Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Monty's Crush of the Week

Yep, Monty's Crush of the Week is back, if a bit late in the week, and we're going super oldschool this time, even though this crush comes to our attention pretty recently...
Betty Bronson

(Java Head, Peter Pan, Are Parents People?, Not So Long Ago,
The Golden Princess, A Kiss for Cinderella, Ben-Hur, The Cat's Pajamas, Paradise,
Everybody's Acting, Paradise for Two, Ritzy, Open Range,  Companionate Marriage,
The Singing Fool, A Modern Sappho, Bellamy Trial, Sonny Boy, One Stolen Night,
The Locked Door, The Medicine Man, Lover Come Back, and much more)

So, a few months back, I got on a fairytale silent film kick, I don't remember why, and through that, I discovered one of the most impressive and enjoyable fantasy films I've ever seen, and it was made way back in 1924 and starred then 18 year-old Betty Bronson, the angel you see in the image above (in the role that made her famous). The film is bafflingly well made for its time, with all the fantasy elements awe-inspiringly executed. It's a joy to watch, even for someone always annoyed by the tradition of casting a female in the title role of "Peter Pan" (even though this actress was hand selected by J.M. Barrie himself). The one disappointment in the film is that they did not keep the tradition of the same actor playing both Hook and Mr. Darling, Wendy's father. The oddity of the film, the replacement of mentioning "America" at all times that England would normally be named (when the good guys take over the Jolly Roger, it's the U.S. flag that is raised up the pole!). But, the highlight of the film, no doubt, is the glorious Betty Bronson. She plays the role so well I could swear she'd been playing it for years on the stage (maybe she did get some stage practice beforehand, I don't know about that), but her gorgeous face and form (and some of her posings) do make it a bit tough to forget she is a girl. I must say, I was so enchanted by her (and the film as well) that I practically had it on a loop everyday after work for a month or two a short time ago, especially her first scene meeting Wendy and having her shadow sewn on. Outstanding stuff there. Her facial expressions are just fascinating to watch, and all of her movements (this is a silent film, after all). I haven't seen the rest of her long filmography, I must admit, and from all the more feminine photos of seen of her online, nothing beats her Pan photos (she practically looks like a different person in everything else, ha), but in this role she had secured a permanent place in Monty's Big Book of Crushes. And, no, that book does not actually exist in a printed format, sorry (not a bad idea though; but then I'd have to make so many updated editions...).

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