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Touching dramatic tragedy about old age and death, from England.
An elderly man is lonely thinking of his late wife and their son born so long ago. Flashback to a happy young couple holding a baby. Years pass by and they share a letter from the youth announcing his graduation and wanting to serve "King and Country." More years pass and the older couple in front of a fireplace morn the loss of their son (the mother kisses the medal that was sent to them after their son's death) stating they gave their best to England and the wife says that someday they will join him on the other side. Back to present day and the old man has fallen asleep when his wife's ghost appears next to his bed and his spirit rises out of his now dead body to embrace her once more. Film opens and closes with the lyrics from the song "Old Pal (Why Don't You Answer Me?)" -1920. LS 11/9/2016 (print viewed).
Film opens and closes with the following lyrics on title cards.
OLD PAL (Why Don't You Answer Me) (Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young / M.K. Jerome, 1920)
(1st card) Old pal old gal, You left me all alone; Old pal old gal, I'm just a rolling stone. Shadows that come stealing, Thru the weary night; Always find me kneeling, In the candle light.
(last card) Old pal, old gal, The nights are long and drear; Old pal old gal, Each day seems like a year. No one left to meet me, After all I've toiled; No one here to greet me, It's an empty world.
(2nd card) The long night through I pray to you, Old pal why don't you answer me? My arms embrace an empty space, The arms that held you tenderly. If you can hear my pray'r away up there; Old pal why don't you answer me?
Fair Week (1924)
Walter Heirs comedy, with only a few minutes of film surviving so far...
"Sure Thing" Sherman (Earl Metcalffe), masquerading as an evangelist, and Isadore Kelly (Knute Erickson) arrive in Rome, Missouri, during the county fair, intending to rob the bank while fellow conspirator Madame Le Grande (Carmen Phillips) performs her balloon stunt. Their scheme is upset by rotund village jack-of-all-trades Slim Swasey (Walter Hiers), and he wins Ollie Remus (Constance Wilson), who was on the verge of eloping with Sherman. It develops that Tinkle (Mary Jane Irving), a child whom Slim has found and cared for, is the daughter of Madame Le Grande. If you don't know Walter Heirs, let me tell you a little about this man. Walter Hiers (July 18, 1893 Cordele, Georgia February 27, 1933 Los Angeles, California) was an American silent film actor who died from pneumonia in 1933, aged 39. During his two decade-long acting career, spanning from 1912 to 1932, he starred in 101 films. He was a particularly prolific actor who could star in over 10 films a year. He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
Mr. Jack Inspects Paris (1916)
Rare early Vitagraph comedy is part of a series starring Frank Daniels as Mr. Jack.
Dr. Paul Renard receives a telegram that his uncle Jack is coming to Paris inspect his business. Uncle Jack arrives early and meets a beautiful young woman, Fifi. The doctor eager to impress his uncle goes out on the street and hires strangers to play patients to look more successful. Unbeknownst to the doctor one of the strangers he hires is his uncle! Later after the uncle fails to arrive at the doctors office filled with phony patients the uncle over hears his nephew talking and becomes heart broken when he realizes the phony business. Jack then leaves to find Fifi to tell her what happened and find comfort from her. While alone with her in her apartment telling his story a noise is heard and shes advises Jack to hide as it's her husband... while hiding Jack peeks out to recognize that her husband is his nephew the doctor! Jack produces a letter from the nephew to prove who he is... film abruptly ends.
A Tragedy of the North Woods (1914)
Rare Domino Film melodrama of Canadian murder and Mountie Inspectors search for truth.
The Domino Film company only made films for 2-3 years before going under. This rare melodrama made and distributed by that company was directed by and stars Walter Edwards who plays Burke a widower trying to raise his pretty young daughter Hilda (Rhea Mitchell) on his own. The 35mm nitrate print I saw was missing the opening titles and started in the middle of introducing the characters. The first surviving scene is of a man telling a group of men in a log cabin bar of the dead body of Mackenzie (Harry Keenan) a "factor" (property manager) and the listeners are happy to hear the news as he was a hated man. As the news gets back to the home office a telegram is dispatched to Canadian North West Mounted Police Inspector Sergeant Tom Allen (Tom Chatterton) to go and search for the murderer. Upon his arrival he searches the woods wear the body was found and discovers two empty bullet casings which he takes for evidence. He then talks with the story tellers at the bar and quietly compares the caliber of a rifle and bullets found there, no match. He looks thru the murder man's belongings and discovers a picture of a beautiful woman that looks very similar to Hilda the daughter of Burke... reel 2 - The Sergeant confronts Burke who also has a larger picture in his home of the same beautiful woman. Burke decides to fill in the back story. In flashback we see that Burkes wife ran away with Mackenzie when Hilda was just a baby and soon abandoned her. She soon became ill and sent for her husband but died before he arrived. Many years later, Burke is given the job of assistant to Mackenzie who does not recognize him or that daughter. Burke then tricks Mackenzie out into the woods and challenges him to a duel of sorts and kills him. At the end of the story, Sergeant Tom writes out and telegram and hands it to Burke showing him the inspector found no evidence of a crime.
Dipsy Gypsy (1941)
George Pal had a colorful imagination!
This is the second of the series of shorts made for Paramount by George Pal. Reel is not only novel and amusing, but is in handsome Technicolor. Old and young will enjoy the little story of the lad, Jim Dandy, who, walking a sylvan trail with his dog, meets pretty Ninya, the gypsy girl. Infatuated with her, he fellows her to the camp where her fierce father, is in both meanings of the term,the "leader" of the gypsy band. Jim is given an opportunity to play a fiddle, which he does in hot swing style, and wins the girl's heart and hand. Music, conducted by Andre Kostelanetz, is excellently arranged and rendered. Footage is done in the George Pal technique. All around, it is a neat short.
Bravo, Mr. Strauss (1943)
George Pal is amazing!
The film opens with a view of Austria and then it focuses on a statue of Mr. Strauss. The Screwball Army is overunning everything with their goosestepping screwball infantry, tanks and glass planes. This outrages the spirit of Mr. Strauss, who then brings the statue to life. He pulls out his violin, counts "vun, two, three, vun, two, three," and launches into the Radetzky Marche. The screwballs are unable to resist a good march and get into parade formation. He promptly marches them into bogs, swamps and mud, and down they go. He them returns to his place as a statue and the film ends. Here are some more facts: Puppetoons Theatrical Cartoon Series Stop-motion Animation Paramount Pictures Distributed by: Paramount Pictures Cartoon Characters: Mr. Strauss, Soldiers. Voice Actors: Victor Jory, Rex Ingram. Directed By George Pal. Produced By George Pal. Originally Released on February 26, 1943. Originally Released Theatrically. TechniColor!
White Pants Willie (1927)
Good Johnny Hines comedy, with spunk, action and daring do!
Even though he works in a garage and is bullied by his boss, Mock Epply (Walter Long), Willie Bascom (Johnny Hines) sports a pair of fashionable white trousers that get him into considerable difficulty. Willie meets Helen Charters (Leila Hyams), daughter of a wealthy manufacturer, when they stop on their way to a Palm Springs resort. Charters takes an interest in a magnetic bumper device invented by Willie, who gets an opportunity to deliver a fancy car to the resort, dressed in his white pants and with Wong (George Kuwa), a Chinese laundryman, pretending to be his chauffeur. Willie is mistaken for a crack polo player, and by bluffing he manages to win a polo game, the admiration of Helen, and Charters' support in promoting his invention. The ending banquet at a giant round table has all the guests sitting on hobby-horses to eat their dinner from and that rotates around the table complete with Busby Berkeley like overhead camera shots! Writer Hal Ericson said this about Hines, "Actor Johnny Hines entered films as a juvenile in 1913. After taking classes at CCNY, Hines launched his leading-man career as star of the "Torchy" short subject series in 1920. Throughout the 1920s, he headlined such breezy, popular feature comedies as Little Johnny Jones (1923), Conductor 1492 (1924), The Speed Spook (1924) and The Crackerjack (1925). He also wrote or co- wrote most of his vehicles. Described by one historian as the "Jack Lemmon of the silents," Hines wasn't quite as versatile as Lemmon, but his likeably extroverted screen personality was very much in the same vein. When talkies came in, Johnny Hines' starring career abruptly ended; he continued showing up in small character roles in films like Too Hot to Handle before retiring in the early 1940s."
Found at 2016 Mostly Lost film festival, Library of Congress, Packard Campus.
These are the notes from the program booklet before the film was identified:
"A daredevil flyer, David, flirts with the waitress in a café, Mary. The villain enters and sees the two flirting. A little boy, Billy, accidentally takes off in an un-maned biplane which leads to the hero taking off in the villain's plane, jumping to the boy's plane and saving the day. The villain's plane crashes in the rescue and while he claims to be alright with it, he calls the authorities to report that there has been a hold-up and that David has the $5,000 in cash. David gets arrested and Mr. Rogers also has Billy picked up by welfare workers."
Note, the dog (hero) also fights with the villain.
The Fighter (1921)
Based on the novel The Fighter by Albert Payson Terhune (New York, 1909).
Following the death of her father, Dey Shevlin becomes the ward of Caleb Conover, a railroad president. His enemy Jimmy Blacardo induces a country club's officials to challenge his right to membership in the organization; Dey persuades him to fight back, and he defeats his accusers. Newspapers then reveal a scandal involving the late Tom Shevlin's shady dealings, and though Conover takes the blame, Dey accuses him of using her father as a shield. In a mountain retreat, she discovers the truth from Caine, and Conover comes to her declaring his love, then returns to fight his enemies. When he hears later that Dey has drowned in a canoe accident, Conover banishes the doctor from the room and restores the girl by mental effort. He returns to the city on a locomotive that falls through a burning bridge, but he survives to triumph over his enemies.
Amore tra le rovine (2015)
A 90-year old film is meticulously restored for audiences of today with a story as relevant for today's viewers as it was nearly a century ago.
"In 2012, a 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck northern Italy, including the city of Ferrara. The quake caused significant damage to the region's historic buildings and heritage sites. A cracked wall in Ferrara's municipal building revealed a hidden treasurecans of old film. Could this be the long lost silent film made by the legendary Lumini brothers of Ferrara in the early 1920s? "Love Among the Ruins" is about the miraculous discovery of the long lost silent film and the intriguing speculation of its fateall of which are explored by the filmmaker through interviews with some of the world's top film historians, archivists, critics and professors. Can the deteriorated film be repaired so that new audiences around the world can watch the moving story of two lovers caught in the events of World War I?"
"Love Among the Ruins (Amore tra le rovine) is a spoof about the miraculous discovery and restoration of a long lost Italian silent film. It is written and directed by Massimo Ali Mohammad, an Italian filmmaker who lives and works in Ferrara. The film is produced by Meyerhar Productions of Seattle.
Love Among the Ruins connects the curiosity of a contemporary filmmaker with the genius of the Lumini brothers, two cinematic icons almost overlooked in the history of cinema. Beyond speculation by film historians, critics and a family member revealed in the first "documentary" part of the film, Love Among the Ruins offers a complete silent film as if restored from the 1920s and with a newly commissioned musical score. More than a parody, the film celebrates the joy of discovering lost art, a rich tradition of filmmaking in Italy, and how a young filmmaker with his first feature film recreates the artistry of silent film."