Silent Movie Stars Think You’re Really Cute

Silent movies are famous for their passionate love scenes but I am personally rather fond of the adorably direct ways the stars found to flirt with their true loves.

Clara Bow makes her feelings for Clive Brook very clear in Hula. (Flapper actresses were often paired with far older leading men.)

Read my review here.

Available on DVD.

Lenore Ulric is equally forward with Theodore von Eltz in Tiger Rose, an underrated gem of a wilderness picture.

Read my review here.

Available on DVD.

Pola Negri and Harry Lietdke give one another the glad eye in The Eyes of the Mummy.

Read my review here.

Available on DVD.

The hero of the anarchic Onésime, You’ll Get Married… or Else is admiring the view during a bride lottery.

Read my review here.

Available on DVD.


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6 Replies to “Silent Movie Stars Think You’re Really Cute”

  1. As I’ve noted here before, I found Clive Brook’s character in ‘Hula’ to be a refreshing change from the proper -British-gentleman type he usually plays. Underneath his quiet reserve in this film is quite a bit of passion, which is particularly evident if you look at his hands as he holds Hula – it’s more than an embrace, he grabs her into a sheik-like clasp. Most women would gladly ignore an age difference to be loved like that!

  2. In her most famous film, It, Clara has almost the same age difference of just under 20 years with that Male lead, Antonio Moreno.

    But it wasn’t just silents. Sabrina is almost 30 years difference between Bogart and Audrey Hepburn. Clark Gable/Marilyn Monroe is another. In 1985ish Witness had Harrison Ford 15 years older than Kelly McGillis. I’m sure I could come up with an example from the present. Big male stars continue to be draws and young good looking females remain the ideal and are matched with the old geezers. But there are much more today, I think, match ups between young males and females. However let the biggest young male stars get to their 30s and they’ll be paired up with new young stars.

    But putting all that aside, Clara is a dream in the photo above. Have to watch this film.

    1. There was a recent study that showed that stars like Tom Cruise are aging but their co-stars remain the same twenty-something and, of course, there was a minor kerfuffle when the latest James Bond film featured (gasp!) an actress THE SAME AGE AS BOND. What is interesting about the onscreen flappers is that they did have a direct equivalent, the kind of breezy young fellows played by Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Billy Haines but the signature flapper films like Flaming Youth and IT both had foxy grandpas.

      Sadly, I have heard some people state that significantly older male spouses were more common back in the day. In fact, the US Census shows that the age difference between heterosexual couples marrying for the first time has held steady at 2-4 years since at least the 1890s. However, Hollywood directors have always been majority male, so I definitely think that there is a bit of wish fulfillment involved here.

  3. Key words ‘marrying for the first time.’ The number of age-different marriages would have been quite high in the past, when men whose wives died in childbirth would remarry even without love, in order to have someone to take care of their house and children.

    Then there are divorced men, like Brook’s character in ‘Hula.’ It’s interesting how some Hollywood marriages with wide age gaps turned out to be very successful – William Powell, Buster Keaton, Humphrey Bogart, Bing Crosby, etc….(And Mary Pickford with her younger husband Buddy Rogers.)

    1. But none of that disproves my rather innocuous comment about the number of flappers paired with far older leading men, which is a statement of fact. I am not exactly sure why this discussion exists as I made no remark as to whether or not I like the performers (in fact, I like Milton Sills and Antonio Moreno quite a lot).

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