Monday, July 25, 2016

1.1 years down, 42 more to go! 1911-12 films done

I am fairly gleeful about announcing I've finished a detailed (well, I will still add more detail later) filmography for Lionel Barrymore's first two years of film work, 1911-12. It was not really overly hard,  but there were some challenges in terms of stills and casts. I left out The Miser's Heart for reasons I explain, offering some evidence for my choice. I'm quite proud to have dug up screengrabs from LBs first film,  The Battle, and to have found images with him for most of the films.

I'm not as familiar with film archives as others are, so there may be a way to see some of the films I haven't that aren't lost.  I'd quite like to see The God Within, which apparently exists,  and the one in which LB gets to play the hero as a tramp and rescue a doctor.

I'm quite impressed with the range of parts he had,  from full out lead to "man at table". His early work already demonstrates a naturalism and comfort with the new technology,  even if at times he acts a trifle "stagy". Friends, The New York Hat, and The Burglar's Dilemma show him managing the parts and blocking/movement well--he was a big guy in comparison with most of his costars, but his mild preacher helping tiny Mary Pickford in NYHat contrasts beautifully with his somewhat hulking, shy Fallon in Friends, while his older, confident  brother in TBD moves between the two. In 1913, an epically prolific year for him, he would increase his skills in front of the camera and start directing (Her Secret) and writing more short films.

In addition,  I saw an LB film I hadn't,  So Near Yet So Far, where he is in a club scene,  tuxedoed! My checklist of LB films I've seen is getting filled in nicely. I look forward to new discoveries (as well as frustrations!) in 1913.
1911-12 Films of Lionel Barrymore

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