The results are in on the poll I posted last week! I asked readers to share which extras they liked best.Continue reading “Poll Results: Readers Share Which Extras They Like Best”
I recently ran a poll on Twitter to find out which silent era color process people preferred and was somewhat surprised to see how many voters opted for black and white. This led me down a bit of a research rabbit hole and here we are. How did black and white become THE choice for older films even though silent films were awash with tinting, toning, hand-color, stencil color, natural color and assorted other color processes?Continue reading ““Please Post This in its Original Black and White Form” or, How Tinting, Toning and Hand Color Have Been Lost to Modern Audiences”
A few years back, I made a list of five silent films that I considered the worst things I had reviewed on this site. Almost four years have passed since that time and my list has changed quite a bit. Now there are eight.Continue reading “Movies Silently’s Eight Worst Silent Films”
Movies about movies have always been popular and this film holds particular interest because it contains numerous scenes of motion picture production in Fort Lee, New Jersey. It also is a rare look at Doris Kenyon in a starring role with the added bonus of Leatrice Joy in a supporting role.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: A Girl’s Folly (1917)”
Harry Carey plays a western sheriff who heads to San Francisco to collect his inheritance. While there, he falls in love with a sexy cat burglar (Lillian Rich) and infiltrates her gang so that they can get hitched, as one does.Continue reading “Soft Shoes (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Movies are a national pastime in the United States but that was not always the case. Motion pictures, especially ones dealing with crime, were considered low, vulgar and harmful. When he launched his first movie theater, Louis B. Mayer had his wife and daughters prominently present to show that films were suitable for women and children.Continue reading ““YOU attend those vulgar moving picture shows?” Cartoon Defenses of Filmgoing from 1911″
Alice Guy directs a domestic comedy about jealous spouses and their attempt to live together using the silent treatment.Continue reading “A House Divided (1913) A Silent Film Review”
While physical media is not as popular as it once was, it is still the best resource for silent films and companies like Criterion and Flicker Alley are releasing some loaded DVDs and Blurays that are little treasure boxes of bonus content.
Lots of exciting stuff being released, including several items that are common to see tie in with talkies but are quite rare for silent films. Let’s dive in!
One of the things I like best about silent films and particularly silent films of the 1910s is that many cinematic tricks were not yet invented and so real towns were burned, real ships were launched and real locations were used. That being said, this 1919 article credited to Norma Talmadge gave me pause as she talked about being beaten onscreen.
Pola Negri and Ernst Lubitsch teamed up for the first time in this curious mashup of Orientalist melodrama and romantic comedy. While the screenplay doesn’t always do its cast favors, Negri’s charisma is undeniable.
A man strikes down his brother in a fit of rage and things are looking bad… until a burglar conveniently shows up to have the crime pinned on. The one time having your house robbed is convenient…
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.
I have been knee-deep in research about 1910s stars and one thing that struck me was the number of big, big names I have never seen on celluloid. Oh, stills exist but silent stars can’t really be appreciated properly until you see them move.
Since 2013, I’ve made a tradition of looking back at the top American film industry stars of the previous century but this year will be a little different. I don’t have results from a fan magazine contest to help me out so I am going to rely on a smaller contests and a good deal of context.
Comical and semi-comical lists of studio lingo were always popular fare in movie magazines. Here’s one from a 1928 issue of Photoplay.
Today, we’re going to be looking at two of F.W. Murnau’s lesser-known films, which are being released as a double feature on Bluray by Kino.
Not the famously lost Theda Bara vehicle but still quite interesting in its own right. Star Helen Gardner wielded enormous creative control and even designed her own costumes.
Gilbert Anderson was better known as Broncho Billy but he hangs up his spurs in exchange for some lockpicks in this drama about a burglar and an abusive husband.
When the concept of projected films took off in the mid-1890s, there was a corresponding boom of inventors who hoped to use the new technology to create everything from virtual reality to shooting games. In the case of “Motographic Target Shooting” the idea was to combine the realism of film with the then-popular shooting gallery.
We’re going to be very larcenous in February because we’re going to be examining silent films that prominently feature theft and particularly breaking and entering as a major plot element. Put on your masks and striped shirts!
I fell down a bit of a research rabbit hole the other day and ended up finding all kinds of examples of distressed dudes tied to train tracks for actual, honest-to-goodness suspense. This amused me no end, of course, and I naturally tweeted about it.
In 1916, Motion Picture Magazine published a fan-sourced list of motion pictures that they “deemed fit to live to a green old age.” Lists like these are always enlightening because they show that viewers living in 1916 or 2019 have absolutely no idea what will last. Some of these movies are indeed still known today, some for the wrong reasons, and some were forgotten soon after this list was made. Let’s see what we can learn.
I left my house and went to a talking picture theater, where I obtained tickets to see Stan & Ollie. This review is a bit of a cheat because, while Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were paired during the silent era, the film does not go earlier than 1937.
Exactly what it says on the tin and that’s the problem: garters and failed engagements were hardly scandalous by the mid-1920s. The idea that Charles Ray would move heaven and earth to retrieve a garter he gifted to Gertie (Marie Prevost) was seen as a bit of a stretch even during the film’s initial release.
Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew are at it again in this newly-discovered domestic comedy about a tattletale husband and the way the women in his life punish him for his snitching ways.
Both viewers and filmmakers in the 1910s were well aware that movies were turning a corner and becoming THE popular entertainment of the general public. Naturally, many debates as to how to move forward were underway. Probably the most famous and important was the question of censorship but other issues were also controversial.
When discussing The Birth of a Nation, one defense that sometimes crops up is that the film is significant because it was the first film screened at the White House. The main problem with this claim is that it is demonstrably false. Cabiria was screened for Woodrow Wilson the year before and the circumstances under which he saw Birth are quite shady. (I cover the details in my extensive article.)
I have been regularly choosing my reviews to correspond with theme months since 2013 and I thought I would talk about how I select my themes and why I feel that theme months have helped me expand my knowledge.
There once was a site on the web
That showed love for films on the ebb
Though you never would know it
The site loved its poets
The rhymsters abound, sheik and deb