Dear Reader

Dear Reader #166

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s fifth movie was Grit, a silent drama produced in the summer of 1923 in New York, and released on January 7, 1924. Adapted from a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Grit featured Clara as a sexy street urchin, Orchid McGonigle.

Clara impressed director Frank Tuttle, especially with her ability to produce emotion at will. He said, “This dynamic and erratic whirlwind was a joy to her director.”

Grit was a tale of cowardice and revenge set on New York’s Lower East Side. Fitzgerald said of the film, “The whole picture is sordid, showing disgusting scenes of immorality and crime.” The censors demanded cuts, and they were duly made. Despite those cuts, Grit was still banned by the British Board of Film Censors.

Clara saw Orchid as the embodiment of herself. “A little roughneck and a tomboy like I was.” The critics panned the film. However, Variety added, “It is Clara Bow that lingers in the eye after the picture has gone.”

Joint Highest Grossing Movie of 1925, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

Ben-Hur was a silent epic drama that starred Ramon Novarro as the title character. Production costs rose to $3,900,000 ($60,260,000 today) compared to MGM’s average for the season of $158,000 ($2,440,000 today), which made Ben-Hur the most expensive film of the silent era. The movie earned $10.7 million at the box office.

Ben-Hur became notorious for its egregious animal abuse: a reported one hundred horses were tripped and killed merely to produce the set piece footage of the major chariot race. A ‘running W’ device was used on the set to trip the galloping horses. Ten years later such devices were frowned upon in Hollywood.

The extras at the chariot race read like a who’s who of Hollywood at the time. They included: John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, Douglas Fairbanks, Lillian Gish, Samuel Goldwyn, Harold Lloyd, Carole Lombard, Myrna Loy and Mary Pickford.

Just by Accident, Series 1, Episode 21 of The Rockford Files, is a curious episode. It was actually the last episode filmed for the first season (22 episodes), and the last episode produced by Roy Huggins.

Written by a new team, Charles Sailor and Eric Kalder, my impression is this was a generic private eye story adapted for Rockford. The Becker role was filled by a lookalike, David Spielberg as Lieutenant Tom Garvey. This episode gave the impression that the hirer, Louise Hartman, was a long-standing friend of Rockford’s, but the nature of their friendship was never explained.

As someone who loves genealogy, I loved the premise of this episode, which was based on birth certificates. A great answering machine message too. Kooky voice: “This is Thelma Sue Brinkley. It’s about the research I called you about – the family tree. Did you talk to your daddy? We may be kin!”

In this month’s issue of our #1 ranked magazine…

Interview with Publishers Weekly #1 author Dani Pettrey. Plus, Author Features, Health, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Short Stories, Young Writers, National Veteran and Military Family Month, and so much more!

Clara Bow Quotes. Having achieved her movie breakthrough with Beyond the Rainbow, Clara was keen for her friends to see her on the silver screen. “I assembled all the children for blocks and borrowed enough money to purchase tickets for those unable to pay for their own admission.” 

However, Clara did not appear in this version of the picture; the director had decided to cut her role. “I bolted from the theatre, ran all the way home, locked myself in my room and sobbed as though my heart would break. This was the end. How could I ever face my friends again?”

Intertitle #6

Coming soon, our new magazine, The Golden Age of Hollywood, available from all leading Internet outlets. Here’s a preview of the cover.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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