Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just a few quick notes on the Joe Franklin book

One, I love the dedication. Read it closely. He's saying, "I love Lois and Brad, but they didn't help out one lick with this book." Without their cooperation, he wrote the book. And he's letting us know that.

Two, I love that people back in the fifties (and I hope there are still some people that do this but I'm not one of them) had personal seals made up for the books in their home library. This seal is on the inside cover. I blurred out the name as a quick Google search brought up plenty of family still in the Maryland area (and from what I could gather they're all quite rich - I guess that's why they had personal book seals).

Three, I love these excerpts:

On What Price Glory - "And lip-readers can still have a field day watching curses that will probably never become commonplace on the sound screen, no matter how 'adult' the cinema becomes." Sorry Joe but you were way off on that prediction. I wrote about this movie and profanity in the cinema last year here.

On Sunrise - "If, heaven forbid, I had had to select the five great American films, instead of the 50, one of those five would most certainly have been Sunrise."

On The Crowd (which he liked very much) - "As a rule, I don't like films about 'ordinary' people doing 'ordinary' things. If that sounds snobbish, I don't mean it to be. But we all see ordinary people every day of our lives. Why pay a dollar to see them on the screen when for fifteen cents or so we can see the same thing on a bus?"

On movies from 1928 to 1932 - "... let me say that talkies at this period did little else but talk."

On John Barrymore - "Only really great actors can get away with ham, and only really great actor can get away with not taking themselves quite seriously! On all counts, John Barrymore was one of the greatest."

On Charlie Chaplin - "There are those who feel that Chaplin is a god, at least cinematically, and can do no wrong. I am not one of them. I have a tremendous amount of respect for his work, and consider him one of the foremost craftsmen of the screen. But to me Buster Keaton was a far superior comedy creator."

On Neil Hamilton - "In these days of mumbling types, I for one would welcome his soft, pleasant, clear diction back to the screen again."

And finally, quoting Mae Murray on the character of Norma Desmond, after viewing Sunset Boulevard - "None of us floozies were that nuts!"


All quotes taken from Classics of the Silent Screen, copyright 1959 by Joe Franklin.