“I did this show called TRAILBLAZING WOMEN, and the biggest thing I’ve learned in two years of doing the show is that men write their history and that’s why they’re remembered more than women. Cecil B. DeMille made sure to write everything down, but all the other women that were working at the same time as Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffith–there were women directors, they didn’t write their stories down, so they weren’t included in the history books. I think it’s really important for women to mention the things that they were a part of.”
By msbethg in Film Festivals, Genres, San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Silent Film Tags: 1922, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, A Wild Roomer, Alice Prin, André Breton, angle, animation, Ann Christy, Arlette Dutois, Arlette Peyran, Avant-Garde, baseball, Basque, Bert Woodruff, Bruce Goldstein, Castro, Castro District, Castro Theatre, Charley Bowers, cinépoème, comedies, comedy, D.W., D.W. Griffith, daredevil, David Wark, Dimitri Kirsanoff, district, double exposure, Earplay, Emak-Bakia, extreme close-ups, Faces of Children, family, father, Film Forum, Film Noir Foundation, Flesh and the Devil, Frank Buxton, Frank Capra, Garbo, Gilbert, Gower Gulch Players, Great Garbo, Greta Garbo, Griffith, Guenter Buchwald, Harald Schwenzen, Harold "Speedy" Swift, Harold Lloyd, Harold Swift, horse, horse-drawn streetcar, image, Irving Thalberg, Jacques Feyder, Jane Dillon, Jean Amsler, Jean Forest, Jeanne Dutois, John Gilbert, Kiki, Kiki of Montparnasse, Knut Hamsun, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Leave me alone, light, lipreading, Lloyd, Lobster Films, love, Man Ray, Many a Slip, melodrama, Ménilmontant, Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, Montparnasse, Nadia Sibirskaïa, New York, New York City, New York State Censorship Board, Nicolas Tzortzis, Now You Tell One, NY, NYC, offscreen, Pan, Paris, pianist, Pierre Amsler, Pop Dillon, Pordenone, Rachel Devirys, rhythm, romance, romantic, Rube Goldberg, San Francisco, San Francisco Silent Film, San Francisco Silent Film Festival, score, Serge Bromberg, SF, SF Silent Film, SF Silent Film Fest, SF Silent Film Festival, SFSFF, SFSFF20, silent, Silent Film, silent films, Silent London, silents, slapstick, son, speed, Speedy, Speedy Swift, Stephen Horne, Steve Sterner, streetcar, surrealism, Surrealists, The Donovan Affair, theater, theatre, There It Is, transcription discs, unsteady camera, Victor Vina, Visages d'enfants, Yolande Beaulieu
Saturday morning’s program starts with the family-friendly Speedy (1928), and some parents likely will bring their tots for an outing to this screening. I love seeing kids getting their introduction to silents or enjoying a return trip to the festival. Comedies are a great gateway into silent film for all ages. In this slapstick feature, Harold Lloyd plays baseball obsessed Harold “Speedy” Swift, who can’t keep a job as well as he can keep up with his team. His being able to find a job every Monday after he’s lost one the previous week keeps dashing the marriage hopes of his honey, Jane Dillon (Ann Christy). While the younger generation discovers life’s tribulations anew, Speedy’s dad Pop Dillon (Bert Woodruff) moves more slowly. He’s the last horse-drawn streetcar driver in New York City, and a wheeler and dealer wants Pop’s track. Will big business push or buy him out? A son’s love for his father becomes an indefatigable force in a battle for a family’s future. The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra accompanies the film.
Visages d’enfants (1925), or Faces of Children, is another film that focuses on a family. It covers a theme that often appears at this festival–what makes a family. Son Jean Amsler (Jean Forest) is only a child, and he’s having a hard time coping with his mother’s passing. His father Pierre (Victor Vina) temporarily sends Jean away, and Pierre remarries during his son’s absence. Jean returns to a household changed once again. Not only does he get a Step-Mother (Jeanne Dutois played by Rachel Devirys), but also he gains a Step-Sister (Arlette portrayed by Arlette Peyran). He takes his resentment of Jeanne out on Arlette, and his actions escalate until they could cause a tragedy. Director Jacques Feyder‘s exploration of psychological family drama and childhood grief earned him critical acclaim, and it’s been called his best work. Stephen Horne accompanies the film.
Silent film purists might object to the The Donovan Affair (1929) being placed on the schedule. Technically it’s only a silent through circumstance. Director Frank Capra filmed the dark house mystery as a talkie. It was “his first ‘100% all-Dialogue Picture.’” “Its original soundtrack, recorded on transcription discs,” was lost. Ignore the pedants! The solutions to the challenges this screening presents are fun. Bruce Goldstein, director of programming at New York’s Film Forum, made it his mission to make screening the film possible. The original script was lost, but he found “half the dialogue in the archives of the now-defunct New York State Censorship Board.” He searched for actors with a feel for the era who could convincingly sound of it and become the voices of Capra’s onscreen cast. Goldstein’s actors became the Gower Gulch Players, and they helped him recreate the script further. They pieced together more of the movie’s dialogue through lipreading its actors. Pianist Steve Sterner created the film’s “new score.” This will be the troupe’s fourth public performance of The Donovan Affair. Frank Buxton is a guest performer.
Flesh and the Devil (1926) starring John Gilbert and Greta Garbo likely will be a sold-out screening, so you should get the the Castro Theatre early for this film! A crowd will turn-out to see Garbo and Gilbert sizzle on the screen. Their character’s onscreen romance was paralleled by the actors’ offscreen one, and because Gilbert fell hard for his leading lady, he made sure she would shine in what was only her third American picture. Gilbert was the bigger, more established star of the two, and Irving Thalberg, “banked on his highest paid player to help define an unknown entity.” Gilbert’s help went much further than agreeing to stare with the mysterious new discovery and share equal billing. He was an experienced actor, and he was a screenwriter and an assistant director. While she had “It,” he had the knowledge of what worked in front of the camera. He asked for retakes of any scenes where Garbo could have shone better, and he didn’t object to camera angles designed or requested to show off her beauty. Garbo was grateful for his help. “If he had not come into my life at this time, I should probably have come home to Sweden at once, my American career over.” While the behind-the-scenes history of the movie overshadows its conventional romantic melodramatic plot of a friendship torn apart by a woman’s love, its luminous stars and their multi-layered romances show the power silent film icons had to seem more than us watching them on the screen. They were bigger in size, the most beautiful, grander in lifestyle, fuller of feeling, and capable of great love.
From the silent film community’s murmurings after 2014’s Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pan (1922) will be the sleeper hit of the San Francisco festival. Descriptions of Knut Hamsun‘s book make it seem a straightforward tale. Two disparate strangers are pulled together by an “overwhelming attraction“. She is a wealthy, educated townswoman, and he is an ex-soldier turned hunter living in a forest with his dog. Despite their love, they don’t understand each other’s ways, and they seem fated not to be together. It’s the rendering of this story that makes it outstanding. Silent London wrote, “Lush, detailed photography, delicately tinted, with epigrammatic intertitles, and many a layer of mystery to uncover, this was a film of great beauty and unique oddity.” Pan was a success, but it was Harald Schwenzen‘s only directing credit. He’s like the debut novelist who retires after writing a masterpiece. See why the Film Noir Foundation said Pan “secured Schwenzen’s reputation in cinema history.” Guenter Buchwald accompanies the film.
More all ages comedy kicks off Sunday’s screenings! There’s an entire program devoted to the shorts of The Amazing Charley Bowers. He was almost forgotten in his home country the United States until “Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films revived his oeuvre in 2010.” The shorts he restored are thought to be a portion of Bowers’ existing work. More may exist in archives. What a shame it would be for Bowers’ works to be lost by lack of interest! His films are surrealistic slapstick outings mixing live action with animation and often featuring “complex Rube Goldberg gadgets.” The best comedians make us look at the world or life in a new way while we laugh, and Bowers had that talent and a singular vision. Who else would make a film starring a kilt mad laddie investigating a mystery with a cockroach detective also clad in a kilt? No wonder Bowers was beloved by André Breton and the Surrealists. Featured shorts include A Wild Roomer (1926, 24 minutes), Now You Tell One (1926, 22 minutes), Many a Slip (1927, 12 minutes), and There It Is (1928, 17 minutes). Serge Bromberg accompanies the films.
Avant-Garde Paris showcases two films from 1920s Paris that illustrate the creative experimentation of the city, making it a beacon for artists.
Emak-Bakia (1927, 16 minutes) is a cinépoème by visual artist Man Ray. The title is “Basque for Leave me alone.” How that relates to the film is up to individual interpretation. After the title and credits, the first image seen is a man with his camera with human eye on its side, so everything that follows could be a film dreamed up by a crazed cinematographer. Light, image, double exposure, speed, rhythm, angle, extreme close-ups, and a sometimes unsteady camera are played with. Images range from the abstract to the identifiable. Fans of vintage personalities should know Kiki of Montparnasse (Alice Prin) makes an appearance. Earplay accompanies the film with a score created by Nicolas Tzortzis.
Ménilmontant (1926, 44 minutes) may look more conventional in comparison to Emak-Bakia, since the former film is a narrative, but Ménilmontant’s director Dimitri Kirsanoff experimented with techniques and images in telling a comprehendible story, and he didn’t use intertitles. His leads (Nadia Sibirskaïa and Yolande Beaulieu) portray two sisters. When the film starts, they look like innocent D.W. Griffith heroines. The girls are wearing big bows, running about, and playing with each other and their cats. An axe murderer kills their parents, and their lives are disrupted. When we next see them, they’re chaperoneless young women of the flapper era, and their bond is threatened by a man with no intent of joining the family. Stephen Horne accompanies the film.
My San Francisco Silent Film Festival preview continues with Part 3 tomorrow. If you missed Part 1 of my preview, you can read it here.
By msbethg in Film Festivals, Genres, Silent Film, TCM Film Festival 4 Comments Tags: 1902, 1903, 1909, 1913, 2015, 35 mm, 35mm, A Corner in Wheat, A Trip to the Moon, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, ballet, Brane Živković, British, Buster Keaton, Calvero, Carl Davis, Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin, Claire Bloom, classic, classic film, classic films, classics, clown, clowns, composer, composers, D.W. Griffith, dancer, dancers, Douglas Fairbanks, DW Griffith, Edison Company, English, escape artist, escape artists, film, film festival, film festivals, films, Foundation Program, Georges Méliès, hand-crank, hand-cranking, Harry Houdini, Houdini, Kitty King, Limelight, live, Lois Weber, London, lost, lost film, lost films, magician, magicians, March, Marion Byron, Méliès, movie, movies, music hall, music halls, premiere, premieres, Preservation Program, projecting, projectionist, projector, Randy Haberkamp, Rick Schmidlin, score, scored, silent, Silent Film, silent films, silents, split-screen, stage, steamboat, Steamboat Bill Jr, Suspense, TCM, TCMFF, TCMFF 2015, TCMFF15, Terry, The Academy, The Great Train Robbery, The Grim Game, The Return of the Dream Machine, The Return of the Dream Machine: Hand-Cranked Films from 1902-1913, thriller, Turner Classic, Turner Classic Movies, United Artists, William Canfield Jr., World, world premiere, world premieres, World War I, World War One, WWI
Classic film circles are abuzz about March’s Turner Classic Movies Film Festival. This year’s theme is History According to Hollywood, and many movie buffs are guessing what film favorites fitting that theme will screen. While the festival is only about a month away, its full schedule has not been announced yet. I’ve gone over what titles have been released to create a silent film fanatic preview.
Rumored as lost, the Harry Houdini vehicle The Grim Game (1919) is another silent film with a strange-but-true rescue story. A retired juggler named Larry Weeks bought a complete print of the film back in 1947 from the Harry Houdini estate. He had shown it a few times, and he had been unwilling to sell it to any inquirers. In 2014 film scholar and preservationist Rick Schmidlin got a tip that Weeks owned the movie and successfully negotiated for TCM its purchase. Schmidlin oversaw the restoration, and it will make its world premiere at the festival.
The Grim Game is notable for being one of Houdini’s few feature films. Houdini stars as Harvey Hanford, who gets framed for murder. As if the stakes of clearing his name were not high enough, he must rescue his kidnapped fiancée, too. Like a number of Douglas Fairbanks‘s a films were designed to demonstrate his athleticism, Houdini’s movie offers him plenty of opportunities to showcase his skills as an illusionist, escape artist, and stuntman. There’s a dramatic airplane sequence that draws on his reputation as an aviator. The film sounds like a fun popcorn entertainment offering us a glimpse of a major 20th century performer at a career high.
Rick Schmidlin will be a special guest at the screening, and composer Brane Živković will conduct his score for the film live.
One program gives the rare chance to watch films hand-cranked through a projector just like audiences of yesteryear. It’s The Return of the Dream Machine: Hand-Cranked Films from 1902-1913. Showing movies in this manner relies on the projectionist’s ability to match his hand-cranking rhythm to the action depicted onscreen. If he cranks too fast, a sad scene can become a comedy, and if he cranks too slowly, a comedic scene plays at a dirge tempo. Hand-cranking is a test of hand-eye coordination and endurance.
For this screening, shorts in 35mm prints will be presented. Titles include a color-tinted version of Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon (1902), the Edison Company’s narrative leap forward The Great Train Robbery (1903), D.W. Griffith’s A Corner in Wheat (1909), and Lois Weber’s split-screen thriller Suspense (1913).
Buster Keaton‘s Steamboat Bill Jr. has two world premiere aspects. The comedy underwent a restoration that’s never been screened publicly before, and composer Carl Davis will conduct his brand-new score live. I see both of these as added bonuses of a film that would have pulled crowds even without them. Silent comedy is often a gateway to silent film for the non-fan, so this is a great film to introduce or sway a classic movie fan to silents, and Buster remains a strong name brand to current silent film fanatics.
In Steamboat Bill Jr., Buster plays William Canfield Jr., the newly returned from college son of a paddle-steamer captain. He’s not the big strapping lad his father hoped would help him crush his competitor. Worse, Bill falls in love with the competitor’s daughter. This Romeo and Juliet tale contains one of Buster best known stunts that’s among his most dangerous. Look for an in-joke about his iconic pork pie hat. Between the stunts and laughs, if you’re not on Team Buster when you start this film, you’ll likely be at its end.
Technically Limelight (1952) is a talkie, but it will interest silent film fanatics because Charlie Chaplin produced, wrote, directed, composed its music, and stars in the movie. It has a Buster Keaton cameo as well. Limelight is historic because it’s the only feature film both performed in. During the silent era, they appeared in a First National promotional short, Seeing Stars (1922). They played themselves at a celebrity banquet.
Chaplin intended Limelight to be his last picture. Even if it is not an autobiography, it was a highly personal film. He set it in 1914, the year of his film debut, and a time of change since that was right before World War I. He used to perform in music halls early in his career, so the London music hall settings of Limelight were familiar to him. Some suspect his alcoholic, downwardly mobile clown was based on his father, but Chaplin claimed actor Frank Tierney inspired the role. Whatever the truth, the character was a theatrical archetype. Everything about the film shows a man looking back at the past.
The movie is more bittersweet and hopeful than it may sound. It mixes drama and comedy, as does the best of Chaplin’s work. His character Calvero rescues a ballet dancer played by Claire Bloom from a suicide attempt. His old man nurses the girl back to health, and each finds a friend and confidante. They encourage each other to attempt a comeback. They take to the stage again, and they embrace life again.
Actor, producer, and author, Norman Lloyd, who appears in Limelight, will be a special guest at the screening.
By msbethg in Blogathons, Fairy Tale, Fairy Tales, Genres, Silent Film 12 Comments Tags: 1920s, accompanist, accompanists, Allen Jeffrey Rein, Anna May Hirsch, Anne Richardson, Appalachia, Appalachian, Blancanieves, blogathon, Blogathons, CA, Cali, California, camera, Charles Rosher, cinema, Claire, Claude Debussy, contemporary, Copland, corn, corn stalk, couple, D.W. Griffith, director, directors, equipment, exposures, F.W. Murnau, fairy tale, fairy tales, farm, farmer, farmers, farming, farms, father, fatherhood, fathers, folktale, folktales, gay, Georges Méliès, handcrank, Herbst Theatre, homosexual, intertitles, James Ferguson, Japan, Japanese, Josh, Kaguya, Kaguya-hime, luna, lunar, lune, Mary Pickford, Michel Hazanavicius, Milford Thomas, Mish P. DeLight, Miss Earwood, Mitchell Standard, Mitchell Standard handcrank camera, moon, Mutability, orchestra, Orchestra de Lune, orchestras, Pablo Berger, Percy Bysshe Shelley, poem, poetry, princess, Princess Kaguya, queer, Ravel, Richard, San Francisco, San Francisco Silent Film Festival, SF, SF Silent Film, SF Silent Film Fest, SF Silent Film Festival, SFSFF, Shelley, silent, silent era, Silent Film, silent films, silents, south, southern, Tess of the Storm Country, The Artist, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Toniet Gallego, vintage, Walt
Contemporary silent film Claire frames a story of longings once impossible inside a loose adaptation of a Japanese fairy tale. The movie quietly champions the themes of acceptance, fatherhood, and families of choice. The methods used to depict this tale are strictly early twentieth century, and the images they make are a dream-like mix of the quotidian and the mystical. All create a sense of the magic of love.
Claire was inspired by Princess Kaguya, also known as The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. In the fairy tale, Princess Kaguya is a changeling child. She’s discovered inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an elderly bamboo cutter wandering the forest. She’s no bigger than his thumb. He brings her home, and since he and his wife are childless, they raise the girl. They begin receiving compensation for the care they’d gladly give for free. Every time he cuts down a bamboo stock, he finds a nugget of gold.
Kaguya grows into a great beauty of normal human size. Despite her parents sheltering her, word of her beauty spreads, and she’s wooed by royalty, who want to marry her and take her away. She refuses by assigning them impossible tasks. She only feels the moon’s pull. While she loves her earthly parents, she cries to be separated from the moon. The tension comes from not knowing how and when she will leave her parents. Changeling children never stay. Will romance or the moon finally take her away from the couple?
Filmmaker Milford Thomas sets his version of this story on an Appalachian farm in the 1920s south. The movie starts with a child’s birthday party. A little girl is surrounded by friends and presents while her proud poppa, Josh (Mish P. DeLight) looks on. Suddenly the party is interrupted by a woman and man glaring reprobation. They take the girl away. Josh wakes up from his nightmare, arms flailing about, in bed. His partner lying next to him, Walt (James Ferguson), takes Josh’s hand, which calms him. We’re next shown scenes of their domesticity as they work their corn farm and live the settled, peaceful life of two elderly people who have been together a very long time.
Josh’s dream shows us the one thing he wants is a child, and his wish is fulfilled one night. He and Walt are startled awake by their animals making noise. When they look out their window to find out what the hullabaloo is about, they see their barn is filled with light. They find a glowing ear of corn inside. While they watch, the husk parts to reveal a glowing miniature, but perfectly proportioned girl (Toniet Gallego). She looks up at them with curiosity and hopefulness. They swaddle her like a baby and bring her into their home. They’re startled awake a third time when furniture gets knocked about. The tiny girl grew into a full-sized one overnight! The couple name her Claire.
Josh and Walt finally have a child to raise and spoil. They throw her a birthday party. They make a cake out of cornmeal. They wrap her present in dried corn husks. Her gift is revealed to be a miniature of their home made out of matchsticks and corn kernels. Inside the house are figurines of each family member. The scene is touching and foreshadowing. Even non-magical girls don’t stay home forever. The local school teacher, Miss Earwood (Anna May Hirsch), wants to send bright Claire away to France to study. Her pupil Richard (Allen Jeffrey Rein) attempts to court Claire, who’s confused about what she wants. She wants to stay with her fathers, but she can’t fight the pull of the moon. She climbs up onto the window sill at night to stare at the moon and cry longingly.
Thomas sets his movie in the past, but the subject of gay fatherhood and adoption remains topical, even though it is more common and acceptable today, yet his film isn’t polemical. In depicting one couple raising one girl, he shows us the love and wonder any father would feel doubled by two. Within the film’s more conservative time period, it’s only the nightmare child snatchers that show disapproval. Whether the townspeople understand Walt and Josh are a couple isn’t made clear, but their neighbors don’t question the men’s ability or motives in raising a girl. That’s not a plot point. Their daughter Claire accepts and loves them for who they are.
Her fathers must accept her for who she is. Every parent reaches the point when he or she must let a child grow up into her own person. Claire has feelings that she doesn’t understand. She doesn’t know what makes her want to leave her earthly home for the moon. It’s painful and confusing for any child to individuate. The story of the changeling who stays a short time with her foster parents mimics the cycle of the adolescent becoming an adult. Within Claire’s magical story is a second universal one.
Thomas’s visuals aren’t as slick as the ones of The Artist or Blancanieves. He employs no expensive digital arts, and his sets are modest. He did not have the same resources as Michel Hazanavicius or Pablo Berger. He gave himself two challenges to make Claire. He had to do it on a limited budget, and he had to do it using vintage equipment.
What’s shown onscreen looks like early vintage filmmaking, and I mean that in the best possible way. He used a Mitchell Standard handcrank camera, the “same type of camera used by cinematographer Charles Rosher to film Mary Pickford in the 1922 Tess of the Storm Country.” Milford overexposed modern monochrome film stocks to get contemporary film to look vintage. He used multiple, in camera exposures to make his special effects. Only an underwater scene was shot on a modern camera. His stylistic influences include Georges Méliès, F.W. Murnau, and D. W. Griffith. Few intertitles are employed, save for a scene where Claire reads a poem by Shelley.
The movie’s soundtrack was recorded live in 2002 at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. It was performed by the Orchestra de Lune, directed by composer Anne Richardson. Her score was influenced by “Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and Aaron Copland.” In writing the score, Richardson said, “The images on the screen often spoke to me, as if the music were already there, waiting to be put down on paper.” Her score is dreamy, emotional, and intimate. The audience’s audible responses are affecting. Their laughs, hisses, and applause gave this home viewer the sensation of watching Claire in a theatre with an audience. How long the hearty applause at film’s end goes on will give anyone the impression of how much some fairy tales are needed.
1. “Groundbreaking Film ‘Claire’ Celebrates a Radical Fairy-tale.” GAVoice. GAVoice, 2 Nov. 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
2. “Moving Picture Claire.” Moving Picture Claire. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
3. Hildreth, Richard. “Claire, 2001.” Home. San Francisco Silent Film Festival, 2003. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
4. Phillips Jordan, Julie. “Atlanta Filmmaker’s ‘Claire’ Pays Homage to Silent Cinema.” Athens Banner-Herald. Athens Banner-Herald, 18 Apr. 2002. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
By msbethg in Actresses, Birthdays, Lillian Gish 2 Comments Tags: actress, actresses, D.W., D.W. Griffith, David Llewelyn Wark, DW, DW Griffith, ga-ga babies, Griffith, Internet Archive, Kevin Brownlow, Lillian Gish, San Francisco Cinematheque, Silent Film, silent films, silents, Thames Silents, vamp, virgins
Lillian Gish was born today in 1893, and in honor of her birthday, I went searching for something new to learn about her. I found it thanks to the Internet Archive. In its files it has the San Francisco Cinematheque‘s 1985 program, which includes a personal remembrance of Gish by film historian Kevin Brownlow.
He recounts his encounter with Gish when she appeared at a Thames Silents film program in 1984. My favorite bit involves the question and answer portion of a lecture she gave at a packed National Film Theatre, where according to Brownlow “she delighted the audience with her enthusiastic recall and her humor.”
During this, Gish got asked a typical question:
“Is there any part you wished you’d played?” asked a member of the audience.
Her response may be surprising as atypical to some:
“A vamp,” she replied. “Oh, I’d love to have played a vamp. Seventy-five percent of your work is done for you. When you play those innocent little virgins, that’s when you have to work hard. They’re all right for five minutes, but after that you have to work to hold the interest. I always called them ‘ga-ga babies.’ “
So Gish longed to have played the bad girl at least once! She wanted the fun of that role. No matter how much she proclaimed the role as easy, I’m sure she would have put her usual amount of effort in. As Brownlow noted, “Griffith had imbued his players with the discipline and dedication of the nineteenth-century theater, and Lillian Gish carried these qualities to unprecedented lengths.”