Gilda Gray in “The Devil Dancer” by Irving Chidnoff (1927)

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Irving Chidnoff, Gilda Gray in “The Devil Dancer” directed by Fred Niblo, 1927 via

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Irving Chidnoff, Gilda Gray in “The Devil Dancer” directed by Fred Niblo, 1927 via

Louise Brooks by Eugene Robert Richee (1920s)

Eugene Robert Richee (b. 1896) began his career in the silent movie era. He got his job at Paramount in the late teens through his friend Clarence Sinclair Bull.

He started shooting stars while Donald Biddle Keyes was taking portraits in the gallery.  When Keyes left Paramount, Richee took over, and for two decades he photographed the studio’s stars including Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino, Claudette Colbert, Fredrick March, the Marx Brothers and Carole Lombard.  Lombard so admired his work with Dietrich that she started posing in some of the same ways to get that ‘glamour mysterious’ look.

From 1925 to 1935 Richee took many photographs of Louise Brooks.  Perhaps Richee’s most famous work is a 1928 portrait of Louise Brooks wearing a long string of pearls. Few photos capture better the zeitgeist of the Roaring ’20s. Simplicity is the hallmark of this photograph, along with masterful composition. Brooks stands, face in profile and wearing a long-sleeved black dress, against a black background, her face hands and pearls along illuminated. Her bob, with its razor-sharp line across the white skin of her jaw, was widely copied and became one of the last century’s most potent fashion statements.

Brook’s career had intermittent highs and lows, but she was one of Hollywood’s great portrait subjects and was never better served than by Richee (source).

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Louise Brooks by Eugene Robert Richee, 1928 via

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Louise Brooks by Eugene Robert Richee, 1928 via

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Louise Brooks portrait by Eugene Robert Richee via

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Portrait of Louise Brooks by Eugene Robert Richee, 1920s via

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Portrait of Louise Brooks for The Canary Murder Case directed by Malcolm St. Clair and Frank Tuttle. Photo by Eugene Robert Richee, 1929 via

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Portrait of Louise Brooks for The Canary Murder Case directed by Malcolm St. Clair and Frank Tuttle. Photo by Eugene Robert Richee, 1929 via

French Silent Film Era Photos of France Dhélia (1894-1964)

She was born Franceline Benoit, in a village near Blois in 1894, thus raised in the area of the famous French royal castles along the Loire river. She debuted in film under he name of Mado Floréal in 1912, in the film L’Ambitieuse by Camille de Morlhon. Afterwards she played in various comedies with the character Fred, directed by René Hervil,who also played Fred himself. During the First World War she took the name of France Dhélia, did her first film with director René Le Somptier and appeared in her first feature-length film: L’instinct est maitre by Jacques Feyder (1917). In 1918 she rose to stardom when playing Sultane Daoulah in La sultane d’amour (r. René Le Somptier/ Charles Burguet). It was the first film shot at the new Victorine studios in Nice and had sets designed by Marco de Gastyne. At age 45 France Dhélia quitted cinema, and quietly died in Paris in 1964 – a quarter of a century after.

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France Dhélia via

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France Dhélia via

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France Dhélia via

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 France Dhélia via

Brigitte Helm as Scheming Baroness Sandorf in L’Argent (1928)

L’Argent (“money”) is a French silent film directed in 1928 by Marcel L’Herbier. The film was adapted from the novel L’Argent by Émile Zola, and it portrays the world of banking and the stock market in 1920s Paris. Marcel L’Herbier insisted that the film should be updated from the 1860s to the present-day.

The plot revolves around rival Paris bankers Saccard and Gunderman. Saccard sees an opportunity to rescue his failing bank, Banque Universelle, by financing the solo transatlantic flight of Jacques Hamelin, a pioneering aviator, and then capitalising on his popularity to set up a colonial business project in Guyane. He also hopes to seduce Hamelin’s wife Line in his absence. When a rumour circulates that Hamelin has crashed, Saccard exploits the false reports to manipulate shares at the Bourse.

Gunderman disapproves of Saccard and his methods, and has secretly bought shares in his bank as a future weapon against him. The Baroness Sandorf, a former lover of Saccard, acts as a spy to assist Gunderman’s interests, and more particularly her own. Brigitte Helm stars as the scheming baroness.

Today L’Argent is regarded by many to be ground-breaking work and one of the cinema’s greatest achievements.

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Brigitte Helm in L’Argent via

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Brigitte Helm in L’Argent via

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Brigitte Helm in L’Argent via

A Collection of Photos Featuring Mack Sennett´s “Bathing Beauties”

According to laphamsquarterly.org Mack Sennett gave Chaplin, Arbuckle, and Mabel Normand their first breaks, and was one of the founding patrons of comedy. But Sennett was also responsible for the concept of the “Bathing Beauty”—and, by extension, filmic eye-candy as we know it today.

The “bathing beauties,” themselves, were a  a group of young starlets who appeared bare-legged in Sennett’s comedies. They were particularly popular and became pin-up girls for the soldiers of the First World War. They included Gloria Swanson, Marie Prevost, Phyllis Haver, Juanita Hansen, Claire Anderson, and Mary Thurman.

The sex appeal of these young actresses raised the ire of some temperance activists, and Sennett received hundreds of letters protesting his exploitation of these women’s bodies. Despite such protests, the bathing beauties remained quite popular.

The Sennett Bathing Beauties would continue to appear through 1928.

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Marvel Rea, 1919 via

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Bathing Beauties (Credit: Collection of Dave and Ali Stevenson) via

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 Carole Lombard and Mack Sennett; far right, with a white hat and dark suit. It was taken during a seaside shoot in 1928, while Lombard was part of Sennett’s troupe via

A Collection of Photos feat. Greta Garbo by Ruth Harriet Louise (1920s)

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Ruth Harriet Louise, Greta Garbo, The Torrent 1925 via

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Ruth Harriet Louise, Greta Garbo, Love, 1927 via

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Ruth Harriet Louise, Greta Garbo in “The Mysterious Lady”, 1928 via

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Ruth Harriet Louise, Greta Garbo, The Temptress, 1926 via

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Ruth Harriet Louise Greta Garbo, The Single Standard, 1929 via

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Ruth Harriet Louise, Greta Garbo, A Woman of Affairs, 1929 via

Vintage Photos Featuring Alla Nazimova in “Salomé” (1923)

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 via

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Alla Nazimova in Salomé 1923, directed by Charles Bryant via

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salomé Dances