Monday, 9 June 2014

Norma Talmadge (1894-1957) - Mind the Concrete !

Another American film actress from the golden era of Hollywood's silent era. She was one third of the "Talmadge Sisters" with her younger sisters Constance and Natalie.

After looking at the etching on the right, you would not be surprised to learn that she specialised in the tragic melodramatic roles whilst her sisters were cast in more comic roles.

Initially Norma's career was based in the New York City studios of Vitagraph before leaving for Hollywood !! She produced many of her own films, especially those after 1919. Norma's career reached a peak in the early 1920's with such films the 1922 picture "Smilin' Through" and "Secrets" in 1924.

During this period her popularity was amongst the highest of the American screen idols. Sadly, as with so many of the silent stars her career faded with the coming of talkies. She acted in two talkies but both were disappointing at the box office.

Talmadge married the millionaire film producer Joseph Schenck and together they founded their own production company. Which I think was called the "Norma Talmadge Film Corporation" with their first film being the 1917 picture "Panthea" Despite her failure to conquer the early talkies she retired a very wealthy lady. After retiring she shunned the trapping of stardom preferring to go unnoticed. It was reported that she told eager fans who were pressing her for an autograph as she left a restaurant, "Get away, dears. I don't need you anymore”.

In 1956, she was voted by her peers as one of the top five female stars of the pre-1925 era, but was too ill to travel to Rochester, New York to accept her award and after suffering a series of strokes she died of pneumonia on Christmas Eve 1957. At the time of her death, her estate was valued at more than $1,000,000. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Norma has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1500 Vine Street.

Have ever seen the foot print and signature in the concrete outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard ?? Well, this tradition was all started by accident when on the 18th of May 1927 Norma stepped in some wet concrete !! all apparently by mistake - the rest is history.

Filmography (probably not complete)

1910 - The Household Pest
1910 - Uncle Tom's Cabin
1910 - Love of Chrysanthemum
1910 - A Dixie Mother
1910 - A Broken Spell
1911 - A Tale of Two Cities
1915 - Captivating Mary Carstairs
1915 - The Battle Cry of Peace
1915 - The Crown Prince's Double
1916 - The Missing Links
1916 - Martha's Vindication
1916 - Going Straight
1916 - The Devil's Needle
1916 - The Social Secretary
1916 - Fifty-Fifty
1917 - Panthea
1917 - The Law of Compensation
1917 - Poppy
1917 - The Moth
1917 - The Secret of the Storm Country
1918 - The Ghosts of Yesterday
1918 - By Right of Purchase
1918 - De Luxe Annie
1918 - The Safety Curtain
1918 - Her Only Way
1918 - The Forbidden City
1919 - The Heart of Wetona
1919 - The New Moon
1919 - The Probation Wife
1919 - Dust of Desire
1919 - The Way of a Woman
1919 - The Isle of Conquest
1920 - She Loves and Lies
1920 - A Daughter of Two Worlds
1920 - The Women Gives
1920 - Yes or No
1920 - The Branded Woman
1921 - Passion Flower
1921 - The Sign on the Door
1921 - The Wonderful Thing
1921 - Love's Redemption
1922 - Smilin' Through
1922 - The Eternal Flame
1923 - The Voice from the Minaret
1923 - Within the Law
1923 - Ashes of Vengeance
1923 - The Song of Love
1924 - Secrets
1924 - The Only Woman
1925 - The Lady
1925 - Graustark
1926 - Kiki
1926 - Camille
1927 - The Dove
1928 - The Woman Disputed
1929 - New York Nights
1930 - Du Barry, Woman of Passion

Art work by Ann Brockman (1899-1943)
As she was major star many great photographs and films stills are easy to find and many of her films date from a period when advertising graphics were created by graphic artists, sketching, drawing and painting, rather then the use of artified film stills.
This cover was painted by
Margery Edna McMein (1888-1949)


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