General Custer makes his last stand in this dramatization of the Battle of Little Bighorn. The word of the day was authenticity, even if California stands in for Montana and a romanticized vision of Custer is presented.Continue reading “Custer’s Last Fight (1912) A Silent Film Review”
That Onésime is at it again! Our surreal comedy hero decides to speed up his access to his inheritance by speeding up time for the entire world, as one does. A science-fiction-ish, comedy-ish short.Continue reading “Onésime, Clockmaker (1912) A Silent Film Review”
There’s malice in the royal palace when King David’s hottest son, Absalom, decides to stage himself a little coup de tat. Lots of stencil-colored Biblical war in this impressive French production.Continue reading “Absalom (1912) A Silent Film Review”
A man strikes down his brother in a fit of rage and things are looking bad… until a burglar conveniently shows up to have the crime pinned on. The one time having your house robbed is convenient…
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen… Or in this case, running through the glen and getting arrested a lot. A loose and chipper adaptation of the popular legend from Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Rather Dickensian even for Dickens, the grim novel Nicholas Nickleby gets the movie treatment in this two-reel Thanhouser adaptation.
An elderly gentleman will allow his daughter to marry a deep sea diver on one conditions: that he dive for a pirate treasure that was lost decades before.
The priceless footage of Amundsen’s successful attempt to reach the South Pole, this material was meant to accompany the explorer’s lectures. We get ships, ice and penguins.
A biopic of the famous German soldier-poet who wrote blood and thunder verses and died in battle before his twenty-second birthday. This is one of the earliest surviving German features available.
Anna Q. Nilsson plays a Northern spy who has been sent to discover the location of the South’s ironclad battleship. Miriam Cooper is the Southern railroad engineer’s daughter who must race to save the ship. Oh, yeah, there’s a guy in it too but he doesn’t do much. American Civil War adventure from Kalem.
The queen of Egypt loves her Romans and so she falls for Mark Antony… What? You mean you know this one? Well, anyway, we’re looking over one of the very first feature-length Cleos with Helen Gardner in the title role.
Sidney Olcott and Gene Gauntier led an American film troupe to film the life of Christ on location in Egypt and locations throughout the once and future Israel. The result was a hit but the behind-the-scenes story is deserves some attention of its own.
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.
Alice Guy variation on a theme by O. Henry is the story of a small child who tries to save her older sister’s life by prolonging autumn. A lyrical tearjerker and a rare example of Guy’s work from her Solax period.
A violent and surreal (and FUNNY) comedy from director Jean Durand. Forgotten French comedian Ernest Bourbon stars as Onésime, who has managed to create an exact double of himself. When the double’s antics prove troublesome, Onésime decides that drastic measures are called for.
Continue reading “Onésime vs. Onésime (1912) A Silent Film Review”
A mine owner finally discovers a vein of gold—and then promptly dies of fever. His foreman is determined to claim the strike for himself but there is the pesky widow to deal with. Obviously, he has no choice but to lock her in a cottage with a hungry leopard.
Continue reading “Under the Claw (1912) A Silent Film Review”
After a stint in prison, Elmer Booth returns home to the loving arms of his wife, Mary Pickford. However, the eyes of the law are still on him and his old prison buddy just may want to start a tiny, itsy-bitsy counterfeit money operation. Will our hero stick to the narrow road?
Continue reading “The Narrow Road (1912) A Silent Film Review”
Sherlock Holmes made his first legal appearance on the silver screen with this French-British co-production series. When a tyrannical father objects to his daughter’s engagement, he locks her away and sends for a governess to take her place. But one thing he didn’t count on was Sherlock Holmes on the case! What is lacks in story, it more than makes up for with hilariously hammy acting.
Continue reading “The Copper Beeches (1912) A Silent Film Review”
A highly romanticized look at old Ireland with all the fairy tale trimmings, this film was the result of the Kalem film company’s second Irish jaunt. The product is more polished but the goal was the same: provide a nostalgic and sweet look at the old country for the Irish in America.
Continue reading “You Remember Ellen (1912) A Silent Film Review”
An heiress in peril! A scheming villain! A cunning and terrifying plan! Yes, this is an honest-to-goodness melodrama of the Victorian school. Director Leonce Perret crafts a knotty little thriller out of old-fashioned ingredients.
Continue reading “The Mystery of the Rocks of Kador (1912) A Silent Film Review”
Land grabs, murders, hijacked trains and gold fever… They sound like standard western fare but this movie was made in France. Anarchic director Jean Durand takes a break from comedy to create this bloody tribute to the wild west—with a strong French accent.
Continue reading “The Railway of Death (1912) A Silent Film Review”
Before Ernst Lubitsch and Cecil B. DeMille poked their heads into the bedroom, Ladislas Starevich directed this clever marital comedy about a wayward husband, a temperamental wife, a lovely dancer and a jilted cameraman. Of course, what really sets Starevich apart is his cast. You see… the parts are all played by dead insects.
Continue reading “The Cameraman’s Revenge (1912) A Silent Film Review”
Concerning the lives and loves of a small Russian village, this little gem has been all but forgotten. Gorgeous scenery, heartfelt performances and an intriguing look at a time and place that were about to disappear forever, this movie deserves rediscovery.
Continue reading “The Peasants’ Lot (1912) A Silent Film Review”
Director D.W. Griffith’s modern reputation rests on his epics but I don’t think that is the right call. The charming short films that he made for the Biograph company are the Griffith movies that I keep coming back to. (Well, the non-squicky ones, anyway.) The amount of emotion and story he was able to pack into those ten to twenty minute morsels is nothing short of miraculous.
Continue reading “The Sunbeam (1912) A Silent Film Review”
Two sisters, an empty house, a dishonest maid and a fortune in the safe. A recipe for a melodrama if I ever saw one! D.W. Griffith directs the Gish sisters in their motion picture debut, with able support from Bobby Harron, Elmer Booth, Harry Carey and a very early appearance from Antonio Moreno!
Continue reading “An Unseen Enemy (1912) A Silent Film Review”
Pastor Lionel Barrymore receives a strange mission from a parishioner (the wife of the town miser) who has recently passed away: He is to take the money she has left and buy her daughter, Mary Pickford, little luxuries that she has been denied. The Pastor starts by buying Mary a pricey hat from New York. Little does he know that this kindness will start a frenzy of gossip.
D.W. Griffith tackled the Gold Rush and experimented with close-ups in this tidy little drama. Mary Pickford is a shady lady living in a gold rush town. When she gets dumped by her duded-up suitor, Henry B. Walthall, she seeks comfort in the burly arms of Lionel Barrymore. But who will get the girl?
Continue reading “Friends (1912) A Silent Film Review”