A fake psychic is making a fortune bilking the gullible with his house o’ special effects but he never counted on a gang of cute little kids stumbling onto his operation. Our Gang comedy with a high dose of Farina.
Douglas Fairbanks plays a vengeful nobleman who disguises himself as a pirate in order to take down bad guys and save a princess. It’s Swashbuckling 101 stuff but Fairbanks has a secret weapon: Technicolor!
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy try their hand at grave-robbing when a mad scientist offers them $500 for a fresh corpse. Grim and ghostly mayhem ensues when the pair try to snatch the occupant of a new grave.
A cowpoke (who may or may not be named Steve) wanders into a whole heap of melodrama when he saves an uncredited Fay Wray from a caddish brute (or brutish cad). Solid western from Universal’s Mustang line.
Continue reading “Four-Square Steve (1926) A Silent Film Review”
Raymond Griffith plays a coroner called to the scene of a murder most foul, which just ruins his plans to spend the evening at the theater. When the search for the killer turns out to be more complicated than he had expected, he must use every trick in the book to reveal the culprit.
Vacationing couple Arbuckle and Normand take a jaunt down to San Diego for some sightseeing. After renting electric-powered couches, the pair zip around the expo but, would you believe it, chaos ensues.
The first screen appearance of Sherlock Holmes… or is it? This tiny film was meant to be played in a Mutoscope peepshow and it features the supposed Mr. Holmes being baffled by a burglar of ambiguous gender.
Sidney Olcott and Gene Gauntier led an American film troupe to film the life of Christ on location in Egypt and locations throughout the once and future Israel. The result was a hit but the behind-the-scenes story is deserves some attention of its own.
William S. Hart is a Santa Fe Trail guide whose brother is murdered by a riverboat gambler. And guess who has joined the wagon train Hart is directing to Santa Fe? Less action and more drama in this Hart vehicle with veteran baddie Robert McKim providing the mustache twirls.
French cameras capture winter scenes in Moscow almost a decade before the Russian Revolution would change the country’s culture forever. This unusually fine example of an actuality film was directed by Joseph-Louis Mundwiller, who would later successfully collaborate with Russian émigré filmmakers in France.
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy share the screen as true co-stars for the first time in this long-lost comedy short. The boys play hobos who hide out in an empty mansion to evade a firefighting draft and then must deal with prospective renters. If this sounds familiar, it is. Laurel and Hardy remade it as Another Fine Mess.
Hal Roach’s Rascals opens a hot dog stand outside a race track but the kids are soon enchanted with the idea of organizing their own derby. Soon, the gang has a track set up and a collection of thoroughbreds (a cow, a mule, two dogs, a kitten, a tricycle, etc.) ready to race for the generous $5 purse.
A country doctor is inspired to experiment with a serum that will separate his good side from his evil side. What could possibly go wrong? The second of three known American Jekyll and Hyde adaptations made during the nickelodeon era.
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.