Director Alice Guy’s tearjerker short about a little girl trying to save her older sister still earns more than a few sniffles today.
Mr. Flip is a series of sketches that all revolve around the same theme: Ben Turpin annoys, gropes or otherwise harasses women trying to do their jobs and the women retaliate with the items they have to hand: the manicurist stabs him in the backside with scissors, the bartender squirts him with seltzer, the waitress smashes a pie into his face, etc.
A British adaptation of an eighteenth century play with powdered wigs and lace cravats aplenty. Oh, and a very young Basil Rathbone as the resident cad, bounder and rogue.
A wastrel is ruining his family with his free-spending ways and it looks very much like he dates women who show their ankles. However, he falls asleep in the family portrait gallery and his ancestors climb down from their portraits to set him straight.
Ukrainian author Nikolai Gogol’s gloriously funny story about a disembodied nose would seem to be unfilmable and yet the husband-wife animation team of Claire Parker and Alexander Alexeieff managed to create a brilliant silent short.
Paul Leni didn’t make many Hollywood films before his untimely death but the few he did make are pretty darn amazing. The Last Warning isn’t famous but it deserves to be, a delightful blend of German directing virtuosity and American star power.
A live-action adaptation of Winsor McCay’s trippy comic strip about the perils of consuming too much cheese toast. Director Edwin S. Porter pulls out every trick in his bag to create a mad little short that proved to be a smash hit for Edison.
A delightfully weird trick film about a man who wants to smoke and the little fairy who is determined to ruin this activity for him. A very young Gladys Hulette stars as the mischievous fairy and she is as irresistible as ever.
Ernest Shackleton is famous for getting himself shipwrecked in Antarctica and then emerging alive with his entire crew. But did you know he had a cameraman with him during the journey?
A charming bit of early sci-fi from René Clair. A small group of people in Paris discover they are the only moving things in a world that has suddenly frozen in place. They respond by looting but are soon bored with material goods.
Alice Guy pokes fun at the hip and stylish beverage of her day: absinthe. Despite its druggy reputation, the gag of this short film is that the customer drinks the extremely concentrated beverage undiluted.
Elinor Glyn’s story of love among the smart set is adapted to the screen as a silent film with talking sequences and the results are mixed, to say the least.
The classic children’s book comes to the screen courtesy of America’s Sweetheart, Mary Pickford, and the lavish production design is fun to see.
An American production team shooting in Ireland with a screenplay based on a true crime scandal that fascinated the entire nation… Who said silent films were boring?
Ruth Ann Baldwin wrote and directed this western comedy about a forty-niner who wants to relive the good old days. As an added bonus, there’s quite a bit of footage shot in San Diego’s Balboa Park.
Have you ever gone into a movie not expecting much and ended up being delighted? That’s the case here. Tiger Rose isn’t on anybody’s best-of lists but it’s a fun, solid Mountie flick and that ain’t nothing.
Thomas Edison decided that movies were okay but what everybody REALLY wanted was a talkie short. Alas, this was the 1910s and silent features were actually the way ahead. That being said, this is a perfectly serviceable miniature musical.
Quite possibly one of the most controversial silent films, this little picture has been responsible for billions of pixels worth of rants. My opinion?
A mixed bag of a comedy about a young lady who falls for a hypochondriac. What to do? Obviously, hire a retired boxer to kidnap him and make a fighter of him. Yeah, I can see no flaws in this plan.
A perfectly solid little Mountie flick with a hero (Jack Perrin), a kid, a dog and a genius horse. It’s one of those revenge B-pictures, you know the type if you’ve seen enough classic era westerns, but it works.
Secret and not-so-secret messages are an important storytelling ingredient and silent movies delivered them with rare flair.
D.W. Griffith intrudes on the domain of Lubitsch and von Stroheim with this romance of Mitteleuropean nobility. The results are as inconsistent as the camera work but Lupe Valez waltzes off with the picture.
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.
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.
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?)
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.)
Prince Tonio decides that he’s sick of princing, so he runs away to San Francisco, poses as a sailor and falls in love with a singer named Fluffy, as one does.
This low-budget action film still manages to be a ton of fun thanks to a talented cast and smart use of the movie’s Jacksonville location. It’s a rare surviving Norman film with an all-black cast, which is an added bonus.
Douglas Fairbanks plays a fellow whose life has gone so wrong that he decides to end it all. Lacking the courage to do the job himself, he hires a hitman to do it for him. But then he gets his girlfriend back and money and success are his! And the hitman can’t be contacted for a cancellation. Oops.
The American Revolution is the backdrop of this romance starring Robert Warwick and Gail Kane. It purports to tell the tale of Nathan Hale, schoolteacher-turned-spy whose quotable quote is still quoted wherever quoters quote. (Even if he may not have actually said it.)