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.
Ben Turpin plays a would be lothario who goes about harassing and annoying every woman he can find. The women each inflict their own form of revenge on this horrible pest, from scissors in the backside to electrocution to a pie in the face. Ah, innocent times!
A man falls asleep next to his smoking table and is soon tormented by a pair of cigarette-loving fairies. This zany trick film from the American Vitagraph company plays around with the notion of fay malice.
There’s something terrible in Rome and he’s sitting on the throne. The nasty Emperor Nero is having trouble with his love life and the clear answer is a bit of arson. This Italian film is an intriguing epic in miniature.
Continue reading “Nero (1909) A Silent Film Review”
The oft-filmed tale of Athens, drug-toting fairies, forbidden love and dudes with donkey heads. The rub? This was made in 1909, when short films ruled the market. The entire production is ten minutes long. That’s right. Ten. Well, you can’t accuse it of being long-winded. Plus, there are some future stars in the cast.
A rare surviving Florence Lawrence film concerns a country doctor and his family. When both his daughter and an impoverished neighbor fall ill at the same time, which one will he save? Lawrence is the doctor’s wife. All the melodrama you can stuff into 14 minutes!
Still in his second year of directing, D.W. Griffith delves into the American Revolution in this early Biograph adventure film. An American courier is trying to deliver an important message to General Washington. He seeks refuge with his family but is soon found out and shot. His family must try to deliver his message and save themselves from the licentious Hessians, who include… Mack Sennett?
Continue reading “The Hessian Renegades (1909) A Silent Film Review”