Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Now Playing - Spring 1920

The above newspaper ad was published in the spring of 1920, and tells us as much about the state of the film industry at that time as about the films.

First, it seems that a silent film does not always speak for itself. The ad for "Eyes of Youth" is loaded with more verbiage than "War and Peace." We are informed that the star, Clara Kimball Young (who did not really remain a star for much longer after this film was produced), is "The Screen's Most Vital Personality." Not gorgeous or breathtaking, but "vital." We are also informed that the film is "lavishly staged, magnificently scened, gorgeously gowned and with a remarkable supporting cast." Any movie that is "magnificiently scened" gets my 25 cents, especially worth the price since it is "Enacted in Nine Wonderful Reels."

We are further told that the movie is "The Most Remarkable Dramatic Film Ever Published and was Made at a Cost Exceeding $250,000." That probably wouldn't even cover the trailer today.

We see also that a Harold Lloyd short, "Haunted Spooks," runs with the feature, as well as a Pathe newsreel. You get a lot of bang for your 25 cents. The Lloyd short is guaranteed to make you "Laugh 'Till Your Ears Ring."

Though I generally dislike the sensation of my ears ringing, for those that do, 25 cents is a bargain.

We are still in an age of superlatives when it comes to film hype, but "most remarkable dramatic film," "vital" and "magnificently scened" have not been heard in years. Even "wonderful" isn't used any more when advertising a film. There may be a reason.

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