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.)
Luigi Maggi takes on the decline and fall of Emperor Nero, famed for his inappropriate love of music and his propensity to play with matches. This film was made in 1909 and looks it but it has what the Italians call oomph.
Harry Houdini made his final fiction film appearance in this pulpy little adventure. As the title indicates, he’s a Secret Service agent and is, naturally, on the tail of a gang of international baddies.
Well, this is interesting! A rare surviving example of a “home talent” film from the silent era. Basically, itinerant filmmakers would show up in a town, make a quickie film with an all-local cast, make some money at screenings and then move onto the next town.
Breathtaking undersea photography is merged with overwrought acting and a screenplay that tries to do too many things at once. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is frustrating but ultimately worth the watch for the cinematography.
Mabel Normand directs and stars in this peppy bit of race car comedy fun. A very green Charlie Chaplin is on hand as her jilted suitor and when he tries to sabotage her current boyfriend’s auto race, Mabel, well, takes the wheel.
Fast-paced, quirky and slightly kinky, this early Cecil B. DeMille film deals with a noble Turkish POW and a Montenegrin peasant women on whose farm he works. House Peters is so-so but Blanche Sweet is marvelous.
There are cases where a movie that was rejected by audiences of its day is embraced by modern viewers. This is not one of those cases. Goodness gracious, this Mary Pickford vehicle is so bad that it’s, well, bad.
Readers of this site know that I love me some Ivan Mosjoukine and I think he was a pretty talented fellow. But even the best of us make mistakes and Mosjoukine made a big one with this pretentious mess.