Selling the Silents #19

Stark Love (Karl Brown, 1927)
"Again Paramount takes the lead by tapping a rich, hitherto undeiscovered vein of screen entertainment! Actually filmed in the wild Kentucky mountains where life is still lived in the raw, this smashing elemental drama of intense love, hate and conflict, will sweep audiences off their feet! You cannot believe your eyes when you see it. You will sit absolutely fascinated. Inspect it at your exchange before booking."
The first directorial effort from former D.W. Griffith camera operator Karl Brown, Stark Love has been on my must-see list for years, and from those I know who've seen it, it's a one-of-a-kind picture, filmed on location in Kentucky, using a non-professional cast, mostly with natural light and no makeup. Thought to be a lost film for years, a copy turned up in a Czech film vault in the '70s, but it is rarely screened, due largely to it's no-name cast and a lack of cachet for Brown as a director (after getting his start on Griffith's Battle of the Sexes in 1914, he continued working in a variety of capacities in film up into the '50s).

If you've never read Brown's Adventures With D.W. Griffith, it's a vital look behind the scenes at the early film master at work, and also a detailed description of working with Griffith's legendary cameraman Billy Bitzer, with whom Brown was most closely associated.

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