While out riding in the country, wealthy New Yorker Alec Walker meets young widow Julie Eden, and a relationship quickly develops. However, Alec has not told her that he is already locked ... See full summary »
Charming Sinners is a 1929 American drama film directed by Robert Milton and written by W. Somerset Maugham and Doris Anderson. The film stars Ruth Chatterton, Clive Brook, Mary Nolan, ... See full summary »
"Feel My Pulse" is a wonderful film that gives a feel for how people must have enjoyed the "moving pictures" in the earliest years of filmdom. Production and technical qualities were quite crude. Some labs and film preservation groups have been restoring films from that period. Often times that includes digital enhancements and improvements that render films clearer and crisper than some may have appeared on original showing. The DVD I bought of "Feel My Pulse" is not one of those. But for the lower quality, I would have rated this film even higher.
This is one of the best of the full-length silent feature films that had a plot. It has a crazy plot, and is very funny. Without sound, of course, the humor has to be carried even more strongly by the story lines projected on the film, and by the acting of the cast. Some modern movie fans are quick to chide early cinema for its over-acting. But, the physical expressions and gestures were how the humor and drama were conveyed, thus the varying degrees of them. This is a wonderful film that shows very well how that was done. It's as amusing to me today as it must have been to audiences nearly a century ago.
Bebe Daniels plays Barbara Manning, Richard Arlen is Wallace Roberts, William Powel plays Phil Todd, and a hilarious character by the name of Thirsty McGulp is played by Heinie Conklin. Powell was a seasoned actor already in the silent era, and his character here is a real hoot. The cast are all quite good.
Here's a sample of the scripted humor. Roberts drives Miss Manning to the sanitarium over a very bad road. She is bounced all over the back seat. When they get to the sanitarium, she gives him a piece of her mind. The film script reads, "If you were a doctor, I could show you bruises that would astound the medical world."
I enjoy reading about actors who were before my time. Bebe Daniels is one who also lived well into my time. Daniels was just two years younger than Gloria Swanson when she appeared in her first full length feature film, "Male and Female" in 1919. It was the start of the last decade of the silent film era. Bebe's film career shot up just as fast as Swanson's from then on. She had made dozens of shorts since childhood, but now she was set in a film career that included a range of roles from comedy, romance, crime, mystery and adventure, to drama, war and western films. Of course, until 1929, these were all silent films. She was one actress who made a successful move to sound films. She was very talented as a singer, dancer, writer and producer.
Daniels has many films to her credit, but left Hollywood and filmdom behind in the late 1930s. She married actor Ben Lyon, and the two performed for years in London. Ben served in the U.S. Army Air Force and was in charge of Special Services in England during World War II. The couple had a long-running radio show on BBC that was popular with the Americans serving in England. It was called "Hi, Gang!" After a short return to Hollywood in 1946, they went back to England and did another long-running popular radio show, "Life with the Lyons." The Lyons made their last film together in 1955. It was a British comedy take off from their radio show, "The Lyons Abroad," and their son and daughter were in the film as well.
The couple was married 40 years until Bebe's death at age 70 in 1971. She had suffered strokes in the early 1960s. The IMDb trivia section has an item that particularly interested me. Bebe had a second cousin, Lee De Forest, who was a prolific American inventor and early pioneer of radio. According to the entry, De Forest visited the set of Bebe's 1929 movie, "Rio Rita," and lent his technical skills to improving the sound quality of that and other films to follow.
This is a silent film well worth having in a movie collection. I think it's one worth restoring and making into digital.
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