If someone ever kicks you in the pants, do the mature thing. Kick them back. Animated GIF

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Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was all of 18 when he starred in The Power of the Press and does he ever act like it! This cute bit of physical comedy is from a scene where poor Doug is fired and is given the bum’s rush. However, he is not taking it lying down!

The film was a huge one for both Fairbanks and some kid director named Frank Capra.

Note: This blog does not advocate real-life pants kicking. Even when it’s hilarious!

Tip for musicians: Don’t play piano with Lon Chaney. Just don’t do it. Animated GIF

penalty-lon-chaney-silent-movie-a-death-song

Lon Chaney is scowling beautifully in this scene from The Penalty. You’ll recall that he is a legless master criminal and he has just discovered that the girl who works the pedals for his piano is an undercover cop. There’s really only one way to deal with this kind of betrayal. The problem? She the best pedal-worker he has ever had. What to do, what to do?

Also, be sure the check out the participant list for the upcoming Chaney Blogathon!

UPDATED | Selling out to The Man, or, how I stopped worrying and learned to love WordAds

mary-pickford-douglas-fairbanks-william-s-hart
People make their money different ways. Me? I’ll stick to advertising.

UPDATE: I am now a self-hosted site but I still recommend the service for those of you who are hosted by WordPress.com

NOTE: Ten days after publishing this article, I had a terrible shock. I had just published the announcement for my Lon Chaney Blogathon and had several browser tabs open. Then I heard it– an autoplay ad! Of all the types of ads on the internet, the autoplay video ad is the one I cannot tolerate. So, I went on a search and destroy mission. Was my face red when I saw that the offending ad was on MY site!

I was angry. I shook my fist and demanded answers. I also suspended WordAds on my site. Then I sent the URL of the autoplaying ad to the WordAds Twitter account.

(The stupid thing ran for TWO SOLID MINUTES!)

Anyway, the folks at WordAds contacted me and this is what they said:

Hi there. We just got word back from our ad partner, this was clearly a mistake on their behalf. We are extremely sensitive to auto-play. We work with a lot of partners, and finding one bad ad can be a daunting task. We’ve tracked the ad and this should not happen again.

This all occurred within 24 hours. So, all-in-all, I am pretty happy. Just wanted to share my experience!

Original Article

You may have noticed that my blog has ads. There’s a reason for that. I have signed up for the WordAds program from WordPress.com. It seems that a fair amount of bloggers are curious about the program so I thought I would share my experiences.

First, here’s a brief overview of WordAds.

What is it?

An advertising revenue sharing program that is open to some users of WordPress.com. This is significant since the WordPress.com terms of service forbid the use of other ad or affiliate services (for example, AdSense) on a WordPress.com hosted blog.

Ad revenue is paid out in $100 blocks. So, if you make $37 in ads, you will have to wait until your total reaches $100 before you are paid.

Who can use it?

Your blog must be hosted by WordPress.com, not a self-hosted WordPress.org site. So, if you pay money to GoDaddy or Bluehost or Host Gator or any other hosting service, you do not qualify for WordAds.

You must purchase a premium domain name (that is, you must be www.example.com, NOT www.example.wordpress.com).

Your blog must be “family safe” and must not engage in piracy or other nefarious acts.

There are minimums for number of visitors and user engagement. However, I have been unable to find any actual numbers for this. (Some sites have published what they claim to be the minimums but they are not accurate, at least from my experience.)

How it works

You must request an invitation and wait for it to be processed. This can take several weeks. You will be informed by email if you are accepted.

You will see a new option in your settings menu.

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Once you are approved, you must provide personal information for tax and payment purposes.

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You will also be prompted to change to a theme that supports maximum placement of WordAds. Finally, you will be given the choice of showing the ads to all visitors or just to non-WordPress users. (You can buy a No Ads upgrade for $30 a year, if you wish to be completely free of advertising.)

That’s it! Your earnings are calculated monthly and you are paid once your total reaches $100.

My experience with WordAds

I blog about silent films because I love them but I am not going to lie: I would like very much to make a bit of money. Not a fortune but maybe enough to cover my hosting fees and even a DVD or two.

I applied to be a WordAds site in June and received my approval email in July. The setup was very easy, I was done in a few minutes. one thing concerned me, though. There was an alert saying that my theme was not optimized for WordAds, which might lower my earnings. I investigated the optimized themes but didn’t really see anything I liked better than my old Sight theme.

(For the record, what I like about Sight is the nice slider with big images and plenty of text, the infinite scroll feature, and the fact that the just first few sentences of my latest posts are listed without me having to insert a More tag.)

I kept checking the earnings tab and was pleasantly surprised when I saw earnings for June appear. I had applied in that month but had not expected the earnings to kick in until July, when I received notice of being approved.

The big question: How much?

doll-ernst-lubitsch-ossi-oswalda-silent-movie-animated-trust-us

Well, after two months, I have made nearly enough to cover my hosting for the year (domain registration, mapping and privacy is $26). Not too shabby considering that almost no work was involved. (Yes, I realize writing the blog is work but I’ve been doing that without being paid.)

How much will you earn? The math is a little different for everyone. My blog seems to be on the high end as far as money-per-impression goes. This probably has something to do with the fact that the vast majority of my readership is from more mature online advertising markets.

You’re not going to make millions of dollars right off the bat but the nice bit of cash is welcome. The average blog simply does not have enough traffic to generate huge ad revenue. It’s all about being realistic. Your blogging ads will probably not cover your car payment but they might be able to cover a few lattes. That’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

The ads are aimed at a general audience, rather than being tailored to your blog content. This is probably a good thing in my case as I blog about an extremely niche topic (silent films) but I can see a food blogger wanting to have food-related ads for their blog.

Other than money, common complaints against WordAds are that the ads are not separate enough from content and that they cheapen the brand of the blog. I personally think the ads look like ads and should not confuse anyone. As for cheapening one’s brand… Well, I think that’s getting just a bit precious. I mean, if you sign up for online ads, don’t be shocked if your site gets online ads that look like online ads. If you hate them that much, you can always cross WordPress’s palm with silver to have them removed. (By default, WordPress shows ads to all non-WordPress visitors to your site, whether you are using WordAds or not.)

In short, don’t be Carlo! Or, contrary-wise, if you want to be Carlo, don’t sign up for online ads.

Conclusion

Pros:

Minimal setup, you should be done in 5 minutes or less.

A way to make money from a WordPress.com blog.

Relatively few ads per page (at least in my case).

Cons:

Not too many templates are WordAds optimized.

It may take a while to be paid.

Your blog is involved in vulgar commerce. Ugh!

Overall, I am pretty pleased with my WordAds experience and plan to continue with the program.

The Chaney Blogathon! Two men, thousands of faces

chaney-blogathon-banner-header-SMALL

I just can’t stop!

Here is another blogathon and it’s a special one. We are coming up on the 88th anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera (1925). That seems as good an excuse as any to host a blogathon celebrating Lon Chaney. But why settle for just one Chaney when we can have two?

That’s right! Not only will the blogathon be dedicated to Lon Chaney Sr. of Phantom/Marines fame, it will also honor Lon Chaney Jr. of Wolfman/Lennie fame.

The talented Jo of The Last Drive In has stepped in as my co-hostess for the event, her expertise on the spine-tingling classics will make this thing one for the history books!

But who are these Lon Chaneys?

Lon Chaney Sr.

Lon Chaney (1883-1930) was a prolific actor primarily known for his roles in silent horror. Dubbed “The Man of a Thousand Faces,” Chaney’s talent for elaborate makeup helped him create iconic images that terrorized his audience. But you know what? He could be even scarier with no makeup at all. His powerful acting style and sensitive characterization assured his place among silent acting legends. Chaney made one talking picture but tragically succumbed to cancer at the age of 47. Here is his IMDB profile.

Lon Chaney Jr.

Lon Chaney, Jr. (1906-1973) was Chaney’s only son. Born Creighton Chaney, he was renamed after his famous father by a movie producer in 1935. In true Chaney manner, he achieved fame in the horror genre but was also an accomplished character actor who starred in everything from westerns to serials. Throughout his long career, he specialized in tortured men and monsters. Chaney passed away at the age of 67. Here is his IMDB profile.

When does it start?

November 15-18

How to join:

You can contact either Jo or myself via comment or email. Tell us what you will contribute and your preferred posting day. Then all you have to do is snag one of our banners (they’re down there!) and put it up on your site.

What you can contribute:

All things Chaney are welcome, either father or son. Movies reviews, biographies, pictorial posts, video tributes, anything you like! Feel free to review a film even if someone else has claimed it. After all, each reviewer will have a different take. That being said, reviews of more obscure films would be greatly appreciated.

Still not sure what to pick? Here are a few ideas:

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The Roster

November 15

Asta’s Doghouse – Newspaper clippings on Lon Chaney Jr.

Cable Car Guy – Chaney Outchaneys Chaney

Forgotten Films – Review of The Mummy’s Curse

Furious Cinema – Review of The Alligator People

Grand Old Movies – Review of Big House USA

The Last Drive In – Review of The Unknown

Movies Silently – Review of The Wicked Darling

Portraits by Jenni – Review of Tell it to the Marines

Pre-Code.Com – Review of The Unholy Three (1930)

Silver Scenes – Review of The Wolf Man

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear – Review of High Noon

November 16

The Artistic Packrat – Review of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Cable Car Guy – The Face of a Thousand Memories

Destroy All Fanboys – Review of The Defiant Ones

Durnmoose Movie Musings – Review of Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman

Crítica Retrô – Review of The Penalty 

The House of Lizarraga – Chaney Caricatures and Chaney Caricatures 2

Monster Magazine World – Article: Lon Chaney vs Jack Pierce: A Monster Makeup Smackdown

The Motion Pictures – Review of The Black Sleep

Movies Silently – Article on the lost Chaney/Browning film London After Midnight

Once Upon a Screen – To the Lon Chaneys: A Wall of Faces

Silent Volume – Review of Oliver Twist

Silver Screenings – Review of Of Mice and Men

Tales of the Easily Distracted – Review of My Favorite Brunette

Tales of the Easily Distracted – Review of Spiderbaby

November 17

Cable Car Guy – But not as Lon Chaney Jr: Scrapbook

Cinematic Catharsis – Review of West of Zanzibar

Goregirl’s Dungeon – Review of House of Frankenstein

The Hitless Wonder – Tribute to Lon Chaney Sr.

The Last Drive In – A Thousand Faces: Musical Tribute to Lon Chaney Sr & Lon Chaney Jr

Movies Silently – Review of Nomads of the North

Speakeasy – Reviews of Inner Sanctum films

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear – Review of Ace of Hearts

November 18

Cable Car Guy – Listen to that box office howl (tribute to Lon Chaney Jr.)

Classic Movie Hub – Review of Abbott & Costello Meet Frankestein

Destroy All Fanboys – Review of Indestructible Man

Esther J. Cepeda – Review of Mockery

The Hitless Wonder – Lon Chaney Jr. Tribute

Immortal Ephemera – Review of Dead Man’s Eyes

The Last Drive InMan Made Monster Slideshow

Midnight Palace – Video interview with Ron Chaney

The Movie Rat – Review of By the Sun’s Rays

Movies Silently – Lon Chaney GIFs

The Nitrate Diva – Review of The Wicked Darling or Outside the Law

Once Upon a Screen – Review of The Wolf Man

Retro Remote – Review of Riddle Gawne

Silent Volume – Review of The Unholy Three (1925)

Silver Scenes – Review of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

TV’s Fault – Review of The Monster

Widescreen World – Review Of Mice and Men

Banners

Be sure to grab one of these banners so that everyone knows you have joined us!

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chaney-blogathon-banner-phantom-wolfman-SMALL

chaney-blogathon-banner-father-son-SMALL

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You can also download larger sizes of each banner, if you like, as well as a large version of the header I used at the top of the post.

Velcome to my castle! Banner (large)

Phantom-Wolfman Banner (large)

Sans Makeup Banner (large)

Unknown Spiderbaby Banner (large)

Chaney Blogathon Quadruple Header (large)

Unknown Spiderbaby Header (large)

We will be posting more updates soon!

Mom! Lon Chaney is scaring me again! Animated GIF

penalty-lon-chaney-silent-movie-scary-window

I’ve said it again and again but it’s worth repeating: Lon Chaney was justly famous for his makeup skills but he could be even scarier with no makeup at all. Exhibit A would be his performance in The Penalty. If you have never seen that deranged little gem, do track it down. Chaney plays a legless criminal mastermind who plans to a) take over San Francisco and b) steal some guys legs and stitch them onto his own body. To do this, though, he needs straw hats! Millions of straw hats! What? You don’t like his plan? You’re no fun.

You know you’re miserable when even your ukulele doesn’t help, Animated GIF

manhandled-1924-gloria-swanson-I-am-miserable-and-even-the-ukulele-doesnt-help

Poor Gloria Swanson! Even strumming her uke doesn’t improve her mood in the 1924 romantic comedy Manhandled.

The ukulele is cheap, tiny and cute. Plus, it is easy to play! As a result, it became the go-to instrument for flappers and college saps all over the United States. In this film, Gloria is taking a break from glamour to play a shop girl who is living from paycheck to paycheck. Exactly the sort of person who would embrace the uke!

Questions from the Google: A Potpourri of Odd and Unusual Queries

In this series, I take search engine queries that led people to my site and try to answer them as best as I can.

While my previous entries had themes to them, this time I will be answering queries that were either odd enough to be intriguing or insulting enough to be infuriating. I hope you enjoy!

Marion Davies in the Great Gatsby?

No.

Secretary homely and married

Like this?
Like this?

I don’t think I can help on this one but I am absolutely dying to know what caused someone to search the internet for it.

Hopalong Cassidy television show, silent or talkie?

Silent, of course! All the best television shows were silent. Everyone knows that.

Bessie Love first silent movie star?

No.

Movies about lost boy who meets girl.

Basically every movie ever made.

Classic feminine movies.

I’m female and when I’m not watching silent movies, I’m watching this:

yojimboSo, I guess “Japanese sword movies” would be the answer.

Ah, the most feminine of classic movies!

Silent movies that have breastfeeding.

Wow! I actually know the answer! Tol’able David.

How did Hopalong Cassidy get shot?

With a gun.

How did they do the eye movements in Ella Cinders?

A very famous sequence. It was done with a split screen. (This technique was very refined in the silent era, sometimes better looking than in sound films.)

Reason for the creation of silent movies

Same reason for the creation of sound movies. Because they wanted to.

Films about depravity

Go away.

Kinetoscope hand cranked?

Yes, it was.

Marion Davies was an awful actress

Why you… Ok, that’s it.

don-juan-leap-animated-gif-silent-movie

And stay out!

I have no idea what “a little polite hell” means but I plan to quote it. Animated GIF

alias-jimmy-valentine-robert-warwick-1915-silent-movie-polite-hell

Things are getting blustery in the 1915 film Alias Jimmy Valentine. Our hero, Jimmy, has convinced a high mucky-muck that he is as innocent and pure as the driven snow. In fact, he is a safecracker who has whacked on of his own gang. Yes, he is indeed the hero. I love 1915. In any case, said official goes on a rant that I found rather amusing,

You can read my review of the film here.

Fun Size Review: Tol’able David (1921)

tol'able-david

If you asked me to pick just one movie that perfectly captured the spirit of romanticized rural America, it would be this one. Richard Barthelmess gives the performance of a lifetime as a gentle lad who faces a coldly brutal world and is forced to grow up overnight. Contains violent passages yet it maintains its sweetness. Simple yet packed with symbolism. This one is a classic for a reason.

If it were a dessert it would be:

(via The Food Network)

Maple Glazed Donuts. Thoroughly New World. It may seem like an old hat but it is done so well that it’s a revelation.

Read my full review here.

Valentino: “Ah yes, with one flick of these eyelids, I will win your heart, my little porcini mushroom.” Animated

sheik-rudolph-valentino-agnes-ayres-silent-movie-giving-her-the-eye

The meet-n-greet scene in The Sheik sets the pace for all of the over-the-top events to come. Much flicking of eyelids and brows between Rudolph Valentino and Agnes Ayres.

In other news, this is kind of how I look at the dessert menu in a restaurant.

“Ah, my little blueberry cheesecake, you shall be mine forever.”

“Mmm, my petite flourless chocolate cake, I shall win you in the end!”

“Oh, you white chocolate macadamia cookies, playing so coy!”

In the Vaults #12: Senorita (1927)

(via themave.com)
(via themave.com)

Senorita (1927)

Status: Thought lost for years, a print of Senorita has been preserved in a private collection. There are also rumors that another print is held in a Belgian archive.

Bebe Daniels in disguise (via Tumblr)
Bebe Daniels in disguise (via Tumblr)

Bebe Daniels swung back and forth between comedy and drama throughout her career. By the mid to late twenties, she was making comedies that took a popular adventure plot and reversed the genders: Miss Brewster’s Millions, She’s a Sheik and Senorita. The final title was a version of Zorro with Miss Daniels playing the masked avenger. Miss Daniels got into the spirit of the thing and acted just as Fairbanksian as she could.

As an added bonus, the villain of the film is played by William Powell. In the silents, he was often cast as the sneering baddie.

senorita-bebe-daniels-william-powell-1927-05

Photoplay raved about the film:

The best Bebe Daniels’ feature in years. Bebe masquerades as a boy in order to protect the ranch of her grandfather, Don Hernandez, who really thinks she is a boy. Bebe does a Fairbanks-Gilbert-Barrymore act by jumping through windows, winning numerous duels, swinging from chandeliers and what-not. A rip-roaring, peppy piece — one of the finest of the month.

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Motion Picture News thought the film was fun, though light on plot:

senorita-bebe-daniels-william-powell-1927-07Bebe Daniels got off on a good tack when she frowned up-on those serious stories and decided to cater to satire and burlesque. Take her latest for example It is nothing to make much of a fuss over, but it has its rollicking by-play — all of which is indulged in with a fine zest and spirit by the bubbling Bebe and her assistants.

It may be that the loud pedal becomes overplayed here and there, but no one should carp over this amusing trifle — which has been produced for the one purpose of creating laughter. Bebe Daniels plays a tomboy of the pampas. She masquerades with a tiny mustache and all the native trimmings. And once she starts cut- ting the didoes there’s no stopping her. She must please her grand- father who thought he had a, grandson instead of a granddaughter. Of such stuff is “Senorita “built. To look for the plot you’d have to look in vain. But it does establish that as the leader of one warring family the girl must conquer the enemy. She ends up by fighting a duel.

It is all mad merriment — but done in a refreshing manner by the star who is beginning to give Constance Talmadge a run for her money. It should please the majority of theatregoers.

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This film sounds like an amazing bit of fun.

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Silent Take: “Enchanted” circa 1918

After completing posters for the silent Nolan Batman trilogy and working on my designs for James Bond and Indiana Jones, I am a burned out on male-led blockbusters. So, how’s about some girl stuff? Enchanted is, of course, a clever 2007 send-up by Disney about Disney. I have to confess that I am not an enormous fan of Disney films in general but I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Continue reading “Silent Take: “Enchanted” circa 1918″

Updates, upcoming events and a few secrets I have been keeping from you

Angnes Ayres Mirror
All about me!

The Gish Sisters Blogathon is over but what a fun ride it was! The contributors outdid themselves and it was a great pleasure to read their posts.

The blogathon was the culmination of five months of behind-the-scenes work. I began to plan in April, made the banners and invited my co-hostess aboard. The biggest challenge? Keeping the secret until the announcement in July! I like to plan ahead but I hate to keep secrets.

Well, I am keeping more secrets from you, readers. I have a few new features and special events in the pipeline and I fully intend to knock your socks off. In fact, you may want to watch those socks on Sunday because I will be making a huge announcement. You’re going to like it, I promise.

But enough mysterious-type talk! I wanted to give you some details on what is coming up on Movies Silently.

Upcoming Blogathons (that I am not hosting but have joined and feel you should too)

I will be covering The Power of the Press starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and directed by Frank Capra. You can join up by getting in touch with either hostess, Comet Over Hollywood or Lindsay’s Movie Musings.

(As a non-hosting participant, I can’t accept entries to any of these events. Just mentioning. But I will link to each and every host blog and I am sure they would love to have you.)

This is going to be fun! I will be inventing a 60’s-style starring-everyone-famous-in-the-whole-world adventure comedy… in the silent era! Fairbanks or Swanson or Valentino or Pickford or Barrymore? Yes. You can get in touch with Silver Scenes to join up.

Inspired by my Silent Take posters, Carole & Co. is hosting a bit of silent recasting. I am signed on for Star Wars circa 1915. You can join up by contacting the host blog.

Once Upon a Screen, Paula’s Cinema Club and Outspoken & Freckled are co-hosting the second What a Character Blogathon! I will be covering Tully Marshall in a review of the 1929 Technicolor film Redskin.

In other news, I will be continuing my assorted series and I will be getting back into the mini biographies. Haven’t written any of those in a while and I really enjoy making them.

And next month’s theme is Reader Requests! I got an overwhelming list of amazing films but I have narrowed down my selections. It was a challenge to choose only five films but I did it in the end. I will be announcing the final choices in October and, as promised, if I choose your suggestion, I will link to your (SFW) blog or website.

You’re a bunch of swell mugs! Animated GIF

musketeers-of-pig-alley-lillian-gish-dw-griffith-swell-job-partnerThis goes out to all the participants who worked so hard to make the Gish Sisters Blogathon a success. And it is especially for Lindsey of The Motion Pictures. We battled spotty internet, work and class schedules (among other things) but the whole event turned out to be fun, informative and an enormous success. Thank you so much for being a great co-hostess!

I thank you. Elmer Booth thanks you. (The GIF is from The Musketeers of Pig Alley)

Hold your horses, buckaroo! Animated GIF

unseen-enemy-1912-lillian-dorothy-gisg-dw-griffith-hold-your-horsesWhoa there, kid! Shop’s closed!

In An Unseen Enemy, Dorothy Gish is being courted by Bobby Harron. Just because he is her boyfriend, however, doesn’t mean he can get all romantic with her.

This was Dorothy’s very first film but she is already a lively and charming presence.

Lillian Gish, the fragile flower battered by the cruel winds of fate. Sigh. Animated GIF

musketeers-of-pig-alley-lillian-gish-dw-griffith-lillian-stands-up-for-herselfSee poor Lillian Gish, a damsel in distress once again! What can she possibly do when Elmer Booth (one of the screen’s first charming gangsters) tries to make her his chicken? Why, she must faint, of course!

(I hope you can see the GIF. Lillian smacks Elmer and shoves him back. Good girl!)

On a side note, Elmer Booth’s oddly made-up friend is future cowboy star and John Wayne mentor Harry Carey.

He kissed my hand! He kissed my hand! He kissed my hand! Animated GIF

gretchen-the-greenhorn-1916-dorothy-gish-silent-movie-hand-kissingDorothy Gish is having some lovey time with Frank Bennett in Gretchen the Greenhorn. I love that little laugh Dorothy gives when she receives her hand kiss.

The younger Gish sister enjoyed popularity in comedies and light dramas throughout the ‘teens and twenties. Unfortunately, many of her solo films have been lost. Lillian Gish always spoke highly of her sister’s talent and Gretchen proves that this was not just familial pride. Dorothy is a delight!

Silent Movie Favorites: My dream film festival schedule

kitsch

It’s that time of year. You know, fantasy football. Well, I’m taking the idea and applying it to film festivals. (Goodness, am I a geek!)

I am freshly back from Cinecon 49, you see, and so I am in a bit of a festive mood. So here is my fantasy film festival lineup.

Four Films from the Vaults (and never before released to the general public)

The Blood Ship (1927)

The Blood Ship 1927 Hobart Bosworth and Richard Arlen

Who doesn’t like a good nautical yarn? This tale of wooden ships and bloody revenge should be a rousing spectacle. It enjoyed excellent reviews on its initial release. While it doesn’t boast any enormous names, it has a solid cast led by the rough and ready Hobart Bosworth.

The Song of Love (1923)

(via Stanford.edu)
(via Stanford.edu)

We all need a little kitsch in our movie diet and this film is supposed to deliver in abundance! The hero is decked out in ballerina flats and spit curls. He is a secret agent. Norma Talmadge shimmies. Oh my. The romantic leads reportedly loathed one another and the director, Frances Marion, was accidentally clonked with a stage light.

Ivanhoe (1913)

Ivanhoe 1913 Silent Movie

Buried for a century, this epic was notable for filming on-location (the whole cast and crew tripped off to England), its enthusiastic battles (our leading man was knocked out cold at one point) and the fact that it is an early feature-length film.

Blue Jeans (1917)

Blue Jeans (1917), John Collins, Viola Dana

This is supposed to be melodrama done right. Excitement, romance, pathos… and all under the direction of John Collins. Contemporary critics went nuts for his fresh twist on a creaky play. The clips I have seen are very enticing.

Five Crowd Pleasers (We all have them on DVD and Blu-ray but let’s see them on the big screen!)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Review, Conrad Veidt, Wener Krauss, Lil Dagover, silent german film

Show People (1928)

Show People, Marion Davies, William Haines, King Vidor, Silent Film review

The Strong Man (1926)

(via filmweb.pl)
(via filmweb.pl)

Daddy Long Legs (1919)

Daddy Long Legs (1919) Mary Pickford, Marshall NeilanDaddy Long Legs (1919) Mary Pickford, Marshall Neilan

The Mark of Zorro (1920)

The Mark of Zorro (1920) Douglas Fairbanks, A Silent Movie Review

Three Lost Films (I can dream, can’t I?)

She’s a Sheik (1927)

she's a sheik richard arlen bebe daniels 01

Bebe Daniels takes over the Valentino role as a lusty desert chieftainess who spots Richard Arlen, likes what she sees and abducts him to her desert hideaway.

Me, Gangster (1928)

Me Gangster Raoul Walsh 1928 gangster film, lost movie

Raoul Walsh works his gangster magic in this late silent era offering. The whole film (title cards and all) is formatted like the diary of a foot soldier for a powerful mob. Looks fascinating.

Merton of the Movies (1924)

Merton of the Movies 1924

A send-up of silent Hollywood made by silent Hollywood. Looks absolutely delightful. (I loved the book)

Four Underdogs (They deserve to be better known)

The Volga Boatman (1926)

We are back to kitsch with this Cecil B. DeMille mega-hit. Sadly forgotten since its initial release, it is a wonderful blend of over-the-top acting, splendidly melodramatic intertitles and utter historical cluelessness. One of my favorites.

A Woman of the World (1925)

(via acertaincinema.com)
(via acertaincinema.com)

Pola Negri pokes fun at her own exotic image in this tale of a tattooed countess, a priggish social reformer, a tiny Midwest town and a bullwhip.

The Beloved Rogue (1927)

(via moviepostershop.com)
(via moviepostershop.com)

Swashbuckling and slapstick collide in this zany bit of medieval mayhem. John Barrymore devours the scenery and Conrad Veidt (in his American debut) chomps down whatever is left.

The White Rose (1923)

White Rose Silent Film D.W. Griffith, Ivor Novello, Mae Marsh

Mae Marsh returned to D.W. Griffith’s fold in this little drama. It’s a throwback to one of his earlier potboilers and contains some rather excellent performances.

So those are my festival choices! What about you? What’s your fantasy lineup?

Don’t yell at inanimate objects because, in addition to looking crazy, you may be shocked to discover that “inanimate” can yell back! Animated GIF

doll-ernst-lubitsch-ossi-oswalda-silent-movie-animated-dont-yell-at-ossiAnother charmer from The Doll. Hermann Thimig thinks that Ossi Oswalda is just a doll and decides to take his frustrations out on her. Bad idea. You do not yell at Ossi. Ever. Poor Hermann does not stand a chance against this petite ball of fire.

I think we can safely say that she won the argument.

Availability

Released both digitally and on DVD by Kino-Lorber and available for purchase in the U.S.

Theme Month! September 2013: Vamps, Flappers and Superstars, oh my!

2013-09Theme-Month-display-banner-GreenThis month is all about the top female stars of the silent era. These are the ladies who made it into the history books and are remembered to this day as the most popular actresses of their time.

While I am preparing my new reviews for publication, here are some past reviews of superstar films:

Daddy Long Legs: Mary Pickford

The Wind: Lillian Gish

The Social Secretary: Norma Talmadge

Barbed Wire: Pola Negri

Why Change Your Wife?: Gloria Swanson

Mantrap: Clara Bow

Ella Cinders: Colleen Moore

Review #1: The Gish Sisters

An Unseen Enemy (1912)

The famous siblings made their debut together in this suspenseful melodrama.

Review #2: Florence Lawrence

The Country Doctor (1909)

An extremely rare film featuring the woman considered by many to be the first true movie star.

Review #3: Gloria Swanson

Manhandled (1924)

Gloria Swanson abandons her beaded gowns and ostrich plumes to play a naive shop girl in this romantic comedy.

Review #4: Clara Bow

Parisian Love (1925)

Before she hit it big, Clara Bow churned out dozens of potboilers. This one is directed by Louis “Reefer Madness” Gasnier.

The latest and Gishiest news! Gish Sisters Blogathon Schedule

Gish sisters blogathon

Gish sisters blogathon

I can’t believe it’s almost here! The Gish Sisters Blogathon is launching this Saturday.

Some of the contributors expressed a day preference while others were free to be penciled in any time. My co-hostess, Lindsey of The Motion Pictures, did a marvelous job of scheduling everyone between the three days of the blogathon.

If you need to reschedule:

No problem! Just let one of us know and we will be happy to accommodate you.

If you want to join:

You can still do that too! Let us know your topic and the day you prefer.

The Schedule

Day 1: September 7

Critica Retro – Orphans of the Storm

Donald Mania – Video tribute

Falderal – The White Sister

The Film Writer – Lillian Gish profileA few words on the Gish Sisters, Unseen Enemy Remix

Films Worth Watching – The Battle of Elderbush Gulch

The Great Katherine Hepburn – Remodeling Her Husband

The Motion Pictures – List of participants (to be updated throughout the blogathon w/ links)

Movies, Silently – Gretchen the Greenhorn

Nitrate Glow – Poetry inspired by Lillian GishBroken Blossoms

Once Upon a Screen – The Musketeers of Pig Alley

The Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion – Have You Been Gished?

portraitsbyjenni – The Scarlet Letter + BGSU’s Gish Theater

The “Semi” Daily Main — Broken Blossoms

Silent Volume – La Boheme

Silent Volume – Mothering Heart

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To – The Whales of August

Day 2: September 8

Cinemalacrum – The Night of the Hunter

Cinematic Catharsis – Broken Blossoms

Donald Mania – Article on Lillian’s influence on cinema

Films Worth Watching – True Heart Susie

MIB’s Instant Headache – Birth of a Nation Blu-ray

The Motion Pictures – Sweet Liberty

Outspoken and Freckled – The Night of the Hunter

The Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion – Don’t you wish you were a Gish?

Girls Do Film – Romola

Silent Volume – Birth of a Nation

Silent Volume – Intolerance

Silver Screenings – Portrait of Jennie

The Soul of the Plot – Duel in the Sun

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear – The Wind

Day 3: September 9

Don’t Upset Granny Gish – His Double Life

Falderal — Reassessing the Legacy of Mary Pickford Through Lillian Gish

The Joy and Agony of Movies – Intolerance

The Last Drive In – Alfred Hitchcock Hour, “The Body in the Barn”

The Man on the Flying Trapeze — The Day I Insulted Lillian Gish

Motion Picture Gems – Centennial Summer

The Motion Pictures – The Cardinal

Movie Classics – The Scarlet Letter

The Movie Rat – Orphans of the Storm, Lillian and Dorothy Together

Movies, Silently – An Unseen Enemy

The Nitrate Diva – Hearts of the World

The Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion – Gish Sisters Have Imperfect Noses

Silent Volume – Rebirth of a Nation

Strictly Vintage Hollywood – Nell Gwynn

True Classics – La Boheme

You rogue! You cad! You naughty, naughty man! Animated GIF

tempest-john-barrymore-louis-wolheim-camilla-horn-silent-movie-animated-gif-naughty-boy

This is everything I love about John Barrymore in one convenient GIF.

Here is the formula:

1 part Don Juan

1/2 part Mr. Hyde

1 part Hamlet

2 parts Daffy Duck

The GIF is from Tempest, one of my favorite Barrymore vehicles. (You can read my review here) While not as zany as his performance in The Beloved Rogue, it still has just enough goofiness to keep things interesting. You can never accuse the man of being boring!

Availability

Tempest isavailable on DVD and via streaming with both original and modern scores.

Lost Film Files #20: Prudence, the Pirate (1916)

prudence-the-pirates-1916-lost-film-files-02

Prudence, the Pirate (1916)

Status: Unknown

Gladys Hulette gets another adorable vehicle in the form of Prudence, the Pirate. The plot involves a pirate-obsessed young lady who gets out of an arranged marriage by hiring a ship (complete with crew) and proclaiming herself a pirate captain. She then kidnaps her  would-be suitor and forces him to swab the deck! The young man finally proves himself when a fire breaks out on the ship and he saves Prudence, thus proving his worth.

prudence-the-pirates-1916-lost-film-files-01

Moving Picture World thought the film was good entertainment:

In “Prudence, the Pirate” Gladys Hulette has a youthful role finely fitted to her tender years— surely as Prudence she looks not more than sixteen, and it is a more or less commonly accepted fiction that a female is only as old as she looks The story is by Agnes Johnson. It is a craftsmanlike piece of work, especially that part of It which is devoted to the draughting of the leaders. These have more than a distinct comedy flavor; there is always present the literary touch Miss Hulette is supported among others by Flora Pinch and Riley Chamberlin. These two unusually clever character actors prove to be Just the team that one knowing their individual capacity for mirthmaking would be led to expect. The general result Is worthwhile. “Prudence the Pirate” will make good entertainment.

Miss Hulette as Prudence shows marked skill in comedy interpretation. She has the pep and abandon of young girlhood Prudence Is romantic, with a leaning to the piratical. She imposes her pranks on relatives and servants alike. Her mis- adventures have the natural effect of indefinitely postponing her formal debut In society even while her feminine ways are hastening the ensnaring of the smitten Astorbilt.

Miss Finch is seen as the prim aunt who unsuccessfully tries to keep her niece within the bounds of conventionality; but who likewise finds her matchmaking ambitions gratified when Prudence in her own way secures the hand-picked prize Mr Chamberlin Is Meeks, the family butler. Meeks loses his standing as a temperance advocate when on the Invitation of Prudence he looks on the punch when it is red; his position is placed in still greater jeopardy when the hastily gathered pirate crew of the Bucket of Blood kidnaps him and carries him away to don a pirate’s garb. Barnett Parker is Astorbilt; he does a good bit of character drawing of the wealthy young man none too strong in his masculinity. Yet he does not overdo the part. The remainder of the cast gives satisfactory support.

prudence-the-pirates-1916-lost-film-files-03

Wid’s Film and Film Folk was quite enthusiastic:

I believe that you can feel pretty safe in booking this because it is different. It is just a light comedy with a ‘melo’ climax, but the idea is different and I would say that any average audience would enjoy it. As to box-office value, there is a question as to whether or not Miss Hulette’s name will pull, since she is rather a newcomer to the ranks of stardom. I would depend almost entirely upon playing up the unusual situation of a society debutante, who, in seeking an adventure, chartered a schooner and set out as a sure-enough pirate craft. That sounds very interesting, and on that alone you should be able to pull considerable business. Use Miss Hulette’s picture generally, and ask the question: ‘Can you imagine this young lady commanding an honest-to-goodness pirate crew? She did it! That was her idea of a good time.

prudence-the-pirates-1916-lost-film-files-04

The Morning Telegraph liked the film but found the scenario to be cliche-ridden:

Agnes C. Johnston has set about writing her story as though she had never seen a moving picture in her life and didn’t know that by every screen convention the millionaire should have been the villain and Prue’s young admirer, the hero. As it is, there is not a commonplace character or a hackneyed situation in the whole picture; the people are all human beings and the comedy is lively, good humored and original. As for the subtitles, many of them are good laughs in themselves. 

Unfortunately, no word exists on whether this film is still with us. Too bad, it looks like a blast!

(photo source: silentfilmstillarchive.com)

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