Theme Month! November 2016: A Woman’s Place is in the Writers’ Room

Nobody knows exactly how many silent films were penned by women. Screen credits were a bit odd back in the day and a good number of studio records are gone forever. However, it has been estimated that as many as 50% of all silent films were written by women. Other estimates hover around 30-40% but that’s still a darn sight better than the 15% of modern Hollywood. (Oh, and they’re paid less for their work too.)

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Theme Month! July 2015: Hitch’s Picks

For the month of July, I shall be turning my site over to a Mr. Alfred Hitchcock. Let me explain. In 1939, Hitchcock was asked to list his ten favorite films. You will be delighted to know that this list contained only one talkie; the rest were silent. Further, all but two of these films not only survive, they are available on home media! The opportunity is too good to resist. This month, I will be reviewing Hitch’s picks and seeing how they measure up.

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Theme Month! March 2015: Reader Requests

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You asked for ’em and now you’re going to get ’em! This month, I am going to be reviewing films that were requested by my readers.

When I made my call for requests back in Novemeber, I was overwhelmed by the excellent suggestions that flooded in. (You can read them here.) It was a challenge to choose, to be honest.

I will be listing my selections (and who requested them) right here. If you’re request was not among those selected, don’t lose heart. I really do pay attention to every single request and I appreciate your valuable feedback as to which films you would like to see covered on the site. Your request puts these films on my radar, so to speak.

Check back throughout the month to see which films were selected and who suggested them. In the meantime, please enjoy selections from my last reader request month.

Your requests last time:

The Wizard of Oz (1925)

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)

The Red Lily (1924)

Lizzies of the Field (1924)

Silent Movie (1976)

This Month’s Requests:

Request #1: Double Whoopee (1929)

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are employed at a swanky hotel but they cause their usual chaos, including the destruction of a gown belonging to a very young Jean Harlow.

Requested by Stevie of stevielounicks.

Request #2: The Married Virgin (1918)

A pre-fame Rudolph Valentino plays the villain of the family melodrama. He’s all of twenty-three and just as cute as a bug’s ear.

Requested by Emily of nitrateglow.

Request #3: The Bat (1926)

It’s a dark and stormy night and some guy in bat ears is lurking about. Influential horror comedy that should be of considerable interest to fans of the Caped Crusader.

Requested by reader George W.

Request #4: Asphalt (1929)

Brilliant, imaginative and a ton of fun to boot, this German crime melodrama is one of the best silent films you’ve never heard of.

Requested by reader Christopher Bird.

Request #5 A Trip to the Moon (1902)

Yes, that iconic film with a rocket in the moon’s eye. Enjoy!

Requested by John of Hitchcock’s World.

Theme Month! February 2015: Women at War

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While war movies are often viewed as the exclusive property of men (with the lover, driver, nurse or waiting wife sometimes thrown into the mix), there were quite a few silent era films that allowed women to get in on the action.

The prerequisite for inclusion? The female lead cannot be passive or in a support role, she must partake in combat. This month, we are going to be looking at women as assassins, generals, doughboys and snipers.

We are also going to be examining the reasons why the filmmakers chose to put women front and center in this genre. The answer is complicated and well worth discussing. As an added bonus, every single one of these films will be directed by a big name of the silent era.

Review #1: Assassin

Judith of Bethulia (1914) – Judith tries to save her village from the Assyrians. All she needs is a sexy dress and a very sharp sword. D.W. Griffith directs.

Review #2: General

Joan the Woman (1916) – The English are running roughshod over the French army. Someone needs to stop them. This looks like woman’s work! Cecil B. DeMille directs.

Review #3: Doughboy

She Goes to War (1929) – A society girl heads to France to support the troops during the First World War. She gets a lot closer to the action when she dons a uniform and goes into battle. Henry King directs.

Review #4: Sniper

The Forty-First (1927) – A Bolshevik sniper with forty kills misses the forty-first. Charged with delivering him to headquarters, things go wrong when they are shipwrecked together and a doomed romance starts. Yakov Protazanov directs.

Theme Month! January 2015: Welcome to America

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Cinema began to cover social issues almost immediately after its invention and few issues were more pressing or controversial than immigration. The Unites States is a nation of immigrants and that reality was reflected in the movers and shakers of the motion picture industry. But how would these realities be portrayed on the screen? This month is all about looking the various ways immigrants were portrayed in silent film.

I will be paying special attention to the Jewish immigration experience and the vibrant world of Yiddish cinema. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here are some films dealing with the topic that I have already reviewed:

The Tong Man (1919) From China to San Francisco

Little Annie Rooney (1925) From Ireland to New York

Gretchen the Greenhorn (1916) From the Netherlands to New York

The Canadian (1926) From England to Canada

Redskin (1929) Um, people, the Navajo guy is not the foreigner. You are.

Needless to say, this is a historical examination and political comments are not welcome.

Review #1: Fresh off the boat

The Immigrant (1917) – The perils, trials and triumphs of new immigrants are lovingly celebrated and kidded with in this classic Chaplin short.

Review #2: The Next Generation

His People (1925) – The sweet story of a Jewish family with the immigrant parents at odds with their very American sons.

Review #3: Those Terrible Neighbors!

The Shamrock and the Rose (1927) – A Jewish family and their Irish neighbors duke it out when their kids fall in love.

Also check out:

Silent Volume has a few reviews on the subject…

Hungry Hearts

The Yellow Ticket