Glorious Betsy 1928 on TCM
Part of TCM's great May schedule includes the television premiere of the rare 1928 part talkie feature Glorious Betsy, starring Dolores Costello. Since the film is showing at 12:30 AM on Silent Sunday night it's assumed that the print will be silent (not sure if any sound discs survive). Perhaps a sound print will be shown and we can know for sure whether Dolores Costello really suffered from a severe lisp early in her talkie career, if the lisp was just another version of the "bad voice" label that was attached later to many silent stars who failed the transition to talkies, or if primitive sound recording was partially the culprit. It would be nice to put the rumor to rest one way or the other.More on Glorious Betsy and Dolores Costello's alleged lisp:
"The greater difficulty lay in her inability to properly combine speech with gesture for the camera. As it was with her so would it be repeated with a number of silent stars, most legendarily John Gilbert, due not so much to bad voices as inadequately coordinated performances of poorly written dialogue, aggravated by changing audience tastes."
Richard Barrios, A Song In The Dark The Birth Of The Musical Film
Spoke with a severe lisp until about 1930. When talkies replaced silent films, she worked with a speech pathologist for almost two years to get rid of her lisp.
IMDB trivia for Dolores Costello
Costello spoke with a lisp, and found it difficult to make the transition to talking pictures, but after two years of voice coaching she was comfortable speaking before a microphone.
reference.com entry for Dolores Costello
Costello spoke with a lisp (something that her granddaughter, Drew Barrymore has seemed to inherit) and found it difficult to make the transition to talking pictures, but after two years of voice coaching she was comfortable speaking before a microphone.
wikpedia.com entry for Dolores Costello
“So far as the vocal interpolations are concerned, there might, it is true, have been an attempt to have a suggestion of French pronunciation in Conrad Nagel's utterances, but even that omission is pardonable. He might also have refrained from saying "Betsy" three times in the last episode, for you felt that then silence would have been golden. On the other hand. Miss Costello's subdued utterance of "My tomorrow has come," was decidedly effective.”
(Glorious Betsy Review) Morduant Hall, New York Times, April 27, 1928.
"...But as with Tenderloin, criticism of the still underdeveloped sound techniques was harsh, the long-suffering Miss Costello once again the most obvious target. Costello's slight lisp was exacerbated by the studio's sound-on-disc system -- not quite as bad as the satirical Singing in the Rain (1952) would later suggest, but enough for the actress to face an uncertain future in 'talkies.'"
Silent and pre-code films showing in May on TCM
6:00 AM - Sporting Blood (1931) A horse passes through a series of owners on the road to the Kentucky Derby. Cast: Clark Gable, Ernest Torrence, Madge Evans. Dir: Charles Brabin. BW-82 min.
8:00 AM - Bombshell (1933) A glamorous film star rebels against the studio, her pushy press agent and a family of hangers-on. Cast: Jean Harlow, Lee Tracy, Frank Morgan. Dir: Victor Fleming. BW-96 mins.
12:00 AM - Mysterious Lady, The (1928) In this silent film, an Austrian officer unwittingly falls in love with a Russian spy. Cast: Greta Garbo, Conrad Nagel, Gustav von Seyffertitz. Dir: Fred Niblo. BW-90 min.
2:00 AM - Marius (1931) A young man must choose between his childhood sweetheart and his love of the sea. Cast: Raimu, Pierre Fresnay, Orane Demazis. Dir: Alexander Korda, Marcel Pagnol. BW-120 min.
6:00 AM - Pilgrim, The (1923) In this silent film, an escaped convict poses as the new pastor of a small-town church. Cast: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Syd Chaplin. Dir: Charles Chaplin. BW-40 min.
8:00 PM - Payment Deferred (1932) A milquetoast kills for money and finds it a hard habit to break. Cast: Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Sullivan, Ray Milland. Dir: Lothar Mendes. BW-81 min.
6:00 AM - One Man's Journey (1933) Father and son doctors disagree over the son's materialistic goals. Cast: Lionel Barrymore, May Robson, Joel McCrea. Dir: John S. Robertson. BW-72 min.
7:15 AM - Stingaree (1934) An Australian bandit kidnaps an opera singer and falls in love with her. Cast: Irene Dunne, Richard Dix, Mary Boland. Dir: William A. Wellman. BW-77 min.
8:00 PM - Ramona (1910) In this silent short, a rancher's daughter runs off with a Native. Cast: Mary Pickford, Henry B. Walthall, Francis J. Grandon. Dir: D.W. Griffith. C-17 min.
8:30 PM - Mark of Zorro, The (1920) In this silent film, a Mexican Robin Hood harasses corrupt Spanish invaders. Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Marguerite de la Motte, Noah Beery. Dir: Fred Niblo. BW-90 min.
10:00 PM - Old San Francisco (1927) In this silent film, an Asian villain menaces a family of aristocratic Spanish settlers. Cast: Dolores Costello, Warner Oland, Anna May Wong. Dir: Alan Crosland. BW-89 min.
11:45 PM - Big Stakes (1922) An American cowboy and a Mexican lawman clash over a beautiful woman. Cast: J.B. Warner, Elinor Fair, Les Bates. Dir: Clifford S. Elfelt. BW-61 min.
1:00 AM - In Old Arizona (1929) The Cisco Kid's faithless lover plots to turn the bandit in for the reward. Cast: Warner Baxter, Edmund Lowe, Dorothy Burgess. Dir: Irving Cummings. BW-95 min.
4:15 AM - Viva Villa! (1934) Rousing biography of the bandit chief who led the battle for Mexican independence. Cast: Wallace Beery, Fay Wray, Leo Carrillo. Dir: Jack Conway. BW-110 min.
12:45 PM - Farewell To Arms, A (1932) An American serving in World War I falls for a spirited nurse. Cast: Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes, Adolphe Menjou. Dir: Frank Borzage. BW-89 min.
2:15 PM - One Sunday Afternoon (1933) A small-town dentist longs to avenge an old friend who stole his love, but discovers there's no need. Cast: Gary Cooper, Fay Wray, Neil Hamilton. Dir: Stephen Roberts. BW-69 min.
6:00 AM - Cat's Paw, The (1934) A missionary's son gets mixed up in a Chinese clan war. Cast: Harold Lloyd, George Barbier, Una Merkel. Dir: Sam Taylor. BW-102 min.
12:45 AM - Rich and Strange (1932) An unexpected inheritance proves less than a boon to a young married couple. Cast: Henry Kendall, Joan Barry, Percy Marmont. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock. BW-92 min.
4:15 AM - Mystery Liner (1934) An Army major tries to catch enemy agents on an ocean liner. Cast: Noah Beery, Astrid Allwyn, Edwin Maxwell. Dir: William Nigh. BW-62 min.
7:30 AM - Lady By Choice (1934) To improve her image, a fan dancer "adopts" an old woman to be her mother. Cast: Carole Lombard, May Robson, Walter Connolly. Dir: David Burton. BW-76 min.
12:00 AM - Cheat, The (1915) In this silent film, a society woman makes a costly bargian to pay off her debts. Cast: Sessue Hayakawa, Fannie Ward, Jack Dean. Dir: Cecil B. DeMille. C-59 min.
1:00 AM - Dragon Painter, The (1919) In this silent film, an artist obsesses over a beautiful woman he believes has been turned into a dragon. Cast: Sessue Hayakawa, Toyo Fujita, Edward Peil, Sr. Dir: William Worthington. BW-53 min.
2:00 AM - Fanny (1932) After her boyfriend leaves for the sea, a young girl discovers she's pregnant. Cast: Raimu, Pierre Fresnay, Orane Demazis. Dir: Marc Allegret. BW-140 min.
6:30 AM - Little Women (1933) The four March sisters fight to keep their family together and find love while their father is off fighting the Civil War. Cast: Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett, Paul Lukas. Dir: George Cukor. BW-116 min.
5:00 AM - Dinner At Eight (1933) A high-society dinner party masks a hotbed of scandal and intrigue. Cast: Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Jean Harlow. Dir: George Cukor. BW-111 min.
12:45 PM - Anna Christie (1930) Eugene O'Neill's classic about a romantic prostitute trying to run away from her past. Cast: Greta Garbo, Charles Bickford, Marie Dressler. Dir: Clarence Brown. BW-90 min.
2:15 PM - Smilin' Through (1932) A young woman falls in love with the son of an old family enemy. Cast: Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, Fredric March. Dir: Sidney Franklin. BW-98 min.
4:00 PM - Lady For A Day (1933) A gangster helps an old apple-vendor pose as a society woman to fool her visiting daughter. Cast: May Robson, Warren William, Guy Kibbee. Dir: Frank Capra. BW-96 min.
6:00 AM - Murder! (1930) A juror who had voted to convict a murder suspect tries to prove someone else did it before the execution date. Cast: Herbert Marshall, Norah Baring, Miles Mander. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock. BW-100 min.
4:00 AM - Riptide (1934) A chorus girl weds a British lord then falls for an old flame. Cast: Norma Shearer, Robert Montgomery, Herbert Marshall. Dir: Edmund Goulding. BW-92 min.
12:30 AM - Glorious Betsy (1928) Jerome Bonaparte romances Baltimore debutant Elizabeth Patterson. Cast: Dolores Costello, Conrad Nagel, John Miljan. Dir: Alan Crosland. BW-80 min.
5:00 AM - Sweepings (1933) A man spends his life building a successful business to pass on to his kids who are uninterested. Cast: Lionel Barrymore, Eric Linden, William Gargan. Dir: John Cromwell. BW-80 min
6:30 AM - Flight (1929) A Marine flyer and his flight school mentor fall for the same beautiful nurse. Cast: Jack Holt, Lila Lee, Ralph Graves. Dir: Frank Capra. BW-112 min
8:30 AM - Ladies of Leisure (1930) A wealthy artist faces family pressure when he falls for a model with a past. Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Ralph Graves, Lowell Sherman. Dir: Frank Capra. BW-100 min.
10:15 AM - Rain or Shine (1930) A young woman inherits her father's financially troubled circus. Cast: Joe Cook, Joan Peers, Louise Fazenda. Dir: Frank Capra. BW-88 min.
11:45 AM - Dirigible (1931) Romantic rivals vie to be the first to fly to the South Pole. Cast: Jack Holt, Ralph Graves, Fay Wray. Dir: Frank Capra. BW-100 min.
1:30 PM - Platinum Blonde (1931) A heartless heiress seduces a hard-working reporter into a disastrous marriage. Cast: Robert Williams, Loretta Young, Jean Harlow. Dir: Frank Capra. BW-89 min.
3:00 PM - Miracle Woman, The (1931) A phony faith healer fights the temptation to go straight when she falls for a blind man. Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, David Manners, Beryl Mercer. Dir: Frank Capra. BW-90 min.
4:45 PM - American Madness (1932) A banker fights to keep his independence and protect his customers. Cast: Walter Huston, Pat O'Brien, Kay Johnson. Dir: Frank Capra. BW-76 min.
6:15 PM - Forbidden (1932) On an ocean voyage, a librarian falls for a married man. Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou, Ralph Bellamy. Dir: Frank Capra. BW-85 min.
8:00 PM - Penthouse (1933) The mob frames a lawyer for murder, so he enlists a call girl's help in finding the real killer. Cast: Warner Baxter, Myrna Loy, Charles Butterworth. Dir: W.S. Van Dyke II. BW-89 min.
9:45 PM - When Ladies Meet (1933) A female novelist doesn't realize her new friend is the wife whose husband she's trying to steal. Cast: Ann Harding, Robert Montgomery, Myrna Loy. Dir: Harry Beaumont. BW-85 min.
6:15 AM - Crowd Roars, The (1932) A race-car driver tries to keep his brother from following in his footsteps. Cast: James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak. Dir: Howard Hawks. BW-70 min.
6:00 AM - Their Own Desire (1929) A young couple's affair is complicated by her father's relationship with his mother. Cast: Norma Shearer, Robert Montgomery, Lewis Stone. Dir: E. Mason Hopper. BW-65 min.
7:15 AM - Big House, The (1930) An attempted prison break leads to a riot. Cast: Chester Morris, Wallace Beery, Robert Montgomery. Dir: George Hill. BW-87 min.
8:45 AM - Strangers May Kiss (1931) A sophisticated woman risks her marriage for love of a ruthless schemer. Cast: Norma Shearer, Robert Montgomery, Neil Hamilton. Dir: George Fitzmaurice. BW-81 min.
10:15 AM - Hide-Out (1934) Farmers take in an injured racketeer and try to reform him. Cast: Robert Montgomery, Maureen O'Sullivan, Mickey Rooney. Dir: W.S. Van Dyke II. BW-81 min.
6:30 AM - Friends And Lovers (1931) A society woman and her husband blackmail the men who flirt with her. Cast: Laurence Olivier, Lili Damita, Erich von Stroheim. Dir: Victor Schertzinger. BW-68 min.
7:45 AM - Westward Passage (1932) An heiress gives up her fortune to wed a poor novelist, then dreams of giving their children the finer things. Cast: Ann Harding, Laurence Olivier, ZaSu Pitts. Dir: Robert Milton. BW-73 min.
12:00 AM - Sailor-Made Man, A (1921) In this silent film, a feckless young man joins the Navy to prove himself worthy of the girl he loves. Cast: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Noah Young. Dir: Fred C. Newmeyer. BW-47 min.
1:00 AM - Shoulder Arms (1918) In this silent film, a private fresh out of boot camp accepts a daring mission behind enemy lines. Cast: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Syd Chaplin. Dir: Charles Chaplin. BW-36 min.
2:15 AM - Big Parade, The (1925) In this silent film, a young innocent enlists for World War I service but soon learns the horrors of war. Cast: John Gilbert, Renee Adoree, Karl Dane. Dir: King Vidor. BW-126 min.
4:30 AM - Lost Patrol, The (1934) A British army troop fights off Arab snipers while holed up in an oasis. Cast: Victor McLaglen, Boris Karloff, Wallace Ford. Dir: John Ford. BW-66 min.
6:00 AM - Laurel-Hardy Murder Case, The (1930) A fishing trip leads Laurel and Hardy to a mansion where a murder has been committed. Cast: Frank Austin, Stanley Blystone, Robert 'Bobby' Burns. Dir: James Parrott. BW-30 min.
6:30 AM - Bishop Murder Case, The (1930) Society sleuth Philo Vance investigates a series of murders inspired by Mother Goose rhymes. Cast: Basil Rathbone, Leila Hyams, Roland Young. Dir: Nick Grinde. BW-87 min.
8:00 AM - Kennel Murder Case, The (1933) Society sleuth Philo Vance investigates a murder tied to a Long Island dog show. Cast: William Powell, Mary Astor, Eugene Pallette. Dir: Michael Curtiz. BW-73 min.
9:15 AM - Dragon Murder Case, The (1934) Society sleuth Philo Vance looks into a murder near a mysterious "dragon pool." Cast: Warren William, Lyle Talbot, Eugene Pallette. Dir: H. Bruce Humberstone. BW-67 min.
2:30 AM - It Happened One Night (1934) A newspaperman tracks a runaway heiress on a madcap cross-country tour. Cast: Claudette Colbert, Clark Gable, Walter Connolly. Dir: Frank Capra. BW-105 min.
12:00 PM - Dancing Lady (1933) A musical star is torn between a millionaire playboy and her stage manager. Cast: Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Fred Astaire. Dir: Robert Z. Leonard. BW-92 min.
12:00 AM - White Sister, The (1923) Thinking her lover was killed in the war, a young woman becomes a nun. Cast: Lillian Gish, Ronald Colman, Gail Kane. Dir: Henry King. BW-143 min.