Who doesn’t love getting flowers? Select silent movie stars, that’s who! Flowers are a great prop to illustrate romance and subtle seduction; a bit of an old hat, perhaps, but classic for a reason. However, that doesn’t always mean they’ll work as planned.
Mack Sennett offers Mabel Normand a flower in Barney Oldfield’s Race for a Life and it’s on the stinky and/or dinky side. I would be remiss if I did not also call everybody’s attention to Mabel’s gloriously goofy flowered hat.
Rudolph Valentino is similarly unmoved by floral overtures in Son of the Sheik, in which he reject Vilma Banky’s love offering quite decisively.
Not all flowers are unwelcome. Marion Davies certainly seems to be enjoying hers in The Patsy.
Anna Q. Nilsson has a more traditional reaction to flowers in Regeneration, Raoul Walsh’s 1915 gangster picture. She plays a socialite-turned-social worker who wins hearts in gangland.
Helen Gardner is even more enthusiastic in Cleopatra. She played Cleo, produced the picture and designed her own costumes, so something of a multi-tasker.
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