NEWS AND EVENTS

About Hoop-la ( 1933 ) and Children of Divorce (1927)
Article by Antonia Guerrero


Children of DivorceLast week, as part of UCLA's Film Archives salute to actress Clara Bow, a meticulously preserved Library of Congress print of Frank Lloyd's only film of 1927, Children of Divorce was screened to a very appreciative audience, almost a full house. This silent romance-society-melodrama starring the very popular Bow, a coy young-looking Gary Cooper and the beautiful Ester Ralston (Lloyd had directed her in the 1922 Oliver Twist) warns of the dangers of divorce and the consequences on the children. Family friend Hedda Hopper, years before donning her trademark hats and becoming a gossip and society columnist, plays the Mother to Bow's character. Most of the filming was done at the Paramount Studios on Melrose Avenue as well as a stately house in Pasadena.

Children of Divorce
Fully one quarter of this film had deteriorated before the Library of Congress' film restoration laboratory project began in earnest in 2000; the film is not available for home video and has not screened on television. The 70 minute film looks great, flows well inspite of reported missing pieces and, as Lloyd would say, "provides an evening of delightful entertainment."
The plot: Kitty Flanders (Bow) tricks her childhood crush Ted Larrabee (Cooper) into marrying her yet he still only has eyes for Jean (Ralston) and mopes through three years. Kitty realizes her mistake, tries to unite Ted with Jean and finally, tragically, decides that her death is the only solution.

Hoop-laOpening in November 1933, after two of his great films (Cavalcade, Best Director Oscar 1932-33) and Berkeley Square, Frank Lloyd was asked by Fox Studios to direct Clara Bow,  Preston Foster and Richard Cromwell in the racy melodrama,  Hoop-la. A pristine print of this pre-code talkie film, Bow's very last film, was screened recently by the  UCLA Film Archives to a full-house; this engaging film gave an interesting glimpse  into carnival life as well as train travel of the 1930s. And did you notice some scenes from the 1933 Chicago Exposition?

Clara Bow
The plot: Bow's vivacious character (Lou), a carnival dancer, bets another dancer that she can seduce the young, clean-cut son (Chris, played by Cromwell) of the 'barker', the fellow who entices the public into carnival attractions (Nifty played by Foster). Hap (played by H. Mundin) provides cheery light moments similar to his portrayal in the 1935 Mutiny on the Bounty. Lou succeeds in winning Chris, then really falls for him; they marry. And a few years later, after Chris finishes his education and becomes a lawyer, in the final scene, Lou and Nifty reconcile; he lures passer-bys into the tent to see her gyrate to The Snake Dance. In the end, he recognizes all the good that she has done for his son and admits, "She's plenty good."

 

Niles Essenay Museum

 

Recently, Antonia Guerrero, archivist of the Frank Lloyd Films website, visited the Silent Film Theater and Museum of the Essenay Film Company in the village of Niles, California. Original, immense, colorful movie posters fill the walls, several early cameras are available for all to look through and hand-crank and the gift shop is chock-a-block full of photos, books and movie gifts. The comfortable Edison Theater projects films 51 weeks out of the year.

One hundred years ago, Niles became the western studio for the Essenay Studio of Chicago. In a nearby canyon, locals are proud to show the exact filming location of a portion of Chaplin’s The Tramp. And many Bronco Billy movies were made around Niles.

Antonia introduced The Eagle of the Sea (1926) with an overview of director Frank Lloyd’s life and career and perspective of events in 1926. Florence Vidor and Ricardo Cortez star. Boris Karloff makes an uncredited appearance, holding back the pirate. In the final minute, the sinking of the large three-masted aggressor ship brought a hush to the audience. Then the good pirate wins the young lady; a pleasant happy ending worthy of the audience’s applause. Wonderfully appropriate piano accompaniment by Bruce Loeb.

Many thanks for the generous welcome. To Dorothy King, enthusiastic President and to David Kiehn, Niles Essenay’s brilliant historian and Ria, fabulous Mistress-of-Ceremonies.

 

The August 2010 issue of Scottish Memories features an interview with grandaughter Tonia Guerrero on the life and career of Frank Lloyd, by writer Allan Hunter.

Scottish Memorie Cover

Scottish Memories Article 1

Scottish Memories Article 2

 

Mutiny on the Bounty Shown in Lima, Peru

Recently, in Lima Peru, the Cine Club of the Centro Cultural “Ricardo Palma”, screened to an almost full-house,  the classic 1935 Mutiny on the Bounty (‘Motin Abordo’). One of director Frank Lloyd’s granddaughters introduced the film in Spanish with anecdotes about the miniaturization scenes using model ships, Clark Gable’s moustache and pigtail and the cost and time and travel involved in producing this wonderfully entertaining film.

Lloyd Oscar Winner The Divine Lady Screened in "Great Scots" Program at Glasgow Film Fest

For his last, lavish silent film, Frank Lloyd made The Divine Lady, 1929, in only twelve weeks and with a budget under $500,000. It dramatizes the story of the romance between Lord Horatio Nelson (Victor Varconi) and Lady Emma Hamilton (Corinne Griffith) with the historical backdrop of national allegiances, intrigues and sea battles. In a precursor to talking movies, a Vitaphone sound-on-disk played music, singing and sound effects. For his effort, Lloyd received an Academy Award as Best Director, the first Scotsman to ever win an Oscar.

Glasgow Film Festival recently honored Lloyd with a rare screening of The Divine Lady at their Film Theater during the Festival as part of their salute to Scots. Frank Lloyd was born in 1887, just outside of Glasgow. One of his granddaughters, Antonia Guerrero, introduced the film, asking the audience to watch for creative camera movements, elegant costumes, splendid sets and moments of levity from Emma's Mother (comedienne Marie Dressler). A Short film by grandson Christopher Gray and Antonia Guerrero introduced the film highlighting the life and career of Frank Lloyd. Following the movie, there was a brief question and answer session.

Tonia, Kevin, and David
 
FL Plaque
 

Frank Lloyd Plaque in Greenock

 


 

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