Strange & beautiful images and interesting info from the years 1900-1935 (with emphasis on movies & the arts). This is written to accompany Becky Bradway's novel-in-progress, Into the Beautiful New. And check out my blog on old movies & writers at intothebeautifulnew.com.
Erich Von Stroheim - a great erratic director whose work was mostly done during the silent era. Some of this films are brilliant, largely because of his eye for the beautiful lingering scene. Unfortunately, his films were too long and too over budget for the studios to accept. They were cut so dramatically in the editing process that they were sometimes rendered nearly incomprehensible. His greatest film, Greed, is still missing vast portions of the original footage — it was cut from ten hours to two, a tragedy that has gone down into film lore. His lovely film with Gloria Swanson, Queen Kelly, remained unfinished. Both of these films are consistently on lists of the greatest of the lost films, and both have been partially reconstructed using a combination of footage and stills. (Two of his films that survived relatively completely were Foolish Wives and The Wedding March, and both are available on DVD.) He was, to say the least, a difficult fellow….He was an actor, too, for many years, with a specialty for playing domineering Germans. (He usually added a touch of subtle hammy humor to his roles that make them very fun to watch.) His best known role (in fact, the one that most people know him for) was as the butler in Sunset Boulevard….He has a fascinating life story, but this will have to be saved for my next posting.