Easter greetings from Spellbound HQ! I hope yours was lovely. For a last moment of celebratory fun, here’s Easter Parade star Ann Miller wearing a truly unique variation of the Easter bonnet. Inside her floral, hinged top hat sits a real, living rabbit. Miller and rabbit look nonplussed, and the actress does her best to make the look chic.
By msbethg in 1950s, Actresses, Appreciations, Bird of Paradise (1951), Debra Paget, Delmer Daves, Directors, Guy Maddin, Moments, Movies Tags: 1932, 1951, 2015, BAMPFA, Clara Furey, Debra Paget, Debra Paget For Example, Delmer Daves, Dolores del Río, dream, dream-like, Guy Maddin, indigenous, island, King Vidor, natives, offering, oversaturated, Pacific Film Archive, PFA, Polynesian, sacrifice, sacrificial, South Sea, surreal, Technicolor, The Forbidden Room, valcano, volcano
When watching Debra Paget, For Example (2015) and seeing clips of the actress‘s work, I was struck by the beautiful colors and dramatic shots that could be found in many of her films, which I had presumed to be mostly B movies. Maybe they weren’t all quality or fully successful pictures, but I caught myself finding aspects of them to admire.
Bird of Paradise (1951) stood out in this regard. I’ve only seen King Vidor‘s 1932 version starring Dolores del Río in its entirety, not the Delmer Daves‘ remake starring Paget. Dolores looked beautiful in her film and played her part well, but Paget had an acting advantage to make her character’s tragic ending even more impactful–Technicolor and framings like below. The intensity of color suggests the intensity of the heat and flames she’s walking through and the intensity of the lava she will be leaping into..
The colors and subject matter connected me back to another film I’d seen in February at the BAMPFA, Guy Maddin‘s The Forbidden Room (2015). His dream-like mix of genre stories within genre stories connecting to other genre stories that fade in and out of each other as one takes momentary prominence also featured island sequences with their not-so-indigenous-looking natives, volcano shots and flames, and another sacrifice. A Grantland interview cites Vidor’s movie as an influence, it was part of an earlier wave of Polynesian pictures, but it’s easier to see Daves’ movie as having greater influence. It’s in the oversaturated colors; it’s in the shots of another dark-haired woman’s flame-framed face. A great moment will make a film live on–in memories, in the subconscious, in dreams, and maybe once again on the screen. Reinterpretation is a compliment.
By msbethg in 1900s, Actresses, Directors, Easter, Era, Films, Genres, Holidays, Julienne Mathieu, Les oeufs de Pâques, Segundo de Chomón, Silent Film, Trick Films Tags: Abel Gance, actress, actresses, de Chomón, director, directors, Easter, French, Gance, Georges Méliès, holiday, holidays, holidays in movies, Julienne Mathieu, Les oeufs de Pâques, Méliès, novelty, novelty film, novelty films, Pathé, Pathé Frères, Segundo de Chomón, Spanish, surreal, surrealism, trick, trick film, trick films
As an Easter treat, here’s the delightfully magical silent short Les oeufs de Pâques. The film was written and directed by Segundo de Chomón for Pathé Frères. A contemporary of Georges Méliès, de Chomón was often compared to the other director due to their work in trick films, but the Spanish director would go on to work in other genres and for other directors, like Abel Gance. If you’ve seen other French silents from this era, then you might recognize this one’s lead actress Julienne Mathieu. She was de Chomón’s wife, and she started in films before he. She encouraged him to seek film work, so we have both to thank for the creation of this bit of whimsy in more than one way!
By msbethg in Genres, Pablo Berger, Quotations, Silent Film Tags: addicting, addiction, Blancanieves, cinema, director, film, Film Programme, films, hypnotic, Pablo Berger, quotation, quote, silent, silent cinema, Silent Film, silent films, Snow White, surreal
“Silent cinema can become like an hypnotic experience. I think you can get entranced. It’s almost like a voodoo experience. At least it has happened to me, and I really believe that some of film viewers, they have to give a chance to silent cinema because they have to be brave, because I have a feeling that some people that they say, ‘Oh, no silent film!’ If they taste it, I think it can become an addiction.”