Menahem Mendl, a Jewish man living in pre-Revolution Russia,has a large family and not much money but he does have an abundance of ideasfor get rich quick schemes. From selling corsets to insurance to brides, Mendl’splans are ambitious but never quite turn out the way he intends.Continue reading “Jewish Luck (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Baruch decides to leave the shtetl and pursue his dream of becoming an actor in Vienna, breaking his mother and father’s hearts in the process. His attempts to blend in and build a career are both helped and hindered by an all-too-helpful Austrian noblewoman…Continue reading “The Ancient Law (1923) A Silent Film Review”
Sidney M. Goldin, a pioneering filmmaker in the Yiddish market, created a costume melodrama in Austria with all the trimmings and a genuine Yiddish stage pedigree. An extraordinarily interesting picture, especially when compared with Hollywood productions that follow a similar theme.Continue reading “Yizkor (1924) A Silent Film Review”
Captain Oscar Krug is a German-American taxidermist who has a secret behind his door and the whole gruesome story unspools in this post-WWI film. Nobody involved in the production seemed to understand that the war was over but the shocking content has made this picture a festival staple and a tidy way to prove that the silent era was not all innocence, light and naïve melodrama.Continue reading “Behind the Door (1919) A Silent Film Review”
Marguerite Clark plays a plucky orphan who runs away from the institution in order to retain custody of the little boy she has raised since infancy. She ends up in the Cabbage Patch, a slum area that is home to the merry Wiggs family.Continue reading “Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1919) A Silent Film Review”
A group of real soldiers reprise their part in the famous Lost Battalion incident. Added to the mix are fictional characters played by professional actors and together, they try to survive when their battalion is surrounded completely during the First World War.Continue reading “The Lost Battalion (1919) A Silent Film Review”
A May-December marriage is on the rocks when the husband, an anemic Egyptologist, decides that his young wife is stepping out. Poisoned cigarettes and a distastefully-placed mummy are just a few of the complications that ensue.Continue reading “La Cigarette (1919) A Silent Film Review”
A study of two young women living in rural Ryazan and how they deal with life, love and the First World War. Breathtaking and breathtakingly underrated, this picture shows that director Olga Preobrazhenskaya deserves to be remembered with the Soviet greats.Continue reading “The Peasant Women of Ryazan (1927) A Silent Film Review”
A European-style fairy tale with just a pinch of science fiction, this picture is especially notable because it was the debut picture of Madeline Brandeis. She also produced the film and all at the age of twenty-one.Continue reading “The Star Prince (1918) A Silent Film Review”
Abortion, birth control and eugenics. Just a few of the light topics covered in this 1916 film directed by Lois Weber. Innocent days of early film? I think not! And, yes, you did read that right. Eugenics.Continue reading “Where Are My Children (1916) A Silent Film Review”
And then Mommy kissed Daddy, and the angel told the stork, and the stork flew down from heaven, and put the diamond in the cabbage patch, and the diamond turned into a baby!Continue reading “The Cabbage Patch Fairy (1900) A Silent Film Review”
Rin-Tin-Tin stars as the leader of a wolfpack (!) who helps a baby Charles Farrell stake out his borax claim. Location shooting and finecinematography elevate this doggy vehicle.Continue reading “Clash of the Wolves (1925) A Silent Film Review”
The Hal Roach team went serious with this western starring Rex the Wonder Horse and Charley Chase (as Charles Parrott) as the reluctant villain.Continue reading “King of the Wild Horse (1924) A Silent Film Review”
An early animal-related tearjerker featuring a blind man and his faithful poodle. The French production was exported to the international market.Continue reading “The Faithful Dog; or, True to the End (1907) A Silent Film Review”
A crook with heart of gold is released from prison and reunited with his beloved German Shepherd, Strongheart. When he runs across a lady jewel thief, he finds himself being drawn back into the criminal underworld.Continue reading “The Return of Boston Blackie (1927) A Silent Film Review”
Cecil Hepworth once again shows off his skill with animal stars in this little crime picture about a genius pony who saves his gamekeeper friend from poachers and their hammy spaniel. It doesn’t get much better than this.Continue reading “A Friend in Need (1914) A Silent Film Review”
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy play a recent arrival from Scotland and his uncle, respectively, who run into difficulty when the former’s kilt meets a strong breeze. Can uncle succeed in putting pants on Philip?Continue reading “Putting Pants on Philip (1927) A Silent Film Review”
Poverty, college, sororities, shoplifting… Those last two topics aren’t often associated with silent film but they are the main subject of this Norma Talmadge short film. Norma’s a poor but well-connected student who can’t keep up with the lavish spending of her sisters. Next step: crime.Continue reading “The Helpful (?) Sisterhood (1914) A Silent Film Review”
Harry Carey plays a western sheriff who heads to San Francisco to collect his inheritance. While there, he falls in love with a sexy cat burglar (Lillian Rich) and infiltrates her gang so that they can get hitched, as one does.Continue reading “Soft Shoes (1925) A Silent Film Review”
Alice Guy directs a domestic comedy about jealous spouses and their attempt to live together using the silent treatment.Continue reading “A House Divided (1913) A Silent Film Review”
A man strikes down his brother in a fit of rage and things are looking bad… until a burglar conveniently shows up to have the crime pinned on. The one time having your house robbed is convenient…
Gilbert Anderson was better known as Broncho Billy but he hangs up his spurs in exchange for some lockpicks in this drama about a burglar and an abusive husband.
Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew are at it again in this newly-discovered domestic comedy about a tattletale husband and the way the women in his life punish him for his snitching ways.
One of only two surviving Theda Bara films made during the height of her vampish fame, this production casts her as the victim of a cad and bounder who persuades her to leave hearth and home. Based on a Victorian drama and stage warhorse.
“Welcome to Finland, see our lakes and streams and particularly our thriving industrial production and winter sports!” A government-sanctioned documentary designed to showcase the wonders of this newly-independent nation.
A pianist’s hands are crushed in an accident but worry not, the fresh corpse of a murderer is on hand to donate brand new ones. I mean, it’s not like stitching on a murderer’s hands will make someone commit murder, right? Right?
Gale Henry plays a detective hot on the tail of some thieves who have swiped a secret formula. What ensues is best described as a sort of silent movie Donkey Kong with trapdoors, secret doors and a big tub of water.
A movie theater usher named Goga (Igor Ilyinsky) loves Dusya (Anel Sudakevich) but she only has eyes for Douglas Fairbanks and refuses to give Goga the time of day until he becomes a celebrity. Goga vows to become famous if it kills him. It probably will.
American businessman Mr. West (Porfiri Podobed) has business in Russia but is terrified of the Bolsheviks. A gang of confidence tricksters (led by Vsevolod Pudovkin) use this paranoia to their advantage and try to drain him dry. A broad farce from Lev Kuleshov.
The title character (played by Cannes-honored director and onetime Queen of Mars Yulia Solntseva) is the object of affection for three very different men: a silly bookkeeper, a handsome cameraman and an American businessman in Russia.