The Final Round of the Silent Swashbuckler Tournament: Grit and Realism vs. Style and Flair

The final round is here and only two silent swashbucklers remain. The final four, Scaramouche, The Thief of Bagdad, The Mark of Zorro and The Sea Hawk, are all amazing cinematic accomplishments and beloved entertainment but two were knocked out of the running.

Continue reading “The Final Round of the Silent Swashbuckler Tournament: Grit and Realism vs. Style and Flair”

The Dreyfus Affair (1899) A Silent Film Review

Just before the dawn of the twentieth century, movie pioneer Georges Méliès tore one of the biggest stories from French headlines and made a series of biographical sketches in support of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer who was framed for treason and exiled to Devil’s Island. The films themselves are as fascinating as their subject and are extraordinarily innovative to boot.

Continue reading “The Dreyfus Affair (1899) A Silent Film Review”

Kids These Days: A 1923 Survey of Grade School and High School Kids’ Favorite Stars and Movies

A lot of the fan surveys of the silent era were open to all ages, which is great but more specific data is always welcome. The Educational Screen, a top do-gooder film magazine that graded movies as Harmless, Doubtful or Trash and rated my beloved Michael Strogoff as “too exciting” for children under 15, published a survey of students attending Evansville, Indiana schools. I found it quite interesting and wanted to share some of the highlights.

Continue reading “Kids These Days: A 1923 Survey of Grade School and High School Kids’ Favorite Stars and Movies”

Upside-down Chinese Characters, De Luxe Stowaways and Other Movie Mistakes That Annoyed Viewers 100 Years Ago

I think it’s pretty clear by now that silent movie audiences were smart, sharp and perceptive and they were more than willing to call baloney or complain about mistakes that they spotted in the movies. Photoplay regularly published their observations in a dedicated column and here are the selections from June of 1919.

Continue reading “Upside-down Chinese Characters, De Luxe Stowaways and Other Movie Mistakes That Annoyed Viewers 100 Years Ago”

Shelfie: Colleen Moore, Louise Brooks and Stencil Color

I’m back with another peek into my silent movie collection. If you want to catch up on other “shelfie” posts, you can find them here.

I’m based in California, so these films are quite possibly region 1. Readers living outside the region will need to make sure they have a region-free player before grabbing one of these titles.

Continue reading “Shelfie: Colleen Moore, Louise Brooks and Stencil Color”