A tale of love in ancient Greece, penned by Shakespeare and squashed down to ten minutes by the Vitagraph film company. We get the expected drug-toting fairies, forbidden love and dudes with donkey heads.
Carole Lombard joins the Sennett Bathing Beauties in a beach baseball game but is attacked by aggressive crustaceans. Hey, it’s a living.
There was this train robbery… and it was great!
Seriously, this film is often listed as the first movie with a plot or the first movie, period, neither of which isn’t true at all. The Great Train Robbery‘s real claim to fame is as one of the first American blockbusters.
Charley Chase is charming as heck in this cute little comedy about a husband and wife who secretly get plastic surgery and then attempt to have an affair– with one another!
Scandal! The heir to a fortune has married a bareback circus rider (Norma Talmadge) and his family is just having kittens about it! Doesn’t he realize that his bride has (whisper) worn tights?
Grand fun to be had with this violent French western. Yes, French. It’s basically a Coyote-Roadrunner cartoon with real bullets.
Mae Murray stars as the devil of the title, a nice Irish girl who pretends to be bad to land a job on the stage. Rudolph Valentino (under two tons of pale greasepaint) is her nice Irish boy love interest. Oh brother.
I know what you’re thinking but this film involves absolutely no body parts hidden in luggage. Sorry.
Tarzan’s very first film appearance, this movie stars Elmo Lincoln, silent movie strongman and THE Tarzan to movie audiences until Johnny Weissmuller showed up.
Arrrr, mateys! Piratical goings-on meet the Jazz Age in this perfectly deranged comedy. Rod La Rocque is the descendant of a famed pirate who must marry or lose his inheritance. Mildred Harris is an heiress who has the only copy of a will written on her back. Snitz Edwards is in pursuit armed with a sponge. Told you it was nuts.
An aggressively unfunny “comedy” with just two claims to fame: it features a very young Joan Crawford (with her own eyebrows!) and it is the picture that got William Wellman fired from MGM. Frankly, I don’t blame them one bit.
A cute concept that collapses under the weight of too many characters (21 in the opening credits!), too many plot threads and too many false climaxes. Marion Davies is utterly charming as an Irish girl who poses as her own brother to claim an inheritance but she is crushed under the leaden story and unimaginative direction. Also, steamships. Go head. Ask me anything about steamships.
Yes indeed! A 2015 animated silent movie with synchronized score and sound effects. It didn’t make much impact in the USA when it was released but you really should check it out if you like silent comedy and/or great animation. (The characters’ movements were based on Buster Keaton and Jacques Tati.)
An ending in search of a story, The Last Command is gorgeous to look at but hasn’t a brain in its pretty head. William Powell and Emil Jannings try their darndest but the film simply isn’t as smart or as deep as it thinks it is.
What a delight! Everything I love about French silent cinema (the style, the wit, the visuals) combined into one delightfully deranged package. We have attempted murder by poison, firearm and drowning, madness and the clever use of technology to track down the perpetrator.
What happens after Happily Ever After? Cecil B. DeMille, master of the modern fairy tale, attempts to answer the question in a story of two couple cross class and economic lines in the name of true love.
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Richard Barthelmess plays a shattered WWI veteran who tries to bury himself in the country. He finds unexpected love when a marriage of convenience turns into a love match, thanks to that enchanted cottage of the title.
One of the icons of silent comedy in one of his most iconic films. Yes, I am referring to Charlie Chaplin in The Gold Rush, aka The One with the Edible Shoe and the Roll Dance.
Poland’s biggest silent film star in one of her rare Polish films! Pola Negri plays a young woman who runs away from home and finds more trouble than she bargained for in the big city.
Jealousy, madness, murder, trapeze acts. Welcome to E.A. Dupont’s stylish melodrama, famous for unchaining its camera and allowing the audience to leap and spin with the acrobats.
Director Boris Barnet could and did make heaver fare but few of his pictures are as charming as this one. Plus, we get to see the much-maligned Anna Sten showing us what she could really do when people weren’t trying to turn her into Marlene Garbo 2.0.
The good news: Richard Dix wins a flashy car in a raffle. The bad news: Richard Dix wins a flashy car in a raffle. The car in question, you see, seems to have a jinx and Dix needs to win a race with it. Oh dear.
Think genre mashups are a new invention? Think again! This French epic blends historical drama with science fiction and the results are pretty satisfying. You gets swords, ballrooms, puffy dresses and robots, what’s not to love?
Marion Davies throws herself into this wacky comedy about a young woman who is undeniably second place in her mother’s affections. She responds by acting out and delightful chaos ensues.
Marion Davies directed by Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle should have been comedy gold but this Dutch-themed picture trips over its own sabot and never recovers.
Constance Talmadge and Ronald Colman star as an unhappily married couple on the verge of a breakup. What he doesn’t know, though, is that his mousy wife has a sexy identical twin.
Love! Honor! Furry hats! Intense staring! I think we have some Russians in the house.
While serials have the reputation (sometimes deserved) of being sloppy affairs, this French-Russian series turns the genre into art. Gorgeous cinematography, imaginative stunts, genuine suspense and an enthralling plot lift this serial head and shoulders above the competition.
Cecil B. DeMille spent the first two-and-a-half years of his directing career overseeing westerns, romances, comedies, crime dramas and a couple of flicks set in Montenegro but Joan of Arc was the subject of his first true epic.
Sessue Hayakawa stars as the San Francisco Tong’s deadliest hatchet man but then he is called upon to assassinate a fellow with an incredibly beautiful daughter. I bet you’ll never guess what happens instead!