Thursday, July 21, 2016

The loneliness of the long-suffering researcher..ain't that bad!

I'm kidding, really, I got a true geek high out of finding some info on LB's family in Paris via a painting/painter. Of course, what happens when something like that happens to me is I get overly-obsessive and keep looking and looking.. and then it's midnight and I'm not home.

I tend to get quite fixated on certain types of long-term research, as this is and will be, but I also enjoy doing little research projects, like finding sources. I find that my head craves mental input almost all the time, which makes it difficult to get to sleep. But let's look at a few things one finds when one obsesses:

1918, The Copperhead (stage)
This pic I dug out of a NYT article, which in itself was pretty interesting and is linked on the right under Articles on LB.  Quality of pics like these are not the best, but this one was exceptional for an old scan. I adore LB in the 1920 Copperhead film. It's really very, very nice work!

On set of Duel in the Sun
I love a man or woman or person who loves cats. I find it odd when people do not. Mr. B was quite the lover of cats, having more than a few at his home in Chatsworth, CA. This pic above of course isn't from the film, but in one of the Kildare films, there's a random shot of a kitten lapping up milk as LB's Dr. Gillespie exits a scene--he stops, smiles at the kitten, and then the film goes on. Odd moment! Here it is, from Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case:

About halfway thru the film, this happens...
That's a genuine smile of delight!

I adore watching these weird little moments when it comes to Lionel Barrymore's acting. Sometimes it's the director, sometimes you realize how much people must have missed in his films if they could only watch them once.  He has a few idiosyncratic motions he does, as did his brother, and many are with his hands. Early, he had a tendency to run his hands through his hair, which he seems to not utilize as must after the early 1930s. He did have longer and floppier hair than John Barrymore did, though, as he got older--slicked-back hair was in, not the neat trim you see him with in the 1920s films like Sadie Thompson.

Now that we can not only rewatch films but pause, rewind, fast forward, take screengrabs--there's so much to be noticed about films, especially silent ones, I think. I became way more enchanted by Lionel's work than John's after watching a few films like Mysterious Island, Sadie Thompson, even The New York Hat. Not that JB doesn't have some very nice small moments, as he does in A Bill of Divorcement and Grand Hotel. Both have amazing body mastery and vocal skills. But their sister once mentioned that if Lionel had to play a dwarf, he'd make you believe he was one.  That seems to be really true, even of his "gruff old man" parts.

So even though obsession can lead one to losing sleep, the benefits are often an explosion of good brain vibes and an enthusiasm that, oddly you might find one or two people share. And even if they didn't..I could always share with one of my cats. They don't mind:)
Casy, Benni, and Bjorn, cuddle-puddle

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