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Saturday, February 14, 2009

John Gilbert in His Glorious Night 1929

We've all heard the stories about John Gilbert's voice in His Glorious Night 1929 -the often repeated ones about how his voice was high pitched/didn't match his on-screen personality/was sabotaged by MGM to ruin his career, etc., etc. This film, Gilbert's third talkie, was said to mark the beginning of the end of his career. Here is a short excerpt from His Glorious Night taken from the public domain documentary Hollywood: The Fabulous Years 1962 by David L Wolper and available at Although very brief, this excerpt gives some indication of how Gilbert's voice sounds in the film. To me his voice sounds about the same as it did in The Hollywood Revue of 1929 - not at all bad.

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Blogger will said...

Hollywood studios of that era squished careers over both petty and big stuff.

Chances are insults, sex, booze or public embarrassments were somehow part of his demise.

We'll probably never know what really transpired.

12:24 AM  
Blogger Raquel Stecher said...

I agree, John Gilbert's voice sounds fine in this clip and I didn't notice anything strange when I saw Hollywood Revue of 1929.

Thank goodness for the Internet Archive eh?

1:03 PM  
Blogger jtk said...

Hi Bill,

True, we'll probably never know. I do have serious doubts about his voice being a big factor in his downfall, though. I'd like to pinpoint when the 'voice' rumors started. I dont know if it began with his contempoaries in fan mags and reviews or started after his death and was helped along in books and the film Singin' in the Rain and documentaries like Hollywood: The Fabulous Era.


10:30 PM  
Blogger jtk said...

Hi Raquelle,

I'm not sure if this clip is the scene that was parodied in Singin' in the Rain or not. He says I love you a few times but he's not over the top. I don't recall any complaints about his voice in Hollywood Revue. Gilberte sure didnt have the voice issues Charles Farrell hada the dawn of sound.

The Internet Archive is the best site ever - I think.


10:37 PM  
Blogger katieobscureclassics said...

It's a shame Gilbert's career fell apart the way it did. I recently watched Downstairs and found him to be positively electrifying in it.

Also, I wanted to let you know that you're one of the blogs I've passed the Premio Dardos award to.

2:20 PM  
Blogger jtk said...

Hi Katie,

Yes! Downstairs is an underappreciated gem and Gilbert was excellent.

Thank you very much! I will work on a post passing the award along.


3:27 PM  

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