The Romanovs had been in power for three centuries and motion picture cameras captured the family and the Russian people on the eve of the First World War and the Ten Days That Shook the World.
Ostensibly designed to protect innocents from falling victim to traffickers, this film caused scandal and invited lawsuits and arrests wherever it was shown. The innocent days of classic film? Not so much.
A wastrel son uses up his own money and so he forges his mother’s signature to get more. However, the family portrait gallery comes to life and the figures take turns berating their descendant for sullying the clan crest.
The Edison film company took a stab at talking pictures pre-WWI and we are going to be looking at one of the most famous Kinetophone production. One of over 200 sound films released in 1913 and 1914, Nursery Favorites brings everyone’s favorite Mother Goose characters to life.
Lois Weber directs and stars in a stylish short of, well, suspense. She is a young mother alone in a remote house trying to fend off a home invasion robbery while her husband listens on the telephone. It’s a Grand Guignol tale of terror and done rather well.
Mabel Normand is imperiled by Ford Sterling yet again and it’s up to Mack Sennett to save the day with a little help from famous racecar driver Barney Oldfield. This zany comedy makes use of a very old cliché… and that’s where things get sticky. Time for some myth-busting.
Continue reading “Barney Oldfield’s Race for a Life (1913) A Silent Film Review”
Ivan Mosjoukine plays a dashing officer who wants to make time with his girlfriend. Her strict mother will not hear of it and so the young lovers come up with a plan. Mosjoukine shaves his mustache, slips into a dress and gets hired as the family’s new cook. A delightfully zany farce based on a poem by Pushkin.
Continue reading “The House in Kolomna (1913) A Silent Film Review”
Hell hath no fury like Ford Sterling scorned and he comes up with a doozy of a revenge plot in this Keystone classic. This anarchic bit of fun is one of the wackiest films from a famously wacky studio and it also manages to make movie history with its (reportedly) clever use of a scheduled lake draining to create its messy climax.
Villainy is afoot in ancient Israel, the Assyrians have laid siege to a little mountain town. All seems to be lost. But the Assyrians didn’t count on a young widow named Judith (Blanche Sweet), who wields a mean saber. Will the charms of the enemy general (Henry B. Walthall) derail her plans? Or will our Assyrian lose his head over the comely widow? This is an early feature film and the start of director D.W. Griffith’s big, Big, BIG! period.
Continue reading “Judith of Bethulia (1914) A Silent Film Review”
The story is as old as they come: Boy meets girl, boy dumps girl, girl makes good, boy left to stew. The plot may be old but that made it ripe for the Keystone treatment in this mad bit of slapstick.