Mack Sennett’s winning duo of Arbuckle and Normand were dispatched to interact with the ongoing exposition in San Diego and chaos ensued, naturally. Arbuckle’s flirty ways anger Normand and she’s not someone you want to get angry.
Few directors have a feature debut as promising as John Ford’s. While the story isn’t much to write home about, Straight Shooting has gorgeous cinematography, good acting and a showdown that remains one of the best in the history of westerns.
One of the first comedy stars and one of the first movie stars, period, Max Linder was still going strong in the 1920s and this droll comedy was released for the American market. What it lacks in consistency (it feels like three shorts stitched together) it more than makes up for with the personality of its star.
This production’s main claim to fame is that it was shot on location in Egypt and the Holy Land pre-WWI and the scenery is admittedly impressive but there are other interesting features.
One of the better silent Our Gang comedies, this cute little short features the kids stumbling into a crook’s hideout. The villains try to scare the tykes away by faking a haunted house and hilarity ensues.
If you like a little humor with your dead bodies (and who doesn’t?) then this mystery comedy is for you. While it doesn’t reach the heights of Paul Leni’s work in the genre, it does have one ace up its sleeve: Raymond Griffith.
This solo comedy from Snub Pollard is delightfully strange and displaying that light Hal Roach touch that comedy fans know and love. Pollard is probably most famous as Harold Lloyd’s sidekick but he does pretty well for himself in the starring role.
Can Charles Ray make the baseball team? If you’ve seen any sports movie, you know the answer.
Charley Chase wants to marry Martha Sleeper but first he has to finagle his way out of an arranged marriage… to Martha Sleeper. Chase feigns insanity and terrorizes the neighborhood, including Oliver Hardy.
This is possibly one of the most beautiful films William S. Hart made and so it is appropriate that it is also the first Hart film available in HD. The cinematography and gorgeous tints are absolutely breathtaking.
Lon Chaney plays a ventriloquist-turned-criminal mastermind who robs from the rich with help from his sideshow pals. Just as bonkers and just as much fun as you might imagine.
A flirty wife. A jealous husband. A band of lusty pals. A sinister puppeteer. What could possibly go wrong? And remember, this is a German film so the answer is pretty much everything. Murder most Teutonic.
In 1910, the Seine river flooded and Paris found itself looking more like Venice. Fortunately, nobody died in this disaster and film crews were on hand to capture surreal images of flooded streets.
Independent filmmaker Oscar Micheaux takes on religion in this melodrama. Only a handful of his films are extant and this is one of them. It’s also of particular interest because it stars Paul Robeson in dual roles as a scheming fake minister and a shy suitor.
Georges Méliès presents the story of a homicidal gentleman with a suspiciously-hued beard. This is a pretty gory take on the infamously gory fairy tale, though are some signature moments of Méliès lightheartedness.
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.