Thursday, September 1, 2011

Silent Film Star and Producer: Norma Talmadge.

Norma Talmadge (May 2, 1894 – December 24, 1957), was an actress and film producer of the silent era. A major box office draw for more than a decade, her career peaked in the early 1920s. She is best known for her films:

Smilin’ Through (1922). A silent film based on the 1919 play by Jane Cowl and Jane Murfin, also named Smilin' Through. Cast: Norma Talmadge, Harrison Ford, and Wyndham Standing. It was co-written and directed by Sidney Franklin, who also directed the more famous 1932 remake at MGM. The film was produced by Talmadge and her husband Joseph M. Schenck for her company, the Norma Talmadge Film Corporation. The story was very popular and was filmed twice. Once in 1932 with Norma Shearer and again 1941 with Jeannette MacDonald.

Norma Talmadge, plays a Irish girl who wants to marry the son of the man who killed her uncle's fiancee on their wedding night. Will Family come between true love?

Secrets (1924), is a silent film directed by Frank Borzage. The film is based upon a 1872 opera called Don César de Bazan.

The film opens in the present with a 75-year-old Mary Carlton, who is concerned about her husband John's illness. Mary sits down and begins to read her diary, now the film jumps to 1865 in the time she first fell in love with John but, was worried about her family disapproval of him, because of their social differences.

When her parents find out about their relationship her fears are realized and they forbid her to ever see him again. Her father William locks her in her room. It is not long before she receives a letter from John, who tells her that he has lost his job. Later that night, John sneaks into her room by the balcony and tells her that he is leaving for America and she decides to go with him.

By the time it's 1870, They are very poor even though John works all day. Mary gives birth to a son. One day, a gang threatens to kill John and his family, eventually John defeats the gang.

By 1888, Mary is 39 and is beginning to have contact with her family and they are financially doing better. She is heartbroken when she finds out that John has a mistress, Estelle, who confronts Mary, with the fact she is in love with her husband. Mary gives her husband a divorce, but he doesn't want to leave her. Will they reunite and will John ever recover from his illness?

The Lady (1925). A young woman marries the son of a British aristocrat. Her husband, who has been disinherited by his father, loses all his money gambling in casinos and dies, leaving her penniless and with a son. When her father-in-law tries to get custody of her child, she leaves him with a couple she trusts, but later she can't find the people she left him. Will she ever find her son again?

Fun Facts:

Her younger sisters Constance Talmadge and Natalie Talmadge were also movie stars. Talmadge married millionaire and film producer Joseph Schenck and they began their own production company.

Talmadge was one of the most glamorous film stars of the twenties, she retired a very wealthy woman.

In 1927, Norma Talmadge started a famous Hollywood tradition when she accidentally stepped into wet cement in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater.


  1. Thanks for the fragment of Smilin' Through, a movie I know only by reputation but have never seen. I think I read that it's largely intact but for the missing third reel. Sure wish somebody would put it out even in its incomplete form.

  2. Your welcome, I also, would love to see the silent film, Smilin’ Through. Norma Talmadge, is so beautiful..

  3. Smiling Through is (just about) available and in pretty good condition - apart from that one section.

    I've just watched and posted details on my blog:


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