Undercranking and Silent Film Acting

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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Jeff Crouse

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Undercranking and Silent Film Acting

PostWed Sep 18, 2013 10:04 pm

Click on the link below to listen to Ben Model's latest podcast in which he proves that silent film actors had to adjust the way they moved to compensate for the speed-up of silent film.

http://www.silentfilmmusicblog.com/2013 ... sy-of.html" target="_blank
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Gagman 66

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Re: Undercranking and Silent Film Acting

PostWed Sep 18, 2013 11:48 pm

:? OK, I'm just not following this. One, it pre-supposes that most film-makers flatly rejected Motor-Driven Camera's after 1925. Two, it would imply that actors actually worked at a much slower pace, rather then an accelerated one?
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Christopher Jacobs

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Re: Undercranking and Silent Film Acting

PostThu Sep 19, 2013 12:56 am

Gagman 66 wrote::? OK, I'm just not following this. One, it pre-supposes that most film-makers flatly rejected Motor-Driven Camera's after 1925. Two, it would imply that actors actually worked at a much slower pace, rather then an accelerated one?

:? OK, I'm not sure what your point is here? One -- The article makes no mention of motor-driven cameras. The frame-per-second rate on silent cameras was usually infinitely variable, whether hand-cranked or motor-driven (although I suspect that by 1929 very very few non-comedies were still shooting at 60 feet per minute and were more likely 75-85 feet per minute if not 90 feet per minute). Two -- you appear to be following the article perfectly. That is exactly what it implies, at least in the case of Milton Sills' performances and the veteran actors he was familiar with.
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Gagman 66

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Re: Undercranking and Silent Film Acting

PostThu Sep 19, 2013 1:29 am

:? I never inferred that the actors moved at an accelerated pace. But that is how things are inaccurately depicted in films like THE PERILS OF PAULINE (1947), and JEANNE EAGELS (1957). There are probably others as well.
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CoffeeDan

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Re: Undercranking and Silent Film Acting

PostThu Sep 19, 2013 1:31 am

Jesse Lasky says pretty much the same thing as Sills in his article for the 1929 Encyclopedia Britannica, under the more general topic of "Motion Pictures." Overall, the 1929 EB is a real gold mine of information for silent film fans. Lon Chaney even contributed an entry on movie make-up.
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Marilyn Slater

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Re: Undercranking and Silent Film Acting

PostFri Sep 20, 2013 4:29 pm

Thanks to a little chat between Ben Model and Richard Koszarski, we can understand Mabel Normand performance style a little more. http://looking-for-mabel.webs.com/1929brittanica.htm


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BenModel

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Re: Undercranking and Silent Film Acting

PostFri Sep 20, 2013 7:05 pm

I've experimented with this whole adjusted-movement thing, in some silent film tests I've shot working with clown performer friends. We'd shoot something on video, watch it sped-up, make adjustments to the movement -- slow down, add pauses,etc -- shoot again, watch it, repeat. By the 6th or 7th try, what we were doing looked like a 1920s silent film. Everything read fine, instead of just looking like footage that was running faster. It's the difference between Chester Conklin's performance in "Modern Times" and Paulette Goddard's.

I'd love to see Lasky's entry. Gotta get my hands on the whole volume of that '29 EB...

Ben
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Rick Lanham

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Re: Undercranking and Silent Film Acting

PostFri Sep 20, 2013 7:53 pm

BenModel wrote:
I'd love to see Lasky's entry. Gotta get my hands on the whole volume of that '29 EB...

Ben


Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th edition seems to be the one to look for, 1929-1933.

But a search on AbeBooks turned up some interesting collections of articles on theatre
and motion pictures. So, it is possible, just possible, that the desired article is in one of the
publications listed by this search:

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchR ... =t&x=0&y=0" target="_blank

If one of the books is at a location near your, you could take a look.

Rick
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BenModel

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Re: Undercranking and Silent Film Acting

PostFri Sep 20, 2013 9:21 pm

I understand the main branch of the NYPL has the EB's. Need to get down there. (I got the article by Sills via a recently-acquired Twitter follower who is an editor for EB, believe it or not.)

Ben
Sign up for my emails at silentfilmmusic.com and get an exclusive link to watch a rare comedy short
Undercrank Productions - rare silents on DVD/Blu available on Amazon
follow @silentfilmmusic on Twitter and on Instagram
Silent Film Music Podcast available on iTunes
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Brownie1

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Re: Undercranking and Silent Film Acting

PostSat Sep 21, 2013 9:58 am

very few silent movies are projected properly on tv. time is money (on tv) if you see them live you have a better chance.
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syd

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Re: Undercranking and Silent Film Acting

PostSat Sep 21, 2013 7:04 pm



Ben Model uses Buster Keaton's Cops
to explain undercranking and adjusted movement..

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