oscar nomination

Two Arabian Knights (1927) | Jamie Daily

Two Arabian Knights (1927)
1st Academy Awards 1929
Nominated for 1 award.
Nominated for Directing-Comedy Picture (Lewis Milestone).
Not yet released.

 

As far as I could find concerning Two Arabian Knights, it has not yet been released on DVD.  If you know any different or are aware of where I could find the film except for in the possession of Turner Classic Movies, I would greatly appreciate the information.  Apparently the film was assumed lost until the death of Howard Hughes in 2004 when a print was restored at the University of Nevada.  Here is an original review from when the film was released in 1927 by Mordaunt Hall of the New York Times:

 

“Two Arabian Knights,” the current picture at the Paramount Theatre, is a genuinely clever comedy in which the principals scorn the usual fractious tactics and rely on intelligent acting. The two actors who supply the fun in this bright piece of work are William Boyd, the hero of DeMille’s “Volga Boatman,” and Louis Wolheim, a stage and screen nortrayer of choice villainy who figured as Captain Flagg in the play, “What Price Glory.”

This production has been expertly handled by Lewis Milestone, who has performed his task with a degree of sanity that is most welcome. Who knows but what this photoplay may serve to discourage silly and boisterous efforts and encourage this same restrained type of comedy? This film is filled with splendid photographic effects that have evidently been made at no small cost. Where a number of men are needed to add to the impression of a sequence, Mr. Milestone has not stinted himself, for he shows an imposing array of “extras,” all suitably costumed.

It is only toward the end of this subject that the adventures assume a fantastic aspect. There are then scenes wherein the two heroes scale walls and invade a Bey’s palace somewhere in Turkey. In view of what has preceded this, one is, however, willing to pardon such actions, for they are not without true humor and moreover none of the incidents are dependent upon the subtitles for the fun they create.

“Two Arabian Knights” succeeds where “Tin Hats” failed. It is a yarn dealing with two American soldiers who are taken prisoner. Mr. Milestone starts his ball of fun rolling in an initial scene where Private W. Daingerfield Phelps (Mr. Boyd) and Sergeant Peter McGaffney are discovered in the slough of a shell hole. When Phelps observes that his companion is his hated top sergeant he wants to have it out with McGaffney before a shell comes along and cuts off their existence. Eventually the deep hole in the muddy earth is surrounded by Germans, and Phelps and McGaffney are captured.

There are some realistic scenes of the German prison camp in snow-covered Northern Germany, and others that are concerned with the escape of the two men, who, while they still have no particular liking for each other, don’t want to be alone. It is set forth, that their Khaki uniforms in the snow stick out like a sore thumb, and finally, after an encounter between two Turks, the Americans help themselves to the white cloaks of their victims. Subsequently the two adventurers find themselves on a train bound for Constaninople, and after reaching that city they are sent aboard a ship, on which they meet the heroine, Mirza.

A little thing like having no ready cash is settled by Phelps’s diving into the purser’s cabin and binding and gagging that officer. There is dismay on McGaffney’s countenance when Phelps reappears with a fistfull of paper money.

Through purely natural expressions on the faces of the sturdy pair the Paramount audience yesterday afternoon was thrown into a high state of glee. And by the skillful and gradual way in which Mr. Milestone unfurls his episodes, there is a distinct element of suspense.

Mr. Wolheim is capital in his portrayal of alarm, annoyance, anger, satisfaction and relief. Mr. Boyd also contributes in no small way to the gaiety of this piece. In fact although it is a comedy Mr. Boyd’s acting in this screen effort is even better than his serious work in other productions. Mary Astor is seen as Mirza and she, too, is deserving of her share of credit, and so is Ian Keith, who figures as a Turkish officer with a sly sense of humor.
TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS, with Louis Wolheim, William Boyd, Mary Astor, Michael Vavitch, Ian Keith, DeWitt Jannings, Michael Visaroff and Boris Karloff, written by Donald McGibney, directed by Lewis Milestone; “The Barber of Seville,” with stage effects by Paul Oscard; “Moonlight,” a Bruce sconic; “Florida,” staged by Jack Partington. At the Paramount Theatre.

 

Sources: NY Timesultishare

The Shore (2011) Review | Jamie Daily

The Shore (2011)
84th Academy Awards 2012
1/5 Stars
Nominated for 1 award, which it won.
Won Best Live Action Short (Terry George, Oorlargh George).
Watched October 19, 2012.

 

Unlike many of the critics, and the Academy itself, I was not such a fan of The Shore, particularly after seeing Raju last week.  The imagery of the film is absolutely breathtaking, but the script and acting were fairly lacking in comparison.

 

Joe (Ciarán Hinds) has been living in the States for the last twenty-five years and has not been back to Ireland since “the trouble.”  He finally brings his grown daughter back with him after his wife passes away.  Everyone is incredibly pleased to see him, but it is soon revealed that his daughter Patricia (Kerry Condon) doesn’t know much about her father’s past, like the fact that he was in a band, or that he hasn’t spoken to his best friend since he moved away.

 

The story with Joe and his daughter is so slow moving and dialogue driven that it throws off the pace of the entire short.  Condon’s acting doesn’t help the situation.  Joe tells the whole story of how he lost his best friend, Paddy, and how his secret ex-fiancé is now married to his ex-best friend.  Patricia then convinces him that he should visit Paddy and set things right.

 

My favourite aspect of the film (I prove that I am a huge romantic, yet again) was the relationship between Paddy (Conleth Hill) and his wife Mary (Maggie Cronin).  There is no doubt that they have an amazing amount of passion in their marriage.  Their chemistry is out of this world, which in turn casts a blinding light on the lack of chemistry between Hinds and Condon.

 

The Shore is a half-hearted comedy and a half-hearted drama–it never successfully scores in either direction.  The timing is off, most of the characters have little depth, and the lines are so transparent, it’s a wonder the actors could pull anything remotely Oscar worthy out of Terry George’s winning piece.

 

If your opinions tend to be more in line with the Academy when it comes to shorts, or if you would like to catch a glimpse of Ireland’s beauty (which is expertly captured, might I add), then by all means you should search out this film.  Otherwise, I would not recommend it.

 

Sources: Album ArtIMDBRotten Tomatoes411maniaOpinionlessPaste MagazineReeling ReviewsSmells Like Screen SpiritThe Independent Critic

The Patent Leather Kid (1927) Review | Jamie Daily

The Patent Leather Kid (1927)
1st Academy Awards 1929
4/5 Stars
Nominated for Best Actor (Richard Barthelmess).
Watched August 28, 2012.

 

I took a break from loving the 20s film movement, but now I’m back on board after watching The Patent Leather Kid.  One thing is for sure: Richard Barthelmess could teach today’s actors a thing or two about acting with nothing but their face.  For some who think that silent films are overacted, Barthelmess might be the one to change your mind.  His costar and love interest Molly O’Day falls into this trap on more than one occasion, but the Kid more than makes up for her excessive movements.

 

Barthelmess and the Kid are two cinematic characters of history that many of today’s actors are attempting to live up to.  One of two men nominated for the best actor award, I can see fully and completely why this is considered the best performance of his career.  A story that is typical these days, one should note that this is the story that it originates from–a cocky fighter who only thinks of himself and his career learns that life is more meaningful, and that his courage is only a front for the fear that hides beneath.

 

It is 1917 in New York and Curley Boyle (O’Day) is going to a fight with the wealthy Hugo Breen (Lawford Davidson).  Everyone is cheering for anyone but The Patent Leather Kid because he is so cocky.  We see immediately that Curley is a fiery personality.  A lone woman among men spectators, she heckles the Kid ruthlessly.  After knocking down his opponent, he shouts at her to meet him outside.  Driven by curiosity, she does, and a few minutes later he’s told her that she is his girl and no one else’s.  Their strong personalities, as well as a constant comedic tension between Curley and the Kid’s manager populate the first half of the film well.


As is a common theme among the early movies of the twentieth century, America goes to war.  This is when we see the true colors of the Kid.  He can be in the ring and knock down his opponents over and over, but the prospect of guns and bayonets terrifies him.  He refuses to salute the flag, and despises the love that Curley has for the men in uniform.  Finally, after Breen shows up as a Lieutenant, and the Kid’s trainers join the fight, Curley tells the Kid that she’s going to France to dance and nurse so that she can cheer up the boys.  Still, his fear rules him, and he only goes to war when he is drafted.

 

Inevitably, this is where he finally finds his courage.  Placed on the front lines, he is forced to overcome the walls he has constructed and pull off a rescue mission only the Kid could do.

 

Despite O’Day’s exaggerated movements, she plays her difficult character well and makes her witty gumption very powerful and endearing.  She is a fitting costar for Barthelmess, although I wish Janet Gaynor had played the role.

 

The only negative side of this beautiful film was its length–well over two hours, no matter which version you watch.  If you have the time and the patience (I watched it in two sittings), please add The Patent Leather Kid to your repertoire!

 

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Sources: IMDBRotten TomatoesNew York TimesCin-EaterA Certain Cinemaall posters