You have to excuse my annoyance. Another week, another silent film that people (including academics) have written about without watching. This is a pet peeve of mine so I made a handy chart. Feel free to share, distribute, etc.
Any fan of older cinema knows that yesterdays superstars can easily be forgotten. Today, we are going to take a look at Motion Picture Magazine’s “1918 revue of filmdom’s clowns” and test our cinematic knowledge. How many of these 14 talents do you recognize?
Not everything can be sunshine and gumdrops and not every silent film I saw was a delight. Such is life. But then again, we can have some fun poking these bombs with sticks so, yay?
A strangely sunny adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous tale, this Thanhouser production stars future director James Cruze as the title characters and Florence La Badie as his lady love.
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.
I ran a poll on Twitter recently about what changes would help you, silent film fans, watch more silent movies next year. I thought I would offer the same choices to readers of the site with the added flexibility of the poll system I use. (Twitter polls are notoriously limiting.)
In December of 1918, Motion Picture Magazine published a random selection of snippets and observations on the state of movies by Tamar Lane. The collection is rather slangy and amusing, so I thought I would share some of the highlights.
Henri-Georges Clouzot is, of course, a legend in the world of thrillers. The Wages of Fear and Les Diaboliques are justly acclaimed but they came along decades into his career. What about Clouzot at the beginning? This two-disc Bluray set tracks his early career.
I’m working out my plans and goals for the site in 2019 but I would love to have your feedback. What would you like to see more of in the new year?
There are only a few more days left in 2018 so now is the time when all good websites take a look back to share some of the hits and misses of the year. First, the hits.
Douglas Fairbanks plays a city boy who dreams of the rootin’ tootin’ wild west and gets his wish when the citizens of an Arizona town decide to indulge his fantasies in hopes he will finance a new road through town. Continue reading “Fun Size Review: Wild and Woolly (1917)”
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.
Only a few days remain in 2018 so let’s take the opportunity to find out what we learned in the last 11 and a half months. It’s quiz time!
Silent movie people are very busy, they have places to go. Sometimes, they leave. Other times, they kick you out. Variety is the spice of life.
I am mod but sometimes I take detours and this time, I am trying a food combination that does not come from a cookbook but from celebrity gossip.
Shopping for film nerds can be a challenge, especially if they are already avid collectors. Never fear, I’m here to help! I speak the language and can help you choose the perfect gift for the nerd in your life.
Less than a month remains in the year so I thought I would put this question to you, dear readers: What was your best silent film experience of 2018?
Two women and one man are stranded on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean and as they drift, they think about their lives and how they ended up where they are. Out of that simple premise director Mario Peixoto creates one of the most impressive independent films ever created.
A country girl heads to Moscow with a few possessions and a duck. When she is hired by a couple determined not to pay union wages, the stage is set for a mini revolution.
Russian films were all dark and heavy, right? Especially the Soviet one. Well, no. In fact, some of the best belly laughs in silent comedy are to be found in Soviet comedies.
Kino Lorber hit it out of the park with their Pioneers of African-American Cinema box set and their follow up is every bit the worthy successor. In the silent era, women took a much larger role behind the camera than even today but most of these pioneers have been forgotten. This set’s goal is to change that.
Welcome back! I am cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay Cookbook but I sometimes take detours. In this case, we’re tasting a very famous flapper’s foray into molded fish gelatin. Yay?
Well, we have a winner! To the surprise of nobody who has read the comments on these posts, Mary Pickford in Stella Maris carried the day.
Hot beverages keep the world running and that was just as true in the silent era.
Mack Sennett’s winning duo of Arbuckle and Normand were dispatched to interact with the ongoing exposition in San Diego and chaos ensued, naturally. Arbuckle’s flirty ways anger Normand and she’s not someone you want to get angry.
This towering cinematic achievement is easily one of the greatest examples of silent era hokum that I have ever experienced. Joseph Schildkraut and Norma Talmadge are star-crossed lovers in Northern Africa wearing very silly clothes. I am entranced.
We’re back with more nit-picking and and witty put-downs from the pages of Photoplay. In November of 1918, these were the errors (real and perceived) that were annoying moviegoers.
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen… Or in this case, running through the glen and getting arrested a lot. A loose and chipper adaptation of the popular legend from Fort Lee, New Jersey.
One artistic flourish that never ceases to delight in silent cinema is the use of silhouettes. Sometimes, the whole film is told in silhouette and other times it is just a brief sequence. Either way, a please to watch.
Here are the nominees for Best Picture of 1918! There were no Academy Awards back then, of course, but that won’t stop us from handing out our own digital statuettes.