Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lest we forget: 4th Academy Award for Best Actor went to...

...Lionel Barrymore for his role as lawyer Stephen Ashe in A Free Soul, 1931. Mr. B did not expect to win,  did not write anything down,  and attended in a rented (possibly borrowed) tuxedo. George Arliss handed it to him after reflecting that Oscar did not seem to be a particularly sharp knife. Mr. B said he muttered something appropriate and sat back in his chair, dinnerware in front of him,  thoughtful.

Brother Jack said the only person seemingly not upset it took so long for Lionel's talent to be officially honored was Lionel himself.  Mr B was 53 when he received the then-very new award. Some years later,  sister Ethel joined him in winning, they becoming the only brother/sister Oscar winners to this day.

Jack, alas,  was never even nominated,  though certainly several roles were deserving. The only "award" he received was a eponymous one from Valentino.

Marie Dressler, whom Lionel would costar with in her final film,  also was recognized that night,  to her immense joy.  She would die shortly after finishing Christopher Bean with Lionel,  who recalled their wins in 1931 as extra special because he could share it with her.

Congratulations to the winners,  new and old!  

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Hair: Mr. B & Comb Battles, 1900-1934

So I have LONG been interested in the many, MANY different looks Lionel Barrymore had throughout his career, in 'real-life' and film. He was absolutely known for mussing his hair, from his earliest films into his final ones, and it was a source of jokes and caricatures, the floppy mess he usually had on top of his head (which was, most often, his natural, longish, straight hair. I have yet to see one image or film where Lionel, unlike John, had a practically shaved head--John did so a few times, notably for Justice on Broadway).
Disney caricature of Lionel Barrymore (with gray hair here)

Unlike his generally more follicle-aware brother John, Mr. B seemed content to comb back his hair with the slicker of choice, then absently run his hands through it during the day, often ignoring the long strands framing his face on one side. He had a tendency to rub his hair back and forth, and other people have attested to this. Like John, Mr. B had his own hair until his death, and while it grayed and got somewhat thinner in his final years, it was an omnipresent "character" itself. Black, straight, cut short or grown long and combed back, the Hair was a Barrymore all in itself.

I will note the pics of him with short, curly hair for The Other Girl on stage was due to Mr. B wanting to appear as much like a real-life boxer as possible, so he had his hair curled for the role.  One of the MOST distinct looks he had of many, many looks.  His hand use and hair-mussing is one way I've been able to identify him when I was unsure at first in his silent films. But that hair, that "faun-like" right ear...

So I devised a plan to track those looks down, and I am astonished! Check this out [part 1--more to come]:

The Mysterious Island, 1929 filming
Pardon the lack of photoshop trimming so just the hair is visible, but well...:)

From baby Lionel B to about 1934 and The Voice of Bugle Ann...the hair never stops! (Click for bigger image)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A few new images and items of interest...esp. on Jack

Abbe portrait from the LHJournal Confessions of an Actor serialization, 1925

Somewhat bizarre double ad for LB and BK...
French incredibly colorful poster for this epic

Research continues on the Duel in the Sun proposed paper on accommodations for Mr. B--recently went up to the HRC to look through JOHN'S material on the off chance there is LIONEL material mixed in--and there is. I even found Maurice and Georgie Drew Barrymore material mixed in!  There's a real thread of tragedy tracing its way through the Barrymore family from Maurice onward, and sometimes I see commentary on it in the old magazines--some are frightfully judgmental and mean. As in, contemporary celebrity-rag mean.  Some things, apparently, never change.

In the process of research, I was pleased to find many John Barrymore stills from early Broadway hits, some of which may well not have been seen since they were taken. Some made it into Theatre magazine, so if I can find the magazine copy of a pic online, I'll post it here.  And of course, lots and LOTS of clippings--I have a box and a half more on Jack to go through, but some of it is very sad to read.  Some articles he "wrote" sound a little like he might have, but at the least, the sentiment about his family, especially Lionel, seems true to other material. He was really in awe of and adored his big brother, who shook it off. But John writing of Lionel's quiet walk around his dressing room after John premiered Hamlet, to leave with a "Good boy, Gus" and tug on John's hair as compliment that was like gold to little brother, is priceless and very sweet. What a complex family!

Which makes this all the more enjoyable!

So, it's fun, but certainly time consuming, and this time around, I acquired a research injury. No, really, I did.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Hearts Day...and Happy Birthday Jack!

Photoshopped with much love by your humble blogger...<3
May your day,and all days, be full of love, joy, happiness, and health! You're welcome! :)

It's also John Barrymore's birthday, according to his birth certificate, at least (family bible says 15th)! He thought at least until his fifties he was born February 15th, 1882. So maybe I'll celebrate twice!
But here we go...

TY nitratediva!

 All but the 20th Century one Photoshopped by yours truly. You are most welcome!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Still alive! Mostly. Calendar gift!

You're welcome. h/t Bob Fells, SFT
So the year commenced at a faster pace than expected, and work has been simply frantic. I've sporadically worked on the blog and at least have the 1915 film names up now.  But it has been killer! The grant on which I work is coming up for renewal and I look to be adding a lot more gray hairs to the ton I acquired last year.

I still don't know if I got the fellowship to research Mr B this summer,  but I'm not really worried.  I'll be headed back up in about ten days,  this time combing John Barrymore material to see if they misfiled Lionel stuff there. I found more than a few Jack items in Lionel folders and boxes., so it makes sense.

Really,  I'm just worried about how tired I've been.  Blogging is quite fun and I miss pouring time into it.  Perhaps after February--Jack's birthday is coming soon! -- things will go more slowly.  I doubt it,  but...

So enjoy the calendar of Lionel Barrymore in Enemies of Women! I was inspired by Bob Fells of SFT and Old Hollywood in Color (link on this blog). It prints up nicely in 11x17. :)