Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Silent Stanzas is taking a week hiatus in order to celebrate the holiday.  May you and yours have a wonderful one as well!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Done in blank verse, the most common style in Polish dramatic poetry.  *grins*

Oh Apollonia!  Is there part of you
that rings with truth?  Even your year of birth
is fabricated, lost to fraudulence;
but who we know for sure is Pola, queen
of the rococo, clad in silk and jewels,
your artifice at constant war with art,
Casati with a greater range and skill.
Mercurial, the public turned on you
When Valentino's death spawned your display;
Oh Apollonia!  No one understood
your brash, flamboyant style, as yet unmatched.

and for good measure:

Friday, November 13, 2009


In honor of Veteran's Day, one of the best soldiers ever on the silver screen.

Cry "Anger!" and let loose the honest word
About a man who had such evil wrought
Against his work, his life; the things inferred
Were hardly what contemporaries thought.
Machinist-trained, he started with small roles
In serials, but then The Big Parade
Propelled him to success and the bright whole
New world it opened up. But then the shade
Leaked in, the microphone the cleft;
Although at first Arthur and Dane did well,
A stalled career, depression, lastly theft
Hastened his end - of that I will not tell.
About his death I am not here to lecture.
Go learn the truth, not Kenneth's base conjecture.

Karl Dane

Kenneth Anger did Dane a great disservice in Hollywood Babylon, painting him a desperate vagrant selling hot dogs outside the MGM lot.  Please visit the link and discover the real Karl Dane.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Problems with comments!

It's come to my attention that you lovely folks have been leaving me comments and they're not taking! *shakes fist at Blogger* Until I get them straightened out, if you want to leave me feedback (or brownies), you can reach me at:

silentstanzas -at- gmail -dot- com

Thanks for reading - I appreciate it so much!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two from '32: Faithless and Emma

Faithless (1932)

During the first fifteen minutes of this movie, I was tempted to turn it off. A somewhat stilted "society" story (say that three times fast!) wasn't exactly what I had in mind. But Tallulah Bankhead - wonderful, gutsy, alluring Tallulah - kept me watching, and I am so glad I did. The picture changes from a glimpse into the lives of the rich and idle to a gritty, honest portrayal of the Depression and its struggles. Stick with it; Robert Montgomery gives an excellent performance as Bill Wade, boyfriend of Carol (Bankhead) and the one constant in her rapidly deteriorating life, even through his own difficult and often painful circumstances. A bit predictable in spots, but definitely forgiven. Watch for the scene where Carol is leaving for the drug store (near the end).

I give this one:

Emma (1932)

I am becoming a huge fan of Marie Dressler! Her facial expressions (something I mentioned when reviewing The Patsy) are unlike anyone else's I've come across. Here she plays a faithful and affectionate nanny, who - after thirty years of serving the Smith family with utmost care and love - becomes the object of a lawsuit filed by the very children she raised. Why? You have to watch it. It'll break your heart for more than one reason. While Dressler's performance was top-notch, the plot is predictable - and her constant apologizing was irritatingly unnecessary. (Perhaps Emma was just a better woman than I.) The always terrific Jean Hersholt costars as Mr Smith, and look for Myrna Loy as the oldest daughter, Isabelle.

I give this one:

Friday, November 6, 2009

You never know what's out there!

A little addendum to today's post: a staggering find on eBay.

Man pays £3.20 for old reel, winds up with unknown Charlie Chaplin film

Shaineh Maidel

A mountain her namesake -
a hard act to equal;
She did it with style
and when at her peak, well,
her vamping was brilliant
and quite in demand
(Valentino and Barrymore
two costars she'd land).

Three husbands (God love them),
a show on TV,
a well-renowned hostess,
a perfume company...
while never forgetting
what her culture taught her.
She was first and foremost
a proud rabbi's daughter.

Carmel Myers

The title means "pretty girl" in Yiddish. I hope I haven't butchered it!