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UCLA Festival of Preservation

Good References w/Tramp Strategy

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Friday 2/16
7:00 pm
$10 General Public
$8 Students & Seniors
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R. William Neill, US, 1920, 35mm, 60 min., b/w, Silent w/ live accompaniment

With live accompaniment by Bernie Anderson

While often overlooked by the lens of contemporary cinema, Constance Talmadge was one of the silent era's most popular and brightest comedic stars, making nearly 50 feature films before retiring as an independently wealthy woman in 1929.  Although big sister Norma became famous playing serious dramatic roles, “Connie” (as her friends called her) realized that her carefree, fun-loving personality was a better fit for comedy, and correspondingly crafted a successful career with a series of breezy, effervescent confections that audiences ate up at the box office.  She became, as F. Scott Fitzgerald once called her, “the epitome of young sophistication—the deft princess of lingerie and love…the flapper de luxe.”

Talmadge initially found fame playing the Mountain Girl in D.W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916), and subsequently set up her own production company (overseen by brother-in-law Joseph M. Schenck) in order to create her own feature films.  Free to choose the scripts she wanted to make, she expressed the philosophy of her filmmaking thusly: “I want comedies of manners, comedies that are funny because they delight one's sense of what is ridiculously human in the way of little everyday commonplace foibles and frailties—subtle comedies, not comedies of the slapstick variety.”

Good References was her sixth and final release of 1920, with a plot revolving around a down-on-her-luck woman named Mary (played by Talmadge) whose lack of references makes it impossible for her to gain employment.  When a friend falls ill, Mary impersonates her in order to take a job as secretary to an elderly socialite.  Things immediately start going downhill when she is tasked to introduce a ne'er-do-well nephew to high society—but ends up bailing him out of a string of scandals instead.


Preservation funded by The Packard Humanities Institute, Barbara Roisman Cooper and Martin M. Cooper

Preceded by:

Tramp Strategy

Alice Guy, US/France/The Netherlands, 1911, 35mm, 12 min., b/w Silent w/ Dutch intertitles

A mischievous vagabond infiltrates a bourgeois household in this newly discovered one-reel comedy by the pioneering female director Alice Guy.

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by New York Women in Film & Television's Women's Film Preservation Trust and The Film Foundation

The UCLA Festival of Preservation is Co-Presented by Louis Bluver.