Snub Pollard plays an orphan who grows up to be… an auctioneer’s assistant? When he inadvertently sells the contents of a house belonging to the chief of police, he must embark on a wild goose chase to buy everything back or spend his not-so-happily-ever-after in prison.
Harold Lloyd dons his famous spectacles for the first time and makes movie history as a boy who just wants to take his girl to a baseball game. Of course, Snub Pollard is in the way and chaos ensues but the real fun is seeing Lloyd’s evolution as a comedian.
Mabel Normand scored a smash hit with this feature-length comedy about a mining camp brat who goes to live in the big city. Chaos ensues but you knew that already.
Continue reading “Mickey (1918) A Silent Film Review”
Alice Guy variation on a theme by O. Henry is the story of a small child who tries to save her older sister’s life by prolonging autumn. A lyrical tearjerker and a rare example of Guy’s work from her Solax period.
Charley Chase meets the woman of his dreams but has to wriggle out of an arranged marriage in order to live happily ever after. His solution is to feign insanity, which backfires in the most hilarious way possible.
Lon Chaney plays a ventriloquist-turned-criminal who joins forces with two other sideshow performers to open a pet shop and steal jewels. Just go with it. Chaney reunited with director Tod Browning for this strange crime drama.
Ben Turpin plays a would be lothario who goes about harassing and annoying every woman he can find. The women each inflict their own form of revenge on this horrible pest, from scissors in the backside to electrocution to a pie in the face. Ah, innocent times!
A man falls asleep next to his smoking table and is soon tormented by a pair of cigarette-loving fairies. This zany trick film from the American Vitagraph company plays around with the notion of fay malice.
Max Linder plays an amiable eccentric who is paralyzed with superstition when he breaks a mirror. His strange behavior causes his fiancée to dismiss him and he spends the rest of the film trying to leave town to forget. But does he have seven whole years of misfortune ahead of him?
A group of conspirators plan to rob a bank. (I am told that their plan is bold.) They succeed but can they escape the long arm of the law? Sleazy entertainment from the pioneering Lubin studio.
Real footage from the legendary Endurance expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton edited into documentary form and released just three years after the crew’s return from their harrowing ordeal.
When a baby is kidnapped, it’s up to the family dog to save the day! An early entry in the Heroic Dog genre of motion pictures, this British production has charm to spare.
Jetta Goudal and William Boyd are an aristocratic pair on the outs. Angered by his rejection, Goudal plays a cruel joke on her ex-fiancé—she sets him up with a “lady of the pavements” (Lupe Velez) gussied up as a lady of quality. D.W. Griffith’s final silent film.
A burglar attempts to rob a New York high rise but he didn’t count on angry women armed with brooms catching him in the act. Very early film from the Vitagraph company.
After months of heavy rainfall, Paris found itself underwater during the winter of 1910. This rare footage was recently rediscovered and it showcases everyday life in the flooded city.
Continue reading “The Seine Flood (1910) A Silent Film Review”
Germaine Dulac examines the thoughts, dreams and homicidal tendencies of a woman trapped in a marriage with a buffoon. Gorgeously shot and imaginatively directed, this is a must-see.
A young Russian official awakens to find that his nose is missing. He then discovers that it is not only alive and well, it is wearing a splendid cape and has a higher rank in the civil service than he does! An adaptation of Gogol’s absurdist classic using the pinscreen animation of Claire Parker and Alexandre Alexeieff.
What do you do with an insistent photographer? Eat him and his camera, of course! A darling and somewhat twisted little trick film comedy from Britain.
A certain gentleman with an unnatural beard pigment marries for the eighth time but things go sour when the new bride discovers what happened to the other seven Mrs. Bluebeards. A macabre fairy tale from Georges Méliès.
In the early days of film, even the simplest of concepts was fresh territory. In this case, the Lumiere brothers showcase the denizens of Jerusalem waving farewell to a moving train. Cameras on a moving train? Oh my!
It’s 1899. Absinthe is the rage in France and pioneering director Alice Guy has a bit of fun with the then-stylish beverage. And a bottle of seltzer. It’s proto-slapstick!
No actual vampirism is involved in this serial, it’s about a criminal gang called the Vampires and their attempts to… well, I’m not really sure what. Kill people and break things, I guess. We also follow the efforts of a heroic reporter to bring these ne’er-do-wells to justice or something.
Paul Robeson makes his film debut in this Oscar Micheaux melodrama. Robeson plays dual roles: a horrible convict posing as a preacher and his sweet twin brother, a would be inventor. Micheaux’s signature pointed social commentary is on display in this rare surviving film from his silent career.
An oddball melodrama shot on location in Detroit, Eleven P.M. is a rare surviving film from mysterious indie director Richard Maurice. It weaves a tale of gangsters, street musicians, dogs with human heads… Well, you can’t accuse it of being boring.
When a railroad paymaster and the $25,000 in cash he was carrying disappear, returning WWI ace Billy Stokes is put on the case. This independent feature has an all African-American cast and is the only complete surviving feature of the Norman Film Manufacturing Company, a Florida-based studio that specialized in so-called race films.
When a well-to-do man drops his theater tickets, they are retrieved by a trio from the wrong side of the tracks. Once admitted into the swanky theater, the trio causes chaos and has an uproarious time. This picture was released by the controversial Ebony Film Corporation and was partially responsible for its downfall.
Stage star Lenore Ulric brings her signature role to the screen in this melodrama set in Canada. We have Mounties, trees and bloody revenge. The usual Hollywood Canadian wilderness picture, in other words, but we have the added bonus of a super Mountie and a location shoot in Yosemite.
Legendary comic artist Winsor McCay takes control of his Rarebit Fiend stories with this imagining of an all-insect vaudeville. (Actually, the result of a beggar’s overindulgence in cheesecake.) McCay’s signature beauty is on display but the pacing…
A mysterious message from outer space captures the imagination of a Russian scientist. He has other problems, though, as he suspects that his wife is stepping out on him with a petty official who moonlights as a black-market dealer. Oh yes, and there are scenes on Mars.
A wastrel son uses up his own money and so he forges his mother’s signature to get more. However, the family portrait gallery comes to life and the figures take turns berating their descendant for sullying the clan crest.