Friday, February 18, 2011

Imogene Follies

the footlights would catch her eye
and that glance,
that half-smile, coy and sweet
as she'd dance -
every arrow-collared chap thought
it for him
but she did little that wasn't on
a whim

to Germany, forced into a new life
(she was to blame)
then Hollywood when it was safe
(with a new name)

a short-lived starlet, keen and bright
before her troubles
brought her to an unkind end
and burst our Bubbles

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gilbert-o-Rama #5: Desert Nights (1929)

Ah, Jack, how we've missed thee!

"The diamonds are mine...and you'll be mine when I want you."

When this film was released, in 1929, the world had already been taken over by talkies, and as such, Jack Gilbert's last silent was instantly regarded as outdated.  Jeanine Basinger recounts in Silent Stars that most reviews consisted of "No Dialogue!"  It's a damn shame because this is one of the most spirited and fun of Jack's films.   The storyline is simple:  thieves (Ernest Torrence and Mary Nolan), posing as visiting arisocrats, kidnap the manager of a diamond mine (Gilbert) and take him along as hostage.  Deep into their trek through the desert, they realize they are lost and out of water - and suddenly are dependant upon their hostage to show them the way to survival.

Jack plays it to the hilt in this picture, and I don't believe he ever looked better: virile, devil-may-care, a downright handsome and amusing bastard.  When he gazes at Mary Nolan he practically devours her with his eyes.  For her own part, Nolan is a lovely and amiable costar - and quite beautiful; if you know nothing of her backstory, it's definitely worth a read.  Ernest Torrence is the rock of so many silent movies - his performance is solid and downright menacing at times.

Desert Nights (also known as Thirst) is a briskly paced picture with a satisfying (if expected) ending, and I definitely recommend catching it.  This kind of work is what Jack deserves to be remembered for, not the disaster that followed (His Glorious Night was looming on the horizon).

I give this one: