I love stories about the old Hollywood. One of the film community’s highest treasured talents remains Carla Laemmle. She’s never really been a huge star, but at the age of 15 she was cast as a dancer in The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and she also appeared in Dracula (1931). As the niece of Universal Pictures founder Carl Laemmle, she had a unique insight into what Hollywood was like in the early days. A few days ago she celebrated her 103rd birthday at the Cinefamily Silent Film House Theater where clips from her career were screened. Watching The Phantom of the Opera on a big screen is of course a treat… but these days anyone can see it on YouTube. The whole movie is included above.
The clip below is an interview with Laemmle, conducted by Leonard Maltin during the TCM Classic Film Festival last April, prior to a screening of Dracula where she had some of the earliest lines in talking pictures. She’s fascinating to listen to, and let’s hope she manages to stick around for a while longer.