Sunday, August 19, 2012

Colleen Moore (It's Her Birthday, You Know)

I almost started this post with the line "Largely forgotten today, Colleen Moore was one of the biggest stars of the silent era ..." but then realized that with the exception of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and maybe Greta Garbo, that's true of every silent film star.

So I'll just say Colleen Moore was a big star and was a bigger influence at the time on the classic "flapper" look than Louise Brooks ever hoped to be. That said, she's probably best known now, if at all, for her "Fairy Castle," a 9-foot square, 12-foot tall dollhouse which is on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and is viewed by 1.5 million visitors every year.


As always, I think the best way to get to know a film performer is through the work. Here is a clip from the 1926 comedy Ella Cinders which I hope will inspire you to seek out more of her films:

6 comments:

Laura said...

Classic clip. I also adored her in Orchards and Ermine, an all around fantastic film. She was one of the best!

Cynthia said...

That left me wanting more Moore. (Sorry). Loved reading about her and enjoyed the clip. I really do want to see the rest.

thingy said...

Hey, I know that fairy castle!

Learned something new. Neato.

Is she the girl that Chaplin made do retake after retake?

Mythical Monkey said...

Learned something new. Neato.

Then I have done my good deed for the day.

Is she the girl that Chaplin made do retake after retake?

You're probably thinking of Virginia Cherrill in City Lights -- 400+ takes while he figured out how to show why the blind girl would think the Tramp was a millionaire.

I think Chaplin tended to do a lot of takes not because of other people's acting, but because he used film the way I use a scratchpad. Nobody could afford to make movies that way anymore, but he owned the cameras and the stages, and the crew was all on straight salary, getting paid whether they worked or not, so really it was only costing him time and film.

Cherrill, by the way, was one of Cary Grant's four wives (whom he was married to one at a time, not all at once).

Mythical Monkey said...

I also adored her in Orchards and Ermine, an all around fantastic film.

Another of my favorites. Colleen made a lot of dramas, but generally, I prefer her comedies -- she was just so bubbly.

Mythical Monkey said...

That left me wanting more Moore. (Sorry).

Ha ha!

Ella Cinders is floating around on the internet -- or at least it used to be -- and is also available on dvd through amazon.com.