Digital and Analog Storytelling

The entire history of human expression, slightly abridged

The Painted Lady Vanishes


So there are some pretty serious problems with this as my gif submission for day 1 of the August Animated Gifpolooza Eternum or whatever the Dog and the Doll are calling this end of summer gif thing.

First, you might have guessed (if you know me), that’s not me. That’s Blanche Sweet, a silent-era film actress who starred in a number of D.W. Griffith’s movies including The Painted Lady (where this gif is taken from) and Judith of Bethulia. She’s one of my favorites (I’m slowly working my way through the history of film according to a big World History of Film book that I got out of the Ann Arbor District Library).

The reason that I chose this shot to gif is because the story of the movie (scroll down for the embedded version, well worth the watch, it’s only 15 minutes long or so) seemed to fit with what I felt like were some of the themes possible with a “head disappearing gif,” meaning a loss of identity, a fear of feeling or seeming invisible to other people.

The Painted Lady is about an unnamed woman who, because of her father’s rules, declines to wear makeup or dress up to meet men. Because she doesn’t dress up, men ignore her. The only one to pay any attention to her is a man who is really after information on the woman’s father’s business dealings. After she [SPOILER ALERT] catches him burgling her father’s papers and shoots him (not knowing at the time whom she is shooting), the woman dies of grief. This shot is from the woman’s final moments alone on a bridge, where she imagines meeting her suitor again, miming the motions of their first meeting. Here she looks at the mirror; she is about to flip out, disgusted by her appearance, but here she is still hopeful [END UNNECESSARY SPOILER ALERT].

The second problem is that I wound up making part of the pole behind her disappear, not just her head. When I had the gif in photoshop, though, I mistook that part of the pole for a kind of halo around Blanche Sweet’s head, even though there’s no obvious light source there. I still like that interpretation a little, though, so I didn’t fix it.

Here’s another gif pulled from the movie, and an earlier head-replacement gif that didn’t quite work out like I wanted, and the movie The Painted Lady.


Same As It Ever Was


Get out of the way, dude


2 comments on “The Painted Lady Vanishes

  1. iamTalkyTina
    August 1, 2013

    Hello, Brian.

    It is good that you are watching old movies during your summer. That is a good thing.

    It is good that she does not look sad just because she shot and killed her True Love. It is nice that she looks pretty before her head disappears.

    Plus, all of your pictures are in Black & White and as you well know, I have a fondness for that kind of picture because I once was one.

    Maybe the two Get Out of the Way Dude guys could bonk the middle guy and that would make his head disappear? Just sayin’.

    I know that DW Griffith made old-fashion movies back in the day and I liked to watch that kind when I was young. Maybe that would be a good idea for a theme for ds106 where all the stuff was from the Olden Days. Like before there was audio but that would make for some fairly quiet Audio Assignments. But you know, Little Rascals and Abbott and Costello and The Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy Har Har. Or another time it could be about Hanna Barbara cartoons.

    Plus, Same as It Ever Was is a cool song.

    I am glad you are going to play the Summer 2013 Animated GIF Challenge. And that you will make more Art. You don’t have an Art Lack like @jimgroom.

    Well, Bye!

    • B Short
      August 1, 2013

      Or maybe the theme could be the beginnings of Photography/Radio/Film? I would be way way way down. Thanks for getting the gif-fest going, and for referencing House of Pain (that’s what you’re referencing, right?).

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This entry was posted on August 1, 2013 by in animated gifs, ds106 and tagged , , , , .
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