Selling the Silents #8


New Morals (1927, from the Paramount release book)

"You know the type of sterling box office comedy-drama for which the man who gave you 'The Grand Duchess and the Waiter,' 'The Show Off,' 'The Popular Sin' and many others is famous.

"'New Morals' (tentative title) will tell the truth about the gilded smart set in this dizzy age. Frank, funny, handsomely gowned, absorbingly entertaining--no real showman will fail to book it at once. Further details of complete cast and story immediately!"

Here's an interesting one, with a great graphic. Now I can't find a record of a film called New Morals on the IMDb--the closest I could come is a 1932 MGM pre-code called New Morals for Old starring Robert Young and a fifth-billed Myrna Loy, which makes me want to see it badly--but Malcolm St. Clair did make Breakfast at Sunrise in 1927, and this seems to be the likely candidate. It was the second-last feature starring the luminous Constance Talmadge, before she got out of pictures and into real estate.

Perhaps Ms. Talmadge thought she was getting long in the tooth by this time, she made her first film when she was 17, and here, 81 films later, she's 30 and still beautiful, but 13 years in the industry at that time was a long time. (Her frumpier sister Natalie was married to Buster Keaton, possibly driving him to the bottle more quickly than Louis B. Mayer did.) The plot of Breakfast at Sunrise involves a man and a woman who get married in order to spite the ones they truly desire, which matches the graphic in this promo pretty accurately. The lone comment on the IMDb writes the film off, but I found it to be an enchanting drama, lovingly shot by Robert Kurrle (Sadie Thompson, The Four Feathers)--the actual breakfast scene, on a spacious lawn in the haze of dawn, looks like something straight out of Von Sternberg--with an enjoyable jazz age feel. Worth seeking out, if you can find one on the grey market.

2 comments:

Tom Sutpen said...

I've got a copy of "New Morals for Old", but it's a Pre-Code in name only. It's closer to a Post-Code Kay Francis weeper than something like "Baby Face".

Some titles can be very misleading.

swac said...

Oh well, if I've learned one thing in life, it's that far too many things are too good to be true.