Hi there, just a quick note to let you know that I am in the process of working under the hood and so the site may not be 100% operational for the next few days. Comments are also not going to be entirely reliable, I will let you know when they are restored to full functionality.
The site should be up and running with a new look and the same great content in a few days. If you have any questions, you can catch up on my Twitter account and I am also making the major site issue posts on Patreon available to non-patrons. (Patrons will get a sneak peek at the new design though.)
See you on the other side, kids!
This iconic costume swashbuckler established Douglas Fairbanks as the king of historical derring-do and made Zorro into THE Zorro.
Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Mark of Zorro (1920)”
Like most of you, 2020 has been shot to hell and I am still picking up the pieces but since we need silent movies more than ever, I have done a bit of rearranging in my schedule.
Continue reading “Theme Month! April 2020: Whirlwind Tour of Europe”
Dark and stormy nights, people buried alive in vaults… Why yes, this is another Edgar Allan Poe adaptation, this time from the French Impressionists and featuring some very grim material indeed.
Continue reading “Jean Epstein’s The Fall of the House of Usher (1928) A Silent Film Review”
Photoplay Magazine had a regular feature in which readers could complain about things in movies that annoyed them. Think of it as the Twitter of the 1920s. Let’s take a look and see what annoyed them in March of 1920.
Continue reading “These Were the Mistakes, Technical Errors, Cliches and Sloppy Scenes that Annoyed Viewers 100 Years Ago”
Well, you can’t do better than this cast: Ronald Colman, Vilma Banky and newcomer Gary Cooper. Very, very nice.
Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926)”
Francis X. Bushman, Jr. discovers that he has a rich uncle—a dead rich uncle—and heads to the family mansion in the Florida Everglades to claim his inheritance. Naturally, there are various suspicious looking characters hanging about, along with things that go bump in the night…
Continue reading “Midnight Faces (1926) A Silent Film Review”
An avant-garde take on Edgar Allan Poe’s famous tale of terror, this short has long been praised as an icon of independent American filmmaking and for its aggressive special effects and cinematography.
Continue reading “Watson and Webber’s The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)”
Mary Pickford and Cecil B. DeMille combined forces for the first time in this romantic melodrama and the results are mixed. Elliott Dexter is a bandit. Mary Pickford is a little lady. Can they find love?
Continue reading “Fun Size Review: A Romance of the Redwoods (1917)”
Rex Ingram dips his toes in horror with this adaptation of the novel by Somerset Maugham. Paul Wegener needs some virgin blood and Alice Terry is the unwilling donor.
Continue reading “The Magician (1926) A Silent Film Review”
Note to villains: If you want get the hero out of the way by framing him, just make sure he doesn’t get the cell next to the old guy who knows where to find a fabulous treasure. Cuz, you know, he may come back for revenge.
Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Monte Cristo (1922)”
It’s not exciting and it doesn’t take place during the course of one night but those are hardly the biggest sins this film commits. Three reels of story in an eleven reel sack, now with added racism.
Continue reading “One Exciting Night (1922) A Silent Film Review”
We’re going into a creepy direction for March! 1920s horror movies with a special focus on Old Dark House pictures and generally spooky abodes.
Continue reading “Theme Month! March 2020: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…”
Today I am going to review yet another volume from the New York Institute of Photography’s silent movie how-to series. This book is a little different from the other works reviewed. While the previous books in the series focused on a specific skill (acting, writing, directing, photography) for would-be professionals, this book teaches the reader how to make an entire silent movie for their own amusement.
Continue reading “Silent Movie Bookshelf: Amateur Movie Making by Herbert McKay”
Photoplay Magazine published a brief series showcasing the top stars of the day in what they considered to be wildly inappropriate roles, calling it “Photoplays We Don’t Care to See.” The illustrations by Norman Anthony are incredibly charming and I am afraid that the series had the opposite effect on me: I do very much care to see these imaginary pictures!
Continue reading “Chaplin as Hamlet? Mary Pickford as Cleopatra? Photoplay Magazines Miscasts the Top Stars of 1920”
Rudolph Valentino, Latin Lover of the screen as a… Russian? Yep, this Robin Hood tale turned out to be an ideal vehicle for him. Valentino is heroic, romantic and surprisingly funny (he had an underused gift for comedy).
Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Eagle (1925)”
Cinema superstar Mae Feather is just a woman who wants to have it all: her career in Hollywood, her boyfriend by her side and her husband dead. This dark showbiz satire was Anthony Asquith’s first film as director.
Continue reading “Shooting Stars (1927) A Silent Film Review”
We’re back with another list of top 10 films as published in the Film Daily. This lists were created by asking top critics to vote on the best films of the year, though wonky release dates sometimes mean that years don’t always match. First, we took a look at 1922 and then on to 1923. Since 1924 cinema just entered the public domain, the time seemed right to showcase the critic’s choices.
Continue reading “The Best Films of 1924 According to Critics of the Time (and most of them survive)”
Epic Alaskan prospectin’ movie that proved all too real for some unfortunate stuntmen. Typical “boy meets girl, boy gets gold fever, will boy get girl back?” sort of story. A bland affair with some highlights.
Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Trail of ’98 (1928)”
A Finnish short film about a young fellow who is just trying to announce his engagement but, alas, everything that can go wrong does. One of the early films of producer/director/screenwriter/actor/studio head Erkki Karu.
Continue reading “The Betrothal of Student Pöllövaara (1920) A Silent Film Review”
This movie should come with a warning label. It is bound to offend the following people:
Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Wizard of Oz (1925)”
- Oz fans
- Silent movie fans
- Carbon-based life forms
A New England schoolmaster takes a job in New York and soon falls in love with the local beauty. But will his romance be ruined by the mysterious Headless Horseman said to haunt the area? Will Rogers stars as Ichabod Crane, the awkward schoolmaster who has a run-in with a headless Hessian.
Continue reading “The Headless Horseman (1922) A Silent Film Review”
Hey there. I usually post reviews on Sunday but today is Oscar day and every time I have posted a review on Oscar day, the traffic has been a bit sad. As a result, I will be putting off my review of The Headless Horseman (1922) until tomorrow. I’m pretty excited about it and want it to get the best exposure possible.
Continue reading “Oscar Delay”
As we know, nitpicking movie mistakes is not a new hobby and Photoplay Magazine had an entire feature that published the snarky letters of sharp-eyed moviegoers. Let’s take a look at February of 1920.
Continue reading “Here Are the Tropes, Cliches and Sloppy Mistakes that Annoyed Moviegoers 100 Years Ago”
I know there are a lot of Valentino fans who have been waiting for this one! Blood and Sand was one of his biggest hits and its HD debut via Kino Lorber is most welcome.
Continue reading “Unboxing the Silents: Blood and Sand Bluray”
Cecil B. DeMille’s debut film is pretty rough going. Crude, stereotyped and more than a little confusing, it still boasts some strong ingredients.
Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Squaw Man (1914)”
Helen Keller joined celebrities like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb in portraying herself in the story of her own life and the resulting movie is a push-pull between Keller’s socialism and her desire to create a more symbolic picture and the producers wanting a commercial smash.
Continue reading “Deliverance (1919) A Silent Film Review”
It’s that time again! Every year, I ask my readers to offer up suggestions and every year I select a month’s worth of silent films from these suggestions.
Continue reading “Theme Month! February 2020: Reader Requests”
John Barrymore is Sherlock Holmes, college student. Our callow detective is soon matching wits with Professor Moriarty and romancing Carol Dempster. Less mystery and more romance.
Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Sherlock Holmes (1922)”
William Haines plays Jack, a shipping clerk with enough golf skills to wow all the rich swells at the local country club. He falls head over heels for Allie (Joan Crawford) but knows he must marry a rich woman in order to maintain his lifestyle on the links.
Continue reading “Spring Fever (1927) A Silent Film Review”