John Barrymore romps through medieval Paris playing a character best described as Robin Hood + Rabble-Rouser + Bugs Bunny. His pranks cause him to run afoul of the crown. Conrad Veidt (in his American debut!) plays the king as a superstitious, nose-picking goblin.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Beloved Rogue (1927)”
Ignored upon initial release, this smart drama has since built a following among silent movie fans and for very good reason: it’s excellent.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Canadian (1926)”
Raised aboard ship, Leatrice Joy feels it is high time to stop being a sailor and get herself a fella. Armed with magazine relationship advice, she goes ashore and sets her cap at the first man she sees, William Boyd. Leatrice shanghais him but soon has bigger problems when pirates invade her ship.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Eve’s Leaves (1926)”
Norma Talmadge plays a Chinese maiden (hoo boy) who falls for American diplomat Thomas Meighan. It’s, um, well… It sure is something. I am sorry, China. I am so, so sorry.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Forbidden City (1918)”
Bonkers script? Check! Purple title cards? Check! Weird plot? Check! Tons of quality entertainment? You bet! Cecil B. DeMille’s wacky time travel romance makes absolutely no sense but that is all just part of the fun.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Road to Yesterday (1925)”
Rough and rowdy, this movie is Lubitsch before he finished developing his signature touch but it’s still an amiable romp about a wayward husband, a clever wife and a very naughty chambermaid.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Merry Jail (1917)”
Buckles are swashed in a most lavish manner. Lewis Stone plays an Englishman who must take his look-alike cousin’s place in order to save the throne, etc. etc. but Ramon Novarro steals the show as a deranged dandy. It’s easy to see why this was his breakout role.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Prisoner of Zenda (1922)”
Sometimes goofy, sometimes creepy, occasionally romantic but always entertaining. Rudolph Valentino is a sheik who falls for an Englishwoman, Agnes Ayres. What do you do when the lady you love thinks you’re a creep? Kidnap her and confirm all her suspicions, of course!Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Sheik (1921)”
The first screen adaptation of Chicago was a silent film and a rather saucy one at that. Phyllis Haver is on fire as the heartless Roxie Hart, who shoots her lover and spends the rest of the film attempting to game the legal system in order to get off scot-free.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Chicago (1927)”
Mary Pickford’s dark, rotting slice of Southern gothic is one of her finest films. It is also the last time she would play a child, one of her filmmaking signatures, and so it marks the end of an era but what a way to go.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Sparrows (1926)”
Director Mel Brooks makes a silent movie about a director named Mel making a silent movie. You have to admit that’s pretty meta.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Silent Movie (1976)”
Harry Carey is a soft-hearted sheriff who switches identities with an incarcerated criminal so that said criminal’s pretty sister (Mildred Harris, yay!) will not know of her brother’s disgrace. Before you can say “Luke and Leia” poor Harry has fallen for his “sister” and all sorts of complications follow.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Beyond the Border (1925)”
One of the most popular and witty plays of the nineteenth century gets the silent treatment– and the stencil color treatment! This Italian-French co-production is possibly the most beautiful silent film ever made. Its costumes and sets are glorious but it also has a talented cast to give this beauty some brains.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Cyrano de Bergerac (1925)”
A classic and old-timey tale of romance and revenge that has been filmed often but rarely this beautifully. But is it enough?Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Lorna Doone (1922)”
Famed soprano Geraldine Farrar proves she doesn’t need her pipes to be an impressive Carmen. Wallace Reid, in an uncharacteristically dark role, expands his acting chops as a deranged Don Jose.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Carmen (1915)”
More fun than a barrel of lizards! This is one of the grandest special effects fests of the silent era. The plot involves a group of intrepid scientists who discover dinosaurs on a remote plateau, so you know this will have lots of prehistoric fun.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Lost World (1925)”
Pola Negri and Ernst Lubitsch team up once again in the deranged comedy that sends up romance, adventure and Hollywood.
Pola is a bandit girl. Paul Heidemann is a ladykiller army officer. She captures him and steals his pants. He chases her all over a Dr. Suess-ian fortress. Oh, it’s a mad film and it loses its way a bit in its quest to be bonkers but Pola has never been more fun!
How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.
Read my full-length review here.
If it were a dessert it would be: Trix Cereal Crunch Cake. Loud, zany and slightly psychedelic. May induce headaches on some days. On others, it may be just what the doctor ordered.
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Not based on any work by Edgar Allan Poe (despite what some sources may tell you) but a suspenseful tale of madness and murder that Poe would likely have found very much to his taste.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Bells (1926)”
Nell Shipman is a woodlands lass who must battle a rather determined stalker who is obsessed with her. Nell fights back with wilderness wiles, assorted firearms and a dog named Wapi. (And behind the camera, she was responsible for much of the film’s tone and content.)Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Back to God’s Country (1919)”
A rare treat from Dorothy Gish’s solo career, as most of her 1910s films are lost and few are available on home media. It’s a story of life in the tenements and it’s all fun and games until someone starts a counterfeiting ring.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Gretchen the Greenhorn (1916)”
Jimmy Valentine cracks safes for a living. He’s good at it. He likes it. However, the law takes a different view and it’s off to Sing Sing. (Yes, it was shot on location.) Beautifully photographed, as is typical for a Maurice Tourneur production, and the amount of non-glamorized violence may surprise newcomers to 1910s filmmaking.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Alias Jimmy Valentine (1915)”
William S. Hart gets dark (well, darker than usual) in this western revenge yarn. He is supported by Anna Q. Nilsson, whose sensitive performance does much to enhance the picture.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Toll Gate (1920)”
No relation to the Tracy-Hepburn vehicle of the same name but a fun little domestic romp for Cecil B. DeMille nonetheless. Milton Sills and Anna Q. Nilsson deal with her affair while their daughter, Pauline Garon, chases her friendly neighborhood paleontologist (Elliott Dexter), who just wants to put his brontosaurus together.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Adam’s Rib (1923)”
It’s not just a musical! Kismet was a stage play and a silent film first. This version stars popular theatrical leading man Otis Skinner. It’s surprisingly good (silent Hollywood was rather hit-and-miss with Arabian Nights-style tales) thanks largely to the enthusiasm of Mr. Skinner. The rest of the cast overacts shamelessly but he still manages to steal the show.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Kismet (1920)”
Really delightful newspaper picture starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (still a teen and trying to forge his own career outside of his father’s gigantic swashbuckling shadow) and directed by Frank Capra, whose career was really firing up.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Power of the Press (1928)”
The plot in one sentence: Daddy, buy me a prince right now!Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Oyster Princess (1919)”
I unabashedly loved every madcap, bonkers second of this Russian-themed romance and I think everyone owes themselves at least one viewing. Is it authentic, accurate or logical in any way, shape or form? No, it is not. And that is why it is wonderful.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Tempest (1928)”
This movie is sick. I’m just getting that out of the way now. All the content warnings in the world. Lon Chaney stars, Tod Browning directs. Could it be anything but twisted? I also kind of love it.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: West of Zanzibar (1928)”
As far as costume swashbucklers are concerned, this is one of the greats. It has everything: fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, chases, escapes, true love, miracles. And all of it anchored by a really excellent performance by leading man Milton Sills, who specialized in these kinds of brawny feats of derring-do.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Sea Hawk (1924)”
Rex Ingram and company show us the French Revolution in style! Ramon Novarro (in an exceedingly fine performance) is a vengeful lawyer turned actor turned swordsman turned revolutionary. Busy fellow, yes? Lewis Stone is his wily aristocratic opponent and turns in one of the best performances of his career by playing against type.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Scaramouche (1923)”