I recently watched a William S. Hart movie in which his character is named Robert Evans, which is a huge departure from his usual movie monikers. He’s usually called Wolf or Blue Blazes or Buckskin or something. In light of that, I thought I would dust off the William S. Hart name generator.
I always enjoy receiving suggestions from my readers and so I thought it would be fun to ask you to choose the theme of an upcoming month.
Exactly one century ago, Photoplay magazine published a two page spread of movie actors they deemed particularly dishy. Let’s have some fun and examine the cuties of yesteryear.
“Back in the good old days, people took responsibility and didn’t engage in silly behavior!”
Well, not so fast. Not if the movies are to be believed, anyway.
Here’s some exciting news for comedy fans: Kino is releasing two of W.C. Fields’ silent comedies today! While his voice is iconic, it’s fascinating to see what he could do with pantomime. Oh, and one of the films features Louise Brooks.
This groundbreaking work of science fiction is… not really science fiction. It has sequences on Mars and iconic alien designs but most of the film is actually about an embezzlement scheme in the Soviet Union.
Felix is having trouble making ends meet in the modern world (trash has entirely few bones for a start) and so he asked Father Time to send him to another era. However, a stint in prehistoric days soon has our bold tuxedo cat ready to return to the Jazz Age.
I’m back with another peek into my silent movie collection, a nice (I hope) selection of silent crowdpleasers 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.
“An old black and white silent movie.”
The phrase trips off the tongue easily but it’s really inaccurate. Color was an integral part of the cinematic experience from the very beginning and the various methods of recording or adding hues are fascinating.
Movies Silently has turned nine! It’s almost a tween! Aww!
Marcel Perez was born in Spain but his film career was truly international. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, Ben Model’s Undercrank Productions has released a second volume of this forgotten comedian’s work.
Low budget westerns were the bread and butter of Hollywood, both big studios and denizens of Poverty Row churned them out by the truckload. I’ve seen and enjoyed many of them but this Art Mix production is just a bit too cheap even for me.
A rare and beautiful animated film that makes use of the pinscreen, which essentially creates engraved images for the screen. A time-consuming technique but the results are worth it.
I’m still a bit annoyed about people still spreading the myth that silent movies were full of damsels. Well, I found this spiffy 1918 Photoplay article about the ladies of silent cinema packing iron. Neener neener.
Somebody just wrote yet another old movie article that gets the silent era wrong. Never mind where, just know that apparently silent movie actresses had two options: damsels-in-distress or wide-eyed young virgins.
I’m cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook and you’re invited to come along. This time, we’ll be trying a recipe with an unusual ingredient from a performer on the stage and screen.
When it comes to silent films, the score is even more important than it is in talkies. A good score can save a mediocre film while a bad one can ruin even an excellent motion picture. But let’s talk about the best of the best.
Animation can sometimes seem like a boys’ game but there have always been talented women who created astonishing films using both traditional and unorthodox techniques. We’re going to be celebrating the women who worked with animation and pantomime during the month of March.
This film is grade-A, unadulterated junk food and thank goodness! This movie is pure fun, amiably corny and absolutely bonkers. The major setpiece involves a prosecutor flashing back to a Roman orgy (?) in the middle of a trial! (Lawyers, have you ever done this? How did it go over?)
A miller loses his livelihood and self-respect when he descends into alcoholism, egged on by his business partner who just happens to own the local bar. A rare chance to see a performance by Charles Gilpin and one of only two films made by the Colored Players Film Corporation of Philadelphia to survive.
Let me continue the tour of the process of creating a cover for a silent movie on DVD. I shared my inspirations for the cover design and then discussed color and typefaces. This time, we’re going to look at the process of distressing and generally making the thing look like a real antique.
Welcome back! I am taking a little detour from my mission to cook every recipe in the 1929 Photoplay cookbook in order to bring you this little recipe from 1915. The author, Robert Cain, is all but forgotten but I have to tell you that it’s no exaggeration to say that this recipe has taken over my life.
There are many, many things to love about silent films but one thing that doesn’t get discussed a whole lot is how WEIRD so many of them are. Well, I think it’s time that we discuss it, don’t you?
Silent movies are full of wonderful cats but there are also quite a few amazing dogs. (Just don’t tell the cats. On second thought, it doesn’t matter, they won’t believe you anyway.)
Norma Talmadge plays an artist’s model who gives herself a bit of chemical stimulation and soon convinces the artist (Tully Marshall) to do the same. Addiction and degradation ensue in this social melodrama. (Drug addiction was a hot topic for silent films, along with a whole list of other social issues.)
Sam Robinson plays a ne’er-do-well who is on the run from the police and ends up in a Chinese laundry. Chaos obviously ensues and much laundry is destroyed in the process. A rare surviving comedy from the infamous Ebony Film Corporation.
Here’s a title that has been eagerly anticipated, at least by the silent movie fans I pal around with. It’s an iconic western epic with an all-star cast and a dedication to authenticity. I give you The Covered Wagon on Bluray!
Lots and lots and lots of silent movies being released soon! I’m just going to cover what’s out now and what’s coming up imminently. Hold onto your wallets!
Let me continue the tour of the process of creating a cover for a silent movie on DVD. Last time, I shared my inspirations for the cover design. This time, we’re getting down to brass tacks and discussing color and typefaces.