Lon Chaney is at his Chaney-iest in an early hit as solo lead. He plays a criminal mastermind who had his legs amputated below the knee when he was a kid. This did not amuse him and he wants revenge. And hats. Lots and lots of straw hats. How else will he take over San Francisco?Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Penalty (1920)”
Lon Chaney and Tod Browning made evil music together in ten films. This was the first. Chaney’s not the star but, unsurprisingly, he pretty much steals the show.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Wicked Darling (1919)”
Tyrone Power, Sr. made the jump from stage to screen and this is one of his earliest surviving roles. The plot is just nuts in that unique, unvarnished 1910s kind of way.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Sweet Alyssum (1915)”
A South Seas vehicle for flapper-in-the-making Clarine Seymour, who died soon after filming was completed. She’s the best thing about the film and basically too good for it.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Idol Dancer (1920)”
Gloria Swanson has a problem. Her husband, Thomas Meighan, has purchased her a negligee! The degenerate! And he listens to fox trot music, if you please! Thomas is soon driven into the waiting arms of Bebe Daniels. Realizing her mistake, Gloria dons designer duds in a bid to win him back.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Why Change Your Wife? (1920)”
Would-be opera singer Corinne Griffith accidentally gets a job in a girly show. Rescued by seamstress Louise Dresser, the pair escape to Monte Carlo. Passing herself off as Louise’s aristocratic daughter, Corinne falls for rich boy Charles Ray. But how long can Louise and Corinne keep up the act?Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Garden of Eden (1928)”
If you asked me to pick just one movie that perfectly captured the spirit of romanticized rural America, it would be this one. Richard Barthelmess gives the performance of a lifetime as a gentle lad who faces a coldly brutal world and is forced to grow up overnight.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Tol’able David (1921)”
Norma Talmadge: single girl in the big city. Her bosses think that her duties include… well, let’s just say she has to slap a few of them. An idea! She disguises herself as a frump for her next job.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Social Secretary (1916)”
An author takes a job writing tales for the figures in a wax museum. What could possibly go wrong? Other than being dragged into his own nightmare world, of course.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Waxworks (1924)”
D.W. Griffith offers adventure, romance, exotic climes, a leering camera and Carol Dempster to the viewing public. The viewing public says: “Thanks but no thanks.” Carol is a zany teen determined to save her father from a murder charge in this kitchen sink (as in everything but) caper.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Love Flower (1920)”
Frank Capra is very Capra in this spunky rom-com with a social message. Viola Dana is a tenement beauty determined to marry money. Ralph Graves is a rich wastrel who meets Viola, falls for her and marries her the same night. Everything would be fine except that Ralph’s father disinherits him and Viola is back at square one.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: That Certain Thing (1928)”
Murder is afoot and I dare say that this is one movie Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and Marjorie Allingham would all approve of as it is very much in the classic mystery style.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Charlatan (1929)”
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)”