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Hollywood Movie Memories » sam taylor

Posts Tagged ‘sam taylor’

My Best Girl

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

My Best Girl

Tagline – Have You Seen It Yet?

Starring – Mary Pickford (Maggie Johnson), Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers (Joe Grant), Sunshine Hart (Ma Johnson), Lucien Littlefield (Pa Johnson).

Released – October, 1927

Directed By – Sam Taylor

Produced By – Mary Pickford Company

Distributed By – United Artists

Description – Joe Merrill has got something to prove. Joe is the son of millionaire Robert E. Merrill, who made his fortune with a chain of 5 and 10 cent stores, and is determined to prove that he can make it on his own, without his father’s influence. To do this, he changes his name to Joe Grant and takes a job in the stockroom of one of his father’s stores.

Also working in the stockroom is Maggie Johnson. During a particularly exhausting day, Maggie is given a break from the stockroom and asked to cover the sales counter. While working the counter a handsome young man, who is interested in meeting her, inquires about some children’s toys.

As she demonstrates some toys for him, the store manager approaches and hands the young man a time card. The manager, who does not know the young man is the owner’s son, introduces him to Maggie as new employee Joe Grant.

Annoyed by Joe’s deception, Maggie is asked to take him back to the stockroom and get him started. It doesn’t take long for Maggie to determine that this young man is pretty enept. She promises to take “the dumbest stockboy in the world” under her wing and properly train him.

Within a few days, Maggie begins to develop a crush on Joe and the pair begin to flirt with each other. Maggie invites Joe to supper with her family, but cautions him that her family is a bit “off kilter.”

Her elderly dad is a meek postal worker, her mom is an overly dramatic woman who enjoys going to random funeral’s, and her sister is a “flapper” with a boyfriend who always seems to be getting her into trouble. A great deal of commotion at Maggie’s house causes the supper invitation to be posponed.

Joe returns the dinner invitation by asking Maggie to dinner at the Merrill Mansion. He tells her that the company loves to promote a family atmosphere and has an employee to dinner at the mansion regularly. She accepts and suggests that they should, out of respectability, claim that they are Mr. and Mrs. Grant.

This is where the trouble begins. Mrs. Merrill has planned this particular dinner to be a surprise engagement party for Joe and society girl Millicent Rogers. It is Mrs. Merrill’s hope that Joe will marry into the proper level of society. Joe is totally unaware of this plan.

Joe’s family is surprised at the presence of Maggie, and her lack of fromal dinner habits embarass her to the point of hiding under the table. And it is at this very moment that Millicent arrives and kisses Joe.

Maggie’s heart is now broken, and to make matters worse, her sister has again gotten into trouble and may be going to prison. The romantic scandal turns up as a headline in the next day’s newspaper. Joe’s father plans on sending Joe to Hawaii until everything blows over and tries to buy Maggie off with a check for $10,000.

It now seems as though everything has fallen apart for Maggie, but perhaps there is still a way that love will conquer all.

NOTABLE: My Best Girl received an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography.

This motion picture was the last silent film for Mary Pickford. Ten years later, she and co-star Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers would become man and wife.

The Village Voice has declared My Best Girl to be Mary Pickford’s finest romantic comedy.

Lucien Littlefield, who played Maggie’s “old codger” father, was actually three years younger than Pickford.

To prepare for this role, Mary Pickford (incognito) took a job as a sales clerk to get a feel for her character.


For Heavens Sake

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection Vol. 3

Starring – Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Noah Young, Jim Mason, Paul Weigel,

Released – April, 1926

Directed By – Sam Taylor

Produced By – The Harold Lloyd Corporation

Distributed By – Paramount Productions

Description – Uptown boy J. Harold Manners, a millionaire playboy, finds himself on the poor side of town while searching for a restaurant.

He passes a coffee stand run by an evangelist and accidently causes a fire. To pay for the damage he has caused, Manners gives the man $1,000. The grateful evangelist had been trying to raise enough money for a mission and the $1,000 will do the trick.

Brother Paul opens the mission and names it after his generous donor. However, this does not sit well with Manners as he believes he had nothing to do with its creation and he goes to the mission to protest and demand that his name be removed from the building.

Arriving at the mission, Manners meets the evangelist’s daughter Hope and is immediately smitten. In an effort to win her attention, he promises to help bring the toughs and gangsters into the mission so that they might be converted.

It isn’t long before his attempts pay off and he finds himself being chased by the local toughs right to the mission. With the help of the police a great deal of stolen merchandise is recovered and the mission has plenty of redemption work to do.

Now, Manners efforts turn to getting Hope to marry him. But, it won’t be easy as his high-brow friends kidnap him in an effort to prevent the marriage.

A rescue attempt ensues with Manners new friends, very inebriated, wrecking havoc to reunite the loving couple.

NOTABLE: For Heaven’s Sake was a commercial success and the 12th highest-grossing film of the silent era.

This motion picture was the first to be shown in the Museum of Modern Art’s festival tribute to film comedy.

In the late 1920’s, Harold Lloyd alternated between “gag pictures,” and “character pictures.” This was a “gag picture” sandwiched between 1925’s The Freshman and 1927’s The Kid Brother.

Personal Note: This is one of the great silent comedian Harold Lloyd’s least known films, but may be considered among his best. A simple story with a creative script and some classic Harold Lloyd slapstick.


Harold Lloyd – Safety Last

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Safety Last (1923) is a silent film comedy romance classic that earned its star Harold Lloyd his nickname as “the King of Daredevil Comedy.” Lloyd’s films successfully combined sight gags and pathos, along with very ingenious stunts and clever visual elements.

Directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, this very enjoyable silent film is best remembered for a particularly risky stunt in which comedian Harold Lloyd hangs onto the hand of a clock that is perched on a twelve-story building above the city streets. This scene, both scary and thrilling, was shot with most of the camera compositions including the view of the perilous drop below.

The motion pictures title is based on the familiar phrase, “Safety First.”

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The Freshman

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

The Freshman (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)

Starring – Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Brooks Benedict, James Anderson, Hazel Keener

Released – September, 1925

Directed By – Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor

Produced By – The Harold Lloyd Corporation

Distributed By – Pathe’ Exchange

Description – The prospect of going to Taft University has naive young Harold ‘Speedy’ Lamb so excited that he has been working extra hard to earn spending money, practices college yells, and is working on a special way of meeting people that mimics his movie idol, The College Hero.

Sadly, his efforts to be accepted and gain popularity at the university have backfired on him. Labeled by the other students as some kind of ‘fool,’ Speedy is the target of ridicule and many practical jokes.

In fact, he has become a laughing stock, with the whole school participating in an ongoing joke to make him think he is popular. The joke continues on the athletic field where Speedy tries out for the football team. He makes the team alright…as the tackling dummy, before being promoted to water boy.

He has made one real friend in a young woman named Peggy, the landloard’s daughter. Peggy is sweet, sincere, and described as “what your mother was like when she was young.”

Still oblivious to the deception that exists around him, Speedy attends the universities “Fall Frolic” dance. At the dance, due to a slight mishap with a tailor, Speedy loses all of his clothes and finally realizes what everyone thinks of him.

Determined to prove to everyone that he is not just a joke, Speedy is determined to get into the next football game.

NOTABLE: In 1990, The Freshman was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Football players from the University of Southern California played both the visiting and home teams in the film.

Personal Note: If you have never seen the great silent screen comedian Harold Lloyd, this is the place to start. The Freshman is one of his most successful and enjoyable films and actually started a craze for college films that lasted into the next decade.



Girl Shy

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection Vol. 1

Starring – Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Richard Daniels, Carlton Griffin

Released – April, 1924

Directed By – Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor

Produced By – The Harold Lloyd Corporation

Distributed By – Pathe’ Exchange

Description – Tailor’s apprentice Harold Meadows works in a small shop owned by his uncle. Harold is extremely shy, mostly due to his stuttering, and has not had any luck meeting a girl. In fact, whenever he even tries to speak with a girl his stuttering becomes even worse.

In an effort to help others like himself he is writing a book titled ‘The Secret of Making Love.’ The content of the book comes not from his experience, but from his fantasies. On his way to Los Angeles, by train, to bring his completed book to a publisher, Harold meets rich young socialite Mary Buckingham.

As luck would have it, the two hit it off, and with Mary, Harold’s shyness begins to go away. The two are smitten with each other. One problem, Mary already has a suitor who plans on marrying her.

Harold’s book, at first rejected by the publisher, is later accepted. Excited to share the news with Mary, Harold sees a story in the newspaper announcing Mary’s wedding. But, something new surfaces; it seems Mary’s fiancee is already married and Harold sets out to stop their wedding and win the hand of the girl he loves.

Thus begins one of comedian Harold Lloyd’s most famous sequences. The frantic trip to stop the wedding includes bootleggers, car chases, a trolley, a motorcycle, a horse-drawn carriage, and a ride on horseback.

NOTABLE: Girl Shy was silent comedian Harold Lloyd’s first independent motion picture after having split from Hal Roach.

The film was the second of six pairing Lloyd with actress Jobyna Ralston who also left Hal Roach to continue working with Lloyd.

Many of the exterior shots for the film were filmed at Haroly Lloyd’s estate, Green Acres, in Beverly Hills, California.