Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Two Sisters Tag - Skeletons in Lolita's closet

"Please, don't let my last words be 'I never saw a Harry Langdon film'..."

First I just want to say how thrilled I am to have 85 blog followers! I can't believe that a blog I have only had since February already has interested so many. Thanks to all of you. And it always makes me happy when you let your presence be known by leaving a comment!

Now, to the real matter.
Five days ago Elizabeth started a "Two Sisters Tag" after having argued with her sister about different opions on classic film, without getting anywhere. To see who is right, she asked the tagged ones to give their opinions on different classics matters. (Sorry for have waited so long with answering, Elizabeth!)

Here are my answers. The blasphemy will probably shock both you and myself.

1. Do you like Greta Garbo?
I love Garbo. She can be a little dramatic with "I vant to be alone" this and "I LOVE you, I LOVE you, I LOVE you" there (weird, since everyone knows that
Swedes are cold and stiff, except for the blonde ones).
But it is Garbo. She is magical, and if you can get away from her you have no heart.

2. In Buster Keaton's MGM films, do his gestures and his plots resemble those of Harry Langdon?
I wouldn't know, since I only have seen little by Buster Keaton (to my great sorrow, I adore him) and nothing by Harry Langdon. (!!!)
Skeleton count: 1

3. Who is your favorite director of silent dramas?
Cecil B. DeMille, Victor Sjöström (or Seastrom, as he re-named himself when coming to Hollywood) and Raoul Walsh. D. W. Griffith is not so bad neither, but not a favourite. (Need to see more to give a professional opinion on his work.)

4. Do Harold Lloyd's movies (movies, not shorts) drag along?
Eeehhhrrrmmm... Perhaps? Yes? No? I have only seen one! It was
For Heaven's Sake (1926), and that one amused me a whole lot. That one did not drag along, in my opinion.
Skeleton count: 2

5. Who made better silent shorts, Mack Sennett or Hal Roach?
Elizabeth's own answer was this:
My sister prefers the wild slapstick of Mack Sennett, but I prefer the nice mix of slapstick and word-play that comes with a Hal Roach short. Of course, I do enjoy Sennett (KEYSTONE Sennett), and she does like Hal Roach, but I generally prefer Hal Roach, and she generally prefers Sennett.
...and I have no idea what she's talking about. Keystone Sennet? Wild slapstick vs. word-play? I have seen too little with the brand Mack Sennet and Hal Roach to connect the names with ANY style. I saw Run, Girl, Run (1928, post here), and I laughed my ass off. That was a Sennett, so just to have an answer I'll go with him.
Skeleton count: 3

6. Is Al St. John a genuine heavy, or a baby heavy? (This is based on the idea of the "Baby Vamp", which was the character of the girl who was vampish, but not a vamp.)
Oh please. I have not seen anything with Al St. John! Someone having a tip for a newbie? I have seen a picture of him on Elizabeth's blog, he has beautiful eyes. What do you mean with a "heavy" anyway? Is it the bad guy? A fat guy?
My answer is: He ain't heavy, he's my brother.
Skeleton count: 4

7. Do you like 1920s musicals?
I don't think so. I haven't watched a lot, but my feeling is that they often contain a heck of a lot of unispired, pointless dance numbers. For example: In the Marx Brothers' first film
The Cocoanuts (1929) I always fastforward through the singing/dancing sequences. I know that they are a parody of uninspired dance numbers in 1920's musicals that has nothing to do with the plot, but it doesn't take away that they are in themselves uninspired dance numbers in a 1920's musical that has nothing to do with the plot. Not that the Marx Brothers usually have any plot to talk about, but you get the picture.
But honestly: I haven't seen enough 1920's musicals to have an opinion.
Skeleton count: 5

8. Do you like Al Jolson's movies?
Haven't seen any...
Skeleton count: 6

9. Who is your favorite animal star?
Asta the dog in
After the Thin Man (1936). I love the whole "fighting for my dog family" sub plot.

All in all I have an entire Busby Berkeley dance team in my closet, all very dead. Will I ever be able to awake them from the land of the lost souls?

I'm supposed to tag three people, so let's see if they manage better. I will wait for Elizabeth to wake me up in the middle of the night, leaning over me with a bloody axe against my throat. "You never saw a Harry Langdon movie? You will PAY!"

Watch out for her revenge, fellas:

C.K. Dexter Haven
Robby Cress
Louie Despres


Kim said...

Asta is my favorite animal star as well. Who doesn't love seeing him in the Thin Man Movies, Bringing up Baby and the Awful Truth? :)

C.K. Dexter Haven said...

Thanks for the tag, Lolita, though I'm entirely too ignorant to answer most of these questions sensibly and with any knowledge of the subject. I also deleted today's post: too preachy and self-righteous.

Lolita said...

He's the most charming dog I've seen in movies, I think!

C.K. Dexter Haven:
Can one be too self-righteous? ;)

Robby Cress said...

Thanks for the tag. I'll work on my reply soon ;)

Elizabeth said...

Dear GOD Lolita! Now kindly imagine me swinging in in a Robin-Hood-esque manner to save you!

Here's some Harry Langdon:


I wasn't able to find any more Harold Lloyd movies on the Internet, so I can't help you on Skeleton 2.

To conquer skeleton 3, Keystone Studios had Roscoe Arbuckle, Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Mack Swain, Chester Conklin, Charlie Murray, Ford Sterling, Harold Lloyd (for a short time), the Keystone Cops, and Ben Turpin. Keystone was director Mack Sennett's first studio, and he opened it in 1912. He merged Keystone with Triangle Studios in 1916, and in my opinion, everything made after that point just isn't funny. You can watch some Keystones here:

Hal Roach had Laurel & Hardy, Charley Chase, Our Gang, the Dippy Do Dads, Snub Pollard, and Harold Lloyd. You can watch some Hal Roach here:

Skeleton 4: The "heavy" is the silent film villian. "Heavy" refers to the obscene amount of makeup and false facial hair they wore. My sister disputes Al St. John being a heavy because he wears very little makeup and has no false facial hair. Here's a good short of Al St. John being the baddie:
He's also pretty rotten in "His Wedding Night" and "Mabel and Fatty at Sea" if you should happen to stumble across those.

For skeleton 5, I'm afraid I could only find excerpts of the good musicals from the 1920s. Sorry about that!

And for that final skeleton, I give you, "The Jazz Singer!"

Louie said...

Hope you don't mind that I didn't pass it on but I did post and here it is:


Millie said...


Don't let this get around...but...um...I got a lot more skeletons in the old closet than you do! (I just don't ever admit them...;-D).

Christopher said...

you better do something about your Hal Roach situation ;o)

Alexis said...

Hey Lolita-
Do you think you could email me the header again, a bit smaller? I really love it and want it to look the very best!
Also--I'm stealing this questionnaire!

Alexis said...

Hey Lolita-
Do you think you could email me the header again, a bit smaller? I really love it and want it to look the very best!
Also--I'm stealing this questionnaire!

Genevieve said...

After reading this tag on a few other blogs, I felt like a classic film novice. All of the skeletons you exposed are in my closet as well! I thought I was the only one. Personally, I've never been one for silents.

Izzy said...

What do you mean with a "heavy" anyway? Is it the bad guy? A fat guy?
My answer is: He ain't heavy, he's my brother.

heehee. my sentiments exactly. i had no idea what any of those questions were. sigh.

Lolita said...

My hero! Or perhaps, heroine. I will look them up! Thanks!


Haha! I usually don't admit my skeletons neither, but I felt I had no choice this time!

Yes, it's horrible, isn't it? ;)

Sure! I'll do it tomorrow!

It's funny how much you don't know, isn't it? I like silents, I just haven't studied them hard enough yet!

Good that I'm not the only one! You learn something new every day...

Mykal said...

Lolita: regarding your recent DVD purchase of that wonderful set of Sci-Fi movies: Now your speaking my lanugage! You must tell me what you think of them. I see they are all vintage Atomic Age stuff. You will love them all! Of them all, I liked Incredible Shrinking Man and Tarantuala the best, I think, but every film in that collection is very, very good. -- Mykal

Lolita said...

I'm excited! I always wanted to see Invasion of the Body Snatchers and It Came From Outer Space. In the box, I've only seen Creature From the Black Lagoon (classic!), which I already have on DVD in my Monster Box Set. But I guess a duplicate won't hurt!

Princess Fire and Music said...

Don't feel so bad Lolita -- I have just as many film-related skeletons in my closet, if not more! But I love seeing memes like this because even if I'm a bit embarrassed about how many questions I can't answer, I at least end up with a whole new list of actors and directors to watch out for.

Lolita said...

Princess Fire and Music:
You're too kind! I agree with you - the lack of knowledge in an area you love only inspires to learn and discover more!