Wednesday, January 12, 2022

365 Days: #12 Shooting Stars (1928)

Today's selection is a British silent film about actors in the movies. This is one I am seeing for the first time.

#12 Shooting Stars

Mae Feather and Julian Gordan are a husband and wife acting team who perform in films together, but Mae is knockin' boots with slapstick performer, Andy Wilks, on the side. When Julian discovers the affair, he threatens to divorce Mae. Realizing that a divorce will be in conflict with the contract she just signed, she decides to solve the problem by putting a live round into the prop gun that will be fired at him on set of the movie they are making. Unintended consequences ensue. 

"Only one more shot, Mae, and you're finished."

This is an amazing film! I love the use of light and shadow, as well as the framing of the shots. It's a great story with great acting, and feels ahead of its time. The score by John Altman on the Kino Classics disc is pleasing, but I didn't feel it set the appropriate tone for this movie. This is a silent film that would appeal to those who aren't enthusiasts of silent movies. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

365 Days: #11 Hollywood Story (1951)

I am continuing my adventure with movies in the movies and am revisiting Hollywood in the past again. This is a William Castle film inspired by the unsolved murder of director William Desmond Taylor in 1922.

#11 Hollywood Story

"A deserted motion picture studio. A shot. And a corpse. The year, 1929."

Producer, Larry O'Brien has come to Hollywood to make a movie. When his old pal, agent Mitch Davis, sets him up in an old silent movie studio, he becomes intrigued by the unsolved murder of film director, Franklin Ferrara. Against all advice, he decides to make a movie about the director's demise, and winds up a target of a murder plot. 

This is an entertaining murder mystery that gives us a glimpse of Hollywood's past, with brief cameos from silent film stars. Great performances and interesting location shots. 

Pointing out Valentino.

 Francis X. Bushman 

Betty Blythe and William Farnum 

 William FarnumHelen Gibson and Francis X. Bushman

Target practice.

Joel McCrea acts a scene with fictional Roland Paul.

Monday, January 10, 2022

365 Days: #10 Show People (1928)

I am returning to Hollywood in the silent era this evening. This is a movie I've enjoyed before and look forward to seeing again. 

#10 Show People

Seeing stars

Colonel Pepper has brought his daughter, Peggy, all the way from Georgia to Hollywood to become a star, and then he disappears for the rest of the movie. Peggy receives help getting started in slapstick movies by comedian, Billy Boone, and they become romantically involved. When Peggy is discovered by a major studio and gets a chance for stardom in drama, Billy is left behind. When success goes to her head and audiences subsequently tire of her, she eventually finds her way back to Billy. 

"To hopeful hundreds there is a golden spot on the map called--Hollywood."

This is a delightful, fun movie to watch. It's a real treat to see Hollywood locations in this movie, as well as early film stars. It was easy to see how Peggy didn't recognize Chaplin without his Tramp costume. If you're interested in seeing Hollywood in the past, or just want to have a refreshing, good time, check this one out. 

I wonder how she knew...

I was excited to see John Gilbert, too.

Her big break in show biz.

Charlie Chaplin asks for Peggy's autograph.

Marion Davies

Dorothy SebastianLouella ParsonsEstelle Taylor

 Claire WindsorAileen PringleKarl Dane

George K. ArthurLeatrice JoyRenée Adorée

 Rod La RocqueMae MurrayJohn Gilbert

 Norma TalmadgeDouglas FairbanksMarion Davies

 Douglas FairbanksMarion DaviesWilliam S. Hart

King Vidor and Marion Davies