I've been watching silent films mostly from early opera singers and other women actresses who worked in Hollywood such as Geraldine Farrar and Mary Garden. I'm also looking into early talkies of figures, Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. So far I'm intrigued with how early cinema developed with some of these great films as a young Cecil B. DeMille's Carmen, and Von Sternberg's films of Dietrich.
I plan to watch a series of films (out of sequence in year) and comment on them here. Please feel free to watch them alongside me. I can provide clips for the pivotal scenes if I can find them on Youtube. The one I'm starting with is Carmen by Cecil B. Demille. Released 1915, starring the most famous woman of the stage at the time, the Met's favorite prima donna Geraldine Farrar. There is an especially riveting scene with Farrar in this film in the "fight scene" where she attacks the writer Jeannie Macpherson, who was left bloody, shaken, and crying after the scene. This was quite a shift from the "prima donna" style of acting that was typically much more controlled and refined than this style of realism. It was considered one of the most important accomplishments for cinema to date, because of a young Cecil B. DeMille's skills as a director, and the star appeal of Geraldine Farrar. But also because film was not considered reputable for public consumption yet in the United States. This film helped convince the public and the critics...Stay tuned.