It’s been a busy week at Pretty Clever Films Headquarters thanks to TCM’s Summer Under the Stars. First we’re treated with Lon Chaney day and then Humphrey Bogart day. At night, I hear TIVO softly crying to himself in the other room. Even though I have roughly a gagillion movies to watch, I still took the time to scour the interwebs for the best goings on so you don’t have to. There seems to be an explosion of silent movie writings this week and here are a few of the best. Have a read, pop a bottle of bubbly to celebrate silent movie love, and happy viewing! Read the rest of this entry
John Bengtson is the author of three books about the triumverate of silent comedians, Silent Echoes, Silent Traces, and Silent Visions. These books track the real world settings used as background in the films of Keaton, Chaplin, and Lloyd and document them in a then and now fashion. For lovers of silent films, these books are a must read. Go ahead and order them. I’ll wait.
Now that you order is places, you can pass the time between now and the arrival of your books with Bengston’s excellent website Silent Locations. No mere recapitulation of his books, Silent Locations provides supplementary materials like tours, videos, interviews, and presentations – all sorts of goodies that can’t be replicated between the covers a book. Be warned, you can while away a lot of time on this site. And you may feel oddly compelled to start booking a lot of flights, too.
Check out this interview with Harold Lloyd from 1962. It’s posted on YouTube in 3 parts, playlist here.
The other day I came across the awesome Hello, Harold Lloyd website and I’ve been poking around it ever since. It’s a wealth of riches, including this amazing piece by Thom Taylor detailing the influences and references to Lloyd’s work in the superb Singin’ in the Rain. It’s not news that Singin’ in the Rain is silent-film referentiall, but to read the carefully tracked details is both fun and informative. And this piece really makes me wish for a book length treatment of the same subject, tracking all of the silent era references in the movie. That would be a great read!
In the holy Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd trinity of silent film comedians, I find Harold Lloyd the funniest. Charlie Chaplin moves me to tears with his Victorian pathos and Buster Keaton amazes me with inspiring physical acrobatics and obsessive problem solving. But it’s Harold Lloyd that makes me laugh, often out loud, and for a very long time. The Harold Lloyd character, “Glasses Guy” we’ll call him, is certainly the most relatable of the three. In Lloyd’s spunky success-driven go getter, we can see our own unfailing optimism that persistence and hard work will pay off, by gosh! But, sadly, in the ultimately disappointing An Eastern Westerner, Lloyd doesn’t quite play this well-loved and funny character. Read the rest of this entry