Lon Chaney – Just in Time For Halloween 2019

I used a variety of software applications to put together this short video dedicated to the Man of 1,000 Faces, Lon Chaney (Sr.).  While I barely made a dent in reviewing Lon’s incredible number of faces, at least it’s a start. I used Photoshop to restore dingy old photos to a like-new B/W sheen, and then turn them into color images. Each finished color image was then sent to the Motion Portrait software demo to create the illusion of movement from still photos. As a finishing touch, I used Magix Audio Lab to clean up and restore the sound quality to a 1922 acoustical record of Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette,” more popularly known as Alfred Hitchcock’s theme from his TV series.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Lost Films We’d Love To See

There’s a special cache that lost films seems to have in our minds, a sort of unattainable treasure just beyond our grasp. Looking at surviving stills, posters and lobby cards tend only to increase our longing to view the movies. The fact that a number of “lost” films have surfaced in the last ten years or so, and some have even made it to home video DVD or Blu-ray, only increases our hopes that more of these elusive antiques will be found.

Here to tantalize us is artwork of some of the better known “lost” films beyond the obvious ones such as LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT (1927) or CONVENTION CITY (1933). Well, we can dream, can’t we?

I decided to choose one particular year – in this case 1928 – and focus on notable films by big stars that are gone.

I have confirmed the “lost” status of each title with the 2018 listing of “7,200 Lost U.S. Silent Feature Films” by the National Film Preservation Board. You can access this document at https://www.loc.gov/static/programs/national-film-preservation-board/documents/SFF-LostFilmsList050118.pdf

Clara Bow has an unfortunate run of four lost films from this one year:

THREE WEEK ENDS (1928)

THE FLEET’S IN (1928)

LADIES OF THE MOB (1928)

RED HAIR (1928)

There exists a few bits of RED HAIR that only make it more tantalizing:

 

Next, let’s take a look at a couple of Gary Cooper‘s lost films:

THE LEGION OF THE CONDEMNED (1928) with Fay Wray getting top billing over Coop

BEAU SABREUR (1928)

The films of Greta Garbo enjoy a high survival rate except for this 1928 MGM film:

THE DIVINE WOMAN (1928)
About nine minutes were found in a Russian archive but the rest of the film is considered lost at this time:

 

Considering John Gilbert‘s legendary status as one of the greatest stars of the 1920s, it’s surprising that one of his 1928 films is among the lost. This film is also one of his most intriguing:

THE MASKS OF THE DEVIL (1928)

We’ve only scratched the surface of reviewing important lost films. Sadly, there are many more so perhaps we might do a “Lost Films 2” in the near future.

All New – 2019 Gallery of Color Transfers!

Your blogmeister has been busy over the last few months creating new color transfers from classic Black & White photographs. I have also included the b/w image for comparison. Enjoy!

Douglas Fairbanks Sr. surveys a beautiful southwestern landscape while filming A MODERN MUSKETEER in 1918:

Here’s what we started with:The Lost Talkie GENERAL CRACK (1930) with (left to right) Lowell Sherman, Marian Nixon, and John Barrymore:

A very young John Wayne and Marguerite Churchill in the wide-screen THE BIG TRAIL (1930):

Bessie Love and Richard Barthelmess in SOUL FIRE (1925):

BLARNEY (1926) with Renee Adoree and Ralph Graves:

Marion Davies at MGM circa 1927:

Lon Chaney in his first (and only) talkie THE UNHOLY THREE (1930):

Clara Bow in THREE WEEK ENDS (1928):

Dolores Costello and John Barrymore (paternal grandparents of Drew Barrymore) in WHEN A MAN LOVES (1927):

Published in: on March 21, 2019 at 1:57 PM  Comments (1)  

Here they are – our 2019 Old Hollywood in Color Calendars!

I’m flattered to receive inquiries asking when we would be posting our selection of calendars for the New Year. Well, the wait is over and just in time to ring in 2019. Another question I’m asked: How can I get a copy? That’s easy – just print them out. If you prefer a size larger than 8.5 x 11-inches then let me suggest that you bring the file to a copying store. Enjoy and may you have good health and many blessings in 2019!

We can take a few requests although we can’t make any promises.
Happy 2019!

Published in: on December 31, 2018 at 2:39 PM  Leave a Comment  

The New 2018 Gallery of Color Transfers

Here is the latest roundup of color transfers taken from vintage black & white photographs by your blogmeister. Enjoy!

Lon Chaney poses in a gift chair given to him by the crew of HE WHO GETS SLAPPED (1924), which was the first film produced by the then-newly formed MGM. The chair and the commemorative backing still exists:

Dolores Costello does her bit to publicize the construction of Warner Bros. new theater in Los Angeles circa 1928:

In one of his more unusual roles, Humphrey Bogart plays a Mexican bandit in VIRGINIA CITY (1940). On the left is Randolph Scott, on the right is George Regas:

W.C. Fields in one of his rare silent films, IT’S THE OLD ARMY GAME (1926) recently released on Blu-ray:

A very young Joan Crawford in the lost film, DREAM OF LOVE (1928):

Monty Woolley confers with Al Jolson as they prepare for a radio broadcast on the Colgate Show in 1943:

The ill-fated Olive Thomas circa 1920:

Pola Negri in BELLA DONNA (1923):

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in one of their last silent films, WRONG AGAIN (1929):

High up on the roof of the Paris Opera House Lon Chaney’s Phantom dressed as the Masque of Red Death spies on the lovers Norman Kerry and Mary Philbin. The film of course is THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925):

Director Sam Taylor welcomes Camilla Horn (left) and Lupe Velez on the set of TEMPEST (1928):

2018 Old Hollywood in Color Calendars

Take your pick and print out this year’s assortment of Color Calendars:

Greta Garbo:

John Barrymore as The King of Fools in THE BELOVED ROGUE (1927):

Joan Crawford circa 1927:

Lon Chaney and Lupe Velez in WHERE EAST IS EAST (1929):

Gloria Swanson circa 1919:

Phyllis Haver and Olive Borden in FIG LEAVES (1926):

Lupe Velez circa 1930:

The Original Rin-Tin-Tin circa 1925:

Published in: on January 6, 2018 at 11:01 AM  Comments (1)  

On the Set with….the 2017 Edition!

Among our most popular posts here are the “On the Set” series showing legendary figures of Old Hollywood at work on the set of their films. It’s high time we posted a new round of photos – all in living color of course!

On the set of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1923) director/producer Cecil B. De Mille (on the left) introduces the U.S. Secretary of War John Weeks to the Pharoah Rameses aka Charles De Roche:

The original Rin-Tin-Tin (1918-1932) and his owner Lee Duncan enjoy sunset on the beach in 1929:

John Barrymore at his magnificent Tower Road home in the Hollywood Hills circa 1930:

Clara Bow gives some swimming suggestions to her niece and nephew circa 1928:

Bette Davis and her dog do a bit of fishing on the San Clemente River in 1933:

Greta Garbo and John Gilbert join director Edmund Goulding and crew for a picnic lunch during outdoor filming on LOVE (1927):

Marion Davies is directed by Sam Wood on the set of THE FAIR CO-ED (1927):

Douglas Fairbanks Sr. is the center of attention at the Hotel Manila in the Philippines during the filming of AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY MINUTES (1931):

Joan Crawford takes some movies of her own during filming for THE UNDERSTANDING HEART (1927):

Frank Borzage directs Spring Byington and Errol Flynn in THE GREEN LIGHT (1937):

Lupe Velez enjoys the beach during filming for HELL’S HARBOR (1930):

Producer/Star Mary Pickford with Allan Forest and Anders Randolf on DOROTHY VERNON OF HADDON HALL (1924):

Rootin’ tootin’ cowboy Humphrey Bogart (!) plays a Mexican bandit in VIRGINIA CITY (1940):

Glamorous Gloria Swanson is unglamorously washed ashore in MALE AND FEMALE (1919):

Director William Desmond Taylor, whose 1922 murder has never been solved, almost seems to be looking for his killer circa 1920:

Finally, Rin-Tin-Tin again in a stunning pose that feels almost 3-D:

Old Hollywood in Color in 3-D and in HD

If you check on some of our previous posts you will find that we have been experimenting digitally with turning two dimensional images (2-D) into three-dimensional images (3-D). Your blogmeister has been sampling new software developments with the recent advent of VR (virtual reality) and 360 (through headgear you can look around as in real life). My approach continues to be based on the original 19th century stereoscope idea: side-by-side images taken at a slightly different perspective to trick our eyes into seeing the images as 3-D. Admittedly low tech but it works. Now with the use of VR headgear (see Amazon for Google Cardboard headgear for $5) the stereoscopic view is enhanced even more.

The key is using your cell phone to view Youtube videos in VR or, in this case, old-fashioned 3-D. The effect can still be seen with “free viewing” so you don’t need any glasses, headgear or other equipment apart from training your own two eyes to focus on the two images (right eye on the right image, left eye on the left). Once mastered, our brain combines the left and right images into a third “middle” image that’s in 3-D.

At any rate, here is our first Youtube video combining the latest software enhancements by colorizing black & white photographs from the 1920s, then transforming them into 3-D, and finally processing them in HD (High Definition). Whew! I have also added original 1920s music. Enjoy the slide show!

Marion Davies Gallery


Published in: on June 11, 2017 at 11:05 PM  Comments (2)  

A New Gallery of Color Transfers

Here is a new gallery of black-and-white to color transfers that I have made during the past several months. As the software technology improves so does my work.

Alice Joyce in her home circa 1920:Alice Joyce Color Final

Alice Joyce tries her hand at archery c. 1920:Alice Joyce 2 Color Final

Anna May Wong at a movie premiere circa 1931:Ana May Wong color Final

It’s 1928 and the talkies are coming. A rare photo showing a film star being coached on speaking for the microphone – Anita Page at the USC Speech Department:Anita Page USC May 28 1928 Color Final

Rudolph Valentino greets visitors to the set of MONSIEUR BEAUCAIRE in 1924. The lady is Mrs. Valentino, Natascha Rambova:Beaucaire Candid 004 Color Final

Carmel Myers snuggles up to Francis X. Bushman in BEN-HUR (1925):Ben Hur Messala adras

Screenwriter Bess Meredyth gets into the spirit of things during the filming of BEN-HUR (1925):Bess Meredyth Color Final

Lon Chaney in makeup for DR. WU (1927) chats with fellow MGM star Col. Tim McCoy:chaney McCoy Color copy

Clara Bow seems displeased with the attentions of Ernest Torrence and Percy Montmart as director Victor Fleming (in white hat) moves things along. Cinematographer James Wong Howe is in the snap cap behind the camera. On the set of MANTRAP (1926):Clara Bow Mantrap Color Final

A radiant Dolores Del Rio in REVENGE (1927):Dolores Revenge FINAL

Norma Shearer and Lionel Barrymore at Half Dome, CA in A FREE SOUL (1931):Free Soul Color Final

Greta Garbo returns to America after a trip to her home in Sweden, 1933:Garbo 1933 Color Final

Gary Cooper and Thelma Todd enjoy the view during the filming of NEVADA (1927):Gary Cooper and Thelma Todd 1927

Gloria Swanson and Cecil B. DeMille on the set of THE AFFAIRS OF ANATOLE (1921). Also left to right are Theodore Kosloff, Elliot Dexter, Agnes Ayres, Jeannie MacPherson, and Wallace Reid:Gloria Swanson Affairs of Anatol 1921 Color Final

Marian Nixon on location for RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE (1925):Riders of the Purple Sage 1925 Marian Nixon

A striking image of Strongheart and Lady Jule in 1924:Strongheart and Lady Jule 1924 Final final

Published in: on March 11, 2017 at 4:23 PM  Comments (5)  
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