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I met Gloria Swanson when she was in Toronto in 1980 for a book signing. I had one question. I asked if she had ever met anyone in her career, a producer, anyone who actually had money. “No,” she replied.

Swanson was a star when being a star meant something.

For years her silent films have only been available in poor dvd copies that do scant justice to the beauty of the original photography. Thanks to Kino Lorber we can now see them better than they probably looked when new.

The piano scores on these Blu-rays are adequate at best. Certainly if the films had been presented publicly in the 1920s with them audiences would not have reacted so favorably. For best results research the music of the period and create your own score. These pictures cry out for 1920s music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwR-AK0N3FU, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIYlfdJMqoM , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKfIgd-OSI0 ,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts52wP_jTHg    , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW2sxk9-hyohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsVuL2SP0Vo   .

Do that and these pictures will really come to life. Don’t try to synchronize the music to the action a la Mickey Mouse. Just create an ambient score that lets the movie do what it is meant to do.

Then invite your friends over to discover Gloria. They will be lavish in thanking you.

Kino Lorber has given us jaw droppingly beautiful restorations of these films.–Reg Hartt 2018–04–15.

ZAZA: https://www.kinolorber.com/product/view/id/4131

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaza_(1923_film)

https://bluray.highdefdigest.com/39164/zaza1923.html

http://www.outofthepastblog.com/2017/06/zaza.html

Piano score composed and performed by Jeff Rapsis, adapted from the original 1923 cue sheet

Audio commentary by Frederic Lombardi, author of Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of the Hollywood Studios

Booklet essay by film historian Imogen Sara Smith

MANHANDLED (1924) : https://www.kinolorber.com/product/view/id/5087

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhandled_(1924_film)

Audio commentary by film historian Gaylyn Studlar  https://source.wustl.edu/2013/08/playing-girls-in-hollywood/

The best thing to do with Gayln Studlar commentary is to ignore it. For example, she tells us that when Swanson worked with Charlie Chaplin at Essaney  on HIS NEW JOB (1915) Chaplin failed to recognize her gist for comedy. She neglects to mention that Swanson did not wish to work with Chaplin so did her best to dissuade him from using her: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8yih3KrRGw . My friend Sheila Gostick walked in while I was watching this . She noted, “How to ruin a movie.”

Booklet essay by film historian Peter Labuza

Piano score composed and performed by Makia Matsumura

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film6/dvd_reviews_67/manhandled_blu-ray.htm

https://www.popmatters.com/gloria-swanson-manhandled-stage-struck-2558037865.html

MANHANDLED is still missing Gloria’s Charlie Chaplin impersonation though I think the reason it was cut because it really served no narrative purpose as does her Russian Countess impersonation. MANHANDLED could only be restored from 16mm materials as 35mm materials no longer exist.

STAGE STRUCK (1925) : https://www.kinolorber.com/product/view/id/5090

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stage_Struck_(1925_film)

Audio commentary by Frederic Lombardi, author of Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of the Hollywood Studios

Booklet essay by film historian Farran Smith Nehme

Includes Original two-strip Technicolor prologue and epilogue

Piano score composed and performed by Andrew Simpson

Sheila Gostick is one of Canada’s unsung comic geniuses. From FACEBOOK: “I swear I have never seen anything like Sheila Gostick’s act. It is part stand-up, part music, part seance, from a spirit that is half crusty old woman, half innocent child. She channels the most subversive political musical monologue that makes you laugh, then despair, then leads you towards hope and sets you to thinking about how to change things. In the 80’s she worked in the Toronto comedy scene with up and coming comedians, including Jim Carrey. For many years she has been a humour columnist for Toronto’s Now Magazine. Google her and you will find some interesting reviews written about her shows but you will not find her website or fb. She is not interested in joining social media and prefers written letters or a phone call. She is a must see, a truly unique experience!” Sheila summed up Gaylyn Studlar’s commentary on MANHANDLED wonderfully, “How to ruin a movie.”

Gloria Swanson (Tessie McGuire) is a gum chewing department store clerk. Sculptor Robert Brandt (Ian Keith), finds Tessie’s talent at impersonations amusing (she mimics Charles Chaplin), and hires her as a model. This sequence is missing from all extant copies of the film.

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