Monday, September 22, 2014

Under-Rated Treasures Blogfest-Freaks






FREAKS-1932



This is my pick for the Under-Rated Treasures Blogfest! hosted by the wonderful Alex J Cavanaugh.
This 1932 film is rarely seen and was banned for many decades due to the nature of this film and the horrific ending which most ended up on the cutting room floor.

It was directed by Todd Browning who shot to fame for Dracula with Bela Lugosi. He was also a favourite director of the great Lon Chaney, The Man of a Thousand Faces. Many people today shun the terms freaks for obvious reasons and shun this film which is a shame. It is a horror film but the horror is not due to the "freaks" but due to the  so-called "beautiful people".  The beautiful High wire gal played by Olga Baklanova decides to marry the midget played by Harry Earles when she finds out he is very wealthy. She concocts a plan with the brutish strong man (her lover) to slowly poison her new husband but she did not plan that the other "freaks" realize what is being done and the ending becomes quite horrific.

The strong man, let's just say can sing falsetto but this scene, how he became, um,..that way was cut  (sorry for the pun) from the film and is considered lost.

The scene shown above has actually been used in different ways in other films so some of you may think this saying, they repeat, is familiar. Todd Browning was very fond of all the people on the set and the "freaks" truly cared for him. Todd Browning wanted to make sure they never felt slighted or used in a bad way and when one watches this film one realizes the care he placed towards the people who suffered from some rare afflictions. Prince Randian (not seen here) was born without arms or legs but you see him take out a match, light it and light his cigarette. Just in case you google him, he had  5 children:)  Harry Earles was in a couple of other films by Todd Browning and the other pretty girl who plays his true love interest is actually his sister in real life, Daisy Earles.

You have quite a few people we never truly knew who existed but they did and had these abnormalities and rose above them. Johnny Eck is amazing since he really has no pelvis or anything else. He would do a skit with a midget (OK I am not politically correct here so..so...sue me:)) where Johnny would be on top of the midget and they would wear a long coat and go on stage looking like one man, He would then jump off  and the people would shriek in horror (I think that is kind of funny). In this film one wonders what strength he must have had in his arms.  Daisy and Violet Hilton were Siamese Twins who, today, would have easily been separated at birth but in those times, it was impossible and where do such people find a kinship? The so-called freak show - better to be paid for being gawked at and have a home than being gawked at, ridiculed and hidden away which happened to so many. Oops I went off topic, anyway, I love the scene where one man proposes marriage to the one, much to the displeasure of her sister, and when she is kissed by her suitor, the other twin smiles and feels the pleasure-pretty dandy for those times.

I don't have this film in my collection but I love it and appreciate it as a testament to their strength, and being a family and sticking up for one another even if that means something very, very bad must happen to the pretty folk.

I did pick the 3 others but it would be too long of a post. For TV Show I picked "This Is The Law"-a game show with a panel of known people(well kind of known) and a host  who shows funny skits about actual laws being broken. These laws are quite obscure and the panel has to figure it out. I think only my brother and I watched this TV Show from the 70's. I really loved the groovy shag carpeting on the walls.

I picked for music, Klaatu. a Canadian band that had a couple of hits back in the 70's. They became more famous for people thinking it was the Beatles behind this band(they weren't). I love their version of Calling Occupants of Intersteller Planetary Craft" better than the Carpenters.

My book is "Hollywood" by Kevin Brownlow about the beginning of film until the silent films ended. It is based on the TV Documentary of the same name that I have in VHS but it has not come out in DVD (major issues with all the estates). To get a real grasp of early Hollywood and the people who lived it, this is an excellent book and you can find snippets of the documentary on Youtube. Viola Dana, an early actress was wonderful and heartbreaking as she lost the man she loved, Ormer Locklear in a stunt he performed. She watched him crash his plane. The camera crew were to take the lights off him so he could get out of the free fall of his airplane(shooting at night) but they didn't take the lights off and he crashed. She was still heart broken all those years later.

OK so this is my pick(s). I will enjoy everyone else's. Now back to organizing my craft room and making some cards!!

75 comments:

  1. Hi, Birgit. Thanks for sharing your picks for the Underrated Treasures Blogfest. I haven't heard of any of these.

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  2. Wow -- what a shocker of a film! I don't think many people realize just how daring some movies were before the Hays Code was enforced in Hollywood. This one would have just slipped in before they clamped down, and I'm not surprised it was banned -- and banned for the wrong reasons, too.

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    1. Yes you are right-before the Hays Office really clamped down and for the wrong reasons. Another surprise is this movie was done by MGM

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  3. The name seems harsh! "Freaks!!!" But during that time they weren't so politically correct. Sounds like an interesting movie.

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    1. Yes it is a harsh title and meant to shock I believe but I also believe the people were treated well and looked upon with kindness

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  4. I remember watching Freaks. Odd film indeed, but such a landmark, as you'll never see a cast like that again.
    Thanks for participating in my blgofest!

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    1. I loved this blogfest:) Glad you saw this film

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  5. I love old movies. This one seems familiar - I'm sure I've seen it. And yeah, completely politically incorrect for these days. Says a lot that the director loved these people in a time when "different" wasn't readily accepted in society.

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    1. Oh this film would never get made today since it is so politically incorrect and yet the people were shown leading normal lives and I think that is great especially since it was made in 1932

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  6. Sounds like an interesting, horrific movie. Those older films really had some incorrect moments.

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    1. Oh they did but this film has quite the depth too for 1932

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  7. Hmm. I've not heard of this one. Certainly sounds underrated. ;) Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. I think it is and hope you can watch it one day

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  8. I love... love FREAKS, really one of those films that kind of sneaks up on you... glorious visuals and well the people... those talented people.

    Jeremy [Retro]
    Howlin' Wolf Records: On-Line Magazine

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    1. I LOVE this film as well and glad you know of it. Now I must get it on DVD

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  9. You always pick such great old movies! Definitely an underrated treasure!

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    1. I have to pick old movies-they need to be remembered

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  10. This one is new to me, but I enjoyed reading about it. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. New follower of your blog. =)

    I just added Hollywood to my elongating reading list. I have an interest in old Hollywood. Thanks for sharing your picks!

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    1. Oh this is one of my favourite books. Anything by Kevin Brownlow is a treasure as he was an expert in old Hollywood

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  12. I watched Freaks when I was on a big classic movie kick a few years ago. I usually don't like horror movies, but this one was a bit more complex, so I liked it. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I am not a horror fan either but yes, this has more depth and character development-nice to see

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  13. New to me, never even heard of this one. Sounds like one to watch indeed

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  14. I had never heard of Freaks. So many interesting films made before the code went into effect.

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    1. Great movie that has an undeserved reputation. I love it

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  15. I adore the film Freaks! In fact I wrote an 11th grade term paper on it and got an A.

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    1. That is so cool! Love to read that paper of yours

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  16. That movie sounds...wow. I think it might be incredibly interesting to watch that.

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    1. It is a great movie and love how each person is developed and you really like them alot

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  17. An education! Not heard of any of these.

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    1. They are all quite good and I have a feeling you might like This is the Law.

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  18. Afraid I am not into horror or anything similar. Haven't heard of this movie at all.

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    1. I'm not into horror too much either. The people in the film are treated with respect and show their day to day living and that is what I love plus a good plot

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  19. Totally uninformed about this one. Hard to watch, but interesting to discover.

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    1. It is great and I found this film wonderful as it showed the people in these shows as regular normal people who are happy, work hard, have families and feel.

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  20. Its great seeing Klaatu alive still doing the rounds. I bet hes a big fan of the beatles.

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    1. I loved Klaatu when they came out so I had to include them

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  21. I think I would be curious and have to see the movie sometime. Interesting concept too for a movie more than 80 years old!

    betty

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    1. Oh I hope you get to see it one day and see how well the people were shown and lived their lives every day in this world.

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  22. I'm not familiar with this one. Your post really made me think.

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    1. Oh good and hope, one day, you see it:)

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  23. Thanks for sharing these, Birgit. I, too, think the strength of the actors in "Freaks" is an inspiration. Moreover the plot described sounds very intriguing. I would like to see the entire film.

    I don't recall ever hearing of a show called, "This is the Law," but I don't watch much TV. Do you know if Klaatu was named after the Michael Rennie character in The Day the Earth Stood Still? Shoot, now I have the theme from Rocky Horror going through my head.

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Yes! Klaatu was "borrowed" from that film:) I hope you get a chance to see the film and this TV show I always found fun to watch. They would receive , from viewers, old laws that were still on the books. There would be a silent funny skit done and then the panel had to guess why the person was arrested. It was quite good but not many have heard of it outside my brother and me (or is that I):)

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  24. Wow, what an amazing description. I've never even heard of this film. I know you said it was banned for decades, but it's not now. My curiosity is beyond piqued at this point. I'm going to have to do more research on this. Thanks for sharing some interesting info for the Ninja Captain's blogfest! Eva

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    1. You are welcome. I love this film for many reasons

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  25. What a great post - so informative. I found myself googling as I went along with some of the references to other "freaks" - thanks. I vaguely remember seeing this movie, but it begs a second look.

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    1. Oh it is interesting especially that many had families and carried on as best they could. Hope you can watch the film

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  26. Haven't heard of this but sounds awesome.

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    1. It is great and when i heard of it, I had to see it-glad I did

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  27. Definitely an interesting concept for a movie!

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    1. Yes and they never remade it either...I guess they couldn't nowadays-shame

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  28. I think your choice proves just how kind and accepting you are, Birgit. I've never seen the film. I did watch Elephant Man and remember thinking "What's all the fuss about?" But your choices of films does reassert my thoughts on why so few Aliens visit earth. LOL Most humans are just so unseemly for our senseless prejudices. Why would aliens want to vacation here?

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    1. That is really a nice thing to say-Thank you:) Yup I bet the Aliens just shake their head and pass us by

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  29. Interesting choices, I don't think I'd enjoy being at that party, though!

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    1. You see, I am weird and would love to be at that wedding party but I always felt like I was a bit of a freak:) I think we all are in one way or another but I wouldn't chant

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  30. Your post is precisely why I love this blog hop - so many suggestions that are quirky or out of the ordinary. I will watch the movie ...

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    1. Oh good-let me know how you liked it:)

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  31. Hey Birgit, Another day under our belts....

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  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  33. I was saying Alex has seen the movie! He's a true movie passion.

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    1. Movies are excellent-love them so right with Alex:)

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  34. I don't know what happened to my long comment so here's a quick one. Freaks is one of my favorite films. You can watch it online for free (it's in the public domain) at https://archive.org/details/freaks1932.

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    1. Oh so glad you love it and will try to find it so can watch it online

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  35. Tomorrow's Thursday, another day closer to the weekend.

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  36. I haven't heard of this flick but I want to see it now. Sounds intriguing!

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    1. It is quite a good film. Hope you see it:)

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  37. Great film. One of my all time faves. There was a time when Tod Browning was considered one of the best in the biz, and even though he and his great array of films are still considered classic cinema by most film scholars and historians, he and films like Freaks, are sadly forgotten these days.

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    1. It is sad they are forgotten which is one of the reasons I picked it. Glad you love this film

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  38. Hmm, that's really interesting. Two of those people look familiar, though it can't be them. (American Horror Story: Season 2-- Naomi Grossman. GoT -- Peter Dinklage) I'm also reminded of an episode of the animated version of Clerks:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqvJVYQSEbM (only part of the episode)

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    1. Actually I thought the one did look like Peter Dinklage-the facial features are similar. I have to check out clerks

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