|Colleen takes a call|
It is frustrating to find so few of Colleen Moore’s films commercially available, let alone in good quality. Just about the only “proper” release is in The Bunker (1917) which is part of Kino's Reel Baseball collection with the rest of her most popular films largely the output of cheap DVDs recycling nth generation copies of 16mm transfers...
Why be Good? Because she was and deserves a whole lot better… but I am sure that’s coming with the revival of interest spurred by the rediscovery of that film and I’m looking forward to its screening at this year’s London Film Festival.
I enjoyed Orchids and Ermine so much I watched it twice, in spite of the fact that the Grapevine DVD is so low in resolution it looked like it was transferred through a layer of tracing paper.
|5th Avenue and life in the bus lane...|
Her character sees a woman wearing her dream combination of ermine and orchids and picks up her cat to pretend she’s wrapped in the former as she holds a car-crushed flower against this live wrap… it’s winsome as anything and the act of a delicate soul who’s moral core will prevent her sacrificing dignity for desire.
|Colleen charms Jack Mulhall|
Directed by Alfred Santell and produced by husband John McCormick, Orchids and Ermine sees Moore’s character, Pink Watson chasing her dream of marrying into money only to find that love, of course, comes first…
|Animation courtesy of whataboutbobbed - the place for all things bobbed!|
Fellow worked, Ermintrude De Vere (Gwen Lee) offers to introduce her to her millionaire boyfriend Mr. Vandergriff (Brooks Benedict) who turns out to be Chauffeur Jenkins… Ermintrude makes a new friend whilst Pink decides she’d rather head home: “why is it when their wives get to forty they want to swap them for two twenties?” The title cards are full of great observations and pre-talkie wit.
|Ermintrude,Pink and "Mr. Vandergriff"|
Hank is duly swept off his feet by eager Ermintrude but an altogether more genuine connection is made between Richard and the pretty phone operator. He gets Ermintrude to send Pink flowers but after she reveals his “true” identity, Pink worries about his getting into trouble and asks for them to be taken back.
|Can you spot the real Richard?|
Richard tries to apologize to Pink and ends up following her into the rain-sodden streets of New York – a fascinating glimpse of the period – eventually having to leap across from one bus to another in order to get her attention. He gets knocked down by a low bridge and milks the ensuing attention for all its worth.
Meanwhile his fake self is succumbing to Ermintrude’s hard-sell and exchanging vows in a registry office: things are about to get a lot more complicated…
|Hunter and prey...|
Colleen Moore’s sparkle exudes even through the grainy print and I hope someday I’ll be able to see her performance with greater clarity; it’s a slight story but she performs it with such skill.
|Pink's retail reverie is about to be rudely interrupted ...|
I watched the Grapevine DVD which is now out of print: good luck in finding a copy. To whom-ever owns the rights… we want a box set of restored Colleen Moore films and we want it now!
Meanwhile I can recommend Colleen Moore: A Biography of the Silent Film Star by Jeff Codori - a labour of love based on years of work on his Colleen Moore Project website: essential reading if you're part of the Colleen revival!