Showing posts with label Lost film photos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lost film photos. Show all posts

Monday, November 7, 2016

Lost Film Photo: The Immortal Alamo (1911)

Rare still from The Immortal Alamo, published in Cyclopedia of Motion-Picture Work (1914).

Usually the movie stills featured in Lost Film Photos are of much higher quality, but then again, the films featured are not usually quite as old as this one. When The Immortal Alamo was made in 1911, there were still some folks alive who actually remembered the Alamo. Produced by Gaston Méliès for the American branch of Star Films, the one-reeler featured Francis Ford in one of his earliest roles, as well as one hundred cadets from the Peacock Military Academy. Shot on location in Texas, the film boasts of its historical accuracy, but existing magazine pictures show that while some of the scenes look to be shot outdoors, others are in front of painted backdrops. The storyline, centered around a romance, is also a work of fiction. The film, if found, could still be an interesting history lesson, even if only a lesson in how early filmmakers treated historical subjects. No prints, however, are known to exist. Keep in mind that many lost films from this era have left no ephemera behind, so we're lucky to have these stills at all. You can see more of them and read a novelization of  The Immortal Alamo in The Motion Picture News. 


Monday, May 30, 2016

Lost Film Photo: The Callahans and the Murphys (1927)

In this now-lost MGM film, Polly Moran and Marie Dressler play neighboring Irish-American housewives who feud across the alley that divides their tenement apartments. To complicate matters, their children have fallen in love, and when Mrs. Callahan's daughter ends up pregnant, Mrs. Murphy's son disappears. Based on a novel of the same name by Kathleen Norris, the film was not well received by many Irish-Americans, who objected to a string of stereotypical elements in the film, including the fact that the families live in bug-infested apartments, drink heavily, and have rowdy fights to the extent that even a St. Patrick's Day picnic leads to several arrests. Polly Moran and Academy Award-winning Dressler would be teamed for more films afterwards, but Dressler's death in 1934 resulted in few subsequent roles for Moran. Most sites report that no parts of The Callahans and the Murphys exist, but the Library of Congress lists a very small fragment among its holdings. It is rumored that MGM may have destroyed the negative following its withdrawal from circulation due to the Irish backlash.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Lost Film Photo: Louise Brooks in Now We’re in the Air

Louise Brooks as one half of a pair of twins in Now We're in the Air.

Almost half of Louise Brooks’ silent films are lost—a fact that is often overlooked due to the existence of two of her strongest films, Pandora’s Box and Diary of a Lost Girl. Among the lost films is Now We're in the Air, a 1927 comedy with Wallace Beery and Raymond Hatton. Brooks made four films in 1927—including Rolled Stockings—none of which survive. What makes the loss of this one particularly hard to swallow is the fact that Brooks played two roles: twin sisters Grisette and Griselle. Raised apart in France and Germany, the sisters have different allegiances in the World War I flick. While reviews were tepid, most anyone would agree that the only thing better than Louse Brooks would be two of her.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Lost Film Photo: Clara Bow in Ladies of the Mob

In Ladies of the Mob, Clara Bow proved she was more than just a sex symbol. The film is now lost.

Clara Bow wasn’t thrilled with her role in Wings, declaring that she was just “the whipped cream on top of the pie.” Not long after appearing in the first Academy Award-winning picture, though, she took on some much meatier roles. She starred in four films in 1928, all of which are lost, including Ladies of the Mob. Many who saw it claimed that it was her best performance as an actress. The darkish drama opens with Bow’s character, Yvonne, attending the execution of her gangster father, then turns into a romantic thriller as she tries to get the crook she loves to go straight. Some lovely stills and posters remain, but Bow’s supposed performance-of-a-lifetime remains frustratingly missing.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lost Film Photo: Theda Bara in Carmen (1915)

Theda Bara as the gypsy seductress in 1915's Carmen.

Though she was one of film's biggest stars—only Chaplin and Pickford were paid more at the height of her fame—the majority of Theda Bara's body of work in silent film went up in flames. Among her lost films is Carmen, based on the perennially popular Bizet opera, which has been filmed more than 70 times. While Bara's version was among the first film versions, in the same year, DeMille released his version, and Chaplin made a spoof version (Burlesque on Carmen, featuring Darn Hosiery as the love interest, rather than Don Jose). While the other two survive, Theda Bara's Carmen only exists in the form of random studio stills like this one.