Here’s a little topic that comes up occasionally in the world of filmdom: scoring exactly how good a movie is. Whether thumbs up/down, stars, percentages or some other method, a good number of film reviewers use some shorthand system or other to rate movies.
Welcome back! I’m cooking my way through vintage recipes ostensibly written by or inspired by silent movie stars. Today, we’re going to be testing out a recipe inspired by one of the biggest names in film history: Charlie Chaplin.
I took a little road trip over the weekend along Highway 395. If you have ever seen any westerns, you will be familiar with the Lone Pine/Mount Whitney location. It was the setting of many a cowboy movie and television show, not to mention doubling as the North-West Frontier/Afghanistan in films like Gunga Din and Iron Man.
We all need advice sometimes and silent movies are obviously the best guide to life decisions. With this in mind, I am answering totally-real-and-not-invented-by-me letters with silent movie wisdom!
By all rights, the original (yes, original) 1925 Ben-Hur should have been a disaster but it somehow managed to survive and thrive despite budget woes, fascists, and fired directors, screenwriters and producers.
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.
It’s something that most silent movie fans dream of: a cache of rare silent films, hundreds of them, found buried in Canada. Preserved by the permafrost, these movies were recovered in the 1970s.
On June 4, 2014, I posted my very first vintage celebrity recipe taste test and the rest is history. Over the last three years, I have tested and tasted over fifty recipes ostensibly written or inspired by stars of the silent era.
“Why aren’t you linking to this movie on YouTube?”
“Why don’t you direct people to Netflix?”
“Are there any free silent films you can share with me?”
Location shoots, like color and sound films, have been around for much longer than most people realize. Seeing other parts of the world was a major draw and every film studio worth its salt had teams shooting footage in attractive and/or exotic (for them) locales.
Dorothy and friends head off to Oz in this truncated and slightly odd adaptation from the Selig film company. All the classic plot points are present but the brief length makes for jerky storytelling.
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.
Sorry about such a boring post for today but my time was eaten up with my new harddrive being installed. The good news is that my new solid-state drive is absolutely wonderful and I have finished re-installing the programs I need to keep annoying all of you with silent film minutiae.
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.
We’re at the start of the vacation season and so I thought it would be fun to review silent films that were shot on location. I define “on location” as anywhere outside the studio property. My goal is to cover films shot far and near, from Southern California to Europe to Africa.
We’re back with more silent movie news. This time, it’s all about premieres, screenings and crowdfunding. Oh, and some myth-busting too. Excitement galore of a nerdy nature.
Marion Wong was just twenty-one when she wrote, directed, produced and designed the costumes for her own feature film. Naturally, some modern historians are trying to find the man who must have helped her. (There is no eyeroll GIF big enough.)
I’m the first one to admit that silent movies are not the most popular subject for metaphorical speech but I do sometimes run across them being (mis)used in that context. And so, since I had a bout of insomnia, here is a handy chart that will tell you whether or not you should use silent movies in your next metaphor.
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.
Gloria Swanson listed Zaza among her favorite films but it has not been easy for the general public to see. Well, Paramount and Kino have fixed that! Zaza is about to be released on DVD and Bluray for all to enjoy and I was given a sneak preview.
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.
Welcome back! I’m cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook and I’m inviting you to tag along. Today, we’re discovering the offal truth about sweetbreads and testing a recipe from a WAMPAS Baby Star.
The film industry’s gender gap behind the camera is in the news a fair bit these days. Campaigns like #52FilmsByWomen are shining a spotlight on the talents of female directors and while it is wonderful to celebrate modern women with megaphones, let’s not forget their ancestresses.
Here’s a question that crops up time and again: You like silent movies but your friend, date, spouse, kid has never seen one. Which titles are best for newcomers?
What do you do to set your movie apart in a crowded market? If you worked for Kalem, you went overseas! This film is significant as it is believed to be the first fiction film shot in Ireland. The local color elevates this immigrant melodrama and makes it a must-see for history nerds.
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.
I’m back with another little peek into my silent movie collection. I have received wonderful feedback on my previous posts (find them here under the Shelfie category) so let’s do this again!
Let’s have fun with windows! No, not the operating system, those glass things some people have on their homes. They figured into a lot of silent era cinematography and here are a few favorites.
So yesterday I logged into my computer at about 7:30 local time and discovered some overnight commenting, which is pretty normal. We’re all in different time zones and on different schedules. One of those comments, though, was not exactly in the realm of normal for me.
Rudolph Valentino’s final film and one of his biggest hits, The Son of the Sheik has come to Bluray at last and I have all the details! Let’s take a peek at this highly anticipated disc.