The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Selling the Silents #2

Casey at the Bat (1927, Paramount Release Book)

"If ever there was a 'natural.' 'Casey' is it! Beery as the mightiest batsman of them all and Hatton as the midget manager who is always trying to tell him how to do it. Supervised by Hector Turnbull."

This also features Zasu Pitts, Sterling Holloway and Spec O'Donnell. According to the IMDb, the film was eventually directed by Monte Brice (The Golf Specialist), while Ford Sterling replaced Raymond Hatton as the manager. Turnbull (von Sternberg's Underworld) produced.

Sounds like a pip of a pic to me.


Dave B. said...

All this and Spec O'Donnell, too! What a fantastic conglomeration of talent Paramount had in the late 20s/early 30s. What a shame it's so difficult -- or IMPOSSIBLE -- to see so many of these films. (Especially here in The Great White North.)

Tom Sutpen said...

It's not exactly a cakewalk seeing these pictures here in the US. I can think of about two-dozen films of that period from Paramount alone that I'd practically kill to see (Sternberg's "Underworld" and "The Dragnet" merely being at the top o' the list).

Is there any authoritative source on how many of those films are extant, Dave?

Dave B. said...

In alt.movies.silent, Mr. Jon Mirsalis has often posted his comprehensive list of MISSING silents, so via the Sherlockian process of deductive reasoning, we can surmise what is NOT missing. (A Google search should turn up the most recent incarnation of this list.)

THE DRAG NET is lost, but UNDERWORLD exists in good quality prints. I wish I knew where! Saw a 92nd-generation dupe in VHS years ago, but some shots are still stuck in my head.

You probably know already that a short piece (about 5 or 6 minutes) of the missing von Sternberg feature THE CASE OF LENA SMITH (1929) was located last year in China. It has been shown publically (without me, boo hoo!); the sequence is set at the Prater (famed Vienna amusement park). The review I read was extremely complimentary, comparing it to SUNRISE.

Wouldn't it be fantastic if there was a sort of TCM just for old Paramount films?

swac said...

I have an okay-looking VHS copy of Underworld from Grapevine Video...if anyone is wondering where they can get a copy. (Not from Grapevine, I think they had to stop selling it.)