Just in Time for Halloween – Outtakes from Classic Horror Films

If there’s one thing that is more indestructible in film history than Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Phantom of the Opera, it has to be the films themselves. With every innovation in home entertainment, these Universal Pictures monsters were in the forefront – from the old days of broadcast TV, then VHS, and then DVDs, more recently Blu-ray, and most recently, 4K transfers, not to mention video streaming – these guys just won’t go away.

And as familiar as many of us are with these classics through repeated viewings, it may come as a surprise that there were some scenes filmed but left on the proverbial cutting room floor. For this Halloween I thought we would marvel and be mystified with these “orphan” sequences that were deemed unsuitable for the finished product for one reason or another.

Alas, the sequences themselves no longer exist but a number of 8×10-inch stills have survived to hint at what was deleted. Our tour begins in 1923 and ends in 1935. I have taken the liberty of creating color version of these great B&W photos much in the same way that the old Hollywood studios themselves turned their b/w photos into the glorious colorized lobby cards.

[SUGGESTION: if you are viewing these photos on an iphone or ipad, I urge you to switch to a full-screen monitor to fully appreciate the clarity and detail of the images.]

Let’s began with a curious scene from Lon Chaney, Sr.’s THE HUNCHBACKOF NOTRE DAME (1923), based on the classic novel by Victor Hugo. This film has been recently restored by Universal on Blu-ray and 4K. This scene was included in the original “Road Show” exhibitions in major cities when the film was first released. Later, when released to local neighborhood theatres, the movie was shortened and among the excised footage was this touching scene where Quasimodo (Chaney) attempts to buy some clothes for Esmeralda (Patsy Ruth Miller). His efforts don’t go well with the shopkeeper and he ends up attacking the man:

Next we return to 1925 and the film that many regard as the granddaddy of American horror films: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Again, Lon Chaney, Sr. created an unforgettable character that, like HUNCHBACK, was based on a hugely successful novel by another Frenchman, Gaston Leroux. The filming was a muddle and many scenes were discarded after preview audiences reacted unfavorably. Among the deleted scenes is this one below where Christine Daae (Mary Philbin) and Raoul (Norman Kerry) meet secretly in a cemetery. Things do not go as planned as you can see, and we know that eventually even the Erik the Phantom (Chaney, of course) shows up:

It seems that there were problems in deciding who the Phantom’s victims should be. In this discarded scene, Erik strikes among the opera patrons as one of the stagehands, Simon Buquet (Gibson Gowland), is found dead on the Grand Staircase in the lobby. In the finished work, Simon not only survives, but leads the angry mob to invade the Phantom’s underground lair and force him out to a watery grave.

 

On a lighter note, scenes showing playboy Raoul De Chagney (Norman Kerry) flirting with the ballerinas were likewise cut:

Even creating a satisfying ending for PHANTOM proved difficult. The two photos below show the unused ending, inspired by the novel’s ending, where poor Erik dies of a broken heart. An action ending was substituted:

MGM gave the nascent horror film genre a try during the silent era with LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT (1927), perhaps the most famous “lost film” of all time. This film was a vehicle for Lon Chaney. Sr. who plays a dual role in this murder mystery where one of the suspects is a vampire(!). Since the film can no longer be viewed, we have as a guide the existing continuity script that showed film editors how to assemble copies of the film back in ’27. Only shots that actually were used in the final edit are listed in the continuity script so photos of scenes not listed were likely cut. Here’s an atmospheric photo of Chaney as the vampire (aka “the man in the beaver hat”) and Edna Tichenor as a “bat girl,” which may simply be a posed photo or an actual scene that was cut:

American “horror” films of the silent era – the genre really was not established during that time – always explained away the supernatural events as caused by scheming humans. But the late 1920s play, DRACULA, based on the 1897 novel by Bram Stoker, didn’t flinch and insisted right to the end that vampires were real. With Bela Lugosi in the title role, American audiences needed very little convincing. The 1931 Universal film followed this construct and the first genuine American horror film dealing with the supernatural was created. A number of scenes were filmed but not included in the final cut. Among the most interesting are detailed sets, or likely scale models, of Castle Dracula and a nearby village that were not used in the film:

Perhaps this is a way station near the Borgo Pass for the coach that is taking poor Renfield to meet the Count, likewise cut:

Boris Karloff soon joined Bela Lugosi as a major star of the horror genre as the result of his playing the Monster in FRANKENSTEIN (1931). Karloff’s follow-up film for Universal was THE MUMMY (1932), which seemed to combine the ideas of DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN to create an entirely new story of a long-dead Egyptian mummy who is restored to life by a magic incantation. Again, the audience was not spared by a last-minute “explanation” and the film created some real controversy in its depiction of reincarnation. The revived Karloff, after being dead for 3700 years, only wanted to find his lost love from antiquity, played by Zita Johann. In this photo from a scene cut from the film, we see Karloff and Zita in the throes of passion in ancient Egypt. It would end badly for them:

Our final film for this Halloween review is one of the finest – and abundantly edited – among all the classic horror film. It is a sequel that is generally considered superior to the original film, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935). There are many, many production stills suggesting many cut scenes. Most involved subplots that Universal decided to drop because they only complicated the plot line and added unnecessary footage to the film. Here’s an assortment among many deletions. First, here’s a nice portrait of Ann Darling, the shepherdess who is barely seen in the film. She is almost frightened to death by the Monster until two hunters drive him away:

In a jettisoned subplot, after the Monster escapes from jail and runs amuck, a little girl is found slain, among others. Suspicions fall upon the Monster. Indeed, the audience is left to assume that too. But the real killer is Karl, played by Dwight Frye, for reasons never made clear because the subplot was dropped:

Another dropped subplot involved the idea of using Elizabeth’s heart (Valerie Hobson), the fiance of Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive), to implant in the Bride. It sounds absurd but this photo shows the kidnapped Elizabeth (to secure Henry’s cooperation) being approached by Karl with a very visible knife in his hand. This idea was dropped but in the finished film Karl murders an unfortunate young woman to obtain her heart:

Finally, here is a unique photo of the Bride herself, memorably played by Elsa Lanchester. Obviously, this is not a cut scene but I included this not only because it has Elsa’s autograph, but because it also has her sketch of her character.

I hope you enjoyed this tour in a true “cinematic crypt” of unseen scenes from these classic films.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2021!

Commemorating the 95th Anniversary of the Passing of Rudolph Valentino

Today marks the 95th anniversary of the death of Rudolph Valentino in New York City at the age of 31. He was on across-country tour promoting the release of his new film, SON OF THE SHEIK. The huge public reaction to Rudy’s death was unprecedented and is generally regarded as the first mass media response to the death of a celebrity. The commemoration of Valentino’s passing continues to make news every year now well into the 21st century.

Here is a video I made for a song that was written within weeks of Rudy’s death. No doubt it captured the mood of the public:

Published in: on August 23, 2021 at 12:15 PM  Leave a Comment  

Edward Everett Horton- his silent films now on DVD – First time 90 years!

A farceur par excellence, Edward Horton (1880-1970) became an indispensable figure in Hollywood films of the 1930s and 1940s. By the 1960s a whole new generation discovered him as the narrator in “Fractured Fairy Tales” on TV. I also recall him a co-host on the Mike Douglas Show. Horton seemed indefatigable but today his extensive stage appearances and radio work are all but forgotten. As if on cue, this month will unveil Eddie’s long-unseen silent film work showcasing his delightful series of two-reel comedies, freshly restored, accompanied by new music scores, and looking better than when they were new in the 1920s.

(Disclaimer: I have no relationship to the DVD set. I’m just an old Eddie Horton fan).

Horton kept busy with filmmaking throughout the 30s and 40s but also continued with his theater work between making films. Recently, I came across this 15-minute live interview from 1940, apparently unscripted, where Horton publicizes his local appearance on the stage as the star of SPRINGTIME FOR HENRY. He’s quite the raconteur!

This is a newspaper ad that was published wherever Eddie was appearing in the play:

Here are a series of portraits dating from his silent film days through the 30s. Color by Moi:

Horton with Florence Vidor in MARRY ME (1925)

 

 

 

And last but not least:

Our New Lineup of Calendars for 2021

If you like what you see, click on the image and then print it out.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to One and All!

Seasons Greetings to One and All!

 

Published in: on December 21, 2020 at 12:00 PM  Comments (2)  

A New Crop of Color Transfers

These days I tend to colorize an image only if inspiration strikes me. The impulse perhaps comes from a mystical level and seems to say, “Color me, please.” Of course, it’s more likely that it originates in my overactive imagination. Regardless, these are my most recent transfers from the past six months or so.

An unusually cosmopolitan Bela Lugosi circa 1930. Mr. Lugosi has quite a presence on this blog so look for his name in some earlier posts.

Lon Chaney, Sr. and Mae Busch (best remembered for her roles in Laurel and Hardy films) in the police drama, WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1928):

Dorothy Dalton looks fetching in THE TEN OF DIAMONDS (1917), a lost film:

Mae Murray‘s trademark was her “bee-stung” lips. She managed to seem both exotic and down to earth. This worn postcard captures Mae at the peak of her career in 1925. Even so, her name is misspelled. But look what 21st century software can do to the image quality:

A remarkable “on the set” photo showing the amount of activity even while filming is in progress. Clues in the picture suggest that it was produced by Cecil B. De Mille‘s company, which would place the time frame between 1925 and 1929. The actress who is the center of attention may be Phyllis Haver. This was a complicated one to color:

A contemplative George Arliss during the filming of his comedy, A SUCCESSFUL CALAMITY (1932). I colored this one a few years ago but I wasn’t happy with it. I tried it again recently and found that newer software helped bring better results:

Renee Adoree poses with her new car circa 1928. I suppose the house is hers too:

Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino in their only film together, BEYOND THE ROCKS (1922). Lost for decades, a sole surviving print turned up in the Netherlands about ten years ago and was issued on DVD. Also in this photo from the left is director Sam Wood, author Elinor Glyn, and a young violinist providing mood music for the scene:

Marion Davies in a magazine ad for her new picture, WHEN KNIGHTHOOD WAS IN FLOWER (1924). The texture of magazine pages from that era usually don’t transfer very well but modern software helps smooth out the roughness.

An artistic photo of Marie Prevost who was the very image of the Roaring Twenties:

Makeup artists seem ubiquitous with Hollywood but in fact actors were responsible for making themselves up until about the mid-1920s. Improvements in the sensitivity of film stock brought challenges for actors and their cosmetics so almost overnight a generation of makeup artists suddenly arrived on the scene. The following images were novel in their day since they showed somebody preparing the star for the cameras.

A newly-minted star such as Joan Crawford circa 1928 seemed to like the attention from MGM makeup artist Cecil Holland:

Greta Garbo was at the beginning of her American career in 1926 when she handled her own makeup during the filming of THE TORRENT:

And finally – we have run this one before but it’s worth a repeat. Legendary makeup artist Jack Pierce (before he became a legend) had the responsibility for contriving Conrad Veidt‘s carved smile as Gwynplaine in THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (1928). Within a few years, Pierce would be designing extraordinary makeups for the Frankenstein Monster (Boris Karloff) and the WOLF MAN (Lon Chaney, Jr.), among many others:

Leslie Howard R.I.P June 1, 1943 – A Victim of World War II

Today is a sad anniversary among the many stunning events of the Second World War. The death of actor, director and writer Leslie Howard onboard an unarmed civilian aircraft bound from Lisbon to the UK shocked the world. Not merely his death itself was shocking, but the fact the plane was shot down by German fighters, a serious breach of wartime engagement. Howard had been tireless in his work for the war effort, returning to war-torn Britain to help. Ironically, his death as a war victim did much to boost the morale of the beleaguered English, indeed of the civilized world.
I found this tribute (below) in the BBC Archives that was broadcast on or about June 6, 1943, six days after his death. You will hear Howard describe his life in his own words.
Leslie Howard managed to combine careers on the stage, in films, and on radio, playing drama or comedy with ease. When WWII began he returned to his home in England when many British actors headed to the states for the duration. He was tireless in his morale-raising work on the BBC and moving into film directing. In May 1943, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden asked him to fly to Portugal to persuade the king to remain neutral and not be tempted to join the war on Germany’s side. It was on his flight home over the Bay of Biscay on June 1, 1943, that his unarmed passenger plane was shot down by Nazi aircraft. To this day there are questions about the purpose of Howard’s mission and it seems that even now after all these years there are relevant documents still classified by the British Government and several unanswered questions.

Published in: on June 1, 2020 at 9:23 AM  Comments (2)  

Our Brand New 2020 Crop of Color Transfers!

This year in addition to vintage 8×10 inch stills, we’ve tackled vintage movie magazines and their stunning photos. Color images were rare in magazines during the 1920s and 30s but we tried some 21st century software to see what the results would look like. Here the photographer might have had color in mind:

americancinematographer 1929 Evangeline

Now I try my hand with software:

americancinematographer 1929 Evangeline_Color Final

One film in need of a restoration is THE SEA BEAST (1926) starring John Barrymore and his future wife, Dolores Costello. Today this couple may be better known as the paternal grandparents of Drew Barrymore. This photo shows the closing scene of the movie with Barrymore in the role of the one-legged Captain Ahab:

Barrymore Costello THE SEA BEAST 1926
Barrymore Costello THE SEA BEAST 1926 Color FINAL

Another experiment we tried this year is the restoration of a faded and torn lobby card that was in color to begin with. This Lon Chaney film, THE TRAP (1922),  fortunately exists and is available on DVD and streaming:

Chaney the Trap 1922 Damaged LC_edited-1
Chaney The Trap 1922

Dolores Costello again in a lyrical scene from TENDERLOIN (1928) from a fan mag:

Dolores Costello TENDERLOIN Screenland Mag 1928
Dolores Costello TENDERLOIN Screenland Mag 1928_FINAL 2

Another magazine page: Enid Bennett, Milton Sills, and (seated) Wallace Beery are waiting to film their next scene in THE SEA HAWK (1924):

Enid bennett Milton Sills Wallace Beery THE SEA HAWK 1924 Photoplay Mag
Enid bennett Milton Sills Wallace Beery THE SEA HAWK 1924 Photoplay Mag_Color Final

Enid Bennett again, circa 1922, but I’m not certain of the film:

Enid Bennett circa 1920
Enid Bennett in Color FINAL

Esther Ralston tries weight-lifting with a lead cannonball in this publicity photo for OLD IRONSIDES (1926), a silent epic recently issued on Blu-ray:

Esther Ralston 1926 OLD IRONSIDES
Esther Ralston 1926 OLD IRONSIDES Color FINAL

Leslie Howard points out something to Bette Davis from the book they are filming, OF HUMAN BONDAGE (1934):

Human bondage
Human Bondage Color Final w Book

A very young Joan Crawford in one of her earliest films, PARIS (1926):

Joan Crawford 1926
Joan Crawford 1926 color 3 FINAL_pp

A dashing John Gilbert confidently smiles in this photo for his first talkie, HIS GLORIOUS NIGHT (1929). Audiences laughed at him, but not because of his voice as legend claims, but because of the silly dialogue he was required to speak:

John Gilbert His Glorious Night 1929
John Gilbert His Glorious Night 1929_Final_pp

Leslie Howard looks dashing on horseback as well he should since he was an experienced horseman. But he disliked his role in this film, GONE WITH THE WIND (1939), and would be horrified to know this was the film future generations would remember him by:

Leslie Howard 3
LesLie Howard 3 Color Final

Lillian Gish was one of the finest actresses of her generation on both the stage and screen, silent and sound, and radio and television. Her career spanned from the 1910s to the 1980s, she authored her memoirs, and introduced many of her classic films to new generations via showings on PBS. Here she plays the title role in ANNIE LAURIE (1927):

Lillian Gish Annie Laurie 1927
Lillian Gish Annie Laurie 1927_edited-1_pp_Final_Final2

Lois Wilson was a popular leading lady at Paramount throughout the 20s. Her best known film was the blockbuster western, THE COVERED WAGON (1923). A highly influential film, it started the trend for big-budget westerns that continued through the 30s and into the 40s. Today THE COVERED WAGON is available in Blu-ray:

Lois Wilson 1923
Lois Wilson 1923 Color FINAL_edited-2

Animal films were quite popular in the 1920s but THE LOST WORLD (1925) took that genre to a whole new level. The diminutive lady in distress is Bessie Love:

Lost World 1
Lost World 1 Color Final

The face may be familiar and it should be. That’s a pre-Dracula Bela Lugosi as the Native American guide in the German film, THE DEERSLAYER AND CHINGACHGOOK (1920) based on the James Fenimore Cooper story in his LEATHERSTOCKING TALES.

Lugosi THE DEER SLAYER 1920
Lugosi THE DEER SLAYER 1920 Color copy_edited-1

Marion Davies looks quite chic as she poses with her pooch Gandhi in the early 1930s:

Marion Davies and Gandhi early 30s
Marion Davies and Gandhi in Color FINAL2_pp

I don’t know if Pola Negri had a press agent, but she didn’t really need one. She just lived her life and it usually made news. This film, THE SPANISH DANCER (1923), has recently been restored and shown at film festivals. Hopefully,it will be issued on home video:

Pola Negri 1923
Pola Negri 1923_edited-4_pp FINAL

The original Rin-Tin-Tin may have been smart enough to operate a motion picture camera. Found as a puppy in a bombed out house in France at the end of World War I in 1918 by a solder named Lee Duncan, he took him back to the USA with an idea the dog might be popular in films. Duncan was right but there was one hitch. There remained so much anti-German feeling in the states following the war that Rinty was publicized as a “police dog” instead of as a German Shepherd:

Rin Tin Tin at the camera
Rin Tin Tin at the Camera Color Final

Finally, a new concept we’re trying out: coloring a painting within a photo. Here we have Rudolph Valentino in 1924 posing for artist Federico Beltrán Masses. The costume Rudy is wearing is from the now-lost film, A  SAINTED DEVIL. I was lucky in that I only had to color everything but the painting. I found an original color photo of it and simply angled it to fit over the black and white painting:

Valentino and Portrait circa 1924 Posing for a painting by Federico Beltrán Masses
Valentino 1924 Posing for a painting by Federico Beltrán Masses Color FINAL

Let me know if you have any requests for a color transfer. All serious inquiries will be considered!

Published in: on May 29, 2020 at 1:06 AM  Comments (4)  

Silent Film Stars on Live Radio in 1935

It’s been a while since we’ve taken a look at the activities of silent screen actors switching media – from being seen but not heard on the screen to being heard but not seen in radio broadcasting. The fact is that just as a large number of silent film actors continued on very nicely in talkies, so too did quite a number master the medium of broadcasting and thus became truly the first multimedia or mass communication stars.

We have already posted radio performances by Theda Bara, William S. Hart, Lillian Gish, and a few others. These can be found by checking our index on the right. Recently, I came across an uncirculated recording of Rudy Vallee’s extremely popular variety show, The Fleischmann Yeast Hour, broadcast on the evening of July 11, 1935 from New York City. Among the guest were silent film-turned-talkie stars Clive Brook and Anna May Wong. The program was performed before a live audience and, as mentioned, was broadcast live.

Clive Brook performs a supernatural playlet called “The Jest Of Hahalaba.” It begins at the 01:06 mark.

Later in the broadcast, Anna May Wong takes the stage to perform songs in three languages. It  begins at the 10:12 mark.

As you can hear, both stars used the broadcast to promote the release of their upcoming films to the huge audience listening in. Smart move!

I left in the opening and closing to give a sense of this show. This is the program’s 299th episode and was heard by an estimated audience of 30 to 40 million people! While the population was much less than today, there were also relatively few channels for people to choose from. Enjoy!

 

2020 Old Hollywood in Color Calendars

Here they are – this year’s selection of wall calendars with my colorized photos that I created during this past year. Obtaining your copy is easy, just print them out. They look great in 8×10!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: