Gloria Swanson and Lionel Barrymore in Sadie Thompson (1928)

Sadie Thompson is a 1928 American silent drama film that tells the story of a “fallen woman” who comes to Pago Pago on the island of Tutuila to start a new life, but encounters a zealous missionary who wants to force her back to her former life in San Francisco. The film stars Gloria Swanson, Lionel Barrymore, and Raoul Walsh, and was one of Swanson’s better known silent films.

Due to the subject matter, the making of the film was extremely controversial. However, it was a financial and critical success for Swanson. The film was based on the short story “Rain” by W. Somerset Maugham and the 1922 play that was based on the book by John Colton and Clemence Randolph, starring Jeanne Eagels.

Gloria Swanson and Lionel Barrymore in Sadie Thompson directed by Raoul Walsh, 1928 via

Gloria Swanson and Lionel Barrymore in Sadie Thompson directed by Raoul Walsh, 1928 via

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