Fun Size Review: The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926)

 winning of barbara worth

A western. Starring Vilma Banky and Ronald Colman. Only in the silents, eh? This is the story of how water was brought to the Imperial Valley and it also concerns the romance of Vilma’s Barbara. She just can’t decide between Ronald Colman and Gary Cooper. Poor lamb. I am sure a large section of the audience would kill for that plight. Well-produced but rather bloated. The climactic flood is justly famous.

If it were a desert it would be:

(via Pillssbury)
(via Pillssbury)

Lemon Curd Jumbo Pie Cupcakes. Very bright, very yellow, a bit overdone but generally a good thing.

You can read my full-length review here.

Recommended

Fun Size Review: Lorna Doone (1922)

lorna doone

A classic tale of romance and revenge set in Restoration Scotland. Sumptuously directed by Maurice Tourneur and starring the popular Madge Bellamy and John Bowers, the story manages to both drag and move too quickly. It’s gorgeous to look at but ultimately a bit of a bore. Worth seeing for the cinematography. And no, cookies do not figure into the plot at any point.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via the Food Network)
(via the Food Network)

Chocolate Chip Shortbread. The lily is thoroughly gilded, painted and otherwise over-buttered.

Read my full-length review here.

Recommended

Fun Size Review: Her Night of Romance (1924)

her night of romanceConstance Talmadge is an heiress who means to evade fortune hunters. Ronald Colman is a penniless aristocrat in need of a rich marriage. I think we all know where there is going. They end up having to fake being married. Now we really know where this is going. Colman is charming, if hampered by not being able to employ his famous velvet voice. Talmadge mugs a bit but does all right. A romantic comedy by the numbers.

If it were a desert it would be:

airheads
Still kinda like them.

Airheads. Light and not terribly memorable.

You can read my full-length review here.

Fun Size Review: The Hessian Renegades (1909)

hessian-renegades1776! Spies! Hessian aggression! And all in a tidy, one-reel package. Mary Pickford plays a Colonial miss who helps get a message past some very determined redcoats after her brother (a messenger/spy) is killed. Not a masterpiece from director D.W. Griffith (who was in his second year on the job) but fast and amusing. Plus, we get to see Pickford disguise herself as an enemy soldier. That’s worth something, right?

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via Munchkin Munchies)
(via Munchkin Munchies)

Disguise cookies. Little trifles but amusing and ideal for budding spies.

You can read my full-length review here.

Recommended

Fun Size Review: The Bells (1926)

bellsNot based on any work by Edgar Allan Poe (despite what DVD cases may tell you) but a suspenseful tale of madness and murder. Heavily influenced by German cinema. Lionel Barrymore is a tormented murderer while a pre-fame Boris Karloff is on hand as the Caligari-esque investigator. Well-made but marred with weak motivations. Worth seeing for Barrymore and Karloff.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via allrecipes.com)

Pumpkin Dump Cake. While tasty enough in its own right, it relies on mixes and processed foods instead of its own ingenuity.

You can read my full-length review here.

Fun Size Review: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)

dr jekyll and mr hyde

John Barrymore rocketed to super-stardom with his bold double performance in this horror classic. Chews scenery and throats with equal relish. Perhaps a bit too much at times. He is ably supported by Martha Mansfield (Jekyll’s fiancee) and Nita Naldi (Hyde’s mistress). The makeup is justly famous, as are the spectacularly creepy visual effects.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via lemondropfoodie.blogspot.com)

Dark Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes. It’s a cookie! It’s a cupcake! It’s light! It’s dark! One thing’s certain: it’s a classic.

Read my full-length review here.

Fun Size Review: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Poster

One of the most influential and popular silent films, Caligari is also spectacularly weird entertainment. From the expressionist sets to the powerful acting to the slippery plot, this film is a unique experience from beginning to end. Often imitated, always references but never equaled.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via marthastewart.com)

Black Lagoon Cocktails. Dark, mysterious and more than a little disturbing. May mess with your head.

Read my full-length review here.

Fun Size Review: Oh Doctor! (1925)

oh-doctor

Reginald Denny plays a hypochondriac who is being bilked out of his inheritance by swindlers. Things go awry when Denny falls for his pretty nurse (Mary Astor) and becomes an adrenaline junkie in order to impress her. What if he dies before the swindlers can collect? Hilarious situation comedy and charming lead actors make this a forgotten gem.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via tasteofhome.com)

Soda Cracker Chocolate Candy. Seems safe enough for an invalid but packs a sugary punch.

Read my full-length review here.

Fun Size Review: Don Juan (1926)

don juan

John Barrymore is the famous lover who likes his ladies in both quality and quantity. He genuinely falls for Mary Astor’s virginal damsel and ends up incurring the wrath of the Borgias. The costumes are a visual banquet of the gorgeous and the bizarre. The famous duel is worth the price of admission but there is a lot of hamminess and overwrought love-making to get through as well.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via seriouseats.com)

A 27-Layer Rainbow Cake. Quantity and variety but maybe a bit too much.

Read my full-length review here.

Fun Size Review: The New York Hat (1912)

new-york-hat

It’s the story of an impoverished teen, a kindly minister, gossipy neighbors and a $10 hat. Griffith spins an alluring confection of small town America that both satirizes and celebrates the culture. Lionel Barrymore and Mary Pickford are excellent as the innocent pair who find themselves the subject of slander.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via allrecipes.com)

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites. Short, sweet, classic.

Read my full-length review here.

Fun Size Review: Friends (1912)

friends

Henry B. Walthall is a slick miner. Mary Pickford is the local lady of the evening. Lionel Barrymore is Henry’s rootin’-tootin’ pal. Both guys like Mary but who will win the day? This is a short subject from D.W. Griffith extolling the virtues of male friendship. Some very fine acting from Mary.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via justapinch.com)

Gold Rush Cake. There’s gold in them thar hills.

Read my full-length review here.

Fun Size Review: A Modern Musketeer (1917)

modern-musketeer

Douglas Fairbanks is a human hurricane in this action-comedy. Obsessed with adventure novels and too wild for his home in Kansas, he finds adventure and romance in Arizona. Villain to vanquish? Check! Damsel in distress? Check! Things to leap from? Check and check! Fairbanks’ stunts are fun and his personality is first rate! The Grand Canyon scenery is an added bonus. Lightweight but well worth the view.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via ghirardelli.com)

Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans. A bundle of energy wrapped in a sweet package.

Read my full-length review here.

Fun Size Review: The Mark of Zorro (1920)

mark of zorro poster

Zorro slashes his Z onto the silver screen for the first time and Douglas Fairbanks is the man who created the role. Funny, energetic and jam-packed with clever stunts. An ideal lightweight action/comedy and a perfect introduction to Fairbanks.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via bhg.com)

Mocha Tres Leches Cake. Caffeinated, wildly popular and with a somewhat complicated pedigree. But nothing can change the fact that it is delicious!

Read my full-length review here.

Fun Size Review: The Prisoner of Zenda (1922)

(via Silent Hollywood)
(via Silent Hollywood)

Buckles get swashed in a lavish manner. Lewis Stone plays an Englishman who must take his look-alike cousin’s place in order to save the throne, etc. etc. Ramon Novarro steals the show as a deranged dandy. Has fine passages but also has some incredibly boring stretches. Lavish direction from Rex Ingram and some first-rate performances make this one worth seeing,

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via The Guardian)

Devonshire Splits. Old-fashioned, polite, attractive and ever so slightly dull. Still pretty enjoyable, though.

Read my full-length review here.

Fun Size Review: The Wildcat (1921)

wildcat

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. A little too mad, in fact. But Pola has never been more fun!

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via Pillsbury)

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.

Click here to read my full-length review.

Fun Size Review: The Idol Dancer (1920)

(via Flickr)
(via Flickr)

A South Seas vehicle for flapper-in-the-making Clarine Seymour, who died soon after filming was completed. D.W. Griffith makes the most of his scenery and poses some interesting religious and ethical questions but nothing really pays off. Too many reused elements from his earlier films and about 30 minutes too long. See it for the lively Seymour and an uncharacteristically dark turn from Richard Barthelmess.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via Betty Crocker)

Pineapple Upside-Down Mini Cakes. Cute but a whole lot of canned goods involved.

Click here to read my full-length review.

Fun Size Review: Tol’able David (1921)

tol'able-david

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. Contains violent passages yet it maintains its sweetness. Simple yet packed with symbolism. This one is a classic for a reason.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via The Food Network)

Maple Glazed Donuts. Thoroughly New World. It may seem like an old hat but it is done so well that it’s a revelation.

Read my full review here.

Fun Size Review: The Cradle of Courage (1920)

cradle-of-courage-william-s-hart

William S. Hart hangs up his cowboy hat in this cops-and-robbers tale of post-War San Francisco. Hart is a veteran and ex-crook who comes back from his doughboy stint a changed man. The robber is now a cop and he is forced to investigate his old friends and his own family. Good enough but no classic. Worth it for vintage footage of San Francisco.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via recipe.com)

Rocky Road Ice Cream. You got your cool stuff, your dark stuff and your fun stuff. An old hat but welcome all the same.

Read my full-length review.

Availability

The Cradle of Courage has been released on DVD-R by Grapevine.

Fun Size Review: The Eagle (1925)

Valentino, the Great Slavic Lover!
Valentino, the Great Slavic Lover!

Valentino’s career was revitalized by going… Russian? Yep, this Robin Hood tale turned out to be an ideal vehicle for him. Valentino is heroic, romantic and surprisingly funny (he had an underused gift for comedy). Essentially a dress rehearsal for Son of the Sheik. Vilma Banky was a marvelous leading lady but the show was thoroughly stolen by Louise Dresser as a man-eating Catherine the Great. A film for anyone who thinks they don’t like Rudolph Valentino.

If it were a dessert it would be:

champagne-trufflesChampagne Truffles. Sparkling and sophisticated yet fun-loving.

Read my full-length review here.

Availability

The Eagle has been released on DVD by Image.

Fun Size Review: Monte Cristo (1922)

Monte Cristo 1922 John Gilbert Estelle Taylor

Monte Cristo 1922 John Gilbert Estelle Taylor

Note to villains: If you want get the hero out of the way by framing him, just make sure he doesn’t get the cell next to the crazy old guy who knows where to find a fabulous treasure. Cuz, you know, he may come back for revenge.

It has a pre-Great Lover John Gilbert and Estelle Taylor playing a good girl for once. It is a little rushed but overall a pretty dern good adaptation.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(food.com)

Butterscotch Banana Muffins. A little bit of added flavor but generally stays close to the classic.

Read my full-length review here.

Recommended

Fun Size Review: The Garden of Eden (1928)

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? Bubbly, zany and thoroughly Jazz Age, this romantic comedy is a wacky blast of fun. Don’s miss this proto-screwball.
Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Garden of Eden (1928)”

Fun Size Review: Mantrap (1926)

Clara Bow takes on both Ernest Torrence and Percy Marmont in this battle of sexes, classes and generations. City girl Clara has married backwoodsman Torrence in haste and is at the “repenting in leisure” stage. Things perk up when Marmont shows up and Clara shows him just what made her the IT Girl. Sassy, brash and funny as anything, this film is an ideal showcase for Bow, who manages to steal the show from everyone.

Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Mantrap (1926)”

Fun Size Review: Ella Cinders (1926)

It’s Cinderella for the 1920s! Colleen Moore is a put-upon waif who enters a motion picture beauty contest and wins. She finds fun, fame and fortune in Hollywood but who will be her Prince Charming? Colleen has never been cuter. Features some excellent sight-gags (including the famous and acclaimed eye-crossing scene) and a cameo from Harry Langdon.  Beloved for a reason.

Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Ella Cinders (1926)”

Fun Size Review: The Cheat (1915)

Cecil B. DeMille-helmed tale of sordid revenge. Fannie Ward dips into the Red Cross funds to gamble on the stock market and loses all. Sussue Hayakawa is her platonic pal who will loan her the money if she becomes… less platonic. Things get nasty very fast. Lean and slick with a star-making performance from Hayakawa. Ward, however, emotes egregiously. Not for the easily offended.

Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Cheat (1915)”

Fun Size Review: Raffles the Amateur Cracksman (1917)

John Barrymore is a gentleman crook out to steal a priceless necklace. Frank Morgan (aka, Oz the Great and Powerful) is his best pal Bunny. Yes, Bunny. A shady lady from John’s past threatens to ruin everything but our hero is clever and intrepid. Fun plot and story done in by plodding pace and way too many intertitles. Morgan and Barrymore are the best things in the film but they cannot save it.

Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Raffles the Amateur Cracksman (1917)”

Fun Size Review: Miss Mend (1926)

Soviet serial in the American style with a dash of German. It’s the tale of four California-born pals who uncover a nefarious plot to attack Russia with poisonous gas. A crazy-quilt of styles. It is a ton of fun to see how the west coast of the USA is portrayed in a film made 100% on Russian soil. Turnabout is fair play, Hollywood has made its share of Russian-set tales. Beautiful, strange and quite often wondrous.

Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Miss Mend (1926)”

Fun Size Review: The Son of the Sheik (1926)

Valentino’s swan song and it is a humdinger, let me tell you. Rudy is back as both father and son, Vilma Banky is the leading lady, Karl Dane supports and Montagu Love provides the villainy. Plot stays pretty much the same as the first: Boy loves girl, boy kidnaps girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back again. Slicker, sleeker, smarter and more (intentionally) humorous than the first time around (though still not without its controversy). Showcases Valentino to perfection.

Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Son of the Sheik (1926)”

Fun Size Review: Judex (1916)

Have a spare 5 hours? Sure you do! For this you do. Legendary French serial expert Louis Feuillade creates the crazy-addictive tale of a caped crusader, a vamping criminal mastermind and some really cute kids. Judex is a mysterious avenger out to right the wrongs performed by a corrupt banker. It starts with threatening notes and escalates to murder (or does it?). Fast, funny, exciting and highly addictive.

Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Judex (1916)”