the hosts did refer to Charley with the obligatory "forgotten", they did mention the volume of his output in front of and behind the camera. It was gratifying to hear that instead of the usual "he's a step below Chaplin, Lloyd, Keaton, L & H, Arbuckle and Langdon(did I leave anybody out) because he didn't make features." All in all, I thought it was a great primer on what happened and is happening to silent films; informative and entertaining.
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Rob Farr

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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 9:38 am

FrankFay wrote:It also makes me want to see some more Leige Conley- he looks like one of the best of the second rank comics.


The whole thing made me want to see more of Theda Bara in Cleopatra!
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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 10:05 am

Rob Farr wrote:
FrankFay wrote:It also makes me want to see some more Leige Conley- he looks like one of the best of the second rank comics.


The whole thing made me want to see more of Theda Bara in Cleopatra!


I agree on both of these. I had only seen the "Miracle Man" and "Rogue Song" clips and a brief one from "Flaming Youth" so they were all pretty new to me.

Well done.
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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 10:10 am

silentfilm wrote:I loved the music also.


Thanks, Bruce. :)
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Rick Lanham

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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 10:20 am

I agree, the music was outstanding!

The clips were very entertaining. I'd never seen the Cleopatra one, and many others, before.

I hope they can make a discovery as a result of this program.

Rick
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rollot24

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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 10:50 am

Have there been any hints of Flicker Alley putting this out on DVD?
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Jack Theakston

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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 11:44 am

Overall, I found the program quite interesting and fascinating. The transfers of the material were quite good, and it was nice to see that the RED HAIR test clips were not as badly faded as I remembered (or else they were tweaked).

And what LoC has been able to do with their paper prints is extraordinary, compared to the old 16mm project that commenced in the '50s. The Vitagraph clips they ran would make a great program in themselves. Full marks.

However, I cannot help but be honest in saying that I felt a couple of mistakes were made in presenting the program, and perhaps if the producers are reading this to take note. The "Saturday Afternoon Special" style of hosting with Mike Pogo and Mike Mashon seemed fairly stilted with the dialog written for them. The interviews, particularly with Baby Peggy, were well handled, however.

Another oversight was that there was no frame of reference given to any of the clips. A brief card before each clip or narration over the clip would have set all of the footage up nicely for people who don't know the stories.

It was also something of a disappointment to have as many clips repeated on the program that have been seen on other programs, such as the trailers already seen on the Treasures/Archive sets. The one trailer that the Academy found, HAPPINESS AHEAD, I believe it was, was probably not a trailer, but someone's clip reel of the film, with a "coming soon" snipe added to the end. Perhaps a custom trailer, but not a real "trailer" in the sense of the word.

Overall, however, I felt the show was an excellent effort and if it does find its way to home video, I will be purchasing it.
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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 11:53 am

Cross posted from Talking About Silents:

The clip from Theda Bara's CLEOPATRA looked to be in great shape.
It's unfortunate that less than a minute is all that survives.
What is the story behind this clip, and who is responsible for its recovery..?

The Clara Bow footage was wonderful and the clip with Baby Peggy was fascinating.

Let's hope Flicker Alley puts this one out on DVD.

It was time well spent.

However,

The narrators \ hosts were awful.

They seemed to fit every stereotype of someone who spent too much time in school, poorly dressed, and dull.

I've had more stimulating conversations at a wake.
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FrankFay

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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 2:58 pm

I looked at the hosts and thought "Nice guys, but what ever happened to wearing neckties?"
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missdupont

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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 3:25 pm

Neither one is known for wearing neckties. Pogo dressed as he did at the Academy screening of UPSTREAM, and that's just about how Mike always dresses.
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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 4:17 pm

WOW I was so fasincate with Thea Bada version of Cleoparta make me wonder they ever find print of this movie I want see it
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George O'Brien

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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 4:19 pm

The clip of "The Way of All Flesh"(1927) was not the clip I saw a few years back at the Film Forum in NYC. That clip began with a policeman about to arrest Jannings for peering through a window, and the policeman's knocking on the son's door. What followed was similar to what you see in "Fragments", but there were differences, for instance, there was no title card about inviting Jannings in for coffee.

I know there were often differences between the American and the European releases of a film, and that individual exhibitors sometimes cut pieces out of a film. But it's interesting to reflect that there are two fragments of this final scene out there. The Film Forum noted in its write up for the screening that the clip came from a private collector. Unlike sad old Froggy's claims this apparently was true.

I've seen the "Miracle Man' clip before. For the sake of authenticity, I wonder why the Flicker Alley creators of this documentary didn't simply run it and the "Way of All Flesh" clip silently, i.e. without the distracting late 1930's male narrating?
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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 4:24 pm

I think a lot of Nitratevillains are missing the real impact of this evening on TCM -- besides the news that there were just as many pretentious people who claimed to be artists who could make you appreciate the technical competence of Michael Mann eighty years ago as today. I think -- well, hope, anyway -- that there are thousands of people who watch TCM for pleasure who don't really know about the often desperate state of much of our heritage. Maybe a dozen are now interested and maybe one will do something about it.

Besides, it's always good to see a Charley Chase/Puddle gag.

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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 5:34 pm

Give Robert Osborne credit. He did say: "Hollywood Studios didn't see the use of preserving old movies." I think when sound came in, the awesome difficulties involved created a gap from the past & once sound was installed, the expense & bother was too much. What they were creating with sound was awful conformity - they could not see that! The freedoms of the past in the silent era was snuffed out. :shock:
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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 5:38 pm

George O'Brien wrote:
I've seen the "Miracle Man' clip before. For the sake of authenticity, I wonder why the Flicker Alley creators of this documentary didn't simply run it and the "Way of All Flesh" clip silently, i.e. without the distracting late 1930's male narrating?


I think the narration helps point up the irony. It gushes about how great both the films and actors are- but after giving this lip service Hollywood let both films perish.
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PostMon Apr 04, 2011 10:26 pm

silentfilm wrote:I only got to see the first half, as my TV was taken over by Desperate Housewives half-way through...


Instant grounds for divorce.
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PostTue Apr 05, 2011 12:23 am

Why, in the printed titles preceding the RED HAIR and THREE WEEKENDS clips did they spell Paramount as "Paramont"?
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PostTue Apr 05, 2011 1:24 pm

I was somewhat puzzled with a couple of the clips. The one from Flaming Youth with the guy dancing around with a lampshade around his middle or something went on in a single long take with no cutaways to reaction shots or different views or anything. Was this actually part of the rest of that reel or just an odd take that survived somehow? Similarly the scene of Red Hair with Clara in the lily pond was one long take. It was actually a nice one showing how skilled she was in communicating a whole sequence of emotions and thoughts with just her face. But wouldn't the finished sequence have been broken up with some titles and reaction shots of the guy?

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PostTue Apr 05, 2011 1:46 pm

Supposedly a reel of Flaming Youth survives but what was shown was surely not a reel and looked like little bits and pieces or possibly out-takes...
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Jack Theakston

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PostTue Apr 05, 2011 2:02 pm

Similarly the scene of Red Hair with Clara in the lily pond was one long take. It was actually a nice one showing how skilled she was in communicating a whole sequence of emotions and thoughts with just her face. But wouldn't the finished sequence have been broken up with some titles and reaction shots of the guy?


I was under the impression from previous screenings that this reel was actually a test reel, not footage from the film.

Another odd point—Howard Estabrook's name is on the slate during the Technicolor footage, but he had nothing to do with the production. What gives?
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PostTue Apr 05, 2011 7:14 pm

George O'Brien wrote:The clip of "The Way of All Flesh"(1927) was not the clip I saw a few years back at the Film Forum in NYC. That clip began with a policeman about to arrest Jannings for peering through a window, and the policeman's knocking on the son's door. What followed was similar to what you see in "Fragments", but there were differences, for instance, there was no title card about inviting Jannings in for coffee.

I know there were often differences between the American and the European releases of a film, and that individual exhibitors sometimes cut pieces out of a film. But it's interesting to reflect that there are two fragments of this final scene out there. The Film Forum noted in its write up for the screening that the clip came from a private collector. Unlike sad old Froggy's claims this apparently was true.

I've seen the "Miracle Man' clip before. For the sake of authenticity, I wonder why the Flicker Alley creators of this documentary didn't simply run it and the "Way of All Flesh" clip silently, i.e. without the distracting late 1930's male narrating?


Of all the clips I saw, the two from The Way Of All Flesh affected me the most. I really felt sad over the loss of this film. :cry:

I'm guessing the clip from the 1930's was chosen because, it would perhaps help viewers understand more about the film and Janning's performance..... :?:
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Gene Zonarich

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PostTue Apr 05, 2011 8:00 pm

Sorry to be a little late posting reactions to the Fragments presentation, but I thought it was outstanding overall, with so many interesting segments and compelling moments. Just my hightlights:

I've never been a Colleen Moore fan, but after watching these clips, I'll be damned if I know why not? She's one of the most attractive performers -- beautiful but not in a shallow "drop-dead gorgeous" way, but with the way she draws you in to her performance, her character -- and these were just outtakes and fragments!

I only have one, Colleen Moore film, "The Busher," which I only watched part of after recording it years ago on TCM.
Any RECOMMENDATIONS from Colleen aficionados? I know you're out there . .

The Baby Peggy sequence was just incredible listening to her interview, I thought it was likely that she didn't really remember it and was exaggerating the danger in the fire shoot -- QUITE the opposite! It looked even more dangerous and nearly insane than she led you to believe -- couldn't be done by child today, of course, what with CGI and child endangerment concerns . . . The Emil Jannings -- incredible what we have lost -- I think David Thomson is quite wrong about Jannings. Not over-the-top at all.

Funniest moment, for me anyway -- at end of one segment with trailers of lost films -- "Polly of the Follies" I thought "that sounds awfully familiar" for a lost film with only a trailer surviving:

Then I remembered I snagged this on Ebay a few weeks ago:

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