The King’s Speech: An Immediate Look at the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935

With all the attention given to the Royal Wedding just a couple of weeks ago, I happened to find a 78 rpm record (12-inch) of King George V’s Silver Jubilee celebration on May 6, 1935 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. HRM was being celebrated for his 25 years as the British monarch and I like to think that George Arliss was present somewhere in the cathedral. We know that Mr. A was present at the coronation of George VI in 1937.

His majesty’s wife was Queen Mary and they were the grandparents of the current Queen Elizabeth II. Alas, George V died the following January 1936 at the age of 70. The record is in mint condition and the label states that the proceeds from its sale go to charity. The King makes a speech on side B of the record and seems to hint at the coming second world war, which was only four years away.

 

Published in: on June 5, 2018 at 9:40 PM  Leave a Comment  

A Video Celebration of the 150th Birthday Celebration for George Arliss: April 10, 1868 – April 10, 2018

Published in: on May 10, 2018 at 7:40 PM  Comments (2)  

You Did It! Thanks to Your Support Our Kickstarter Project to Fund Maintenance of the George Arliss Grave Successfully Met Its Goal!

Congratulations and a heartfelt Thank You to our backers! We have met our goal to provide funding for the ongoing maintenance of the Arliss gravesite over the years ahead. Now the fun part – I will start mailing to our backers our premium Thank You gift of eight unique oversized George Arliss Trading Cards in full color. I call them unique because I designed them and had them printed at my own expense.

As you may know, two years ago we managed to secure funding from a corporate donor to restore the terribly neglected grave of George Arliss and his wife Florence outside of London. Now Phase Two has been successfully completed to fund annual maintenance expenses to keep the grave site from falling back into disrepair.

Arliss Trading Cards

Thanks again – we couldn’t have done this without you!

Published in: on April 2, 2018 at 3:35 PM  Leave a Comment  

Arliss Alert! TCM shows DISRAELI (1929) and ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1931) on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 @ 8 AM and Noon Eastern time

Arliss Alert! DISRAELI (1929) and ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1931) on TCM January 2 @ 8 AM and Noon Eastern time:

Turner Classic Films gets 2018 off to a good start by showing two of George Arliss’ best films on Tuesday, January 2nd. First at 8 AM eastern time is Mr.A’s Academy Award-winning performance in DISRAELI (1929) with Joan Bennett, Florence Arliss, David Torrence, Ivan Simpson, Doris Lloyd, and Anthony Bushell. The plot: British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli wants to buy the strategic Suez Canal but his government won’t fund it. Since he had no Trump to ask for help he asks the Rothschilds.

Next at Noon on 1/2/18 is ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1931) which uses the same story as the recent Broadway musical. The film has Doris Kenyon, June Collier, Montagu Love (as Jefferson) and Alan Mowbray (as Washington). The plot: Hamilton as the first U.S.Treasury Secretary seeks to establish a uniform national currency and a central banking system. When his adversaries see him nearing success they destroy his reputation by a sex scandal.

Published in: on December 29, 2017 at 8:31 AM  Comments (2)  

George Arliss in Color in 3-D in HD (High Definition)

Whatever our global worries and concerns, living in the second decade of the 21st century has its advantages. The digitizing of motion pictures, to take just one example, has not only made vintage films from 80 to 100 years ago look new, in fact the process has made them look better than new. Of course, professional grade equipment and knowledgeable technicians will require hundreds of thousands of dollars to achieve these startling results. But happily, the consumer electronics market offers a number of user-friendly and affordable software so we ordinary folks – the fans – can achieve good results for our own enjoyment. Personally, I don’t think the home products equal the results obtained by the professionals, but they come close.

Consider the strides made in colorizing black-and-white photos. Ten years ago the resulting process was not especially good but today color transfers have improved to the point where some of the results are startlingly superb. While your blogmeister cannot claim to rank among the kings and queens colorizing, my work product is not disgracefully inferior either. Recently, software to convert standard two-dimensional images (2-D) into three dimensional (3-D) have likewise come a long way. These results are not the “hyper-reality” some of us rememeber from our Viewmaster slides, but they do suggest a bit of depth. Finally, the option to place images into very sharp focus, known as High Definition or simply “HD” is like the icing on the proverbial cake.

Your blogmeister has spent (or misspent) considerable time learning to master these new technologies and, herewith, I present the results for your approval (or otherwise). Actually, there is one more high tech step that you the viewer can take to enhance your viewing experience. And that is to watch the video below by attaching your cell phone to a VR (Virtual Reality) headgear. I can still get by using the old-fashioned “free viewing” method of training my right eye to focus only on the right image and the left eye on the left image. Our brain is tricked into seeing these in 3-D by merging the two images into a third one that gives the illusion of 3-D. I can’t think of a better subject to benefit from our 21st century ways than Mr. George Arliss. I hope you can enjoy the show!

Arliss Alert! DISRAELI (1929) on TCM Monday May 15 at 7 AM EDT

Mr. A’s Academy Award-winning performance as British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli will be on the air this Monday, May 15, on Turner Classic Movies at 7:00 AM eastern daylight time. DISRAELI (1929) is an early talkie but despite the technical creakiness Mr. A’s performance shines through.

He was nominated for the Best Actor Award for two films (as was the custom back then) but won the Oscar for DISRAELI alone, thus being the only actor in history who competed against himself for the Academy Award – and won! Well, not really but the way the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences operated back then, this seemed to be the case.

The story is based on Disraeli’s efforts to purchase the Suez Canal from Egypt in 1874. A politically controversial move, Disraeli bypassed Parliament to approve the necessary funds and obtained the money through a private loan from the Rothschilds. This gutsy move caught the imagination of the nation and Parliament had little choice but to approve the purchase retroactively. Of course, the film’s dramatization cooked up a few complications that didn’t really happen but it makes for a fine show.

Cover of the 1912 Souvenir Program:

DISRAELI was Mr. A’s first big hit in theater when he starred in it in 1911. How big of a hit? He toured in it for five years, then revived it two years later in 1917. He made a silent film version in 1921 (now lost unfortunately), then this talkie version that became both a financial and critical hit. In 1938, he broadcast a radio adaptation that was heard around the world (and can be heard on this site).

No doubt, had he lived a few years more he would have performed the play on live television. As it is, George Arliss has the distinction of being the only actor who starred in the same play in three different medias: stage, screen, and radio.

Published in: on May 11, 2017 at 9:33 PM  Leave a Comment  

Happy Birthday, Mr. A – April 10, 1868 HIS LORDSHIP (1936) – A George Arliss comedy of diplomatic intrigue in the Middle East

Mr. A plays twin brothers in the charming film made in Great Britain:
His Lordship Color FINAL

Published in: on April 9, 2017 at 11:15 PM  Leave a Comment  

Get Your Official 2017 George Arliss Wall Calendar (with W.C. Fields)

All you have to do is print it out!

Happy New Year Everybody!2017-calendar-films-arliss-and-fields

Published in: on December 31, 2016 at 4:20 PM  Leave a Comment  

Christmas with Lionel Barrymore

Merry Christmas, folks. I am reposting this from my Facebook group, Silent Films Today. Enjoy!

Christmas with Lionel Barrymore
– Mr. B’s many versions of “A Christmas Carol” are all over the Internet (thankfully) but here are two commercial recordings of less well-known performances he made in 1950:

lionel-b-ad-copy

Published in: on December 23, 2016 at 6:35 PM  Leave a Comment  

Gala Hollywood Premiere for THE HOUSE OF ROTHSCHILD – March 14, 1934

Grauman’s Chinese Theater was the place to be on the night of March 14, 1934. The occasion was the Grand Premiere of THE HOUSE OF ROTHSCHILD and the Hollywood celebrities of the day turned out. Studios moguls Darryl Zanuck, Louis B. Mayer, Sam Goldwyn, and even old Carl Laemmele of Universal Pictures were among those attending. Lots of movie stars too, some of whom I can’t quite identify but maybe you can. They are treated like royalty regardless.

Of course, the center of attention was the film’s star – George Arliss. Here is Mr. A being flanked by Darryl Zanuck on the left and Sid Grauman on the right. The color is by Moi:

rothschild-premiere_zanuck_grauman_final

The scenes you are about to see is “raw” footage and in some cases catch the same action from two different camera angles. There is no sound but you can clearly see attendees speaking into a microphone, strongly suggesting a live radio broadcast. The white-haired gentleman who seems to be the radio host is veteran actor Lawrence Grant, who was apparently “moonlighting” when he wasn’t making films. Mr. A gives him a big handshake. I have added captions to note various individuals that I could recognize. I added a music track starting with the opening music of the film itself.

arliss-sign

A conceit of your blogmeister: through the magic of Photoshop I am taking the place of Sid Grauman in the photo from above. A little bit of time travel:

rothschild-premiere-zanuck_arliss_fells-color-final-2

hollywood-sign

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