The Red Lily (1924) - News Poster

(1924)

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Cummings' Ten-Year Death Anniversary: From Minor Lloyd Leading Lady to Tony Award Winner (Revised and Expanded)

Constance Cummings: Actress in minor Hollywood movies became major London stage star. Constance Cummings: Actress went from Harold Lloyd and Frank Capra to Noël Coward and Eugene O'Neill Actress Constance Cummings, whose career spanned more than six decades on stage, in films, and on television in both the U.S. and the U.K., died ten years ago on Nov. 23. Unlike other Broadway imports such as Ann Harding, Katharine Hepburn, Miriam Hopkins, and Claudette Colbert, the pretty, elegant Cummings – who could have been turned into a less edgy Constance Bennett had she landed at Rko or Paramount instead of Columbia – never became a Hollywood star. In fact, her most acclaimed work, whether in films or – more frequently – on stage, was almost invariably found in British productions. That's most likely why the name Constance Cummings – despite the DVD availability of several of her best-received performances – is all but forgotten.
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The Birds, Inglourious Basterds Actor Taylor Dead at 84

Rod Taylor dead at 84: Actor best known for 'The Time Machine' and 'The Birds' Rod Taylor, best remembered for the early 1960s movies The Time Machine and The Birds, and for his supporting role as Winston Churchill in Quentin Tarantino's international hit Inglourious Basterds, has died. Taylor suffered a heart attack at his Los Angeles home earlier this morning (January 8, 2015). Born on January 11, 1930, in Sydney, he would have turned 85 on Sunday. Based on H.G. Wells' classic 1895 sci-fi novel, The Time Machine stars Rod Taylor as a H. George Wells, an inventor who comes up with an intricate chair that allows him to travel across time. (In the novel, the Victorian protagonist is referred to simply as the "Time Traveller.") After experiencing World War I and World War II, Wells decides to fast forward to the distant future, ultimately arriving at a place where humankind has been split
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Sexy Garbo, Wrathful Censors, the End of Stardom, and Brutal Murder: Novarro

Ramon Novarro and Greta Garbo in ‘Mata Hari’: The wrath of the censors (See previous post: "Ramon Novarro in One of the Best Silent Movies.") George Fitzmaurice’s romantic spy melodrama Mata Hari (1931) was well received by critics and enthusiastically embraced by moviegoers. The Greta Garbo / Ramon Novarro combo — the first time Novarro took second billing since becoming a star — turned Mata Hari into a major worldwide blockbuster, with $2.22 million in worldwide rentals. The film became Garbo’s biggest international success to date, and Novarro’s highest-grossing picture after Ben-Hur. (Photo: Ramon Novarro and Greta Garbo in Mata Hari.) Among MGM’s 1932 releases — Mata Hari opened on December 31, 1931 — only W.S. Van Dyke’s Tarzan, the Ape Man, featuring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan, and Edmund Goulding’s all-star Best Picture Academy Award winner Grand Hotel (also with Garbo, in addition to Joan Crawford, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, and
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Silent Actor Displays His Vocal Skills on TCM

Ramon Novarro: Silent movie star proves he can talk and sing (See previous post: "Ramon Novarro: Mexican-Born Actor Was First Latin American Hollywood Superstar.") On Ramon Novarro Day, Turner Classic Movies’ first Novarro movie is Rex Ingram’s The Prisoner of Zenda (1922), a stately version of Edward Rose’s play, itself based on Anthony Hope’s 1897 novel: in the Central European kingdom of Ruritania, a traveling Englishman takes the place of the kidnapped local king-to-be-crowned. A pre-Judge Hardy Lewis Stone has the double role, while Novarro plays the scheming Rupert of Hentzau. (Photo: Ramon Novarro ca. 1922.) Despite his stage training, Stone is as interesting to watch as a beach pebble; Novarro, for his part, has a good time hamming it up in his first major break — courtesy of director Rex Ingram, then looking for a replacement for Rudolph Valentino, with whom he’d had a serious falling out
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Ramon Novarro's The Red Lily, Pedro Infante's Las Mujeres De Mi General on TCM

Ramon Novarro, Enid Bennett, The Red Lily Early Mexican-born screen heartthrob Ramon Novarro is back on Turner Classic Movies this evening with a presentation of Fred Niblo's silent melodrama The Red Lily (1924). That will be followed by another Ismael Rodríguez effort, Las mujeres de mi general ("The Women of My General"), a 1951 starring Mexican icon Pedro Infante as a rebel general torn between two women, as TCM continues its celebration of 100 years of the start of the Mexican Revolution (which coincides with Hispanic Heritage Month). The Red Lily isn't one of Novarro's best silent films. Both in terms of style and plot, it's quite dated. In fact, it probably felt dated even back in 1924. Historically, The Red Lily is important merely as the the second time Novarro worked with director Fred Niblo, who would guide him the following year in the monumental Ben-Hur, and as Novarro's first effort [...]
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