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Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
John Gilbert's was in fine voice in Redemption, although the film itself was badly edited (particularly the opening scene of gypsies in a park) and more than a little morbid. It seems that MGM tries to undermine Gilbert by spreading negative rumors about his voice in hopes of getting out of their contract with them, which bound them to pay him ten (10) times per picture what he earned when Greta Garbo insisted that he be her co-star, after his MGM contract had ended, in 1933's Queen Christina.
And if anyone doubts that Louis B. Mayer had it in for Gilbert, just listen to the interview on this subject given years later by Hollywood Director King Vidor. And note that rather than putting both Garbo's and Gilbert's names above the title in Queen Christina, as had been done with their successful silent films, only Garbo was listed above the title. And their publicity for the film (eg its Posters) did not even list Gilbert among the cast.
In fact, Gilbert had a fine and interesting voice, which was perhaps too elegant and less casual than it might have been. His voice was deeper and more resonant than a number of the stars making their first sound films in 1929-30, eg. Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Jr. and especially Charles Farrell, who truly had a high tenor voice, but nonetheless acted in Hollywood into the 1950s. Most comparable was Robert Montgomery's voice, which although a bit higher than Gilbert's was more casual.
Happily for us, John Gilbert made a total of 11 sound films and I particularly recommend The Phantom of Paris (1931), Downstairs (1932), Queen Christina (1933) and The Captain Hates the Sea (1934).
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