Friday, 26 August 2011

blog rot! and favourite Asther films

Last night there was an attack of page rot on this blog, for no apparent reason. I lost information from the end of my blog pages in a very random way. That means the pictures, links and information I had gathered about all of Nils Asther's films from about 1932 onwards were deleted. It seems to be unrecovereable.

I backed up everything that is left relating to his early films left on the pages, but it was a bit of a shock. 

Anyway, I'm taking it as an excuse to reorganise the pages and hopefully they'll be better than ever when I'm finished.

As a cheer-me-up, I've been making a list in my head and deciding on my 5 favourite Nils Asther films of all time:

1. The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)
WHY: It's beautiful, complex and sexy. And it takes me on a thoughtful journey every time. At the start, it genuinely seems to be borderline racist, with the missionaries in their own little self-enclosed, superior world, not to mention with Asther playing Chinese. Then it twists and turns and becomes intensely philosophical with a plea for mutual understanding.

2. The Single Standard, 1929
WHY: Okay, it's not the most complex of stories. Young attractive woman has love affair. But Arden's  (Garbo's) decision to go for freedom and equality in love uplifts me every time, especially when you consider that was the 20s. And Garbo is breathtaking, and she sizzles onscreen with Asther.

3. The Cardboard Lover, 1928
WHY: Okay, I've not actually seen this one yet. But it's still my third favourite because it looks so funny and amazing, and Marion Davies is a hoot. Plus I totally have a thing for men who can do comedy, and Asther totally can.

4. Laugh, Clown, Laugh, 1928
WHY: The tragic ending of this moves me every time. Frankly, Asther is acted off the screen by Loretta Young and Lon Chaney, but that's why it's so good. There is that one shocking pre-code moment where Asther goes in for a bit of a fumble with Loretta Young... totally in character, but still. Wowzers. I think he was a bit of a bad boy.

5. By Candlelight, 1934
WHY: This is a polished little gem of a comedy from director James Whale, and it's guaranteed to make me feel better on any dismal soggy afternoon. I do tend to skip the rest and only watch Asther's scenes... just being honest. He's the best thing in it. So suave and adept at farce.

Other films of his I've seen so far (or part seen, with rough appreciation ratings)
Starring Roles
Make-Up **
The Man in Half Moon Street ***
Submarine Alert **
The Marriage of Corbal **
The Right to Romance **
Supporting Roles
Son of Lassie *** 
Behold we Live **
The Cossacks ***
Topsy and Eva *
Himmelskibbet ****
Samson and Delilah **** (he's only on screen for 30 sec)

Do I want to see them all? You bet.

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