Two Great Films - Two Great Nights!
"Beau Geste" - Sunday, July 16th at 8:00 p.m.
"Irene" - Sunday, August 20th, at 7:30 p.m.
"Beau Geste," based on the novel Beau Geste by P. C. Wren. This version starred Ronald Colman as the title character, also stars Ralph Forbes and Neil Hamilton as well as William Powell, Alice Joyce, Noah Beery and Mary Brian.
The film details the adventures of three English brothers who enlist separately in the French Foreign Legion following the theft of a valuable jewel from the country house of a relative. While written in 1924 the novel is set in the period before World War I.
"Geste" has been adapted for the screen several times. This very successful version was made in 1926 by Paramount.The 1939 version was made with Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, and Robert Preston and again in 1962 with Dean Stockwell, Doug McClure and Telly Savalas. A television production was made in 1982 with Benedict Taylor, Anthony Calf, Jonathon Morris and a stage production was produced by Basil Dean in 1929 with Laurence Olivier in the lead.
Because of the realism of the film, it was suspected that the writer, Wren, was in the French Foreign Legion, which turned out not to be true. Instead, the writer had previously been a school teacher in India.
Directed by Herbert Brenon ("Peter Pan," "Sorrell and Son," and "The Flying Squad".) Brenon was among the first Academy Award directing nominees for "Laugh, Clown, Laugh" with Lon Chaney and Loretta Young.
This 1926 film makes two things very clear, that silent film wasn't silent as this movie was based on the popular stage musical and the songs from that film were played in the theatre to accompany the film.
"Irene," starred Colleen Moore, and was partially shot in Technicolor. The film was directed by Alfred E. Green, and produced by Moore's husband John McCormick.
The stage version had a book by James Montgomery, and lyrics by Joseph McCarthy, with music by Harry Tierney. Based on Montgomery's play Irene O'Dare, it is set in New York City's Upper West Side and focuses on immigrant shop assistant Irene O'Dare, who is introduced to Long Island's high society when she is hired by one of its leading grande dames to help redecorate her home.
The musical opened on Broadway in 1919 and ran for 675 performances, at the time the record for the longest-running musical in Broadway history, which it maintained for nearly two decades. It was revived on Broadway in 1923, filmed twice (Anna Neagle and Ray Milliand, 1940), and had a major Broadway revival in 1973, starring Debbie Reynolds, followed by a 1976 London run that lasted 974 performances.
Today, one of the curiosities of "Irene" is the role of the male fashion designer "Miss Lucy," played on stage by Bobby Watson and in the 1926 film by George K. Arthur. Audiences of the time had no issue with the character's flamboyant mannerisms.
The success of "Irene" led to a number of fashion-oriented films being produced including "The Dressmaker from Paris" and "Fig Leaves" both in 1926.
The very popular Colleen Moore was the epitome of the "flapper" with her bobbed hair and continued through the sound era, making her final film "The Scarlet Letter" in 1934.
Both "Beau Geste" and "Irene" demonstrate the fluidity of the camera before sound restricted its movement temporarily in the late 1920s - early 1930s. The use of Technicolor scenes also demonstrate the studios desire to find new reasons for moviegoers to attend movies instead of sitting in their own homes listening to the new sensation of radio.
Guided walking tours of the ranch grounds begin at 6:30 p.m.
The ranch is located in Agoura Hills. Tickets are $6.00 for the general public, $3.00 for children under 12, Hollywood Heritage Members $5.00
Featuring live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.