Poster of the Day: Beggars of Life (1928)

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The wonderfully titled, Beggars of Life (1928) – directed by Wallace A. Wellman (Public Enemy, A Star is Born) – starring Wallace Beery as a young hobo, opposite Louise Brooks’ dragged-up girl-on-the-run in what was Paramount’s first talking picture. Can the desperate pair reach Canada before the police catch them? Who knows, because we’re closing before it’ll ever be issued on DVD.

19 Jun 1928 --- Actress Louise Brooks plays Nancy in the 1928 film . --- Image by © John Springer Collection/CORBIS

“And if there’s a gal in my the gang, she’s my gal.”

posted by Dixie Turner

Poster of the Day: The Gay Divorcee (1934)

Gay-Divorcee-RKO--1934Danish Poster by Erik Fredriksen (source: 50 Watts) for the Gay Divorcee (1934), starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in their second film together (plus an early appearance by Betty Grable).

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“CHANCE IS THE FOOL’S NAME FOR FATE”

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Poster of the Day: This Gun for Hire (1942)

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 Tagline: “HE’S DYNAMITE WITH A GUN – OR A GIRL!”

 Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake star in this classic noir, directed by Frank Tuttle (All the King’s Horses), with a screenplay co-written by the great W.R. Burnett (novelist, eg. Little Ceasar). The film is loosely based on the book of the same name by Graham Greene. This Gun for Hire was the first picture that Ladd and Lake made together, the partnership proving so successful that they went on to make another six including, perhaps most famously, The Blue Dahlia in 1946.

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“You are trying to make me go soft. Well, you can save it. I don’t go soft for anybody.”

Posted by Dixie

Poster of the Day: Sherlock Jr.

sherlock-jr-movie-poster-1924-1020143174Russian Sherlock. Jr poster, 1924

This poster stumped pretty much everyone in our recent film quiz – perhaps because of its tricky graphics, or perhaps because the film is not as well-known amongst contemporary film-lovers as it should be! With his trademark stoney face, Buster Keaton makes for an earnest hero, battling the wrong-doings of a rival over the affections of a beautiful girl.

For those used to the more pointed, polished and faster-paced humour of Chaplin, Sherlock Jr can come across as a little slow at points and the excellent visual comedy has a much more naturalistic feel, delivering something of a rawer result. But there are fantastic examples of his comic and film-making genius here. The movie is one of the first examples of a film-within-a-film, when Keaton’s character – a lowly projectionist at a local theatre – falls asleep and imagines himself leaping into the film being screened, creating quite a surreal scene and perfectly illustrating Keaton’s ability to think outside the usual slapstick comedy box. In this new, meta-storyline, Keaton’s character becomes a great detective whose objective is to show the true nature of his rival’s character.

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And, of course, there are also plenty of slapstick moments, including the famous ‘shadowing scene’:

sherlock-jr-4Other visual gags abound, but amongst them are stunts that make the jaw drop; stunts that clearly must have been carried out with extreme precision but which are, none the less, delivered in Keaton’s characteristic loose and raw style, making them appear utterly haphazard.

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And, of course, there’s the sublime pool-playing scene, where Keaton’s character manages to pot every ball whilst avoiding hitting the booby-trapped ball – all in the most nonchalant, off-hand manner imaginable. Yep. Sublime.

***

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posted by Dixie Turner