I’m back with another glimpse of my, ahem, modest silent film 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.
Dragon Painter (1919)
Sessue Hayakawa started producing his own films with the goal of showcasing Japanese culture for American audiences. Most of his pictures are lost but this is one of the exceptions. I have the 2008 Milestone DVD edition.
I was so looking forward to this film… and then I actually got my hands on it. Good lord, it is awful. Don’t do it! I have the 2012 Grapevine version.
Annabell Lee (1921)
This low-budged faux Poe story was shot in Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a pretty dull film but, strangely enough, it’s also my most-plagiarized review. I’m not sure why, it’s hardly my best, but there you have it. I own the 2008 Grapevine edition.
The Holy Mountain (1926)
This is one of those mountain climbing films that were big in Germany in the 1920s. It also stars Leni Riefenstahl, who makes a perfect ass of herself in an unintentionally hilarious modern dance sequence. Should you be annoyed with fascists in your daily life, I thoroughly recommend viewing this scene. I own the 2003 Kino Lorber release.
P.S. I had a bonkers commenting incident earlier this year in which someone got on their high horse about owning any Leni Riefenstahl pictures. For the record, I don’t support banning films and I think whether or not you want to view her filmography for historical research is a personal decision. I own Birth of a Nation and you know how I feel about Griffith. And, please, no “Poor wittle Leni wasn’t a Nazi” in the comments. The ban hammer is primed and ready.
The Eyes of Julia Deep (1918)
Mary Miles Minter is mainly remembered as a player in the William Desmond Taylor case but this is a chance to see her chops as an actress. I own the 2005 Sunrise Silents release. That company is defunct but you can get the film from Grapevine.
A Woman of the World (1925)
I love this film to death! Pola Negri plays an elegant, cigarette smoking, tattoo having countess who ends up in the Midwest. Chaos ensues. This comedy is a delight, as is Negri, who was an experienced comedienne in her German films but was typecast in drama in the U.S.A. I own the Grapevine edition.
Peter Pan (1924)
I must confess that I am pretty meh about this picture, which is probably why I’ve never reviewed it. There is nothing harder to write about in a film review than meh. I own the 1999 Kino release.
The Soul of the Beast (1923)
An abused circus performer escapes into the Canadian wilderness with her Jazz talkin’ elephant, where they are mistaken for the antichrist. I am not making this up. See it, it’s nuts. I have the Sunrise Silents edition, which is out of print. You can get the film from Grapevine.
A veritable who’s who of German cinema, this film is directed by Murnau and stars Emil Jannings and Lil Dagover. I haven’t see it in ages (I think I got it not long after it was released in the US) but I seem to remember it being on the dry side. I have the 2003 Kino edition.
Okay, interesting story here. When Fox announced it was releasing this film, it wasn’t really for sale. You had to buy three OTHER Fox classics at $20 a pop and clip the proofs of purchase, plus some money for shipping and then they’d send you Sunrise. It was all very retro 1950s. I think I bought All About Eve, The Day the Earth Stood Still and A Gentleman’s Agreement. So worth it but weird. Anyway, there’s now a DVD/Bluray combo pack you can just but with money like a normal person.
Well, that’s all for today, kids! I hope you had fun.
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