Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Street of Forgotten Men decidedly impressive

Cinefest the annual movie convention held in Syracuse, New York will screen Herbert Brenon's The Street of Forgotten Men (1925) on Thursday, March 15th at 8:55 pm. This is a rare opportunity to see Louise Brooks in her very first screen role. Unfortunately, this acclaimed film is not on DVD and is seldom shown. Don't miss it. Here is what the critics thought of the film when it was first released:
The Street of Forgotten Men dips into the dark pools of life. It shows you the beggars of life - apologies to Jim Tully - and in showing them it shows them up.” -- Mildred Spain, New York Daily News

“An absorbing story, done by a cast of people who really know how to act and directed in a skillful manner by Herbert Brenon.” -- Dorothy Day, New York Morning Telegraph

“It is a startling tale of Bowery life, of the soiled, tawdry ladies and broken men of the underworld. . . . Percy Marmont was an ideal choice for the difficult leading role, and his work, as usual, is quiet, clean cut and convincing. Mary Brian is a sweet peaches and cream heroine. . . . Direction and photography are splendid, making the movie decidedly worth seeing.” -- Roberta Nangle, Chicago Tribune

“This story is decidedly impressive, out-of-the-ordinary and interesting and we believe that it will be quite generally liked.” -- C. S. Sewell, Moving Picture World

“For fine dramatic detail, for unusualness, for giving us a glimpse into a world we never see and into the other sides of characters we simply pass in pity on the streets, The Street of Forgotten Men is a photoplay revelation.” -- A.F. Gillaspey, San Francisco Bulletin

“Here we have an underworld drama, stark and naked in its picturing of the beggars and fakers who prey on the public in the name of charity.” -- Curran D. Swint, San Francisco News

“Percy Marmont, as a bogus crippled beggar . . . has a role that is more closely akin to his great interpretation of Mark Sabre in If Winter Comes than any since the Hutchinson novel was put upon the screen. All of which means that this artist again has an excellent role for the display of his rare genius.” -- Washington Star

“ . . . it will go down as one of those rare films, beloved of the true blue fan, that contain such a wealth of choice parts as to make of nearly every player an outstanding artist.” -- Los Angeles Herald

“The Bowery in the days of long ago is faithfully transcribed to the screen in this story dealing with the lives of the professional beggars who prey on the easy-going public. Herbert Brenon, with the aid of a fine cast, headed by Percy Marmont, has made a gripping and entertaining picture.” -- M. B., Photoplay 

The Street of Forgotten Men was a big hit just about everywhere. Nearly nine months after it’s initial release, the film was still in circulation in the United States. Appearing as an added feature at this 1926 Toledo, Ohio showing was the House of David Band. This musical group was part of a nearby religious community based in Michigan whose members refrained from sex, haircuts, shaving, and eating meat. As followers of the Christian Israelite faith, the group’s touring musical acts were sometimes described as “Shaveless Sheiks of Syncopation.”  

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