Tuesday, 26 July 2011

picture of the day: modern love in 1929

Greta Garbo and Nils Asther 
a publicity still from The Single Standard, 1929

This is one of my favourite Nils Asther films. 
His character is an idiot, but the direction is skilful, Garbo is radiant,
and the themes are surprisingly fresh and modern even though it's a silent movie.

I'm going to write a review soon.

More posts about The Single Standard.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

picture of the day: fun with Marion Davies

Nils Asther and Marion Davies in The Cardboard Lover, 1928

I found some more stills from this film. It looks pretty fun.

This would be the scene at the start where she asks him for his autograph.

more posts about The Cardboard Lover

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Man Who Lost Himself (1941)

Nils Asther and Kay Francis on the set of The Man Who Lost Himself, 1941.
Kay Francis wears one of her many Vera West gowns throughout the picture.

Malcolm Scott (Brian Aherne) is a wealthy, disliked man who escapes from an insane asylum. He meets John Evans (also Brian Aherne), his exact double, and persuades him to take his place to deal with the unpleasantness of his upcoming divorce. Meanwhile, Scott's wife, Adrienne (Kay Francis) already has a new boyfriend, Peter Ransome (Nils Asther).

This film was made during the Production Code and was subject to alteration. The censor objected to certain lovemaking scenes with Brian Aherne and Kay Frances, in which although they were playing husband and wife, Brian Aherne seemed to believe Kay Francis had been fooled into believing it was his double. This was enough to break the Code rule against adultery. Additional heavy-handed asides and winks to the camera had to be filmed, to show the husband assumed his wife was stringing him along all the time.

This was Nils Asther's first American film for seven years. That was with the film Storm at Daybreak, 1934, MGM, also with Kay Francis. 


Saturday, 16 July 2011

picture of the day: Submarine Alert poster

Nils Asther as a Nazi spy in the wartime film Submarine Alert, Paramount, 1943

for a review of this film click here
for the whole film copyright free at the Internet Archive click here

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Nils Asther: 1933 publicity by Clarence Bull

Nils Asther, publicity photographs by Clarence Sinclair Bull for MGM.
On the reverse of the photos is text about his upcoming film, Strange Rhapsody, which by the time of release had been retitled Storm at Daybreak
This was the last film Asther did before he left his MGM contract and went freelance.

Nils Asther in Storm at Daybreak, 1933

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

picture of the day: reverse butler

By Candlelight (dir James Whale) 1933

Butler Josef (Paul Lukas) is aghast when his employer Prince von Rommer (Nils Asther) comes home unexpectedly to find him entertaining a young lady and pretending to be the master. The Prince finds it amusing and decides to play along and become butler for the night. 

Monday, 11 July 2011

picture of the day: La Grande Muraille, 1933

The Bitter Tea of General Yen, French poster, 1933
(La Grande Muraille - literal translation The Great Wall)
Nils Asther as General Yen, Barbara Stanwyck as the missionary Megan Davies

Director Frank Capra with Nils Asther and Barbara Stanwyck

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Loves of An Actress, Pola Negri, 1928

Loves of an Actress, 1928, starring Pola Negri, Nils Asther and Mary McAllister is a a lost film - all surviving prints are gone and with it, the plot, except what can be gleaned from promotional stills, cinema posters and contemporary reviews. 

By 1928, when it was made, the era of silent pictures was coming to an end. Loves of an Actress did not have what we we would nowadays call a soundtrack - instead smatterings of sound effects were played at certain moments, like a baby's cry or animal noises.

1928 review  of Loves of An Actress, from the New York Times: 
Pola Negri's latest offering seems to prove that there is, after all, a day of atonement for the errors of youth. Unfortunately, however, "Loves of an Actress," despite the enchantment of the plural, can be called only another motion picture. 
The background or the play is France in the middle of the last century. Miss Negri takes the part of an actress who has risen to being the toast of Paris—risen chiefly through her affairs with three important gentlemen—a banker, a newspaper owner and a count. 
It inevitably happens that at the height of her career she falls in love with a young man who is soon to become an Ambassador to Russia. Two of her former gentlemen friends grin and bear it; the third states sullenly that he loves her still. To prove it, he threatens to publish her letters in the columns which previously had been devoted to praising her acting. 
The actress, Rachel, first of all dares him to go ahead, but on sober second thought she realizes that not only will that be the end of her career but it will ruin her fiancĂ©'s as well. She breaks the engagement. Not long afterward she dies of a broken heart—first, however, playing a death scene in such a manner as to wring the greatest praise from her public. 
The chief trouble with "Loves of an Actress" is that it is too long. The story is not new, and as there is no suspense it all comes down to a question of waiting for the expected to happen. And then it develops so slowly as to be a little tiresome.
There are scenes scattered here and there, however, which show Miss Negri's acting ability to good advantage. She gives a good portrait of an actress—if not necessarily of midnineteenth century France—and her relationships with her several admirers are well done. Nils Asther, as Raoul—the man she loves—cannot quite curb a tendency to overact his part; otherwise the supporting cast is acceptable. 
"Loves of an Actress" demonstrates ad absurdam the potentialities of synchnorization. The varied noises taking part in the action of the picture range from the squealing effect when a baby is shown crying through sundry barnyard effects early one morning to vocal selections. An orchestra in the pit would have been better. 
On the stage there is Paul Ash and the Paramount Orchestra exploiting Broadway. They are assisted by Fred Bernard, Helen Honan, the Collette Sisters, Sally Starr, Du Calion and some Gamby-Hale Girls.
Music score for the film's hit song, Sunbeams (bring dreams of you)

Film stills from AliceJapan on flickr

 Promotional stills for the film 
 Mary McAllister and Nils Asther

Pola Negri and Nils Asther

Cigarette cards promoting the film - these were included in packs by tobacco companies