White Almond Flower (Clarine Seymour) is a flapper-ish island girl who just can’t choose between a sickly missionary (Creighton Hale) and an atheist beach bum (Richard Barthelmess). Will WAF be “civilized” or will she be free to continue her moonlight idolatry? D.W. Griffith directs this tale of religion, the nature of civilization and shimmy-shimmy shakes. Continue reading “The Idol Dancer (1920) A Silent Film Review”
Ossi Oswalda’s character is an, um, eccentric young lady with violent habits. She smashes vases, mirrors, heads when she is happy, sad or in love. In this case, she is thrilled that her daddy has promised to buy her a prince to marry.
Ossi’s father is the Oyster King of America and she has decided that she deserves nothing less than a European prince. Nucki is the penniless prince in question but a few cases of mistaken identity later, all plans are in shambles. Hidden amongst the the wacky hijinks is some pointed social commentary courtesy of director Ernst Lubitsch.
Poor Prince Nucki (Harry Liedtke) comes to in a strange room and is confronted by something that is most definitely not his. Where are his pants anyway? Zany romantic comedy from Ernst Lubitsch. This is one of the funniest intertitles, in my opinion. Enjoy!
Note: This article covers the origins of the trope, how it erroneously became associated with silent films and why the myth persists. For more details on the actors involved, the Snidely Whiplash connection and examples of this trope subverted, check out my follow up article. You can also check out real footage and vintage images in my video response.
By now we have covered acting, screenwriting and directing of the silent motion picture. What’s left? The shooting, of course! How were motion pictures photographed during the silent era? This book answers all your questions. In fact, it is by far the most technical (and thickest!) volume in the series.
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”
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.
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.
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.
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…