“Curse you and your flawless complexion, tempting me away from my deep-held political beliefs!” Animated GIF


Well, you can’t accuse silent films of being all romance and honey, right? William Boyd has just saved Elinor Fair from being shot (he was supposed to do the shooting). She asks him why he saved her. He is not too happy with the situation so his answer is a bit brusk.

I mean, here he was, minding his own business, starting the Russian Revolution and now he’s stuck with some Czarist dame. See, the problem is that she is just too good at moisturizing and exfoliating and her skin was too nice to put a bullet hole through. It strikes me that perhaps the other Czarists should have considered some mud packs and body butters. It would have saved a whole lot of them from being shot.

(This is from Cecil B. DeMille’s 1926 hit The Volga Boatman.)


How to liven things up at your local Starbucks, Animated GIF


Run in and do this, gestures and all! Extra points if you actually wear the kerchief. Even more if you put on a Russian accent. Unless you really are Russian. In which case, carry on.

(The White Army was the Czarist side in the Russian revolution. The Red Army was, of course, the Bolshevik side.)

Disclaimer: Obviously, this is me being goofy. If you actually run into Starbucks and do this, you are on your own. Don’t call me from the funny farm for help, is what I’m saying.

This is a scene from The Volga Boatman.


Silent Take: “24” circa 1927

I have branched into television! Action show 24 reimagined as a 1927 serial.

I must ask for more indulgence than usual with this poster. It is highly unlikely that top-tier actors would consent to appear in a serial. This is make-believe so I hope you forgive me. Rugged Milton Sills is just so perfect for the part! The bad guys won’t stand a chance and, best of all, he can act!

Continue reading “Silent Take: “24” circa 1927″

Silent Take: The Princess Bride circa 1928

It’s baaack! Another modern movie re-imagined as a silent. This time, it’s The Princess Bride and it is taking a little trip back to 1928. If you have only seen Mary Astor and William Powell in the talkies, you may be interested to know that in the silents, she was often the dainty princess and he was often a sneering villain. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. did not try his hand at swashbuckling until 1937’s Prisoner of Zenda (Astor was in that one too) but I crave your indulgence because I think he is a perfect Westley.

Continue reading “Silent Take: The Princess Bride circa 1928”

Seriously, if anyone did this to me, I would slug them, Animated GIF


Cecil B. DeMille was known to use… odd romantic gestures in his films. In this case, Elinor Fair is groovin’ to some boatman music supplied by William Boyd and her fiance, Victor Varconi, is jealous. So what does he do? Make his hands into earmuffs, of course. And she is fine with it. In fact, she thinks it’s pretty wonderful.

The Volga Boatman is stuffed with moments like this, which is why I love it so.


Tol’able David meets… The TINGLER!!! Special William Castle Animated GIF


To honor the start of the William Castle Blogathon, I made this GIF from The Tingler. The titular nasty is loose in a silent movie theater that just happens to be playing Tol’able David, one of my favorite movies. This is the iconic scene in which the Tingler crawls in front of the projector. Brrr! Scary puppet!

You can read the roster of entries here and here. And be sure to look for mine on August 2. And you can read my review of Tol’able David here. The Tingler does overcrank it so that everything is a bit manic looking.


A bouquet of guns, Animated GIF


About 73% of the fun in The Volga Boatman comes from the overblown intertitles. In this case, William Boyd (yes, that William Boyd) is leading a Bolshevik uprising (this was back when a Hollywood hero could lead a Bolshevik uprising) and he is calling on his followers to storm the castle. (Have fun with that!)


“Always dust her well” Animated GIF


It’s early Lubitsch but his touch is there, right down to the clever intertitles. After all, this is what every father says when he is sending off his only child, right?

Background: In The Doll, dollmaker Hilarius has just inadvertently sold his daughter to a customer. She was taking the place of a broken model for a demonstration but Hermann Thimig was so pleased that he bought the mechanical woman on the spot. Obviously, chaos ensues.


Released both digitally and on DVD by Kino-Lorber and available for purchase in the U.S.

Conrad Veidt demonstrates the only proper way to walk down a dark alley in “Caligari” – Animated GIF

cabinet of dr caligari


This is just how it is done. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

Caligari co-star Lil Dagover later said that Conrad Veidt did not break character during the shoot and lurked through the hallways of the studio startling people. He said he did it for a better performance. but you can’t tell me he wasn’t having just a bit of fun playing the ghoul and scaring his friends.


La la la LA LA LAAAAAAA!!! Animated GIF

Lupino Lane is at it again! This time, he is a less-than talented operatic soprano. The zoom effect just cracks me up. This is yet another persona he adopted for the comedy short Only Me.

Lane made a successful talkie transition but his stage work is supposed to be his best. A pity we cannot see it now but this will do nicely.

(He’s a cousin of Ida Lupino, by the way.)