What do you think of when you hear the name William Castle? Classic chillers? Clever marketing gimmicks? If you asked a movie-goer in the forties, though, they would have thought of mysteries.
In the forties, Castle was known as a B director who could get films done on-time and on-budget. His output varied during this decade but two series kept cropping up on his resume: The Whistler and The Crime Doctor. Both were low-budget films series involving amateur sleuths and both featured former silent leading men: Richard Dix and Warner Baxter, respectively.
Continue reading “After the Silents: Silent Stars in William Castle Films”
This is wonderfully entertaining film for all the wrong reasons. Here is what we are in for:
Humphrey Bogart plays a zombie doctor who must steal the blood of the living so that he (and his white rabbit!) can survive. Also, he has wire spectacles and a skunk stripe in his hair.
Continue reading “After the Silents: The Return of Doctor X (1939)”
It’s time to give a little attention to one of my favorite screen teams, a couple so famous in the talkies that most people do not even realize that they started in the silents: William Powell and Myrna Loy.
Continue reading “After the Silents: Love Crazy (1941)”
Those discount trivia books that litter the shelves of chain bookstores have a lot to answer for. They state with great confidence that The Jazz Singer was the first sound movie, The Birth of a Nation was the first feature film, that The Great Train Robbery was the first film with a story…
Continue reading “Silent Movie Myth: The Firsts”
It’s a reasonably popular internet meme: Take hit modern film, desaturate it, add a few intertitles and a tinkling piano score and voila! You have a silent movie. That’s all silent movies are, right? Movies without sound and with those title cards placed at intervals.
Continue reading “Silent Movie Myth: Silent movies are just sound movies with a few intertitles”
Hooo boy, is this an old one. It is actually as old as talking pictures themselves. The myth goes like this: So-and-so (often John Gilbert) was a famous film star in the silent era but what people didn’t know is that he sounded like Mickey Mouse! Hilarious!
Continue reading “Silent Movie Myth: Silent stars had funny voices”