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Hippodrome Festival Of Silent Cinema March 17 2013

This fine Clarence Brown-directed film from 1925 will dispel many people’s ideas about silent films. Far from the slapstick antics of Chaplin, or the dreamy bird-kissing style of the Gish sisters, this gritty, expressionistic film gives silent star Louise Dresser her dream role as a faded opera diva who has lost her singing voice.

Making the most of her supposed part as a witness to a murder, she thinks that her name in the papers might make her famous in the eyes of the public again, until she realises that her estranged son (played by Jack Pickford – Mary’s brother) is implicated in it.

Not your typical Universal Studios fare, Adolph Zukor must really have taken a chance producing this film. Also starring a young and very beautiful Constance Bennett , the new print projected at the Hippodrome came from two copies (one at UCLA donated by David Packard, the other owned by silent film maestro Kevin Brownlow). While not in the best condition, this wonderful  film is a real rarity and deserves to be better known.