Category: Silent Cinema


A very good friend of mine who is just as passionate about the movies as I am will be showing the iconic 007 film. Once again we are introduced to, “Bond, James Bond.” Goldfinger celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and I can think of no better location than the lavish Pickwick Theater in historic downtown Park Ridge Illinois.

 

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When you step up to the ticket office you will be greeted by a Bond girl in gold who won’t ask for your soul or your virtue but the price of admission. Inside more dazzling beauties in gold will be on hand to help you.

 

Special treats include many props from the film and special guest Colin Clark from the Ian Fleming Foundation. There will be much to see and tell upon your return home. Please step out on the 18th of September and see Goldfinger with us.

 

To hear what was discussed in association with the showing of this film at the Pickwick, please click HERE.

 

What:

Goldfinger starring Sean Connery (1964)

 

Where:

The Pickwick Theater

5 S. Prospect Ave, Park Ridge, IL 60068

 

When:

September 18th, 2014

Live Organ music by Famed Organist Jay Warren at 7 PM

Goldfinger at 7:30 PM

Be sure to come early and bring your camera to have your picture taken with a Bond girl.

 

Why:

The 50th Anniversary

As if we needed an excuse!

 

Price:

$7 Adults

$5 Seniors

Please check back in with us to learn what other movies and surprises we have in store for you.

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Her name was Betty Joan Perske but the world will remember her as Lauren Bacall. She was born September 16, 1924 in the Bronx section of New York. Like many young girls she dreamed of her name in giant letters across the marquis of Broadway. To help that dream come true she studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. It helped and she found herself performing on Broadway in minor rolls but she didn’t make it to the top.

To keep money coming in she exchanged lines on a script for curves in magazines and became a model. She had the looks and she used them well. Her big break came in March 1943 when her picture graced the glossy cover of Harper’s Bazaar. Mrs. Howard Hawks took one look at the woman and showed her husband. Her Hollywood producer-director husband agreed and in one month Bacall had a seven year contract from Warner Brother’s in her hot little hand.

Perhaps the studio sensed something but either way their pairing her with leading man Humphrey Bogart yielded pure magic in her screen debut, To Have and Have Not. The two were fire on the silver screen and the now famous and much quoted line, “If you want anything, all you have to do is whistle,” spelled it out. Her line, “It’s even better when you help,” to a returned kiss from Bogart informed viewers that they were witnesses to much more than film simply rolling from one reel to another.

The true reality was the 19-year-old Bacall and the 45-year-old Bogart were falling in love during the film’s shooting. By the following year they were married and together they would make three more films together. Each with a slightly different tone but each with the same smoky come hither look from Bacall that would earn her the name, “The Look.”

Over the years she made more movies but they were sporadic as the studio presented her with parts and pictures she refused to do. Eventually Warner Brother’s suspended and fined her. From there she moved on to 20th Century Fox and other studios. During the 50’s her career was in a slump but always Bogart stood beside her, loving and encouraging. She became content with simply being a supportive wife and caring for their two children, Stephen and Leslie. When he diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 1956 she devoted herself completely to him. He died the following year and for a time she went into depression.

She remarried in1961 to Jason Robards, Jr. and together they had a son (actor Sam Robards.) Unlike her marriage to Bogart, which was complicated but good, her marriage to Robards was stormy. No longer able to deal with Robards’ violent behavior when drunk she left and they were divorced in 1969.

At the end of the 60’s she returned to Broadway where she appeared in the successfully received play Cactus Flower. Then in 1970 her youthful dream came to fruition in the form of a play entitled Applause (a musical remake of the film All About Eve) for which she won the Tony. After an eight-year absence from the movies she returned in 1974 but she didn’t give up on appearing in plays. In 1981 she had another hit when the play, Woman of the Year, rose to the top. In movies she found another triumph when she was nominated for the first time for best supporting actress in the 1996 film The Mirror Has Two Faces. In 2009 she received an honorary academy award.

Miss Bacall made her last film in 2012. She died of old age 35 days before her 90th birthday on August 12, 2014.

 

A List of Her Most Memorable Rolls:

 

  • To Have and Have Not (1944)
  • Confidential Agent (1945)
  • The Big Sleep (1946)
  • Dark Passage (1947)
  • Key Largo (1948)
  • The Shootist (1976)
  • The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) – Academy Award Nomination (Best Supporting Actress)
  • The Forger (2012)

 

Sources:

The Film Encyclopedia by Ephraim Katz 4th Edition Ó 2001 Bacall, Lauren, pg. 73

Chicago Tribune Wednesday August 14, 2014, Section 1, Page 14

Chicago Tribune Thursday August 15, 2014, Section 4, Page 1,6

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Charlie Chaplin was the Tramp, befriender of small dogs and helpless children. Charlie’s real life beginning wasn’t that much different from the characters he helped and portrayed. His own parents separated when he was one and at the age of five he and his nine year old half brother Sydney found themselves on the streets of London dancing for their food. Their mother was in the midst of a nervous breakdown and their father had just died. In time they found their way into an orphanage and then on the road with a child troupe of dancers.

Eventually the sun began to shine and the brothers got steadier work. Charlie found himself traveling abroad and in December of 1913 he was signed by Max Sennett to make movies for Sennett’s Keystone comedies. In a year’s time Charlie made 35 films and learned he could not only act in his films but that he could also write and direct them himself.

When he moved to Essanay in 1915 he was able to demand and get $1,250 a week and a bonus of $10,000. This up from the $175 he’d earned at Keystone while he learned the craft. It was here at Essanay that the complete transformation of The Tramp came about. In 1916 he moved to Mutual. Now his salary was $10,000 a week with a signing bonus of $150,000. His contract required him to make 12 films a year and for this he was to have complete creative control. Ever moving forward, Charlie went on to First National in 1918. He was to make 8 two-reelers and be paid over $1,000,000. Next he partnered with his friends Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith to open United Artists Corporation. He was now his own boss in every right.

When silent movies came to an end, Charlie ignored it and continued to make silent pictures. Always they were box office hits. Reluctantly he began to make talkies but there often were years between them. He made his last film in 1967, a span of 54 years. In 1972 he was awarded a special Academy Award for “the incalculable effect he has had on making motion pictures the art form of this century.” He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1975.

A List of His Most Memorable Rolls:
The Tramp (1915)
Shoulder Arms (1918)
The Kid (1921)
The Gold Rush (1925)
The Circus (1928*)
City Lights (1931) – Silent
Modern Times (1936) – Silent
The Great Dictator (1940) – Talk

* Special Oscar for versatility & genius (writing, acting, directing & producing)

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

108 - T Lloyd Safety Last Tally's Broadway Theatre below 2 crpThe image of Harold Lloyd hanging desperately from the hands of a skyscraper clock during Safety Last! (1923) is one of the great icons of film history.  Using maps, aerial views, and vintage photographs, my book Silent Visions shows how Harold filmed each of his five stunt-climbing comedies within the downtown Los Angeles Historic Core, while documenting the burgeoning urban skyline as it appears in the background of his films. [Note: I will be introducing Safety Last! on June 25, 2016 at the Orpheum Theater as part of the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats.]

The slides below show how the many Safety Last! stunts were created, and may be downloaded further below as a 14 MB PowerPoint presentation.  You can also access a self-guided walking tour of the downtown locations appearing in Safety Last!, Never Weaken, and Feet First. (In all Lloyd employed 17 downtown buildings during…

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Clara Bow

Clara Bow was a flapper who knew how to get what she wanted.

What is It? It, is a sparkling personality. It, is a twinkle to the eye and enough energy to light up a city. Clara Bow was the, “It” girl. She had it all and more.

Clara’s life started in Brooklyn, New York where she lived day to day wondering where the next meal would come from. Her father was a waiter in Coney Island and her mother’s health was unstable. As a teen she read movie magazine’s and dreamed of leaving her poverty ridden home for the streets paved of gold.

Her dream became reality when at the age of 16 she entered a movie-fan magazine’s beauty contest and won. Her prize was a bit part in a movie. That was all she needed. One small role led to another and when the independent producer B. P. Schulberg went back to work for Paramount, Bow went with him.

Paramount’s publicity department took one look at the raven-haired twenty-year-old and began molding her into a star. Her hair was bobbed. Her lips were formed into the popular cupid bows and her seeming boundless energy set her on the road to success.

1927 was her best year. The movie It, made her a household name and Wings took the first Academy Award for Best Picture. Clara Bow had arrived. She was the “It” girl. She was the personality for rising stars to emulate.

Sadly her popularity began to wane with the advent of sound and in 1931, she married Rex Bell, a cowboy star. She left Hollywood behind to live on his ranch in Nevada. Bell became lieutenant governor of Nevada and Bow officially retired in 1933.

A List of Her Most Memorable Rolls:

Down to the Sea in Ships (1923)
Two Can Play (1926)
It (1927)
Children of Divorce (1927)
Wings (1927)

Lon Chaney Sr.

Lon Chaney’s life started out unlike any other actors. Born to deaf-mute parents he soon learned the value of pantomime, a skill that would earn him a special place in Hollywood history. Being teased by children at school hardened him to the true nature of a sometimes cruel world and allowed him to later become an actor with a weird sense of humor and a strong bend toward realism.

Coming to Hollywood and struggling with getting a job as an extra he soon learned how the studios worked. They set out a board that day with the types of people they needed. From those waiting to be cast as extras they choose people who best looked like the character.

One day they would be looking for a man with a scar down his face. Chaney noticed several in the group and the one with the most livid scar was taken. The next day the studio wanted a man with one leg, another a man with a patch. They wanted elderly men, men with tattoos and other marks. Whatever the script called for, the call-board asked for.

Chaney had become a master at makeup years earlier and he soon realized that what the studio was looking for he could transform himself into. Every morning he would read the board, sit down on the bench and proceed to make himself into that character. His transformation was so complete he began to get work regularly. The man hiring him had no idea that he was hiring the same man every day thanks to Chaney’s masterful makeup skills.

In time, MGM studio head, Irving Thalberg realized that the same man who had played a one legged pirate was the same man who’d had a gash down his cheek the week before. Appreciating Chaney’s strong acting talent as well as his magical skills with paint, putty and spirit gum, he signed Chaney to a full contract. There would be no more call lines and no more extra work. Chaney had become a star.

His work is a maze of strong drama, suspense and the macabre. He was a master of pantomime who knew how to give the audience everything he had. He was also a talented athlete who could contort his body into any position and make it seem natural for the character. He designed his own contraptions for each movie and brought a performance to the screen that has been unequaled.

A List of His Most Memorable Rolls:

The Penalty (1920)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)
He Who Gets Slapped (1924)
The Unholy Three (1925)
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928)

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