Saturday, November 21, 2020

Happy Belated Heavenly Birthday to Reginald Denny!

Reginald Denny photographed by Fruelich in 1927.
Reginald Denny was born on November 20th, 1891 in Richmond, Surrey, England. He was an incredible man and actor. He was passionate, kind, and intelligent.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Photo of the Day

 

Marian Nixon photographed by Freulich in a publicity photo for Out All Night (1927). 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

My Review of Kino Lorber's The Reginald Denny Collection!

Cover of  Kino Lorber's The Reginald Denny Collection. Cover artwork was designed by Scott Saslow.

First of all, I am a huge fan of the fabulous and talented actor Reginald Denny! When I heard back in early June of this year that Kino Lorber was releasing a Denny DVD/Blu-ray Collection on August 25th, I was so overwhelmed with joy that Reginald Denny was finally being spotlighted in such an amazing way and that three of his films could now be seen by a larger audience! 

Here is a link to purchase the collection either on Blu-ray or DVD!

I want to personally thank Kino Lorber for gifting me a Blu-ray copy of The Reginald Denny Collection for my review. I very much appreciate this opportunity!

Reginald Denny photographed by Freulich in 1927. From Author's personal collection.

I believe it's so very important to have physical copies of films because this is how the legacies and memories of so many actors and actresses like Reginald Denny live on. In these difficult times, many of us are more at home and are not able to go to Movie Theaters or Film Festivals. I find so much happiness and comfort in watching films at home and that is exactly how I felt when watching the three Reginald Denny films that are in this collection. Reginald Denny is my favorite actor because he was talented, had an abundance of charisma, a wonderful sense of humor, was incredibly attractive, and he always gave genuine performances. I believe that if more people were exposed to Reginald Denny as an actor, I imagine that most audiences would really like him and enjoy watching his films!

There are three films in The Reginald Denny Collection: The Reckless Age (1924), What Happened to Jones? (1926), and Skinner's Dress Suit (1926). All three films are from Universal Pictures, who Reginald Denny was under contract with at that time. I will go into more details about each film, but I will say that I enjoyed each one of them thoroughly! 

Reginald Denny and Ruth Dwyer in The Reckless Age (1924). From Author's personal collection. 

The Reckless Age was released in 1924 and co-starring with Reginald Denny was the pretty Ruth Dwyer, John Steppling, May Wallace, William Austin, and a young Dorothy Revier (who co-starred with Denny nine years later in The Lady in Scarlet (1935)). This film was directed by Harry Pollard, who directed quite a few of Denny's films during his silent film career including some of The Leather Pushers (1922-1923) two-reelers, Sporting Youth (1924), Oh, Doctor! (1925), and I'll Show You the Town (1925). Reginald Denny stated the following in Kevin Brownlow's book The Parade's Gone By... (1968), "Pollard didn't have the real comedy touch. He didn't have Bill Seiter's ability. Pollard was all for the broad comedy and I was for the lighter. We just couldn't agree." Despite Pollard's and Denny's differences, this is a very entertaining and likable film!

The Reckless Age (1924) is about Dick Minot (Denny), an Insurance Agent, who as a part of his job has to make sure that the wedding of Lord Harrowby (Austin) and an Heiress Cecilia Meyrick (Dwyer) happens, as Harrowby has taken out an insurance policy against the loss of his bride to be. Complications ensue when Minot travels from New York to San Marco Florida, where the wedding is being held. On the train ride to San Marco, he is sitting across the aisle unknowingly from Meyrick. The sparks fly between the two instantly, but neither of them know who each other is at this point. Throughout the film, there are a slew of crazy situations including mistaken identities, the stealing of a very valuable necklace, and a messy, but entertaining fight at a newspaper office. Will the two love-birds Dick and Cecilia end up together in the end? You will have to watch to find out!


     Reginald Denny and Ruth Dwyer in The Reckless Age (1924). Screen-shot courtesy of Kino Lorber.

I would not consider The Reckless Age (1924) a laugh-out-loud comedy compared to the other two films in this collection. While it has some funny moments provided from Denny and the rest of the cast, there are also some more dramatic moments in the film as well. I had never seen Ruth Dwyer act before and I thought that she paired well and had good chemistry with Denny.  

Reginald Denny, John Steppling, and Ruth Dwyer at the end of the fight scene in The Reckless Age (1924). Screen-shot courtesy of Kino Lorber.

The Reckless Age (1924) exemplifies how Reginald Denny was a versatile actor. He was very athletic off- screen. He played a variety of sports and was a fine boxer as well. He had quite an incredible fight scene at the end of the film! He was also a strong comedic actor and he could convincingly play the romantic lead splendidly. 

Kino Lorber's Blu-ray copy of The Reckless Age (1924) is absolutely stunning! One of the best quality copies of a silent film that I have seen in a quite a while. Some of the scenes are tinted, which adds some variety to the normal black and white.  The music for the film was done by Jake Monaco and there is an audio commentary on the film by Film Historian Anthony Slide. The film is on disc one of the collection.

The inside of a Herald for What Happened to Jones? (1926). From Author's personal collection.

What Happened to Jones? was released in 1926 and co-starring with Reginald Denny was the adorable Marian Nixon. Nixon was Denny's most frequent leading lady. They co-starred together a total of six times. The film also co-starred Otis Harlan (another actor who Denny frequently co-starred with in his silent films), Emily Fitzroy, Zazu Pitts, Ben Hendricks Jr. (who Denny was good friends with off-screen), William Austin, and Margaret Quimby. The film was directed by William A. Seiter. Denny and Seiter were good friends and worked well together. Seiter like Pollard, directed quite a few of Denny's silent films including: The Fast Worker (1924), Rolling Home (1926), Take It From Me (1926), and Out All Night (1927).

What Happened to Jones? (1926) is about a young out-of-town bachelor named Tom Jones (Denny), who is to be married to the lovely Lucille Bigbee (Nixon). On the night before their wedding, Jones gets sucked into a poker game with some of his friends including Ebenezer Goodly (Harlan) and Richard (Hendricks Jr.). Chaos ensues when their poker game gets raided by the police. Jones and Goodly are on the run from the law and get into many awkward and hilarious situations. Will Jones make it to his own wedding? You will have to watch to find out!

Reginald Denny and Otis Harlan in What Happened to Jones? (1926). Screen-shot courtesy of Kino Lorber.

What Happened to Jones? (1926) is honestly one of the funniest films that I have ever seen! The chuckles begin pretty much right away, when you see the table of wedding presents for Tom Jones and Lucille Bigbee (the gifts were all the same). Reginald Denny was absolutely hilarious in this film! What I love most about his performance were his facial expressions and his reactions to certain situations. Denny really proves here how gifted he was as a comedic actor. I have two favorite scenes, the first being when Denny is in disguise as a Bishop and he is seen running around to "cure" a coughing-fit. His little mannerisms and movements make me smile. And the second being when Denny and Otis Harlan are in the steam boxes (seen in the screen-shot above). Laugh-out-loud funny stuff there! Reginald Denny and Marian Nixon are not on-screen much, but when they are, they made a very appealing on-screen couple! The supporting cast of the film were fantastic. Otis Harlan worked incredibly well with Denny and they made a dynamic duo. What Happened to Jones? (1926) will shake the blues away and genuinely make you laugh and grin from ear-to-ear!

Reginald Denny about to get in disguise in What Happened to Jones? (1926). Screen-shot courtesy of Kino Lorber.  

Kino Lorber's Blu-ray copy of What Happened to Jones? (1926) is a beautiful and clear print with a lot of different tinted colors. The music for the film was done by Anthony Willis and there is an audio commentary on the film by Film Historian Anthony Slide. The film is on disc two of the collection.

Reginald Denny and Laura La Plante in Skinner's Dress Suit (1926). From Author's personal collection.

Skinner's Dress Suit was released in 1926 and co-starring with Reginald Denny was the lovely Laura La Plante. La Plante had previously co-starred with Denny in two films: Sporting Youth (1924) and The Fast Worker (1924). The film also co-starred Hedda Hooper (yes, Hedda Hopper the gossip columnist), Ben Hendricks Jr., E.J. Ratcliffe, Arthur Lake, and Betty Morrissey. The film was directed once again by William A. Seiter.

Skinner's Dress Suit (1926) is about Skinner and Honey (Denny and La Plante), a young married couple. Honey wants her husband to ask for a raise at his job. Skinner is a clerk at McLaughlin and Perkins Inc., which deals in the nuts and bolt industry. Honey loves her "Big, handsome, successful husband" and he is on a high pedestal in her eyes. Skinner adores his wife dearly. When Skinner does ask for a raise at his job, a comedy of errors ensue, which in the end brings much happiness to Skinner and Honey. 

Reginald Denny and Laura La Plante in Skinner's Dress Suit (1926). Screen-shot courtesy of Kino Lorber.

Skinner's Dress Suit (1926) is my favorite Reginald Denny film and I believe that he was truly at his best in this film. Denny was absolutely charming and likable as Skinner and his chemistry with Laura La Plante was the icing on top of the cake. Denny and La Plante were friends off-screen and to my knowledge, always said kind things about one another. Their real-life warm friendship shows on-screen. La Plante is personally my favorite leading lady with Denny. You add in William A. Seiter as the director and you have the perfect combination for a film. Denny, La Plante, and Seiter were all close friends. Laura La Plante did become Mrs. William A. Seiter in November of 1926, with Reginald Denny as the best man. 

Betty Morrissey, Reginald Denny, and E.J. Ratcliffe in Skinner's Dress Suit (1926). Screen-shot courtesy of Kino Lorber.

Skinner's Dress Suit (1926) has some of the most entertaining scenes! One of my favorites is when a young secretary played by Betty Morrissey teaches Skinner a new dance called "The Savannah Shuffle"(seen in the screen-shot above). Skinner is a little awkward at first, but then gets into a good groove. This one gave me a good chuckle! Another favorite scene of mine is when The Skinner's teach some partygoers "The Savannah Shuffle" at a formal event. Once again, this film exemplifies how versatile Denny was as an actor. He could dance incredibly well, he could make you laugh, and he was very believable during the more dramatic moments.

Kino Lorber's Blu-ray copy of Skinner's Dress Suit (1926) is the best quality copy that I have seen of this film! The music for the film was done by Leo Birenberg (my favorite score out of the three-it's great!) and there is an audio commentary on the film by Film Historian Anthony Slide. The film is on disc two of the collection.

Reginald Denny photographed by Schellenberg in 1924. From Author's personal collection.

Run, don't walk to purchase a copy of Kino Lorber's The Reginald Denny Collection on Blu-ray or DVD (you can purchase here)! Kino Lorber has been releasing restored films much to the delight of film buffs of all eras and genres! This collection is a must-have for any fan of silent films/classic films and if you have not seen much of Reginald Denny, I can assure you that he is an actor that you would love to be more familiar with. The fact that these films were made almost 100 years ago and here in the year 2020, we can laugh and smile while watching these Denny films from the comfort of our homes, is truly something special. 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Candid Snapshots of Evelyn Venable!

Evelyn Venable photographed giving Afternoon Tea at her home in 1934 (from my collection).
Evelyn Venable photographed by Charles Rhodes in 1936 (from my collection).
Evelyn Venable photographed by Charles Rhodes in 1936 (from my collection).
I enjoy collecting all types of Old Movie memorabilia, but recently, I have acquired some lovely 4 inches by 5 inches candid snapshots of one my favorite actresses, Evelyn Venable! She has been a favorite of mine since I saw her in Death Takes a Holiday (1934), when I was around sixteen years old (she was the voice for the Blue Fairy in Disney's Pinocchio (1940), which I watched when I was a child). I run an Instagram account dedicated to her @evelyn_venable_. I have a lot of fun posting about her! She had such a wonderful and unique voice and she was a beautiful lady. She also was very intelligent and even was a College Professor later in life! I found out somewhat recently that she was a Vegetarian, which I am incredibly thrilled about since I am one myself. In my opinion, it seems to be more rare to have someone in her day be a Vegetarian. I definitely would have loved to have been friends with her. Above are three candid snapshots of Miss Venable I thought that I would share!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Mr. Reginald Denny

Reginald Denny photographed by M.I. Boris in 1926.
Reginald Denny is my favorite actor and this is a unique photograph of him! The photo has the look of an etching, which was the trademark look of the photographer, M.I. Boris.