More merch for you to enjoy! This one is a minimalist proclamation of our chosen area of geekery: classic movies.
A rather strange film about a yachtsman who discovers that the woman he loves is about to marry another… so he bandages his face and tricks her into marrying him instead? Mm-kay. This is one of those Sheik pictures, isn’t it?
Some exciting releases on the horizon (and on the shelves now) for silent film fans so let’s get started!
Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day and what better way to celebrate this most important occasion than by bringing out some piratical silent movies?
I’m back with another peek into my silent movie collection, a selection of mysteries and programmers this time. If you want to catch up on other “shelfie” posts, you can find them here.
I’m based in California, so while these films might be region-free, they are quite possibly region 1 or region A. Readers living outside the region will need to check their equipment before purchasing.
Lon Chaney plays a ventriloquist-turned-criminal mastermind who robs from the rich with help from his sideshow pals. Just as bonkers and just as much fun as you might imagine.
Harold Lloyd is terrified of women but makes up for it by writing about his romantic conquests conquering vamps and flappers with skill. (In his own mind, anyway.) Then he meets a real, honest-to-goodness Jobyna Ralston and falls head over heels. Can he overcome his girl shy ways and find true romance?
Why Do They Do It? was a regular feature in Photoplay Magazine that allowed readers to write in with complaints about tropes, mistakes and annoyances at the movies.
These selections are from the September 1918 issue and feature complaints about the weather, stockings and day-for-night shooting. My comments follow in italics, the header text was part of the original publication. As always, I will make a note if the film in question is currently available on home video.
I started writing about silent films on the internet in March of 2009. That means March of 2019 will be my ten-year anniversary, which is kind of mind-boggling. Well, I mean, not the fact that such a stretch of time equals ten years, just that I have been at this for so long!
Last week, I asked readers to vote on which “essential” silent film title would get voted off the island. Well, here are the results.
Things get so silly sometimes that you just have to let out a giggle. Silent movie stars excelled in all sorts of expressions but most charming of all, perhaps, is the silent movie giggle.
A flirty wife. A jealous husband. A band of lusty pals. A sinister puppeteer. What could possibly go wrong? And remember, this is a German film so the answer is pretty much everything. Murder most Teutonic.
Hey, let’s have some fun! We’ve all talked about silent film casting wish lists and this is taking things to a whole new level.
David Balfour (Raymond McKee) sets out to claim his inheritance in 18th century Scotland but his greedy uncle has other ideas. One kidnapping later, David finds himself on the run with a Jacobite rebel (Robert Cain). One of those weeks, apparently.
Just a few news items this time but I think they’re pretty amazing.
It’s an essential part of Hawaiian music but the ukulele was so popular on the United States mainland in the 1910s and 1920s that “with ukulele arrangement” became ubiquitous on sheet music of the period. The movies followed right along with major stars strumming the cute instrument.
Last year, I asked readers to share their favorite hidden treasures, obscure silent films that are nonetheless delightful.
In 1910, the Seine river flooded and Paris found itself looking more like Venice. Fortunately, nobody died in this disaster and film crews were on hand to capture surreal images of flooded streets.
It seems there has been a lot of bad news lately and while I don’t usually remark on current events, it seems that people can use a little pick-me-up.
Two children have a sick kitten but they know exactly how to cure what ails it. A very sweet little British short that makes good use of this new-fangled “close-up” thing.
Great news! I am giving away five paperback copies of How To Film Moving Pictures in the 1910’s so read on to find out how you can enter to win one of these copies!
This is a collection of talkies from 1913. What’s that? Everyone says The Jazz Singer was the first talkie? Well, gather round, m’dears, and we shall hear the tale of the pre-WWI talkie war.
Welcome back! I have been cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook but I sometimes take detours. In this case, I will be preparing a recipe from a 1950 recipe book that Bebe Daniels co-authored entitled 282 Ways of Making a Salad and it features recipes from both British and American stars. The star in the case was a silent veteran who was one of the first and biggest television stars at the time.
Silent Film Twitter was recently in a tizzy (I was as tizzed as anyone) about an article that suggested most of the best silent films survive so why shed tears for lost films? This is, of course, all kinds of weird (I would have thought the recovery of lost films would be the least controversial topic for this prickly fandom) but it did give me an idea for an absolutely evil and ruthless poll.
Well, wouldn’t you?
Independent filmmaker Oscar Micheaux takes on religion in this melodrama. Only a handful of his films are extant and this is one of them. It’s also of particular interest because it stars Paul Robeson in dual roles as a scheming fake minister and a shy suitor.
Opera legend Enrico Caruso tried his hand at being a movie star in this film. He plays two roles: a penniless sculptor and a famous opera singer.
Silent films are most associated with their title cards, though not every silent film had them and some directors tried to use as few as possible. Still, let’s go for the art’s signature element and share our favorites.
Welcome back! In this series, I discuss the careers of silent movie personnel during the talkie era. In this case, director Henry Hathaway, who worked his way up from chair boy (more on that later) and assistant director in the silents to major studio director in the talkie era. The film in question is Rawhide, a relatively underrated western with more in common with gangster films than other oaters.
Lots of new releases, some of them have been on our wishlists for years! Let’s dive in.