Monday, May 24, 2010

Our Lady of New Amsterdam

Her face was the fever dream
of the elite, her half-nude body
blindingly arousing. The dance
an exercise in lust and mystery,
the businessmen instantly in love
with her eyes and their knowing shine.

Her fingers dripped with the shine
of diamonds – life was a dream!
First, New York fell in love
on that rooftop; bless that nubile body,
her ticket to Hollywood. It wasn’t a mystery –
all you had to do was frolic, give a private dance.

In no time her image danced
across the silver screen, the shine
of stardom her halo – the mysteries
of sex only a secret dream
to the Olive in the flickers; her body
a virgin’s, destined only for true love.

And then one day, in walked that love –
a handsome fellow who loved to dance.
They fit together, body against body,
his gilded with the shine
of the Pickford name – a dream
come true, but their world was a mystery

to the uninitiated. A mystery
how two could fight so bitterly, yet love
so ardently; they were children whose dream
usurped reality, until the dance
ended suddenly…and her star ceased to shine,
and down to earth fell her body.

In his arms he cradled that body
and wept for her death’s mystery;
some said suicide, but she shone
too brightly, too filled with love
of life, and parties, and dancing,
laughter, fame, and candy-coated dreams.

Now dead was the dream, and here lies its body;
Olive of the Dance, forever a mystery,
where pain and love collide and eternally shine.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Fable of the Bush League Lover Who Failed to Qualify

The title of this cinquain comes from a film Bushman did in 1914.  The character he plays?  "The Matinee Idol".  Perfect!

powerful, skilled
imposing, courageous, heroic -
a giant of a man!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Sue's ready to celebrate!

As of today, Flappers & Flickers has FIFTY followers!

Thanks to everyone for continuing to read my drivel astute and interesting reviews!

When a Man Loves (1927)

This picture was actually like two movies stuck together. The first half, concerning one of the oldest love triangles: man, woman, and Church. John Barrymore plays Fabian, a young man studying to be a priest, who falls for the beautiful Manon (Dolores Costello) and begins to question his commitment to religion. Meanwhile, Manon’s evil brother (Warner Oland) gambles her away to a rich and terrible man (Sam de Grasse)…Fabian cannot stand to watch her resigned to such a fate, and runs away with her.

Foppish Jack Barrymore.

Then everything gets dopey for a little while. Also, Louis XV gets involved.

Le King did not play himself.

Second half of the picture doesn’t really start until the big showdown between Fabian and the King. I’m not going to give that part away – but trust me, this is where the movie suddenly becomes an exciting swashbuckler a la Don Juan. If you can get through the first half, with all the typical melodramatic lovemaking and Dolores Costello exploring the range of her acting abilities (mostly squinting and resembling a fainting goat), it’ll be worth it. Best part is in the hold with the criminals. Only Jack could play a character half out of his mind and still give him sex appeal.   Also, keep an eye out for a young and unknown Myrna Loy as a woman of ill repute - blink and you'll miss her.

A still of Miss Costello from the film.

An interesting bit at the end: the Vitaphone Orchestra taking a bow. I loved that and can’t wait to see if any other pictures include it!

Silent Film Slur of the Day: “degenerate breed of mangy dungeon rats”

I give this one:

Thursday, May 6, 2010


skin as white as milk
lips to drive men mad
rightly you were called
the gardenia of the screen

but secretly, as you waltzed,
verdant tendrils snugly wrapped
around your mind
until all you could see were
scattered in the path of
the princess mdivani

make way, make way