Who were the movie stars of silent cinema in 1912


Status
Not open for further replies.
Jan 7, 2002
2,446
39
243
I believe Charlie Chaplin made his cinematic debut in 1914, so was unknown in 1912- and Mr lloyd debuted shortly therafter...
Rudolph Valentino debuted after WW1 methinks....
I don't think the Keystone cops (and Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton) debuted until the start of WW1.
It seems most of the comedic talents that would eventually be on film were on the Vaudville circut in 1912 (The Three stooges, the Marx Brothers). But silent movies were being released in 1912- I recently watched the 1910 adaptaion of Frankenstein, and it was creepy, to say the least...There were several early silent movie adaptations of mr Baum's adventures in the land of OZ, most from around 1914. ..
Titanic survivor Dorothy gibson was of course a silent film star in 1912- but was she well known?
Most of the pillars of the silent age of film had not yet emerged by 1912- so who were the 'known' silent film stars, on April 15 1912?
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
107
333
UK
One of the biggest home-grown movie stars of the silent era in Britain was Alma Taylor. Her first screen credit was in 1907, and by 1912 she had starred in at least 30 'shorts' and her face would have been very familiar to many of the passengers and crew who boarded the Titanic. In 1912 she played the female lead as Nancy in Oliver Twist, Britain's first feature-length film, and by 1924 she was considered to be Britain's number one movie star.

In the talkie era which followed, Alma's star quickly faded but she continued to work in lesser roles and eventually in uncredited bit parts. The last of these, almost 50 years after her screen debut, was as 'old lady' in, of all things, A Night to Remember.

Fellow Brits 'of a certain age' might recall the singer Alma Cogan, so named because her mother had been a great fan of Ms Taylor.

113967.jpg
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
107
333
UK
After 50 years on the screen, Alma Taylor delivers her final lines:

Older woman: That lady's right. It's absolutely ridiculous.
Lightoller: Madame, I assure you ...
Older Woman: Kindly help me out of here, please.
Lightoller: It can't be helped if she won't go.

113975.jpg
 
Jan 7, 2002
2,446
39
243
Thanks for the information Bob!
I had no idea that elderly woman in 'A Night to Remember' was once a starlette of the silent cinema...
regards


Tarn Stephanos
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
36
398
Well, Mary Pickford had appeared in at least 153 films between 1909 and Jan. 1, 1912. Her husband, Owen Moore, had appeared in 168 since 1908. Up and comer Blanche Sweet had made 45 films since 1909, while waning star Florence Lawrence, the first ever "film star" had appeared in 228 films since 1906, and would make 69 more before her death by suicide.

>Titanic survivor Dorothy Gibson was of course a silent film star in 1912

"Star" is stretching the point rather thin. She was a silent film performer, but had appeared in five films in 1911, out of a career total of seventeen. She had made ten films in 1912 as of April, and would appear in two more, a total that suggests that she had some sort of career momentem going. One could speculate on whether she WOULD have become a star, but as of 1912 she was not a threat to Miss Pickford or Miss Sweet.

>Rudolph Valentino debuted after WW1 methinks....

He was definitely postwar. If you look at the well known film clip of Arbuckle's "friend," the ill-Fated Virginia Rappe, in Isle of Love (it has appeared in seemingly every Arbuckle Rape Trial docu. ever done) you can see the unknown Rudloph Valentino sitting at the table just over her right shoulder in her semi-close up~ one of those fun "back when they were nobodies" interludes.
 
L

Lynda Franklin

Guest
Are any of Dorothy Gibson' or Alma Taylor's works from Titanic's era available on DVD ?
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
1
123
That's an intriguing point about Alma Taylor, thanks for sharing it with us. I love the photographs too - am I correct in thinking that, in 'ANTR', she actually took the part of the rather mysterious Constance Willard (albeit with a major age-gap between the REAL Miss Willard as she was in 1912 and herself)?

I'm not an expert on the films of the silent era but am, at this very moment, reading a delightful collection of essays penned by Anita Loos who was, of course, a real mover-and-shaker in early Hollywood and knew everybody of note in the 'teens and 'twenties. I've not read it but I think her autobiography contains much information about Elinor Glyn at the time when she was busily re-inventing herself as 'the Dowager Empress of Hollywood'. In an essay written towards the very end of her life, Loos mentioned the recent discovery (this would have been back in the late '70s) of a cache of silent films, still in their tins, which had been dumped and buried as land-fill in the Yukon years previously. The icy temperatures had kept the films in an amazing state of preservation and it seems that they were carted off to New York for restoration and maybe even eventual viewing. I wonder if this experiment ever met with any success? It would be wonderful to think that there might be a few works starring Dorothy Gibson among the rest!

Maybe somebody can help me with a small question here - I think that Loos in the 1910-1914 period was writing for the Biograph Moving Picture Company. Was this the same firm that Daniel Marvin's father was behind, or just a case of similar names?
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
107
333
UK
Alma's brief scene was probably inspired by the particular incident involving Constance Willard, but her role was generic rather than specific, and intended to make a point. The screenwriter used her lines to portray a prevalent attitude rather than the experience of a particular person. In the full cast list her credited role is that of 'old lady'. Whereas Olwen Brookes, for instance, is credited for an equally brief appearance in the specific role of 'Miss (Edith) Evans'.
.
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,043
107
333
UK
Yes, The Biograph Company was co-founded by Henry Marvin, and Anita Loos did write for them. Her first full screenplay was The New York Hat, directed by D W Griffith and featuring Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore and Lillian Gish. Loos couldn't go far wrong in such company. Like the Titanic, this film made the news in 1912. It's less famous today, but was more successful at the time!
 
Mar 20, 2007
734
1
123
A-ha, thanks! I thought that the two companies might actually be one and the same. I wonder if Loos ever encountered Marvin Senior himself? She never mentions him, to my knowledge.
 
S

sashka pozzetti

Guest
there is a copy of "the New York Hat" on Ebay. It is a bargain, and there are loads of othere 8mm silent films that look like they were copied in the 60's
 
May 27, 2007
3,917
23
173
You learn something new every day I read a biography on Mary Pickford called PICKFORD,
THE WOMAN WHO MADE HOLLYWOOD By Eileen Whitfield that discusses The New York Hat and I knew Lionel Barrymore costarred I didn't know Lillian Gish was also featured in it. Sounds like the first all star feature. I mean Anita Loos(Gentlemen Prefer Blonds) wrote it and now Barrymore, Pickford and Lillian Gish were in it.
If you all get the chance see The Wind 1927 starring Lillian Gish now that's an undiscovered classic.
 
May 27, 2007
3,917
23
173
Fun fact. In 1912 a lot of Silent Movie performers were credited with made up names in Great Britain because it was the practice in the USA not to show the Actor's name. Hence Mary Pickford was credited with the moniker The Biograph Girl or the Girl with the Golden Curls.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
36
398
George- if you haven't picked up a used copy of The Parade's Gone By, (Kenneth Brownlow) do so immediately. Bar none the best book on silent cinema, and written when a great many of the giants were still around to be extensively interviewed. Sadly, Rita Jolivet was not interviewed. Sadly, as you'll see, Mary Pickford was.
 
May 27, 2007
3,917
23
173
Because Mary Pickford could be full of it sometimes. Of course I admire her pluck. She was a real go getter. I have recently read Eileen Whitfield's Mary Pickford-The Woman Who Made Hollywood. It was alright. She helped found United Artists. But Jim's right she could twist her facts a bit. Did they interview Lillian Gish. now there's a Lady and Actor. I saw the 1927 silent classic The Wind on TNT and that movie got me interested in old Hollywood Land. In 1912 Lillian and Dorothy Gish were just getting started.
 
May 27, 2007
3,917
23
173
Thanks Jim for telling me about the book The Parade's Gone By, (Kenneth Brownlow). Ive read a another of his works on Silent Cinema in Junior High School. Your right I need to get my hands on that book. I also need to get a copy of a New York Hat (1912) with Lionel Barrymore and Mary Pickford with the scenario (Screenplay) by Anita Loos. I need to do a lot of things. Off to the Library yet again.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
36
398
>I also need to get a copy of a New York Hat (1912)

Skip it. The only Pickford film worth owning is Rosita- the one she hated and tried to obliterate. She worked with a director on that film who would not be intimidated, and who forced her to actually ACT rather than resort to her usual routine. The film turned out to be her best onscreen moment, but she hated it because, of course, as a classic control freak she could not admit for a second that a project that did not bear her finger prints on every last surface could possibly be any good. Nor could she tolerate the thought that a director could possibly coax a better performance out of her than the ones she was accustomed to giving. SO, when she put up the money to restore her entire film archive, the archivists were told, flat out: Let Rosita rot. If you restore it, you will be sued. So, her archival print, thought to be the only one in existence, turned to sludge in the cans. BUT, then a second print turned up in Russia and I believe a third popped up a while back as well.

For me her career highlight came in 1937 when she did a radio appearance bombed, (as was her wont, on a daily basis, after 1933) that culminated with her shouting "Viva Mussolini! Viva Fascism!"

Can you guess of which classic silent movie star I am far from fond?
happy.gif
 
May 27, 2007
3,917
23
173
I knew she hated Rosita. She ended up hating all her films in the end because she thought they were all old fashioned. She whined about everyone thinking she was a child in all her films but she had no one to blame but herself. When she first started with Griffith she played Indians, Prostitutes and Mothers as well as Teenagers and Children. She let her films deteriorate to nothing till what she had left was only Pollyanna and all that goody good two shoes little girlie stuff. Back then it sold because people considered childhood scared. Rosita is a film I would like to see myself were she played a street singer. The New York Hat I would like to see because it is a filmed in 1912 and I could see what other people are wearing and also all the other people connected to it. Like Anita Loos (Gentlemen Prefer Blonds). That was her first screenplay. Actually I always wanted to give Sparrows a try. Your right Jim in that Mary Pickford was a classic control freak, but she helped start United artist and also was a good business woman. Actually Ernst Lubitsch wanted to do Faust with Pickford as Marguerite. Now Marguerite in Faust strangles her illegitimate child so Mary Pickford backed out because she felt she would alienate her fans. That's the business woman in her talking. Miss Pickford was born dirt poor and she wasn't gonna ever be poor again. She achieved her goal at the price of her artistry. I'm done defending Pickford. Frankly I always wished she was more like her childhood friend Lillian Gish. Now there's an Actress.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Similar threads

Similar threads