Tag Archives: Talkies

Clarence Brown’s Legacy in Films

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Brown and Jarman Jr. on the set of The Yearling,Courtesy of Claude Jarman Jr.

Though he crafted films that garnered thirty-eight Academy Award nominations, Brown is not as well remembered as many of his contemporaries. Historian Gwenda Young hopes to change that with the publication of Clarence Brown: Hollywood’s Forgotten Master, the first full-length biography of the seminal director. She recounts his upbringing as the son of hardworking Irish immigrants, as well as his work with stars such as Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, and Mary Pickford, which created his reputation for introducing new discoveries as well as revitalizing fading careers. Throughout his long tenure behind the camera, Brown defied expectations to create a lasting body of work that spanned Hollywood’s silent and golden eras.

Over the course of a five decade–long career, Brown directed numerous films that have stood the test of time—The Last of the Mohicans (1920), Anna Christie (1930), Anna Karenina (1935), The Human Comedy (1943), National Velvet (1944), The Yearling (1946), and Intruder in the Dust (1949), among others. Here, we have given you a look into a selection of Brown’s “starmaker” credits, of which have been remembered for defining Hollywood for decades.


The Great Redeemer, Maurice Tourneur Productions, 1920

The Last of the Mohicans, Maurice Tourneur Productions, 1920

The Foolish Matrons, Maurice Tourneur Productions, 1921

The Light In the Dark (short), Vitagraph Company of America, 1922

Don’t Marry for Money, Weber & North Productions, 1923

The Acquittal, Universal Pictures,1923

The Signal Tower, Universal Pictures, 1924

Butterfly, Universal Pictures, 1924

Anna Christie

Anna Christie, MGM, 1930

Smouldering Fires, Universal Pictures, 1925

The Goose Woman, Universal Pictures, 1925

The Eagle, Art Finance Corporation, 1925

Kiki, Norma Talmadge Film Corporation, 1926

Flesh and the Devil, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), 1926

The Trail of ’98, MGM, 1928

The Cossacks (uncredited), MGM, 1928

A Woman of Affairs, MGM, 1928

Wonder of Women, MGM, 1929

Navy Blues, MGM, 1929

Romance (uncredited), MGM, 1930

Inspiration, MGM, 1931

A Free Soul, MGM, 1931

Possessed (uncredited), MGM, 1931

 

 


National Velvet

National Velvet, MGM, 1944

 

Emma, MGM, 1932

Letty Lynton, MGM, 1932

The Son-Daughter, MGM, 1932

Looking Forward, MGM, 1933

Night Flight, MGM, 1933

Chained, MGM, 1934

Anna Karenina, MGM, 1935

Ah Wilderness!, MGM, 1935

Wife vs. Secretary, MGM, 1936

The Gorgeous Hussy, MGM, 1936

Conquest, MGM, 1937

Of Human Hearts, MGM, 1938

Idiot’s Delight, MGM, 1939

The Rains Came, Twentieth Century Fox, 1939

Edison, the Man, MGM, 1940

Come Live with Me, MGM, 1941

The Met in Bombay, MGM, 1941

Sadie McKee

Sadie McKee, MGM, 1934

The Human Comedy, MGM, 1943

The White Cliffs of Dover,MGM, 1944

The Yearling, MGM, 1946

Song of Love, MGM, 1947

To Please a Lady, MGM, 1950

The Schumann Story (short), MGM, 1950

It’s a Big Country: An American Anthology, MGM, 1951

When in Rome, MGM, 1952

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Pola Negri, Femme Fatale

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Pola Negri was a poor child, playing in the streets of Warsaw, when two singers from the Polish Imperial Opera encouraged her to try out for the Imperial Ballet. Her natural grace and elegance won her the role and she danced for many years. From there, under the influence of the work of poet Ada Negri, she took the name Negri and auditioned and became a part of the drama academy under the same Imperial Theater. Her first film was called in English Slave to Her Senses (1914) and was the first feature film made in Poland. From Poland came the news of Negri’s talent and soon production companies in Germany and later in Hollywood, wanted her in their films. Her most famous works were Madame DuBarry (1919), The Woman He Scorned (1929), and A Woman Commands (1932).

 

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Above(left) : Pola Negri in Madame DuBarry
Above (right): An American advertisement for the movie featuring the same scene

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A movie poster for A Woman Commands

 

Negri was also famous for her celebrity lovers, including Charlie Chaplin, Rod La Rocque, and Rudolph Valentino.

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Above: Pola Negri and Charlie Chaplin

 

From stage to silver screen, she was beloved for her talent and beauty. For more about Negri’s life, films, and loves, pick up a copy of Pola Negri: Hollywood’s First Femme Fatale by Mariusz Kotowski, chief executive officer of Bright Shining City Productions.

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When the Talkies Came to Town

mary-pickford-poor-little-rich-girl-19171929 was a year of transition for the Academy Awards. After the First Academy Awards ceremony honored The Jazz Singer, the film that revolutionized the previously silent-film-dominated industry, the Awards turned its attention to talkies in its second season. Silent film stars like Mary Pickford, confronted with these new films and the new women many of them featured, attempted to hold out, keeping their hair long for fear of alienating their fan bases. Yet Hollywood had already declared these old-fashioned girls passe and embraced bobbed actresses who epitomized the flapper, such as Colleen Moore, Clara Bow, and Joan Crawford.

excerpted from Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies by Christel Schmidt

“In Coquette (1929), Pickford’s onscreen persona–cultivated by the actress for two decades–was completely transformed. Gone were her trademark curls, and with them the illusion of youth they had helped create. Her stylish new bob revealed a mature woman, now in her late thirties, who suddenly seemed too old to play the modern girl. Gingham frocks and tattered dresses were replaced by strappy silk gowns that exposed her bare shoulders and knee-lencoquette-postergth skirts that revealed her shapely legs. She even adopted a flirtatious manner, batting her heavily made-up eyes.

The dramatic changes to Pickford’s image were a serious challenge for her fans, and the addition of sound complicated matters. Coquette, the actress’s first talking picture, introduced her voice, which was small and had a reprimanding tone, making the star seem even more unfamiliar. Still, the film had an immense curiosity factor and became her biggest box-office success. Pickford won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Coquestte–an honor that likely recognized her career achievements more than her work in the film itself.”

Don’t forget to enter our giveaway for Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies by 1 PM Friday, February 22!