Robert Ervin Howard Goes To The Movies
INTRODUCTION | ROBERT E. HOWARD GOES TO THE MOVIES | ALPHABETICAL LISTING OF MOVIES AND ACTORS MENTIONED BY REH | THE MOVIES | THE ACTORS AND ACTRESSES | APPENDIX: SECOND HAND INFORMATION | BIBLIOGRAPHY
This all started innocently enough. Browsing through a biographical dictionary, I wondered if Francis X. Bushman, the silent film star, might have been a model for Francis X. Gordon, El Borak. That speculation appeared in Seanchai 42 (REHupa 90). That led me to try to track down some information on the movies Howard mentioned in letters to Harold Preece, three of which had appeared in Jonathan Bacon’s Runes of Ahrh-Eih-Eche (1976). A preliminary effort in this direction was included in Seanchai 43 (REHupa 91). Along the way, I happened to mention to Glenn Lord what I was doing, and he told me he’d found mention of some old movies in Howard’s letters to Clyde Smith, and offered to send me the relevant passages. He also offered to let me reprint the only known full-length film review by Howard, “Surrender: Your Money or Your Vice,” which had previously appeared in a fanzine called Trumpet, in 1968. So I began looking for information on all the films Howard mentions.
Early on, the impoverishment of my film reference library became apparent, and I asked Dan Stumpf, the most knowledgeable film fan I know personally, for some help in locating information. Dan came through with a number of clippings and photocopies. But I didn’t stop there — no, being an obsessive-compulsive and a zealot devotÃ©e, I had to find out about every one of these danged flicks, or go broke trying. I began, during my regular bookstore jaunts, going through just about every book on movies that I saw, tracking down those elusive films and stars of the 20s and 30s. In the process, the film reference section of the Burkives grew, while the Burke exchequer shrank. However, one of the most valuable references was not found by me, but by Vern Clark. When he told me he’d found a copy of A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen, I groveled, I pleaded, I promised him all manner of stuff he knew I’d never deliver — and that estimable gent still sent me the book as a Christmas present. So to Glenn, to Dan, and to Vern, this project is dedicated — without them, this would have been much less complete.
I have to admit that I have failed in at least one respect — a few of the movies and actors still elude me. [Update note: Thanks to the Internet Movie Database I have found some of the information that had eluded me, though there are still a handful of obscurities. I highly recommend the IMDb to anyone interested in further information on these or other films!] But we have to remember that the 20s and 30s were not like today — movies were being cranked out at the rate of hundreds, even thousands, per year. And the film on which they were printed was apparently pretty unstable stuff. In many cases, even highly regarded or popular films have lapsed into complete oblivion. But I think I’ve certainly found enough to give us all an idea of the types of movies and characters Ol’ Two-Gun got a kick out of.
But why should I have spent all this time and money putting this thing together and why should you spend any time reading through it? Well, in my opinion, Bob Howard was a powerfully visual writer. H.P. Lovecraft remarked on his really astonishing assimilation and visualization of all the details of life in bygone ages. I have to agree with L. Sprague de Camp that the movies he saw must have had some degree of influence on Howard’s imagination — it’s the extent, and the type, of influence I disagree with him on. If Howard visualized a character looking a bit like Victor McLaglen, or a scene as a swordfight from The Mark of Zorro, well, that’s just part of what helped make the story real to him, and thus helps him make it real to us. He didn’t “use” the scene or character in the sense that de Camp seems to imply, cribbing it and plunking it down whole into a story. I could wander off on a philosophical discourse on the nature of our experience of reality — why should our experience of a film be any less a real part of our lives than anything else? — but I’ll resist the temptation. Let’s just leave it that I don’t think he “borrowed” from films any more than one would “borrow” from a picture book (or even one’s own “memories”) — it simply helps one to visualize places one has not been, or episodes one has not been personally involved in.
In Dark Valley Destiny, de Camp asserts — more than once, as I described in “REHtoric 101″ (Seanchai 44, REHupa 92) — that one of Howard’s favorite movies was The Hunchback of Notre Dame (the 1923 version with Lon Chaney), and that he “borrowed” the scenes of the Thieves’ Quarter in Paris from that film as “The Maul” in “The Tower of the Elephant.” De Camp says that “according to Howard himself,” Bob had seen this movie several times. I have no reason to doubt it, but I haven’t seen anything in which Howard says so. (De Camp later told me that the information came from Lindsey Tyson, one of Howard’s best friends.) De Camp also says Howard was “devoted to the silent westerns of William S. Hart,” and “without a doubt” would have seen Douglas Fairbanks’ pictures, The Mark of Zorro, Robin Hood, The Thief of Baghdad, and The Black Pirate. Unfortunately, in a book marked by a multitude of footnotes, no citations are given which would allow one to see where de Camp got the information on which he based these assertions. Again, it’s not that I doubt that Howard would have seen and enjoyed these movies (in fact, Mark of Zorro and Robin Hood are included herein, because Howard mentioned them), but in the course of my research I have found literally hundreds of movies that I believe Howard would have wanted to see. I’ve chosen to stick pretty closely to what Howard himself says in letters. There is also an appendix with some second-hand items.
I have placed the excerpts in chronological order based on the release dates of the movies mentioned, but these release dates for old movies are notoriously fluid. In some cases, internal evidence in the letters is used to place them chronologically.
Oh, and by the way — I never have decided whether I think Francis X. Bushman was the model for Francis X. Gordon.
ROBERT E. HOWARD GOES TO THE MOVIES
To Harold Preece: 20 October 1928
To Tevis Clyde Smith: ca. March 1929
They’re showing Bull Montana in “Rob ‘Em Good” here Saturday, tomorrow. Also Charlie Chaplin next Thursday in “The Pilgrim.” Have they showed “Robin Hood” in Brownwood yet?
I have got whooping-cough, curse it, and I’ll bet two rupees that “Robin Hood” comes to Brownwood while I am laid up with it. Have you ever seen “Rob ‘Em Good”?
Has “Robin Hood” come yet? Any prospects of it coming?
This South American bunk maked [sic] me tired. Ever since Rudolph Valentino made his appearance in Spanish clothes, everybody makes a fad out of everything Spanish or South American. All of which, like the “Toreador Song,” is mostly bull. “The Sheraton Toreador,” and Luis Angel Firpo, the tame cow of the Pampas, for instance. Everybody that thinks all South Americans are romantic heroes should go to Brazil or Venezuela for awhile….
Have you seen a good show lately? The Cross Plains “Electric Theatre” has been showing better shows than usual, which don’t mean they are any good anyway. I’ve seen “From Rags to Riches” again here, and “Heroes of the Street” and “Brass Commandments,” William Farnum, and “A Dangerous Adventure,” Grace Darmond, and “A Desert Bridegroom,” Jack Hoxie. I shouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t get “Go and Get It,” and “The Mark of Zorro,” some time if those films are still running. They had “The Sagebrusher” by Emerson Hough here, but I didn’t go so I don’t know whether it was any good.
When is “Scaramouche” coming to Brownwood? Or has it already been there?
(Appeared in The Junto, September 1928)There are many foreigners at present beating Ellis Island by impersonating movie actors, but there is no more flagrant example than Ivan Mosjukins. I have just seen “Surrender” and have a few words to say thereon. I do not know whether this is an old picture or not, nor do I give a damn. I wish to review it and I do not consider age or quality. No one is forced to read this if he does not wish to.
This picture follows the ancient and musty theme first exploited by de Maupassant, and is unusually dreary and lacking in interest — at least to one who likes a few lusty right swings and straight lefts mixed in with the plot.
Mary Philbin, in spite of her remarkably beautiful eyes, succeeds in looking like the high road to Hell most of the time, especially when she has her hair done up in the Yiddish style. Nigel de Brulier, as usual, turns in a fine performance and runs away with the picture — his portrayal of a man crucified on the cross of his religion is admirable. He arouses pity, and, at the same time, such irritation for his narrowness that a universal sigh of relief wafts through the theatre when he at last stops a dornick with his dome and wafts heavenward with the wings already beginning to sprout on his shoulders.
The plot is simple — so simple that one thinks wistfully of the director in connection with a butcher knife. Nigel and Mary are living peacefully in a Jewish-Austrian village when the war starts. They have fled from Russia in response to some vague instinct of self-preservation, and what they think of the Russians is nobody’s business. Then Ivan Mosjukins, a Russian prince, leads his Cossacks into the village, and, being in a merry and sportive mood, gives Mary the choice of keeping a bedroom date with him or seeing all her villagers go up in flames. Nigel makes a few scathing remarks about the sins of this life versus the joys of the next and intimates that, as far as he can see, a mere burning to death in this life has it over burning a million years in the next, seven way from the ace. So the Cossacks imprison all the villagers and start the blowtorches going when Mary changes her mind. Ivan proves to have a noble heart, he makes a few wise cracks about Mary’s appearance, ruminates on the strange effect war has on otherwise noble souls, and tells her she can go home. Mary goes into a clinch with him, and he gives her a ring, singing, “Then I’ll Come Back To You!”
About this time enter the Austrian army and exit the Russian and Mary’s fiance opens fire on Ivan and wings him in the shoulder. Then Mary goes into her fiance London Ring Rules, nothing barred, and, in the melee, Ivan exits by way of a convenient window.
Mary then returns to Nigel, expecting no doubt to be received with open arms by the townspeople whom she has saved from death, but they are infuriated at her for loving a foe of the country. Nigel will not believe her when she says Ivan was a perfect Galahad, and, knowing something of Russian character, I can’t much blame him. He speculates on the result of the first sin that has ever happened in his family and gives her the air, thereby lining himself up with the villagers. Still, when they start heaving cobblestones, this burns him up, and, in trying to shield the girl, he takes one on his beak, turns his righteous nose to heaven, and takes the long count.
Skip some years then, and Ivan returns to the village, very socialistic, and hailing all the farm hands as comrade. He and Mary go into a clinch, and that’s that.
Ivan looks, to me, like a cross between Harry Langdon, Lupino Lane, and Virginia Valli. He has a soulful look that often makes me scream with annoyance and a shoulder movement that overcomes me with rage. I always wait in breathless anticipation for him to follow this wiggle up with a paean on the clothing business. His best acting is when he wishes to be frivolous, when he strongly resembles Scrambleface Wolheim on a drunk. Ivan also has a way of examining his over grown hands in an intriguing manner, but aside from these little mannerisms, I prefer Arthur Houseman and Anita Garvin in some wholesomely vulgar comedy.
After all, this picture is a good representation of the cruelty of religion. I suppose the accumulated weight of ages can so shape a girl’s soul and mind that she refuses to kiss her lover to save her fiance’s life, and hesitates when her virtue is weighed against the lives of several hundred people.
A little unconsciously sardonic touch: Nigel shows Ivan a picture portraying a host of Jews being led off to Siberia, and, immediately afterward, as a part of the ritual of Holy Shabbas, thanks God for preserving the life and happiness of the race. Aye — and the ghettos of Poland and Russia knee deep in Jewish gore.
Still, Nigel is the best man in the picture, and one almost feels a glow of human fellowship emanate from him as he prepares to sink a carving knife between Ivan’s shoulders. Yet, life is none too long that we should spend it in watching perambulations of Mary and Ivan. I recommend this movie without reservation.
Other pictures I recommend: Dressed to Kill; Edmund Lowe and Mary Astor. Ed Lowe is superb. Of course, I am possibly biased, as Lowe is my favorite actor among the handsome babies, and the only one who can look menacing without looking contemptible. Mary Astor is a clinging gown — oh, baby, who said that kitten didn’t have a form?
A Girl in Every Port; Victor McLaglen. I haven’t seen this, but I’ve seen the streamers, and, if the girls in it don’t wear any more clothes than portrayed there, I expect to gloat over it until the janitor pries me loose from my seat and shuts the theatre.
Escape; a flop, doubtless inspired by the W.C.T.U. See it for its one high point — George Meeker doing his stuff with a bottle of Haig and Haig. Good work by William Russel, Virginia Valli, and Nancy Drexel.
The Claw; an old picture, but fair.
I saw “The Wizard” and thought it was red hot. Also “What Price Glory” which is in my opinion the nearest thing to a masterpiece ever filmed. Those boys were tough, though frankly not as tough as I expected, though if they had been any more so they would have seemed brutal and would have lost the sympathy of the spectators, I reckon. Sammy Cohen is the damnedest looking Jew in the game. I give the laurel to Victor, too, though he had more chance to show his stuff, of course; still, I like his type, boy, I sure like his type. Edmund Lowe was great, too. I think he has it on John Gilbert seven ways from the ace. And say, I saw a Tom Mix thriller with the war mixed in and Barry Norton got killed in it, too; that kid is a glutton for punishment. They say he came up from South America to see Firpo fight Dempsey, lost all his money on the fight and had to stay and go to acting. I’d like to see Karl Dane in something. I like his style. And I’m beginning to like Richard Arlen better than I used to.
I went, Sunday, to Cisco, a town some forty miles north of Cross Plains, and saw John Gilbert in “The Cossacks.” God, what a picture. I take back all the anathemas I have ever hurled at John Gilbert. The picture was very accurate, as near as I could judge and because that wild, fierce race always had a peculiar appeal to me, I have devoted some study to their manners and customs. Living only to fight and drink, knowing nothing else! I wish to God I had been born in some such environment and grown up, knowing nothing else, wishing nothing else, knowing not even how to read or write.
We drift up the street, passing a movie, which is not running on Sunday. I glance at the title of the movie advertised.
“‘Marry the Girl’. That sounds natural.”
“Don’t shoot, I’ll marry the girl,” quotes Red.
“Damn the newsreels,” I say. “I’d rather see a two-reel comedy.”
“Greta Garbo is my favorite,” says Red.
“I like Sally O’Neil better,” I say. “Or Joan Crawford or Clara Bow or Lupe Valez or Jack Dempsey.”
“The King of Kings” gripped me. I thought it was powerful, though I think Joseph Schildkraut ran away with the picture as Judas. And William Boyd, that fellow is the most human actor in the world. H.B. Warner lacked fire, of course, but I don’t know who else would have even as good as he did….
I saw Lily Damita for the first time yesterday in a show at Cisco — Thornton Wilder’s muck put in movies. Delores Del Rio and Lupe Velez cant hold a candle to her when it comes to frenzy. Lupe is prettier and Delores is a better all around actor, but my God, this Damita girl is a white hot flame. She dances like a fanflare of sunfire blown before the wind — no, like a burning flame of moon-mist under the stars — Hell — see her for yourself. Some things cant be described. They have to be seen.
The Red Dance is at the Lyric next week. I want to see it, if I can. I’ve seen one damned good show since I’ve been here [in Brownwood] — Thunderbolt. George Bancroft was fine. That’s the kind of stuff I like — rough, raw and brutal. Tiger-stuff. All this singing and dancing and ga-ga-stuff makes me sick. The Desert Song — gah! Pardon me while I vomit. The only part of it that was worth two cents was the comedy Johnny Arthur and Louise Fazenda pulled. The Queen of the Night Clubs — more gah! And I glower down the line at the latest hits I’ve seen: The Singing Fool — Abie’s Irish Rose — oh hell — why enumerate? Theme songs and a bunch of vaudeville swine pirouetting over the stage. Give me movie actors — one thing I’ll say for Irish Rose, it had good actors. But Judas, what a flock of crumbs are flooding the movie world now.
Of all the talking pictures I’ve really enjoyed, I can name them quickly: Thunderbolt — In Old Arizona — The Letter — The Terror. To a lesser extent I enjoyed Tong War, and of the part talkies I got a big kick out of The Iron Mask and Show Boat. For the rest — gah! Wait — I was forgetting just about the best of them all: Hearts in Dixie.
Drooling, thin headed toe ticklers, warbling in their soprano yap, and feather brained flappers trying to be cute and howling vapid theme songs: Hell and a black damnation. Give me a rough, tough brutal story, quick action and a gang of hard-boiled hairy chested eggs: George Bancroft; Matthew Betz; Lionel Barrymore; Vic McLaglen, who once fought Jack Johnson; Lou Wolheim; Bob Armstrong; Bill Boyd; Ernest Torrence; Ed Lowe; Warner Baxter; Gunboat Smith; Tom Kennedy; Wallace Beery; Tom O’Brien; Carl Dane; Blue Washington; Fred Kohler.
Then if they have to have a heroine, throw in some hard baby with a poker face and a heavyweight punch, that can take it on the chin and hand out punishment, too: Evelyn Brent; Fay Wray; Lilian Tashman; Florence Vidor; Louise Brooks; Baclanova; Lili Damita — boy, go no further! When that blonde French whirlwind goes into action, all others take a back seat. It’s time to batten down the hatches, reef all sails, and stand by to cut the masts if necessary. Once I saw her — once. The Bridge of San Luis — let me tell you, confidentially, that’s why the bridge fell. Get me. Yes! She walked across and scorched the damned ropes.
I saw both pictures you mention, “The Loves of Casanova” and “The Tempest,” here in Cross Plains, nearly a year ago. I thought Ivan Mosjukine did rather well though like most foreign actors he over-acted. I rather liked “The Tempest,” even if the plot was rather threadbare. At least it portrayed one truth: that an oppressed people exceed their oppressors in cruelty when they get the upper hand….
I saw The Virginian not long ago and liked it fairly well. But Judas, it was full of hokum, though rather realistic.
Why must people be such damned hypocrites? Sure, they hung cattle thieves — that is, those who stole them on small scale. But the big swine got by just as they’re doing in business now.
This is a lousy town. Not even any matinee shows and I’ve gotten so I’d rather go in the afternoon than at night.
I got back from Mineral Wells yesterday…. I saw some fairly good shows while I was gone: The Great Gabbo, Wise Girls, Montana Moon, The Sophomore — again -, Hell’s Heroes, The Delightful Rogue, Darkened Rooms, The Mighty, and The Benson Murder Case — mostly old pictures but fairly good.
There’s been a run of gangster pictures here [San Antonio]; the pipple may be meek and law-abiding, but they sure whoop with glee every time a rod-man bumps off a copper on the screen. I think it’s an unconscious vent to their resentment against the cops who herd them about in their every-day life. Well, there’s the makings of some first class gangs in the young Mexicans who swarm the streets here.
I’ve seen a number of shows: Rango; The Last Parade, with Jack Holt; Hook, Line and Sinker; Little Caesar, with Edward Robinson; The Doorway to Hell, with Lew Ayres; Good News; Billy the Kid, with Johnny Mack Brown.
I saw “The Front Page” last week in Fort Worth. Have you seen it? My main feeling was a desire to take that louse “Murphy” and break his spine just to hear it snap. Of all the revolting swinishness I ever saw depicted — it’s about the most powerful show I ever saw — raw — smashing — nauseatingly realistic. I wanted to see George Arliss in “The Millionaire” but didn’t get to, though it was showing there. Have you seen the streamers of “Shipmates” where invisible hands clap applause incessantly? Of all the utter hokum.
I feel in a good [sic] to talk of pictures, which I seldom discuss, and seldom see, for that matter. I’ve been fortunate enough to see several pretty good ones lately, what with my wanderings to the Coast, etc. I’ve seen “Horsefeathers,” “Hold ‘Em Jail,” “Back Street,” “Skyscraper Souls.” “Horsefeathers” was better than “Monkey Business,” but not as good as either “The Cocoanuts” or “Animal Crackers” to my mind. I got more laughs out of “Hold ‘Em Jail” than any picture I’ve seen in years. “Back Street” was powerful, to my mind, and most damnably harrowing. I wept bitterly. That’s no lie. While weeping some yegg in front of me turned around and gave me an incredulous look, and thinking he was about to make some smart crack, I gave him a murderous glare, wiped away my tears and drew back my right to mash him for the insect he was, but he made no comment and turned around again. Maybe he was weeping too. I wish I hadn’t seen that show. It really tore me up. The thought of an intelligent and talented woman wasting all her years on a low-lifed son-of-a-bitch and sacrificing herself and living in the shadows, it gave me the jitters. I felt like taking a club and wading through the populace like Samson through the Philadelphians. “Gutter-Scraping Souls” was good, too; but the thoughts and actions of civilized people are utterly inexplicable to me. The morals of the people in the picture disgusted me. They — some of them — were of the class that considers itself salt of the earth, and they acted like a herd of swine. I enjoyed it — and marvelled. If that’s the way people live in Noo Yawk, me for the wide open spaces where men are bastards. Of all the dreary, empty, artificial lives — ye gods. And that accursed modern architecture — no curves, or generous expanses, just lines, corners, angles — why, hell, I can’t tell what the stuff’s for, or even recognize a chair, until somebody parks his or her posterior on it. The stock-market crash in the picture made me feel sorry for the poor saps that were trying to make a little money outside my [sic] regular salary, but I’ll admit I laughed with unholy glee to see the big fat hogs of Wall Street going down the line for their shirts. I realize more and more our difference from such people, mainly because of my lack of sympathy for them. That’s merely a lack of conception and understanding, and shows what different lives we lead; we’re really a separate and distinct people, as we’ve often remarked. Though now all the little sophisticates are trying to remold us to the Eastern pattern. I’d hang them for renegades, all on one gallows.
We [Howard and Truett Vinson] had purchased our whiskey and intended to celebrate Saint Patrick’s in a fitting manner, after seeing a whimsical movie called: “The Invisible Man” from a story by Wells, I believe…
So we spent the night in El Paso, and went to a couple of movies — “The Informer” a damned fine picture, dealing with the Irish revolution of some years back; and another the name of which I can’t remember, it was so rotten, but we saw the Baer-Braddock fight pictures at it, and that was even more rotten.
Alphabetical Listing of Movies and Actors Mentioned by REH
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Back Street (Universal, 1932) | Baclanova, Olga | Bancroft, George | Barrymore, Lionel | Baxter, Warner | Beery, Wallace | The Benson Murder Case (Paramount, 1930) | Betz, Matthew | Billy the Kid(MGM, 1930) | Bow, Clara | Boyd, William | Brass Commandments (Fox, 1923) | Brent, Evelyn | The Bridge of San Luis Rey (MGM, 1929) | Brooks, Louise | Brown, Johnny Mack
Chaney, Lon Sr. | Chaplin, Charlie | Chinatown Nights (Paramount, 1929) | Cimarron(RKO, 1931) | The Claw (Universal, 1927) | The Cocoanuts (Paramount, 1929) | Cohen, Sammy | The Cossacks (MGM, 1928) | Crawford, Joan
Damita, Lili | Dane, Karl | A Dangerous Adventure (Warner Brothers, 1920) | Darkened Rooms (Paramount, 1929) | Darmond, Grace | De Brulier, Nigel | Death Takes A Holiday (Paramount, 1934) | The Delightful Rogue (RKO, 1929) | Del Rio, Dolores | Dempsey, Jack | A Desert Bridegroom | The Desert Song (Warner Brothers, 1929) | Dix, Richard | The Doorway to Hell (Warner Brothers, 1930) | Dressed to Kill (Fox, 1928) | Drexel, Nancy
The Escape (Fox, 1928)
Hearts in Dixie (Fox, 1929) | Hell’s Heroes (Universal, 1930) | Heroes of the Street (Warner Brothers, 1922) | Hold ‘Em Jail (RKO, 1932) | Holt, Jack | Hook, Line and Sinker (RKO, 1930) | Horsefeathers (Paramount, 1932) | Houseman, Arthur | Hoxie, Jack | The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Universal, 1923)
McLaglen, Victor | March, Frederic | The Mark of Zorro (United Artists, 1920) | Marry the Girl (Sterling Pictures, 1928) | Meeker, George | The Mighty (Paramount, 1930) | The Millionaire (Warner Brothers, 1931) | Mix, Tom | Monkey Business (Paramount, 1931) | Montana, Bull | Montana Moon (MGM, 1930) | Mosjukins, Ivan
The Queen of the Night Clubs (Warner Brothers, 1929)
The Sagebrusher | Scaramouche | Schildkraut, Joseph | The Sheraton Toreador | Shipmates (MGM, 1931) | Show Boat (Universal, 1929) | The Singing Fool (Warner Brothers, 1928) | Skyscraper Souls (MGM, 1932) | Smith, Gunboat | The Sophomore | Surrender (Universal, 1927)
(Paramount, 1928). Jewish Romeo courts Irish Juliet in film version of long-running Broadway comedy. Director: Victor Fleming. Cast: Charles “Buddy” Rogers (Abie Levy); Nancy Carroll (Rosemary Murphy); Jean Hersholt (Solomon Levy); J. Farrell MacDonald (Patrick Murphy); Bernard Gorcey (Isaac Cohen); etc. Black & white. Silent.
(Paramount, 1930). Marx Brothers mayhem at a gala party. Director: Victor Heerman. Cast: Groucho Marx (Capt. Jeffrey Spaulding); Harpo Marx (The Professor); Chico Marx (Signor Emanuel Ravelli); Zeppo Marx (Horatio Jamison); Lillian Roth (Arabella Rittenhouse); Margaret Dumont (Mrs. Rittenhouse); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(Universal, 1932). A woman falls in love with a married man and consents to be his mistress, remaining faithful through the years. Based on the novel by Fannie Hurst. Director: John M. Stahl. Cast: Irene Dunn (Ray Schmidt); John Boles (Walter Saxel); June Clyde (Freda Schmidt); George Meeker (Kurt Shendler); Zasu Pitts (Mrs. Dole); Doris Lloyd (Mrs. Saxel); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(Paramount, 1930). The murder and its solution all take place in a single stormy night at an isolated hunting lodge full of people with motives in this mystery based on the novel of the same title by S.S. Van Dine. Director: Frank Tuttle. Cast: William Powell (Philo Vance); Natalie Moorhead (Fanny Del Roy); Eugene Pallette (Sgt. Heath); Paul Lukas (Adolph Mohler); William “Stage” Boyd (Harry Gray); E.H. Calvert (District Attorney Markham); Richard Tucker (Anthony Benson); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(MGM, 1930). Story of the notorious outlaw, based loosely on The Saga of Billy the Kid by Walter Noble Burns. William S. Hart served as Technical Advisor, and the film was shot on locations around Lincoln County, New Mexico, where the actual events had taken place. The acting isn’t especially good and the happy ending tacked on to the American release was not only sappy but idiotic (the Kid and the girl ride off happily into the sunset!), but with the sound off the film has the flavor of authenticity. Director: King Vidor. Cast: Johnny Mack Brown (Billy the Kid); Wallace Beery (Pat Garrett); Kay Johnson (Claire Randall); Karl Dane (Swenson); Wyndham Standing (John Tunston); Russell Simpson (Angus McSween); Blanche Friderici (Mrs. McSween); Warner Richmond (Bob Ballinger); Jack Carlyle (Dick Brewer); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(Fox, 1923). Western, based on novel by Charles Alden Seltzer. Director: Lynn Reynolds. Cast: William Farnum (Stephen “Flash” Lanning); Wanda Hawley (Gloria Hallowell); Tom Santschi (Campan); Claire Adams (Ellen Bosworth); Charles Le Moyne (Dave De Vake); Joe Rickson (Tularosa); etc. Black & white. Silent.
(MGM, 1929). Drama based on the novel by Thornton Wilder. Director: Charles Brabin. Cast: Lili Damita (La Perichole); Ernest Torrence (Uncle Pio); Raquel Torres (Pepita); Don Alvarado (Manuel); Duncan Renaldo (Estaban); Henry B. Walthall (Father Juniper); etc. Black & white. Silent. Cedric Gibbons won Best Art Direction (1930) for this film.
(Paramount, 1929). Society woman gets involved with gangsters and Chinese Tongs, to her peril. Director: William A. Wellman. Cast: Wallace Beery (Chuck Riley); Florence Vidor (Joan Fry); Warner Oland (Boston Charlie); Jack McHugh (The Shadow); Jack Okie (Reporter); Tetsu Komai (Woo Chung); etc. Black & white. Silent/MovieTone.
(Universal, 1927). Drama set in South Africa, based on a novel by Cynthia Stockley. Director: Sidney Olcott. Cast: Norman Kerry (Maurice Stair); Claire Windsor (Dierdre Saurin); Arthur Edmund Carewe (Major Anthony Kinsella); Tom Guise (Marquis of Stair); etc.
(Paramount, 1929). The Marx Brothers’ first film, in which they are operators of a Florida hotel. Director: Robert Florey, Joseph Santley. Groucho Marx: Mr. Hammer; Harpo Marx (Harpo); Chico Marx (Chico); Zeppo Marx (Jamison); Oscar Shaw (Bob Adams); Mary Eaton (Polly Potter); Margaret Dumont (Mrs. Potter); Kay Francis (Penelope Martin); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(MGM, 1928). Action-filled romance loosely based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy. Director: Clarence Brown, George W. Hill. Cast: John Gilbert (Lukashka); Renee Adoree (Maryana); Ernest Torrence (Ivan); Nils Asther (Prince Olenin); Paul Hurst (Sitchi); etc. Black & white. Silent.
(Warner Brothers, 1920). Originally released (1920) as a 15-episode serial about two sisters in search of hidden treasure in the wilds of Africa, it flopped; edited down from 30 to 7 reels and released as a feature, it did fine. Director: Jack L. Warner, Sam Warner. Cast: Robert Agnew; Grace Darmond; Philo McCullough; Derelys Perdue; J.R. Riccarde; Jack Richardson; Mabel Stark. Black & white. Silent.
(Paramount, 1929). Mystery. Photographer fakes spirit pictures for phony medium, decides to go into the seance business himself but is exposed by his girlfriend. Director: Louis J. Gasnier. Cast: Evelyn Brent (Ellen); Neil Hamilton (Emory Jago); Doris Hill (Joyce Clayton); David Newell (Billy); Gale Henry (Madame Silvara); Wallace MacDonald (Bert Nelson); etc. Black & white. Sound and silent versions.
(RKO, 1929). Pirate lusts after sultry dancer, captures her boyfriend and demands a little quality time with her, the swine. Director: Leslie Pearce, Lynn Shores. Cast: Rod La Rocque (Lastro); Rita LaRoy (Nydra); Charles Byer (Harry Beall); Edward Brady (MacDougal); Harry Semels (Hymie); Sammy Blum (Junipero); Bert Moorhouse (Nielson). Black & white. Sound and silent versions.
(Arrow, 1922). Western. Directed by Roy Clements. Cast: Jack Hoxie; Evelyn Nelson. Black & white. Silent.
(Warner Brothers, 1929). Musical, Oscar Hammerstein II and others. Director: Roy Del Ruth. Cast: John Boles (The Red Shadow/Pierre Birbeau); Carlotta King (Margot); Louise Fazenda (Susan); Johnny Arthur (Benny Kidd); etc. Black & white, with some scenes in Technicolor.
(Warner Brothers, 1930). Bootlegger’s attempt to go straight is thwarted when his wife leaves him and his kid brother is killed by his former rivals. Ayres was a far too handsome and boyish underworld crime boss; Cagney’s second film. Director: Archie Mayo. Cast: Lew Ayres (Louie Ricarno, aka Louie Lamarr); Charles Judels (Florist); Dorothy Matthews (Doris); Leon Janney (Jackie Lamarr); Robert Elliott (Capt. Pat O’Grady); James Cagney (Steve Mileaway); etc. Black and white. Sound.
(Fox, 1928). Underworld melodrama. Director: Irving Cummings. Cast: Edmund Lowe (Mile-Away Barry); Mary Astor (Jeanne); Ben Bard (Nick); Bob Perry (Ritzy Hogan); Joe E. Brown (himself); Tom Dugan (Silky Levine); etc. Black & white. Silent.
(Fox, 1928). Director: Richard Rosson. Cast: William Russell (Jerry Magee); Virginia Valli (May Joyce); Nancy Drexel (Jennie Joyce); George Meeker (Dr. Don Elliott); etc. Black & white. Silent.
(Warner Brothers, 1922). Rich kid struggles to gain the acceptance of the gang. (Two of the cast are identified as members of the “Purist League”!) Director: Wallace Worsley. Cast: Wesley Barry (Marmaduke Clark); Niles Welch (Dumbbell, aka Ralph Connor); Ruth Renick (Mary Ward); Russell Simpson (Sheriff); Minna Redmond (Sheriff’s wife); Richard Tucker (Blackwell Clarke); etc. Black & white. Silent.
(United Artists, 1931). Classic wise-cracking comedy about unscrupulous reporters, based on a stage by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. Director: Lewis Milestone. Cast: Pat O’Brien (Hildy Johnson); Adolphe Menjou (Walter Burns); Mary Brian (Peggy Grant); Mae Clark (Molly Malloy); George Stone (Earl Williams); Walter Catlett (Murphy); etc. Black & white. Sound. Nominated in 1931 for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Menjou).
(Fox, 1928). Sailor pals travel the world chasing women. Director: Howard Hawks. Cast: Victor McLaglen (Spike Madden); Robert Armstrong (Salami); Louise Brooks (Marie, the Girl in France); Natalie Joyce (Girl in Panama); Maria Casajuana (Chiquita); Myrna Loy (the Girl in the Orient); Natalie Kingston (the Girl in the South Sea Islands); Sally Rand (the Girl in Bombay); Caryl Lincoln (the Girl in Liverpool); etc. Black & white. Silent.
(1920). According to Internet Movie Database: “An intrepid newspaper reporter attempts to solve a series of murders committed by a gorilla carrying the transplanted brain of a human.” God I’d love to see this! Director: Marshall Neilan, Henry Roberts Symonds. Cast: Pat O’Malley (Kirk Connelly); Wesley Barry (Dinty); Agnes Ayres (Helen Allen); J. Barney Sherry (“Shut-the-Door” Gordon); Charles Hill Mailes (J.L. Rich); Noah Beery (Dr. Ord); Bull Montana (Ferry); etc. Ring Lardner shows up in the cast list! Black & white. Silent.
(MGM, 1930). Musical comedy about campus life, based on Broadway hit that introduced “The Best Things In Life Are Free.” Director: Nick Grinde, Edgar McGregor. Cast: Mary Lawlor (Constance Lane); Stanley Smith (Tom Marlowe); Bessie Love (Babe O’Day); Cliff Edwards (“Pooch” Kearney); Gus Shy (Bobbie); Lola Lane (Patricia Bingham); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(James Cruze Productions, 1929). Ventriloquist becomes increasingly reliant on dummy to express himself. Director: James Cruze. Cast: Erich von Stroheim (The Great Gabbo); Betty Compson (Mary); Donald Douglas (Frank); Babe Kane (Babe). Black & white with color sequences. Sound.
(Fox, 1929). Story of a black farmer and his family, a condescending and stereotyped portrayal of dem happy darkies strummin’ on de banjoes, albeit with strong performances from the cast. Director: Paul Sloane. Cast: Stepin Fetchit (Gummy); Clarence Muse (Nappus); Bernice Pilot (Chloe); Eugene Jackson (Chinquapin); A.C.H. Billbrew (Hoodoo Woman); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(Universal, 1930). Based on The Three Godfathers by Peter B. Kyne, in which three desperados happen upon a dying woman and promise to take care of her newborn daughter. Director: William Wyler. Cast: Charles Bickford (Bob Sangster); Raymond Hatton (Barbwire Gibbons); Fred Kohler (Wild Bill Kearney); Fritzi Ridgeway (Mother); Maria Alba (Carmelita); etc. Western. Black & white. Sound and silent versions.
(Warner Brothers, 1922). Youngster sets out to find his policeman father’s murderer. Director: William Beaudine. Cast: Wesley Barry; Joe Butterworth; Phil Ford; Aggie Herring; Wilfred Lucas; Jack Mulhall; Marie Prevost. Black & white. Silent.
(RKO, 1932). Wheeler and Woolsey whimsy about a football game between rival penitentiaries. Director: Norman Taurog. Cast: Bert Wheeler (Curly Harris); Robert Woolsey (Spider Robbins); Edgar Kennedy (Warden); Betty Grable (Barbara); Robert Armstrong (radio announcer); Edna May Oliver (Violet); etc.
(RKO, 1930). Wheeler and Woolsey vehicle in which they agree to help restore and manage a dilapidated resort hotel, end up landing the owner and her daughter. Comedy. Director: Edward Cline. Cast: Bert Wheeler (Wilbur Boswell); Robert Woolsey (Addington Ganzy); Dorothy Lee (Mary Marsh); Jobyna Howland (Mrs. Marsh); Ralf Harolde (John Blackwell); Hugh Herbert (house detective); Natalie Moorhead (phony countess); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(Paramount, 1932). More Marx Brothers madness, with Groucho as a college president determined to beat a rival school at football. Director: Norman Z. McLeod. Cast: Groucho Marx (Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff); Harpo Marx (Pinky); Chico Marx (Barovelli); Zeppo Marx (Frank Wagstaff); Thelma Todd (Connie Bailey); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(Fox, 1929). The first Cisco Kid movie, based on the character created by O. Henry. Director: Irving Cummings, Raoul Walsh. Cast: Warner Baxter (The Cisco Kid); Edmund Lowe (Sgt. Mickey Dunn); Dorothy Burgess (Tonia Maria); J. Farrell MacDonald (Tad); etc. Black & white. MovieTone sound. Warner Baxter won the 1930 Academy Award for Best Actor for this film; the film was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Writing Achievement.
(RKO, 1935). During the Troubles, an Irishman informs on a pal in order to get money for passage to America, then feels doom starting to close in. From the novel by Liam O’Flaherty. Director: John Ford. Cast: Victor McLaglen (Gypo Nolan); Heather Angel (Mary McPhillip); Preston Foster (Dan Gallagher); Margot Grahame (Katie Madden); Wallace Ford (Frankie McPhillip); Una O’Connor (Mrs. McPhillip); etc. Black & white. Sound. Won (1936) Best Actor (McLaglen), Best Director (Ford), Best Music Score (Max Steiner), Best Writing (Screenplay) (Dudley Nichols); nominated for Best Picture, Best Film Editing (George Hively). Won (1935) Best Director (Ford), Best Film, New York Film Critics Circle.
(Universal, 1933). Based on the H.G. Wells thriller about a scientist who invents a formula that turns him invisible, but has nasty side effects. Director: James Whale. Cast: Claude Rains (Dr. Jack Griffin); Gloria Stuart (Flora Cranley); William Harrigan (Dr. Kemp); Henry Travers (Dr. Cranley); Una O’Connor (Jenny Hall); Forrester Harvey (Bill Hall); Holmes Herbert (Chief of Police); etc. Black & white. Sound. Whale received a “Special Recommendation” at the 1934 Venice Film Festival.
(United Artists, 1929). Derring-do with the Three Musketeers, as they try to rescue the future Louis XIV from the evil clutches of De Rochefort, who has established his twin brother in his place. Director: Allan Dwan. Cast: Douglas Fairbanks (D’Artagnan); Leon Barry (Athos); Stanley Sandford (Porthos); Gino Corrado (Aramis); Marguerite De La Motte (Constance); Dorothy Revier (Milady de Winter); William Bakewell (Louis XIV and twin); Nigel de Brulier (Cardinal Richelieu); Ulrich Haupt (De Rochefort); Belle Bennett (Anne of Austria); etc. Script by Elton Thomas (Fairbanks), based on The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas, pÃ¨re. Black & white. Silent, with talking sequences, musical score, sound effects. William Cameron Menzies was nominated for Best Art Direction (1930) for this film.
(PathÃ©, 1927). The story of Jesus, exceptionally well done. Director: Cecil B. DeMille. Cast: H.B. Warner (Jesus); Dorothy Cumming (Mary); Ernest Torrence (Peter); Joseph Schildkraut (Judas); Jacqueline Logan (Mary Magdalen); William Boyd (Simon of Cyrene); etc. Black & white, with Technicolor sequence. Silent.
(Columbia, 1931). War buddies go different ways: one becomes a gangster, the other a cop. Gangster tries to go straight so he can marry the girl, but avenges her brother’s murder and is arrested by his buddy. Director: Erle C. Kenton. Cast: Edmund Breese (City Editor); Earle D. Bunn (Lefty); Gino Corrado (Joe); Constance Cummings (Molly Pearson); Jesse De Vorska (Rosenberg); Robert Ellis (Marino); Jack Holt (Cookie Leonard); Edward Le Saint (Chief of Police); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(Paramount, 1929). Drama about lives ruined by an indiscreet letter, set among tropical plantations. Director: Jean de Limur. Cast: Jeanne Eagels (Leslie Crosbie); O.P. Heggie (Joyce); Reginald Owen (Robert Crosbie); Herbert Marshall (Geoffrey Hammond); etc. Black & white. Silent/Sound. Eagels was nominated for Best Actress (1930) for this film, but she had died of a heroin overdose in late ’29.
(First National, 1930). The gangster flick that made Edward G. Robinson a star (“Mother of Mercy! Is this the end of Rico?”) Director: Mervyn LeRoy. Cast: Edward G. Robinson (Cesare Enrico Bandello); Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (Joe Massara); Glenda Farrell (Olga Strassoff); William Collier, Jr. (Tony Passa); Sidney Blackmer (Big Boy); etc. Black & white. Sound. Francis Edward Faragoh and Robert N. Lee were nominated for Best Writing, Adaptation (1932), for this film.
([French], 1927). Director: Alexandre Volkoff. Cast: Suzanne Bianchetti (Catherine II); Paul GuidÃ© (Orloff); Jenny Jugo (ThÃ©rÃ¨se); Diane Karenne (Maria Mari); Rudolf Klein-Rogge (Le Tsar); Ivan Mozzhukin [Mosjukine] (Casanova). Black & white. Silent. (Also released as Casanova, and as Prince of Adventurers.)
(United Artists, 1920). The first of many films featuring Zorro, Johnston McCulley’s black-clad righter of wrongs. Director: Fred Niblo. Players: Douglas Fairbanks (Don Diego Vega, Zorro); Marguerite de la Motte (Lolita Pulido); Noah Beery (Sgt. Gonzales); Robert McKim (Capt. Juan Ramon); Charles Mailes (Don Carlos Pulido); Claire McDowell (Dona Catalina Pulido); George Periolat (Governor Alvarado); Walt Whitman (Fra Felipe); Sydney de Grey (Don Alejandro); etc. Scenario by Elton Thomas (Fairbanks), based on The Curse of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley. Black & white. Silent.
(Sterling Pictures, 1928). Director: Phil Rosen. Cast: Barbara Bedford (Elinor); Robert Ellis (Harry Wayland); DeWitt Jennings (Martin Wayland); Freddie Frederick (Sonny); Florence Turner (Miss Lawson); Paul Weigel (Butler); Allan Roscoe (Cliff Lawson).
(Paramount, 1930). Former criminal, after war service, becomes a fearless police chief. Director: John Cromwell. Cast: George Bancroft (Blake Greeson); Esther Ralston (Louise Patterson); Warner Oland (Sterky); Raymond Hatton (Dogey Franks); Dorothy Revier (Mayme); etc. Black & white. Silent and sound versions.
(Warner Brothers, 1931). Bored retired millionaire buys an interest in a gas station, finds he’s been swindled, and sets out to gain revenge. Comedy, based on story “Idle Hands” by Earl Derr Biggers. Director: John G. Adolfi. Cast: George Arliss (James Alden); Florence Arliss (Mrs. Alden); Noah Beery (Peterson); James Cagney (Schofield); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(Paramount, 1931). The Marx Brothers stow away aboard a transatlantic liner, and hijinks follow. Director: Norman Z. McLeod. Cast: Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo Marx (Stowaways); Thelma Todd (Lucille); Rockliffe Fellowes (Joe Helton); Ruth Hall (Mary Helton); Harry Woods (Alky Briggs); Tom Kennedy (Gibson); Maxine Castle (opera singer); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(MGM, 1930). Cowboy tames flapper. Director: Malcolm St. Clair. Cast: Joan Crawford (Joan Prescott); Johnny Mack Brown (Larry); Ricardo Cortez (Jeff); Benny Rubin (Doctor); Karl Dane (Hank); etc. Black & white. Silent and sound versions.
(First National, 1923). Escaped con is mistaken for the new preacher. Director: Charles Chaplin. Cast: Charlie Chaplin (escaped convict); Edna Purviance (girl); Kitty Bradbury (landlady, girl’s mother); Mack Swain (deacon); etc.. Written by Charles Chaplin. Black & white. Silent.
(Warner Brothers, 1929). Legendary speakeasy queen Texas Guinan plays a character very much like herself. Director: Brian Foy. Cast: Texas Guinan (Texas Malone); John Davidson (John Holland); Lila Lee (Bea Walters); Arthur Housman (Andy Quinland); George Raft (Gigola); etc. Black & white. Silent/sound.
See From Rags to Riches.
(Paramount, 1931). Documentary-style feature in which a young Malaysian boy, his family, and his pet orangutan are menaced by a tiger, which is killed by a buffalo. Director: Ernest B. Schoedsack. Cast: Claude King (The Man); Douglas Scott (The Boy). Black & white.
(Fox, 1928). Romance and intrigue during the Russian Revolution. Director: Raoul Walsh. Cast: Charles Farrell (Grand Duke Eugen); Dolores Del Rio (Tasia); Ivan Linow (Ivan Petroff); Demetrius Alexis (Rasputin); etc.
(DeMille Pictures, 1925). An unhappy couple are projected back to a past life in which he was a knight and she was a gypsy destined for the stake, saved by a swashbuckling cavalier. Director: Cecil B. DeMille. Cast: Joseph Schildkraut (Kenneth Paulton); Jedda Goudal (Malena Paulton); William Boyd (Jack Moreland). Black & white. Silent.
(United Artists, 1922). Swashbuckling adventure. Director: Alan Dwan. Cast: Douglas Fairbanks (Robin Hood); Sam de Grasse (Prince John); Sir Guy de Gisbourne (Paul Dickey); William Lowery (Sheriff of Nottingham); Enid Bennett (Lady Marian), Wallace Beery (King Richard), Alan Hale (Little John). Scenario by Elton Thomas (Fairbanks). Black & white. Silent.
No information located.
(Metro, 1923). During the Revolutionary era in France, a young law student seeks to avenge the death of a friend. Based on the novel by Rafael Sabatini. Director: Rex Ingram. Cast: Ramon Navarro (Andre-Louis Moreau); Alice Terry (Aline de Kercadiou); Lewis Stone (Marquis de la Tour d’Azyr); Lloyd Ingraham (Quintin de Kercadiou); Julia Swayne Gordon (Countess Therese de Plougastel); etc. Black & white. Silent.
No information located.
(MGM, 1931). Sailor falls in love with the Admiral’s daughter. Director: Harry Pollard. Cast: Robert Montgomery (Jonesy); Ernest Torrence (Scotty); Dorothy Jordan (Kit Corbin); Hobart Bosworth (Admiral Corbin); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(Universal, 1929). Based on the musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, which was based on a novel by Edna Ferber. Director: Harry A. Pollard. Cast: Laura LaPlante (Magnolia); Joseph Schildkraut (Gaylord Ravenal); Otis Harlan (Cap’n Andy Hawks); Emily Fitzroy (Parthenia Hawks); Alma Rubens (Julie); etc. Black & white. Silent with sound sequences.
(Warner Brothers, 1928). Sappy weeper. Director: Lloyd Bacon. Cast: Al Jolson (Al Stone); Betty Bronson (Grace); Josephine Dunn (Molly Winton); Arthur Housman (Blackie Joe); Davey Lee (Sonny Boy); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(MGM, 1932). Bank owner schemes to gain full control of skyscraper and Maureen O’Sullivan. Drama based on book by Faith Baldwin. Director: Edgar Selwyn. Cast: Warren William (David Dwight); Maureen O’Sullivan (Lynn Harding); Gregory Ratoff (Vinmont); Anita Page (Jenny LeGrande); Veree Teasdale (Sarah Dennett); Norman Foster (Tom Shepherd); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(PathÃ©, 1929). Director: Leo McCarey. Cast: Eddie Quinlan (Joe Collins); Sally O’Neil (Margie Callahan); Stanley Smith (Tom Weck); Jeanette Loff (Barbara Lang); Russell Gleason (Dutch); etc. Black & white. Sound and silent versions.
(Universal, 1927). Drama about the plight of Jewish villagers at the time of the Russian Revolution, from a play by Alexander Brody. Director: Edward Sloman. Cast: Mary Philbin (Lea Lyon), Ivan Mosjukine (Constantine), Otto Matieson (Joshua), Nigel de Brulier (Rabbi Mendel); Otto Fries (Tarras); Daniel Makarenko (Russian general). Black & white. Silent.
(United Artists, 1928). Romantic drama set during the Russian Revolution. Director: Sam Taylor. Cast: John Barrymore (Sgt. Ivan Markov); Camilla Horn (Princess Tamara); Louis Wolheim (Sgt. Bulba); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(Warner Brothers, 1928). Organ-playing homicidal maniac terrorizes guests at a British inn. Based on a play by Edgar Wallace. Director: Roy Del Ruth. Cast: May McAvoy (Olga Redmayne); Louise Fazenda (Mrs. Elvery); Edward Everett Horton (Ferdinand Fane); Alec B. Francis (Dr. Redmayne); Matthew Betz (Joe Connors); etc. Black & white. Silent with spoken titles and sound effects.
(Paramount, 1929). Convict plots to murder his girlfriend’s lover, unjustly imprisoned in an adjacent cell. Director: Josef von Sternberg. Cast: George Bancroft (“Thunderbolt” Jim Lang); Fay Wray (Ritzy); Richard Arlen (Bob Morgan); Tully Marshall (Warden); Fred Kohler (“Bad Al” Friedberg); etc. Black & white. Sound (also released as a silent).
See Chinatown Nights
No information found.
(Paramount, 1929). Western, based on the novel by Owen Wister. Director: Victor Fleming. Cast: Gary Cooper (The Virginian); Walter Huston (Trampas); Richard Arlen (Steve); Mary Brian (Molly Stark Wood); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(Fox, 1927). Buddies in France during the World War are rivals for the affections of a French girl. Plenty of fun for lip readers, as Lowe and McLaglen seemed to really let themselves go. Director: Raoul Walsh. Cast: Victor McLaglen (Captain Flagg); Edmund Lowe (Sgt. Quirt); Dolores Del Rio (Charmaine de la Cognac); William V. Mong (Cognac Pete); Elena Jurado (Carmen); Phyllis Haver (Shanghai Mabel); Barry Norton (Private Lewisohn); Sammy Cohen (Private Pipinsky); etc. Based on a play by Maxwell Anderson and Laurence Stallings. Black & white. Silent. [Interesting sidelight: William Boyd and Louis Wolheim played the lead roles on Broadway. McLaglen and Lowe got the movie roles, and it was a big hit, which prompted United Artists to team Boyd and Wolheim in another “war buddies” film, Two Arabian Knights (1929, with Mary Astor).]
(MGM, 1929). Domestic comedy. Director: E. Mason Hopper. Cast: Elliott Nugent (Kempy); Roland Young (Duke Merrill); J.C. Nugent (Dad); Marion Shilling (Ruth Bence); Leora Spellman (Jane Wade); James Donlan (Ben Wade); Clara Blandick (Ma). Black & white. Sound.
(Fox, 1927). Comedy-thriller, based on “Balaoo,” by Gaston LeRoux. Mad doctor uses ape creature to gain revenge for his son’s execution for murder. Reviews suggest that it was originally intended as a straight thriller but had comedy elements grafted on. Director: Richard Rosson. Cast: Edmund Lowe (Stanley Gordon); Leila Hyams (Anne Webster); Gustav von Seyffertitz (Prof. Paul Coriolos); Barry Norton (Reginald Van Lear); George Kotsonaros (The Gorilla); etc. Black & white. Silent.
The Actors and Actresses
(Cornelius Van Mattimore, 1899-1976). American actor. His career spanned fifty years. His leading roles in the 20s and 30s often were in “tough, cynical American-hero parts.” Films include: Rolled Stockings (1927, with Louise Brooks); Wings (1927, with Nigel de Brulier and “Gunboat” Smith); Beggars of Life (1928, with Brooks and Wallace Beery); Under the Tonto Rim (1928); Thunderbolt (1929, with George Bancroft); The Four Feathers (1929, with Fay Wray); The Virginian (1929); The Border Legion(1930).
(George Augustus Andrews, 1868-1946). British stage actor who became a film star in middle age. Films include: Disraeli (silent, 1921; sound, 1929); The Green Goddess (silent, 1923; sound, 1930); The Millionaire (1931); Alexander Hamilton (1931); The Man Who Played God (1932); Voltaire (1933); The Iron Duke (1935); Cardinal Richelieu (1935). Arliss was nominated in 1931 for Best Actor for two different films, Disraeli and The Green Goddess, winning for the former.
(Donald Robert Smith, 1890-1973). American character actor, played tough guys, cops, sheriffs, etc. Films include: The Main Event (1927); A Girl in Every Port (1928); Celebrity (1928); The Shady Lady (1929, with Louis Wolheim); The Leatherneck(1929, with William Boyd, Fred Kohler); The Most Dangerous Game (1932, with Fay Wray); Hold ‘Em Jail (1932); King Kong (1933); Palooka (1934, with Lupe Velez).
(John Williams, 1883-1951). American actor, known mainly for comic roles. Films include: Mademoiselle Midnight (1924, with Monte Blue, Nigel de Brulier); The Monster (1925, with Lon Chaney); The Show of Shows (1929); The Desert Song(1929).
(Lucille Langhanke, 1906-1987). Leading lady, with a long and distinguished film career, perhaps best known for her role as Brigid O’Shaughnessy in The Maltese Falcon (1941). Other films include: Beau Brummel (1924); Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925, with Douglas Fairbanks); Don Juan (1926); Rough Riders (1927, with George Bancroft); Two Arabian Nights (1927, with William Boyd and Lou Wolheim); Dressed to Kill (1928, q.v.); Ladies Love Brutes (1930, with Bancroft); The Sin Ship (1930, with Wolheim). She won Best Supporting Actress (1942) for The Great Lie (1941).
(Lewis Ayer, 1908-1996). American leading man. Films include: All Quiet on the Western Front (1930, with Louis Wolheim); The Doorway to Hell (1930); East Is West(1930, with Lupe Velez, Edward G. Robinson); Iron Man (1931, with Robert Armstrong); Night World (1932); State Fair (1933). Ayres was nominated for Best Actor (1949) for his role in Johnny Belinda (1948), and for an Emmy (1975) for an appearance on the TV show Kung Fu.
(1896-1974). Russian actress whose US film career was brief but notable. Films include: The Docks of New York (1928, with George Bancroft); Street of Sin(1928, with Fay Wray); A Dangerous Woman(1929); Freaks(1932).
(1882-1956). Played mostly tough guys. Films include: The Rainbow Trail(1925, with Tom Mix); Old Ironsides (1926, with Wallace Beery, Fred Kohler); Underworld (1927, with Evelyn Brent, Fred Kohler); The Docks of New York (1928, with Olga Baclanova); Thunderbolt(1929); The Mighty (1929); Ladies Love Brutes (1930, with Mary Astor). Nominated for Best Actor (1930) for Thunderbolt.
(1878-1954). Noted character actor, brother of Ethel and John. Films include: The Copperhead (1920); Boomerang Bill(1922, with Matthew Betz); The Face in the Fog(1922, with Louis Wolheim); Decameron Nights (1924); America (1924); A Man of Iron (1925); The Lucky Lady (1926); Sadie Thompson(1928); Alias Jimmy Valentine (1928, with Karl Dane); The Mysterious Island (1929). Nominated for Best Director (1930) for Madame X. Won Best Actor (1932) for A Free Soul (1931).
(1889-1951). American leading man. Films include: The Great Gatsby (1926); Aloma of the South Seas (1926); Drums of the Desert (1927); Ramona (1928, with Dolores Del Rio); West of Zanzibar (1928, with Lon Chaney, Lionel Barrymore); In Old Arizona (1929); Romance of the Rio Grande (1929); The Arizona Kid (1930); The Cisco Kid(1931). Won Best Actor (1930) for In Old Arizona.
(1880/’85/’86-1949). American character actor known for roles described by one critic as “tough, ugly, slow-thinking and easy-going.” Films include: The Last of the Mohicans (1921); Robin Hood (1922); Richard the Lion-Hearted (1923); The Sea Hawk (1924); The Lost World (1925); The Pony Express (1925, with Ernest Torrence, George Bancroft); Old Ironsides (1926, with Bancroft); Beggars of Life (1928); Chinatown Nights (1929); Billy the Kid (1930); The Champ (1931); Viva Villa! (1934, with Fay Wray, Joseph Schildkraut); Treasure Island (1934). Nominated for Best Actor (1931) for The Big House (1930). Won Best Actor (1933) for The Champ. Won Gold Medal for Best Actor, Venice Film Festival, for Viva Villa!
(1881-1938). Screen tough guy. Films include: Boomerang Bill (1922, with Lionel Barrymore); White Fang (1925); The Flame of the Yukon (1926); The Terror (1928); The Patent Leather Kid (1928); The Big House (1930).
(1905-1965). Without doubt, the top “flapper” star of the 1920s, known as “The ‘It’ Girl.” Films include: Mantrap, 1926; It, 1927; Wings, 1927; Ladies of the Mob, 1928; The Wild Party, 1929.
(1895-1972). American leading man who became most famous as Hopalong Cassidy. Films include: The Road to Yesterday (1925); The Volga Boatman (1926); The Last Frontier (1926, with Jack Hoxie); King of Kings (1927); Two Arabian Knights (1927, with Mary Astor, Louis Wolheim); The Leatherneck (1929, with Robert Armstrong, Fred Kohler).
(Mary Elizabeth Riggs, 1899-1975). American leading lady, started in British films, but her first big success was in Underworld (1927), with George Bancroft. She often played vamps, molls, or not-entirely-virtuous heroines. Other films include: Silk Stocking Sal (1924); Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em (1926, with Louise Brooks); Queen of Diamonds (1926); The Dragnet (1928, with Bancroft, Fred Kohler); Beau Sabreur (1928); Darkened Rooms (1929); Woman Trap (1929).
(1906-1985). One of the most beautiful, sensual and gifted actresses of the 1920s, her refusal to kowtow to the studio system kept her from becoming a major star. The films she did in Germany for G.W. Pabst — Die BÃ¼chse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box, or Lulu, 1928) and Das Tagebuch einer Verlorenen (Diary of a Lost Girl, 1929) — are among the classics of silent film. Other films include: Rolled Stockings (1927); A Girl in Every Port (1928, q.v.); Beggars of Life (1928); The Canary Murder Case (1929); Prix de beautÃ©(1930).
(1904-1974). Former varsity athlete who somehow managed to keep working in movies for forty years. Films include: A Woman of Affairs (1928); Our Dancing Daughters (1928); Billy the Kid (1930); Montana Moon (1930); Lasca of the Rio Grande (1931); Fighting With Kit Carson (1933); Rustlers of Red Dog (1935).
(1889- ). Legendary comic actor/director/producer. Films include: The Kid (1920); The Pilgrim (1923); The Gold Rush (1924); City Lights (1931). Nominated (1929) for Best Actor and Best Director for The Circus (1928); won an “Honorary Award” for “versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing The Circus“; nominated (1941) for Best Actor, Best Picture, and Best Writing, Original Screenplay for The Great Dictator (1940); nominated (1948) for Best Writing, Original Screenplay, for Monsieur Verdoux (1947); won “Honorary Award” (1972) for “the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century”; won Best Music, Original Dramatic Score (1973) for Limelight. Won New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor (1940) for The Great Dictator, refused to accept.
(1902- ). Films include: What Price Glory? (1926); The Cradle Snatchers (1927, with Louise Fazenda); Why Sailors Go Wrong (1928); Plastered in Paris (1928); Sailor’s Luck (1933).
(Lucille LeSueur) (1904 -1977). One of the top “flapper” stars of the 1920s, she went on to become a durable motion picture star well into the 1960s. Films include: Sally, Irene and Mary (with Sally O’Neil and Constance Bennett), 1925; The Taxi Dancer, 1927; Our Dancing Daughters (1928); Untamed (with Ernest Torrence), 1929; Montana Moon(1930). Won Best Actress (1946) for Possessed.
(Lilliane CarrÃ©, 1901-1994). French actress, married to Errol Flynn from 1935-1942. Films include: The Cock-Eyed World (1929, with Edmund Lowe and Victor McLaglen); The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929); The Rescue (1929); Fighting Caravans (1931, with Gary Cooper, Ernest Torrence, Fred Kohler).
(1886-1934). Big Danish character actor popular in comic roles. Films include: The Big Parade (1925, with John Gilbert); The Son of the Sheik (1926); Bardelys the Magnificent (1926); Slide, Kelly, Slide (1927); Rookies (1927); Alias Jimmy Valentine (1929, with Lionel Barrymore); The Mysterious Island (1929, with Barrymore); Montana Moon (1930); The Big House (1930); Billy the Kid (1930).
(1898-1963). Films include: The Hawk’s Trail (1920); The Hope Diamond Mystery (1921); The Beautiful Gambler (1921); A Dangerous Adventure (1922); The Great Jewel Robbery (1925); Her Man O’ War (1926, with William Boyd).
(1878-1948). British actor. Films include: Intolerance (1916); The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921); The Three Musketeers (1921); Salome (1923); The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923); Ben Hur (1926); Wings (1927); The Iron Mask (1929).
(Lolita Dolores Martinez Asunsolo y Lopez Negrette, 1905-1983). Mexican beauty from an aristocratic family. Films include: The Whole Town’s Talking (1926); High Steppers (1926, with Mary Astor); What Price Glory? (1927); The Loves of Carmen(1927, with Victor McLaglen, Fred Kohler); Ramona (1928, with Warner Baxter); The Red Dance (1928); Evangeline (1929).
(1895-1983). Dempsey was, of course, the great heavyweight champion (1919-1926) and Howard’s fistic idol. The reference to him in “Sunday in a Small Town” is ironical.
No biographical information found. Films include: Four Devils(1928, with Barry Norton); The Escape (1928); Riley the Cop (1928, with Louise Fazenda); Texas Buddies (1932).
(1876-1953). His knock-down, drag-out, chaw-his-ear, gouge-his-eyeballs-out, bust-up-the-saloon fight with Thomas Santschi in Selig’s 1914 The Spoilers (based on the Rex Beach novel of the Alaska gold rush) was so damned good that later remakes hired them to show how to do it (Farnum had a role in the 1942 version). Other films include: The Lone Star Ranger (1919); If I Were King (1920); The Crusades (1935).
(1895-1962). One of Mack Sennett’s original bathing beauties, became a popular comedienne and character actress. Films include: Main Street (1923); The Spoilers (1923); The Gold Diggers (1923); The Bat (1926); The Terror (1928); Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1928); The Desert Song (1929).
(Greta Gustafson) (1905-1990). One of the top stars of the 1920s and ’30s and one of the great stars of all time. Films include Flesh and the Devil, 1927 (with John Gilbert); Love, 1927 (with Gilbert); A Woman of Affairs, 1928 (with Gilbert); Anna Christie, 1930; Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise), 1931; Mata Hari, 1931; Queen Christina, 1933 (with Gilbert). Nominated for Best Actress (1931) for both Romance and Anna Christie. Won New York Film Critics Circle Best Actress (1935) for Anna Karenina and (1937) for Camille. Nominated for Best Actress (1938) for Camille and (1940) for Ninotchka. Won Honorary Academy Award (1955) “for her unforgettable screen performances.”
(1907-1994). Beauty best known for her roles in Laurel and Hardy films. Films include: The Valley of Hell (1926); Bertha, The Sewing Machine Girl (1926, with Arthur Housman); Sailors Beware (1927); The Battle of the Century (1927); From Soup to Nuts (1928).
(John Pringle, 1895 or ’97 or ’99-1936). Romantic leading man of the 1920s, probably best known for his films with Garbo: Flesh and the Devil(1926), Love(1927), A Woman of Affairs (1928), Queen Christina (1933). Other films include: The Big Parade(1925); Bardelys the Magnificent (1926); The Cossacks(1928).
(1888-1951). American leading man in action films. Films include: The Call of the North (1921); North of the Rio Grande(1922); Wanderer of the Wasteland (1924); The Lone Wolf (1924); The Thundering Herd (1925); Sea Horses(1926, with Florence Vidor, George Bancroft); The Mysterious Rider (1927, with Tom Kennedy); The Border Legion(1930); The Last Parade (1932).
(1889-1942). Comic actor who ended playing drunks, mainly. Films include: Bertha, The Sewing Machine Girl (1926, with Anita Garvin); Sunrise (1927); The Singing Fool (1928); Queen of the Night Clubs (1929).
(1885-1965). Cowboy actor. Films include: The Man From Nowhere (1920); Hills of Hate(1921); Barb Wire (1922); The Desert Bridegroom (1922); The Forbidden Trail (1923); The Fighting Fury (1924, with Fred Kohler); The Last Frontier (1926, with William Boyd).
(1884-1965). A former boxer who “frequently played big dumb, likeable, working-class types,” sez one writer. Films include: Scaramouche (1923); The Best Bad Man (1925, with Tom Mix); We’re In the Navy Now (1926, with Wallace Beery); The Mysterious Rider (1927, with Jack Holt); Silver Valley (1927, with Mix); The Cop(1928, with William Boyd, Robert Armstrong); The Big House (1930, with Beery, Karl Dane); Monkey Business (1931); Skyscraper Souls (1932).
(1888-1938). American actor who played mostly tough guys, heavies, etc. Films include: The Son of the Wolf(1922); The Iron Horse (1924); Fighting Fury(1924, with Jack Hoxie); Riders of the Purple Sage (1925); Old Ironsides(1926, with George Bancroft, Wallace Beery); Underworld (1927, with Bancroft, Evelyn Brent); The Loves of Carmen (1927, with Dolores Del Rio, Victor McLaglen); The Rough Riders (1927, with Bancroft, Mary Astor); Hell’s Heroes (1929); The Leatherneck (1929, with William Boyd, Robert Armstrong); Thunderbolt (1929, with Bancroft, Fay Wray).
(1892-1959). (Henry George Lupino). British stage comedian. Films include: The Reporter (1922); Isn’t Life Wonderful? (1924); The Love Parade (1929); Bride of the Regiment (1930).
(1884-1944). One of the great silent film comedians. Films include: Tramp Tramp Tramp (1926); The Strong Man (1926); Long Pants (1926); His First Flame (1927); Three’s A Crowd (1927).
(1890 or ’92-1971). American leading man. Films include: East of Suez (1925); What Price Glory? (1926); The Wizard (1927); Dressed to Kill (1928); The Cock-Eyed World (1929); In Old Arizona (1929); Women of All Nations (1931); The Cisco Kid (1931); Hot Pepper(1933).
(1883-1959). British actor whose lived-in face and good nature kept him working in “tough guy with a heart of gold” roles. Films include: The Beloved Brute (1924); What Price Glory? (1926); The Loves of Carmen(1927); A Girl in Every Port (1928); Hangman’s House(1928); The Cock-Eyed World (1929); The Black Watch (1929); Women of All Nations (1931); Hot Pepper (1933); The Lost Patrol (1934); The Informer (1935). Won Best Actor (1936) for The Informer. Nominated for Best Supporting Actor (1953) for The Quiet Man (1952).
(1904-1984). Films include: The Escape (1928); Back Street (1932).
(1880-1940). One of the most famous screen cowboys, though his film adventures were not confined to westerns. The film to which REH was referring must be The Canyon of Light, the only Mix film in which Barry Norton appeared. Other films include: The Texan (1920); Tom Mix in Arabia (1922); The Lone Star Ranger (1923); Dick Turpin(1925); Riders of the Purple Sage (1925); The Last Trail (1927).
(1887-1950). (Luigi Montagna) Strong man who played mostly ape men and heavies. Films include: Go and Get It (1920); Rob ‘Em Good (1923); The Lost World (1924); Son of the Sheik (1926).
[or Mozzhukhin] (1889-1939). Russian actor. Films include: The Defence of Sebastopol (1911); Satan Triumphant (1922); Michael Strogoff(1926); Surrender (1927); Casanova (1927).
(1905-1956). Norton was born in Buenos Aires: What Price Glory? and The Canyon of Light (with Tom Mix) were among his first films. Other films include: The Wizard(1927); Heart of Salome (1927); Sunrise (1927); The Legion of the Condemned (1928).
(1890-1947). Hey, anybody who played “Battling Burke” (in Scrap Iron, 1921) is okay in my book! Films include: The Big Parade (1926, with John Gilbert, Karl Dane); Rookies (1927, with Dane); The Private Life of Helen of Troy (1927); Untamed (1929, with Ernest Torrence); Moby Dick (1930).
(Virginia Noonan) (1913-1968). One of the top “flapper” stars of the 1920s. Films include: Sally, Irene and Mary (with Joan Crawford and Constance Bennett), 1925; Battling Butler, 1926; Slide Kelly Slide, 1927; The Mad Hour, 1928; The Battle of the Sexes, 1928; Hardboiled, 1929; The Sophomore, 1929; Jazz Heaven, 1929.
(1903- ). American actress, best known as the leading lady menaced by Lon Chaney’s Phantom of the Opera (1926). Other films include: Surrender (1927).
(Emanuel Goldenberg, 1893-1972). Romanian-born American actor noted primarily for gangster roles. Films include: The Hole in the Wall (1929); Outside the Law (1930); Little Caesar (1930); Five Star Final (1931, with H.B. Warner); Smart Money (1931); Tiger Shark (1932, with Richard Arlen); The Little Giant (1933, with Mary Astor); Barbary Coast (1935).
(William Lerche, 1884-1929). Leading man in silents. Films include: Six Feet Four (1919); The Iron Rider (1920); Bare Knuckles (1921); Children of the Night(1921); Boston Blackie (1923); The Beloved Brute (1924, with Victor McLaglen); Brass Knuckles (1927); The Crimson City (1928); The Escape (1928).
(1895-1964). Austrian leading man and character actor. Films include: Orphans of the Storm (1921); The Road to Yesterday (1925); The King of Kings (1927); Show Boat(1929); Viva Villa! (1934); Cleopatra (1934).
No biographical information located. Films include: The Shock Punch (1925); The Lucky Devil (1925); The Great Gatsby (1926, with Warner Baxter); Wings (1927); The City Gone Wild(1927, with Louise Brooks, Fred Kohler).
(1889-1934). Sophisticated lady of the silent era. Films include: Ports of Call (1925, with Edmund Lowe); Whispering Smith(1926); Camille (1927); The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929, with H.B. Warner); Hardboiled (1929).
(1878-1933). Scottish actor. Films include: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923); The Covered Wagon (1923); The Heritage of the Desert (1924); Peter Pan (1924); King of Kings (1927); The Cossacks (1928); The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929); Untamed(1929); Shipmates (1931).
(1895-1926). One of the top romantic idols in film history. As near as I can tell, his first “appearance in Spanish clothes” was in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse(1921). Other films include: The Sheik (1921); Blood and Sand (1922); Monsieur Beaucaire(1924); Son of the Sheik (1926).
(Virginia McSweeney, 1898-1968). American leading lady of the 1920s. Films include: The Devil Within (1921, with Nigel de Brulier); The Shock (1923, with Lon Chaney); The Pleasure Garden (1925); Evening Clothes (1927, with Louise Brooks); The Escape (1928, q.v.).
(Guadelupe Velez de Villalobos, 1908-1944). Mexican actress, best remembered as The Mexican Spitfire. Films include: The Gaucho (1927); Wolf Song (1929); The Squaw Man (1931); Hot Pepper (1933); Palooka (1934).
(Florence Arto, 1895-1977). A popular actress in the silents (married for some years to director King Vidor), whose career did not carry over to the talkies. Films include: The Virginian (1923); Barbara Frietchie (1924, with Edmund Lowe); Sea Horses (1926, with Jack Holt, George Bancroft); The Patriot (1928); Chinatown Nights (1929).
(Harry Byron Warner, 1876-1958). British leading man and character actor. Films include: Whispering Smith(1926); The King of Kings (1927); Romance of a Rogue (1928); The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929); The Green Goddess (1930).
(1898-1970). Black actor of the 1920s and ’30s. Films include: The Blood Ship (1927, with Richard Arlen, Fred Kohler); The Haunted Ship (1927); Beggars of Life(1928, with Louise Brooks, Wallace Beery, Richard Arlen); Black Magic (1929).
(1880-1931). American actor with a face that looked like it met a few immovable objects in its time. Films include: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920); The Face in the Fog (1922, with Lionel Barrymore); America (1924, with Lionel Barrymore); Two Arabian Nights (1927, with Mary Astor, William Boyd); Tempest (1928); Wolf Song(with Gary Cooper, Lupe Velez); The Sin Ship (1930, with Mary Astor); All Quiet on the Western Front(1930). [See note under What Price Glory?]
(1907- ). If you only know her from King Kong (1933), you might not see what Howard saw in her. Other films include: The Legion of the Condemned (1928); Street of Sin (1928, with Olga Baclanova); The Four Feathers (1929, with Richard Arlen); Thunderbolt (1929); The Border Legion (1930, with Richard Arlen, Jack Holt); The Sea God (1930, with Arlen); Three Rogues (1931, with Victor McLaglen); The Most Dangerous Game (1932, with Robert Armstrong); Viva Villa! (1934, with Wallace Beery).
Well, I have seen Cimarron, though I must confess that I did not see much of a parallel in the lives of Joe Renfro, and Yancey Cravat. The picture made me feel rather insignificant, or rather, Dix’s interpretation of Cravat did. I suppose Dix feels the same way about it himself, after portraying such a character.
(RKO, 1931). The Oklahoma land boom, from the novel by Edna Ferber. Director: Wesley Ruggles. Cast: Richard Dix (Yancey Cravat); Irene Dunn (Sabra Cravat); Estelle Taylor (Dixie Lee); Nance O’Neil (Felice Venable); Edna May Oliver (Mrs. Tracy Wyatt); etc. Black & white. Sound. Won Best Picture, Best Art Direction (Max RÃ©e), Best Writing (Adaptation) (Howard Estabrook), 1932; nominated for Best Actor (Dix), Best Actress (Dunn), Best Director (Ruggles), Best Cinematography (Edward Cronjager).
(Ernest Carlton Brimmer, 1893-1949). Leading man. Films include: To The Last Man (1923); The Ten Commandments (1923); The Shock Punch (1925); The Lucky Devil (1926, with Edna May Oliver); Say It Again (1926, as “Bob Howard”!); Knockout Reilly (1927); Moran of the Marines (1928); Cimarron (1931).
“A Biographical Sketch of Robert E. Howard”
by Alvin Earl Perry, from Fantasy Magazine, July 1935
(reprinted in The Last Celt, p. 65)”…Lionel Barrymore and Edna May Oliver hold his attentions in the movies.”
For Barrymore, see main listing.
(Edna May Nutter, 1883-1942): Fine actress who played a number of literary roles, and created the role of spinsterish schoolmarm detective Hildegarde Withers. Films include: Cimmaron (1931); Hold ‘Em Jail (1932); The Conquerors (1932); The Penguin Pool Murder (1932); Little Women (1933); Alice in Wonderland (1933); Murder on the Blackboard (1934); David Copperfield(1935); A Tale of Two Cities (1935).
“Did you see Frederick March in that movie ‘Death Takes a Holiday?’”
“Well,” I went on, grinning, “the kids call me ‘Death’ and wish I’d take a holiday.”
(Paramount, 1934). The Grim Reaper takes a vacation and flirts with the ladies. Director: Mitchell Leisen. Cast: Frederic March (Prince Sirki [Death]); Evelyn Venable (Grazia); Guy Standing (Duke Lambert); Katherine Alexander (Alda); Gail Patrick (Rhoda); Helen Westley (Stephanie); Kathleen Howard (Princess Maria); etc. Black & white. Sound.
(Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel, 1897-1975). Leading man. Films include: Ladies Love Brutes (1930, with Mary Astor, George Bancroft); Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931); Death Takes a Holiday (1934); The Affairs of Cellini (1934).
[quoted in LSdC to Rusty Burke, 5 December 1990]“One of his favorite recreations was going to the movies. He liked most movies, but the one I remember his talking most about was ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame.’ The role of the Hunchback was played by his favorite actor Lon Chaney.”
(Universal, 1923): Classic screen adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel. Director: Wallace Worsley. Cast: Lon Chaney (Quasimodo); Patsy Ruth Miller (Esmerelda); Norman Kerry (Phoebus de Chateaupers); Ernest Torrence (Clopin); Brandon Hurst (Jehan); Nigel de Brulier (Dom Claudio); Winifred Bryson (Fleur de Lys); Tully Marshall (Louis XI); Kate Lester (Madame de Gondelaurier); Eulalie Jensen (Marie); Raymond Hatton (Gringoire); etc. Black & white. Silent.
(Leonidas F. Chaney, 1883-1930). “The Man of a Thousand Faces.” Films include:Treasure Island (1920); Oliver Twist (1922); The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923); He Who Gets Slapped (1924); The Phantom of the Opera (1925); Tell It To The Marines (1927).
As noted in the Introduction, I have been greatly aided in bringing Robert E. Howard Goes to the Movies to the Internet by the Internet Movie Database. I highly recommend this resource as a starting point for those who wish to learn more about these films and stars. The following books are those which were used in my original researches and presentation of this material (and most of ‘em have pictures!).
Barbour, Alan G. Cliffhanger: A Pictorial History of the Motion Picture Serial. Citadel, 1980.Baxter, John. Hollywood in the Thirties. International Film Guide Series, A.S. Barnes & Co., .Bergen, Ronald. The United Artists Story. Crown/Octopus, 1983.Blum, Daniel. A New Pictorial History of the Talkies. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1968.Blum, Daniel. A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen. Grosset & Dunlap, 1972.Butler, Ivan. Silent Magic: Rediscovering the Silent Film Era. Ungar, 1988.Cohen, Daniel and Susan. Encyclopedia of Movie Stars. Gallery/Bison, 1985.
Eames, John Douglas. The MGM Story: The Complete History of Fifty Roaring Years. Crown, 1977.
Eames, John Douglas. The Paramount Story. Crown, 1987.
Everson, William K. A Pictorial History of the Western Film. Citadel, 1969.
Everson, William K. The Detective in Film. Citadel, 1972.
Everson, William K. Classics of the Horror Film. Citadel, 1974.
Eyles, Allan. That Was Hollywood: The 1930s. B.T. Batsford, 1987.
Franklin, Joe. Classics of the Silent Screen: A Pictorial Treasury. Bramhall House, .
Garfield, Brian. Western Films: A Complete Guide. Rawson Associates, 1982.
Griffith, Richard, and Arthur Mayer. The Movies. Fireside/Simon & Schuster, 1970.
Halliwell, Leslie. The Filmgoer’s Companion, 4th ed. Avon, 1975.
Haver, Ronald. David O. Selznick’s Hollywood. Bonanza, 1985.
Hirschhorn, Clive. The Warner Bros. Story. Crown, 1979.
Jewell, Richard B., with Vernon Harbin. The RKO Story. Arlington House/Octopus, .
Leab, Daniel J. From Sambo to Superspade: The Black Experience in Motion Pictures. Houghton Mifflin, 1975.
Lloyd, Anne, and Graham Fuller. The Illustrated Who’s Who of the Cinema. Portland House, 1987.
Loughery, John. “The Rise and Fall of Philo Vance,” in The Armchair Detective, vol. 20, no. 1, Winter 1987, pp. 64-71.
Maltin, Leonard. Leonard Maltin’s TV Movie and Video Guide. Signet/NAL, 1988.
Miller, Don. B Movies. Ballantine, 1988.
Robinson, David. Hollywood in the Twenties. International Film Guide Series, A.S. Barnes & Co., .
Shipman, David. The Great Movie Stars: The Golden Years. Bonanza, .
Slide, Anthony. The Idols of Silence. A.S. Barnes & Co., 1976.
Stuart, Ray. Immortals of the Screen. Bonanza, .
Thomas, Tony. The Great Adventure Films. Citadel, 1980.
Thomas, Tony, and Aubrey Solomon. The Films of 20th Century-Fox: A Pictorial History. Citadel Press, 1985.