Romeo and Juliet directed by George Cukor (1936)

Romeo and Juliet is a 1936 American film adapted from the play by Shakespeare, directed by George Cukor from a screenplay by Talbot Jennings.

The film stars Leslie Howard as Romeo and Norma Shearer as Juliet.

The New York Times selected the film as one of the “Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made”, calling it “a lavish production” which “is extremely well-produced and acted.

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Portrait of Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer in Romeo and Juliet directed by George Cukor, 1936

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Portrait of Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer in Romeo and Juliet directed by George Cukor, 1936

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Mary Pickford as The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)

The Poor Little Rich Girl is a 1917 American comedy-drama. Mary Pickford, famous for playing girls and young women, stars as 11-year-old Gwendolyn. She is left by her rich and busy parents to the care of unsympathetic domestic workers at the family’s mansion. Her mother is only interested in her social life and her father has serious financial problem and is even contemplating suicide. When she manages to have some good time with an organ-grinder or a plumber, or have a mud-fight with street boys, she is rapidly brought back on the right track. One day she becomes sick because the maid has given her an extra dose of sleeping medicine to be able to go out. She then becomes delirious and starts seeing an imaginary world inspired by people and things around her; the Garden of Lonely Children in the Tell-Tale forest. Her conditions worsens and Death tries to lure her to eternal rest. But Life also appears to her and finally wins.

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Mary Pickford in The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)

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Screencap from Poor Little Rich Girl

Mary Pickford in The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)

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Screencap from Poor Little Rich Girl

Mary Pickford in The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)

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Mary Pickford in The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)

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Vintage Photos of Silent Stars Alla Nazimova and Rudolph Valentino in “Camille” (1921)

Camille is one of numerous screen adaptations of the book and play La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas. The original play opened in Paris in 1852.

The 1921 silent film stars Rudolph Valentino as smitten law student Armand and Russian actress Alla Nazimova as ailing courtesan Marguerite Gautier.

The film moves the setting of the story to 1920s Paris, and includes many lavish Art Deco sets, including that of Marguerite’s apartment.

Natacha Rambova, who would later become Valentino’s second wife, was the movie’s art director.

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Alla Nazimova photographed by Arthur Rice as Marguerite Gautier in Camille (1921)

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Alla Nazimova and Rudolph Valentino in “Camille” (1921)

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Alla Nazimova and Rudolph Valentino in “Camille” (1921)

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Alla Nazimova and Rudolph Valentino in “Camille” (1921)

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Alla Nazimova and Rudolph Valentino in “Camille” (1921)

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Theda Bara in The She-Devil (1918)

The She-Devil is a 1918 American silent romantic drama film directed by J. Gordon Edwards and starring Theda Bara as Lolette. This film is now considered to be a lost film.

This was the last film in which Alan Roscoe starred with Theda Bara; they appeared in six films together starting with Camille in 1917.

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Theda Bara defends in a scene still for “The She-Devil” (1918)

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Theda Bara defends herself in a scene still for “The She-Devil” (1918)

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Theda Bara photographed for “The She-Devil” (1918)

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Gloria Swanson in Don’t Change Your Husband

Don’t Change Your Husband is a 1919 American silent comedy film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Gloria Swanson. The film was the third of six “marriage films” directed by DeMille and the first DeMille film starring Gloria Swanson.

Based upon a description in a film magazine, Leila Porter (Swanson) has grown tired of her husband James Denby Porter (Elliott Dexter), the glue king, as she is romantic but he is prosaic.

Moreover, he is careless of his personal appearance, gets cigar ash in the carpet, and eats green onions before he tries to kiss her.

She obtains a divorce and then marries James’ friend Schuyler Van Sutphen (Lew Cody), but discovers that Van Sutphen is a real beast.

When she later discovers that her ex-husband has changed as a result of the divorce, still loves her, and would be happy to have her back, Leila divorces once again in order to remarry James.

Don’t Change Your Husband was a watershed film for Gloria. It opened in January and was held over for two weeks in New York, which was unheard of at the time.

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Gloria Swanson in a production still from Don’t Change Your Husband (1919)

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Gloria Swanson in Don’t Change Your Husband (1919)

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Gloria Swanson & Lew Cody in Don’t Change Your Husband (1919)

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Gloria Swanson & Elliott Dexter in Don’t Change Your Husband (1919)

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Gloria Swanson in Don’t Change Your Husband (1919)

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Theda Bara in Lost Film Salomé 1918

Salomé is a 1918 American silent drama film produced by William Fox and starring actress Theda Bara. This film is now considered to be a lost film.

– Salome uses her wiles in pursuit of King Herod, whose power she desires. She has disposed of Herod’s chief rival, and causes his wife to be killed through her own treachery. John the Baptist, who has secured a hold on the people, denounces Herod and his court. Herod has John thrown in jail for fomenting sedition. There Salome meets him, and becomes crazed with passion, but when John rejects her she seeks revenge. With a sensuous dance she gains the approval of Herod, and demands John’s head as her reward. This act brings her own punishment when she is crushed to death beneath the sharp spokes on the shields of the Roman legionnaires.

Although the film proved to be popular with some theaters charging extra for tickets to see it, Salomé also proved to be controversial. For example, St. Louis, Missouri churches of varying denominations organized to protest the showing of the film. They objected not only to Bara’s attire, but also to the divergence of the plot from Biblical text, such as scenes where John the Baptist was preaching in Jerusalem and where Salome declares her love to John, and to the youthful appearance of John. Objections were also made that children were attending showings of the film.

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Theda Bara, Salomé 1918

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Theda Bara, Salomé 1918

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Theda Bara, Salomé 1918

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Theda Bara, Salomé 1918

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Theda Bara, Salomé 1918

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Theda Bara, Salomé 1918

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Theda Bara, Salomé 1918

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Alla Nazimova in “Salomé” (1923) – Silent Avant-garde Picture Film

Salomé (1923), was directed by Charles Bryant and starred russian silent-movie queen Alla Nazimova – the film is an adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play of the same name.

The play itself is a loose retelling of the biblical story of King Herod and his execution of John the Baptist (here, as in Wilde’s play, called Jokaanan) at the request of his stepdaughter, Salomé, whom he lusts after.

Salomé is often called one of the first art films to be made in the U.S.  The highly stylized costumes, exaggerated acting (even for the period), minimal sets, and absence of all but the most necessary props make for a screen image much more focused on atmosphere and on conveying a sense of the characters’ individual heightened desires than on conventional plot development.

Alla Nazimova in Salomé 1923, directed by Charles Bryant

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Alla Nazimova in Salomé 1923, directed by Charles Bryant

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923

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Alla Nazimova, in “Salomé” directed by Charles Bryant, 1923

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Salomé Dances