Sometimes a wonderful thing happens once a film is in the can. The marketing department takes over and creates printed materials that, if you’re lucky, accurately reflect the style and content of the picture you’re about to see. And if you’re really lucky, the posters and one sheets of a particular movie transcend mere communication and stand on their own as works of art. Here are twenty-five movie posters from the silent era where message and mode combine to make something extraordinary.
Entries in blood and sand (2)
Alla Nazimova dies of a coronary thrombosis in Los Angeles, 1945. The Russian-born actress established herself on stage in Moscow and St. Petersburg before heading to America, where, in 1906, she made her Broadway debut. She remained a wildly popular stage star for the next several years, with dramas by Ibsen and Chekhov her specialty. Though initially a hit in movies, Nazimova’s overall work on screen was more of a mixed bag. Early roles tended towards the outlandish and lustful, and audiences ate her up in pictures like Revelations (1918), The Red Lantern (1919) and Camille (1921). Her success was tempered considerably when she began to produce her own films—a handful of daring abstractions that left critics and audiences cold. After My Son in 1925, she took a break from moviemaking until the early 1940s, when she made a spate of five films that included Escape (1940), as Robert Taylor’s mother, and Blood and Sand (1941), as Tyrone Power’s mother. She left on a high note, a small part in the critically acclaimed wartime drama Since You West Away (1944).
In 1919, at the height of her film popularity, she purchased a Spanish-style home on Sunset Boulevard that sat on 2.5 acres between Crescent Heights and Havenhurst. Dubbed The Garden of Alla, a reference to the similarly titled 1905 novel The Garden of Allah by Robert S. Hichens, the home would become a key destination for the era’s Hollywood party people. In 1926, financial problems led her to construct 25 villas on the property and convert it to a residential hotel, which underwent a slight spelling change in 1930 when Nazimova sold it to Central Holding Corporation. The Garden of Allah, as it was now designated, became temporary lodging for many famous folk, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Marlene Dietrich, Artie Shaw, Buster Keaton, Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart and Ernst Lubitsch. In 1938, Nazimova, returned to the property and rented out Villa 24, where she lived until her death.
The Garden of Allah was operated by a succession of various owners throughout the thirties, forties and fifties, with final owner Bart Lytton, owner of a savings and loan company, demolishing home and surrounding villas in 1959 to make room for a bank.