We pride ourselves on the quality of our readership — sassy, knowledgeable and invariably intelligent. Thus, the latest examples from our reader e-mail bag:
Betty Corp takes us to task because we introduced our Jan. 20 blog (JOHN GILBERT — Shouldda Never Have Talked?) by stating that few would mourn the death of the silent film star 80 years ago this January. Little did we know.
Writes Betty: I feel that the authors were lacking in research and knowledge. To say that there a few in mourning is so incorrect. Just check Facebook to see just how popular and loved Jack is.
His great acting in the silent films is what got many of us hooked not just his sultry films with (Greta) Garbo. (That’s Greta and Jack pictured above.)
Having seen many of his talking films proves that his voice was fine.
If the authors had bothered to do real research rather than write him off as a failure they would know that it was a combination of circumstances that ended his career.
Actually, Betty, we really did research our Gilbert blog before writing, and note in it the comments of at least one critic who found the actor’s work wanting. And, we also note that Gilbert’s end at MGM was a result of multiple factors. Many voices in early sound films had scratchy qualities. By 1934 in Queen Christina (above) Gilbert’s voice seemed lower.
On the same subject, this from Monique Robitaille:
I have talked and written a lot about John Gilbert in my life, particularly about this aspect of his life. He is one of my favorite actors and I truly believe his performances in sound films, even the ones with lousy scripts and cheap-looking sets, are always excellent.
He raises above the material with ease at all times, in my opinion. It sadly makes all of it only more heartbreaking.
Reading old fan magazines from the 1930s has shown me that most of his fans thought the same as me at that time. His voice sounds perfectly fine to me and to all the people to whom I have shown his sound films.
John Gilbert has a unique screen presence and intensity that make him one of the greatest movie stars in history. I cherish every second he spent in front of a camera, even if I would much rather have seen his talents put to better use.
Thanks to Betty and Monique. Keep those cards and letters coming.