Long before the current day actor Harrison Ford of the Indiana Jones movies, etc. became so famous, there was another actor named Harrison Ford, famous during the silent era of films - - I call him Harrison Ford the original, sometimes Harrison Ford the first. They are not related to each other at all. The earlier Harrison Ford was usually the star of light romantic comedies. Wasn't he lovely?!
Film Reviews - Plot Summaries and Ratings
- A Pair of Silk Stockings (1918) - Silent comedy/bedroom farce about a couple whose marriage is in a rut. Sam Thornhill (Harrison Ford, darling in monocle) wants a touring car but his wife Molly (Constance Talmadge) - who "hasn't been nice to him in a week" - wants a shiny new roadster. Sam gives her money hoping she'll realize how nice he is and go ahead and buy the touring car - she buys the roadster. SOoooo - he comes up with a very misguided idea - he buys this really expensive ermine and sable fur coat (apparently this guy just has oodles of money to burn) for a woman he doesn't even know, then gives it to her as a gift from an "anonymous secret admirer" and leaves the bill out for Molly to see. His plan backfires - hoping Molly will think he turned to another woman only because she hasn't been treating him well - instead she is furious and divorces him! Then the plot really comes loose - with Molly arriving at a house party where guests are, for their amusement, rehearsing an Ibsen play, and Sam is there, disguised in beard and cap for the play. Misunderstandings and mistaken identities ensue as Sam comes up with schemes to win Molly back, Molly spends the night in the bedroom of out-of-town Jack (she was once engaged to him, but now he is engaged to another) and she catches him climbing in the window (missed his train), they both catch a burglar (who is really bearded Sam hiding in the bathroom), tie him up with her silk stockings (and a bag over his head), then have to explain to all what Jack and her were doing in the bedroom together when the burglar "disappears". Yeah, pretty silly - but kept me amused. The film includes a sepia tinted print and piano score by Phil Carli, plus there is a live audience from a Cinesation screening where this was shown, laughing here and there along with the movie. * 7/10 stars *
- Hawthorne of the U.S.A. (1919) - Mildly entertaining silent film about Anthony Hamilton Hawthorne, American (played by Wallace Reid), who breaks the bank at Monte Carlo, then travels through the poverty-stricken kingdom of Bovinia, along with his best pal/sidekick Harry Blake (Harrison Ford). When Hawthorne's cap blows over a high wall, he climbs it and encounters a "lonely little girl", playing make-believe in her dream garden, which for all the world looks just like "The Secret Garden". Well, though described as a "little girl", she is really a very beautiful young lady, played by Lila Lee. He falls in love immediately, then gets caught up in a local revolution to overthrow the king, and the revolutionaries are determined to get Hawthorne to finance this revolution with his gambling winnings! But wait - the twist - the beautiful, lonely little girl is actually a princess, daughter of the king, and about to be forced to marry a Prince from a rival kingdom, a man she hates! I found this film interesting, though thought the plot revolved too much around this "revolution" and not enough about the romance between the characters. The film is boosted up considerably by the three main stars (Reid, Ford, and Lee), who are all very engaging and attractive - all three I would count among my favorite silent era actors. I enjoyed the interplay between the two male leads, they actually seemed like real buddies. The DVD version (from Grapevine) of this I saw featured a quite decent looking print, tinted mainly in a greenish-sepia tone. The music score was also decent, what I would describe as mid-range to pleasant. Enjoyable, light fare. * 7/10 stars *
- The Primitive Lover (1922) - Phyllis (Constance Talmadge), bored with her marriage to handsome Hector (Harrison Ford), fantasizes (as she reads the novel "The Divine Sacrifice" imagining herself the heroine) about the two of them on a raft at sea, and with only enough food and water for two, the third man on the raft sacrifices himself for them. Well, it seems the book she is reading was actually written by her former lover, Donald Wales, who died in the South American jungle after writing the book. Surprise! Newspaper headlines - "Donald Wales Found Alive" - seems he was only pulling a publicity stunt to promote his book. He returns home to her to find she has married his best friend Hector, who Wales claims KNEW about the publicity stunt. Hector agrees to give her a divorce, she moves to Nevada, but doesn't actually WANT the divorce - just goes through with it 'cause she thinks Hector wants it. Ya know - the same old movie miscommunication going on here, where a woman/man decides to marry the wrong person just 'cause they think the one they really love isn't interested. Anyway, Hector follows her to Nevada, meets up with an Indian, and overhears Wales brag that he would love to bring Phyllis to live in the wilderness (as written about in his other book "The Primitive Lover") and show her what love REALLY is. So Hector gets his new Indian friend to help him get Phyllis back, and the next thing you know has Phyllis and Wales forced to live (by gunpoint) in this cabin in the wilderness, while he is in the cabin next door having the Indian secretly doing the cooking, hunting, making fire, etc. to make it look like he's the REAL "primitive lover" and not Wales. This film is quite amusing, especially in the earlier parts (I laughed out loud several times) - it slows a bit for me near the end, but still quite good. Harrison Ford is just so handsome, adorable - with such a nice smile. Swoon - my newest silent crush. The DVD I saw for this is from Unknown Video and features a quite nice looking black and white print, as well as appropriate organ score by Bob Vaughn. * 8/10 stars *
- Up in Mabel's Room (1926) - Silly sort of bedroom farce the main plot of which involves all kinds of people diving under beds and a hunt for an autographed see-thru nightie. It is about a vampish flapper girl (Marie Prevost) chasing her ex-husband (Harrison Ford) who she has filed for divorce from 'cause she caught him buying women's lingerie and he "couldn't explain it" (but now she knows he was buying a gift for HER). At one point she literally chases him around the desk where she plants one on him and he is worried that people will think he is a "swivel-chair sheik"! Pretty good movie, and that Harrison Ford is quite a cutie. Maybe yet another new crush for me, hmmm?! My video of this is from Nostalgia Family Video. The picture quality was medium. The score was pretty so-so - sometimes the music didn't go at all with what was going on in the movie, a few parts it was okay. Probably would have liked this one better with a better score. * 6/10 stars *
- The Girl in the Pullman (1927) - Saw this at a live screening at Cinecon 42 in Hollywood. A fast-paced romantic comedy about a nerve doctor (Harrison Ford) who specializes in quack type treatments such as the "electric cabinet" to treat his victims, um I mean patients. The doctor has a fiancee - he also has an ex-wife (Marie Prevost). When the ex-wife arrives at his office unexpectedly, he escapes by meeting up with his fiancee and her mother at a local hotel for lunch. But the ex-wife ends up there too - in fact, she ends up everywhere the doctor ends up it seems. Chasing him, giving him flirty looks, stalking him - what will the doctor do? He decides to escape by train and marry the fiancee, but what he doesn't know is his previous marriage will not be final for 24 hours. His ex-wife then sets out to get herself on the train and stop the marriage before her ex becomes a bigamist!
This film is a fun farce - what I would call a real comedy of errors, with lots of mix-ups involving our doctor, the ex-wife, the fiancee, her mother, and an ex-boyfriend of the fiancee (amusingly played by Franklin Pangborn) who shows up aboard the train too. I found this film to be quite amusing, especially some of the scenes on the train, including a lot of funny stuff involving two sets of "brides and grooms" and a confused porter, plus a hair-raising runaway train scene filmed on location on a real rail line through a desert rocky mountain pass. Harrison Ford is absolutely adorable in this, I just love him - one of my favorite silent era stars, especially handsome and charming in this film. Marie Prevost is good here too - cute and funny. The two of them specialized in these sort of light romantic comedies, paired together in similar films to this a number of times. A fun romp. * 8/10 stars *
My Most Wanted: Smilin' Through (1922) - I would love to see this.
Trivia and Tidbits
- Harrison Ford was born March 16, 1884 in Kansas City, Missouri - died December 2, 1957 in Woodland Hills, California
- Harrison Ford has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - address: 6665 Hollywood Blvd, in front of the Musso & Frank Grill restaurant.
Links / Resources
IMDb: Harrison Ford - Filmography and mini biography.