Unfortunately, many films of the silent era have been lost. This new series is going to list some of the more interesting ones. We are going to start with a comedy from the late silent era.
Pola Negri hits it out of the park in this late silent war drama. She is a French farmer whose land is converted into a POW camp during WWI. Her hatred of Germans is slowly melted away by her discovery of common humanity… and by Clive Brook, a handsome prisoner. First class story of love and tolerance.
Continue reading “Barbed Wire (1927) A Silent Film Review”
We can name the top stars of 10, 20, 50, 70 years ago. But what about 100?
Pola Negri (1897-1987)
Country of birth: Poland
Birth name: Apolonia Chalupiec
So far the 1922 motion picture correspondence course has covered acting and screenwriting. But what about that man (or woman!) with the megaphone? Directing movies also has its own volume in the series and it by far my favorite. The writing is smart and flippant, just the sort of prose to make you feel very 1920-ish indeed.
Colleen Moore (1899-1988)
Country of birth: USA
Mary Pickford joins the war effort in this collaboration with director Cecil B. DeMille. One woman, two armies, oh dear. Pickford plays Angela, an American girl so patriotic that she contrived to be born on Independence Day. However, she is in favor of outsourcing her love life: her two suitors are French and German respectively. But then that pesky war starts, both men are called up to serve and Angela must choose her side.
Joseph Schildkraut (1896-1964)
Country of birth: Austria
This GIF sums up everything I like about John Barrymore’s swashbucklers. He was an incredibly handsome leading man and respected actor who was not afraid to act in a manner befitting a Wascally Wabbit.
Another day, another book from the New York Institute of Photography’s correspondence course for all would-be participants in the silent film industry. This 1922 book explains how to write for the movies.
And now for something a little different. This book was published in 1922 as a textbook in a correspondence course from the New York Institute of Photography. The series promised to teach the reader everything they needed to know in order to join the film industry. This volume covers the art of acting.
This was the first book on silent cinema that I ever bought. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction. Film historian Kevin Brownlow has proven to be one of the strongest advocates for silent cinema and, as it turns out, he is a heckuva writer too.
So, what kind of silent movie fan are you? In my experience, they usually come in three varieties:
There is only one thing I love more than a good silent movie: A good Conrad Veidt movie. And if it is a Conrad Veidt silent movie…
Welcome to the very first Theme Month here at Movies, Silently! The theme for March 2013 is “I Loved a German”
Ok, first thing’s first. The “research assistant” for this book was esteemed silent film historian William K. Everson so we know that we are in good hands. This is yet another long out-of-print book that I added to my collection. It’s pretty easy to find a used copy online for just a few dollars. I highly recommend that you do just that. This book is ideal as your first-ever silent movie book.
Those discount trivia books that litter the shelves of chain bookstores have a lot to answer for. They state with great confidence that The Jazz Singer was the first sound movie, The Birth of a Nation was the first feature film, that The Great Train Robbery was the first film with a story…
A psychological history of the German Film, if you want the full subtitle. I love silent German cinema; I admire its fierce creativity and its willingness to take crazy risks. And there is also, of course, Conrad Veidt. But enough of that. How is the book? Well, the title is certainly provocative enough.
Continue reading “Silent Movie Bookshelf: From Caligari to Hitler by Siegfried Kracauer”
This book was a bit of an investment but I am happy with it overall. It is a big, big, BIG guidebook to silent films arranged chronologically and then alphabetically by Robert K. Klepper.
This is how the (movie) west was won!
William S. Hart was one of the most popular western stars of the silent era. Though his films have a low loss rate, relatively few of them are available on home media. This book is valuable because it is the closest we may ever get to some of Hart’s more obscure titles. It also happens to be the gold standard in the “complete films of” book genre.
I was ferreting through the stacks of a particularly good used bookstore when I found Miriam Cooper’s autobiography, Dark Lady of the Silents. Hurrah!
Continue reading “Silent Movie Bookshelf: Dark Lady of the Silents by Miriam Cooper”
Gertrude Claire is ready to take on William S. Hart, who plays her son. His crime? Becoming a cop instead of a decent everyday crook. I love this lady!
William S. Hart trades his Stetson for a blue policeman’s hat in this gangland drama. Hart is a safecracker-turned-cop who finds himself at odds with his larcenous family and targeted by a former business partner. But, as we all know, Hart is not someone to be trifled with.
Continue reading “The Cradle of Courage (1920) A Silent Film Review”
Carol Dempster’s evil step-mother does not approve of her frolicking in The Love Flower. Gotta say, though, I am on the side of the step-mother this time.
Director D.W. Griffith attempts to showcase his protegee, Carol Dempster, in this ocean-themed crime drama. An accused murderer is hiding out on a South Sea island with his daughter. The long arm of the law is closing in. How far will she go to make sure that her dear old dad stays free?
Continue reading “The Love Flower (1920) A Silent Film Review”
It’s a reasonably popular internet meme: Take hit modern film, desaturate it, add a few intertitles and a tinkling piano score and voila! You have a silent movie. That’s all silent movies are, right? Movies without sound and with those title cards placed at intervals.
Hooo boy, is this an old one. It is actually as old as talking pictures themselves. The myth goes like this: So-and-so (often John Gilbert) was a famous film star in the silent era but what people didn’t know is that he sounded like Mickey Mouse! Hilarious!
John Barrymore is elected the King of Fools in the medieval swashbuckler The Beloved Rogue. He seems pretty thrilled about it.
Richard Barthelmess is David, a country boy whose one goal in life is to be considered a man, to prove himself worthy of being allowed into the grown-ups club. When tragedy strikes his family, David finds himself growing up faster than even he had ever wanted.
Continue reading “Tol’able David (1921) A Silent Film Review”
An animated GIF from A Woman of the World, Pola Negri’s uproarious vamp comedy.