Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Gratuitous Charles Farrell

So I was looking up Ramon Novarro on the occasion of the 114th anniversary of his birth when who to my wandering eyes should appear is this Charles Farrell chap. I wasn't familiar with him... but that didn't last long. I made it my duty to acquaint myself. I mean, I knew once I saw these pictures of him and Gary Cooper and Leslie Howard hanging out it was meant to be.

Leslie Howard's looking at him exactly how I would have been looking at him (also, Leslie Howard's left hand has disappeared under the table right in the direction my hand would have disappeared while sitting next to these two.)

So Farrell is best known for teaming up with the actress Janet Gaynor in over a dozen films together through the silents and straight through the talkies - their first flick together was 1927's 7th Heaven, which was a big hit and cemented their status as an It couple. They also starred together in a movie for Murnau called City Girl, which I'd very much like to see now.

He and Gaynor worked together so much that everybody thought they were married in real life; he was actually married to the actress Virginia Valli, but nobody cared - their hearts belonged to Charles and Janet.

You do what you gotta, girl. Like I said he didn't have any trouble once films switched to sound, he kept getting work; in the Fifties he moved pretty successfully into television (there was even a short-lived The Charles Farrell Show).

And then in 1953 he became the mayor of Palm Springs, of all things. He kept that job for seven years. He lived all the way until 1990 (and he remained married to Valli until she died in 1968) when he died of a heart attack just a few months shy of his 90th birthday.

Love that scar. And his hair!
His swooping luxurious hair.

Okay enough yapping. If you hit the jump there's over fifty more pictures, including a  delectable hint of pre-code nudity...


joel65913 said...

Along with Gary Cooper and George O'Brien he was one of the great beauties of early film I have also read in a few places that his marriage was a lavender one as was Janet Gaynor's.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see Farrell at the height of his prettiness, I'd recommend watching "Lucky Star," a Borzage film that was the third Farrell and Gaynor made together. I think the general consensus now is that it actually holds up better than "7th Heaven," but not having seen "7th Heaven," I can only say that Farrell is insanely good-looking (and LARGE -- like, his hands are about as big as Gaynor's whole body) in it, and he reaches near Louise Brooks levels of Silent Film Captivation.

Lex said...

I'm an insane Charles Farrell fan! His movies with Janet Gaynor are divine. Apart from Seventh Heaven and Lucky Star, I recommend a little talkie they did called Change of Heart- their last movie together. Ginger Rogers plays a supporting role.

Great picture post :)

Dino said...

One small correction: Farrell's costar in City Girl was Mary Duncan, not Janet Gaynor. Great movie; I highly recommend it.