Archive for Janet Gaynor

Repeat as required

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on November 22, 2008 by dcairns


Janet Gaynor in SEVENTH HEAVEN.


Margaret Sullivan in LITTLE MAN, WHAT NOW? To make this match the top image, you have to mentally Photoshop Alan Hale out, which is usually not a bad idea, although here he is essential to the plot so it might create problems later.

But the set-up is identical: the attic home with the door leading to the rooftop, and the girl appearing there in her new dress like an angel. In LMWN Borzage adds an orchestra that constantly plays from a nearby restaurant, adding an extra touch of magic. He must have wanted to remake the scene for sound, and saw an opportunity to slot it into this movie.


Match shots

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on November 19, 2008 by dcairns


Janet Gaynor for sale in STREET ANGEL (1928).


Li Hua Li for sale in CHINA DOLL (1958).

Borzage was not above copying himself. Now, STREET ANGEL is a great film, and CHINA DOLL just barely a good one, although this juxtaposition makes me like it more. It plays out kind of dull when you first see it, but there’s a certain resonance that maybe is just Borzage trading off past glories, but nonetheless does something. I’m going to write more about Borzage’s influences, including his influence on himself, shortly.

It occurs to me I ought to link to any previous Borzage posts I can think of, so here. More MOONRISE.

Famous Film Star

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on August 7, 2008 by dcairns

I knew it wasn’t my father

Who was bankrupt and poor.

He had a war.

He had a scar.

He was on Famous Film Star

Cigarette Cards

with Janet Gaynor.

It couldn’t be my father

who hit the registrar

and had to be bound over for a year

to keep the peace,

so who were they talking about

in the newspaper?

~ a poem by Hugo Williams, son of British movie star Hugh Williams, quoted in Shepperton Babylon by Matthew Sweet.

I’m apt to be a bit critical of Sweet sometimes: I thought his TV series British Film Forever was disgracefully poor (it’s now verboten to mention it within the BBC, so ashamed were they), and in his seminal work above he does have a bit of a tendency to recycle other writers’ research… But he also personally dug up a lot of fascinating stuff and presents it in an accessible, often amusing form.

Hugo Williams’ poem is a touching insight into the stars and scandals of another day, a day of hair-oil and cigarettes, big bands and slow dances.