All work and no play makes for some very dull silent movies. Fortunately, the films were filled to capacity with assorted activities, from chess matches to boxing.
Lotte Reiniger’s legendary animated feature film The Adventures of Prince Achmed includes a shot of a chess game in progress. Note the details of the animation as the chess piece is set down.
Another chess game in the charming Soviet short Chess Fever. In this case, both a suspect and the policeman trying to catch him are completely sidetracked by a tiny portable chess board.
Charlie Chaplin cuts the cards as only he can in The Immigrant. In all fairness, this is kind of how I shuffle as well.
Poor Charles Ray is the sick oyster they are referring to in The Pinch Hitter. He’s a country boy who just wants to join the college baseball team, darn it.
One curious trope of silent cinema is the belief that young American women loved nothing more than a good boxing match. Yiddish stage legend Molly Picon stars in East and West.
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