UCLA Festival of Preservation
Good References w/Tramp Strategy
R. William Neill, US, 1920, 35mm, 60 min., b/w, Silent w/ live accompaniment
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.”
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
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
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.