Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'm back!

Hello hello! I apologize for being absent for awhile ladies and gents. The glitch with Blogger was driving me insane and making it very hard to do posts and comment on your comments and just....GRRRR!! And I just got back from a vacation to Florida, and didn't even use my laptop down there. To tell you the truth, it was kinda nice. No offense.

BUT, I am back and ready to work/blog. What is coming up? Lilyan Tashman, Mary Brian, early flickers, Our Dancing Daughters/Our Modern Maidens, some more silent grave photos from my last trip to California, and.........whoever else! You want me to profile someone or something or some film, let me know! I will be happy to oblige!

Until we meet again...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Miss Brigitte Helm

I want to apologize really quick. I have a few comments on some posts that I want to respond too, but for some reason, I can't. I can publish the comments and they get added to the post, but I can't respond to them. The page loads completely blank, no clue why. So, hopefully soon I will be able to respond and discuss stuff with you guys. Stay tuned.

So, I talked about Metropolis, gotta talk a little more about Brigitte Helm, because she was pretty amazing. But, for some reason, like fellow silent stars Barbara Kent and Marceline Day, Brigitte refused to talk about her film past. Makes her even more intriguing.

Brigitte Helm was born Brigitte Eva Gisela Schittenhelm on March 17, 1906 in Berlin, Germany.

Her early life? No clue. There isn't much info about her that I can find. And the website dedicated to in German, which I don't read/speak fluently, sorry. I tried to translate it, but the translation makes no sense. I failed. I'm sorry :(

What I have found is that she enjoyed acting in school plays, but she only saw it as something fun to do. She didn't want to pursue acting as a career. In fact, she wanted to work as an astronomer.

Brigitte on the set of Metropolis

When she was 18, her mother sent in her picture to director Fritz Lang in order to help her secure a role in his new film. And, she got it! Pretty groovy to think an 18 year old girl did such a stellar job in TWO roles in such a landmark film.

After her breakthrough role, she appeared in around 30 films including The Countess of Monte Cristo and The Blue Danube, both in 1932. She did appear in some talkies, and was actually up for the role of The Bride of Frankenstein before it was finally given to Elsa Lanchester.

Apparently, her studio wanted her to only appear in vamp roles, which annoyed her. She eventually sued the studio, but lost her case. She really only took later roles to help pay off her court costs.

Her career came to an abrupt and sad end in the 1930s when her studio contract expired AND she was put on the Nazi's watch list after she married a man who was Jewish. On the flip side, Metropolis was reportedly Hitler's favorite movie, so there were a few times when he personally helped Brigitte out of jams when she was involved in a couple of traffic collisions.

After she retired, she moved with her family to Switzerland, and refused to talk about about her film career past. Her son was once approached about asking his mother to do an interview about her career. He said that his mother would disinherit him if he even asked!

Brigitte Helm passed away on June 11, 1996 in Ascona, Switzerland.

She was buried at the Ascona Cemetery in Ticino, Switzerland.

Brigitte was married twice. First to a man named Rudolf Weissbach, but don't know the dates. Her second husband was industrialist Dr. Hugo von Kuehnheim, who she married in 1935. Together, they had four sons. I am pretty sure they remained married until her death, but not 100% sure.

She was Josef Von Sternberg's first choice for Lola in The Blue Angel.

"There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator." ~ Maria in Metropolis

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I watched Metropolis the other day for the first time.


It ain't my bag. I just figured since I am a silent film fan, I gotta see the one that is pretty famous and well known, even among people who don't love silents. But me, I like the movies with the flappers and very 1920s looking, ya know? Metropolis was very futuristic and modern with it's ideas. It was also very German lol. Loved Brigitte Helm though, she is incredible. And I am so happy that more footage of it was found. Gives hope for the thousands of lost films out there.

I just wanted to talk about some the cool facts about the film because it was/is a pretty influential film for being as old as it is. And it is one of those films people say you should see before you die, so...go see it!

Not suprisingly, this was one of the most expensive films during that time. It was around $200 million dollars! 

It was also reportedly one of Hitler's favorite movies. Nice, eh? Fritz Lang's wife was a supporter of the Nazi party, and members saw the film as a social blueprint. Even more interesting? Fritz Lang was Jewish! Supposedly Hitler liked the film so much, he let the director flee to the United States.

Around 20-30 minutes of the film that was believed lost was found in a museum in Argentina in 2008. Shortly after, it was announced that even more footage had been found in Chile. Apparently the film cannister was purposely mislabeled to avoid being destroyed during a time of military coup in Chile. From what I have read though, the Chile film has not been put into the newly released edition. I could be wrong though, but from what I have read, that is the impression I get.

This movie took 2 years to shoot, and I can see why! I mean, movies now take that long and they have all the fancy technology, but back in you imagine? A lot of hand work and fancy editing techniques.

When you first see/meet the robot, it is actually Brigitte Helm inside. See, this is why I love her. What a trooper! After her role in this film, almost all of her following film roles were starring roles.

Like I said earlier, this film was quite influential. C-3PO from Star Wars was modeled after the robot. I didn't know this till after I watch it, and it is kinda weird how they walk the same and look like they are made out of the same material. Also, the creators of "Superman" liked the film so much, they named Superman's city after the title.

Not surprising, but the film was panned by critics when it first came out. Even famous science fiction author H.G. Wells didn't like it.

This is one of my favorite silent film pictures. Brigitte looks so young and adorable, even when she is dressed as a robot! It is just so cool/bizarre how modern the picture looks, yet it was taken in the 1920s. Such an awesome picture. I wish I could get it framed and put in my house.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Artist

I saw "The Artist" the other night and I gotta talk about it of course! If you haven't seen it yet, and don't want it any spoilers or anything, don't read!!

If you wanna can continue :)


First off, the moron who introduced the film ruined the end for us. He got up there and said "This is an all silent picture, well until the end when there is some talking." Me and the guy across the aisle turned and looked at it each other and he yells out "Hey, thanks for ruining it for us!" Not a huge spoiler, but annoying still.

I thought the film was pretty good. But, there points in it where I would have been perfectly content if it had ended right there. It just kinda dragged toward the end. I get that they wanted the happy ending, which I thought was very cute, but don't add 45 different scenarios to get to that place. That's just one gal's opinion though.

I wasn't a fan of the girl who played Peppy either. She was way too skinny to be playing a 1920s flapper/actress! Those girls had some meat on their bones, and I could see that girl's bones! She did have a cute smile and spunk though, so I will give her that.

I LOOOOOOVED the actor who played George Valentin. I thought he did a stellar job. He reminded me of Doug Fairbanks so much, especially his smile. It mirrored Doug so much. He was great showing the high life of stardom and also the lows that many actors and actresses experienced when the talkies came. Audience members were laughing at how scared he was at the coming of talkies, and it bothered me because I know a lot of the stars I love went through the same thing. He better win some awards for his performance. They are well deserved. Oh! And he was SOOOOOOOOO cute!! And French! Be still my heart.

I love Malcolm McDowell. He was in the movie for two minutes. Let down.

John Goodman reminded me a lot of Mack Sennett.

I saw a brief picture of Anita Page in the film, and I think either Lucille Ricksen or Edna Murphy. When it comes out on DVD I am definitely going to have to freeze frame that part and see who all was on the magazine cover.

What did you guys think of the film?