Continuing from yesterday, here’s my list of the classic Hollywood movies I screened during the past year. I realize that this list seems a bit esoteric, but in truth, every film I write about is hugely entertaining and suitable for most everyone.
It is sad that so few contemporary movie lovers are familiar with older Hollywood movies. Imagine if music history were suddenly swept clean and the work of Mozart, Beethoven and Bach were gone.
Well, it’s the same with classic movies.
You are missing some works of genius and numerous gems.
8. Tell it to the Marines, 1926, starring Lon Chaney, Billy Haines, Eleanor Boardman, and Carmel Meyers. Directed by George W. Hill. Screenplay by Richard Schayer. Titles by Joseph Farnham.
Tell it to the Marines, 1926. Billy Haines looks on as Lon Chaney romances Eleanor Boardman.
U.S. Marine Sergeant O’Hara, Lon Chaney, in one of the few films in which he’s not in make-up, has his hands full training raw recruits. ‘Skeet’ Burns, Billy Haines, is a brash and uncooperative Marine. And to make things worse, Burns also sets his sights on nurse Nora Dale, the lovely Eleanor Boardman, whom Sergeant O’Hara secretly loves.
This is a lovely and unexpected romantic comedy from Lon Chaney, best known for playing unfortunates like The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera.
Here’s clip where ladies man Haines makes a move on Eleanor Boardman:
Chaney (1883-1930) was one of the great stars of the silent screen. He only made one sound movie, the very strange The Unholy Three, 1930, before cancer of the throat killed him. Watching him work sans make-up is a revelation and a joy. He plays a classic American character, rigid but fair, tough yet vulnerable. His face is weathered with deep creases, signs of wisdom gained through a lifetime of war and barracks humor. It’s an iconic American performance. Tell it to the Marines was Lon Chaney’s biggest moneymaker.
Lon Chaney as Sergeant O’Hara.
George W. Hill was a fine director who got his start as an assistant to D.W. Griffith. Before becoming a director Hill was an accomplished cinematographer who was known for his skill in lighting leading ladies.
In 1929 Hill scored another huge success with The Big House starring Wallace Beery. And in 1930, Hill again hit box office and creative magic with Min and Bill, making Wallace Beery and Marie Dressler MGM’s biggest stars for the next four years.
Tragically, Hill was in a serious car accident at the peak of his career. His injuries caused intense physical and personal anguish. In 1933, he was discovered in his Malibu home dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 38 years old.
To read the complete article, head on over to Big Hollywood.