Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on Youtube Join the Archive Mailing List Read our Blog

Dynamite (1929);
Sharp Shooters (1928)

Dynamite (1929)
July 30, 2006 - 7:00 pm

Preservation funded by The Cecil B. DeMille Foundation

Dynamite (1929)

Directed by Cecil B. DeMille

From sweeping historical epics to signature sex comedies, Cecil B. DeMille directed films with flamboyance, panache and meticulous attention to detail. He indulged the general public's lust for a glimpse of the society set in all their outrageous behavior. This perception was created in part, and certainly cultivated, by DeMille himself.

His first talkie, Dynamite, was advertised in "Motion Picture Herald" as "a drama that digs through the veneer of sex and silks to reach the heart! " Dynamite was DeMille's first project while under contract at MGM. In 1929, MGM was still releasing most of its talkies with silent versions in order to satisfy those markets that were not yet wired for sound. lt is the silent version that has been preserved for this festival. Though one reel shorter, the silent version departs little from its sound counterpart. A "Variety" review from the time sums up the complicated plot: "A miner, condemned to death, whom the spoiled society bud has wed in prison on the eve of execution...all to comply with a will, leaving her millions, in order that she may buy another woman's husband. That the laborer is saved from the gallows at the 11th hour forms the knot which the scenario must untie."

DeMille plucked Kay Johnson and Charles Bickford from the stage to play two of the leading roles (the society woman, Cynthia Crothers, and the miner, Hagon Derk). Conrad Nagel plays the polo player who completes the accidental love triangle. The film garnered an Academy Award nomination in the category of "Interior Decoration" for art director J. Mitchell Leisen (soon to drop the "J." and go on to direct some of the great romantic films of the '30s and '40s), who was equally adept at portraying the palatial playgrounds of the wealthy and the gritty realism of a miner's life.

–Barbara Whitehead

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Producer: Cecil B. DeMille Scenarist: Jeanie MacPherson Cinematographer: Peverell Marley Editor: Anne Bauchens With: Conrad Nagel, Kay Johnson, Charles Bickford, Julia Faye, Joel McCrea

35mm, silent, 120 min.

Preserved from Cecil B. DeMille's personal 35mm nitrate print. Laboratory services by The Stanford Theatre Film Laboratory. Special thanks to: Cecilia deMille Presley.

Preservation funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Stanford Theatre Foundation

Sharp Shooters (1928)

Directed by John G. Blystone

Billed as a comedy romance. Fox Film Corporation's Sharp Shooters is a story about a sailor named George (George O'Brien), who avoids permanent entanglements while promising undying devotion to a woman in every port. This behavior catches up with him when one of the women he's wooed named Lorette (Lois Moran) follows him home to New York, naively expecting him to keep his word. What follows is a series of pugilistic bouts (outside of the ring) to do right by this woman.

George O'Brien, known mostly for westerns and his pivotal performance in Sunrise the prior year, is right at home playing a sailor with a talent for brawling. O'Brien had served in the U.S. Navy during World War I and was the 1919 Pacific Fleet boxing champion. Indeed, O'Brien's physique was so well-known in Hollywood, he was nicknamed "the chest" and "torso."

With fellow gobs Noah Young and Tom Dugan as O'Brien's seafaring sidekicks, there is no shortage of machismo to serve comedic ends. Young and Dugan force George to marry Lorette at sea. George is by no means copacetic with the new matrimonial arrangement. Jealousy quickly changes his disposition when Lorette leaves him to go back to work at a dance hall. The final scene is a suspenseful flurry of fists as George and a detachment of sailors take on a mob in an attempt to save Lorette from the lecherous clutches of her dance-hall boss (William Demarest).

–Barbara Whitehead

Fox Film Corp. Presenter: William Fox Scenarists: Marion Orth, Randall H. Faye Titles: Malcolm Stuart Boylan Cinematographer: Charles G. Clarke Cast: George O'Brien. Lois Moran, Noah Young, Tom Dugan, William Demarest, Gwen Lee

35mm. silent, tinted, 70 min.

Preserved from a 35mm nitrate print. Laboratory services by Film Technology Company, Inc., The Stanford Theatre Film Laboratory.