Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"I fall in love too easily...

I fall in love too hard!"

Another old song title; another exactly perfect as well!

Early 1980's, I had been married about 5 years, had two small boys at home, was either working overtime or laid off; feast or famine as it would be until almost the the turn of the millenium.

There was a little theatre that ran things some might consider obscure and I caught up with one one weekend, having read something about it in a newspaper. I hadn't planned to fall in love, but I did. His name was Harold...

He was a country boy, dressed a bit plainly, a bit wide eyed, yet his enthusiasm and sense of humor made him very special. That he had a couple of fingers missing from an accident didn't bother me even though he worked to keep it hidden from everyone.






The theatre was called "Matinee at the Bijou" and it was a PBS show that specialized in silent film. My ticket was the first VCR we had. The following weeks introduced me to Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks (Senior), Lillian and Dorothy Gish, along with Harold Lloyd (pictured above from "Safety Last").

I started reading as well, and kept seeing this name "Kevin Brownlow" pop up in credits. I found a book by him "The Parade's Gone By" and read even more about this marvelous medium. I started searching out titles I hadn't seen, and found the two top movies on my all time list, though I couldn't rate them as one and two, they are co-equals.

One is "Intolerance" from 1916; the other is "Napoleon" from 1927. "Napoleon" was directed by Abel Gance, and developed techniques that have only been caught up to in the last 20 years or so. Restored by Kevin Brownlow, and scored by Carmine Coppola (Francis Ford's father) it was theatrically released here in the late 80's. I have watched it a dozen times now, and still find it as stunning as I did the first.

Abel Gance directed many other movies, though they don't run on TCM all that often. One of our local "arthouses" used to have a rental desk, but that was closed when they moved to a new theatre, and I have a long list of things I would love to watch, but would like to watch before I buy.

So when John and Noel gave us a two months NetFlix membership for Christmas, the first thing that went on my list was Abel Gance's "Lucrezia Borgia" from 1935. After Dottie went to bed on Saturday night, I had only planned on watching the two short silent movies that were on it. Then I made the mistake of deciding just to peek at the feature to see how good the print was...

I couldn't turn it off.

I will be looking for more of Mr. Gance...

I'd have done NetFlix long ago if I had a card that didn't have a balance on it so I wasn't paying interest on rentals...somehow that just doesn't seem "right".

I am impressed with their catalog and service! I have about a dozen silent movies in queue right now, lol.

Thus my reference to "cinemaphilia" in my last post...

May the rest of the week be kind!

alan

13 comments:

annie said...

harold lloyd films are awesome!

Sassy said...

Silent movies crack me up :)

fineartist said...

We all need to find things that we love and partake, um especially when they happen to be legal. Partake yur brains out Alan!

xx

KellyNerd said...

Netflix and Guitar Hero are two things I hear about on almost a daily basis.

von Krankipantzen said...

I signed up for Zip (Canadian Netflix type company) when I started my cancer treatment. I knew I'd be feeling too crappy to be walking back and forth to the video store and late fees would have been huge. That service saved my life (well, so did chemo) as a good flick is the perfect thing to get lost in to forget your hair is falling out. 3 years later I'm still a Zip member. However, I've never checked out their silent film selection. Thanks for your suggestions as I wouldn't know how to start.

Kawana Aminata Oliver said...

I love silent films.

robin andrea said...

We have completely enjoyed our netflix membership. Another cool feature is the "Watch Instantly" films. For the price of your membership you get that many hours of free online watching. For us that means nine additional hours of movies. we're not always making use of all of that, but when we want to watch something right away, and if it's available on "Watch Instantly" we can. The only downside is that it's for high speed connections and only on PCs. Mac users are sh*t out of luck.

CrackerLilo said...

Wow, you weren't kidding!

I don't have a Netflix subscription (I don't think movies "count" outside a theater), but I'm glad you enjoy yours.

Casdok said...

yes may the rest of the week be kind :)

Green tea said...

Alan we could be such good buddies
*grin*
I love silent films, My
Grampa "Turkey" (his nick name because he was short with long legs)
played piano in a theater back in the early 1900's for extra money.
I always think of him when I see an old talkie.
I have gotten them from the library.
You are such a sweet romantic..*smile*

No_Newz said...

They really ought to pay you for your services. ;) It is a heck of a deal, but be careful, NetFlix will turn you into a sofa spud before you can say, "Pass the popcorn!"

HAR said...

I just got Netflix myself. I never rented movies before this. I will absolutely check out the silent movies and show the girls too.

Blogzie said...

I just love me some Alan.

Miss you...


00xx