A BEC RESPONSE PLUS THREE MORE CINEVENT FILMS

Bec Responds

In a blog posted October 12 of last year (2012), I quoted the following brief remark from Rudolf Arnheim’s Film as Art:  “…the wide screen, finally, has gone a long way toward destroying the last pretenses of a meaningfully organized image.”  Reader BEC has written a thoughtful, provocative response which you can find with the original post (“Potpourri”) under the subheading”Something Else to Think About.”   (Search Arnheim.)

I would appreciate additional reponses to Arnheim and/or to BEC‘s rejoinder.  Thank you.

Three more films at CINEVENT 45 in Columbus, Ohio

               PICKFORD, LA ROQUE and TALLMADGE

Stella Maris
Marshall A. Neilan
screenplay Frances Marion, from the novel by Wm. J. Locke
1918

“Through makeup, costuming and hairstyling and Pickford’s acting, the two characters have appearances as different as their lives.”  I quote Mr. Haynes from the program notes of Cinevent 45, (p. 48) concerning the two characters portrayed by Mary Pickford: the gentle invalid paralyzed since childhood and the rough diamond of an orphan who within is as gentle as Stella Maris herself.

Even at only 80 minutes the film is too long and slow for its limited dramatic and emotional content.  But as long as Mary Pickford is on screen, it is alive.  The two roles make for a bravura performance from America’s Sweetheart.  Her talent is manifest in this actress’ showpiece; but Mary Pickford is ALWAYS this good.  Never condescend to Little Mary.  This was a great actress, one of the greatest in the history of film.

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Rick’s Journal (My Film Career) at CINEVENT

The Fighting Eagle
Donald Crisp
1927

My mother used to tell me about Rod La Roque.  She did not mention the skin-tight uniform that I detected remarks about while watching this pleasant costume fluff set in the Napoleonic era.  La Roque’s looks  undoubtedly were the secret of his success in the brief Hollywood era of Latin lovers, but he reveals talent and skill here as he makes his energetic way out of one scrape after another, boasting and strutting all the while.  In every frame he is perfectly attuned to the light tone and mood of this romantic comedy.  The story even plays Napoleon (Max Barwyn) for comedy. 

The art director is Mitchell Leisen.

The Social Secretary
John Emerson
1916

This silly, psychologically vulgar comedy about a young woman trying to find a secretarial job where her virtue will be safe does not have a single believable character or a single situation that can be likened to the human condition.  I did learn that I like Norma Tallmadge (the would-be secretary) a lot better than I like her sister.  And I did appreciate Von Stroheim in an over-the-top portrayal of a stalking gossip columnist.

NEXT POST Friday June 21, featuring more from CINEVENT.

See you at the movies,
Rick

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